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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.