It has been a trip to look back in time and remember the first class I taught, which was also the first class ever taught, at Urban Ashram on August 20, 2011 at 8am. The class was called Flexibility-Not-Required or FNR and it was our way of introducing first-time students to the practice of Yoga. Time lapse to 7 years which is today, over 10,000 students have been introduced to Yoga safely and progressively at Urban Ashram Yoga and yes, the yoga revolution is now at hand.
In celebrations, we begin with gratitude. We are very proud of the students who diligently attend classes and continue to dedicate time and space for themselves through their practices. We are grateful to our teachers who wholeheartedly plan, prepare and care about the classes they teach to nurture our students. We pay homage to our teachers who trained us skillfully to teach safe and progressive practices. Our first teacher trainers Joan Hyman, James Brown, and David Kim for educating our early batches of teachers who set up the foundation for us to grow into a faculty of over 30 skilled teachers.
We are driven to become better teachers by our desire to keep learning and updating our teaching techniques and exploring our own personal practices. And in this exploration and continued education, we have expanded our Hatha Yoga curriculum to include kids yoga, Birthlight prenatal and postnatal, Kundalini, Restoratives and now, Yin. And since then, we continue to promote strong foundational trainings and curated workshops through our School of Yoga. Our 200-Hour YogaWorks Teacher Training , is now on its 8th run at Urban Ashram with graduates teaching all over the world such as China, Vietnam, New Zealand and the US.
An anniversary is also time to look at what’s ahead and make new memories. For us at Urban Ashram, it is about creating more delightful experiences for our students.
I am pleased to announce our first International Yoga retreat with very first teacher trainer Joan Hyman, aptly called Coming Om.
The retreat will be held in the magical summer paradise of Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand during the first week of the Lunar New Year from February 5 to 10, 2019. Retreat attendees will be treated to a nurturing and pampering week of yoga classes in spectactular spaces, nature walks on epic trails, local tours and wellness workshops to nearby Queenstown and the option to do more exciting adventures such as skydiving and helicopter tours.
Joan Hyman will be leading the retreat and will be co-hosted with her long-time students and co-teachers, JP Cox and myself. The 5-night, 6-day experience is meant to bring you back to yourself and to restore and regenerate energy, focus and purpose for the year ahead and what better way to do it through skilled and soothing yoga classes, return to nature and with the best food and company to start 2019 with. For more information on the retreat, head on to http://urbanashramyoga.com/member/nz-retreat/
For the Urban Yogi, Coming Om is a return to the self and a celebration of the safe and loving community we belong to and can count on. At Urban Ashram, we remain dedicated to the study and exploration of Yoga and through this anniversary, we are amazed how far we have all come in our practices and more so, how yoga has enriched our lives. And it is our commitment to provide this safe space for all yogis to always feel home.
Maricar Cristina Holopainen is a co-Founder of Urban Ashram Yoga and is currently teaching yoga in New Zealand.