Day 13

Style: Hatha
Teacher: Janice Tokaryk
Studio: Adishesha

And for those of you wondering, no, I don't actually live at Rama Lotus. Although, other then one evening in my living room, I can see how one might jump to that conclusion. Even during last years challenge, I did maybe 95% of my classes exclusively at Rama Lotus. Honestly, I've never even been to another studio here in Ottawa. A few times during the last challenge I found myself in Toronto and Montreal, and I had a lot of fun searching out and experimenting with different studios. In Ottawa, though, it's a much bigger challenge. Rama Lotus is just so nice! Consisting of 4 separate studios with construction almost finished on their gorgeous new Sun room, it stands as the most impressive studio I've been to yet. The teachers and staff also make practicing there so much fun. I've gotten to know everyone and they've created the most amazing family atmosphere, serving hot tea after morning classes. Did I mention I love Rama Lotus?

In keeping with the spirit of adventure and exploration, another aspect of this challenge was that I intended to visit many different studios. Its taken a while to reluctantly tear myself away from my home base, but on this sunny Saturday morning, I decided to venture out into the unknown. The first new studio I decided to try is Adishesha, located on 4th ave in the Glebe. It was recommended to me by Mark Laham, one of my usual instructors, and he said that the owner of the studio, a woman named Basia, had taught him more then anyone about yoga. That's a large compliment coming from him, so I decided to check it out. Arriving this morning, it turns out coincidentally that Basia is on vacation in Costa Rica. However Janice, our substitute teacher, was excellent.

I've only ever been to a handful of Hatha yoga classes, and this will be the first of the next ninety. From what I understand, every single style of yoga that we practice in North America that involves asanas, or physical postures - be it Bikram, Astanga, Power or Yin - has its roots in Hatha. It's an excellent starting point for anyone new to yoga, as it covers all bases to a certain degree. Hatha yoga attempts to balance mind and body through physical postures and exercises, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. Asanas teach poise, balance and strength practiced to improve the body's physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation in the pursuit of enlightenment. Or something like that.

It is always a strange experience going somewhere new. New paintings on the walls, new layout, new people, new instructors, new everything. On top of that, Adishesha seems to be the polar opposite of Rama Lotus. Where Rama Lotus has a large lobby, at least 3 separate change rooms and many classes occurring simultaneously in different rooms, Adishesha is much smaller. Walking in the front door, I was a bit shocked to realize I actually stepped from outside directly into the yoga room. The entire place is essentially one open space, with the cash register literally in the same room that you unroll your mat. Very different. After changing and finding myself a spot, the class began. It was a lovely experience, with the early afternoon sun washing in through the large windows and across the twisting, stretching yogis. Afterwards, coming out of final Savasana, I squintingly looked around, wondering just where exactly I was. The experience of waking up in an unknown place with unknown people is always surreal, sort of like regaining consciousness after a long night of drinking with no memory of how the night before ended or how you found yourself here in your current location. A little bit bizarre but a little bit exciting at the same time.


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