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Friday, September 29, 2006

lofty expectations

The Yoga Loft
21228 Ventura Boulevard
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
(818) 710-9057
website: http://www.yogaloftla.com/

For many people, the body and mind are at war and the mind has very definite ideas about the body. The practice of Yoga trains the mind to let go of its preconceptions and discover the deep underlying harmony between the body and the mind. The art of Yoga is both a philosophy and a science for developing a healthy body and mind and becomes a poetic expression of our inner most self.

We have been told that the rational mind is the only worthwhile mind. And that what does not appeal to the rational mind is worthless. Yet there is something instinctive in our nature, crying out to expand. We have to re-learn what is instinctual as we are not sensitive to what is natural in us. When we practice Hatha Yoga (physical practice) we reestablished a relationship between the instinctive and the intellectual.

The asanas (postures) when properly practiced promote the full and natural range of movement, improved breathing, efficient functioning of the internal organs, balance of the nervous systems and an optimistic state of health and well being. The practice of asanas creates a meditative state of mind and from there comes a firmness of mind, firmness of emotion and a firmness of life. However something else emerges: the sense that while this is a very desirable state of affairs, there is more. We begin to get a glimpse of an aspect of self beyond the physical, mental and emotional parts of ourselves, a glimpse of the truth about this entity called "self".

i sat in a comfortable cross-legged position, closed my eyes, and started to focus on my breath. and soon, the chatter in my brain commenced...

... so here i am at the yoga loft in woodland hills... which doesn't appear to be related to the yoga loft in manhattan beach... let's see... that one is yogaloftMB.com on the web... but this one is yogaloftLA.com... wait, that's not right... what if someone wants to open up a yoga loft in los angeles?... hey, that would be cool... yoga in one of those lofts downtown... well, maybe they should just open one up in west hollywood so they can use yogaloftWH.com..... hmmmmm...... ommmmmm....

admit it. when your yoga instructor tells you to clear your mind of all thoughts, there are times when you just can't. you keep thinking about that guy that just cut you off as you were driving to class. or the project you have to finish when you get back to work. or what you're going to write about this studio when you get home (ok, so that's just me).

the yoga loft in woodland hills is just that. the students practice yoga in a loft. a loft which is perched above and overlooking the entrance/boutique/lounge area. so while it is true that neither of the yoga loft studios in LA county are connected in any way, it could be argued that the woodland hills location has more rights to the name because the one in manhattan beach is NOT in a loft; it's on the second floor. so maybe it should be called yoga upstairs? don't mind me; i'm just blabbering.

when i first accepted the job i'm now at, i had no clue that the office was surrounded by so many yoga studios. while it doesn't come even close to the yoga studio density on the westside or in west hollywood (see? there's still room for that yoga loft west hollywood), there's a surprising number of places to practice yoga in the west san fernando valley.

the yoga loft in woodland hills is located in a small strip mall on ventura boulevard, right off the 101 freeway, between the de soto and canoga off-ramps. the purpose of my visit on that particular day and time was to take steven vincent's pranayoga class. i had read about him while scanning the schedules of various yoga studios. he teaches at a good number of places around town -- angel city yoga, inner power yoga, progressive power yoga, yoga house, yoga at the village, yoga loft WH -- but i couldn't seem to time my visits to those studios with the times of his classes.

that is, until the other day.

i succeeded in getting to his class without much stress (it's a quick 5 minute drive from work), and i looked forward to finally finding out what pranayoga was all about. according to steven,

Pranayoga is an approach to the practice of Yoga which derives from the Raja Yoga of Patanjali in combination with Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Tantric and other wisdom teachings, principles and methods. It takes as its fundamental bases the cultivation of Strength, Ease, Mindfulness and Spiritual Awakening. These fundamentals are developed as a Yoga—a unity. The student of Pranayoga benefits from a complete practice which supports life and growth.

i had no clue what i was in for. maybe we would spend a lot of time meditating. or listening to pearls of wisdom from sacred writings. or moving through some intense asanas.

whatever it was, i somehow found myself in a beginning yoga class. unfortunately, while the yoga loft has the class listed as a "mixed/pranayoga" class, steven's website calls it a "gentle beginner yoga" class. and obviously, he won the coin toss. not only that, but i was also disappointed that we really didn't spend much time meditating nor absorbing wisdom. i had to remind myself that i was still getting my yoga fix, even if it was less demanding than i had wanted it to be, and i was finally meeting the guy who's the driving force behind the peace is every step movement in LA. at least i satisfied some of my goals for the day.

and because the class was a bit slower and gentler than i was hoping for, my mind kept wandering. i kept second-guessing what i was doing. are my thighs far back enough? are my hips level enough? are my shoulders back and down enough? i kept fidgeting and tweaking instead of settling into each pose. i really think i should stick to classes that keep me working so hard that i don't have the time to get distracted!

so now it looks like i have to add another item to my yoga wish list: steven's pranayoga intermediate class at yoga at the village (all the way out in glendale!) on a sunday morning. the things i have to do to build a firm body and a firm mind...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

an oasis in the valley

Revive Studios
23350 Lake Manor Drive

Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 710-6693
website: www.revivestudios.com

be mindful that patience is essential for the recognition of your own process which, in its season leads to the harvest of the self.

there are different ways yoga studios draw students to their inner sanctums. some studios are home to one or more sought-after instructors, so their reputation alone is enough to fill their classes. many other studios invest in ad space in local newspapers and yoga magazines to get the word out. and those studios with smaller (or non-existent) advertising budgets sometimes resort to painting a large "YOGA" on their front windows and/or placing large wooden signs on the sidewalks to attract the attention of passers-by. which usually works if they're located in storefronts on main thoroughfares. but what if they're not?

such is the case with the new revive studios, which just opened earlier this month.

i initially heard about revive through rick, a teacher-trainee who was studying with lisa walford at yoga works. lisa had put out a call for student volunteers during one of her iyengar classes, and i had offered to help out. so while chatting with rick briefly after our semi-private yoga lesson, i found out that he was scheduled to start teaching at a yoga studio that was about to open somewhere in the northern end of the san fernando valley. unfortunately, i misplaced his e-mail address and had to resort to scanning the internet to find out where the studio was and when it was going to open.

after some persistence, i finally came across their website and found out that they were located way north, in chatsworth, just a few miles before the ventura county line. and while it did seem like a trek to get out there, it was certainly doable, so i put revive on my wish list and figured that i would pay them a visit if i were ever in the area.

and now i am, every monday through friday. my new office is about 5 miles due south of revive studios, a quick and easy drive on a multi-lane main road. what better way to wait out the rush hour freeway traffic than to spend the time in a soothing yoga class?

with the fall finally upon us and the days getting shorter, it was almost dusk by the time i reached the studio for a 5:30pm class. luckily, since i wasn't familiar with the neighborhood, i had the foresight to call in advance and ask for detailed directions, otherwise, i would have completely driven past what looked like a relatively modern-looking home.

revive studios occupies two single-level structures off lake manor drive. "lake manor drive" describes the location perfectly; the area is right by the chatsworth reservoir (which is practically a lake by LA standards), the homes are large and spacious (which, price-wise, can be considered manors), and the drive is well, just that; it's a peaceful drive down a somewhat isolated tree-lined road that meanders this way and that. it kinda makes you forget that you're right in the middle of a large city.

i pulled into the beautifully-landscaped parking area and walked towards the yoga studio, which was housed in the building closest to the street. the moment i walked in, i was immediately reminded of home simply yoga, an ecologically-conscious yoga studio in santa monica. the walls are tinted a pleasant sage green, the floors are of sustainably-harvested hardwood, even the drapes looked like they're made from natural fibers. all yoga mats and props are eco-aware, including non-PVC jute mats, cork blocks, and unbleached cotton blankets. i believe they even use solar power to run their airconditioning!

i was greeted by heather camp, who runs the yoga studio and who also was to be our teacher that evening. i showed up for what was listed as a level 2/3 flow class, and flow it definitely did. ours was an intimate class of around six students; we had our mats arranged in a semi-circle facing heather, who was at the front of the room. the nicest thing about her class was that while the poses were definitely familiar, her sequencing wasn't like that of any other teacher i had practiced with. after a slow warm-up, we progressed to more vigorous standing and seated poses, then wound down with some sweet stretches before ending in a restful savasana. after class, i talked with heather briefly about her background; it turns out that she's been doing yoga ever since she can remember, thanks to her first teacher -- her mother. which explains why i couldn't pinpoint the yoga guru her style was most like.

heather just started teaching a budokan class on monday nights at 7:30pm. she said that she's been certified by cameron shayne, founder of budokan, a martial-arts-meets-yoga workout. according to the revive website: "This modern approach to ancient practices increases functional strength, range of motion, and clarity of mind. Plan to sweat, you'll need your towel for this one!" sounds tempting...

if you ever get a chance to take a class at revive, make sure you drop by the java/smoothie/italian ice bar which is located in the other building. and while you're waiting for the barista to whip up one of the delicious (and healthy, too) concoctions, make sure you check out the artwork collection which features local artists. who knows, you might find something to spend even more money on :)

oh, and before you head back to your car, take a while to lounge outside on the patio and enjoy the surroundings. it doesn't get any better than this.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

happy yoga

yesterday, the end of my first day on the job found me stopping by black dog yoga in sherman oaks before heading home. trying to make the trek across the 101 during rush hour to catch a 6pm anusara class seemed almost impossible, especially since i couldn't leave the office until after 5pm. but the traffic gods smiled down upon me and granted me an evening of joyful heart-centered yoga with camilla bergstrom.

