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Friday, July 14, 2006

party animal

who would have guessed that one could have so much fun with dogs, cobras, fish, camels, pigeons, cats, and cows?

yoga poses, that is.

it seems that i've recently been spending a lot of time partying and schmoozing, all in the name of yoga. the ancient gurus are probably turning in their graves at the thought of yoga being turned into a social event, but then again, this is LA. i normally wouldn't consider myself a regular in the LA party scene, but my attendance at three yoga "events" in almost as many weeks could very well put me in the party animal category.

first, there was the grand opening celebration at daniel stewart and claire hartley's rising lotus yoga in sherman oaks. while there was no actual yoga involved, a small group of the less-inhibited "trance danced" to world music from shaman's dream while the rest nibbled on hors d'oeuvres and enjoyed foot massages.

then there was the media event at the new brentwood location of mark blanchard's progressive power yoga. this time, there was an hour's worth of intense yoga (accompanied only by the sounds of one's own breathing), followed by a viewing of the art pieces for sale in the lobby. and yes, more hors d'oeuvres and goodies for all.

last night, i attended the first yoga bash at exhale santa monica. and it turned out to be even bigger than those previous two events -- there was invigorating music flow yoga (team taught by david romanelli and ciela wynter), uplifting music (provided by matthew moon and his band), delicious appetizers, and relaxing massages. and, as was the case with the other parties, it was free!

the guests started to arrive shortly before 7:30pm, the advertised start of the event. however, because the previous yoga class didn't actually let out until 7:30, the growing crowd was asked to wait in the lobby while the studio was prepared for the event. once we were given the go-ahead, the room quickly filled with yogis and mats; i'd never seen it hold so many people at one time! a handful of sacred movement (aka exhale venice) yoga instructors had initially lined up their mats with everyone else, but because of the overflow crowd, they voluntarily gave up their spots and opted to assist dave and ciela in guiding the students through the poses.

matthew and his fellow musicians provided the background music to our flowing moves. some of it was their own original music and some of it was contemporary cover tunes (and for some reason, their rendition of madonna's borderline kept resonating in my head the rest of the evening!?!). their soothing sounds seemed to move our yoga poses past the physical, almost into the ethereal. who says that yoga and music don't belong together?

once the class ended, the large sliding glass doors were opened so that our group of mellowed-out yogis could join those already partying in the outdoor patio. food and drink stations were scattered about, with wine in one corner, pizza along one wall, and sushi along another. there was a table where someone was giving out aromatherapy and nutritional advice. and while everyone else was busy socializing, i managed to find a massage therapist who worked her healing hands on me before the others realized that free massages were part of the event.

it was quite an evening, indeed. not only did i get a chance to take another of dave's great flow classes with live rather than ipod-supplied music, but i was also able get all the kinks massaged out of my neck, shoulders, and lower back. all that plus a complimentary pass to another exhale class of my choice. ahhh... so when's the next party? :)