What do these two phrases have in common? They are both the names of yoga studios in New York. And they exist solely on donations!
I had the honor of visiting these studios on the weekend of Sept. 11. A powerful experience on many levels that served as affirmation for Just B as a donation-based yoga service in Lansing.
Check it out.
Yoga to the People has facilities in New York and California. There are four studios in Manhattan. The one I attended on 37th Street was having a Bikram-styled hot power. The facilities were posh by my standards (but I’m just a scrub).
There was a room for changing clothes with lockers and showers and benches.
There was some retail, water and mats for rent.
I spoke to the instructor, Lindsay, after class. She was very open about the studio. They’ve been around for about three years and are doing very well.
With a relatively opulent facility you don’t get the feeling it’s a studio to serve folks of meager means. While there’s a suggested price of $8 per class, there’s a regular monthly membership program like most studios have.
The showers and other amenities are nicer than some of the most hip studios I’ve visited around the country. But the studio is real. It’s just that they don’t allow money to be the reason you DON’T go to yoga. Nice.
Now we take a train ride over to Brooklyn. From the Atlantic Avenue station head up Flatbush into Park Slope. Hang a right on Sixth Ave and in a modest 2nd floor corner space you see a sign hanging with a caricature sitting in lotus with hands in prayer.
The Dharma Yoga studio is in the neighborhood. It’s around the corner from a second-hand shop. There’s a church down the street. There’s restaurants. There’s young parents pushing babies in strollers.
Then a stream of folks head up the steps to the door leading inside.
It’s small – maybe 700 square feet, but I’m stretching it I’m sure.
Based on the teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra the yoga isn’t hiphopped up or bedazzled. It’s humble, modest, pure. Students squeeze their mats to mat. Some late-comers have to be turned away. They are told another class will follow. They signal through the glass they’ll come back.
No showers. Barely a spot for shoes and bags. Just floor, mats, windows and breath. The studio is six months old.
The instructor, Barbu, was just as generous with his time and information. I got nothing but encouragement about Just B Yoga in Michigan. We agree it’s a state that needs healing and health. He assured me I could do much with little space and big heart.
I donated with as much generosity as I could muster to both studios. I want to see both of them succeed. Different neighborhoods. Different people. Same thing – yoga – connection, community, union.
There is great strength and power in giving.
Yajna (Sacrifice) – Hindu
Yajna is any kind of sacrifice, done for the satisfaction of others with no expectance of a sense of gratification.
Dana (giving) – Buddhist
One of the key actions of Buddhism is dana. This is related to our word, “donation”, but also includes sharing, even selfless giving without worrying about getting something in return.
Aparigraha — Abstention from greed. – Sutra
Not coveting that which is not ours. Avoidance of unnecessary acquisition of objects not essential to maintaining life or spiritual study.