This month, we are featuring Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room. Ase is a spiritual wellness based studio that is located in Philadelphia, PA, and run by Dr. Robin Alston.
Introduce yourself and your studio a bit.
“I am Dr. Alston, psychologist, yogini, and author. I am the founder of Àse Yoga Studio & Tea Room, an African American owned business. I bring not only credentials but also direct experience in healing to my studio. With a deep and intuitive insight on life, my beginnings normally tend to astonish others, but my choices are made to inspire. I have authored two books, The Art of Feeling Good, The Power of Àse Yoga, and Àse Yoga, Where Every Breath Counts, and am currently completing a book on food, Are we Eating Poison or Health? Eat Right, Now.”
What made you get into yoga?
“Yoga came to me early through my constant seeking for peace, balance, and love. I had experienced an extremely difficult upbringing and suffered from the residual effects of that upbringing. As a result, my life has always been on a path of transformation and transcendence. However, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, yoga became integral to my healing. My attraction to yoga was not because of the movements, but because I wanted to live. In the process, I learned that this ancient practice dated further back than the 5,000 years in India, and was also practiced in Africa. I also realized that yoga was the answer to my healing. I always share that I was born a yogini, but needed to remember it. Thus, yoga, for me, has been a practice in rising above my challenging experiences into higher consciousness; it has opened me to the spirit and saved my life.”
What made you want to open up a yoga studio?
“Àse Yoga Studio was opened because I felt that Western yoga placed so much emphasis on the movement, performance, and not the practice. Admittedly, when I started the asana practice, I had a white teacher who didn't make me feel welcomed. It felt like I was invisible. Clearly, this teacher was asana strong. However, I asked “is this yoga”? And the answer was no. In opening Ase Yoga Studio, and Tea Room, I did not want that experience to ever happen to another person. Neither did I want this experience to deter me. I earned my advanced training in yoga, and also earned training in medical yoga so that all people could benefit from yoga. People are reluctant to practice yoga because they see the asanas, and shy away from it. At Àse Yoga, the practice is personable, relaxing, and transformative. Culturally, I also wanted to introduce the world to Àse (pronounced "ah-shay") which is divine, spiritual word originating from West Africa, which means "the power to do." In practicing Àse Yoga, the powerless become powerful, the hidden becomes manifested, and the unrealized becomes realized.”
How does Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room differ from other studios in general/other studios in your area?
“Àse Yoga is a consecrated environment that culturally harmonizes with the African Goddess, Aset, the Universal Mother Goddess. Our space is consecrated and energetically cleansed on a regular basis. By consecration, the Àse Yoga space, unlike a gym or random setting, is energized with holy water, dedicated to higher consciousness, and thus sacred. Àse Yoga is not scripted, and so the practice is designed to meet the needs of the students. Everyone benefits from the ages of 3-85. We've served students with bilateral knee replacement, strokes, backaches parapelegic students; students expressing depression, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Unlike some places that offer a variety of classes, we offer a practice to a community that includes gentle, restorative, and relaxing asanas. These practices are heart-friendly, and high blood pressure sensitive with 70% of the population suffering hypertension. At Àse Yoga we spend time relating, meditating, and learning how to breathe.”
How is your studio staying busy during the pandemic?
“We've become a member-only yoga studio. During practice, we socially distance and limit the number of students we serve. I post daily on social media because I do believe that yoga is not just about the movement. In the future, we will be producing more online resources. Overall, however, we've done well during the quarantine.”
Describe Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room in one word, and why that word?
“Authentic. We strive to provide an authentic yoga experience wherein the students feel the union of mind, body, and spirit. Utilizing the ancient systems which focus on life forces, chakras, 72,000 nadis, food, chanting, and meditation; we seek to unblock energy, calm the nervous system, and heal the mind and body.”
Any advice to entrepreneurs looking to open up their own studios?
“Make it a labor of love. Also, ask yourself "Is this a place I would like to come?"
What would you like future potential members of Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room to know about your studio?
"Àse Yoga inspires, relaxes, and restores. We are traditional, we apply the ancient wisdom of the right knowledge, self-knowledge, and understanding. Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room is not just a studio, but a medicine.
For more information on Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room, you can head to their website at https://www.aseyogastudiotearoom.com/
or find them on Facebook (Ase Yoga Studio & Tea Room), Instagram (@aseyoga), or Twitter (@aseyoga).
To get your studio featured, send an email with your studio name and the subject line: Yoga Studio Of The Month. Make sure to explain why your yoga studio should be featured! Until next month, Namaste.