The first yoga class I attended under the guise of Atlanta Yoga Scene was a class by Claire at Atlanta Activewear. She taught a very uplifting class from her genuinely happy, bubbly personality in a style that she called Purna yoga.
I had never heard of this style before! I consider myself a relatively knowledgeable yogi, and an open-minded student who has now sampled many of Atlanta’s styles. Still, that remains the only Purna yoga class I’ve ever taken or heard of.
Fast forward a couple of months, and Claire contacted me again to say that she was teaching at a brand new studio called All Life is Yoga, opened by the Atlanta native and Purna teacher extraordinaire, Rutu Chaudhari.
If you haven’t heard of Rutu, check out the Directory and see that she teaches at some of the leading Atlanta studios like Jai Shanti, Yoga Samadhi, and Decatur Yoga and Pilates. At Yoga Samadhi, she’s even been holding teacher trainings for Purna yoga.
But I really wanted to know, how did she find Purna, and what is it? So I picked up the phone to interview her…
Rutu found yoga in college and, in exchange for power yoga classes, she offered fruit to her teacher and classmates. As with many of us who become long-term yogis, a demanding physical practice rapidly turned into a demanding spiritual practice, and one practice a week soon turned into daily personal practice and meditation.
Upon graduating from Georgia State University, Rutu became certified to teach yoga and began on a career that allowed her to explore and share her passion. She tried a wide array of styles, and decided on vinyasa flow as her style of teaching. Soon after, she started noticing that she wasn’t connecting to her students on a holistic level. She felt like they got the postures, but that somehow there was more to yoga that she couldn’t yet convey to her students.
After more searching through styles and studios, she began looking for a teacher–a classic teacher-student yoga relationship that would enable her to dig deep into living yoga, in addition to doing yoga. In this search, she found Purna yoga master Aadil Palkhivala. With him, Rutu finally found the most holistic approach to yoga that included alignment, asana, deep meditation, spiritual and mental health and complete well-being. What really differentiates Purna yoga, though, is that it draws on a principle of aligning all thoughts, actions and emotions to the heart center as a means of aligning from within and without.
She went to study with her teacher in Seattle and completed the 2,000 hour Purna yoga teacher training.
You read that right–2,000 hours. This intensive study was one way of saying that Rutu believes, just as the guru who said it, “all life is yoga.”
Now that she’s back in Atlanta, her hometown, she has returned to teach yoga at many of the studios that she taught before the move to Seattle. Being grateful that the town welcomed her with open arms, she opened the doors to her very first studio downtown, All Life is Yoga.
Although it may have seemed like a natural progression, in my interview with her, she told me that she really hadn’t anticipated that she’d have a yoga studio of her own this soon. She had originally wanted to wait 3-5 years after re-establishing herself in Atlanta, but after looking around an small downtown loft for sale, she found herself moving organically towards her once long-term goal. And it just unfolded from there into the studio that it is today.
As of this writing, All Life is Yoga is now in its second week, with Claire, Rutu and a staff of other dedicated Purna teachers sharing this holistic, life-affirming and joyous practice with our beautiful city! Although I haven’t yet made it out myself, I can virtually guarantee from my conversation with Rutu that it will leave a distinct impression on your practice and your heart.