i've always enjoyed anusara yoga, mainly because i never know what's going to happen in class (although i can always count on experiencing a mild panic attack when i have to do the requisite handstand). there is always an emphasis on something different each time, which means that if i were to take an anusara class everyday for a month, the chances of my doing the exact same sequence of poses in two different classes would be pretty remote. of course, i've never tried doing 30 days straight of nothing but anusara (or 30 days straight of any other style of yoga), but you get the idea. there's never a dull moment.

camilla started the class by talking about the "dive deeper" workshop she and peter barnett had taught over the weekend and how all the attendees (including one who was in our class that evening) learned how to go deeper into their meditation, their breathing, and their asanas. it seemed to me that she had decided to carry that theme over to our class; we were instructed to bend, twist, stretch, and lunge deeper. it also seemed like she spent a lot of time focusing on backbends; we had to reach back while we were in extended side angle, in triangle, and in side plank. we were asked to do not three, not four, but six upward bow, or wheel, poses. and although i was somewhat able to keep up, i was exhausted by the time we started winding down our practice.

so it was much welcome comic relief when, shortly before coming to rest in savasana, she asked us to go into a hip-opener that she jokingly referred to as the "happy boyfriend". i'll leave it up to your imagination to figure that out... and i can only wonder what the guys in class were thinking while they were doing it!

see? just more proof that yoga is good for you :) by the way, i don't think i'll ever be able to do that pose again without stifling a smile...

anusara yoga. gotta love it!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

cramming it all in

... at least that was my original plan for this week. a sort of do-all-the-yoga-i-can-while-i-can before i start calling myself, once again, a full-time employee.

i had started out the week with a very ambitious schedule. two yoga classes a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with time set aside for errands at lunchtime and in the evening. some of the classes would be at studios i'd never been to (so i could continue to add places to my list of studios visited). some of the classes would be specialized ones that i could only take during the day. and as always, i had to mix it all up so that no class was like any other.

and as i had somewhat expected, none of it came to pass. well, at least not as much as i had hoped.

for one thing, it quickly dawned on me as i lay in supta baddha konasana in lisa l.'s yoga for relaxation class last sunday at planet yoga (studio #57 on my list) that the half marathon i had just finished that morning had totally wiped me out. it had been a long time since i had run that distance in race mode, and my body wasn't too happy about it. trying to attempt two classes a day while half of my body was all stiff and sore didn't seem like a smart nor realistic idea.

on monday, i drove out to yummy yoga (studio #58, and counting) in los feliz and was happy to see ducky punch, who had taken over the studio when matthew reyes decided to close down yogamatt and move to the westside. it was the first time i had been to the studio since the takeover, and except for the few pieces of furniture that were moved around and the new artwork on the walls, it was pretty much the same place i had remembered. ducky continues to teach her classes in the yogamatt tradition; that is, they're the familiar hip-hop yoga classes, complete with cranked-up music and poses held for long periods of time. there were only two of us in her class that afternoon, so she gave each of us personalized attention, including delicious back and shoulder massages. yummy!

on tuesday, i had to sit around and wait for the repair guy to come and fix my washing machine that had gone kaput over the weekend. unfortunately, he didn't show up during the appointed time slot (and i ended up having to reschedule because he was so late), so i missed shiva rea's afternoon class at exhale venice and ended up taking missy costello's class at yogahop instead. again, it was another strength-based hip-hop flow class, much like the one i took the day before at yummy. the similarity (including the back rubs) was no coincidence, since yogahop is matt reyes's new home and all the teachers there have also been trained in his style. while i have nothing against hip-hop yoga, i probably should have taken a totally different kind of class just to add to the variety. oh well.

on wednesday, it was to be repair attempt #2. according to the sears dispatch desk, i was close to last on the list and shouldn't expect to see the repair guy until the end of the day. not great news, but good to know anyway. so i headed out that morning to the yoga center in redondo beach, just to find out that i was trying to catch a class that didn't exist. my precious morning, wasted. the repair guy eventually showed up at 6:30 that evening and left an hour later. thank goodness i live in a yoga-rich city, because i was still able to catch kia miller's late-night candlelight flow class at yoga works westwood. before the hour-long class started, she placed candles in the middle of the room and asked us to arrange our mats around the candles so we were facing the light. i found myself practicing in an almost trance-like state while gazing into the flickering flames. since it was pretty late in the evening, she made sure that we got a vigorous enough workout without getting us all overly worked up before bedtime. nice.

by thursday, most of the soreness was gone from my legs, so i decided to go for a doubleheader. i took erich schiffmann's morning hatha class at exhale venice, which, despite the level 2/3 designation, is usually a nice and easy class. we meditated, we breathed, we liquified, we amplified. the whole point was not to muscle through the poses but to surrender into them so we could reach farther, stretch more, twist better. you know a teacher's good when you spot people who teach at other studios in the class.

that afternoon, i headed over to santa monica yoga, where i took nancy goodstein's ashtanga class. instead of the usual led format that i was used to, nancy taught in the mysore style, which according to her, meant that the students went through the sequences on their own and her role was merely to assist and correct as needed. since i'm definitely an ashtanga newbie, she pretty much stood by me and led me through the asana sequence, leaving my side every now and then whenever one of the three other students in the class needed help. i loved the way she gave me all these pointers which seemed minor at first but ended up making a world of difference. the one thing she said that made perfect sense was when she likened ashtanga to a marathon -- it's all about staying relaxed and pacing yourself so you can make it to the finish without running out of steam. which just reminded me of the reason why i bonked at mile 10 when i ran the half :( you'd think i'd have learned my lesson by now.

on friday, i managed to find a miraculous opening at the massage place with my favorite massage therapist. it was just what i needed; a good sports massage to knead out the last remaining kinks in my muscles plus the usual TLC to put a spring in my step and a smile on my face :) reenergized, i headed over to power yoga santa monica, where i was scheduled to put in a volunteer shift in exchange for bryan kest's level 3-4 power class. once there, i found out that bryan was out of town at a workshop and that anaswara would be subbing for him. while i was initially disappointed that bryan wasn't going to be teaching his "authorized students only" class, i knew that anaswara often filled in for bryan, so i was going to be in good hands. and it did turn out to be a great class. it was challenging, but not to point of being frustrating. luckily for me, anaswara teaches some late-night classes at power yoga east, so i'll be able to catch her every now and then.

on saturday, the highlight of my day (or rather, night) was to be the kirtan with dave stringer and miles shrewbery at exhale venice. what better way to celebrate the start of my reentry into the working world than to chant my lungs out? but first things first; i had to meet my running group for our early morning training run. it was my first time with my usual pace group since my hiatus from long distance running, and as i had feared, i had a hard time keeping up with them for the entire 9 miles. i bailed out after 5 miles and did just 2 more on my own at a slower pace. exhausted, i drove home for a quick nap.

i had the rest of the afternoon all planned out; cashing in the invitation from exhale santa monica that i had picked up last month at lululemon, i was going to take a complimentary music yoga flow class with meaghan townsend, relax in the jacuzzi, then take a luxurious shower before heading out to the venice location for the kirtan. but what wasn't included in the plan was my oversleeping and missing getting to class on time! so instead, i went straight to exhale venice, took john sahakian's vigorous vinyasa flow class (for which i barely had enough energy to get through), then hopped in the shower (thankfully, they had one) to rinse off before the evening's event.

as for the kirtan, all i can say is: if you've never been to a dave stringer performance, you don't know what you're missing! he had a fantastic group of musicians and singers with him, including girish, who was sitting in for miles shrewsbery. as usual, i didn't catch their names, especially since it was a fairly large group, at least compared to the few other kirtans i'd been to. i also have to give credit to the seasoned chanters in the crowd who lent their voices and their energy into making the experience that more enjoyable. it seemed like things were just getting started when the performance came to its neighborhood-mandated end at 10pm. i suppose there's always a next time. like chanting with krishna das at the ford, perhaps?

and finally, today, sunday, instead of running the 5 mile race that my running group was participating in, i opted to take an iyengar class at yoga garden studios (studio #59!). ida unger was scheduled to teach the class, but due to the rosh hashanah holiday, it was taught instead by jeff perlman. since it was the end of the month, he said he was going to teach a restorative class, which was more than ok with me. after all, it was about time i listened to my aching body! besides standing, sittting, and lying in the usual supported poses, the ahhh! moment of the class was when i found myself hanging upside down. up until today, i had only been able to stare at the wall-mounted ropes in some yoga studios, wondering what kind of magic they wielded. well, now i know. getting onto the ropes and flipping over was a bit scary at first, but once i found myself hanging with my legs above my head, i wanted to stay there forever! it was like being weightless. even my cranky back loved it. i think i've turned into a rope junkie :)

so looking back at the week, i did manage to get some new studios and some new teachers in. and while i may have missed out on some of the other things i had planned, like being able to take an anusara and/or a kundalini class, or maybe even visiting studio #60, it was, all in all, an eventful week. i hope i continue to have many more of them even after i return to the evening- and weekend-only yoga world...

