Friday, August 12

Open Space | Honolulu, Hawaii

I had six classes planned for my week in Honolulu, but as vacations or life in general go, we can't plan out everything to our wishes. Missing four other classes (one of which, the studio was closed, Moga Hawaii), I was reminded that even in "paradise" we cannot escape stress. To be quite honest, it was a week of mental challenges for me... questioning what I'm doing with my life, wondering where the next path even starts let alone choosing one, searching for happiness inside of me and wondering why I was holding myself back from it. There were a few moments that brought me back to me... two of them were my yoga classes. My practice has quickly become my number one priority in life, and it's to a point that other priorities have lost importance all together. Before I start this review, I ask all you yogis out there, have you experienced this? And if so, any words of wisdom?

LOCATION: As my last day in Honolulu, this was a bittersweet walk along the beach towards Diamond Head. The weather was (again) perfect, the breeze was divine, and the walk was longer but included passing (non-stop) amazing views. At the end of the walk, I saw the same thing you see in the image I posted... Just the word YOGA and many prayer flags. If you were driving, I imagine this would be just as easy to spot, because it's on a corner and on the 2nd floor with the big YOGA sign. I didn't pay attention to parking, sorry. There was a small lot I walked through, but I'm not sure if it was free. I was too excited to get to my class. 
COST: I had noted to myself that class was $17-30, which is a big range, and I'm not sure why it was set up that way, but it was a nice surprise when I was charged $10 (plus tax). I used my credit card, so I know they accept them. 
STUDIO: The studio is on the second floor, which is smart in Oahu, as I've found the difference in breeze is amazing by just going up one floor. You walk up the back stairs towards more prayer flags, kick off your shoes outside, and enter a waiting area to check in. I believe there were two rooms for classes, as people asked the instructor which room to set up in. The room we were in fit 12-15 people easily (maybe more). One wall was windows on the top half, and the studio itself had open top halves through out, I assume for further air circulation. Although I wondered how that would work if there were two classes going at once, maybe they never run it that way. There were mats, blankets, blocks, and straps to grab for free. And I was grateful for the pitcher of water free to all students at the end of class, since I forgot my water bottle. 
CLASS DESCRIPTION: I planned to attend the 10:45am Relax Deeply/Yoga Nidra class, but I wanted to have the morning for more vacation time with my partner, before his plane left. I'm curious how that class went, but was quite happy with my switch to Kama'aina/Hatha Flow: A balanced practice between opposites. Hatha yoga balances "ha" or sun/stimulating energy with "tha" or moon/calming energy. Hatha Flow focuses on the inclusion of all yogic techniques including asana (dynamic and static), pranayama, mudras, bandhas, and kriyas. Visualization and deep guided meditations are also taught. This class is open to all students with some experience in yoga. (I just looked up Kama'aina, and it seems to mean locals. I may have just intruded on a class specific to locals, which may be why the instructor gave pause when I denied the new student discount because I was leaving that same day. I hope I didn't offend her/the studio... I had no idea!) 
INSTRUCTOR: Celina's yoga journey began as a freshman in college at the University of Washington in Seattle. There, Celina studied Hatha yoga, Psychocalisthenics, and Pilates. After three years of practicing Bikram, she moved to the North Shore of Oahu where she continued her Bikram studies under Vicki Wells for another year. Celina had the feeling that she was barely scratching the surface of what yoga could offer and intuited that she needed more information on pranayama and breath. Serendipitously, Celina's friend introduced her to Open Space Yoga and upon taking her first class, Celina knew she had found her new yoga home. She soon signed up for the OSY teacher training where she studied under Mary Bastien, Jennifer Reuter, and Murti Hower.
CONTACT: Open Space

As I set up, a couple of regulars made an effort to smile at me, which is always welcoming (mahalo). Celina started the class talking about the focus of class being namaha (I knew we were off to a great start for this yogi). I wish I took notes on what she was saying... I know she related the parts of the word namaha to our chakras. It was one part technical in relation to the body and one part spiritual, and all parts fascinating!

In our comfortable seated positions, she asked us to start focusing on our breath... or I assume that's what she said, because the outdoors decided to get noisy with jackhammering, honking semis, and who knows what else was going on out there. We all laughed, but Celina mentioned a great thing about how her mantra teacher recommended she try to find the om in all noises. It was an amazing switch in my head, and I'm so very grateful for her sharing her lesson with us. We slowly warmed up the joints, rotating in that same seated position, cats/cows, etc. In practicing our salutation, she took it slow reminding us of the many parts to check in with, to keep breathing. Celina spent some extra time on how to go into chaturanga, which was different than what I am familiar with... I should take a moment to point out that you may be doing something different than what the instructor is asking you to do, which doesn't always mean you're doing it wrong (or maybe you are, I don't know that myself, yet). What I'm saying is, there are many ways to teach yoga out there, from what I can tell. I would recommend doing what the instructor you are with is asking. You may find that you get into the pose better or find a new part of your body you didn't know existed. You may find you don't like it at all, but this is just as beneficial. This is the reason I love visiting new studios!

I really did appreciate how Celina would come back to the spiritual aspect of the poses while never losing touch on the physical parts of it... and reminding us that taking it down a notch (not pushing ourselves) is often the better practice since a lot of us don't know our edge yet (ain't that the truth!?!). The class recommends having some experience, maybe because the spiritual aspect was being brought in also. But I feel like it was a well-rounded, beautiful introduction to yoga, and Celina was wonderful working with the different levels in the room, having modifications for all.

Thank you Celina, it was a pleasure meeting you and learning from you... I do truly hope I wasn't imposing on a locals' class, and if I was, thank you for letting me in anyway. It was the perfect end to a vacation and a studio I would love to visit again if/when I return. Namaste. 

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