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Monday, April 03, 2006

heee's baaack!

as far as i know, by the time i took my first class at sacred movement in venice, saul david raye was no longer teaching there. he had co-founded the studio in 2002 with max strom; it eventually became the home studio for other renowned yogis such as shiva rea, erich schiffmann and micheline berry. but sometime in late 2004 / early 2005, saul moved on. i had heard "the veterans" talk about the small studio where saul taught classes on a donation-only basis and where the lines went out the door. determined to find out what he was all about, i did some googling and found him ensconced at shakti's elements, a small yoga studio/boutique in santa monica.

since then, i'd taken a few of saul's classes, and as far as i'm concerned, the draw has been the smaller class size, the individualized attention (he usually has an assistant working the room with him), and the pay-what-you-can-afford pricing. the supposed lines were never an issue for me because i took his 10:30am monday/wednesday classes while most working folk were doing just that -- working.

in the meantime, there were many comings and goings at sacred movement (now known as exhale venice to almost everyone but me), including max strom's move TO oregon and seane corn's move FROM yoga works.

so when i picked up the latest spring schedule and noticed that saul was going to resume teaching at sacred movement, i knew that his return would be a big event.

his first class back was scheduled for sunday, april 2nd, at 10:30am. i made sure i got there early and planted myself right by the door to the sun room, the larger of the studio's two rooms. by 10:20am, the lobby was full of so many excited students that the resulting noise level caused the teacher of the earlier class to stick her head out to ask us to please keep our voices down.

during class transitions, the normal procedure is for the incoming students to make way for the outgoing students at the doorways. this time, there were so many bodies standing by the main door that special traffic control was needed; the exiting students had to be instructed to leave via the side doors only.

once the floodgates opened, so to speak, there was a mad rush for spots. by the time i put my towel on my mat and sat down, the room was packed to capacity. all this excitement, and the class hadn't even started!

other than the much-larger class size, saul's class at sacred movement was fairly similar to his shakti version. a harmonium was played, saul spoke, the group chanted, then the yoga asanas began. saul and his two assistants roamed the room as he led us through the usual sun salutations and standing poses. probably because the time allotted to this class was less than his usual "just under 2 hours", saul left out the usual shoulderstand sequence and gave us five minutes of yogi's choice before we relaxed in savasana.

since saul's time is now divided between shakti and sacred movement, his new schedule looks like this:

monday: 10:30am - 12:15pm (shakti) / 6:00pm - 7:30pm (sacred movement)

tuesday: 7:35pm - 9:00pm (sacred movement)

wednesday: 10:30am - 12:15pm (shakti)

thursday: 7:35pm - 9:00pm (sacred movement)

sunday: 10:30am - 12:00pm (sacred movement)

i'm hoping that his subsequent classes at sacred movement are less crowded. honestly, i didn't appreciate having someone else's bottom in front of my face as i did a forward bend from a standing straddle, or someone else's feet by my nose as i did a bow pose.

maybe i'll stick to the smaller shakti classes until the initial excitement wears off...