Friday, September 22, 2006

it's about time

i've had my heart set on a manduka black mat for the longest time. after all, it's the mat that many "serious" yogis use, and for good reason. it's extremely sturdy and it offers excellent padding for knees, elbows, and other body parts that need extra cushioning. the only downside is that besides it being quite heavy, it's also quite expensive. one has to be really dedicated to one's practice to want to lug around 7 pounds and pay over $80 for the privilege of doing so.

as it is, i already own a perfectly serviceable yoga mat. it's the lighter version of the black mat, the manduka purplelite travel mat. it's been over a year since i first started using it, but except for a few wear marks where my hands and feet grip during my downward dogs, there's no real reason why i need to replace it. but you know how sometimes you just have to have something?

so i made a deal with myself. i would allow myself the luxury of a black mat only if any of the following happened: i successfully negotiated and held a difficult arm balance (like crow or peacock), did an inversion (headstand or handstand) on my own away from the wall, or i landed myself a well-paying job.

well, i've started pricing that black mat because it's time for me to celebrate... i'm finally starting a new full-time job this monday! (i had somehow wished that i'd be able to do an arm balance before that happened, but then again, i can now afford to pay for workshops that'll teach me how to do it) . of course that means that i can no longer take the less-crowded 10:30am and 4:00pm yoga classes. but it also means that i no longer have to limit myself to studios where i can trade work for classes. better yet, it also means that i can finally indulge in fine food, fine art, and fine music once again.

i'm not sure, though, how the 9-to-5 grind is going to affect my daily yoga schedule. i may have to resort to practicing on my own a few days a week (and finally get an ipod, too?). we'll see.

in the meantime, i'm trying to squeeze in as many daytime classes as i can before i start work next week. it's madness, i know, but i'm really going to miss all the teachers i'll no longer be able to learn from and all the weeknight events that i may no longer be able to attend. sigh.

maybe finally buying and breaking in that black yoga mat will help remind me that this is a good thing...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the pink skidless towels are back!

as i walked into yogahop the other day, something bright pink perched on one of the shelves caught my eye and made me turn and look.

it was a stack of pink skidless towels, the ones yogitoes sold last year as a fundraiser for breast cancer research. and now they're back! so if you missed out last time, here's your chance to get your hands (and feet) on one. i've called around; some just got them in, and some have already sold out. they range in price from $48 (at power yoga santa monica) to $55 (at most other studios). and they're going fast.

as you know, october is national breast cancer awareness month, so here are some yoga-related ways to show your support for the cause (i'm sure there are many more out there):

from yogitoes:

Back by popular demand, the Skidless™ yoga towel by Yogitoes™ is available once again in a special limited edition PINK color, while they last. Pink ribbon design for honoring breast cancer awareness. $5.00 per towel sold will be given to the Dr. Susan Love Foundation, research going beyond finding a cure, but to prevent women from ever developing the disease in the first place.

from MatsMatsMats.com:

By purchasing this unique, hip, pink yoga mat, you get a great mat and also help the fight against breast cancer at the same time.
MatsMatsMats.com will donate 10% of the purchase price from the sale of every one of these mats to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), a breast cancer charity that guarantees that a minimum of 85% of all funds raised goes directly to researching the causes of and treatments for breast cancer. The American Institute of Philanthropy recently awarded BCRF an "A" rating and listed it as its highest rated, national breast cancer charity.

from crescent moon:

In 2005 we partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to design a limited edition series of yoga mat bags with 10% of the price going directly to the Foundation. You may view these bags by clicking on their names; The Caring Case, The Microfiber Metro and The Chocolate/Pink Santa Monica.

from new balance:

The popular Nadi Bag is back and now available in our Pink Ribbon Collection! Designed for carrying yoga gear, with adjustable shoulder strap, deep shoe pocket, and elasticized roll straps for carrying larger yoga mats, the Yoga Duffle also offers versatility for multi-purpose use.

Designed for carrying yoga gear, with deep shoe pocket, and elasticized slip panel for carrying yoga mats, the Yoga Duffle also offers versatility for multi-purpose use.

New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. has been associated with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race For the Cure® Series since 1989 and has been a National Series Sponsor since 1991. The Komen foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. View the entire collection of New Balance Pink Ribbon Apparel.

from finestationery.com:

This ecru, lined, Style Press note pad comes with 50 sheets and features a stylish woman going to her yoga class with her mat and yoga bag at the top of the pad. A pink ribbon denoting support for breast cancer research appears on her yoga mat. "So much to do... but first YOGA" is pre-printed in pink underneath her and there is a row of pink flowers along the bottom of the pad. A magnet on the back means you can hang it on your fridge. The pad comes wrapped in cellophane with a pink, grosgrain bow around it.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this card will be donated to organizations that support breast cancer research and education.

Say "Thank You" with this ecru, side fold, Style Press note card featuring a stylish woman going to her yoga class with her mat and yoga bag. A pink border surrounds the front of the card. A pink ribbon denoting support for breast cancer research appears on her yoga mat. Ecru envelopes are included. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this card will be donated to organizations that support breast cancer research and education.

speaking of breast cancer, i'm sure you yoga devotees out there know how good yoga is, in general, for the mind and body. but did you know that there's a scientific study that proves that yoga actually helps those undergoing treatment for breast cancer? the full text of the article highlighting the results can be found at the end of this post.

so in honor of breast cancer awareness month, consider putting together a care package for your favorite breast cancer survivor. a yoga mat, a towel, a bag, and maybe even a gift certificate to a nearby yoga studio would make a wonderful "i'm here for you" gift.

(by the way, santa monica yoga has FREE yoga classes for cancer patients on fridays at 2pm. and friends are welcome to join them.)

so here's the text of the article that appeared in the houston chronicle on june 5, 2006:

Yoga eases cancer rigors
M.D. Anderson finds those with breast cancer can withstand treatment better

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Houston breast cancer survivor Teresita Ladrillo was feeling the usual side-effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation when she elected to try a different kind of pick-me-up: yoga.

Enrolled twice weekly in a class offered at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Ladrillo performed exercises aimed at calming tension and recovering lost mobility, problems stemming from her treatment. “It proved very helpful”, says Ladrillo, 52, a dentist from the Philippines now preparing to take U.S. licensing exams. "Learning to breathe deeply and slowly gave me relief when I would get tense and some of the poses gave me back the elasticity and flexibility that radiation takes away."

The classes are part of M.D. Anderson's efforts to incorporate yoga into treatment plans for cancer patients. On Sunday, center researchers reported the ancient discipline can help cancer patients function better physically and feel better about their health.

The study, one of the first of its kind in the U.S., found breast cancer patients in such classes were better at everything from lifting groceries to sleeping regular hours to feeling a sense of well-being than their counterparts who didn't do yoga.

"It was gratifying to see that we could make a clinically significant difference in the quality of life of these women," said Lorenzo Cohen, director of M.D. Anderson's Integrative Medicine Program. "This shows yoga can ameliorate the treatment-related side effects that accumulate in cancer patients over time."

Yoga has long been touted for its health benefits, but there has been little scientific study of it outside of India. As its popularity in the U.S. has skyrocketed, researchers are increasingly subjecting the workouts to rigorous studies.

Last year, one study found that yoga, in conjunction with a vegan diet and moderate exercise, can slow the progression of early prostate cancer. Another, by cancer researchers, found yoga can prevent middle-age weight gain.

The M.D. Anderson study randomly assigned 30 women to a test group that took twice-a-week yoga classes and 31 to a group that didn't. All the patients, who ranged from stage 0 to stage 3 in the disease, had undergone radiation and most had received chemotherapy. About half had undergone surgery.

The yoga program was designed specifically for the patient population — emphasizing breathing and relaxation and excluding some positions that would be difficult given the patients' possibly weakened range of motion.

At the end of six weeks, the patients were asked to grade their abilities and sense of well-being. The responses were converted to a scale ranging from 0 to 100, where the yoga group reported higher scores in almost every area. In physical function, their advantage was 82-69.

The researchers also drew blood and took saliva samples in an effort to measure the participants' immune function and stress levels, but those are not yet finished.

Among the study participants was Dianne Landsden, a 58-year-old teacher who had done yoga only once when she enrolled. She hadn't suffered the debilitating fatigue common among people who have undergone radiation, but wondered if it might help her overcome the disease's emotional toll.

"It was great for my general well-being, the feeling that everything's going to be all right," said Lansden, who participated in yoga class for six weeks during radiation and six months after. "Breast cancer is such a solitary journey. When you get the diagnosis, it's hard not to associate it with death."

Still, the one disappointment with the study was that it found no differences in the level of depression or anxiety between the two groups.

The study was just the start of yoga research at M.D. Anderson, which last year began a collaboration with India's top research foundation, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana. The two plan to utilize brain-imaging technology in an attempt to pinpoint precisely where changes take place in the brain as a result of yoga exercises.

Earlier this spring, the National Cancer Institute awarded Cohen and his team $2.4 million to study the effects of Tibetan yoga in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy, the largest such grant.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

i need to vent...

flake on me once, shame on you. flake on me twice, shame on me. and unless i get an iron-clad guarantee, there's never going to be a third time...

i'm going to cut to the chase because what just happened is inexcusable.

the yoga center in redondo beach needs to get its act together.

last july, i drove all the way out to its studio in redondo beach to get a taste of the viniyoga style of yoga. the class was going to be taught by diane gilbert, the owner of the yoga center, who had personally been trained by gary kraftsow. and there was no reason why there wasn't going to be a 10:30am class that wednesday. after all, the website said so. even the voice mail said so. there really wasn't any reason why i would need to doubt what it said. or was there?

here's what i posted after that failed visit two months ago:

... when i walked into the studio at the appointed time, i was relieved to see that the class hadn't started yet; in fact, the previous class was just letting out. but when i told diane that i was there for her next class, she told me that due to a consistently low turnout, the 10:30 class had been cancelled! how could she do that, i asked, especially since BOTH the website and the recorded message said that there was supposed to be a 10:30 class?

she apologized and said that her web guy hadn't gotten around to changing their website and she hadn't gotten around to changing the phone message. she also said that she couldn't teach the class anyway because she had to get ready for her trip later that day. she did offer me a private class (although i'm not sure if it was a freebie or if she would have charged me for it), but i turned down the offer because the thought of my having to drive all the way out there AGAIN for that class was the last thing i wanted to do at the time. i rushed out of the place, knowing that i had to quickly scramble to find an alternate class. grrr... and once again, i didn't find one nearby. grrr...

