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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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joni,

I was in the class you took on Wednesday at Bikram DTLA. Al was a great teacher and gave the class quite a bit of flow. I've been hooked and trying to go four days out of the week. Maybe I'll meet you in the next class, if you ever decide to go east. I understand, I work at UCLA but live in Silverlake/Echo park.

I found your post while looking for more info on complimentary exercises with Bikram -- then found the Bikram Manila post. I've been an Angeleno for 20 years and a Filipina for my first 9 years. I'm glad the practice has reached Makati and QC. I've already sent out emails to my family -- so they can take Al's class.


9:18 PM  
Blogger joni said...

hi jannah --

i'm looking forward to taking another of al's classes, although with my busy schedule, it may have to be at bikram quezon city... don't i wish!


2:41 AM  

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