I always knew that the day would come when I would try yoga. Well, today was that day. It took yoga instructor and all around health guru DeChantell “De” Lloyd to get me to take the plunge. While I trusted that I would be in good hands with De, it was mostly the surrounding set of circumstances that piqued my interest.
Yogi In Da Trap is held on a plot of land on the East Side of the city. De grew up in the neighborhood, and she and various members of her family still live there. A couple of weeks ago, she told me that she was starting to do some micro farming on a property that she had purchased from The City – 12 Rustic Avenue. She said that she was experimenting with some different veggies. She also mentioned that she was teaching yoga on this piece of land on Saturdays. So I went online, and conducted a “fly over” map search of the site. It wasn’t long before I was online once more… purchasing a yoga mat.
The parcel of land that De had acquired has an incredible backdrop of an abandoned brick mattress facility, which, she told me, was fully active when she was younger. Now, apparently developers are buzzing about, touring the building, which is very interesting – a residential development of this size would be incredible for neighborhoods surrounding Genesee Street. In the meantime, we’re counting on people like De, who is a real visionary, to create these types of magical places, so that others may enjoy the fruits of their hard work.
The first Yogi In Da Trap class was held this morning at 11am. A couple of friends joined me, and next week a couple more said that they would try it out. The class is “donation based”, which is great. It means that anyone can join in. All one really needs is a yoga mat and (highly suggested) a bottle of water. The outdoor setting is extremely peaceful. It starts out with some meditation to music. Then, De walks everyone through the positions (also to music), from downward dog (adho mukha śvānāsana – not my favorite) to vriksasana (tree pose – my favorite position). I must say that doing yoga in an outdoor urban-farm-like setting is pretty amazing. The cricket symphony was very loud – the din helped to drown out all other noises. And the wind blew a nice steady stream of air about, which was refreshing.
I’m not going to go through the entire routine, but what I will say is this: Yogi In Da Trap is a very welcoming weekly class that is great for beginners, though anyone is welcome to attend. De makes everything very easy to understand, and everyone goes at their own pace. Personally, I’m going to make this a regular Saturday occurrence, and I have a feeling that others are going to join in on the healthy fun.
Although it’s not exactly part of the class, De gave us a short tour of the neighborhood afterwards, and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk about.
Right around the corner from Rustic Avenue is Lansdale Place.
At the end of a dead end street, we came across an old Jewish burial site, which in itself was spiritually powerful. It was also surreal to suddenly come across this seemingly long-forgotten site.
While most of the graves were worn-yet-intact, there were others that were in need of help (a number of headstones had fallen over). Someone from the Jewish community should check this place out, and see if there is something that can be done to make amends.
Between the hulking block-long brick building (a real head turner), the serene and picturesque cemetery, and the amazing yoga class, I feel at peace and recharged. I’m super excited to have a new Saturday routine, and I welcome others to join in on the fun.
De has purchased a couple of vacant lots in the neighborhood, and she has her eyes on a couple more. Her dream is to build a sustainable house with her own two hands, which she says “… could turn out to be a community effort.” Heck, I’ve used the Tom Sawyer fence painting routine on plenty of others, and could see myself getting roped into that one.
Until that time comes, I will be content being a young grasshopper among a field of crickets at 12 Rustic Place, every Saturday at 11am.
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