so the yoga center failed on all three counts -- their phone information was wrong, their website information was wrong, and because the studio wasn't close to the freeway, i wasted time and gas (not to mention the money i fed the parking meter) on a class i couldn't even take! so am i ever going to go back to take a class? only if i can speak with a human and get confirmation that a listed class will take place!

so you'd think i would know better.

but no, i thought that it was just a fluke, and i told myself that i shouldn't hold a grudge against a place that just didn't get around to updating its information. people do make mistakes. and honestly, right after i told diane that the schedule on the studio voice mail was wrong, she corrected it by taking it off the recording completely (i suppose it's better to give no information than the wrong information).

so since i had to go to el segundo to drop off some paperwork this morning, i figured it was time to give the yoga center another shot. sure, it was farther south than where i needed to go, but i really wanted to find out what viniyoga was all about. the additional 8 mile drive, one-way, wasn't really that painful. at least by LA standards.

so once again, i called the studio phone line. "check the website for our schedule," it announced. fine. i checked the website. and as clear as day, it said:

9am – 10:15am Gentle Diane
10:30am – 12pm Level 1&2 Diane
4:30pm – 5:25pm Yoga for Girls Diane/Aimee
6pm – 7:25pm Level 1&2 Aimee

and as further insurance, i sent an email to diane, asking her for confirmation.

and that's when i should have started suspecting something, because i received no response.

but like an idiot, i drove down there anyway. the front door was locked, although the sign in the window said, in large letters, "WE'RE OPEN". so i assumed the previous class was in still session and no one was able to mind the store. but it was already 10:25; the previous class should have been leaving and the 10:30 class should have been arriving. but there was no activity. nada. i checked one of the printed schedules by the door, and except for a few teacher name changes, it matched what i read online.

then i spotted the small hastily scribbled sign taped on the door that said: "while diane's in india, all classes will be covered except for..." and even if the class i wanted to attend was NOT on that list, i was upset because i had specifically chosen that day and time because i wanted to take diane's class. you would think she would at least put that tidbit of information on her website. i mean, how hard can that be?

still wondering what was going on, i walked around to the side and looked in the classroom window. the room was empty. and through the window, i saw a handwritten sign posted by the door. it was the schedule of classes. and wouldn't you know it -- under "wednesday", it had only two classes listed: the 9am and the 6pm! there you have it. the 10:30am class didn't even exist! which seems to tell me that when diane cancelled it way back in JULY, she never took it off her @*#$% schedule -- both online AND printed versions!

... pardon me, but it's hard to maintain my yogic calm when i've allowed myself to have been misled a second time... especially when it was for the same wednesday 10:30am class! :(

and once again, i tried to quickly regroup and find another yoga class in the area, but none of the nearby studios had any classes until later that afternoon.

another waste of time. and gas. unless i'm offered restitution of some sort, i'm writing off the yoga center. sorry, diane. you may be too busy to deal with these things, but so am i.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

more links to me

while i continue to compose belated post #3, i'd like to send out a big namaste to these bloggers who've been kind enough to mention my site in their own blogsites:

from erin mahoney at los angeles spa and beauty on squidoo.com:

Spa and Beauty Guides

The Accidental Yogist
One woman's blog about trying out Los Angeles' many yoga studios. An interesting and informative read for anyone into yoga.

from yogalena at exploring my edges: yoga, life, love, dated aug 29th, 2006:

Really interesting post about the Cult of Personality and the world of high-profile yogis.

I found this on a cool little Los Angeles-based Yoga blog, the Accidental Yogist.

from tanja hester at tanjasana, dated sept 13th, 2006:

... LA could quite possibly be so overloaded with yoga events, that good ones, maybe even great ones, get lost in the clutter (to use some of my best ad agency lingo). The recent LA Yoga Fest 2006 happened this past weekend, and according to Joni’s account on the Accidental Yogist (one of my must-read blogs), it was quite poorly attended...

Monday, September 18, 2006

partying the night away

now for belated post #2:

there's nothing more fun than being able to share some good food and good conversation with friends. throw some good yoga into the mix, and you have exhale santa monica's yoga bash 2.

just like its predecessor, yoga bash 1, last thursday night's party started out with david romanelli leading his signature music flow class with live music provided by matthew moon and friends. and just like YB1, the class was packed with both seasoned and aspiring yogis. it was so packed that some people had to be turned away (although they were invited to partake of the food and drink out on the patio while the class flowed on).

besides dave, there were other yoga instructors in attendance. earlier that evening, i had a chance to chat with krysia fenzel, a teacher at dave's at one yoga studio in scottsdale. krysia and her boyfriend had just driven in that morning from arizona and planned to take a yoga class each day of their stay. naturally, their first stop was to see what their buddy's big event was all about. later, as the swarm of yoga devotees invaded the asana room, i spotted kishan shah, of santa monica yoga and lululemon santa monica fame. we greeted each other briefly before he made his way to the front of the room to claim one of the last empty spots.

once class started, i noticed someone walking around the room. it turned out to be meaghan townsend, another exhale teacher, who was helping adjust students. she eventually made her way to me; we exchanged hello's as she helped me get into a deeper stretch.

after savasana and some lustily chanted om's, the yoga class emptied out into the patio, where we were served an assortment of hors d'oeuvres and desserts (and for those who weren't leaving anytime soon, there was an open wine bar tucked away in the corner). it was there where i ran into even more yoga teachers: elisabeth halfpapp (who oversees the yoga and core fusion programs at all the exhale studios), ciela wynter (another exhale teacher), matt reyes (from yogahop and lululemon santa monica), and tom morley (from maha yoga). they were all part of those who were schmoozing outside while the rest of us were sweating it out inside.

besides having my fill of food and a bit too much wine, i was able to take advantage of a brief urban ayurveda consultation with john holmstrom and martha soffer. i had expected them to tell me more about my dosha, whether it be vata, pitta, kapha, or a combination of the three. instead, john felt my pulse, jotted something down, handed me a sheet of instructions, and told me to continue the consult with martha. when i found her, she looked at the sheet and pretty much read it back verbatim. that's it?, i wondered. i quizzed her some more on what exactly the instructions were going to achieve. eat stewed apples. eat fresh fruits and vegetables. use unrefined oils. eat whole sprouted grains and legumes. exercise at least 20 minutes a day. why? she claimed that my metabolism was slowing down, but if i followed the instructions they had prescribed, i would have more energy, i would be more alert, and i would think more clearly. fair enough. i suppose eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables couldn't hurt, especially since it might help me lose those few pounds i've been meaning to work off.

realizing that it was getting late and i had an early start planned for the next day, i bade dave, matt, kishan, and elisabeth goodbye. i took one last piece of chocolate for the road, glanced once again at my new dietary guidelines, and was relieved to find out that there was no mention of my having to give up chocolate while on my new ayurvedic diet. this is going to be easier than i thought :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

i've fallen behind and i can't catch up!

i just got back from a three-day trip to the OC, with half the time spent visiting my sister and the other half spent preparing for and running the inaugural disneyland half marathon. i was sans computer for most of the time i was gone; in the meantime, i continued to rack up yoga experiences worth writing about.

so without further ado, here's belated post #1:

sometime last month, a los angeles-based bikram yoga teacher named aljarreau galang found my post on bikram yoga in manila and emailed me the following message:

"I think it was great that you shared Tristan's studio with the many people that regularly read your blog. I will actually be one of his new teachers starting in October; your entry on the studio was very informative...."

aljarreau, or al for short, also invited me to take one of his classes at either the bikram headquarters on la cienega, bikram fullerton, or bikram downtown LA. the downtown location seemed like the best option for me, so i finally found the time to take his class last wednesday at the brand-new bikram studio right across the street from the disney concert hall.

Bikram Yoga Downtown L.A.
700 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-YOGA (9642)
website: www.bikramyogadowntownla.com

Lose Weight
Improve Flexibility
Guard Against Injury
Increase Energy Level
And Many More Benefits...

parking being the way it is in the downtown area -- that is, expensive -- it was good to hear that they offer validated parking. $2 for 2 hours of parking is about as good a deal as you can get. unless, of course, you happen to find a spot on the street with a broken parking meter, like i did. in that case, you can park as long as you want for free :) i later found out that parking is free in their building in the evenings, so if you take the 6:15pm or 8pm classes, you'll save yourself two bucks.

in my attempt to avoid the rush hour traffic madness on the day i was to take al's class, i ended up in downtown at 4pm for the 6:15pm class. luckily for me, because i had been blessed by the meter gods (see above), i was able to park my car and leave it there for the rest of the evening. it was still nice and warm out, so i took a leisurely walk to the california plaza watercourt, where i stopped at the starbucks to buy an iced tea. from there, i strolled four blocks to the bikram studio at the corner of 1st and hope.

al was sitting at the front desk when i walked into the studio. i introduced myself, and as i filled out the registration form, we chatted about his upcoming gig at the bikram studio in manila. it turns out that tristan choa is about to open a second studio in the metro manila area; this new one is going to be on tomas morato avenue in quezon city. according to my sister, who's spent more of her adult life in the philippines than i have, the trendy QC location is surrounded by the major tv studios and has a good chance of being frequented by celebs in the entertainment industry.

this entry in experts.about.com corroborates what she said:

Tomas Morato Avenue is known as restaurant row where one can find a variety of restaurants from fine dining to fast food. Bars and cafes also line up Tomas Morato.
Quezon City is also home to the major television broadcasting networks. Philippines' giant television networks, ABS-CBN 2 and GMA 7, as well as NBN 4, ABC 5, RPN 9, and IBC 13 are all located in Quezon City.

