(photo caption: Pamela Fierst, co-owner of M Street Yoga)
Southwest DC is proud to welcome its newest member to the community, M Street Yoga. Tucked inside the ground floor of 300 M St. SW at Carrollsburg, A Condominium, M Street Yoga is the neighborhood’s first yoga studio. Just weeks old, the studio is already providing the community with a much-needed physical and mental break from the daily stresses of city living.
As Pamela Fierst, co-owner of M Street Yoga, mentioned to me when we met last week to discuss the new venture, “I have already had a few people who have stopped and given me a hug, thanking me for finally bringing yoga to the community.”
The space is simple – it features two studios, a foyer, and a changing room – but this simplicity is a good thing. It permeates one’s practice, allowing one to focus on breathing, poses, and the guidance of the instructor, as I quickly found out when I participated in one of M Street Yoga’s inaugural classes.
My instructor was Lynne Montgomery, a certified yoga instructor was has been practicing for over a decade. The class had a mix of beginners, seasoned yoga practitioners, athletes, the young, and the old, and Lynne did an excellent job of tailoring the class to the group’s needs. If a plank pose, for example, was too hard, Lynne encouraged students to drop to their knees. If something was too easy, she demonstrated pose progressions that would be appropriately challenging. By the end of the class I felt relaxed, focused, and physically invigorated – exactly what I hoped to accomplish during the hour long class.
Although the studio is simple, that is not to say the owners, Pamela and her partner and co-owner, Tim, do not have big plans to grow it and make it their own as well as the community’s.
As Pamela advised me, “Good studios are built on repeat business and belonging.” One way that M Street Yoga is creating this sense of belonging is by catering to the needs of the community. Already Pamela has ideas on how to accomplish this. M Street Yoga plans to eventually offer a whole menu of classes and workshops that will appeal to athletes, beginning practitioners, retirees, those recovering from injuries, and everyone in between. In addition to the course offerings, Pamela and Tim would even like to use the walls of the foyer to highlight local artists in the community. For them, it would be a way to bring individuality to the studio and really root it in the community.
One of the most interesting initiatives M Street Yoga is bringing to Southwest is its focus on veterans and active duty U.S. military personnel. With Ft. McNair and the Navy Yard within walking distance of the studio, Southwest DC has always had strong ties to those who serve our country. At M Street Yoga, these ties are even stronger. Pamela is a graduate of the National Defense University located on Ft. McNair and Tim is a retired Lieutenant Colonel. As Pamela stressed to me, they are both committed to using the studio and the practice of yoga to assist in the recovery of mental and physical strain that military personnel might have.
“This was part of the drive that lead me to open up M Street Yoga,” Pamela said.
Naturally, M Street Yoga is also committed to helping relieve the daily stresses accumulated from living and working in a company town like DC. One of the most beneficial aspects of practicing yoga, according to my instructor, Lynne, is the break from the linear flow of DC.
“It’s less rigid – a counter-balance to the bureaucracy inherent to DC,” she said. In support of this worthy mission, M Street Yoga currently offers classes in the mornings and evenings, seven days a week. Classes range from the more athletic and flowing Vinyasa style to Restorative Yoga, which focuses instead on breathing and static stretching to calm the mind and relax the body.
“In the end there is no such thing as a bad yoga class,” exclaimed Pamela. “It’s all about what you bring to it and what you want to get out of it.”
After taking a class at M Street Yoga, I can safely say that Pamela, Tim, and their cohort of passionate instructors are well on their way to providing the space and instruction for residents of Southwest DC to realize the benefits yoga can bring physically, mentally, and to the community as a whole. M Street Yoga’s schedule, prices, and class registration can be found online at www.mstreetyoga.com.
New students to the studio can participate in 30 days of yoga for $30. M Street Yoga provides a variety of classes for different skill levels and styles of yoga. The studio also provides complimentary mats for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.
By: Max Gruber