Recently, happenstance found me talking with two experienced yoga instructors in a room with soaring ceiling vaults and booming expanses. We were standing in the historic St. Patrick’s church in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati. The lower level has been converted by C/C into Urban Artifact – a taproom, music venue, and event space. After sitting vacant for a spell, Urban Artifact now uses the upstairs sanctuary space for weddings, receptions, and performance events. But that’s not what the yoga instructors were drawn to.
From our conversation, I learned that there are many different facets of yoga, including specific varieties of the practice that have been developed based on parts that students pick up from their masters and tweak. There are schools that focus on the stretching and fitness aspects, schools that focus more on the spiritual and meditation aspects, and many varieties in between. These specific instructors were looking for a home for their Kundalini Yoga practice, which incorporates movement, breathing techniques, chanting, and meditation to build overall vitality. They spoke of how the physical presence of the participants and their location have a big impact on the effectiveness of the class.
It is interesting that the business of yoga often requires renting smaller studios outfitted as multi-purpose gym rooms. The practice of yoga, though, prefers spaces like the old church we were standing in – architecturally designed to encourage meditation and reflection in a way that a small mirrored room just can’t.