What is Your Mode of Existence? A Review of Sattva Yoga

According to the great modern guru of Wikipedia, Sattva is one of the three Funas or “modes of existence” developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. Sattva is the quality of goodness, positivity, truth, wholesomeness, serenity, wholeness, creativity, constructiveness, balance, confidence, peacefulness, and virtuousness that is drawn towards Dharma and Jnana (knowledge).

That incredible list of adjectives that help make up the concept of Sattva perfectly encapsulate the spirit of Sattva Yoga. Set into a small converted house on Florida Ave in the recently hip neighborhood of Seminole Heights, the spirit of Sattva is welcoming and encouraging. This is how a yoga studio should feel. It is cozy, unpresumptuous, and encouraging. Walking in feels like entering someone’s private yoga retreat, but they are more than happy to have you there. Actually walking in though, may be a bit challenging. The first step is finding the parking lot entrance.

The studio is set off of the street and considering that the parking lot is behind the building, it can be confusing to newcomers. To get yourself there, look for an overgrown access road to the left of the little house. The path almost looks like it belongs to the strip mall next door. This will lead you into Sattva’s backyard, overgrown and glittering with string lights. Once you park, you enter the studio through the back entrance. The back patio is home to dozens of potted plants, which gives the entire place a tropical, zen vibe. Look out for Kali Tutu, the studio’s outdoor cat who also makes the porch her home. Abandon your shoes here. Once you step inside, check in via a wall-mounted iPad and find a spot on the beautiful hardwood floor. Sattva provides blocks, blankets, and straps, but you should plan to bring your own yoga mat.

Every teacher has their own unique style of running a class, but everyone at Sattva is going to give you a brief Dharma talk before class starts. These brief speeches are meant to inspire your spirituality and guide your practice. Sometimes they are motivated by the teacher’s own experiences, sometimes they are influenced by the change in seasons or the time of day. Whatever the topic, they are a great way to transition you from a hectic day to a peaceful practice on the mat. If owner and creator, Kelly Watson is teaching, you will most likely enjoy a brief meditation and Om to the hypnotic tones of a harmonium, a free-read pipe organ that looks like a cross between a child’s piano and an accordion but sounds like a small symphony. From there, you will launch your practice.

Sattva offers gently guided practices for yogis of all levels. There are beginner classes available, but really anything is accessible to anyone. The small space and intimate interior make it easy for instructors to offer personal attention and hands-on adjustments. You can find balance-based flow classes, yin classes, seated meditation classes, and even prenatal classes. No matter which class you choose, the thesis of Sattva seems to be “Re-energize the mind, then the body”. Unlike more athletic studios that encourage yogis to build muscle and work up a sweat, Sattva asks its yogis to turn their motivation for improvement inward towards their minds and spirit. If you are interested in the spiritual and meditative aspect of yoga, something you may not have been able to find at other studios after your fifth iteration of Sun Salutation A, then Sattva is a great place for you. And no, you do not need to know how to meditate before you show up. They will teach you. They are instructors, after all.

In addition to offering fantastic, spirit-guided yoga classes, Sattva offers 200 and 300-hour teacher trainings, yoga therapy & massage (by appointment), and a small artisan store featuring items from local artists.

Sattva is also incredibly affordable. A drop-in is $13, which is pretty standard, but your first month of unlimited yoga is only $30! After that, it is only $60. You can also purchase an entire year of yoga for $600. A 5 class punch card is $50, and a 10 class punch card is $100. Anyone who has price-compared yoga classes recently will recognize those rates from about 10 years ago. When Sattva first opened, they advertised with the slogan “Make Yoga Affordable Again,” which of course speaks to their welcoming nature and community-based values.

If you are looking for another window into the spirit of Sattva, look no further than what owner & creative-director, Kelly Watson, says about herself on the Sattva website:

“Yoga is the Science of Self-Realization. This time tested path found me when my body and mostly my mind needed healing and guidance. I believe that the world of yoga is so vast, and full of so many transformative tools that anyone can become a practitioner of this great science and make it a way of life. As an instructor, I push my students to develop a sadhana or daily personal practice that keeps them in touch with their highest Self and in harmony with the rhythm of life. My classes are full of passion; utilizing music, mantras, and mudras to convey very specific themes, relevant to the culture we live in today. I am forever grateful for my own teachers in this life: Annie Okerlin, Alison Cramer, Kelly Morris, Barb Newborn and most importantly Tony Nenov for providing guidance on the path of yoga and always reminding me of the importance of practice and detachment. Namaste!”

This self-actualized and spiritual practice may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Some yogis are in it primarily for the strength and flexibility, and that’s fine. But if you are curious about the history and intent of yoga, or if you would just rather spend your $60 on a month of yoga classes instead of one session with a therapist, then definitely check this place out. They will be happy to have you!

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