Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Sunday, December 31, 2006

the gospel according to denise

Your Neighborhood Studio
11154 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 621-2083
website: www.yourneighborhoodstudio.com

Your Neighborhood Studio is the place for friends and family to come together and enjoy yoga, dance and fitness classes... The mission of Your Neighborhood Studio is to offer the community a place to enjoy life and live healthy. This is your studio...

it was primarily via word of mouth that news about this new yoga studio in culver city got around. they've been open since the day after thanksgiving, and the first i heard about them was not through any of the usual yoga info channels -- magazines, emails, etc. -- but through a website that i only seem to visit when i'm researching yoga studios in other cities: yogafinder.com. (i later found out that it was mentioned in the dec 19th issue of the yogamates newsletter, which i didn't get around to reading until recently. here's the studio listing on the yogamates website, just in case you're not on their mailing list...)

i was trying to find one more studio to squeeze in before the end of the year, and this one fit in perfectly: denise mazan, the studio owner, was teaching a gospel yoga class on dec 31st, the last day of 2006, and getting both my spiritual and physical fix on that sunday morning sounded like a great idea.

it must be true what they say about good luck coming in threes -- just like my previous experience with my visits to the last two studios, urth and glendale, getting to your neighborhood (the studio, not your 'hood) was a breeze. exit the 405 at washington, head east, cross sepulveda, with the studio a little more than a block later at the corner of washington blvd (NOT washington PLACE) and center st. and once again, i found a free parking spot right in front. like glendale yoga, the front door opens right into the classroom itself; there's a parking lot behind the studio that leads into the lobby, where you can sign in and wait for class to start.

while waiting for other students to arrive, i chatted with denise about their upcoming grand opening celebration on the 13th (with FREE classes!) as well as their new year's eve celebration that evening which included some yoga, some dancing, and some partying until midnight (too bad i couldn't make it; i might have run into some familiar faces).

in its previous incarnation, the location was a business called movie mecca, "your neighborhood video store"(could it be that it was the inspiration for the name of this new studio?) according to denise, there were many renovations that had to be made before the transformation from video mecca to yoga mecca was complete. a wooden floor had to be installed, walls had to be stripped and painted, the bathroom had to be gutted and rebuilt... the usual remodeling nightmare. but the result is a warm and welcoming space, which makes it all worth it.

we were joined by another yoga student who lived down the street in marina del rey. it turns out that she had taken her very first yoga class just recently with another YNS teacher, which probably explains how she heard about the studio. eventually, a third student walked into the front door just as class was about to begin. considering that it was an 8am class on a sunday at a brand-new studio that didn't advertise anywhere, the turnout was pretty impressive!

as denise put it as we sat in meditation before class started, we were at the cusp of a new year; with one foot in 2006, we were about to step in 2007. and it was a perfect time to think about where we were and where we were going. time to think about what we had accomplished and what our plans were for the coming year. and all i kept thinking about was the new year's resolution list that i made up at the start of this year... and how many of those plans actually came to fruition...

contrary to what you might think, denise's gospel yoga didn't consist of her reading scriptures before, during, or after the class. instead, she played gospel music (how cool is that?) while we executed power yoga-like moves. the point of the class was to be inspired while listening to the lyrics. and it really didn't matter what faith you associated with; it was all about lifting your spirit, your soul, and being happier and more content with whom you are.

and knowing that there was another yoga studio in my neighborhood with affordably-priced classes ($12 for a 90-minute session) -- including budokon classes with founder cameron shayne -- definitely makes me that much happier.

and being happy is a good way to end the year :)

happy new year to all!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

cramming another one in before year-end

Glendale Yoga
746 North Glendale Avenue
Glendale, California 91206
(818) 956-1621
website: www.glendaleyoga.com

Glendale Yoga is dedicated to providing Hatha Yoga instruction in a friendly and non-competitive environment. Our goal is to make yoga accessible to students of any level no matter their previous yoga experience, age, or size. Students are encouraged to work at their individual ability under the watchful guidance of our experienced teachers.

