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Thursday, February 09, 2006


1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. 2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries. 3. An instance of making such a discovery. - The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

despite the fact that nothing went according to plan, i ended up in a wonderful yoga class this morning.

and i have my massage therapist to thank for it.

for the past week or so, i'd been suffering from nagging lower back pain. i don't believe in taking pain meds and the like "just because", pretty much because i believe that the pain is a signal that something's wrong. and that it should be attended to. so when it got to the point last night where the discomfort in my back kept me tossing and turning all night, i decided that drastic measures were needed.

i called the massage place on montana avenue early yesterday morning to see if i could book a deep tissue massage with my favorite massage therapist. unfortunately, the guy is SO good that all his appointments were booked for the day. not only that, but he didn't have any openings until next week! desperate, i resorted to calling his personal cell phone to see if we could work something out. and in the meantime, i kept trying to find the right back-twisting motion that would somehow snap everything back into place. by late afternoon, the spasm in my back was even more aggravated by all the contortions i had been putting my body through.

just when i thought i had to go through another night of interrupted sleep, mr. magic fingers returned my call. not only did he get my message, but before he called me he spent some time trying to find an opening at any of the other locations so he could fit me in somehow somewhere as soon as possible. unfortunately, no such luck. at least he tried.

we chatted a bit more and talked about things we had in common (running) and things we didn't (his being extremely busy with work and my not having any work to do at all), with the latter explaining why it had been months since i had last seen him.

then out of nowhere, he offered to give me a massage for FREE! not only that, but HE was going to come to ME; all i had to do was tell him where he should bring his portable massage table. there was only one problem, though. i couldn't deal with the idea of my having a massage at home while my daughter was in the other room doing her homework. but not wanting to miss out on what seemed to be an extremely generous proposition, i told him i'd come up with a place and call him back.

after furiously scrolling down my cell phone contact list, i called my friend anita. would she perhaps be working late that night so that i could use her place while she was out? she said that while she was actually already on her way home, she was going to be locked up in her study trying to catch up on her paperwork, so i was free to use her living room. and since she expected to be working late into the night, i could take all the time i wanted. perfect!

... an hour later, my savior showed up at anita's doorstep -- massage table, lotions, sheepskin pad, and flannel sheets in hand.

... two hours later, all the kinks were finally worked out; i was blissfully relaxed and was headed home for a hot bath. in exchange for the excellent service i received, i offered to treat him to a yoga class of his choice. and he accepted.

the massage must have also relaxed the muscles in my brain, because the next morning, i left home for my yoga class without really knowing where the studio was located. it was in west hollywood, that much i knew. i was working from memory; it had been over a week since i had planned out my yoga schedule. i vaguely remembered it to be near la cienega and melrose, so i headed in that direction.

then things started going awry...

oops #1: there was no yoga studio at nor near la cienega and melrose! i rummaged through the yoga schedules in my car and found my yoga calendar. it turns out that i got two studios confused -- one was at la cienega and santa monica, and the other, the one i needed to get to, was at melrose and fairfax. with fifteen minutes to go before class was to start, i quickly turned around and changed course.

oops #2: when i finally got to earth's power yoga, i was surprised to find out that steven earth (after whom the studio was named, which is why i wanted to take his class) was NOT teaching that morning! i had shown up on a thursday; steven teaches the 10:30am classes everyday EXCEPT tuesdays and thursdays. somehow, with all the class-swapping i had done earlier that week, i ended up putting his class on the wrong day on my calendar.

oops #3: all flustered by the fact that i had shown up on the wrong day, i forgot to ask for my 15% KCRW discount.

what i did end up with was a class taught by andrea marcum. her class was small; there were only six students spread out in the rather large room. andrea later told me that she usually averages around 30 students in her classes, but for some reason, it was an extremely light day. lucky me!

her class wasn't too hard (no handstands nor arm balances) nor too easy (no time wasted in teaching the basic poses). it was challenging, but doable. we started out with a rapid-fire series of sun salutations. then she had us holding poses that worked our hamstrings for extended periods of time. my legs were screaming for mercy, but i kept at it. after all, i didn't want to wimp out in front of all her class regulars (and how many times have i told myself to stop being so yoga-competitive?). and to make things harder, with the class size being as small as it was, there was no room for slacking nor cheating. she gently lifted my leg, repositioned my hip, raised my arm, straightened my back, and made me relax my head and shoulders. what do you mean, hold that pose for three more breaths?!?

i must be a masochist, because i WILL return for more...

Earth's Power Yoga
7901 Melrose Avenue #208
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 655-9642