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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the accidental journalist

Progressive Power Yoga
11740 San Vicente Boulevard, Suite 202
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 826-YOGA

website: www.marksyoga.com

Some of the most unique and identifying characteristics of Mark Blanchard's purist and progressive "Power Yoga" class is that he never categorizes sessions by potentially threatening "levels" (i.e.: level one, two or three) and he does not recommend using class props like blocks or straps. "Regardless of how trendy these accoutrements have become, there were no stereos or straps when yoga was created over 5,000 years ago," says Blanchard. "Simply work at your own level, do the best you can personally do, and welcome the joy from within."

when it comes to my experience with mark blanchard's new power yoga studio in brentwood, i've found that the early bird truly catches the worm.

sometime last april, i had mentioned that a new progressive power yoga studio was going to open in brentwood on june 12th, at least according to the studio website. since i have this thing about visiting places on opening day, i kept checking for updates to make sure i didn't miss the big day. unfortunately (at least for me), everything went according to schedule, and they opened their doors on the 12th. the problem was, i was out of the country at the time and couldn't make it.

once back in LA, i dropped by mark's power yoga studio the first chance i got, which was sometime the end of june. granted, it was a mid-morning class, but i was pleasantly surprised to find that there were only two students in mark's class: myself and another teacher on his staff. so i got very personalized attention; what better way to learn what mark's teaching style was all about!

i had a chance to chat with mark after class and found out that the reason for the low class turnout was because the ad that had been sent out to the media proudly announced: grand opening july 1st! oops...

then this week, i happened to find myself once again at the right place at the right time.

while browsing through a yoga magazine (see my last post), i came across this news item:

Mark Blanchard Yoga Studio Opening

Mark Blanchard is opening a new Yoga Studio. Located in the heart of Brentwood, the 1750 square-foot space on San Vicente Boulevard is not only home to the celebrity- (sic) Progressive Power Yoga classes, but also houses Illuminarium, a storefront gallery containing exquisite and unexpected artwork as well as a plethora of holistic and unique yoga-related products.

On Wednesday, July 12th from 2pm to 4pm there will be a 45-minute invigorating power yoga class with renowned yogi and celebrity trainer Mark Blanchard, followed by refreshing smoothies, light hors d'oeuvres and a private viewing of the artwork.

Please arrive with yoga workout attire and they will provide a yoga mat that you can take with you and a goody bag filled with items from their gallery storefront, gift certificates, and a variety of beauty products that promote a healthy living.

it was followed by the studio address and RSVP details.

not wanting to miss out on what i thought was a limited-entry event, i immediately called to reserve a spot. and found out that the magazine had mistakenly invited the LA yoga community to something that was supposed to have been a press-only event. oops...

luckily, since i was the first person to bring the error to the studio's attention, i was allowed to join the elite party anyway and my name was added to the guest list. before we hung up, in an attempt to earn my invite, i added that i could probably be considered "press" because of my blogsite :) maybe she bought it, maybe she didn't?

not knowing what to expect, i showed up on time at this afternoon's event and made sure i was decently attired (not that i'm ever a slob, but i did double-check how i looked in the mirror before i left home). i was looking forward to "accidentally" meeting someone from the print or broadcast media, but even if i didn't, i was just happy to be part of the group -- free class, free food and drink, goody bag, and all :)

after the majority of the guests had checked in (there were probably about a dozen or so of us - i have to learn to pay more attention!), mark led us through what he described as a shorter version of his usual class. shorter, yes. but definitely not easier. in fact, i'm convinced that it was harder than the full 90-minute session i took with him a couple of weeks ago!

after class, over smoothies from robeks and dimsum from chin chin, i schmoozed with some of the other teachers on staff, including kathleen kastner, who also teaches at maha yoga. i also met brian weiner (at least i think it was him, since he's supposedly the guy running the art gallery side of the business) and we talked briefly about the pieces that he'd gathered for display and sale at the studio. they were all beautiful and classy, but on the pricey side. but then again, they're meant to be one-of-a-kind items that are perfect for the special people on your gift list. or for yourself, if you want to reward yourself for having survived a tough power yoga class.

and no, i did not meet anyone from the press corps. darn.

besides teaching at brentwood on mondays, wednesdays, fridays, and saturdays (morning only), mark still teaches on tuesday, thursday, and saturdays (afternoon only) at the original studio city location. so there's no reason to drive over the hill if you live or work in the san fernando valley. and if you can't make any of his classes, i'm sure the other teachers on staff are just as good (i'll find out once i get a chance to take some of their classes).

it was clear to me that mark's classes are not at all repetitive and that his sequencing can vary from class to class. if you're not sure if you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced student, don't worry; his classes cater to all levels. if you're looking for music, hip-hop or otherwise, you won't find it here. if you're used to using blocks, straps, and blankets, you'll have to learn to do without. and if you're looking for a class that will challenge your strength, your balance, and your abdominals (because it's all about core strength, as mark puts it), then you've come to the right place. at least i know i did... and i'm not saying that just because of all the wonderful stuff that was in my goody bag!


Blogger shinyyoga said...

what a fantastic story!

love the goody bag feature even more! : )

lucky you - karma yoga coming back at you! :)

7:40 PM  

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