Out & About: Namaste Yoga

Today I headed 16 miles southeast of Coral Springs into Pompano Beach to experience Namaste Yoga Salon, which is two separate locations in the same shopping plaza. I was told the second location is for “services” and this one is for yoga. I participated in the 10:45 AM Hatha Yoga class with my long-time friend, client and Reiki Master Rina Ishwari. After dispensing with the new student paperwork, I passed through the retail lobby and front desk attendant into a darkened practice room. All windows were covered by drapes. Flickering LED candles gently lit the floorboard perimeter and illuminated a pathway to the bathroom. The wood floors were beautiful, yet firm. Mirrors covered several walls and I could see the word “Namaste” repeated across the top horizon of the gray room in white letters. Ishwari set sacred music on the stereo, some of her own recordings from “Wheel of Khula Bhakti Mantras” and some from Krishna Das, among others. Her guided practice began with seated contemplation, then two types of breath work, followed by a warm-up and sun salutations. From there– standing poses, balancing poses, and finally supine postures and inversions. Sprinkled throughout the practice– plenty of Sanskrit for naming postures, energetic pathways and aspects of our spirit. Ishwari referred to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and offered several mantras throughout class, some which we repeated silently and others we shared out loud. In our long savasana, Ishwari laid a cool damp cloth over our eyes and spoke the whole time about various things to elevate our spirit. When we arose again to finish in easy seated pose, we shared more mantra and Ishwari encouraged us to make eye contact with each person in the room to wish each other “Namaste.” That was a nice touch and I felt a brief connection with everyone I’d just shared a practice with. Ishwari was particularly good at offering hands-on adjustments and maintaining a multi-level class. Some practitioners seemed quite experienced, while others had limited mobility and even one was nine months pregnant but knew how to modify her practice with bolsters and blocks. This was a wonderful old school yoga practice, including traditional ancient music, Sanskrit, energy points, chakras, essential oils, mantra and a little philosophy. It’s a reminder that there’s a depth to yoga, beyond the physical postures and popular music that is often presented as yoga, should one wish to seek and experience it.