A consistent yoga practice can improve every system of the body and the benefits are numerous. Some of the most noted benefits are overall muscular and skeletal conditioning, weight loss and toning, improved respiration and cardiovascular health, and the reduction of stress and its harmful effects.

i had heard about glendale yoga a long time ago, but for some reason, each time i planned to be in the area, the studio's schedule for the day never meshed with mine. in time, probably because i gave up trying, i ended up forgetting about that studio.

recently, it being the end of the year and all, i started making up a list of all the studios that i still hadn't visited. i checked the studio listings in the LA yoga and yogi times magazines and jotted down a couple of places. it looked like i was left with studios in whittier, alhambra, and long beach. and la crescenta, westlake village, and hermosa beach. they weren't going to be easy to get to, but then again, with only ten or so more to go, it wasn't a daunting task.

then i decided to check out yogafinder.com. and found out that there were still so many other places that i had never even heard of! i sighed, realizing that there was just no way i could ever hope to get to every yoga studio in los angeles county... unless i narrowed down the list somehow...

and so in order to keep my goal manageable, i've narrowed down my studio selection criteria. for now, not only will i continue to exclude yoga classes taught at at gyms and fitness centers, but i'm excluding dance studios (where there are more dance classes than yoga classes) as well as studios in private homes (unless there's a regular schedule with more than one teacher on staff).

given the new criteria, i went over the list again. and making the cut was glendale yoga. it was clearly time for a visit.

and this time, i found a class there that somehow fit in with where i was (in the valley), when i was there (a saturday morning), and what i felt like doing (a flow class, where "Flow: A challenging aerobic style of yoga in which postures flow one into the next through sun salutations. Flow classes generate heat (prepare to sweat) which aids in the purification process. Flow classes increase strength, flexibility, and balance while offering a great workout"). perfect.

again, as in my experience earlier in the week with urth yoga, getting there was a breeze. easy freeway access. a big sign with with unmistakable "YOGA" on the front window. free street parking right in front of the studio. yay.

i tried the door, peeked inside, and found myself looking at a group of students lying in savasana. the instructor motioned that it was ok for me to enter as she walked towards me. not wanting to just stand there and watch people simulating corpses, i whispered to her that i would wait outside and return when class was over. i suppose that's the downside of not having the classroom blocked off from the entrance; there's no place to wait if you get to class early (i later found out that if i had parked my car in the lot behind the studio and walked in from that side, i could have waited in the back hallway. now i know why it was so easy to find a parking spot in front).

the teacher for the previous class turned out to be laura bogner, owner of glendale yoga; she was also going to teach the class i had shown up for. i mentioned that i just happened to be in the area and that i had never been there before. i was somewhat hoping to get a "first class free" deal, but no such luck; the class was going to cost me $12, which really is a good deal these days, considering that the average class price hovers around $15.

there were five of us that showed up for laura's second (and last) class for the day. her class was a typical class that started with sun salutations, progressed to standing and sitting poses, then moved on to reclining poses before ending in savasana. she upped the difficulty, though, by throwing in a particularly challenging ab sequence, as well as some forearm stands and headstands.

as i started to walk back to my car after class, i started to wonder: could a class be truly called a "flow" class if the students have to stop in mid-flow to do inversions? hmm... besides, what's the difference between a "flow" class and a "non-flow" class, anyway? could it be that a flow class is "move, move, move", while anything considered non-flow is "move, hold, move, hold"?

anyway, i've taken so many classes from so many teachers that they're all starting to seem the same to me, regardless of description. it seems that i've made enough of an improvement in my yogic ability that i can pretty much follow along in any class and adjust accordingly, be it beginner or advanced. honestly, i've found that regardless of the description a studio assigns to a yoga class (level 1/2, level 2/3, and so on), the classes all pretty much end up being an all-levels class. because as we all know, beginners will continue to show up at advanced classes if they don't know any better, and advanced students will show up at beginner classes when they're injured or can't find any other class to go to.

i'm starting to ramble on... i think the craziness of the holiday season is finally getting to me. i need to stop, breathe, and get re-centered... ommmmmmmmm....

