Bridge Pose

This bridge is beautiful:

Bay Bridge, San Francisco to Oakland

I cross it for this bridge:

I do not work in Oakland, do not have a lot of friends in the East Bay, and have no need to shop for groceries or other items over the bridge (although they do have a very nice Target).

I cross the bridge multiple times a week to go to Berkeley...for yoga.

Yes, I live in San Francisco. A city of 1,000 yoga studios and plenty of yogis.

I cross the bridge for Forrest, and a studio that makes me feel part of a very solid yoga community.

And to be taught by Kristin Goldsmith.

Going to Berkeley has become a meditation. To be fair, it actually does not take me that much longer to get to 7th Heaven Yoga and utilize their free parking (oh, what a glorious thing) than it does for me to sit in slow traffic to the Mission and fight the street parking battle to practice at Yoga Tree Valencia (my other studio love). At best, it is six and one half dozen the other. At worst, 7th Heaven is probably quicker some days!

For me, it is quiet alone time - all by myself in the car. Blasting songs with the sun roof open to feel the predictable Berkeley sun. Some days, the view across the bridge coming home is so beautiful that it can bring me to tears. Looking out at the clouds rolling against the Golden Gate in the distance, watching my city being enveloped by fog as the sun starts to set, I say a silent thank you to the universe for the gifts that I have been given. 

Kristin is one of those gifts. She is a truly uplifting teacher. Incredibly knowledgeable about alignment, thoughtful in her sequencing, and devoted to the Forrest practice, Kristin offers a class that is both challenging and accessible. Kiki, as she is affectionately called, comes to class with a smile and a theme.

I love when teachers have a theme - it focuses your energy and attention to either a particular area of the body or to a specific emotion or feeling. It helps connect the physical aspect of the practice to the mental piece. When you come to class distracted or distraught, it gives you a purpose beyond what your brain is working out behind the scenes. It helps you silence that for even just 90 minutes. This past week, when I arrived in Kiki's class on Tuesday, I was uncharacteristically grumpy and cranky - and my wrist was hurting. Our theme turned out to be focused on "earth energy" - a grounding practice. It really kept me present - grounding was just what I needed. 

Kiki fosters a wonderful sense of community in class - it has been a pleasure to get to know the people that practice next to me. There is a sense of belonging in the journey. And because Kiki is so positive - you always leave class feeling that your spirit has been brightened up (Forrest yogis - think "sparkle up").

Kiki is doing something very special in the next few months. She is opening her own studio - where her love of Forrest Yoga, Pilates, and Vinyasa will merge into InnerStellar Pilates and Yoga Studio. One of the many reasons I am looking forward to her new studio is its accessibility to public transit (three blocks from the Ashby BART stop), but the biggest joy for me is to watch someone steward the Forrest practice so publicly in my area and to spread the gift of that practice to more people.

In gratitude for the deeply positive practice that she shares with so many of us each week and with blessings for a great new adventure.


You can like Kristin's page for InnerStellar on FB for updates about her new studio. You can currently find her teaching at 7th Heaven Yoga in Berkeley and Namaste Yoga in Oakland.