What's In a Name?
Eight years ago, right about now, I was doing all the hard work of dreaming, thinking and planning in preparation for opening Your Core Being.
There is so much to think about when launching a start-up. Some efforts are top priority in importance, like business planning - income and expenses, marketing, and staffing - others seem less critical, yet still important.
In this past year of strife and worry bought on by the COVID pandemic, our studio has been closed more than it’s been open. For a while we were strictly virtual then moved into hybrid classes, live in the studio and simultaneously live-streamed. In the process, our class numbers have shrunk and we’re missing so many folks who used to be regulars. We know there’s been good reason to avoid group gatherings of all sorts. We also know that virtual doesn’t work for everyone. So I’ve been pondering a bit about how to engage you all once again and bring you back into the fold.
I was thinking of that challenge, as well as those early planning days, as I was about to post on Facebook about the change in our class schedule for the rest of this week. Have you ever wondered why some classes are called “YogaLife”, others “Afternoon Glow”, “Happy Hour” or “Weekend Warriors”? Well, practically speaking, I had to name them something in order to set them up in our booking and tracking software. And I knew I didn’t want to label them by experience level “Beginners”, “Intermediate” “Advanced” - two reasons. First, well, those names are kinda boring. And second, those labels just don’t work for many of us.
For instance, we should always approach our yoga practice with a “beginner’s mind” so perhaps we revel in being “new to the mat” each and every time. And what in heck does intermediate mean when it comes to yoga? And for sure, in the yoga world there are vast differences in how people define “Advanced”.
From the beginning I wanted our classes to be open to all, at every level of experience, regardless of how you might define your own level, or I define mine. But I find that these class names don’t give people much of an idea of what the class might offer, and perhaps doesn’t “attract attention” like words a little snazzier or definitive.
I’ll tell you why I chose certain names in a bit, but the main reason the names are not definitive is that all of our teachers bring something different to the teacher’s mat. None of us teach “one style” of yoga but rather blend our training, interests and ideas with the mix of people who land in the studio on any given day. One day I might lead a powerful core yoga sequence, the next a quiet Yin practice, then a graceful flowing yoga another time, or a strong focus on specific poses or muscle groups or breathwork. Sometimes I celebrate the phase of the moon or the seasons, or something historical or fun (like my “twist and shout” sequence!)
We all work consistently to keep our practice fresh so that yours is as well. We’re always learning more about yoga - and there is so much to learn! - so that we can continue to share with you the depth and breadth of this amazing practice, beyond Asana. Over the years, I believe all of our students have really enjoyed and benefited from this diversity of practice and have enjoyed the mix of poses, philosophy and insights offered by our teachers.
I’m not sure about the rest of the teachers here, but I know that I am often flying into the studio at the end of the workday (yeah, owning the studio is NOT my full-time gig) with little or no idea of what will happen once I hit the mat. Most times I walk in with my “cheat sheet” in hand - I’ve planned what I’m going to lead, what my focus is, what I hope students will gain from the class. Sometimes those plans evaporate because the particular mix of students eagerly waiting on their mats tells me my best laid plans won’t fit. It’s also common that I change - on the fly - the sequence I’ve so carefully planned. As I move my own body through the poses I feel what should come next and sometimes it’s not what I had planned. I don’t think I’ve ever followed exactly any one of my cheat sheets. I suspect that all of us - even those who don’t have to rely on printed sheets for their teaching - often haven’t planned in advance what they’ll teach from the teacher’s mat. We often go with the flow, sensing what’s going to work in that moment.
Given that, it’s pretty hard for our marketing person (me) to announce with any regularity what you might expect in Robin’s Tuesday night class, Audrey's Thursday night, or Rovi’s Saturday morning class. Once you’ve experienced each of our teachers though, you begin to have a sense of their particular teaching style - you’ll know what to expect - and you’ll know that whatever they have planned, or not, may be exactly what you need in that moment.
But, just so you know, there was some reason to my rhyme in naming our classes, so here’s what I was aiming at with some of the names I’ve chosen over these eight years.
YogaLife - because to me Yoga IS life - it’s not about being the best damn yoga practitioner who always nails the crow pose or headstand - it’s about what you learn about yourself and how you live in this world, how you treat others. It’s not about your fancy Lycra tights or your cool OM or namaste tshirt, it’s about how you practice the Eight Limbs of Yoga (another blog post for another time).
Afternoon Glow - well, it’s held in the afternoon and for sure you’ll feel the glow brought on by physical movement, breathing into and out of your poses, and hey maybe you'll sweat, er, glow, a little too.
Mid-Day Yoga Break - not too tough to figure this one out, it’s a lunchtime haven, geared towards energizing for the rest of your day, whether returning to work, to your kids, or to your garden.
BIGAsana - This one was named by Audrey who specializes in yoga for everyone - teaching modifications that work for bigger bodies, or less flexible bodies, or recovering bodies. And she's so good at it! I can’t even remember what title I gave her class originally but when she suggested BIGAsana, I knew it was right.
Weekend Warriors - I’ve always kinda liked the idea of weekend warriors - you know crazy non-athletic people like me who decide on a whim to play a soccer game or throw a frisbee for a couple hours or bicycle 25 miles and the next day, groaning, say “What was I thinking?!” But our weekend warriors class encourages you to use your body physically - yeah, maybe push yourself a little - and connect your breath with your body, to be a warrior for yourself.
Happy Hour - my favorite. Who doesn’t love happy hour?! While I originally thought this would be a mix of yoga and social time, including seasonal drinks and snacks, it very quickly became instead everyone’s favorite - 90 minutes (because, seriously, what happy hour only lasts 60 minutes?) of Restorative Yoga - guaranteed to soothe the mind, body and spirit of each yogi who takes to their mat and uses all those props. Bartender, give me one Happy Hour, with a twist!
And the titles for each Happy Hour? Things like "A Deeper Grace" or "Opening" or "Clearing"?! What can I say? I find inspiration in whatever's going on in my life and make the (huge) assumption that just maybe what I'm feeling you might feeling too. So I gear restorative yoga accordingly.
OK, so now you know. So, when you read the schedule and wonder “will this class work for me?” you can be pretty sure it will. Each of us teachers make sure we are “user-friendly” for all levels of experience. Come, give us a try.