Over twenty years ago I had a dream to find a studio space where I could offer Iyengar Yoga classes to our community. For eight years prior I had been biking around town, rain or shine, with my ghetto-blaster and sticky mat on the back of my bike. I taught 10-12 classes a week, in various places such as Western Washington University, health clubs, Northwest Physical Therapy, Lairmont Manor, and even the county jail! But, after being a traveling yogini for several years, I was ready to settle into one place, where I could share my joy of Yoga.
I also had a dream to offer a wide variety of classes taught by different instructors, all trained in the Iyengar Yoga tradition, with a mission to make Yoga accessible to everybody: whether young or old, fit or feeble, petite or plus size, novice or expert practitioner. And I had a dream to open an inviting Yoga studio, where world class Iyengar Yoga teachers could come and give workshops to continually “enlighten” us here in Bellingham with in-depth guidance and inspiration from the source in Pune, India, our main teacher and Yoga Master, B.K.S. Iyengar.
After searching all through Bellingham for the perfect location for a yoga studio, I had a strong calling to settle in Fairhaven. I found an inviting old brick building with a space on the second floor that felt just right! But unfortunately, the space was being used as a huge workshop and it was completely full of tools, table saws, and lumber. The owner of the building was not interested in giving up his valuable workspace. I “bugged him gently” for two more years, on and off, and finally he decided it was time to move his workshop and let us create our new yoga studio.
The whole top floor of the building had been a Yugoslavian dance hall over 100 years before, with a beautiful old maple floor full of little “bird’s eyes” in the wood. But, through the years, the floor went through many challenging owners and abuse. One previous owner had used the space to build fiber-glass boats and had left the floor completely covered with fiberglass, big holes, and torn floor-boards.
My ex-husband and I spent over 100 hours patching about 200 square feet of flooring, using rescued maple floor from our neighbors who had decided to cover their messed-up floor with carpet. We also spent many hours scraping off fiberglass inch by inch with a heat-gun! After many hours of love, labor, and passion to fulfill my dream, we were able to open Yoga Northwest to our community in 1987. Since that date, over 5,000 students have enjoyed the floor with many dog poses, sun salutes, and precious moments of deep relaxation. But, life is constantly changing…
After twenty years we have now lost our serene view of the trees through the windows, and instead we have tall buildings glaring back at us. The peace and quiet on Harris Street is gone, and the studio is instead filled with a continuous noise and vibration of big trucks going by. The old maple floor is also showing its age: the surface has gotten wavy and uneven and squeaks more than ever. So again, I have a dream…
I recently found a new space that could become the future home for Yoga Northwest. It’s still in Fairhaven, but it’s in a quiet location, with big southern windows facing a green belt that won’t be built upon. There are also two windows facing west with a peek-a-boo view of the bay. The space is bigger than our current studio, and can accommodate larger classes comfortably, as well as larger workshops with world class teachers. The space has a street entrance with possibilities for an inviting reception area and a small yoga boutique. There is also room for a little changing area, and a yoga rope wall, to help people open up tight shoulders and hips effectively.
I am currently getting bids from several contractors, negotiating with the owners, and checking my financial situation. It’s becoming clear to me that this time around I am facing my dream independently and am humbly reaching out to our yoga community for help to make this new dream come true.
My dream for the next 20 years is to offer a serene, quiet space with an oriental ambiance: a sanctuary where people can come and take a break from their busy worlds, a place to breathe deeply, let go of tensions, strengthen their bodies, renew themselves, and find inner peace.
Here are a few ideas we have to invite your help in making our new Yoga Northwest dream space come true. On September 15th we are having a 20 year anniversary celebration, with a variety of activities including yoga dance, yoga skits and treats, and also a yogathon and silent auction to invite your participation. We welcome any donations of services or gifts that you can share such as gardening, cleaning, pet-care, a dinner, a boat trip, a cottage in the country, a guided hike, etc…
We also invite any professional services, like massage, chiropractic care, haircuts, or computer services. Please submit any items or services you’d like to offer for the silent auction by August 15th, by calling 647-0712, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Everybody who donates services or items will be recognized on our website and in our future newsletter.
Also, if you have professional skills in carpentry or painting and are interested in a work trade for yoga classes, please contact our office as soon as possible. We will post on our web-site in the very near future if there is a final decision to go ahead with this project. At that time, your contributions towards this exciting new venture will be highly appreciated by all of us here at Yoga Northwest.