“I’m going to yoga.” How many times does someone, somewhere in SD, say those words in the course of one day - or even one hour?
I searched online for an answer - certain that someone, somewhere, not doing yoga might be compiling freaky statistics about it - and found no results. But I’d be willing to bet my pricey, state-of-the-art, lifetime-guarantee yoga mat that whatever the number, there are equally as many ways to interpret the phrase.
“Going to yoga” can mean just about everything, from chanting, laughing out loud, or silently sun-gazing on a mat - with or without the peach-colored robes - to doing the standing splits in a 110-degree room or while floating on a SUP board - with or without the bikini.
Whatever flavor-profile suits your palate, there’s a studio in the heart of South Park that has created the space for a full spectrum of practices and forms to come together.
“Our philosophy has always been to move people forward,” said Brad Bennett, co-founder of Ginseng Yoga. “What I’ve experienced after 10 years in the fitness industry is that supporting people in their wellness journey looks different for each individual’s journey. The result was an eclectic mix of classes and styles.”
And as its name would suggest - the root term Panax Ginseng being a reference to the terms “all heal” and “panacea” - Ginseng Yoga’s offerings range from deep healing applying Ayurvedic principles for those recovering from illness or injury, yin yoga with Reiki, prenatal, and kundalini with gong healing to challenging vinyasas, core flows, and advanced Bheemashakti practice based on the Ashtanga Swara system.
“The main reason for having a huge schedule and so many classes is our personal belief that there should be something for everyone,” co-owner Cindy Bennett said. “Not everyone can stand on one arm - some people have disabilities, some are fighting cancer.”
From warriors executing one-armed balances to yogis in meditation - even athletes tackling cardio-strength training across the street at G-Fit Ginseng - in the course of one day, the practice spaces transform from class to class like the shifting scenes of a Bollywood movie.
And speaking of Bollywood, it just got a little more spicy on Friday nights when the Ginseng practice space is taken over by the movement of belly dancers flowing to the rhythm of Afro-Cuban percussion.
“Temple dance is mostly rooted in belly dance,” Golden Love, founder of Roots Dance Theatre and a Temple Dance and yoga instructor, said in a recent interview with DiscoverSD, “but it’s a blend of the elements, rhythms, and movements of Afro-Cuban, freestyle, and modern dance. The idea of temple comes from the body being the temple of our souls and the dance forms being rooted in sacred practice. So pulling from the idea of vinyasa as a flowing through shapes, Temple Dance is a moving meditation. It’s all about moving and unfolding and intertwining and allowing a safe space to explore rhythm and motion with grace and ease.”
Temple Dance is a one-hour, all-levels class. Everyone is welcome regardless of experience in dance or yoga. The class opens with yoga asana warm-up and breath work. Then mats are rolled up, and practitioners start with belly dance drills, then move into a belly dance combo infusing Afro Cuban, freestyle, and modern. If you’re looking for more warm-up time, check out the Yoga Bliss class scheduled before temple dance - a gentle, slow-movement asana practice and a great way to set up for temple dance.
And whether you’re all about the vigorous, vinyasa warrior flow or the gentle, Hatha stillness, what you’ll experience spinning together the big dynamic elements of Afro Cuban with the sensual, subtle threads of belly dance is a fun, playful energy. And a core workout that will make you really grateful there are restorative classes and massages at Ginseng to get you ready for your next Bollywood night.
Yoga Bliss and Temple Dance
Where: 2985 Beech St., SD 92102
When: Yoga Bliss 5:30-6:45 p.m. Fridays; Temple Dance 7-8 p.m. Fridays.
Phone: (619) 338-9642
Anna Mueco has been a student of hatha and kriya yoga since 2003. Mueco became a yoga instructor in 2006 and currently teaches in Pacific Beach. Send your thoughts about the yoga world to her at anna@HyperNinjaYoga.com