Those who practice yoga know that, while regular practice will help to strengthen and lengthen your body tremendously, the physical component is just a fraction of what it’s all about. Yoga is a mental and spiritual practice, and in order to truly feel that connection, it seems that it is best when practiced in a calming environment; an environment that reminds you of where you came from – one that feels like nature.
Enter Amrita Yoga & Wellness. I first heard about this studio when I was asking around about beautiful, local yoga spaces. Our creative director has an eye for beauty, so when she recommended Amrita in Fishtown, I knew I was in for treat. For real.
On a Friday morning, I stepped into the small lobby, and ascended the gorgeous raw wooden steps that led to a cozy front desk.
Upon realizing that the class had already begun, I quickly slipped out of my shoes, grabbed a mat, pushed open the wooden studio door, and slid into the back of the room.
I laid down my mat and hopped right into Warrior I with the rest of the class. My mind was racing with thoughts about how I could have possibly gotten the time of the class wrong and how I would apologize to Heather (who was currently teaching the class) once the class was over. But those racing thoughts were soon put to rest as I began to focus on the sound of Heather’s calming voice against the relaxing trickle of the waterfall at the front of the room.
I basked in the heat of the room – warmed by a real fire, and completed the class, mastering each position to the best of my total-beginner ability.
When the class came to an end, I got a chance to talk to Heather, Director at Amrita Yoga & Wellness, about her ideas behind the studio, and was so inspired by everything she had to say. Heather moved from Portland, Oregon just a few years ago to start her own practice here in Philadelphia. While she was previously living in Philly, it wasn’t until she lived in Portland that she really became in touch with spirituality. She explained how Portland is a city that’s infused with and surrounded by nature. The yoga studios are flooded with natural light as it streams through huge windows, and it’s easy to feel one with the elements of nature; the elements of which we’re made. Heather could have stayed in Portland, but she felt that Philadelphia had a real need for this studio – and I think she couldn’t have been more right.
It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle (I can’t believe I just used that phrase) of daily life in a city like ours; to forget to look up at the sky and realize that we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for nature. It’s easy to get caught up in the lights, the cars, the signs, and the noises of the city; to hop in our car after a busy day at work, go to a quick power yoga class, hop back in the car and carry on with our busy lives. Somewhere that connection with nature gets lost, and as a result of that, we start to lose ourselves. When we’re not in touch with nature, we begin to feel ungrounded. We feel stressed out and we don’t know how to fix it.
Heather’s idea behind Amrita Yoga was that she wanted to create a space that easily allows us to feel that connection with nature. To do this, she felt it was so important to incorporate the elements of earth, air, fire, and water into the atmosphere – so that’s exactly what she did.
“Living in an urban environment,” Heather explained, “we forget that we are designed to be at one with these things.”
The studio floors are a gorgeous wood, stretching from the back of the room all the way to the front wall, where a waterfall provides the most peaceful, natural sound. According to Heather, having wood all around, as well as the color brown, reminds us of Earth and the feeling of being grounded. The waterfall is to remind us that the flow of life can be soothing and relaxing.
On either side of the waterfall is a live fireplace that warms the entire room. This is not just to give us a sense of warmth, but to represent feelings of passion.
Windows line an entire wall, and there are even skylights which allow us to gaze directly at the stars, should we find ourselves in one of the nighttime yoga classes. These things are to enable us to look up and remind us of something that’s bigger than we are.
Heather explained that the realization of these common things we share feeds our community, encouraging each of us to be a bit more conscious of our surroundings and the way we treat our environment, as well as one another. “It helps us to realize that we are all one,” Heather said. “Not just as human beings, but also with Mother Earth.”
These starry ceiling lights were so gorgeous.
I loved that in each window hung a single glass orb with a tea light candle.
This was the sweetest little pup, just hanging out by the front desk.
Amrita Yoga & Wellness is not just a place you go to “get that yoga butt of your dreams” (although you will do that, too). It’s a space that allows the awakening of the life forces within to restore strength, vitality and radiant health to the mind, body, and spirit. (AmritaYogaWellness.com)
If you ever find yourself in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia, you owe it to yourself to pay a little visit to Amrita Yoga. :)
Check out their Facebook page, too!
And if your yoga wardrobe needs a little lift, we have a bunch of beautiful new items in our FP Movement line!