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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

private practice

1717 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Feliz, CA 90027
(323) 913-0109
website: www.yogamatt.us

"If you take a yoga class and afterward feel like treating yourself better, another person with deeper kindness, or are more balanced in a situation, then you’ve spiritually grown. Even if you only make one single new healthy decision then return to your regular disposition, that’s a step forward. You’ll have used yoga to increase your spiritual development." - Matthew Reyes

i'm a matthew reyes groupie. and i'm not the only one. here's how the lululemon santa monica website describes him:

"Matthew Reyes, Los Angeles hatha yoga instructor, combines a celebration of hip music with the beauty of the human body in motion. His yoga classes have hot groovy music and yogi men and women who love to bend, stretch, and twist to the rhythm of an urban beat. Matthew's is a cutting-edge yoga class. Celebrities such as Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, Estella Warren, the Olson twins and David Ducovney come for his hybrid of traditional Eastern yoga style with Western head-bopping music. Like a dj, he spins Eminem, Janet, Prince, and Coldplay. Matthew’s yoga class is the ultimate feel-good, get-you-revved-up and ready-to-succeed power yoga class. His personality reaches a wide variety of students, and is able to motivate the new yogi and mentor the long-time student. As Matthew teaches, he makes you step into the middle of your athleticism."

for the past three months, i had been religiously attending matt's sunday morning classes at maha yoga. the time and the place were perfect; it was early enough on sundays that i could be done and showered and still have a good portion of the day ahead of me, and, better yet, it was just up the street from my home. so when i decided to follow him across town to his new studio, one would wonder why i'd replace one perfectly good routine with one that was extremely inconvenient...

i believe i need to start from the beginning to explain myself.

as you know, my acquaintance with matt goes back a few years to the days we used to run in the same marathon training group. he moved on and ended up in yogaland while i stayed and kept pursuing the marathon medals (note: don't be too impressed by that; all marathon finishers, no matter how slow, get medals when they cross the finish line). so when i found out that he was opening up his own studio, YogaMatt, in los feliz, i felt i needed to show support for him and his new endeavor, even if it meant driving almost 20 miles just to feed my hip-hop yoga addiction.

initially, the logistics worked quite well. the first week his studio was open, all the classes were FREE. how could anyone NOT take advantage of that sweet of a deal? plus my office was only seven miles away, so depending on my work schedule, i could usually make either of his two weekday evening classes. or even his saturday morning class, since traffic wasn't an issue that early in the day.

the biggest difference between matt's classes at maha vs. his classes at his new studio was the class size -- while there were easily 60 students in the room at maha, there were only 6 at a time at yogamatt. there was no need to fight for precious floor space, no need to worry about getting your foot in someone else's face (or vice-versa). each yogamatt class was practically a semi-private session, with each student getting individual attention. matt was always nearby to correct misalignments and to help expand poses to the next level. and more deliciously, he went from student to student, giving out his signature massages to help loosen up stressed-out necks and backs. BDB, my partner in yoga addiction, and i proclaimed it the best-kept secret in town, although we knew that as word got out, matt's classes would eventually reach critical mass like those at maha. in the meantime, we had him to ourselves, and as we'd laughingly say to each other, "it's all about us, you know."

classes at yogamatt were so worth it that when the free class period ended, i immediately made a commitment and bought a series of classes. matt had assembled a wonderful group of yoga teachers for the studio, and in time, i hoped to take at least a class or two with each of them.

then things changed. i lost my job, so not only did i lose the convenience, but i also lost the extra income i had to indulge in my yoga pursuits. however, i did have that series pass, so at least i was good for a while. not only that, but i also had the time to try out the weekday classes. so while everyone was cooped up in their respective offices, i was free to drive across town, unencumbered by traffic. i guess unemployment does have its merits...

all good things eventually come to an end, as they say. but not in my case. just as i was about to use up the last class on my series pass, my knight in shining yoga shorts, aka BDB, came to my rescue -- he gifted me with a new series pass for my birthday! that guy sure knows how to please a woman... or is he just buttering me up because his own birthday is fast approaching?

anyway, i have enough classes to feed my yoga addiction for a while, which is great because i've come up with a way to put my unemployed weekdays to good use. more on that in the next installment...