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Sunday, July 09, 2006

kula nut

"The Anusara community (kula) is a merry band of life-affirming yoga practitioners. Emphasizing inclusivity, the Anusara community openly invites everyone to join the fun and the transformative power of its yoga style. Connected by a philosophy which celebrates a universal spirit uniquely shining through each individual, the Anusara kula is tightly woven..." -- from anusara.com

a few months ago i visited yoga inside out in west hollywood and signed up for their new student deal: two classes for $15. whenever i visit a yoga studio for the first time, i try to take a class with the owner, since he/she usually selects teachers who follow his/her own philosophy. in this case, my first class was with ross rayburn. i enjoyed ross and his class so much,"corny sense of humor" and all, that i knew i would be back. especially since i knew i had one free class in the bank, so to speak.

well i finally cashed in that freebie and took a class with tiffany fraser earlier this week. like ross, tiffany is a certified anusara teacher, which according to the anusara website means that:

All affiliated and certified Anusara Yoga teachers have had extensive training with John Friend, and hundreds of hours of other Anusara Yoga training. Both affiliated and certified Anusara Yoga teachers align with the philosophical and alignment principles of Anusara Yoga and have earned the legal right to call themselves an Anusara Yoga teacher... Certified Anusara Yoga teachers are among the most highly trained and skilled yoga teachers in the world.

the focus of tiffany's class was backbends. besides the usual standing and seated poses and a challenging series of handstands, she had us do something that i had never done in any other class before: backbends with blocks against the wall to alter the pose. the arches we made with our backs were intense, but they were wonderful!

every anusara yoga class i've ever taken has been a fun learning experience. everyone seems so happy, so friendly. our teachers work closely with us to make sure we understand and follow proper alignment for each of the poses we practice that day. we cheer on the triumphs of our fellow students and sympathize with their frustrations. it's not unusual to hear applause, laughter, and words of encouragement in every class.

i know that my practice has gotten stronger with the help of the anusara teachers i've trained with. for example, i've probably done more handstands and headstands in these classes than anywhere else, and while i still can't do them on my own, i'm a little more confident that one day, i too will be able to successfully balance myself while upside down.

if you want to experience what an anusara kula is like, you might want to visit one of these anusara-only studios:

city yoga - 1067 n. fairfax ave, west hollywood
mission street yoga - 1017 mission st, south pasadena
still yoga - 2395 glendale blvd, silverlake
yoga inside out - 8741 santa monica blvd, west hollywood

or take an anusara class at one of these studios that teach various styles of yoga:

bala yoga - 145 n. la brea ave, los angeles
black dog yoga - 4454 van nuys blvd, sherman oaks
swerve - 8250 w. 3rd, los angeles
yoga at the village - 1306 sonora ave, glendale

many of the anusara teachers teach at multiple studios, so you may not have to go far to take a class with a particular instructor. and they do move around quite frequently, so keep checking the online schedules to see who's where.

as of today, here's where you might find some of them:

diana beardsley - still
tanya beilke * - bala
anthony benenati * - city
rebecca benenati - city
camilla bergstrom * - still, black dog
lucy bivins - still
jennifer defilippo - mission, still
linda eifer - city, inside out
elsie escobar - bala, swerve
steven espinosa - still
tiffany fraser * - inside out
tony giuliano - mission, still
shari goodhartz - black dog, mission, still, village
hagar harpak - inside out, mission, still
huck hirsch - city
marc holzman - inside out
rachel jackson - inside out
jessica jennings * - city, mission
maria cristina jimenez - black dog
tara judelle - city, still
scott lewicki * - mission
landry m - city, inside out
james macdonald - city, inside out, mission
mother - inside out
kris nelson - city
scott nelson - bala, inside out
ross rayburn * - inside out
hillary rubin - city
sharon skok - city
todd tesen - city, inside out, still
gina zimmerman - city, mission, still

* - certified anusara teachers

i'm hoping i can find a way to take another anusara class sometime soon. i'm operating on a shoestring budget these days, and sadly, i've used up all my anusara class credits. in the meantime, i'm keeping my eye out for volunteer opportunities and other ways to earn classes. so if you hear of any, please send them my way :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a lot of anusura in Cincinnati before I moved to CO. Their emphasis on alignment and careful explanations and demonstrations has helped me a lot in the world of Bikram. I'd do more Anusura but there isn't a studio in thirty miles...

8:39 PM  
Blogger shinyyoga said...

That reminds me of when i tried my first anusara class a little while back - we used blocks for the full wheel backbend too and it was just amazing how much easier it was to a) get up into, b) hold! and c) get a fantastic arch!

i would love to try it again so thanks for reminding me!

3:12 PM  

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