Yoga and healing in the Birmingham area seems to get bigger with every passing quarter!
We just saw the opening of Villager Yoga and Studio Zen Fitness, and the merging of Studio G with Blissful Heights Integrative Healing. What's next? Birmingham Yoga has left behind its back corner of First Avenue Rocks climbing gym and has moved to its very own beautiful space in Forest Park!
The move has been a collective effort with so many of the spiritual community volunteering their time to help build, paint, decorate, and clean this lovely space for the big grand opening weekend this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
You see, yoga is about so much more than a physical exercise. Don't get me wrong: If physical exercise is what you want, visit any class led by our talented teachers all over town, and you will definitely get that workout! But if you are looking to connect yourself with yourSelf, you should try yoga.
Yoga means union. For many of us who have an affinity for yoga, that union is of our mind, body, and spirit with that which we consider "the divine." As we open ourselves through asanas or kriyas, things shift energetically within us, and we find ourselves releasing otherwise trapped or stuck energy that very-well could cause us illness or dis-ease in the future. Yoga connects us with ourselves. The bonus is that when we are truly connected with ourselves, we can better connect with the divine and with others.
Whatever your personality and physical condition might be, there is a yoga class around town to meet you. Restorative, Fat Flow, and Power Yoga are types that pretty much explain themselves, but what of Ashtanga, Kundalini, or Mysore? All classes that aren't evident in their titles are described on any studio's webpage. Just read through until you find something that resonates with you.
Not sure about yoga and you don't want to pay? No problem! Lululemon has free classes on Sundays; Birmingham Yoga and Villager Yoga have donation-only classes on Sundays; and many of the grand opening weekend events at Birmingham Yoga are also free! See below.
- Friday, May 18: 5:30 to 6:30 PM Akasha (one of the owners) will lead a free Kundalini class. "In a Kundalini class we will practice an asana or set of asanas using a specific breath in each pose to initiate the energy to move upwards. These sets of kriyas are done in conjunction with a specific breath (pranayama), posture and sometimes mantra (chants) and mudras (hand positions). The emphasis is on breathing, meditation and chanting. The origin of these kundalini sets are from Yogi Bhajan. This is a wonderful class for those beginners and experienced wishing to feel energized, rejuvenated, and one with all. The practice is more meditative and spiritual than physical but can be physically challenging also. Kundalini from an esoteric perspective can be thought of as energy. When the kundalini at the base of the spine is opened, the prana (life force through our breath) and apana (eliminative force) traveling through the pingala and idi nadis meet at the base of the spine where the Sushmuna nadi originates and travels up the Sushmuna nadi channel along the spine criss-crossing and awakening each chakra to the crown chakra." (taken from Birmingham Yoga's website)
- Friday, May 18: 7-9 PM, Gurunam Singh with John Scalici will lead the community in a kirtan concert. http://gurunamsingh.com/ He is a kundalini artist, who travels worldwide inspiring and sparking illumination in many devotees. Kirtan's call-and-response style singing and chanting invites all its participants to become a part of the community energy. This will be the first kirtan to be held at the new site, but it opens the door to the regular first Wednesday of the month (donation based) Kirtan Satsang which is co-led by two of our most inspirational yogis, Shannon Skipper and Jasper Wolfe. Tickets to Gurunam Singh's Friday night concert are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door.
- Saturday, May 19: 6:00 AM Sadhana with Gurunam Singh providing the music for the practice. The morning sadhana is traditionally done in the 2.5 hours before dawn, known as the ambrosial hours. It's a practice of movement, mantra, and meditation. This is most amazing time for spiritual practice because one has not yet allowed the everyday events to intrude.
- Saturday, May 19: 10-11:30 AM is a Vinyasa class with Elizabeth Geller in the lead. Vinyasa is a series of poses linked closely with the breath, which creates a greater awareness of the body, mind, and spirit connection.
- Saturday, May 19: 1-4:30 PM Akasha will lead the "Yoga and Cleanse" class for $45. In the over-stressed and multi-tasking world that we are all a part of, we tend to let energy build up inside us all. Akasha will take each participant through cleansing breaths, chants, and movements that are sure to get the cleansing process started.
- Sunday, May 20: 9 AM-Noon will be the introduction to Mysore yoga. This style orginated in Mysore, India and is unique in a few ways: it is led by the teacher, but geared to the individual's needs. "During Mysore classes, the student works individually, with guidance and adjustments from a teacher on the Ashtanga series of postures. Students learn to develop a self-guided, flowing practice that combines breath, body and mind in both a physical and meditative experience. Students work independently, so a basic understanding of the Ashtanga system and a basic understanding of self-practice are required. The Mysore classes may be followed with a short, guided meditation and is typically offered in the morning." (quote taken from Birmingham Yoga's website)
- Sunday, May 20: Noon-4:00 PM is open house where all the instructors, therapists, and healing arts practitioners will be available to talk with anyone about any of the services they will offer. This list of services will give an idea, but is NOT complete: Reiki classes, Reiki healing, massage, personalized yoga, craniosacral therapy, crystal healing, angel classes, spiritual journaling classes, "Are you Psychic?" classes, Reiki clinic on Fridays 2-4, workshops, and much more.
Hope to see you there!
Laurie M. Knight, the founder of Healing CenterEd and author of Journal to the Center of the Soul, offers a spiritual journaling class beginning in June on Wednesdays at Natural Forces Studio inside Birmingham Yoga. It's geared to helping the individual connect with his or her spirit through meditation, energy, and writing. For more information, see www.HealingCenterEd.com.