and just like it is here in los angeles, wherever the celebs go, the star-struck groupies are bound to follow. just what tristan needs... more students :)

speaking of the entertainment industry in the philippines, many of the current up-and-coming stars are young, attractive filipinos who've grown up outside of the philippines. many of them are half-filipino, with their other half (american, asian, or european) making them that more exotic. they don't necessarily have much talent, yet because they're such eye candy, they sing, dance, and act (quite pitifully, in many cases) and the fans lap it up anyway.

which makes me very curious as to how al's stint in manila's going to turn out. after all, he also happens to be young, attractive, in great physical shape, and foreign-raised. not only that, but he's already had a part in a small independent film here in the US called baby. looks to me that there's a good chance he could turn into the next philippine media darling. who knows.

as for al's class, he wasn't arrogant like bikram himself, nor a taskmaster. just like other bikram teachers, he called out the poses, reminded us how the poses were supposed to be done, pushed us to go past our comfort zones, clapped his hands and counted, but somehow i didn't feel like i was going to tarred and feathered if i didn't execute each pose perfectly. maybe it was because i had become more familiar with the bikram routine. maybe it was because the heat wasn't as oppressive. maybe it was because i was in a better mood. or maybe it was because i just liked his style of teaching.

at this point, if you want to try out al's bikram class, you'll have to do that pronto. his last class will be on the 29th, about two weeks from now. he leaves for manila the next day, and after a brief orientation period, he'll start teaching at the makati studio before making his move to the quezon city studio. he's looking forward to a year of new places, new people, and new experiences. he's in an enviable position, and i wish him the best.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

if i had an ipod...

If I had an ipod
I'd podcast in the morning
I'd podcast in the evening
All over this land...

but i don't have one. at least not yet.

yesterday, i found this teaser from the apple store in my emailbox:

Completely remastered. The new iPod nano.
Aluminum case. Brighter screen. Up to 24-hour battery and 2,000 songs in your pocket.

iPod nano is just the beginning. The new iPod features a brighter screen and longer video playback, perfect for watching the movies now available on iTunes. And the new iPod shuffle packs up to 240 songs into an unbelievable 0.55 ounce.

so considering that the price of ipods keeps decreasing while the number of features keeps increasing, i've finally been giving it some serious thought.

i mean, almost everyone i know has one. but do i really need one?

it would be cool to be able to run around and listen to audio that i've preselected and preloaded. but i can already do that with my creative zen nano plus MP3 player, which also has something an ipod doesn't have: a built-in FM radio. granted, the model i own has only a fraction of the memory of an ipod (512MB vs. 30GB), but it serves its purpose.

it would also be handy to have enough memory to be able to download audiobooks, tv shows, and movies. although why would i want to torture my eyes with images on a tiny 2.5 inch screen when i can more easily watch movies the old-fashioned way: with a large-screen TV and a DVD player?

but then again, with many yoga instructors now podcasting their more popular classes, it could be my chance to finally take a class with someone who doesn't normally teach in the LA area.

so i checked the podcast rolls to see who's out there (and i've updated my podcast link list with some new discoveries):

alive yoga - offers ashtanga, forrest, power, serenity, and vinyasa yoga from instructors who teach primarily on the east coast

a moment of yoga - features sam geppi of sfyoga.net, who talks about the spiritual side of yoga

elsie's yoga kula - live recordings of elsie escobar's anusara classes here in LA

everything yoga - updated every month and spotlights a different personality and topic

iamplify - a wide variety of podcasts on almost anything; those in the yoga category include classes with los angeles-based instructors such as seane corn, kimberly fowler, sara ivanhoe, matthew reyes, and erich schiffmann

inner path yoga - yoga classes taught by patricia henderson, who lives in the seattle WA area

iTRAIN - the yoga classes fall under the iSTRETCH workouts and are taught by heath house, joseph seeman, and grace lazenby, all from the LA area

jivadiva yoga jam - yoga and meditation sessions with alanna, the jivadiva, who teaches jivamukti classes in denver CO

sacred sounds radio - heart-opening music by contemporary artists such as girish and deva premal and traditional kirtan artists such as krishna das and the temple bhajan band

vancouver yoga - a handful of power yoga classes with eoin finn from, wouldn't you know it, vancouver BC

yoga learning center - an online yoga studio where you can download as many classes as you want for a flat monthly fee

YOGAmazing - a variety of classes taught by chaz rough from louisville KY that includes titles such as "yoga for rock climbers", "yoga for golf", "yoga for anger", "yoga for insomnia", and "yoga for fertility"

yoga peeps - a collection of interviews with well-known yogis and yoginis such as shiva rea, ana forrest, natasha rizopoulos, bryan kest, richard miller, and more

yoga today - beautiful HD-quality yoga video classes from jackson hole WY; a new class is automatically downloaded 7 days a week, 365 days a year

yogi2go - a selection of different yoga styles taught by teachers from the LA area: camilla bergstrom, mela butcher, jeanne heileman, hala khouri, molly roemer, and kaia van zandt, as well as instructors from divine motion studio in northern california: tracee and everett newell, and jennifer keppel

with such a large selection of downloadable material available to me, i can't wait to see if santa leaves a new, video-capable, ipod under the tree for me this christmas :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

where did all the yogis go?

at first glance, it sounded like it was going to be a fantastic event.

yoga fest 2006 was scheduled for sunday, september 10th, at the bergamot station arts center in santa monica. according to its website, its purpose was "to raise funds for the Lakshchandi MahaYagna which will benefit not only those who participate, but all of humanity and the earth itself."

and even if you had no clue what the "lakshchandi mahayagna" was (i know i didn't), the roster of featured teachers, performers, and vendors was quite impressive:

anusara yoga with anthony benenati from city yoga
hatha yoga with kia miller from yoga works
indian dance with sri kesava of the taal dance company
kids' yoga with darlene d'arezzo from exhale
kundalini yoga with marne moore from golden bridge yoga
meditation with richard grossman of soundjourney
power yoga with ashley turner from santa monica power yoga
power yoga with ally hamilton from santa monica power yoga
power yoga with mark blanchard from progressive power yoga
primordial sound meditation with mahaila mckellar
satyananda yoga with cindy fulsom
seven spiritual laws of yoga with alanna aziam

govindas and radha
ganasaraswathy and friends
madison and cameron alan-lee
kalyani shamugaraga dancers
taal dance company

plus more
clothing and accessories from shiva imports
mehndi body painting by yogini designs
vedic astrology by linda goldman
massage, including reflexology, thai massage, and neck and shoulder rubs
lunch, dinner, and all the chai tea you can drink

i eagerly showed up to volunteer the afternoon of the event, and to my dismay, it seemed that there were more vendors and volunteers roaming around than paid attendees.

so why was there such a poor turnout?

here are some possible reasons --

1. maybe there wasn't enough advance publicity?

thinking back, the first i heard about it was when i picked up a postcard at liberation yoga the week before the event. then read about it a couple of days later in the september issue of la yoga. and didn't see it mentioned at all in the september issue of yogi times (even if they were supposedly a yoga fest sponsor).

a google search produced postings about the event on bethecause.org, la.com, tribe.net, and upcoming.org. but did it ever make it to the la times, or any of the local tv newscasts (KABC7, KCAL9, KCBS2, KNBC4, KTLA5)? i don't remember hearing about it through any of those sources :(

2. maybe the registration fee was too expensive?

i know that with my tight budget, i thought it was a bit steep (which is why i ended up volunteering to pay my way). all attendees were expected to pay $45 if they pre-registered for the full-day event ($55 at the door) or $30 for the morning or afternoon only ($35 at the door). kids were $20.

on the other hand, if you consider that you could take as many classes as you wanted (as many as five if you went non-stop all day) plus you were fed lunch and/or dinner, it could have been a good deal. especially since all the teachers were well-respected in their fields and you couldn't have enjoyed a more delicious indian meal unless you happened to visit your indian grandmother who'd spent the entire day slaving over a hot stove.

3. maybe the venue wasn't clearly marked?

since i live close to bergamot station, i entered the complex and kept walking around until i found the tents and the food table (leave it to me to find the food!). i overheard someone say that she saw people driving off when they couldn't find any signage that told them where to go. i just say they weren't persistent enough.

4. maybe there were other events that day that people chose to attend instead?

let's see... as far as i know, there was the los angeles triathlon (which i also happened to volunteer at earlier that day) and the kickin' cancer 5K that morning. and supposedly, the mehregan persian festival, with attendance usually in the thousands. it was the opening weekend of the los angeles county fair. oh, and let's not forget, it was also the official start of the NFL season. bingo, that must have been it!

anyway, despite the fact that the place was practically deserted, i managed to keep myself entertained. when i wasn't sitting at the registration desk, keeping the buffet table stocked, or directing attendees to classes, i was moving around and checking out the events. i chatted with yoga instructors anthony and rebecca benenati, kia miller, and mark blanchard (and if i had only thought of bringing some yoga gear with me, i could have taken their classes, too). i sat and chanted a bit with govindas and radha, his wife. i browsed through the items for sale at the shiva imports booth and compared travel experiences with the store owners. and i had more than my share of naan, dal, channa masala, tofu saag, gobi aloo, basmati rice, gulab jamun, and chai tea.

will next year's event, if there is another one, be better attended? if the organizers take the time to figure out what went wrong this time, maybe it will...

