Yoga Studio/ Dojo Review: O.B. Namaste, Ocean Beach, California

O.B. Namaste

How I ended up here:
I decided to vist Renee Gauthier-Sensei (One of my first teachers)

First impression:
I was an hour early to the 0700pm class and thought to chill in the lobby until class started. Upon entering, I realized that there was no separation from the class currently in progress and the lobby. I waited outside on a bench. Sitting out was a nice experience, everyone that walked by said hello. Good community.

Lobby Front of House (FOH):
Beautiful FOH. Dark, wooden benches with silk cushions and mini water fountains built in! Walkway with stonework embedded in the floor. Well set-up boutique to graze. Renee introduced me to the teacher that just finished her class, Elka-Sensei. Confident, charismatic, radiant, aware. She saw the emblems on my kimono and shared that she is Brazilian. She easily made a connection with me and invited me to her next class. I was impressed. Renee would inform me after her class that she is the founder of O.B. Namaste. Made sense, Elka is a wonderful figurehead.
Front Desk:
This is always a big deal for me because of my restaurant experience. Usually its either an employee or teacher or both at the front desk. In this case Paloma, an employee checked me in as the instructor floated the floor and greeted the students. The front desk employee is a big key to success. Paloma was welcoming, but business. She mentioned costing in a concise manner as she checked in other students. I tested her by asking for a comped class as a guest of Renee. In a professional manner, she said she had no pre-discussed communication that would signify a comp. Well done Paloma. Again, front desk is important and she had it down. Paloma reminded me of Purple Yoga Studio’s GM, Sequanna.

Cost:
$20, 7 day, intro package

Aesthetics:
Beautiful ceiling, lighting spaced out evenly with dimmers, wood floors, no mirrors, and an amazing Buddha mural on the south wall. Sound set-up was clean and seamless as Renee plugged in her Ipod. Clean artwork and decor without being overly dogmatic and overwhelming.
Restroom: One restroom, no shower, clean.

Usage of space:
The front door faced north. Bathroom at the end, south. Large stage, east. The long sides of the space were the east and west sides. Floor could approximately accommodate 40-50 mats. I personally think the large stage was not necessary. The placement and the dimensions of the stage caused the students to set their mats in a half circle. I imagine that the space could be better utilized without a stage and the students facing north. Dual purpose of the students facing north, the restroom would now be in the rear, and anyone that used the restroom during class would be less distracting. Suggestion: another curtain partition in front of the restroom to conceal people waiting.
There are also two theories in student mat placement: Some teachers allow students to place their mat anywhere. Other teachers set-up a clear grid, that would allow pathways and all students to have clear lines of sight. There is no wrong theory.
I think that there easily could have been a curtain that could serve as a partition between the lobby and the class in progress. Especially with such a beautiful lobby. A semi-transparent curtain would serve a dual purpose in the sense that if the teacher was the only employee in the space, he/she could still have awareness and mindfully/ quiet students could wait inside.

Teacher/ class:
Renee’s bio is on the OB Namaste website.
She exhibited: Welcoming opening monologue/ Kriya, Iccha, Jnana/ P Principal/ Class management/ Verbal, visual, proximal, and professional physical adjustments.

Community:
I felt great, calm, no-ego community with the other students. The class consisted of all levels, styles, body types, ages, etc.. I did not know it at the time, but another OBN teacher set-up next to me. Lena-Sensei’s gentle and gracefulness contributed to the community energy and served as a demo model for some poses. It seemed like I could call everyone neighbors.

Final thoughts:
I would come here again. Plenty of parking, welcoming, well selected teachers, beautiful space. Nice community.

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