The Rudra Center provides yogi’s with food, exercise and kinship

The Rudra Center provides yogi’s with food, exercise and kinship

The Rudra Center provides yogi’s with food, exercise and kinship
January 30
15:21 2017

Denton brings in various opportunities for creativity, diversity and artistry. Many people who stop here along their journey of life, whether for school or work, end up staying or living close by for those very reasons.

Denton also knows the importance of community and kinship.

Nestled in the somewhat busy hustle of Locust Street, located just off the Square, is a tribe of yogis, mentors and spiritual advisors. This spot, known as the Rudra Center, has one simple mission: to help those who are seeking guidance to find their way.

“The center is a spiritual university of sorts,” said Jenny Baker, Shadow Mountain yoga-instructor and headmistress. “We have self-knowledge classes, once a month ceremonies, yoga and meditations that are open to the public.”

The Rudra Center has been occupying its location since 1971. It began with Swami Rudrananda and small group of people seeking deeper spiritual knowledge and insight of self.

After an inspiring speech that changed many lives, Rudrananda, or Rudi, was personally invited by the small group to come to Denton.

Yoga enthusiast Ashlyn Mansfield poses as the “flyer” in a yoga technique called “flying.” Eat Play Love is a two-day event focusing on empowering individuals through yoga, meditation and healthy foods. Sara Carpenter

This invitation led to the eventual establishment that is there today, known as an Ashram, or a place to study spirituality. As it happened, Rudrananda made the down payment for the two-story plantation home, which also doubles as the learning center, but left the rest to be produced and paid for by the students.

“All of the money we make goes back into the center,” Baker said. “We’re just here looking at ourselves and finding our character and we like to share that with people.”

Rudrananda could not always be present, but would travel once or twice a year between Manhattan, New York to Denton. He did so until his passing in 1973.

Since Rudrananda’s passing, the torch of headmaster has passed from Stuart Perrin to its current leader Robert Baker, also known as Silver Ra. He has held the space of the Rudra Center since 1978, continuing to help it flourish.

And flourish it has.

Not only are the grounds beautifully adorned and comfortably sheltered by trees, they are currently in the midst of expanding and adding a larger space for classes.

“For me personally, the center keeps me studying,” Ra said. “There comes a point where as you learn, you eventually have to give back and teach the people around you. I use this as a platform for myself and in that process, I assist other people who are also seeking.”

The Center actively looks to provide new opportunities to Denton.

To provide for a larger part of the city, the Eat, Play, Love workshop celebrates a connection between individuals and the community itself.

The latest event was held Jan. 28-29 at the Rudra Center.

The two-hour event is broken down into three categories. Attendees have the opportunity to meet new people while engaging in playful yoga sequences and poses, eating healthy food and getting mini massages.

Jenlyn Meyers, the mastermind behind Eat, Play, Love, began yoga as a means of reintroducing and reconnecting with herself. This curiosity would later expand into trying acro-yoga, the practice of combining yoga and acrobatics.

Coming from a difficult past of connecting with others, Meyers also took it upon herself to study psychology, which created a deeper interest in people and developing her community.

“When I got into acro-yoga, it was really life changing to build these positive, healthy connections,” Meyers said. “Being able to playfully enjoy the different poses and share something with someone else is what it’s all about.”

Initially intended to be a short tour, Meyer hopes to develop the program over time into a longer workshop.

The cost of a single day of the event is $25, while attending for both days is $40.

“The basis behind acro-yoga is about finding your inner child and exploring that with other people,” Meyers said. “It’s also a healing art that involves learning to let go and trusting someone to support you.”

Meyers, a UNT alumni who is currently attending school in Corpus Christi for a Master’s degree, was accompanied by her mom for the weekend long event.

“She’s been my greatest supporter,” Meyer’s said. “She helps me with demos and helps me to stay grounded.”

Both the Rudra Center and the Eat, Play, Love event were meant to find one another, even if just for a single weekend. Merging into one another, the communities that help to sustain the two most certainly act as a glue.

“As a self-employed healer and someone who has been doing yoga on/off for six years, this was a great experience for me,” Denton resident Rachel Scott, 32, said. “I think that having spaces like this greatly enhance the quality of a city.”

Featured Image: Yoga enthusiasts Natasha Driedger and Nathan Herzog practice a yoga technique called “flying.” Eat Play Love is a two-day event focusing on empowering individuals through yoga, meditation, and healthy foods. Sara Carpenter

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Cierra Edmondson

Cierra Edmondson

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