Friday, December 29, 2006

the gift of yoga, part 2

to recap: this story began almost two months ago, when i decided to spend a whopping 50 days celebrating my half century of life. along with meeting up with friends (mostly to eat), i tried to take yoga classes with teachers who knew me, or at least knew my face. and because my yogic ADHD has me constantly moving from one studio to another, there were many excellent instructors who fit that criteria.

i wrote about the teachers i visited those first 25 days in a previous post; here are those with whom i had a chance to practice those second 25 days:

day 27: alicia johnson
i have to admit that the only reason why i ended up at alicia's class was because i arrived late for liz hage's 6:30pm class at liberation yoga (damn LA traffic!). but since i had a fun time with alicia when she and liz team-taught a class a few months earlier, i decided to wait around for her class which followed liz's. besides, both alicia and liz take each other's classes, so if i liked one's style, i was bound to like the other's. makes sense, doesn't it? anyway, alicia teaches a great class that's challenging, yet not impossible. maybe if i work at it for a few more years, i might be able to manage one of those arm balances...

day 28: david romanelli
either david is extremely well-read or he has a great ghost writer! he starts each class by reading a passage from a book, a news article, or a sacred text, then weaves the theme into the day's class. not only does he impart some bit of trivia that is educational and/or amusing, but he also has his students flowing to the great music playlist that he's compiled. if you check out dave's website, you'll see what i mean. by the way, this is the same david of yoga and chocolate and now yoga and wine fame. one day i'll be able to say that i knew him when he used to teach in a little yoga studio called exhale santa monica...

day 30: anthony benenati
anthony is one of the warmest, most sincere yoga instructors that i've met. he teaches anusara classes at city yoga, a studio that both he and his wife, rebecca, own and run. while i enjoy taking anusara yoga in general, there are only a handful of teachers whom i seek out because they really know their stuff. anthony is one of them... although i wish he would teach a class at a time that i can make without having to call in sick to work!

day 31: cathie baker
i had never heard of cathie baker until i showed up at liberation yoga for christine burke's class and found out that not only did i show up almost two hours early, but that christine had called in sick and was going to be subbed out anyway. cathie's restorative yoga class was about to start when i arrived, so since i had just run a half marathon that morning, it didn't take much to convince me that the smart thing to do was to take her more relaxing class. and i was glad i did.

day 33: bryan kest
there's power yoga, and there's bryan kest's style of power yoga. and the best thing about his class is that not only are the poses relatively simple (note that i didn't say easy), but they can be pretty challenging if you move as slowly and deliberately as he instructs you to. i used to put in volunteer time at his studio in santa monica as trade for his donation-based classes, but for this deep stretch class, i caught him at inner power yoga in calabasas where he teaches once a month. the class and the crowd are slightly different on the valley side of the hill, but the results are still the same: a great workout.

day 37: hala khouri, seane corn, and ted mcdonald
this was a seva event by the yoga groove collective at yoga works main street. it was a fundraiser for a peruvian orphanage, and since i'm addicted to these yoga-and-music events, not to mention the fact that my hard-earned dollars were going to a good cause, there was no question that it was going to be the class that i was going to take that day. or in this case, night.

day 38: christine burke
since i missed christine the last time i visited liberation yoga, i knew i had to make another attempt before my 50-day celebration ended. and this time, i succeeded :) christine is probably the sweetest and friendliest yoga teacher in town, so it's hard to believe that she teaches a very demanding flow class. she will put you through your paces, but you can't help but smile back while straining to follow along. christine used to be a fixture at the center for yoga on larchmont, that is, until she left to start her own studio when yoga works took over the center.

day 40: vinnie marino
there are few teachers around town whose classes can make me sweat as much as i do in vinnie's class at yoga works main street. maybe it's because of all the body heat that's generated by the 80 or so bodies crammed mat-to-mat in the studio. or maybe it's because he really makes us work hard. who needs bikram yoga when we have vinnie to make us sweat all the toxins out of our pores? all i know is that my birthday yoga celebration wouldn't have been complete without a visit to his class, and with 10 days left to go before my deadline, i was relieved that i was able to make it.

day 44: marla apt
it had been a long time since i had last taken marla's class at yoga works montana; i felt it was time once again to get my alignment checked, so to speak. marla is a senior instructor on the iyengar totem pole; she's currently on the faculty of the iyengar institute and is (or was) the president of the iyengar yoga national association. when she tells her class that a pose has to be done a certain way, chances are, iyengar himself would have told us the same thing.

