It’s my second to last self practice morning in Cairo and I walk through the Shala door, instantly struck by heat–the unmistakable warmth that comes from consciously moving bodies, from that deep breath with sound. I look down and am excited by the numerous pairs of footwear, more than what could fit on the shoe rack behind the door. I cannot help but smile in excitement, “it’s really happening!”
The Shala is the new yoga space, opened by my friend Iman Elsherbiny and her partners Lina Almari and Fadi Antaki, which partly drew me back to Cairo this last time. A little known yoga treasure in this part of Cairo, The Shala boasts of the only regular traditional Mysore program in Maadi (Mysore is a self paced way of instruction that empowers students to own their practice, to move consciously with breath, to learn the practice that is perfect for their body at the present moment) while also offering children’s yoga, TM meditation courses, kirtan, and vinyasa flow classes.
It’s been a joy to see the how each day is different, how the classes are filling up over the months. And then to come into a room that’s heating up, well, it’s pretty exciting stuff.
Of the teachers within the Ashtanga yoga tradition, I fall into a particular breed that move, from one place to another, covering programs, guest teaching–I do my part in the propagation of the yoga practice, spreading yoga dust with my traveling yoga mat.
However, a different kind of work awaits the teachers like Iman, brave enough to open shop and hold space on a regular basis (the gold standard amongst Ashtanga teachers)–they are like seeds, rooting themselves into the ground so that they can build a proper foundation in which a space as well as people’s practices can grow. It means overriding the wanderlust, it means showing up each morning no matter what. This is where the magic of daily practice happens, under the care of those willing to seed.
It’s been a very special time, this seeding of The Shala. It’s been really special to see this space at its infancy, to see it at so many “firsts”. I look forward to seeing it grow.
PHOTO: Mysore mornings at The Shala: seeding, growing! Mysore classes with Iman are 8-11am Sunday to Wednesday. The Shala is located at no 6, Road 200, Maadi.