Recently, I spent some time reviewing the text of this website and found myself drawn to my description of Yoga Matrika as a community-based yoga studio. What exactly do I mean by this and what do I wish to communicate about the studio when I describe it in this way?
First, it’s a community-based studio because it has pedestrian access. It is within walking distance for the greater Squirrel Hill community and anyone who takes busses through the main retail area on Murray and Forbes. This fact means that many of the faces around the studio are faces that you’ve seen before—at Giant Eagle, at your synagogue and around your local playground. You may not know the other students at Yoga Matrika, but you share community space and all of our actions around and outside of the studio impact one another—the way we garden, shovel our sidewalks, vote, participate in schools and community activism, etc.
Second, it’s a community-based studio because it is an intimate space. This is not a studio where you can remain anonymous for very long. We learn each other’s names and share in joys and sorrows as they are laid bare in the security of the practice space. In this way, regardless of where you live, you become a part of the studio community when you take a class. We notice haircuts, circles under eyes as well as rejoice in births and battles won. We practice our humanity and vulnerability while maintaining space for privacy and agency.
Finally, this is a studio that serves students of all ages and abilities while taking into consideration the barriers that family life can impose on our ability to practice. We strive to make classes accessible to parents with young children and to hire and support excellent instructors who have families and significant responsibilities for partners, parents and children. We are a breastfeeding friendly and the parents that take advantage of the Me Too yoga, Family and Toddler yoga classes support each other beyond the walls of the studio. This is not just a place for the young, flexible and beautiful (although you all look pretty good to me!)—-it is a place for real people, with real bodies in all stages of life. This type of kula (community) dedicated to compassion for others and providing sweet company as we create, grow up and age is priceless.
Thank you to all the instructors and students who make this concept of community based yoga a reality at 1406 S. Negley every day. I am grateful to you and for all the support and warmth that I receive, not just as the studio owner or your teacher, but as myself—together with you, working it out on my mat and taking it out into the world.