04 Mar West End Yogi Fo Life
I’ve been practicing yoga pretty much my whole life, I just didn’t always call it that. Acro[yoga]batics with my brother and sister in the back yard, climbing on each other like jungle jims, like airplanes, imagining at any moment- TAKEOFF; or learning about the power of the diaphragm and harnessing the [ujjayi] breath when I was being trained to a sing as a child, as my choir director instructed us to fill up the innertubes around our bellies with air, aligning our spines, relaxing our shoulders down. I discovered flowing Asanas as a teenage athlete, and began to understand the power of these poses to strengthen my body and to focus my thoughts, and I learned the grace in them, to soften my edges and honor the divine Feminine.
Now, as a “grown-up” (which I shall always use quotes for thank-you-very-much) I am realizing yoga has been maybe my greatest commitment to myself over the meandering course of my life. Just the way I seek out the charm and comfort of a local cafe when I’m somewhere new, in every place I have lived, on every grand adventure I have taken, I seek out a studio (or an open field, or a waterfall) to practice, to stretch like a cat towards the sun, to find solace in my skin and my foreign surroundings. This ritual of discovering and honoring a place, and really finding myself in it, has carried me forth into many exciting or daunting first-times, connecting me with the many iterations of dianes. And so, now here I am in Lancaster City, a Transplant once more, desperately seeking both stability and freedom to be nurtured and to grow.
:::Deep Breath In:::
:::Big Breath Out:::
A Bikram yoga junkie throughout college, needing the ass-kicking of a hot yoga class to force me to focus on anything other than my studies, my paintings, my plans, I automatically found the Bikram studio in Lancaster, and pay homage to the lovely teachers there. But with a different lifestyle post-uni, I wanted to express other sides of myself again, to explore a variety of yoga flow, to accessorize the variety of my moods. And one fateful Sunday afternoon, I met a band of yogi-gypsies from West End Yoga over one of the best cups ‘o coffee in town at Commonwealth on Queen, and my search came to an end, or rather I humbly and gratefully discovered another new beginning. I shared laughter with Natalie Bedouin (a Brooklyn Transplant-artist-healer-dancer-provactive-powerhouse of a woman), I shared words of wisdom with Amber Burke (a Transplant-writer-performer-healer-yogi-poet) and Jonina Tursi, (a Local-innovater-modern-day-soothsayer-mover-and-shaker) and the owner of West End, who generously gifted me classes to get my yoga-butt through the doors and the rest, as they say, is history.
My first time at West End Yoga was like coming home. Lucy Garnett lead a 5:30pm class on a Monday night and she challenged me, she corrected me, and she honored me and the rest of the yogis in the room, moving and flowing together, the only mirrors– our bodies– the low light, the smell lavender and the warmth easing us into our evening. Her power Vinyasa series really speaks to me and my desire to be challenged, but every other class I have taken since, from every other teacher, has offered me a different hat to wear, a different depth to discover as I align, relax, revive and as I survive the winter season.