- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- BENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS : Holistic Movement Center is celebrating an anniversary, and Yogi Valentina Petrova wants people to come celebrate.
# When you're truly passionate about something, the passion becomes contagious. That's the case with Yogi Valentina Petrova and her Morro Bay yoga studio, Holistic Movement Center.
"It's all that I do because I cannot find anything more enjoyable in life," Petrova said. "I used to be a professional athlete in Bulgaria. I worked at the UN for a little bit. I was an investment banker. Yoga is what I love most. How can I not want to share it? How can I not want everybody to experience this?"
She opened the studio six years ago after numerous requests from people who wanted to take classes from her.
"The reason why people come here is because they feel a supportive environment," she said. "Classes are smaller than classes in San Luis Obispo, so it's more intimate. People feel comfortable here."
The center is founded on yoga, but periodically offers other classes like Tai Chi, belly dancing, and the history and philosophy of yoga.
"We have five teachers right now and at least a couple of classes every day. We try to cover different age groups and different levels of ability. We have classes for 50 and older and those are very popular," Petrova said. "Really what sustains the place is yoga. That's what people come here for. We have a lot of regulars. There's this little community because all the regulars know each other and hang out outside and they motivate each other to go to classes and they know about each other's lives. It's very nice to be part of that."
The center is celebrating its six-year anniversary on Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. at 845 Napa Ave., unit A. A professional drummer will lead a drum circle, and a movie will be shown at 7 p.m..
"Students are bringing their own instruments, so we're going to have a nice loud Saturday afternoon. And food is provided. We're giving away a lot of stuff: classes, massages, goodies from the store," Petrova said. "We must be doing something right if people stick around for six years!"
Drop-ins are always welcome, and there are a variety of payment options. Classes are cheaper if you buy in bulk.
"The first class is always $5 for local people," Petrova said. "I don't sit here and calculate this many people, this many dollars. I don't think in terms of money. That's not why I'm here."
So why is she here? Petrova practices and teaches both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga.
"I see yoga as a lifestyle," she said. "I don't see it as a workout. I know there are plenty of people who strictly see it as a workout and that's fine. That's the beauty of the practice. It's versatile.
"You can take it on a very simple level like a physical therapy type thing or you can take it on a very deep level all the meditation and the studying and everything. Whatever you want to put in, that's what you're going to get out."
The atmosphere is different than your typical gym yoga class. People are sincere about what they're doing, Petrova explained, and they're not simply looking for a workout.
"They are really practicing yoga as yoga," she said, "and that is very sweet."
For more information, call 909-1401 or visit HolisticMovementCenter.com.
Intern Megan Dupre compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Items for consideration should be mailed, e-mailed, or faxed to New Times.