Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Sunday, June 25, 2006

valley girl

Angel City Yoga
12408 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 788-9642

my plans for saturday's yoga adventure in the san fernando valley were set in motion when i received an email invite from rising lotus yoga, a new studio in sherman oaks, for their grand opening celebration:

We've been open for over 2 months and we're inviting you to celebrate with us as a thank you for your support!
Our Grand Opening Celebration in this Saturday, June 24 @ 7pm

Shaman's Dream will be playing so we hope you'll come by to say hello, dance, and meet other yogis in the Rising Lotus community.

according to their website, besides the live performance by shaman's dream, that evening's celebration was to include food, an elixir bar, luscious bath products, foot massages, and a 5-class package giveaway. the moment i heard about the food, massages, and freebies, i immediately added their party to my calendar. all i needed now was a yoga class to fulfill my daily yoga requirement.

unfortunately, the only yoga class rising lotus had that immediately preceded the event was a workshop at 2pm, so i checked the schedules of nearby yoga studios -- angel city yoga, annie's yoga, and black dog yoga -- so i didn't have to spend three hours trying to find ways to kill time before the party. also, in the interest of trying to stay aesthetically pleasing (and socially acceptable, if you know what i mean), i looked for something that was gentle enough so that i wouldn't need to hose myself down afterwards. in other words, no sweaty power/advanced yoga.

i ended up going with marie besso's "hatha yoga for everyone" class at angel city yoga. it was perfect for many reasons: the studio was just down the street from rising lotus, i had never been there before (so i'd be able to add another studio to my list), the class ended about an hour before party time, and it seemed to be exactly what i was looking for:

All Levels And Conditions Welcome
Hatha Yoga Including: Breath Work / Deep stretches / Floor work / Wall work and of course use of props to modify postures if you need.
Leave the class energized, with a clear mind and a profound sense of relaxation and harmony.

Beginners are welcome!
Advanced, come and work in depth.

so on saturday afternoon, i hopped onto the 405 freeway to make my way to the valley from the westside. and true to form, traffic was at a standstill (can someone please tell me where everyone seems to be headed at 3:30 in the afternoon on a saturday?!?).

by the time i got to angel city yoga, marie's class had already started. luckily, she still had the door open to allow latecomers (like me) to join the class. she instructed the students to lie on bolsters and blankets in reclined cobbler pose and motioned for me to wait for her outside so that she could sign me in.

back in the classroom, we slowly went through a series of standing and seated poses. the postures were held long enough for marie to help the beginners get into the proper position and for the more advanced students to analyze themselves in the mirror and make the necessary corrections. i found it particularly helpful since i could finally see all the little adjustments my teachers had been reminding me to do: bend my knee, straighten my leg, drop my shoulders, and so on. there's nothing like a good basics class to keep yogis from getting sloppy in their asanas...

after class, marie and i chatted at length about the classes and teachers at angel city yoga. we also compared notes about hip, back, and sciatic nerve pain and what yoga poses were good for relaxing all the tight muscles that cause the pain. before i left, she strongly recommended that i take a class with shosha bottoms, who supposedly does wonders for students' aches and pains.

as for the celebration at rising lotus yoga later that evening, it was everything the owners, claire hartley and daniel stewart, had promised it would be. plus more. the newly-refurbished studio (previously home to yoga for every body) was filled with music from shaman's dream, of micheline berry and zen dancing fame, who entertained the captive crowd with their improvised world beats. we all shared in the sumptuous food buffet (wraps from leaf cuisine, thai food from siam cabin, and drinks from elixir tonics), and received bath salt sachet samples and foot massages from the nice ladies at luscious bath products. and at the end of the evening, i was lucky enough to win one of the raffle prizes: a tower of gourmet chocolates from valerie confections worth $150 (which i immediately started sampling the moment i got home)!

i know i'll paying rising lotus another visit sometime in the near future; i picked up a coupon for a free class, and i intend to cash it in as soon as i can...