Aspirations

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In thinking for topics of blog posts we have some key themes. Health, wellness, yoga and Thai massage all hold a central place. My work has been a manifestation of deeper dreams. It’s been a goal to never resent my work. I don’t want to spend the bulk of my time in labor that doesn’t fit right livelihood. In short, I want to make myself and others feel better. I can already hear the murmurs…”but I have bills to pay. I have things to pay for.” I’ve never wanted to sacrifice material comforts for a well lived life. I think you can have both.

I’m told that it’s important to have a dream. When Andrea and I moved into our current home she was the one who saw Ebb and Flow yoga studio in an old garage that’d been carpeted. Friends told us that we couldn’t do yoga in the room, the floor wasn’t level. We marched on. Used/recycled mirrors, a few posters and art, some yoga props, mats and pillows later and we have a studio.

Everything I have has been built from the ground up. I’ve strived for excellence in every area of my life and am not disappointed with the results that continue to pour in. Naysayers have been vanquished. I’m teaching yoga, giving Thai massage, teaching Thai massage to other massage therapists and providing for my family. It’s been nice to see that it’s possible to live well and not sacrifice my ideals.

Still I aspire for more. Having an aspiration for something greater has fueled it all. I want what’s best for myself and others. When it comes to Ebb and Flow yoga studio I think it’d be nice to present the vision I have for the studio.

Ebb and Flow yoga studio isn’t a building or a place. It doesn’t exist in Round Rock and can move if it needs. The studio isn’t even mine, it’s ours. I’ve purposefully tried to present it as community space used for healing work. In saying it’s ours it feels more like community space, something used by those who work in its walls. So being that it’s ours what can we make it?

When I sit back and float mentally, here’s what I see.

Ebb and Flow studio if in its present location would be found with lush gardens around it. The front yard garden would supply greens for smoothies and take home herbs for students. As community oriented space people could tend the garden as they chose. The landscape would be worked on and heavy applications of mulch around the trees would build better soil. We’d also have flowers, trees, bee hives in the back, a chicken tractor that’s mobile around the yard and a large worm pit in back to compost in.

The path beside the house leading to the studio would be cleaned and painted with a nice sign, maybe the one in our studio with a painted arrow to the door. The path along the side would have lattice work of deer fencing connecting from the fence to the wall. This would allow vining plants to grow up and over the walkway in summer providing some shade and cooling the studio passively. In winter the plants die back allowing sun to hit the wall providing passive heat as it does currently. Dual paned insulating windows installed in the west facing wall would allow passive light and heat as well as keep cool in summer. Natural bamboo blinds can be raised or lowered to control light and heat levels.

This video gives you some visual idea of what we’re describing. Think yoga studio.

The studio walls are made of straw bale and cobb, these thick insualting materials that are derived from local products that are renewable. Earthen plasters and natural dyes can be worked into the walls themselves for color and decor. Nooks and crannies would be worked into the walls to hold pictures, photos, plants and figurines of importance. Small shelves built into the space allow for candles. The vaulted ceiling would stay as would more of the built in railing that would hold plants like variegated ivy. The plants will grow out and branch and trellis on small pieces of cedar pegs that line the upper walls. The growth allows them to blanket the upper wall and create green space indoors. They provide oxygen and can grow year round in the environment without heating or cooling that’s artificial.

A built in fountain provides white noise and is filled from the cistern that connects to the roof. The rain water that flows through it is used to water the plants and a small nook is created to hold the ladder to allow access to water and remove old leaves from plants. The upper windows have small latches that are accessible from the wall. It allows them to open and close while small fans that are solar powered provide ventilation if needed. Too hot you open the windows and vent air out, if it needs to cool you open the windows and pull air in.

The flooring is made of recycled Texas barn wood and used wine corks. The cushioned flooring is better on your joints and provides ample space for variations that are pleasing to the eye and friendly feeling to the body. The walls would have Iyengar style props, straps to open the shoulders and allow downward facing dog poses that traction the lumbar spine when needed. The central three thick lattice are structurally sound enough to provide inversion equipment. Three students at a time can hang upside down and traction their spine while continuing to work on their practice in unique ways currently unavailable.

Mats, pillows, blankets, blocks and other equipment is stored easily due to the way the building is built with spaces for all of them. Recessed areas that hold them specifically and functionally. The building supports our practice not the other way around.

Music can come through the well placed speakers built into the studio and includes a subwoofer to provide ample range from bass lines to higher frequencies without having loud volume. The controls and receiver are all easy to reach. A fold away flat projection screen allows films and video related to yoga practice to be shown during downtime at the studio for educational purposes.

The altar is custom made from recycled materials. Using what others have considered garbage we use broken tiles and smooth materials to create tiered areas to hold photos, mementos and offerings to our teachers. Imagine a statue of Ganesh, a figure of Jesus next to photos of Iyengar and Sojourner Truth. Since this is our studio you bring mementos that mean something to you. Flowers from the garden can be picked and placed into vases held on the altar as well.

The additional wall space can be painted or decorated with murals by artists or the community or both. Ebb and Flow yoga studio is what we make it.

If I’ve gone that far into conceiving of the walls and physical space can you imagine what we’re trying to do with the body? That’s the temple…what we described is just the building.

Here’s another video with Dan Phillips talking about recycled materials. We’d pick and choose what materials the structure would be made of. “Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills…one man gathers what another man spills”~St. Stephen by the Grateful Dead

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