What a privilege it has been for us to get to know each of you these past few months – consider us inspired. We knew our lives would be enriched through the studio, but never imagined our hopes would take shape so rapidly. I suspect you’ll agree, the love within the Gen Yoga Family is palpable and frankly we couldn’t be more humbled and joyous about it. We hope that we are living up to our commitment to listen authentically, meet you where you are and grow together. One thing is certain, you, our founding family members, are living up to your part by showing up on your mat regularly. The world gets better everyday because of it.
One of the things that you may not know about the studio is that it has been in the works for at least 10 years now. Since we had a couple of formidable attempts over that period, we arrived at the beginning of Gen with more thoughts, plans, and designs than one could reasonably implement at once. Naturally, our management and staff have grown that list – not to mention all of the vital feedback we have received from you. What this means is that we still have so many things we want to share to enhance your experience. We hope you love surprises! Stay tuned for new programming, alliances, merchandise and just plain fun get-togethers.
We’ve been asked a number of times what motivated us to open our doors. Simply put, we believe even a little bit of yoga goes a long way. Many of you may have had this dawning early in your practice. We show up on the mat for different reasons, but we return for the step change it brings. We begin to see things through a new lens. Life feels more like home. Adversity feels manageable, perhaps even purposeful. We become more attuned to the things that nourish us. We start to choose gratitude over disappointment.
So if a little goes a long way, what would a lot do? This question has riddled many new and old yogis alike, so we decided to make our inaugural newsletter about offering some thoughts. At the risk of stating the obvious, I’ll start with a piece of wisdom I heard early in my practice – “You are your own best doctor”. I’ve since replaced “doctor” with many other things and found it generally applies. Trust yourself. Beyond that, here are a few rules of thumb worth considering:
1) How many classes should you do a week?
After many of years of experimenting – I have done as many as 12 classes a week (thankfully not for very long) and as few as 2 a month (also not for long – thankfully) – I find than an impactful practice typically has a minimum of 3 classes a week and a maximum of 6 classes a week. It’s possible that 3 may be too many for you, feel free to connect with one of us for some personalized advice. Alternatively, 6 may not feel like enough, especially when you’ve hit a more turbulent patch. On this side of the equation, I lean towards being more prescriptive to help remind practitioners of yoga’s primary intent: self-inquiry and self-care. This begins to degrade when you don’t give yourself moments of reprieve. Still, if you’re doing 7 restorative classes a week, there is probably no issue, so the upper limit may not apply in that situation. This brings us to our next question.
2) What type of yoga should I do?
Diversity of classes is useful, though by no means required. Switching styles accomplishes two things.
First, it gets us out of our habitual cycles. If any of you are like me, your Type A tendencies may feel at ease in faster, more challenging classes. Try something slower, see how that goes. By the way, it may not be easier. The most challenging classes I take are those that slow me down and force me to articulate subtle engagement in more nuanced ways. Or perhaps try something more restorative (or more active) if that is outside of the box for you. Notice your reaction and see what you can learn about your response to stepping outside of your comfort zone. Don’t judge, just be present and learn. Yoga is a chance to comfortably learn to lean into those things that are harder for us to accommodate.
Second, doing a diverse range of classes helps to avoid repetitive motion injuries. Anything done excessively can lead to discomfort and injury, e.g. too many chaturangas or up-dogs will start to goof with your shoulders and low back. Trust me. If you don’t diversify your classes, at least be willing to skip those things that create discomfort. Doing every posture isn’t the goal. Rather, being present enough to know what is best for you at every moment signals a maturing practice.
3) What if I’m really just not feeling a particular class or teacher?
It’s paramount that you follow your path, no need to force a fit that isn’t working. We have a large variety of classes and a pretty significant number of teachers for this exact reason. Finding something that matches your natural rhythms is important, shop around and see what works. If you end up in a class that you aren’t quite feeling, take the opportunity to look inward. As you begin to own your practice, I’ve found you can make subtle edits to alter your experience. Maybe it’s choosing some poses of your own or perhaps it’s moving at a different pace. Whatever you choose, look for an opportunity to learn about your reactions and see if there’s something there to grow from, even if you choose not to return to that particular class or teacher. With a little bit of practice, you will start to find riches in every moment you spend on your mat.
We’ve built our schedule on the notion that our community will have diverse tastes, varying availability and different life circumstances. We’re certain that somewhere in the fold there are offerings that are the right fit for you. Talk to us, we’d be more than happy to help you figure out a plan. And, if you would like to join us in committing to a regular practice, we will be creating a community accountability board. On this you will be given the opportunity to pledge and be accountable to yourself and to your family at Gen around an individualized self-care regimen. For some that may be 2 classes a week and for others it may be 8, but whatever the goal is – let us help you live up to your intentions.
Thank you for being part of our growing family and for allowing us to provide guidance in your journey towards self-actualization… yeah, bet you didn’t know that’s what was happening! 😀
Boundless abundance and gratitude,
Co-Founder of Gen Yoga
A parting thought from Rumi,