“California Yoga Center,” I said with a smile.
“Huh,” he sniffed. “I walk by there all the time and it’s always empty.”
I confess. Un-yogic thoughts overwhelmed me. I admit to being, from time to time, overly sensitive. Perhaps even a bit defensive. But what I interpreted as a flippant dismissal stunned me and I missed my opportunity to reply with a witty retort as the conversation quickly moved on to other topics.
But his comment has buzzed around me like the nagging mosquito that finds your ear just after you crawl into bed. And boy is it annoying.
I teach at California Yoga Center. And I’m proud of the fact. And here’s why:
- California Yoga Center opened in 1980, making it not only the first yoga studio in Palo Alto but also one of the oldest studios in the Bay Area. It now has two locations – the original studio at 541 Cowper Street in Palo Alto and the new studio in Mountain View at 1776 Miramonte Drive, in the Blossom Hill Shopping Center.
- I attended my very first yoga class, with teacher Betsy McGuigan, at California Yoga Center in 1984. When I returned to Palo Alto in 2005 after an eleven-year absence one of the first places I visited was the California Yoga Center.
- We’re plain folk at CYC. It’s about the yoga, pure and simple. Plain wooden floors that have a distinctive squeak. Plain and patched walls. No giant Buddha or tented ceiling. No fancy retail area. The most exciting indulgences are the dozen or so 8×10 framed black and white photographs of Mr. Iyengar hung above the mirrored wall at the Palo Alto studio.
- While its focus remains on offering classes in the Iyengar tradition, CYC has mellowed somewhat over the years. You’ll now find my Yin class on Monday evenings in Palo Alto. Another instructor offers Anusara. Plus, weekend workshops offered throughout the year at both locations help deepen your practice.
- On top of that, CYC Mountain View is one of the few yoga studios on the Peninsula with a dedicated rope wall to offer support or facilitate stronger work.
Yes, I teach at California Yoga Center. My classes are filled with happy yoginis. Of course, from time to time I teach at other local studios – Studio Rincon in Menlo Park comes to mind, as does the Page Mill YMCA – and while I embrace every opportunity to teach, CYC is my yoga home and I can’t imagine leaving.
So if my friend walked by CYC’s window and found the studio empty, he was walking by at the wrong time.
If you’re a teacher or a student at California Yoga Center, tell me, what makes it special for you?