day 45: lee rothman
i showed up for lee's class at the awareness center because the thought of hanukkah yoga intrigued me. besides, if seane corn made yoga feel like a christian religious experience every time i took her class, it would be interesting to see what yoga would be like with a jewish spin instead. and the class turned out to be quite fun and educational; maybe next year i'll try to track down a kwanzaa edition :)

day 49: gurmukh kaur khalsa
you can't say that you've experienced kundalini yoga in LA unless you've practiced at the grand space in hollywood known as golden bridge yoga. and you definitely can't say that you've practiced at golden bridge until you've taken a class with gurmukh, the energy behind golden bridge. name any special event -- full moon, new moon, solstice, equinox, thanksgiving, christmas, new year's -- if there's something to celebrate, gurmukh will hold a special class that'll celebrate the occasion. you'll move, you'll chant, you'll be energized. i took her winter solstice class on the eve of my birthday, and it was exactly the kind of celebration i was looking for.

day 50: kyra haglund
in a way, kyra was one of my earliest teachers. she used to assist max strom at the classes i took with him while he was still based here in LA at sacred movement. as max's assistant, she was very diligent in showing me and the other students the correct way to do poses so that we could get the most benefit out of each one. there was even a time when she spent a few minutes after class showing me how to pull my shoulders back while doing an upward dog. recently, i started running into her whenever she'd teach classes at santa monica yoga, another studio where i'd volunteer every now and then. but as timing would have it, i found myself taking her class over at sacred movement, the place where i first had a chance to learn something from her. how appropriate.


there were many other teachers on my must-visit list that i didn't get a chance to fit into my schedule, other wonderful teachers such as will duprey, tracy krosnoff, andrea marcum, jodi blumstein, ducky punch, and liz hage (if traffic ever lets me get to her class on time!). there were also other yoga luminaries such as erich schiffmann, shiva rea, and steve ross whose classes i wanted to take, but unfortunately, it was just a case of too many yoga teachers, too little time. but as long as they continue to teach locally, i'll get my chance. eventually.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

yoga in the news

once again, yoga manages to make it to the news. the last time i posted something, it was about the fame and fortune that was being bestowed on some yoga instructors; this time it's about the money that yoga-related vendors are making off the growing ranks of fashion-conscious yogis.

i found this on the business page of today's web edition of the new york times. here are some excerpts; click on this link for the complete article:

Meditate on This: Yoga Is Big Business
Published: December 28, 2006

Under dim lights and pulsating techno-trance music, the vast room at a recent yoga conference in a mountain town northwest of Boulder, Colo., looked like a rave club, without the drugs. Some 140 people formed fluid concentric circles around Shiva Rea, a globe-trotting yoga-dance instructor from Los Angeles.

In a room next door, 64 vendors of clothing, accessories, books, skin-care products and other yoga-related enticements attended to customers and watched the class from the doorway.

Welcome to the 11th annual Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park, Colo., where yoga students and teachers from around the country spent hundreds of dollars to take classes from renowned instructors like Ms. Rea, Rodney Yee, Richard Freeman and Seane Corn. And to shop.

The conference taps into an ever-growing pool of yogis. The number of Americans who practice yoga at least twice a week jumped 133 percent, to 3 million this year from 1.3 million in 2001, according to a survey conducted by Mediamark Research. The figures are based on interviews Mediamark conducts each year with roughly 26,000 people as part of a larger survey. (The margin of error is 5 percent.) As of last spring, more than 10 million people said they had practiced yoga at least once in the last 12 months.

In 2004, the most recent year tracked, Americans spent $2.95 billion on yoga classes, yoga-related products like clothing, books and mats, and on yoga retreats and vacations, according to a survey of nearly 4,800 people conducted for Yoga Journal.

Yoga has stretched far beyond its meditative, baggy-sweats roots to become a fashionable lifestyle pursuit appealing as much to competitive marathon runners and college students as is does to om-chanting meditators. Curve-hugging styles in Lycra, cotton and microfibers come from a variety of yoga-inspired brands, including Prana, Be Present, Inner Waves, and Lululemon Athletica, as well as Nike and Fila.

In a sign of how this niche is gaining mainstream appeal, last year Liz Claiborne bought Prana. Beaver Theodosakis and his wife, Pam, founded Prana 13 years ago in their garage in Carlsbad, Calif. They said they wanted to design flexible and stylish clothes for yoga practitioners and rock climbers. Prana’s sales had reached $30 million by the time Liz Claiborne bought it, according to Mr. Theodosakis. Neither company disclosed the purchase price.

