Studio Review: Be The Change Yoga - San Jose, CA
I had a layover in San Jose, CA and was able to book a class last minute just a block away from my hotel. The closest class with the best time for me ended up being a kundalini style class, which I’d never taken before. I have read things about kundalini, and what I've read usually leaves me with the impression that class gives you some kind of altering experience-be it for better or worse.
I texted a friend that I was headed to a kundalini class, and she responded with “OMG, I remember my first kundalini experience! I can’t wait to hear what you think!” immediately sending a feeling of slight apprehension through me.
The studio itself is beautiful, tucked up on the third floor of an old building, complete with buzz-in entry. The room felt clean and was flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling windows at the back of the room. The brick walls, hanging plants, old wooden floors and a beautiful mural on one wall featuring the name of the studio and the famous Gandhi quote welcomed you in and there was no question you were in the right place.
From what I understand, the studio has membership options, class packages and donation based classes. I love their philosophy of making yoga accessible to everyone in their community; not to be interpreted as “free yoga” but rather pay what you are able. The studio and its members were so welcoming! Smiling, hellos, striking up conversation...sadly, not always the experience as a newbie to a studio.
Now I’ll just preface this with the fact it had been a long day on the plane already, and when a coworker invites you to a nearby happy hour, you don’t (at least I don’t!) say no. So, I was entering this class two (heavily poured) glasses of wine deep. Which, in all honesty, may have been the best case scenario.
Since I wasn’t familiar with “kundalini” I was getting a little nervous it might be a physically strenuous class, and it wasn’t going to be pretty after half a bottle of wine. My fears were put to rest when I was setting up my mat and noticed we’d be using all kinds of props: bolster, blanket, blocks, etc. The class began with some silent meditation, which led into many rounds of chanting, then morphs into some singing (if you don’t know the words-I didn’t-you just kind of make noise and hum along).
I thought it was interesting that right at the beginning we were advised not to get too hung up on the words and not to think about the meaning of what we were saying/singing. Come to find out from a friend, it was all Hindu prayers. Knowing the meaning/what you are saying/praying about might have made it easier to hum along with some intention.
Anyway, the class consisted of some movement, repetitive motions, almost dance-like. It was both energizing and extremely relaxing. Because I’m so used to a vinyasa style class, the slower pace and heightened focus on meditation was a slight disappointment because I was hoping for some kind of workout. But probably for the best on this specific evening, since I did show up wined up. The exercise from this class was definitely mental.
I am so glad I went and experienced this style of yoga. If you are looking for a sweat, I’d have to recommend a run instead, but the intense mental focus asked of you in kundalini was a fun and interesting change of pace. You won’t find me chanting and singing every evening before bed, but I am considering throwing this kind of class into my rotation maybe once a month! Thank you to Be The Change Yoga studio for a wonderful first experience.