Friday, September 08, 2006

the pursuit of peace

there are many ways you can show how strongly you feel about peace.

you can march down the street and demonstrate for peace.
or you can write to politicians and lobby for peace.
you can sign up and register to run, walk, or bike for peace.
if the spirit moves you, you can pray for peace.
and if the music moves you, you can chant for peace.

and now i just found out that you can even eat for peace.


last night, i dropped by yoga west to attend guru singh's kundalini class, with special guests snatam kaur, guruganesha singh, and krishan. snatam and her peace band were traveling the country as part of their "celebrate peace" tour, which was sponsored by peace cereal.

according to the the peace cereal website:

At Peace Cereal our mission is to serve you by making deliciously natural and healthy cereal, as well as to serve the world community by utilizing responsible business practices and donating 10% of our profits to peace.

during the post-concert reception, samples of the organic hearty raisin bran cereal were handed out. naturally, i took a bag, partly because it was free, and partly because i wanted to compare it to the non-organic (inorganic?) version found in most grocery stores. not only that, but i also have a weakness for anything with raisins in it. ok, i have a weakness for food, period.

while the kellogg's version contains the following ingredients:
Whole wheat, raisins, wheat bran, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, malt flavoring, niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

the peace cereal version contains these:
organic wheat bran, organic whole wheat flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic rolled oats, organic milled rice, organic soy oil, organic clover honey, organic raisins, vegetable glycerin, organic barley malt syrup, epazote leaf, organic cardamom seed, organic fennel seed, organic fenugreek seed, organic nutmeg, rosemary extract, sea salt.

and while it seems at first glance that, except for the wheat bran and the raisins, they have nothing in common, the peace cereal version was actually as good as, if not better than, the version i've been eating up until now. plus with all the additional seeds and grains in it, i felt like i was getting more fiber out of the deal. and at my age, that might be a good thing :)

i think i'll pay my local whole foods market a visit and pick up a box. not only will i be doing something good for myself, but also something good for the community.

through the peace cereal website, the proceeds from the sale of other non-cereal items will also go towards fostering peace in the world. for example, you can purchase the celebrate peace CD, featuring the music of snatam kaur and the peace band. after listening to the music clips online, i realized that many of the songs that were performed at yoga west were from this album (and maybe if i had paid just a little more attention last night, i probably would have heard it mentioned by snatam or guru singh). the album is a compilation of music from snatam's previous albums, as well as some new songs written specifically for this release. it's great music; buy it and support the cause!

so it looks like i can now add another item to my earlier list:

you can shop for peace.

now that i like!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

just another ordinary day...

when i got out of bed this morning, i had no real commitments for the day, other than to take a bikram class (yes, you read that correctly) at the new bikram studio in downtown la. al galang, one of the instructors on staff, had invited me to take one of his evening classes. it turns out that he had read my post about my recent visit to tristan choa's bikram studio in the philippines, and since he had just accepted tristan's offer to teach all the way out in the land of our people (he's a kababayan, a fellow filipino), he thought it would be cool to meet. and so did i.

it also being a thursday, it was classical night at the hollywood bowl, which meant that i would be able to sit in and listen to the morning rehearsal of this evening's performance. tonight's program was called "french delights" and included bizet's carmen, ravel's la valse, and saint-saens' cello concerto no.1, featuring soloist han-na chang. ooh la la.

with a good six hours between the bowl and bikram, i still needed to find things to do to fill in the time, but since i seem to have mastered the art of keeping myself busy even when i don't have much to do, i knew i'd end up with a full day anyway.

i packed a bag with my "hot yoga" gear, i.e., flipflops, shorts, and a camisole top, grabbed the stack of new yoga magazines that were sitting in my living room, and headed out the door.

once at the bowl, i went straight for one of the box seats, opened up the september issue of yogi times, and started to read. and as the familiar strains of carmen's opening act began to echo through the canyon, my eyes landed on the full-page yoga west ad, which featured this month's special events. first on the list was:

thursday, september 7th 7:00pm
snatam & guru singh
snatam joins guru singh for his regular 7pm class, followed by snatam and her peace band in concert

wait a minute... today was the 7th! and not only would i be able to take a class with guru singh, one of the more senior instructors at yoga west, but i'd also get a chance to hear snatam sing! she was performing in concert at golden bridge the next day to promote her newest CD, anand, so maybe tonight's performance at yoga west would be a sampling of her newest songs? i didn't want to miss out on the opportunity.

oh, but i did have those bikram plans... not a problem; al would still be teaching the rest of the month, so i had a few more chances to catch up with him before he left for manila...

so i sat through the rest of the la phil's rehearsal, knowing that i would be listening to even more music later that evening. lucky me.

from the bowl, i drove out to burbank to check out the new branch of porto's bakery, a popular cuban eatery known for its pastries and sandwiches (and potato balls!). i ordered my usual medianoche sandwich, and as i started to thumb through yet another yoga magazine, i was overcome by the sudden realization -- that the skimpy outfit i had stashed away in my car was totally inappropriate for a kundalini class at yoga west! and that it would make no sense to go all the way back home to get a change of clothes, then turn around and head back towards beverly hills to get to class. or maybe i was just trying to find an excuse to go clothes shopping? :)

anyway, thanks to my sister, who happened to be slaving away on her office computer, i located the nearest american apparel store and bought a pair of inexpensive drawstring capri pants and a lightweight shirt that i could throw over the cami i had with me. problem solved.

after taking care of a few errands, i decided to beat the rush-hour traffic and made my way directly to yoga west.

and got there two hours too early.

with nothing better to do, i somehow got talked into taking guru meher's 5:30pm "happy hour yoga" class. it was either that, or sit around the lobby drinking endless cups of yogi tea. and reading more yoga magazines.

it turned out that instead of the more physical workout i was told guru meher's classes tend to be, he decided to have us work on pranayams. we did all kinds of breathing exercises to work on all of our chakras, from the bottoms of our feet all the way up to the tops of our heads. there was lots of long deep breathing. lots of breaths of fire. lots of inhaling through pursed lips. and lots of frustration on my part when i started losing focus and my breathing techniques started to get sloppy.

thankfully, the class lasted only an hour, so i was able to return to normal breathing before i completely lost my mind.

once our class ended, the doors to the room opened and a flood of students started streaming in for guru singh's class. i hung on to my spot for dear life, knowing that i had a perfect view of the stage from where i was. i patted myself on the back for having chosen to take the earlier class and get there before everyone else did.

with almost everyone settled in, guru singh, snatam, guru ganesha and krishan (aka the peace band) took their places on the stage. guru singh then spent some time on the yogic philosophy portion of his class; tonight's theme was getting rid of our weaknesses. to do that, we were to embrace them, displace them, and replace them. pretty catchy, don't you think?

long story short, while we concentrated on embracing our weaknesses, we chanted along with snatam and the band, with snatam on lead vocals, guru ganesha and guru singh on guitar, and krishan on percussion. and although the songs came from guru ganesha singh's latest album, pure ganesh, rather than snatam's anand, we were nevertheless inspired and guided by their melodic voices.

the class ended with us chanting "guru ram das" for thirty minutes (i kid you not) , followed by us holding hands and chanting even more (unfortunately, after almost three and a half hours of moving and chanting, i'm too wiped out to be able to repeat what it was that we were singing!).

there was a small reception after class where the students had a chance to mingle with their fellow students as well as the performers. as for myself, i grabbed a handful of food and made a quick getaway, knowing that it was finally time for my long, eventful day to come to an end.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

going brazilian

the word "brazilian" can mean different things to different people.

for the slaves to fashion, it conjures up painful flashbacks of masochistic aestheticians armed with hot wax and cloth strips. ouch!

for the foodies, it causes mouths to water over the endless array of skewers laden with beef, pork, lamb, and other meats. yum.

and for the musically-inclined, it brings back sweet memories of quiet nights under quiet stars with jobim, gilberto, lins, and many others. ahhh...

as for me, it means all that, and more. in fact, i've also had this thing for the sound of brazilian portuguese. on a varig flight many, many years ago, i faintly remember swooning once the flight attendant started announcing the emergency procedures. to each his own :)

so it was no surprise that the moment i read maha yoga's email on their new yoga class featuring new teacher adriano sarmento and brazilian lounge music, i dropped everything i had planned for the day and headed out to maha for the lunchtime class.

and when i got there, things couldn't have gone any better.

since adriano was a new teacher, the class qualified for the "new teacher" rate of only $10, which easily beat the KCRW discounted rate on their revised class prices. what a deal!

since adriano was originally from brazil, he brought to the class his wonderful brazilian music playlist, including tunes i had never heard before. mmmm....

and since i was the only one who showed up for class, i once again found myself taking a private class at a group rate. which, based on my prior experiences, could have been good or bad. but in this case, it couldn't have gone any better.

first of all, adriano's background has been as an ashtanga teacher. from what i understand, he assists and/or subs the morning ashtanga classes at maha. so when it came to alignment and the proper way to do asanas, he was on top of things. for downward dogs, he was constantly rotating my upper arms and pushing my hips up and back. for warrior 1s and 2s, he would push down on my thigh until my knee was bent at a perfect 90 degree angle, also making make sure that my drishti was correct for each pose. for the binds that he challenged me with, he provided assistance with blocks and straps when i had trouble grabbing the appropriate body part. for the forward bends, he helped lengthen my torso so that i could affect a deeper bend. even i impressed myself with what i was doing :)

all the while, i was flowing to music by bebel gilberto, thievery corporation, seu jorge, and others whom i may have recognized if i hadn't been breathing as hard :(

and for the final savasana, he tugged at my legs, arms, and neck so that i got maximum stretch and relaxation while in the pose. he even folded up a towel and placed it over my eyes to block out the light in the bright room. being pampered after a tough workout was simply divine!

so would i go back and take another class? heck yes! especially if i get the same personalized treatment and he gives me a copy of the tunes he played in class (which he said he would the next time i show up). that alone is incentive enough to get back as soon as possible...

by the way, adriano teaches at maha on tuesday and thursday afternoons from 12:45 to 2:15. as of the last time i checked, maha still hadn't posted their updated class schedule online, so unless you've read their latest email update or picked up a copy of their new schedule from the studio, you'd never know about this new find. so enjoy the small class size while you can!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the dalai lama in los angeles

as i read the update from insight yoga (see yesterday's post) that started something like this:

To coincide and celebrate the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday September 12-14th, 8pm

i said to myself, "really?!?"

i suppose that might explain the ongoing exhibit at the fowler (which, by the way, will end on sept 10th -- that's THIS SUNDAY, if you still haven't been there).

i did some googling and found this on the website of the thubten dhargye ling buddhist center in long beach:

Save the Date: Sept 12, 13 & 14th, 2006

Welcome to the website for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Los Angeles, 2006!

