I’m just returning to New York from San Francisco where for the past two weeks I’ve been running the first Yogi in Residence yoga class program at the Hotel California. It’s been an amazing and inspiring experience exploring a new city and teaching a new batch of yoga students from all over the world!
I flew in on a Saturday evening and took a cab to the hotel. Although I’d been warned about San Francisco’s unusual summer weather, the foggy, cool city surprised me! I bundled up and met my yoga student from New York, Paula. She was there to share a late dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, which happens to be one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country, Millennium. Besides being vegetarian, which automatically gets a restaurant points in my book, Millennium has an absolutely delicious, creative menu. I had sweet corn cake, eggplant bruchetta, pistachio-stuffed dates and a glass of wine from their extensive organic selection. Needless to say I slept well that night!
I woke up the next morning in a cozy yellow Hotel California room. After breakfast I went up to the mezzanine level to see my yoga room! The hotel is a beautiful, older building with mahogany details, gilded mirrors and leather club chairs. My yoga room was to be one of the two open rooms on the mezzanine level. The first is a cheery yellow with windows along one wall and an open doorway and then second is red with golden mirrors and a smaller window. After a little experimenting, we decided to use the red room, which was a bit more private with a very warm, strong energy.
Classes started that morning and ran every day for the next two weeks. I welcomed yoga students into the warm, red, mirrored room who ranged from hotel employees to guests, locals to backpackers, college students and expats visiting San Francisco from around the world.
Most of my time was spent on the beginner’s level class, teaching foundations for a focused, meditative asana practice.
One night before class I was in the studio room getting ready when an Indian woman popped her head in to chat. She was visiting from Mumbi and was so happy to see yoga classes offered at her hotel! It really warmed my heart when she told me that even after severe flight delays, jetlag and trying to figure out a strange country, seeing yoga made her feel as if she were right at home. It’s little moments like this that make me long for another visit to India…
About halfway through the two weeks, we headed over to the local Grant Ave lululemon where I’d been invited to do a demonstration in their window to help promote classes. I got set up in some of their new fall gear, hopped on a mat and flowed through an Ashtanga demonstration. I always love doing lululemon demos. The store employees are just some of the most positive, enthusiastic people I’ve ever met! I know I can walk into any store and get a smile.
The most exciting thing for me as my time as yogi in residence was to be in such a yoga-friendly hotel, and how quickly a positive community can start to build. This world is full of lovely, inspiring, warm people if you open your life to them.
See you soon San Francisco…Namaste!