After two decades in the same spot, Yoga is Youthfulness is relocating, but the impending move shouldn’t disrupt the Mountain View studio’s routine or deter its passionate regulars.
YiY is moving from 590 Castro St. to 1954 Old Middlefield Way in April. Longtime instructors such as Mojdeh, a practitioner of healing arts since 1975, have developed a faithful following.
Some of Mojdeh’s YiY students have been showing up for years; others joined her class within the past few months. But they all have one thing in common – they’re hooked on her Ashtanga and Deep Healing Relaxation classes. It’s a healthy addiction, though, as her students can’t find a better way to use their time 7:15-8:45 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, believing that it’s important to dedicate time to body and soul.
During a recent YiY class, Mercury Max Om music hums in the background. Students roll out their mats and shuffle back and forth from the changing area as they transform from corporate workers into modern-day devotees of peace and quiet of the mind. As regulars take their places, they create space for others to fit. The lights are low. Candles burn at the front of the room.
Amid the hushed voices, students enjoy a different kind of full-body workout.
“If you want to work out, then go to the gym,” said Mojdeh, who has been teaching Ashtanga for more than 15 years.
Class opens with a yogic chant. Mojdeh encourages students to inhale, opening their lungs, and then exhale, releasing tension. Instruction progresses through the numerous postures by their Sanskrit names, typically ending in “asana,” meaning “posture” or “pose.”
The silence is notable between the breathing. In yogic practices, life is measured not by the number of heartbeats, but rather by the number of breaths. Slowing down the breath equates to longer life.
Mojdeh counts slowly: “One, two, three, four,” and finally, “five.” Students breathe and hold themselves in the poses. Most first-timers conk out halfway through, lying down and falling into a yogic sleep, a surrender that is accepted and even encouraged.
“Listen to your body,” Mojdeh urges.
After 90 minutes of breathing and stretching the mind and body’s capacities with various poses, the body feels oxygenated.
“I teach this method of yoga because it’s comprehensive,” Mojdeh said. “It provides a step-by-step approach to one’s relationship with the body. In this practice, we are constantly reminded to go inward, to focus, to be mindful and attentive to the quality of our breath.”
The end of class yields the best part: the relaxation pose, also known as “shavasana” or “corpse pose.” This is students’ reward, a time when all their work from the practice gets assimilated into the body, a time when, students say, “the magic happens.”
When asked how the “magic happens,” Mojdeh lowered her voice.
“All I want to say is, I am irrelevant,” she explained. “I know I hold the space. My intent is to offer a sense of peace and a quality of lightness.”
Why is the practice so grounding? Perhaps it’s because breath and silence are two sure things in this often-unsure world. And the magic at Yoga is Youthfulness brings all that students really want: reassurance for mind, body and soul.
For more information on Yoga is Youthfulness, visit yogaisyouth.com.