Athens Yoga, 77 1/2 E. State St, is home to many yoga classes ranging from classic practices to special events. With all of the spooky events happening for Halloween, Athens Yoga decided to host a calming “Musical Meditation and Gentle Flow.”
The class was led by Erin Pfahler who teaches slow flow and vinyasa classes. The music was performed by ukulele player Molly Jo Stanley, who lives in California and teaches classes there. Stanley started out in Athens before she moved to California, so the two have been friends for a while.
The two have collaborated for classes before, and when Pfahler saw that Stanley would be back in town, she knew that they had to host a class and bring back their dynamic duo.
Pfahler loved the idea of having two people teaching the class and having that balance between the instruction and music. Additionally, she explained that having the live music was the main enhancer of the experience, and that’s what made the class so special.
“Having two different perspectives, styles and someone in the room playing music is very unique from having speakers playing the music,” Pfahler said. “This experience is what sets the class apart from the others. It’s the best part.”
Before the class started, Stanley chose a mantra for the class to put its focus on. The mantra for the class was “Isvara Pranidhana,” which literally translates to “surrender to supreme consciousness.” Because the class focused on meditation and surrender, Stanley felt the mantra was extremely appropriate.
As far as the music goes, Stanley chose some of the songs beforehand, but a lot of her choices were organic during the class, and they came to her as she was playing. She observed and listened to the class and allowed their energy to influence what she chose to play.
“From my perspective as a teacher, due to playing from that mindset, I love the ability to watch students, listen to instructors and compliment what’s going on in the class with what I play,” Stanley said.
The class was also very pleased with how the practice went. Between the stretches, the aromatherapy and the soothing music, the people were very relaxed.
Molly Faragher, a teacher of power yoga and gentle flow at Athens Yoga, attended the class to unwind from her day and support the other instructors.
“From a teacher’s perspective, it’s incredibly relaxing to relinquish control of the practice and have someone else guide me through, and of course Molly Jo’s music was beautiful and calming,” Faragher said.
Although Musical Meditation isn’t offered every week and was just a special event, Pfahler is trying to find other musicians who she can schedule to accompany similar classes for next month. Even though Stanley and Pfahler can’t always do classes together, it isn’t the end of their duo.
“Erin is someone I love to practice with as a teacher and a friend,” Stanley said. “We share a lot in common, so our collaboration in these settings give me a chance to grow and a chance to spend time with someone who helps me on that path.”