September 30, 2011 at 12:08 am EDT | by Kevin M. Norris
A calming space

Finding a tranquil space to relax, unwind and let go in the heart of it all in Washington may seem next to impossible without actually driving to the beach, country or retreat.

Certainly there are peaceful parks and bodies of water that calm our senses, but finding a peaceful reprieve in the midst of the city may prove to be a bit more challenging and harder to fit in your busy schedule. But surely you can find a free hour or three?

You don’t have to look far to find Tranquil Space Yoga, a 4,000-square-foot haven located at 1632 17th Street, N.W. Tranquil Space has operated as a Yoga retreat in the city since 1999 originally as a fourth-floor walk-up in Kimberly Wilson’s living room. In May 2008, Tranquil Space settled in its eco-friendly, elaborate-yet-peaceful space with three yoga studios, a gift shop and clothing line housed next to Safeway on 17th Street, N.W. Tranquil is located in the heart of the 17th Street gayborhood and in a space that Travel and Leisure Magazine voted it among the top 25 yoga studios in the world. And you will encounter several demographics here.

When you walk into Tranquil Space you can’t help be wafted with a sense of calm and serenity and know that an escape is a moment away.

Tranquil was established by renowned Yogi Kimberly Wilson in 1999. She’s trained in various styles and has been teaching since 1999. Wilson created Tranquil to be a “Vinyasa Yoga playground.” And Tranquil is now a certified registered yoga school as a place to train up-and-coming Yogi practitioners and for continuing education. Some of the best local Yogis have graced this school. Wilson is the sole owner and teaches one class per week. Tranquil offers 60-70 classes per week and has regular requests for more.

In addition to being a practicing and teaching Yogi, Wilson is a twice-published author, artist and philanthropist and was named one of the top four yoga teachers in D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine in 2011.  Wilson also designs TranquiliT, a locally sewn, organic clothing line, with a percentage of proceeds donated to organizations that support women’s creativity.

Wilson is also the co-founder of the Tranquil Space Foundation that supports women and girls with finding their inner voice through Yoga, creativity and leadership. And in her free time Wilson is pursuing a master’s degree in social work.

Another instructor, Kevin Waldorf Cruz, joined Wilson at Tranquil Space in 2003. He’s been teaching yoga since 2002. He’s the director of teacher training at Tranquil and teaches one of the few all men’s yoga classes in the area. The men’s class is Thursdays at 8 p.m. and no registration is required.

The men’s class began in 2008 and gives men the opportunity to relax a bit more and focus on their own practice without worrying perhaps what women may think. With the majority of yoga classes populated mostly by women, men may be intimidated by the average class given that women’s bodies and abilities differ from men’s. Offering a men’s only class seems to eliminate some of these fears and also creates an atmosphere to bond with other men.

The men’s-only class seems to be populated by a balance of gay and straight men and there’s a variety of age and effort levels and there has been talk about adding another men’s class because of its popularity.

The overall style of yoga taught at Tranquil is Vinyasa, which means sequence of flows for energy and balance. And in addition to the men’s-only class, there are a variety of classes and effort levels to choose from.

So just what makes yoga special and what can it do for me? Cruz is quick to point out that the work he does in the classroom translates to healthier, less-stressful living and an increased mindfulness that he carries beyond the classroom.

How can this be measured? Cruz says there’s an innate “calming effect of yoga” that has positive ruminations into one’s life. Cruz points out that he is less quick to anger, more mindful of others, less judgmental and patient to name a few. Yoga also allows him to “burn off bad karma” and has awarded him many physical benefits as well. He used to have several running injures, which are no longer the case and he says his posture, balance and strength have improved significantly.

Classes at Tranquil are $14-$18 per class depending on how many classes you purchase. Yoga mats can be rented for $2 for those not wanting to make the mat investment just yet; when you do Tranquil has several to choose from.

Can’t everyone use tranquility in his or her life? Tranquil Space is just the place to get that perfect escape, relax, exercise and socialize among others.

Tranquil has a second location in Arlington on Wilson Boulevard.  Kimberly Wilson can be reached through Kevin Norris at [email protected].






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