Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 19 May 2011

RY: Karma Studio Boston

Rambling Yogini: Karma Yoga Studio, Boston, MA

A hometown edition of Rambling Yogini, checking out a studio near my apartment that is not one of my home studios. No, I am not shopping for a new home studio – the two I have are both awesome – but I like to explore.

Studio: Karma Yoga Studio

Address: 971 Commonwealth Ave.

Price: $15 regular/$12 student & senior; I am attending on a Living Social deal for 10 classes

Date visited: 16 May 2011

Class taken: Vinyasa yoga

Teacher: Jesse Winder

Physical space: The studio is one the third floor of warehouse-style loft space. An inviting wooden door has been overlaid to the entrance to soften the space (a nice touch). Bathrooms are down the hall (service the entire floor), changing areas are curtained off within the practice space. No reception area. Lots of light and ceiling fans were turned on as class got warmer.

Class size: Busy. I didn’t count, but it was a pretty full class. Not mat-to-mat full, but well attended.

Teaching notes: I feel quite conflicted about Jesse’s teaching style. There were elements about it that I liked: lots of anatomy and alignment information throughout class, leveled cuing, a good sense of humor. He gave really great cues to start class off about the bandhas and incorporated lots of creative and interesting bits into his sequences. Oddly enough thetre was zero mention of breath. He also creates a very safe environment; his comment about not working up to your “edge” because you wouldn’t go stand at the edge of a cliff but instead go to where you can “see”  your edge and work there really resonated for me. There were other elements that did not jive for me. It is clear that Jesse cares deeply about his students creating and maintaining healthy habits in their yoga practices – super awesome. However, I thought he spent entirely too long giving overly-detailed physiological information during injury discussion at the beginning of class. If the class hadn’t already been starting about 15 minutes late, I wouldn’t have minded so much. Given that we started late and ended late, I don’t think this was the best use of the group’s time. He also relies heavily on demonstration rather than verbal cues. Again, it’s personal preference, but I don’t want to have to stop and sit and watch the teacher do a chunk of the class every few minutes. I also found that I often wasn’t certain what to do with a stray limb because of the lack of verbal instruction. Jesse was a mixed bag for me. I would check out another class of his, though.

Miscellaneous studio notes: Not enough props to go around but plenty of rental mats. The class before mine ran over time and the teacher checks in the class, so my class also started significantly late. There’s no computer system, so I believe the studio must be cash only, although I find no mention of this on their website. No storage space for belongings, so you have to keep your things by your mat in class (I personally find this distracting and the teacher’s cell phone rang during class – surprised it was the only one with that many cell phones in the room). This studio is a satellite – the original space is in Harvard Square. I was at Karma in Cambridge once for a pilates class; be aware not to expect a similar level of space or refinement at this location – it’s just not a set up that allows for bells and whistles.

My practice: I did build up some nice heat on several sequences, but couldn’t sustain it with the stop-start demonstration-heavy style. The pieces all felt good, so I personally wished that there had been more of a flow. I just couldn’t really get out of my head, which is one of the things I work towards in my practice. I appreciated the attention to alignment and felt that it was helpful to be reminded of simple but difficult alignment cues, particularly in vinyasas. I also liked that a good amount of time was left for shavasana.

Final thought: I will be using the rest of my deal to attend other classes here and will be interested to see how my impressions of the space and the studio evolve with repeated visits.


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