MC Yogi and Amanda @ Urban Flow

To those that have ever had the experience of listening to me rock out to MC Yogi in the car, on my ipod, or awkwardly on a random street corner, you were probably wondering where I had found such songs as "Ganesh is Fresh" and "Elephant Power" and "Rock on Hanuman." For those of you that asked, you probably got about 15 minutes of more history and excitement that you expected. I love MC Yogi's music. It is one of the things that got me interested in the Indian history surrounding yoga. The question was - would I like his yoga class?

A CA-based studio owner and teacher, singer/rapper/songwriter, and activist, MC Yogi just recently began teaching at a studio that I love in SF - Urban Flow. I was thrilled that he was teaching Thursday nights, as I arrived in SF mid-afternoon on Thursday and knew that I could fit the class in, as the studio is just a few blocks from our corporate rental. After an exciting ride on the #14 bus where I had to turn down a lovely offer to accompany a homeless man to his new hotel room in the Mission, I hip-hopped up the stairs and rolled out my mat.

I will admit that I find some CA yogis and studios to be a bit intimidating. They all seem to know each other, there are lots of teachers taking, and the studios are just different - louder? more hanging out and chatting, people are more relaxed, no queueing. As a stranger of sorts, it's a little hard to fit in and figure out which side is up. You feel a part of it from the start, but it's like finding out that you made the team, and not knowing what practice is going to be like.

And then you get into the studio itself, and it's so easy to be reminded of why I like yoga, and West Coast yoga particularly. Yoga is like being 5 years old and making friends. Most people are friendly and want to introduce themselves, tell you where they live, how long they have practiced, why they love MC Yogi, etc. I met three people after my mat had been out for 3 seconds. It makes you breathe a sigh of relief. I have never seen a smile go farther than in yoga. And in most cases, it's genuine.

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MC Yogi (Nicholas Giacomini) and his wife, Amanda G. with Ganesh (photo courtesy of Yoga Journal)
So anyways, I digress. Neat mats all in a row, MC Yogi, and his beautiful wife Amanda (assisting that night), step to the front of the mat, introduce themselves, laugh, and then ask everyone to turn their mats to the opposite side of the room. Slight Type A yogi panic can be seen across the room. Even yogis like their order. I love a good changeup. We all switch.

What an amazing class! From my teacher lineup, MC Yogi is part Alex Austin rap, part Peter Crowley freedom joy. He reminded us to let go of our ego and just experience the yoga. "What is the Point?" he asked - several times - as we floated and flowed through vinyasa. If you are here to get a great body - that's awesome for a few years - but we are all going to be wrinkly soon. (Laughter) - so you better find a better point.

The point is to breathe, to be at one, to find peace, to move your body, to have a collective spirit. It's nice to be reminded of that.

He had great sequencing and a very balanced class. I looked over as we did hip openers at the end of class and watched this yoga teacher couple hug each other and watch their class. And I smiled. You could see their joy, and feel it in the class. Beings with that kind of passion and presence breathe life into an evening. What a neat and special thing to experience.

Namaste.

-Grateful Yogi