Venerable Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen and the students of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Center in Long Beach, California, are greatly honored and deeply pleased to be hosting His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama on September 12, 13, and 14, 2006 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.

Our time with the His Holiness will be divided into two days of teaching and one day of initiation at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, and a public talk at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City.

This year's teachings, while open to everyone interested, will be focused toward practicing students of Buddhism. On the first two days His Holiness will teach from Arya Nagarjuna's splendid and concise text, Jangchup Semdrel, Commentary on Bodhicitta (mind of enlightenment). On the last day, His Holiness will confer the Chittamani Tara Permission Initiation (Dolma Chittamani Jenang). The teachings and initiation will be translated into English, Chinese and Vietnamese.

The public talk will be given by His Holiness on Wednesday, September 13th at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City. The talk will begin at 2:30 pm. The topic is Compassion: the Source of Happiness.

Tickets for the teachings are sold out.

All monastic positions for the teachings have been filled. No new applications can be accepted.

Good seats for the public talk are available: Tickets for the public talk at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City (at Universal Studios) are available through Ticketmaster: http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1038252

Updates: In addition to this website, we have created an online information group
to help us keep you updated. If you join the group, you will have access to all the latest announcements regarding the event.

To contact us regarding this event, please email us at hhdl2006@gmail.com, or you can leave a phone message at (562) 987-2927. We will respond to all inquires as quickly as possible. Thank you for your interest and support.

so i went ahead and checked the ticketmaster site, and sure enough, all the tickets to the public event at the gibson amphitheater were sold out. no surprise.

it's also no surprise that these tickets, which cost $25 to $50, are now being sold by ticket brokers for over twice their face value.

not to worry, though; you may still have another chance to hear the dalai lama speak. here's the latest press release from CBS.com:

Dalai Lama To Speak At Shriver's Women Conference

Aug 30, 2006 2:32 pm US/Pacific

The Dalai Lama will speak at the California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women next month at the Long Beach Convention Center, it was announced Wednesday.

"I'm very honored that Maria Shriver asked me to come and speak to the women of California," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

"I have always believed that women have a unique role in society. Women have a special capacity to lead us to a more peaceful world with compassion, affection and kindness. And there is no more important time for that than this moment."

Shriver traveled to North India earlier this month, where she met with the 14th Dalai Lama and extended a formal invitation to speak at the Sept. 26 conference.

"When I met with His Holiness in Dharamsala, I was particularly moved by his belief that women are the caretakers and educators of our future citizens and society," Shriver said. "What I think women will find challenging, but interesting, is to consider how perhaps by doing less, we can do more."

Following his 30-minute late afternoon speech, the Dalai Lama will field questions from the audience, then guide the estimated 11,000 attendees in a brief meditation exercise.

As the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, he has advocated better understanding and respect among the different faiths of the world, imparting a message of universal responsibility, love, compassion and kindness.

About five dozen speakers and panelists are scheduled to participate in this year's conference, including Martha Stewart, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Tyra Banks, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, Anna Quindlen, Suze Orman and Elle Macpherson.

The general session sold out in 72 hours, but conference organizers will release a limited number of "afternoon-only session" tickets in the upper sections of the arena.

Those $40 tickets will be available for purchase beginning Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. at www.CaliforniaWomen.org.

here's your chance to see and hear the dalai lama while he's in town. set your alarm for tomorrow morning to make sure you don't miss out on this opportunity!

Monday, September 04, 2006

news from my mailbag

note: more mail updates came in from santa monica yoga and yogi times after i posted this, so i've decided to add them in to keep everything together...

i've finally caught up with the week's worth of accumulated email that was sitting in my inbox!

there were some updates of note from the various yoga sources. aside from the usual "practice in paradise" retreats and "learn to do it better" workshops, here are the more interesting ones. note that i tend to favor anything having to do with music and/or fundraising :)

my comments are italicized...

from black dog yoga --

The New Fall Schedule Starts Today!
To view - just click here.

Some highlights on the new schedule include:
NEW Level 1 with Lauri - Wednesdays 9:30am
EARLY Hour of Power with Margaret - Fridays 7:30am
NEW Level 1 with Margaret - Fridays 9:30am

Please be sure to give the new schedule a good look as some teachers, times, and levels have changed. See you soon!

from city yoga --

Sunday, Sept 17th 12:30-3:30pm
Fearlessness: How to Fall without Fear w/ Anthony Benenati
Price: $45

Fear. We have all experienced it- driving along and suddenly you see police lights in your rear view mirror or someone cuts you off and you swerve to avoid an accident. Maybe you're in class and the teacher wants you to do handstand in the middle of the room! Your instinct kicks in and hormones flow and thoughts of injury and pain fill your mind. But what is fear? How does it serve you? Does it keep you stuck or do you use it to motivate you? In order to achieve balance in yoga you must learn how to fall. Falling is as much a part of balancing as core strength.
In this workshop Anthony will share his experience and expertise of falling and overcoming fear. This workshop will take your practice to new heights. Come face your fears.

*only healthy students with no injuries, please!

from exhale santa monica --

Thursday, Sept 14 7:30pm - 11:00pm
Yoga Bash 2 with David Romanelli + Matthew Moon

Yoga Bash 1 was such a huge success - with over 150 people in attendance! - we are excited to bring you YOGA BASH 2! Join yoga teacher David Romanelli, rock star Matthew Moon and exhale’s talented therapists and healers for an evening of flowing yoga, great live music, free food and wine, spa samplings, and late night rubdowns.

from exhale venice --

Saturday, September 9 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Yoga Trance Dance with Shiva Rea

"Since we live where everything is music, everything is dancing." - Rumi

Yoga Trance Dance™ is an exploration of the eternal flow of natural movement through yoga. Beginning with sahaja prana yoga or the experience of prana initiating yogasanas, yoga trance dance flows into an exploration of free-form, breath driven movement to liberate one's creative life-force and cultivate embodied freedom. . Experience the latest spin of meditative and high-energy world music.

Saturday, September 23 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Kirtan with Dave Stringer and Miles Shrewsbery
$15; $20 at the door

The call and response form of mantra chanting known as Kirtan is a consciousness-transforming practice, directing the singers to vanish into the song as drops merge into the ocean. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds, clapping and dancing as the rhythms of tablas, finger cymbals, harmonium, tamboura, electric bass, guitar and trumpet build and accelerate. The mantras are projected overhead, making them simple to follow.

Yoga doesn’t ask us to believe, it asks us to practice, examining our experience until we can witness the truth in the book of our own heart. The mantras are primarily recitations of names given to the divine. But perhaps the true understanding of the mantras can be found in the sense of unity, well-being and timelessness that they elicit. The mantras quiet the mind, and the music frees the heart. Ecstasy is both the process and the product.

from forrest yoga institute --

Saturday, October 14 6:00-8:00pm
Cost: $20 pre-registration; $25 after Sept. 15

Come rock out with us in October at FYI in a special 2 hour inspiring yoga flow series with rocking music taught by Chanel Luck (Forrest Yogini from Boston).
If you have a favorite song or album send it our way and we’ll put it on the Saturday night playlist.
Find your inner strength, fluid power and connect to a place of TOTAL FREEDOM in your body and in your practice. During this workshop you can expect to have a BLAST!

from insight yoga --


To coincide and celebrate the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday September 12-14th, 8pm
$14 in advance, $20 at the door, $30 for all 3 nights, paid in advance

An evening of meditation, classical cello, harmonium, Tibetan medicine bowls, mantras and haunting vocals.

Click here for more information!

with Nancy Green
Sunday, September 17th 2pm
$15 by 9.12 / $20 after

Join us for an afternoon performance of three of the Suites for Solo Cello by J. S. Bach. Nancy will talk about the healing power of classical music in general, with engaging commentary on why the particularly high frequency of Bach's music is powerfully tranformative.

Click here for more information!

from larry payne at jiva yoga and samata yoga --

We have a new name for our style of Yoga, PRIME OF LIFE YOGA™, and I have applied for a federal trademark. I believe our new name and brand is empowering and speaks to the group I am most closely connected to. Primarily we are people in the second half of life who want to stay healthy, happy and active as long as possible. My vision is to provide a virtual support system to achieve these goals.
(larry's style of yoga used to be known as "user friendly yoga")

from liberation yoga --

September 30th - 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY!! 7:30pm - 11:30pm
PLEASE RSVP by Sept. 20th!

Come join us for this stupendous event and bring your friends, family and children! There will be a raffle with fantastic prizes (all of the proceeds will go to expanding the Garden Studio and supporting our Scholarship Program), a truly gifted psychic, feng shui advice consultaions, energy work, music and more!
It will be a potluck affair so if you have a culinary flair, please contact christine@liberationyoga.com and let her know what you will be bringing. There will also be Indian Food and Ako's magnifient macrobiotic delights!

