Sunday, January 22

The Lotus Pond | Carollwood, FL

LOCATION: Who knew when I was driving down the street, only a few turns away from my starting point... I'd end up in a wooded area, with a dirt road leading back to a log cabin (and lots of free parking)!?! I do have to say, at the major intersection just before arriving at my destination there was a bench with advertising on it that Lotus Pond scooped up and used as signage, saying to turn at the next stree... with the word YOGA big enough to see from far away. Smart, smart, smart! 
COST: $15—cash & credit card—not sure about checks
STUDIO:  I'm so glad I opted for a class at their Carollwood location, because this is their retreat center for classes, teacher trainings, and workshops. As you can see from the pictures, it's the gorgeous log cabin tucked back in the woods in the middle of suburbia—you'd never know wandering around the grounds or during your class. When you enter (after you kick off you shoes on the front porch) there's a small entrance (stairs up to the right that lead to... I dunno? #curious) with a check-in counter and ayurveda supplies (from what I can tell there's a ayurveda practitioner there with a small room located under the stairs (note to self: review that some day). And I remembered! The bathrooms were to the back, left—for women, I don't know about guys... I assume maybe back right? It was big enough for changing with possibly a couple toilets, definitely one, and a sink. To the direct back was another studio (where teacher training was going on). Our class was moved to the front left room (right before the check-in counter) due to the teacher training. So I believe we ended up in a smaller room—we somehow packed 30 people into it. If you read my first review in Tampa—I mentioned that yoga always manages to fit one more yoga mat in... well, I was proven right today as I watched us all pile in and somehow still comfortably do yoga with a few modifications. There were fans and windows, which we started/opened right away because we knew the heat would rise quickly with this large group. Props were supplied, including mats. 

CLASS DESCRIPTION: Hatha—The most widely practiced form of yoga in America, it is the branch of yoga which concentrates on physical health and mental well-being. Hatha yoga uses bodily postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana) with the goal of bringing about a sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind. There are nearly 200 hatha yoga postures, with hundreds of variations, which work to make the spin supple and to promote circulation in all the organs, glands, and tissues. Hatha yoga postures also stretch and align the body, promoting balance and flexibility. 
INSTRUCTOR: Shari Feldman is a certified yoga instructor who has studied yoga for nearly 15 years, receiving her certification as a Hatha Yoga Instructor in 2009. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as an experienced teacher at the 200 hour level, and is always seeking ways to expand her yoga experience and knowledge. Outside the realm of yoga, Shari's professional background is as an Anthropologist. She combines her profound understanding of human behavior and culture with her intuition and sensitivity to a subtle energetic level. She approaches each student and group as a unique entity, carefully tailoring each practice to suit that particular moment. Her belief is that every person is born a yogi, and the practice of the yoga postures allows us to uncover the pathway back to our yogi-spirit. She believes that by integrating yoga into our lives, we embark on a transformation of body, mind, and spirit; depending on what the individual student wants or needs in his/her own life. 
CONTACT: The Lotus Pond

Well, once the room was packed in tight—she comforted everyone with awareness of heat and space as a new experience... not a bad experience. Shari normally doesn't teach this class, so she also made her best effort to make the group comfortable without morphing into the other teach they're use to. She was very present walking in and throughout the whole class, being as I wasn't aware of what was "normal"—I definitely picked up on the change of tone based on her concerns for her students. It was a kind effort that was well-received, from what I could tell. We started laying back (with the reminder that this wasn't a time to release the mind, but to actually bring it into the present), focusing on our breathing for some time. And I feel like we spent more than the first third on the mat to warm up. It was a nice extended period that I always enjoy, even as she challenged our core muscles with some yogi crunches and water wheel motions. 

Once we were up off the mat, Shari didn't slow us down one bit with holding poses that targeted some nice hip opening postures by holding them longer than usual. Which also nicely activates the core (as do most poses, right?). I could tell, because I'm still sore from my Swing Yoga class—which I love that feeling. There wasn't much direction in how to hold the pose, short of the direction to face your hips—she did say remind us to activate the core, which I often need the reminder, so I appreciated it. 

After probably an hour and fifteen minutes were up (of the hour and half class), Shari realized we had gone a bit late... so she worked us back to the mat. With plenty of time to still let go in Savasana, we were reminded of our breath once again. When she brought us back to sitting she read a poem from Mala of the Heart—I'd love to share it with you, but can't seem to find the poem specifically from it. It was relating the subtle kindness of animals in nature. It was quite lovely. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fun connection between the three of my classes this vacation—the first two having training or currently teaching in Asheville, NC (#mustgo), and Shari in this class... her bio I pulled from the Yogani website, where I had class yesterday. Love it! Definitely enjoyed my time with Shari and at this beautiful location—namaste, Shari and The Lotus Pond! 

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