Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
Click here to view the accidental yogist's map of los angeles yoga studios in a full-size page

Sunday, December 18, 2005

in the beginning...

it was quite by accident that i got into yoga. literally. up to that time, i was a marathon runner and a few-trips-a-year skiier. as fate would have it, it was during the first hour of the first day of my first ski trip of the 2004-2005 ski season (a season that had phenomenal snow conditions, i must add) that i had that pivotal accident. long story short, i twisted my leg and fell on the slopes. when the ski patrol helped me up to my feet, my knee buckled when i shifted my weight onto my right leg. oh no, this is not good, was my first thought. and i was correct; once i got back home, the orthopedic surgeon confirmed that i had torn my anterior cruciate ligament (also known as the ACL). i could kiss skiing goodbye for the rest of the season, and more tragically, my running would have to be put on hold, too.

after a month of crutches, a knee brace, and pre-surgery rehab, followed by ACL-reconstruction surgery and a period of post-surgery rehab, i was cleared to start building back up my exercise routine. my first goal was to get back the flexibility i had lost in my knee. plain old stretching didn't sound like the most interesting activity to me; however, that body-contorting exercise that my good friend BDB was addicted to sounded like a good alternative. so to supplement my ongoing physical therapy sessions, i was going to add in yoga therapy sessions. i would build back up my strength AND flexibility, and if i worked at it long enough, i might even become the lean, mean running machine that i had always hoped to be. and if my orthopod had actually transplanted that kenyan tendon i had asked for, maybe i had a chance at winning a race or two...

so where to start?

i needed a yoga expert, someone who could show me exactly what i could and couldn't do with my injured knee. i needed a studio that was convenient enough so i couldn't find an excuse NOT to go. i needed classes that would fit in with my work and walking (in lieu of running) schedule. and most of all, i needed the cost to be reasonable enough so i wouldn't go broke in the process.

armed with my KCRW fringe benefits guide, i sat in front of my computer and started googling. and it didn't take long before i found what i was looking for:

studio - santa monica yoga
class - sarah bates' level 1 GENTLE class on saturday mornings
cost - a new student intro special: 3 classes for $25, and if i REALLY got into it, i could get a 10% KCRW fringe benefits discount on a 5-, 10-, 15- or 20-class pass

according to the studio's website, here's sarah's background:
"Sarah Bates invites those who think they can’t do yoga to think again. Learn in a safe, non-judgmental setting with a gentle, experienced yoga teacher/yoga therapist. Stretch, strengthen, balance, relax. Sarah holds RYT-500 certification and is a trained occupational therapist."

now armed with a goal, a plan, and the determination of a marathoner, i was on my way to what was, hopefully, a better knee...