By Ashley Robinson
So, after I wrote my little piece, “Tales from the Yoga Mat” back in February, I decided to roll up my mat and take a break. I realized I was, in fact, becoming too high-maintenance for yoga and was no longer enjoying the practice.
But like all things we truly enjoy, I couldn’t stay away for too long.
After the encouragement of a fellow vinyasa yogi, I decided to get back into the practice, but this time I knew I needed a change of scenery. With all the new yoga studios in Sacramento, I found myself over at H and 56th at One Flow Yoga Studio, founded by Kate Saal, an instructor I used to – along with (hundreds?) many others – attend her classes religiously.
One Flow is the perfect solution for this immature yoga burnout. The studio is open, airy and clean, the classes are intimate, and there is lots of music. The “every man for himself” mentality does not exist at this one-room yoga studio, there is ample parking in the area, and the instructors are able to greet most of the class attendees on a first-name basis. Also, the studio still smells of new paint, not oozing sweat.
I like it. A lot.
If you want to try out One Flow, first time students pay only $7 for a trial week.
My enthusiasm dictated that I ask Kate some questions about her new studio, her approach to the practice of yoga, and why people should start heading over to One Flow.
A: We keep the room at 84 degrees F, give or take. It’s comfortable and supportive.
Q: How is your studio different than others in town? Or, why did you feel compelled to open One Flow?
A: The classes we offer at One Flow are fun, safe, powerful and empowering. It’s about having the direct experience of life in all of its wonderful facets to realize how very sweet and beautiful it is and yet how very short–so why not embrace it fully. I truly feel yoga makes your life better, and in turn the life of everyone else you touch.
One Flow is Home. I’m very thankful for the incredible, supportive community of students that comes to class. They have a way of making you feel welcome and part of the group very quickly even if it’s your first time.
One of my core beliefs is that yoga is for everyone and that anyone who wants to practice gets to practice. We provide financial assistance to those who may be going through some financial challenges currently. We can do this because of the generosity of our students and teachers.
One of my favorite compliments we’ve received recently was when a student said, “I love all of the classes at One Flow…and everyone who teaches here is so different.” I am very honored to get to teach alongside all of these beautiful beings who are also gifted teachers.
Q: How long have you been practicing yoga, and how long have you been an instructor?
A: I took my first class in 1995, but didn’t start a regular practice until 2004. I’ve taught over 2,000 hours since 2005. I hear you get pretty good after about 10,000 hours.
Q: In a punishing class you instructed a year and a half ago, or so, our entire class had to do “chair pose” for the length of a hair band song. While it sounds tortuous, it was actually one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done in a yoga class. You are known for using music, uh, strategically in your classes, so I have to ask, what are your three favorite songs to play during class to get people moving?
A: Wow I’ve never heard the classes I offer described as “punishing” or “tortuous”. It sounds like I should wear more black and higher heels when I teach.
I love, love love my girl Mary J. Blige and in fact would name my next daughter Mary J, Alicia, India, Chaka, Stone, James-Blige-Saal
“MJB da MVP” Mary J. Blige
“Wish I Didn’t Miss You” Angie Stone
“California Love” 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman
Q: Some people are frightened to take a yoga class. What do you think the biggest misconception about yoga is and why should people start practicing? (They should not use my previous anecdote to frighten them!)
A: I completely get the fear of taking your first class. In fact, I think the toughest part is walking through the front door initially. At One Flow we are going to do everything we can to help you have an incredible first time experience–from giving you a towel if you need it to teaching a class that is fun and accessible. The class is only as hard as you make it and the reason why people of all abilities and experiences can practice together in the same room is because each one of them is taking care of themselves. Why practice? Because yoga will help you see and embrace how amazing you truly are. It will improve your relationships and bring you more peace in life. The physical benefits are just a bonus.
Q: I have found that there are two schools of thought – I am positive there more – about what they want to get out of yoga. One wants to be relaxed and get centered, and the other wants a kick-ass workout. Which school would you say you are more aligned with?
A: No matter what the school of thought, all of yoga is about one thing–awareness. The only reason classes are difficult or challenging is to help you to see and notice things in your life. We use poses called Eagle and Mountain and Eka Pada Rajakapotasana to do this, but the stuff that comes up in them is exactly the same as the postures in your life called work, family and friends. The strength and patience you build on the mat serves you off the mat. I am a big fan of working your butt off, in a very relaxed way. Yoga is not about using force or struggling but about creating space and balance. At One Flow you have the opportunity to work as hard as you want and you will leave feeling relaxed and centered. We are all about the love.
Q: Do you have any future plans for expanding One Flow? And, would it be possible to add on some late night classes? Please?
A: Yes and yes. We continue to add classes, workshops and teacher training options. Beginning in the New Year we are going to offer pose clinics, a 40-Day Experience and more beginner’s series workshops.
Q: Finally, where is your favorite spot on the Grid to hang out?
A: I love living on the grid. I go to Peet’s on J & 20th for my tea and Badlands to boogie.