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Sunday, August 27, 2006

where east meets west

back in the day when matthew reyes used to teach his "level 2/3+" classes at maha, he had such a following that the studio would always be filled to capacity. since i'm really bad at estimating body count, i'd say that he had at least 60 students standing wall-to-wall, mat-to-mat, every class. the only way to guarantee that you wouldn't end up having to practice on the stage at the front of the room, or worse yet, not be able to get into the room, was to get there early. it wouldn't be unusual to see people lining up outside the door as early as 30 minutes before the start of class.

when matt opened up his own studio, yogamatt, in los feliz, he had far fewer students in each class. the biggest reason was probably because most of his westside groupies weren't willing (or able) to make the 20-mile commute east. in my case, i happened to work halfway between maha and yogamatt, but because of the evening traffic patterns it was still far easier for me to get to maha than it was to get to yogamatt. despite that, i braved the bumper-to-bumper action every now and then just to get my matt fix.

less than a year later, when matt closed down yogamatt and joined forces with mary and marko king to open up yogahop in santa monica, it was just a matter of time before the old crowd started showing up at his classes once more. and when they did, the small rooms in his new digs couldn't handle the overflow crowd. trying to cram in 50 or so students in a room that fit around 30 comfortably just wasn't going to work. so matt, mary, and marko put their heads together and came up with a novel plan: called the "summit", matt's more popular classes would be held in both the east and west studios at the same time. with matt calling out poses on a wireless mike while his upbeat tunes were being piped into both rooms, he and a co-teacher would switch back and forth between sides to assist students as needed.

i finally had a chance to experience one of matt's sunday morning summit classes, and i must say that it's a great concept that worked flawlessly. when the class started, matt was standing in the same room i was in. and as the music and the moves flowed, i continued to hear him loud and clear. it was only when i noticed kourtney (today's co-teacher) standing in front of me that i looked around and realized that matt was talking from the other room! it got to the point where it didn't really matter where matt or kourtney were because i got the same level of attention from both, along with matt's signature yoga class style. i got the same great workout, the same great music, and the same great post-class high.

yogahop's schedule will change this coming september, and from what i've heard, matt will be holding more summit classes, not only on weekends, but also on weekday evenings. so if you've been avoiding taking classes during the peak hours because of the crowds, it's time to give it another shot.

by the way, if you're a yogahop regular, make sure you check the schedule online before you show up for your next class; many of the class times have changed. heaven forbid that you get locked out of class, not because the room was full but because you showed up too late!

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