Small in size and big in spirit. In keeping with the relatively small size of the city of Visalia, Valley Yoga has the knowing your neighbor feeling. Students often know each other from other settings or become friends with those they meet in class. Smiles are in abundance as are tears when some of us go through hard times.
Some are tall, some are short, some are thin, some are larger, some wear tights, some wear sweats, some have light skin, some have darker. We try to teach in a way that welcomes everyone. Teaching styles vary as we do not think yoga asana is only correct if done in one particular way. The variety of teachers personalities and lives shine through in the way they each deliver their skills.
As one student said coming into class: "I love coming here, I feel safe." Safety has many components.
Physical safety is important and props are used to assist students in being able to accomplish what might not otherwise be available safely. Everyone is encouraged to pay attention to when they need to stop or rest or ask the teacher for an alternate pose. Each teacher pays attention to when it is good to push one's imagination of what is possible and when it is important to pull back from what might bring harm.
Emotional safety is also part of the atmosphere. Many feel awkward or intimidated by the intense and difficult yoga poses that are often portrayed in the media as being what yoga is. At Valley Yoga we try to see that no one need feel uncomfotable or intimidated. We each simply do as much as we are able on any given day and the goal, if there is one, is to explore what it is to live in this particular body.
One of the reasons for attending a yoga class in addition to practicing at home is to place oneself in a position to receive assistance from someone else, to be in the vision of another person, a teacher. This is important no matter how seasoned or new one is in the practice of yoga asana. At Valley Yoga the teachers are continuously walking around the room giving this individual attention.
Students are encouraged to let the teacher know if they have a particular physical issue that might effect their practice. Questions are welcomed.
Simultaneous with an intention to allow the quiet that is naturally a part of the internal exploration of yoga, laughter is appreciated. Practicing yoga with a group of people is fun and that fun shines out of us in different ways at different times. Laughter does not need to diminish the seriousness with which one takes one's practice nor does that serious commitment need to stop one from wholeheartedly participating in a deep and healing bout of laughter.
Our studio has a favorite heroine
in Pippi Longstocking
who chooses to join us
from time to time...