The yoga studio that changed the course of my life, that was my other home, has closed.
In 2000, my cousins convinced me and my husband, Gary, to take an Anusara yoga class at City Yoga in West Hollywood. Entering the upstairs studio, we felt like the oldest and most out of shape students in the room. Ninety minutes later, we crossed Fairfax and I remember commenting that either we had stumbled into a cult, or just practiced with the most welcoming, friendly group of yogis.
A few months in, we were practicing five or 6 days a week. On weekends, Gary and I brought our two sons to practice. I have sweet memories of the four of us practicing in a row. Socially, our home became an extension of the studio.
Over the years, teachers and fellow students became friends. A few became housemates. The studio felt like home. Many of the students from that first day went on to become stellar yoga instructors, our yoga instructors.
Eventually, I joined them, though I still regard them as my teachers. Today, they are scattered across the globe, yet every single time I take the seat of the teacher, I am connected to each of them. I remember most every correction, most every comment.
When Gary died, the studio mourned for him and supported me. A few years later, my older son went through teacher training there. My mother occasionally came to class. My sister and my niece were regulars. I brought my friends.
The City Yoga community grew, the studio went through changes in ownership and I was grandfathered in as an instructor when YogaWorks took over. By then, I was teaching in my own studio, but I stayed at YogaWorks for the community I loved, teaching Anusara classes once a week.
Today, as I sign the HR employment termination papers, my heart is full. I learned so much in those two rooms. I made so many friends. I’m grateful for every memory – for the view of the alley, the smells at dawn from the bakery across the street, for the brick walls in the downstairs studio and the arched windows upstairs. I’ll remember the spot where Gary always placed his mat, the spot where the floor creaked.
Mostly, I’ll remember practicing, laughing, and sometimes crying, with my students, my teachers and my friends. Thank you for all that.