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At Yogaraj Studio, Meditation Is The Key To Emotional And Physical Strength

By S. Mathur

Jay Co, teacher, founder and owner of Yogaraj studio in Santa Monica, CA, just believes in yoga. He feels that yoga helps you make peace with yourself, making it a lot easier to be at peace with everybody else.

"It picks you up, it calms you down, it keeps you honest," he said. "Yoga heals. Yoga lifts your spirit, opens your heart, sharpens your mind, nourishes your body, and provides a much needed training ground for the everyday trials of being human."

By joining patience with persistence, yoga cultivates resilience. The basis for the practice of yoga, for Jay Co, is meditation.

"It is my experience that nothing is a bigger catalyst for positive change than the committed, regular practice of sitting at the center of your own undivided attention," he said. "I opened yogaraj because I wanted to make this experience of yoga affordable for everyone."

At yogaraj, the heart of the practice is "power" or vigorous flow yoga. This is the most common form of yoga practice in the west and feels like a workout with continuous, attentive movement. At yoagraj, it comes with an extra dimension, and that is self-reflection. Mediation is the road to emotional, mental and physical strength. Yoga uses physical poses to focus attention. Yogaraj also offers specialty classes, workshops and other events including yoga with dancing and chanting.

The atmosphere at the studio is casual and welcoming. When opening his own studio after 15 years as a teacher, Jay Co knew that he wanted to avoid the corporate, elitist turn yoga practice has taken in recent years.

"We aim to offer a lot more than spandex and smoothies," he said. "We seek a Practice that makes you feel good at the deepest center of your being, we cultivate a supportive and encouraging community that you genuinely like being around, and we have a team of teachers who really care about you and your development."

For those who are new to yoga, the only recommendation is to bring an open mind. Students who need guidance in choosing the right class are asked a number of questions for placement. These include reasons for taking the class, current physical condition and level of physical activity, age and any other yoga classes or practice.

Students appreciate the minimalist, intelligent approach to yoga without any pretensions. To keep the classes accessible, they cost $10 each. Memberships are also available. Yogaraj also offers several teacher training courses. The studio has been open for two and a half years and has just opened a second location in downtown Los Angeles.

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