Each week I try to convince myself that I can just practice yoga at home. I have a computer, mat, block-what else would I need? Then I attend my weekly class at the Down Under Yoga studio in Newtonville. And between the teacher and the class energy I realize that nothing surpasses the joy of a wonderful class. In fact, there isn't much I don't love about Down Under (and no, I only wish I was getting free classes to say that!) There are no items for sale. There is no clutter. Instead the entire studio was designed with yoga as a core belief. So the main studio has towers of bamboo at both ends, soft lighting, safe green flooring...and that is all. Each teacher is clearly a master, who practices yoga frequently. In fact, I often see one of my teachers attending a class at the studio. I have taken classes with about 8 teachers and have yet to not be impressed by their knowledge and talent. The teachers also include many nationally renowned teachers that offer periodic workshops. The studio offers many Vinyasa (flow) and Iyengar style classes, as well as heated flow, restorative and even yoga for children. The studio is so popular that I can almost always find a time to get a class in. Ironically, I had walked by the small sign hundreds of times. But I simply didn't realize that below ground lay a place like this.
As for my favorite teachers, to attend one of Jo's classes means to get the joy of her calm affect, her beautiful voice (she sings!) and her ability to make even the more challenging poses doable.
Chanal teaches the Yin Yang yoga class. For 45 minutes or so, you work your body hard in a heated flow style. Then, in the second 45 there is the chance to cool down, to slow down, to be present. I'll confess: I spend a good part of the second half designing my post-yoga meal! But the Chantal's meditations during the second half often help to bring me back to the mat and the purpose in being present.
Amy's classes encompass all I love: challenge, endurance, therapy, relaxation. She is a dedicated yoga teacher who brings a completely new routine each week. Her words guide us through each asana, while she interweaves meditations to ponder.
Angelina's classes are the most challenging I have done at the studio. They have also helped me to finally understand pilates and the incredible post-strength- training endorphin rush that can accompany a great class.
Down Under also offers classes for kids and teens.
Look, I know that everyone isn't a believer in yoga. But try it. And try it here. Then let me know what you think.
Down Under Yoga, 304 Walnut Street, Newtonville, MA