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Thursday, April 06, 2006

a yoga benefit preview

i don't usually sign up for yoga workshops, mainly because they cost more than my yoga budget will allow (at least until i land a decent-paying job). but this one caught my eye, and since the proceeds will be going to a good cause, i'm making an exception and have penciled it into my calendar. besides, it seems like a good deal for two and a half hours of yoga flow, ecstatic dancing, and kirtan chanting:

Saturday, April 15
7:30pm - 10:00pm

exhale venice, 245 south main street
310.450.7676 / info@exhalespa.com / www.exhalespa.com

$25 Suggested Donation to Benefit exhalesoul

Yoga Groove Collective
Seva - A Night of Celebration + Activation to Benefit Our Community

Join Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, Ashley Turner, Julian Walker, + Suzanne Sterling
for a playful, musical and devotional yoga celebration.

Seane, Hala, Ashley and Julian will tag-team teach a 90 minute yoga class followed by kirtan with Suzanne and possibly other surprise guests. Be prepared to move, dance and sweat. This is the beginning of a series of events aimed at supporting local artists and healers in our community. The proceeds from this first event will be going towards Suzanne's next CD. We hope you'll join us!

the four yoga teachers all teach at westside yoga studios -- seane and hala at sacred movement, ashley at power yoga, and julian at santa monica yoga. their classes are so popular that the rooms fill up with students as soon as the doors open.

in the past year, i'd taken just a couple of classes with each teacher, so i thought it would be a good idea to take a class with each of them before the 15th to refresh my memory and maybe get a preview of the big event.

march 29th - seane corn
in my opinion, seane's classes are the perfect mix of spiritual and physical yoga. what she says is always inspirational, and her yoga moves are challenging enough to make one sweat yet not feel overwhelmed. she teaches a challenging level 2/3 class, so beginning students need to get their basics down before trying her out. all i can say is that i love her classes, and if she's involved in any fundraiser, i'll definitely be there!

april 5th - julian walker
ah... julian. to me, taking his classes is like going through childbirth. as i'm going through the experience, i feel totally uncomfortable and swear off ever doing it ever again. however, the memory quickly subsides, and next thing i know, i'm going through it once more (please note that i only have TWO kids; i'm not a serial babymaker!)
so what makes his classes uncomfortable?, you ask. maybe it's my repressed catholic school upbringing, but being in a class where students are encouraged to vent (loudly, i must add) what they're feeling at the moment bothers me. i have a hard enough time concentrating on what i'm doing without having to listen to others moan, groan, grunt, and yes, even scream and cry during class. julian makes the students hold poses for a very extended period of time, so i'm convinced that all the noise is a result of everyone straining themselves and expressing the pain they're feeling. honestly, i could have sworn that the woman beside me the other night was in the throes of agony, and was damned proud of it! his friday night trance dance classes at santa monica yoga draw the most dedicated of his devotees. he offers 90 minutes of total release to a loud primal beat; it's the students' chance for freeform physical and vocal expression without judgement. who needs a shrink when they have julian?

april 6th - hala khouri
the classes i've taken with hala have always been level 1/2 classes, so there's always a beginner or two in the group. she leads nice, easy flow classes where you move at your own pace, to your own ability. hala gives out the basic instructions and suggests more difficult variations that the more advanced students can do. since everyone pretty much does their own thing, i never feel the need to push for the harder alternatives (unless, of course, i think i'm up to it). she solicits special requests from the students and does her best to accommodate their wishes. she's a great teacher for people who are either new to yoga or take classes infrequently.

IOU - ashley turner
i took one of ashley's classes barely three weeks ago, but since i've committed myself to revisiting everyone, i need to take another one. it should be easy because she teaches almost everyday. not only that, but i can trade in a power yoga karma credit, too. watch this space for an update...

... and here it is...

april 13th - ashley turner
ashley was featured in the april 2006 issue of yogi times los angeles (and so was hala khouri, see above). the title of the article was dhyana, which in simplest terms, means meditation. of the four teachers who will be participating in this saturday's event, ashley's students probably spend the most time in meditation. i remember one class where she started the class by playing an excerpt from a ram dass lecture. she had been so inspired by the man that she felt we would be, too (unfortunately, it had been the end of a long day for me, and the last thing i wanted to do was concentrate on what some faceless person was saying).
ashley's classes are flow classes; the students flow from one asana to another, gently stretching and easing into position, then holding there just long enough to reap the benefits of the pose.

so given the varying styles of the four instructors, the seva night at sacred movement on the 15th should make for some very interesting yoga!

as for suzanne sterling, here's her bio as listed on her website www.suzannesterling.com:

"Suzanne Sterling is an ecstatic vocalist and songwriter whose devotional music has been called a "groove-loving and seductive journey into Spirit."
She has received critical acclaim both as a performer and as a recording artist. Her debut album "Bhakti" reached #5 on the New Age/World radio charts; and her music has been commissioned for film, theatre and video - including "Gifting It", an award winning documentary film about Burning Man Festival. She also recently completed the music for the bestselling yoga DVD "Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Seane Corn" produced by Gaiam Inc.
She also works extensively in the yoga and wellness communities, bringing a special blend of music, yoga, kirtan and sacred ceremony to a wide range of nationwide events such as retreats, emerging culture conferences, large festivals, dance parties and sacred gatherings."