October 14th (class time was not mentioned)
$14 (or one class from series)

This special class taught by Serge Berkley will focus on breathwork asana, vinyasa sequencing and meditation while incorporating the soundscapes of rare spiritual jazz records. John Coltrane, Sun Ra and many more artists who drew from the eastern traditions will infuse this soulful experience with history and spirit.

from light at maha yoga --

HOT SUNDAY: September 24th 7:30pm

Hot Sundays is taught by Light, set to Candlelight, and flanked with music from Light's superb Playlists. There will be Giveaways at the end of class, and most importantly, it's a chance to do some karma yoga (giving back), as 100% of the money you give will be donated to charity.

This Month's Charity: Pet Orphans of Southern California
Pet Orphans of Southern California (POSC) is dedicated to combating the national crisis of overpopulation, abandonment and euthanasia through extensive education programs. While focusing on the universal concern, POSC is committed to serving its community by rescuing and rehabilitating homeless dogs and cats, providing them with exceptional care and then carefully matching them with suitable adoptive families. In addition to education and rescue, POSC provides broad community support by offering a wide range of services including medical/financial, spay/neuter and training assistance, encouraging responsible pet guardianship thus reducing abandonment and other consequences that deepen the national crisis.
To see more information, go to: www.petorphans.org

Class Details:
Maha Yoga 13050 San Vicente Blvd, 2nd floor
Brentwood, CA (corner of 26th & San Vicente)
(310) 899-0047
Note: The main office door will be locked. Please enter at the studio.

This event is sponsored by Maha Yoga, Archipelago, and Yoga Tribe & Culture

from lululemon santa monica --

SUNDAY, September 10: 9:30-10:45am

Fall is the time of year in Los Angeles where the winds begin to blow and the air is dry from the intensity of summer. In the Holistic system of medicine from India, Ayurveda, this shift in the seasons calls for us to prepare by balancing the elements of the body, Space (Akasha) and Air (Vayu). Please join Kishan Shah for a Prana Vinyasa Flow class designed to balance the body and mind in alignment with these shifts. Class is complimentary and all levels are welcome!

Kishan's Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes focus on the cultivation of Prana Shakti, life force, through breath work and Vinyasa Krama, the sequencing of asanas. They are a dynamic synthesis of solar lunar energetics providing for a challenging and empowering practice. His intention to seamlessly integrate the sister sciences of Ayurveda and Hatha Yoga provides for a unique class with a holistic approach to the mind, body, and spirit. Kishan teaches yoga at Santa Monica Yoga, leads workshops nationwide, and is faculty at UCLA. He is currently finishing a Master of Science in Ayurvedic Holistic Medicine at the American University of Complimentary Medicine.

MONDAY, September 18: 8-9pm

Intrigued by yoga? Not sure where to begin? Please join us for a complimentary beginners' yoga class with Jamie Elmer of Exhale. In this straight-forward and supportive class, you will be introduced to the basics of yoga and gain confidence to venture into other classes. No experience or flexibility required!

All are welcome and we are happy to lend you a mat.

JAMIE ELMER has practiced Vinyasa based Hatha Yoga since 1997. She holds a degree in dance and has studied movement and Pilates for the past fifteen years. Her practice and style of teaching focuses attention on alignment of the body as a means to openness and balance. Jamie is known for her consistent expression of grace, strength and joy. Jamie teaches privately and at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement. Please visit www.jamieelmer.com to learn more.

lululemon athletica is at:
331 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 319.9900

from maha yoga --

TUESDAY & THURSDAY 12:45- 2:15pm
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 12:45-2:15pm, we are thrilled to welcome Adriano Sarmento to the schedule. Adriano will teach an ALL LEVELS flow class will set to Brazilian Lounge music. Please come welcome Adriano and enjoy his enchanting Brazilian energy. Adriano joins the schedule beginning Tuesday, September 5th.
(note: it looks like adriano's taking over kathleen kastner's time slots at maha; however, kathleen continues to teach at progressive power yoga down the street)

CLASS PRICING – Effective September 1st
Our rent is going WAY up and since we love our location, we need to find a way to pay. Unfortunately, this is forcing Maha Yoga to raise class prices. This is the only way we can ensure that you keep the great instructors you love. We appreciate your presence at the studio and will do everything we can to continue making your visits to Maha Yoga happy ones.
and hopefully, they still offer a KCRW discount on their new prices...

from mission street yoga --

NEW Classes, Time Changes & great NEW TEACHERS
Please note the following CHANGES and NEW CLASSES for our Fall Schedule (Sept 1- Nov 30). For the full schedule, click here.

5:45pm Mixed Level (moves from 6:30) Jennifer Webster
7:00pm Basics with Steven Espinosa (A wonderful senior Anusara!)
7:30pm Mixed Level with Tony Giuliano

12:00pm Core Strength (Inter.) with Alyson Boell
6:00pm Basics with Shari Goodhartz
7:00pm Mixed Level with Mark Frankel

8:30am Basics with Jodi Shaw
5:45pm Mixed Level (moves from 6:30) with Scott Lewicki
7:00pm Basics with Stuart Hanna
7:30pm Mixed Level with Tony Giuliano

6:00pm Basics with Shari Goodhartz
7:00pm Mixed Level with Mark Frankel

9:00am Basics Megan McCord (She's back!)
4:45pm Friday Mixed Level...canceled (Attendance wasn't consistent.)

9:00am Mixed Level with Mark Frankel
10:45am Basics with Patricia Hernandez
12:30pm Core Strength (Inter.) with Alyson Boell
12:45pm Mixed Level with Hagar Harpak (moves from 12:30)

5:30pm Mixed Level with Anna Kolacny. Come welcome another wonderful new teacher to our community!

***All Series (5, 10 & 20 Classes) Now Valid For 6 Months*** (was 4 months)

Sunday, September 10th, 2-5pm
$40 day of; pre-reg $35 (by 9/4)

Anusara philosophy teaches us to open our hearts, to be courageous, to use everything to our advantage and to flow with the universal energy of support and love.
After 6 years of teaching in Los Angeles, Tiffany is letting the flow of grace carry her to Italy to live and teach and courageously explore a new world. Please come share her last workshop in LA (for now) and celebrate the magnificence of Anusara focusing on arm balances and back bends that inspire us to be courageous and to take risks! All levels welcome as long as you have the desire to play, explore and to go where you've never gone before!

from santa monica yoga --

We are doing a fundraiser for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC). Students may purchase a 3 class pass for $35. $10 will be donated to NRDC.
Restrictions are: one per student, offer ends Oct 15.
(bruce bair at SMY is big on saving the environment; last july, he arranged a group viewing of the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" for the studio staff at a local theater)

from yoga loft, manhattan beach --

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. In recognition of this and in honor of student Susie Fragnoli, who survived ovarian cancer due to early diagnosis, Yoga Loft will donate 10% of class sales proceeds this month to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). OCRF brochures, including symptoms and information on the disease, will be available at the studio near the front desk.

This is also the 5 year anniversary of the September 11th tragedy in NYC. In honor of our own local heroes, we are offering FREE yoga classes all month to Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach firefighters.

SUNDAYS, 10/1; 11/5; 12/3 4:00-5:00pm
$15. Series do NOT apply

Enjoy live acoustic music from guitarist/vocalist Paul Lemire and a challenging Level 2/3 flow with Kelly McAndrews.

from yogamates.com --

yogamates.com presents:

An evening of chanting under the stars

October 21st, 2006 7 pm

John Anson Ford Amphitheater
2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90068

from yoga works --

Yoga Works and Health Magazine have teamed up to save yogis everywhere from boring Friday nights with Yoga Nights. Bring or send your friends to these FREE Friday night events featuring beginner-friendly yoga classes, free gift bags and tons more fun. Check your local studio for details.

We like our local oceans best when they are sparkly and pristine. Join the Yoga Works team at Heal the Bay's Beach Cleanup Sept. 16, 9 am -12. We will meet at Malibu Surfrider Beach. Spend a morning in the fresh ocean air with other yogis who care about the environment.

from yogi times --

SNATAM KAUR'S CD RELEASE PARTY. Join us Friday, Sept. 8th 2006 from 8 pm – 12 am at Golden Bridge Yoga for an ecstatic evening of song, dance and fun as we celebrate Snatam's newest CD release Anand, with Snatam performing live, followed by ecstatic dance with Global rhythms spun by Tej Gill, free delicious sweet treats and surprise performers! Learn more
there was no mention, however, that it'll cost you to attend this event: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

YOGA FEST 2006 IN SUPPORT OF “CEREMONY OF 1001 YOGIS.” Please join us on Sunday, September 10th for a rejuvenating day of spiritual activities.
Bergamot Station Arts Center 2525 Michigan Ave., Bldg. I Santa Monica, CA 90404 310.343.8008
9:00am - 9:00 pm. Learn more
once again, the entry fee was somehow left out:
full day: $45 online / $55 at door (includes lunch and dinner)
half day: $30 online / $35 at door (includes lunch or dinner)

THE SOUND THE EARTH MAKES: PADMA SOUNDSYSTEM will be performing Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound, at Santa Monica Yoga, Saturday, September 16. The Tucson-based group performs Nada Yoga and sound healing, combining guided meditation, classical cello, harmonium, Tibetan medicine bowls and other traditional instruments.
Santa Monica Yoga 1640 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica (310) 396-4040
8:00-9:30 PM, $15. Learn more

VAJRA SKY OVER TIBET on September 8-14 in Los Angeles and Pasadena. A cinematic pilgrimage to central Tibet, director John Bush's documentary bears witness to the indomitable faith of its Buddhist community and the imminent threat to its very survival. This is one of the rare documentaries to be filmed entirely inside Tibet and has received the blessing and endorsement of The Dalai Lama. Learn more