How to Find the Right Yoga Class
I think I’ve had a yoga mindset for a long time, but finding the right yoga class proved to be more difficult than I thought. I’ve cultivated some basic knowledge and my background in mental health, chakra healing, and physical wellness allowed me to peruse the periphery of yoga for a few years. But I had never ventured into a class…never. I read about yoga. I did yoga video classes (incorrectly) in the privacy of my writing room. I was nervous to join a class. But worse than my nerves, was deciding on what class was right for me.
I started my search and research in earnest about a year ago. I was developing the outline for my book, Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art. In my book, I included some yoga poses that I found useful for balancing chakras. And I realized that I needed more than the Coles notes version of yoga if I was to be credible. Also, I felt I was missing something without a proper yoga practice.
I looked up reviews, visited numerous yoga studios throughout Calgary, and asked for opinions. The more I looked, the more confusing it became. I have a mentor who has been a yogini for many years but she is not in Calgary and she no longer provides yoga classes. She provided suggestions. I was obsessed with watching people and their yoga mat bags wandering off to various studios in all parts of the city: Iyengar, Kundalini, Hatha, Bikram, Vinyasa, Ashtanga… hot, power, flow, slow, fast, modern, traditional, sound baths, mudras, asanas, pranayama. Yikes…where to start?
The more I learned the more overwhelmed I became. I have been physically active most of my life and although I had some physical goals I wanted to achieve, I really wanted to experience the essence of yoga. I was not interested in the latest yoga fashions, the fad of hot yoga studios popping up everywhere, and anything that resembled a competitive environment.
My husband told me about Pyramid Yoga in Thailand, which is run by a long-time yogi, David Goulet, and his practices seem to be based on very traditional methods. My interest was piqued but Thailand is a long way to travel to begin my yoga practice. I have Pyramid Yoga bookmarked as a bucket list item, but I wanted to experience a regular yoga practice, now, in Calgary.
I did a very in-depth internet search and visited a number of my top contenders; then I stumbled across a most unassuming little studio near Chinook Mall, Sunshine Yoga Academy. Sunshine Yoga is run by a tiny, mighty little lady, Mirta Romberg. Mirta, with her charming Spanish accent and gentle hospitable manner makes first timers welcome. Sunshine boasts that it is Calgary’s home of the traditional practice of Ashtanga Yoga, also known as Raja Yoga, the Royal Path of Yoga. Everyone is welcome, there are classes for those with special needs, and no special equipment or clothing is required. Mirta also regularly trains teachers of yoga and has been a practitioner of yoga, reiki, energy healing, aromatherapy, therapeutic massage and other holistic methods for 31 years.
Classes are 2 hours in length and include a gentle warm up, slow perfectly described and corrected poses, a sensory gift of relaxation, and a guided meditation exercise. Mirta’s gentle voice is hypnotic and despite the frenzy of city life, she is able to guide her students to exquisite levels of introspection, asana practice, connection, and healing.
It was a challenge to find, but it was worth the time… I found my yoga home: Sunshine Yoga Academy.