Urban Flow is the San Francisco yoga studio that inspired this blog, but sadly I can’t do what I wanted to do, which was publish high resolution artsy photos of this beautiful space. See tiny photo stolen off of internet. The by-donation-only studio (I chose to pay $15) was started by wildly popular Rusty Wells. I attended a packed Saturday morning class, taught by Rusty, attended by approximately 120 people. Even in NYC I haven’t been to a class that big.
When the Brit and I arrived a bit early, both Rusty and the dude checking us in gave us a warm welcome and were curious about who we were when they learned it was our first visit. The dude at the front desk even offered to lend the Brit some shorts when the Brit said he wasn’t going to stay for class because he didn’t have any clothes (the Brit’s English way of saying that he had no intention of staying to practice).
The studio is in an industrial part of of town, in a loft, and the front room feels like a gallery, with Sanskrit chants painted in black letters on white walls. The yoga practice space is huge, big windows all around and small stage up front decorated with white cala lillies and large pillar candles–it felt open, urban and minimalist rather than the standard pastel clutter. Music playing before class started included hip hop. People were encouraged to bring their bikes upstairs for safekeeping during class. Yay.
The style is bhakti flow: “Bhakti is the yoga of love and devotion to the god of one’s own unique understanding…The flow part refers to the flowing sequence known as vinyasa.” The room was heated, Rusty was shirtless, practitioners were all levels, and the class was tough but not crazy (focus on alignment, long holds). We did pushups. Rusty started us out with some singing/chanting, which I always dig, but what made it feel like a party was the drumming accompaniment and Rusty’s strong voice.
Rusty was joyous and serious but not cheesy. After class he apologized for making me late (before class he overheard me and the Brit making plans to meet at 11am), remembered my name, and complemented me on my beautiful practice. Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr Wells! And then when I returned to the east coast I received a postcard from the studio (the front says “namastizzle you little yogasizzle”) thanking me for my visit. What a great community–makes me yearn for the west coast a little bit.
See some intro videos from the studio here: http://vimeo.com/user4392840