The Yoga Studio as Sacred Space
The reverent experience of being in a yoga studio starts before you even arrive on the mat. From just outside the door, you smell the waft of essential oils or Palo Santo or incense smoke. You go inside and take off your shoes, and quietly greet other people arriving for class, maybe some familiar faces and some new. Maybe you have time to make yourself a cup of tea, or roll out your mat and settle in before class begins. The air is warm and comfortable, the floor is familiar and smooth, and any prop you may need is right where you need it to be. All of it signals an arrival in a different energetic space, much like being in a church or temple.
A yoga class is a transformative experience, not just physically, but emotionally. As we release tension, gain flexibility, and improve balance in our bodies, we often experience similar sensations in our minds and spirits. Yoga is a powerful practice no matter where you are or who is around you, but there is a particular kind of sacred energy present in any environment where people have come together to share in a yoga practice. Every class is different, but this energy is a constant in the yoga studio, born out of shared intention and community.
I practice paying attention to the feelings that come up at the beginning and at the end of my practice partially so that I can maintain an awareness of how my yoga practice has affected me, but also so that I can be conscious of the effect that I have on my practice. When I’m part of a yoga class, part of this observation means being aware of the energy I’m bringing to class and how it affects the people practicing around me. Much of the time, I observe feelings of tension and anxiety fading away into a gentle calm, and I leave class with an ability to find balance and flexibility where I couldn’t before. Something magical happens when we are able to share this feeling with one another in a safe and welcoming space.
The sacred energy of the yoga studio is a communal effort, cultivated during practice, rather than something that automatically exists from the moment we walk in the door. It is this shared intention and conscious community that makes the experience of practicing yoga with others so special—everyone has been drawn to yoga for different reasons, and practicing with other people allows us to share in creating a welcoming, peaceful experience every time we attend a class.