Shala is the Sanskrit word meaning "home" or "abode." A yoga shall is a "place of yoga." It is a gathering place for students of traditional yoga to practice, share, experience and grow.
Walk in and slip the shoes off that carry the fifth of the day. Slowly peel off the layers of clothes/purse/worries that weight us all down. Grab your mat, your lifeline and walk quietly in. The floor is smooth to the feet as you tread gently, not wanting to disturb any part of this peace that you are longing to absorb. Watching the mat unroll you take a deep breath in, anticipating what the next hour holds. An hour of quiet. An hour of solitude amongst a community. An hour where every part of your body mind and soul becomes connected, stronger, more flexible. This is your home. This is where your soul is allowed to be free.
This is your yoga shala.
I have created the space, painted the walls and given you the cubbies for your things. But you create the shala. This space is no different from your living room or a gym. There is no altar, picture of someone holy, this place has not been blessed by someone or prayed over, no magic incantations that block out the stress that we live with. You create that shala by your actions, by your conscious effort to leave the rest of your day outside.
We have had many who say that those four walls are a sanctuary to them, just walking into the room they are at peace. We have many who treat this room just like its any other room. Walking in with shoes on and phones ringing. Talking energetically about their day and all they have to do and every moment that has already taken place. Flinging their mats on the ground with a loud crack. Complaining about how hard the class might be, complaining about the teacher or sub, complaining about the dirt on the floors that they just drug in, complaining about the temperature, the light, the noise, the person in their spot......... actually my living room is quieter than that. And a gym is easier to disappear in.
The yoga teacher in me tells my shala students, you create the shala. Go deeper inside, away from the distractions and noise, find your peace. Anyone can mediate in a peaceful environment, but the yogi can create a peaceful mind in a chaotic environment. The studio owner in me wants to help the students who are unaware of their actions find that shala. Once their eyes are open to it, they will not want to rob it from their friend next to them.
Yoga shine is all about community, friendship and no pretenses. We are open and welcoming to all belief systems and want everyone to feel comfortable and safe under our roof. There is studio etiquette that is standard in nearly all yoga studios. These guidelines are there to assist students in creating that yoga shala.
- Arrive 5-10 minutes early — the doors lock when the class begins
- Sign in at the front desk
- Voice your concerns with the teacher before and after the class but not during.
- You will be permitted to enter if your are up to 5 minutes late. Please come in as quietly and quickly as you can, setting yourself in the back of the room.
- Remove your shoes and socks and place them out of the way in the cubbies or along the wall in the lobby
- Turn your phones off, set them on "do not disturb," or don't bring them in
- Put purses, mat bags, jackets (unless needed) keys in a cubby (you might have to share a cubby, if this bothers you leave everything in your car except for your key)
- Walk quietly into the studio and place your mat in the front row allowing the space behind you to fill as others come in after you.
- Gather whatever supplies your teacher has laid out or written on the chalk board on the door.
- Begin to clear your mind and get ready for your practice. If you need to have a conversation please come back to the lobby or step outside to the patio.
- Sit up, facing forward when the teacher walks in, showing them that you are ready for them to lead you through your practice.