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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Jala Studio’s Creative Combination: Yoga And Art

by Wendy Fachon

Jala Studio Yoga & Art offers ashtanga and Jivamukti yoga classes in downtown Providence and is distinguished by an emphasis on personalized hands-on assists, to guide and support alignment, and a schedule that fits in with the workday—early morning Mysore classes, lunchtime vinyasa and Jivamukti during after-work hours. The studio also offers weekend classes and retreats. Located by the river on South Main, “Jala” is named for the Sanskrit word for water. Human bodies are made up of 70 percent water, which enables energy flow, flexibility and other important aspects of being.

Studio founder, Bristol Maryott, travels to India regularly, where she studies Sanskrit, chanting and advanced yogic practices. This helps Maryott present yoga in a way that is as pure, authentic and respectful as she can.

Vinyasa yoga, commonly referred to as “flow” yoga, is characterized by stringing together a sequence of asanas (postures), so the student can move from one to another, seamlessly, using breath. Lunchtime vinyasa classes are designed to de-stress busy workers and provide a calm midday oasis. The 45-minute classes, composed of gentle movement and poses, allow workers to return to the office feeling spacious and not too sweaty.

Ashtanga yoga is a vigorous vinyasa practice where students move progressively through set series of postures. Mysore practice, a traditional way of practicing ashtanga, is named after the City in South India where the ashtanga guru, Sri K Pattabhi Jois lived. In Mysore practice, each student practices individually at their own pace. Students receive guidance and one-on-one assists from the teacher in a quiet, focused, individualized setting that allows an intimate relationship to develop between student and practice. Students begin with the first poses of the Primary Series and are introduced to new postures by the teacher as they gain proficiency.

Jivamukti yoga is a physically and intellectually stimulating vinyasa practice emphasizing spiritual awareness. Each class focuses on a theme, which is supported by asana sequencing, yogic breathing, music, meditation and explorations of yogic philosophy. Again, hands-on assists are provided to support each individual's alignment.

A third distinguishing feature of Jala Studio Yoga & Art is creativity. Bristol holds an masters degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art, in London, UK, and has worked at Sotheby’s in London and the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. Maryott believes that art and yoga are complimentary disciplines exploring consciousness. In founding Jala, Maryott wanted to create a space where yoga practitioners could both inspire and be inspired by art. In November and December, Jala will be presenting the artwork of Providence painter Margie Butler, whose work spans plein air, abstracts, collage and painted objects.

Jala Studio Yoga & Art is located at 285 S. Main St., Providence. For class schedule, visit