Monday, September 20, 2010
We Built This City on Rock and Roll
We Built This City on Rock and Roll.
We Built This City . . .
In the summer of 2003, Celeste and I moved from Korea to Salt Lake City to help D’ana Baptiste open Centered City Yoga. We really wanted to open something at the 9th and 9th area but simply could not find a location. I remember vividly the day when Celeste and I were simply walking around the neighborhood looking for inspiration, we stopped at the front of the Children’s Hour (what is now Orange Boutique), Celeste pointed up and asked, “What’s up there?” There was no sign on the door saying it was available but it looked vacant. A month later, almost to the day, we were teaching classes at what is now Centered City Yoga.
It was a long month, however. Upon our first walk through, I thought it couldn’t happen, that space could not serve as a yoga studio. Did you know it used to be a bakery at one time? In the back of the main studio, you’ll see a post under the ceiling material which extends out the wooden door in the back of the studio. They used it to haul big bags of flour up to the second level by a chain, a remnant of which still exists if you look. It used to be Orion Music. Once I asked a student what he did for a living. He said he was an artist. I asked if he owned a studio. He said that it was funny I should ask because the room we were standing in, the main studio at CCY, used to serve as his art studio. Again, it was Celeste who had the vision to transform this space from its many incarnations into what it is now.
Over the next month, Celeste, D’ana, and I spent 17 hours a day in blood, sweat and tears, 7 days a week preparing the space by tearing down walls, ripping out carpet, chipping away floor tile, inserting windows, installing floors, insulating and covering the ceiling, installing bathrooms, adding baseboards, lighting, ceiling fans, and sanding the stairs and the metal railings. And in time, we opened Centered City Yoga at the end of September, just after the 9th and 9th street fair of 2003. I bear scars on my body that will always be a happy reminder of the work I put it to build Centered City.
In those early days, I remember meager classes with one student in them. In many ways these early classes at Centered City Yoga taught me how to teach yoga. I wouldn’t have believed it then if you told me that on January 1st of 2010 I would teach 86 people at once in the big studio to ring in the New Year with a yoga class. I remember a bright treasure room full of friends greeting me when I came back from India early this year, waiting to hear the message I brought back which was, you don’t need to go to India to find what you’re looking for or to figure out who you are, you can do it right here. I GLOWGA, exploring who we are as we moved our phosphorescent bodies through the dark (Check it out! GLOWGA will happen again on October 9th at Sugar Space. See details below). I remember fun and laughable partner yoga workshop with Kim. I have burned my soul into those walls and floor by practicing thousands of hours of yoga in those studios, sweating and breathing, and sometimes laughing. Two of my favorite teaching faux pas: #1 instead of saying, “move your knees and hips,” I conveniently consolidated those words and said, “move your nips,” and completely broke the concentration of the class; and #2, during a quiet and restful restore practice I asserted that this practice would bring you “wealth and hellness” instead of health and wellness. I’ll always love Centered City Yoga.
Now It’s Time to Rock and Roll
After much deliberation and meditation, I’ve decided to leave CCY and open a new studio in Trolley Square with some friends, Matt Newman and Jennifer Ellen Mueller, called Prana Yoga Center. It’s just a few blocks away from Centered City. I’ll be excited to not only teach yoga classes but also be an owner of the studio as well as help direct and teach the teacher training program. Many of you have said that you would wait to do a yoga teacher training program until I taught it, well here’s your chance. My vision is to teach at and help direct a yoga studio that will be inclusive to all types of people, regardless of experience or ability, to be a tour guide along this crazy ride of being human, pointing out a few things I’ve learned from yoga, and to welcome all into a sacred space as they search for themselves what it means to be human through the amazing practice of yoga. This new facility is going to be AMAZING. Prana yoga Center will be conveniently located just behind the new Whole Foods, with plenty of parking below and will even be connected to a café operated by the people at Sages. There will be massage rooms, steam showers, and lots of clean, pristine space in which to practice yoga. Our goal is to practice community and personal awareness through the skillful art of yoga. We hope to open around the middle of November, so stay tuned! Please visit our facebook page.
Again, though I feel it was the correct decision, it nonetheless was a difficult decision to leave Centered City Yoga. I want to thank D’ana, all the teachers, and especially the students at t CCY, who gave me such a rich experience there. I’ll always love you and hope to see you often. I feel my new adventure is a good choice and I hope you’ll all come and see me as I continue to teach workshops, retreats, and very soon when Prana Yoga Center gets rolling. I’m looking forward to inviting you into this new space. Look at our facebook page to see the construction of our space.
If you’ve practiced with me at Centered City, I’d be deeply honored if you chose to respond to this email by clicking here and posting your most memorable experience with me at Centered City Yoga.
I’ll continue to post this weekly dialogue about yoga. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere!
Love your guts!