Fitness Friday: Maha Yoga and Healing Arts (Main Line)
By LNapolitanoPsyD on March 28, 2014
Maha Yoga and Healing Arts is an intimate yoga studio tucked into a quaint neighborhood in Ardmore. Maha Yoga offers the following classes: basics, open, yin, restorative and gentle. Massage is also offered at this studio. Maha has a great reputation for expert instruction under the direction of co-owner and lead teacher Justicia De Clue. Justicia has created an environment that really celebrates the art and beauty of yoga. She is passionate about sharing her love of yoga. To that end, she has created two low-cost classes for her devotees. The first is the ever-popular ‘yogahour’ heated class for only $7. The second is a weekly ‘community’ yoga class where participants can pay what they are able to contribute.
My Introduction to Maha Yoga and Healing Arts
At the start of my yoga journey in September, I remarked to someone that I didn’t understand the ‘rules’ or ‘social norms’ around yoga studios. Shoes off? Socks on? Is talking ok? Is talking verboten? I felt like I was constantly at risk of breaking an unspoken yoga rule. In response to my newbie anxiety, a yoga teacher clarified that different studios have different cultures. She said that there is often laughter to be heard at Maha Yoga while other studios tend to be quieter. Curious to better understand the differences between the various yoga studios on the Main Line, I set my sights on Maha Yoga.
Class 1: Yin Yoga with Yolanda
I showed up early to class so that I didn’t get lost en route to the studio. The studio was locked but I could see that there were people inside so I waited outside. Yolanda was warm and effusive. She made me feel comfortable and at home. She turned on jazz music and had the participants arrange their mats. As we took each ‘shape’ on the mats, she read excerpts from a book about the practice of yoga. Initially, I struggled to relax. Old ‘anti-yoga’ Lauren reared her ugly head temporarily. I thought, ‘oh man, this is too beatnik for me.’ But as I let Yolanda read, I found myself sinking into the mat and feeling moved by the passages that she was reading. By the end of the class, my guard was down and I was grateful that I had attended.
Class 2: Gentle Yoga with Cicelee
Cicelee’s energy and smile lit up the yoga studio. She absolutely beamed with a passion for teaching yoga. She guided the class through a series of stretches and poses. She happily assisted newbies, like myself, with alignment. Her class was lovely and gentle and appropriate for all athletic levels.
Class 3: Open (All-Levels) Yoga with Justicia
I was so enthusiastic about Maha Yoga based on my previous two classes that I brought a friend with me to this class. Justicia was fascinating to me. She smiled, she laughed, and she made each participant feel welcome. She was quick to read my face and body language when I felt confused and she gave me tremendous instruction with my alignment. Justicia also gently pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I had regarded myself as a clumsy yoga newbie but Justicia encouraged me to see that I was more capable than I had thought possible. During her class, I found that I was able to hold two poses that I had never thought that I would even attempt. Justicia’s class was more athletic in nature than some of the other ‘All-Levels’ classes that I’ve taken in the past. I’m still beaming that I was able to do more advanced poses. Thank you for the encouragement, Justicia!
Curious to Check it Out? Here’s What You Need to Know:
- Because of the small size of the studio, the outside door of the studio is locked when class is in session. If you arrive early, just take a walk or sit in your car until you see the previous class exit the studio.
- Bring a water bottle and a towel.
Typical person at this gym:
- I observed the gender ratio to be 70% women/30% men, but it could be more balanced on the weekends.
- The age range runs the gamut. There are classes that are good for all ages and athletic abilities.
What You Should Wear:
- Clothing that is good for stretching and movement.
- The culture is very laid back, so there is no pressure to wear the ‘right’ outfit.
Anything Else You Should Know:
- Booking classes can be done online. It’s very efficient.
- There is ample metered parking outside of the studio.
- There are many interesting workshops offered at the studio – check the website!
About Maha Yoga and Healing Arts – Main Line
66 Rittenhouse Place
Ardmore, PA 19003
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.