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Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Yoga bliss

These days I am in a very peaceful and contemplative place, and one of the things I do to stay there is remain consistent with my yoga practice. This year has had some ups and downs (mostly ups, thank goodness) and one of those ups has been the reintroduction of yoga into my life.

In January my friend and coworker Kelly invited me to come to a class at RussaYog, a Santa Barbara and Michigan-based yoga studio that incorporates ropes into the practice. Founded by Jasprit Singh, RussaYog is very different from your mainstream vinyasa flow practice. There’s no hot rooms or impossible feats of athleticism involved. Rather, the focus is on strength, stretching, and simple mind-body awareness.

I liked this different style of yoga from the very first time I tried it, mostly due to the element of playfulness.  The ropes, dowels and doras incorporated into the practice turn the RussaYog studio into a kind of giant yoga jungle gym. (Kids walking by the studio in Victoria Court are fascinated by the colorful floor mats and thick ropes suspended from the ceiling. They think it’s a playground inside, and essentially they are right.)

The classes are small, the instruction simple, and the other students universally pleasant. My classmates have the most diverse group of body types I’ve ever seen in a yoga class, which is refreshing after doing a lot of gym-based yoga with workout fanatics over the years. There are plenty of very bendy young women, and many ladies 60 and up. I’m somewhere in the middle, just trying to work out the ravages of running many miles and wearing heels.

The spiritual element at RussaYog isn’t as strong as in some yoga practices, but the emphasis on mindfulness is strong. I never leave a class without feeling like the slate of my brain is wiped clean. It’s wonderful to feel like you can get a new start just by spending an hour moving and breathing. I’ve added it to the list of things I’m grateful for every day.

Photo courtesy RussaYog.

I think Kelly is actually in this picture! Not taken at the current studio, obviously.


1 Comment»

  CLAUDIA wrote @

Looks amazing and fun!

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