Ah, it's been a hectic couple of months. My studio moved to a new location over the holidays. Here's why we moved:
Actually, the multiple leaks weren't the only reason! But they were the deal-breaker. When we moved into the beautiful Central Avenue studio three years ago, we thought it would be our permanent home. Ha! As yogis, we should have known better. Nothing is permanent.
With our lease coming up from renewal, and an unresponsive landlord, we had something of a scramble to find a suitable space. Here's what we came up with:
This is how we found it (and I'm grateful to my cousin Jay Castle, our architecture consultant, for having the presence of mind to take these "before" photos). We loved the location, the beautiful natural light coming in through the French windows and the skylights, and the potential for more practice space. But it didn't have heat, and it looked like someone's grandmother's attic -- which was appropriate for its previous incarnation as an antique store, the Gaslight Emporium (a beloved Alameda institution, now relocated down the block). In fact, our new studio is in a landmark building in the historic Grand Station neighborhood, directly across from where the old railway station was once located. And the Gaslight Emporium got its name from the original concern, a store that sold actual gaslights 100 years ago. It's a very cool place.
But, issues. Work on the renovation started right after Thanksgiving... with lots of decisions to be made and a fair amount of pressure to get it all done before our January 1 opening. We really wanted classes to be up and running by New Year's Day. Plus I thought 1/1/11 would be a very auspicious time to open our doors.
You've seen where we started. Less than a month later, here's where we ended up:
It's an amazing transformation (if I do say so myself), and though we're still working out some of the kinks (including soundproofing work on the skylights due to take place early next week), I absolutely love it. I hope our students will too. I am grateful for the tremendous support from the AYS teaching staff, and others in our community (notably, Erica Grevemeyer, Patty St. Louis, Lisa Bush Finn. Kathy Yoshida... ) in helping to get us up and running.
We got some nice pre-opening publicity from Alameda Patch, a terrific website that covers the Alameda community. And we met our deadline! On 1/1/11, actual classes with actual students:
Very gratifying... not to mention, a huge relief! Remember the big puddles on the floor at the old studio? We knew this was coming, which is why, as daunting as it was to face another move, we just couldn't justify renewing our lease there. And after months (really, years) of reporting the leaks to management and documenting what was happening to the ceiling, what we feared finally happened. We packed up all our stuff on December 23rd, took a break for Christmas, and found those puddles when we came back to move our boxes and yoga mats out on December 27th, following the stormy holiday weekend. Very sad. But at least it didn't happen during a class. Out in the nick of time!
But as all-consuming as this has been (and as satisfying as it is to share it), this blog is not about my studio, it's about my practice. And about that, I'll just say, last time we moved, the process pretty much decimated my practice for several months. This time around, I was determined not to let that happen. And I've been, by and large, successful -- while I haven't had any time to blog, I've been practicing, albeit on a modified schedule, pretty regularly these past couple of months.
On New Year's Eve, a few of us met in the morning for an inaugural practice in the new studio before we got to work on the last pre-opening touches. The heat wasn't fully functional yet, but we blissed out on visvamitrasana and koudinyasana, and a long viparita karani. And I worked up an alternate practice schedule, which I call my "busy week practice plan." I'll post about that next, and include one of my favorite shorter practice sequences when I do. And in the meantime, I'm happily hitting the mat most mornings, and welcoming students to the new studio. The Alameda Yoga Station, still evolving, lives on!