It’s an open secret among yoga teachers that once you start to teach classes, you hardly ever get to go take classes as a student anymore. Yoga classes are held at similar times throughout the week from studio to studio and if you have a class you’d love to attend, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be teaching at the same time.
And it’s true.
As I’ve added more classes to my weekly roster, I’ve noticed that I go to fewer and fewer classes myself, opting to practice at home instead. A robust home practice is the foundation of practice for any yoga teacher, and yet, there is something about practicing in community with others at a studio that is important too. And I’ve been missing that community lately…so I’ve decided to take myself on regular yoga dates to check out studios and teachers that I’ve been wanting to try and to revisit my favorites too. And, to keep myself honest, I’m going to report back here after I go to class!
Date #1: Yin & Yoga Nidra with Elisabeth Pletcher
I’m on vacation this week and so I took the opportunity to catch up with Elisabeth Pletcher (find her online at Curvy Yoga Minneapolis) at Yess Yoga. I had been hoping to attend her Thursday night Curvy slow flow class, but with my schedule that wasn’t possible. Then I saw she was teaching a lunchtime Yin & Yoga Nidra class. I’ve been craving stillness and this Yin class did not disappoint. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.
Half a block off of Eat Street in Minneapolis, Yess Yoga has two studios in side-by-side adjoining storefronts. The space is bright and airy, beautiful and familiar, even though this was my first visit. The walls are white, the floors are a warm amber wood and there’s a charming tin ceiling. Elisabeth greeted me warmly as I entered the studio and got me set up with the Yess Yoga new student offer: $10 for a week of unlimited classes. (This is such an amazing deal if you are in the neighborhood or are willing to drive over there!) The rumble of noon traffic on 26th street mixed with the faint strains of music overhead and I could feel the blessed stillness I had been craving settling in around me.
Other students arrived and once we had our props, Elisabeth gave us an overview of what to expect in class and explained how Yin differs from more active forms of asana for the students who were trying Yin for the first time. Throughout the practice, Elisabeth offered numerous ways to customize each pose and since she is Curvy Yoga certified, Elisabeth was able to guide students in a wide variety of body types through the practice.
We ended the class with about 20 minutes of Yoga Nidra and an interesting thing happened. I was able to relax physically without falling asleep and my mind stayed alert without wandering off to make lists of the things I needed to buy at Target after class. Usually I drift of into a light doze or my mind is so agitated that I can’t keep it in the room. This was an unexpected—and awesome—bonus to this class!
Yoga date #1 highlights
Elisabeth is genuine, approachable, and knowledgeable. She is quick with a smile and is super welcoming to new and returning students alike. After class I found myself trying to figure out how I was going to get to her classes on the regular.
Elisabeth is Curvy certified so people in bigger bodies can practice without concern and she can help them adjust a pose to fit their bodies. She is also trauma-informed (so no hands-on adjustments) and uses inclusive language.
All of Elisabeth’s classes are open to people in larger bodies and those with injuries, not just the Thursday night class identified as Curvy.
The space is beautiful and has great energy. It feels good to be at Yess Yoga.
The studio space is on street level and is accessible to people using wheel chairs or those with limited mobility. The room where props are kept is one step down from the studio.
The studio has a single stall bathroom, so there’s privacy for everyone and trans and non-binary folks can simply attend to their business without worry. The bathroom is located right off the studio space, no stairs required.
I love the bustling city location just blocks from some of the city’s best restaurants. Perfect to catch a class with friends and then wander down the street to grab a bite to eat.
I was worried that parking would be hard to find but on a Monday at lunchtime, I easily found a spot on the street in front of the studio.
Bonus: There’s a lovely little reading corner in the back room complete with yoga books you might want to thumb through, oracle cards to pull a card from after class, and a badass Kali Ma pillow that reminded me to let go of the things that no longer serve me.
I’ve often day dreamed about a vibrant, inner city community studio space where people feel welcome to come and practice as they are without apology. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Lucia Yess has already created this exact space—and in my city! I loved my experience at Yess Yoga and I will be back soon!