Lululemon Athletica, a professed "yoga-inspired athletic apparel company" based in Vancouver, British Columbia, this year hired a former chief executive of Reebok, Robert Meers, to run the company. Lululemon is expanding in Japan and especially in the United States, where the company operates 10 stores and plans to open 30 next year and eventually 200, Mr. Meers said.

Increasingly, major corporations outside the athletics and mind-body arenas are aiming their advertisements at this lucrative market. Prudential Financial, for instance, is running a "Live Long Live Well" campaign. A svelte woman in her 60s stretches in a triangle pose in the ads. "Yoga personifies the idea of health, and we've been making a concerted effort to tie well-being into finances," said Maria Umbach, a vice president for marketing in Prudential's life insurance unit.

Ford Motor sought young and fit career women this year in its "Live and Drive" ad campaign for its $18,000 Fusion car. The ads featured a woman in her 20s taking a yoga class in which she is straining to lift her body vertically into an arm-stand pose that other students around her are holding perfectly.

Jewelry designers are also tailoring their products to serve this burgeoning niche. Sonja Picard, a Canadian designer, for instance, inscribes ancient Vedic sutras in some of her silver necklaces and bracelets. Price tags for these added touches can be heaven-high.

"We do charge more for the research," said Heather Askinose, a co-founder of Energy Muse Jewelry, whose tagline is "activating jewelry through intention." Ms. Askinose and her business partner, Timmi Jandro, promise their customers that each jewelry piece is strung by a Vietnamese family in Los Angeles. It is also "cleansed" of all human contact and energy for 48 hours in a room where it is "vibrationally aligned with music" before being wrapped in a cotton pouch. Each necklace comes with a message, or "intention" — confidence, tranquillity, happiness, performance, and so on.

Back at the yoga conference, Angie Amburgey selected a carnelian and turquoise necklace at the crowded Energy Muse kiosk. She said she was drawn to its "voice" message and its elegance.

"I can't believe I paid $100 for this necklace," said Ms. Amburgey, 32, a marketing professional from Columbus, Ohio, while rubbing the Chinese coin pendant on her necklace. "It's brilliant marketing, isn't it? I should know. But they said it'll help me with expression issues. Besides, I'm on vacation."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

peace on urth

Urth Yoga
2809 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 483-YOGA
website: www.urthyoga.com

Yoga isn't just a practice to strengthen the body and keep it in good physical shape. It is a practice with an intention to align our body with our mind, our mind with our spirit, and our spirit with nature.
At Urth yoga we are not only devoted to your physical and mental well being, but are also committed to aligning environmental and social responsibilities with our business practices. From the design and construction process to the everyday running of our business, we have and will continue to put the environment at the forefront of all decisions we make.

Choices we have made:

  • Natural/No VOC paints: VOC's are the solvents in paints that evaporate and are damaging to people's health and to the environment. They are believed to be contributors to the depletion of the ozone layer.
  • Our 80 year old hardwood floors are coated with an environmentally friendly water-base gloss.
  • Energy Star Fans.
  • Filtered water (to fill up water bottles)
  • All studio mats and blocks are non-toxic - latex and PVC free.
  • Our cleaning products are natural, non-toxic, biodegradable, Fair Trade and organic.
  • Brochures, business cards, sign in sheets, fax paper, toilet paper etc... are printed on 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer paper with soy and vegetable based inks.
  • Low flow toilet.
  • We buy products in bulk and transfer our soaps and cleaning products into our own reusable containers.
  • We support businesses that adopt environmentally responsible practices including trash recycling.
  • We use plants in our yoga studio as a natural way to clean pollutants from the air.
  • We sell organic food and clothing and hemp products.
  • We recycle all plastic, glass and paper.

(please excuse my lame attempt at coming up with a witty title -- with it being the christmas season, i just couldn't help myself!)

it seemed like a westside conspiracy; none of the dozen or so yoga studios near my home were open on christmas day. not sacred movement, not yoga works, not santa monica yoga, not maha, not yogahop, not forrest, not power yoga (although i really don't know for sure about that last studio since they never seem to post their schedule changes online anyway).

the few studios that were open were at least 20 minutes away, if not more -- the awareness center in pasadena, black dog in the valley, golden bridge in hollywood, bala, city, and the iyengar institute in west hollywood, and a new place i had just heard about, urth yoga in silverlake. so since i had to go out of my way to satisfy my yoga habit, it seemed as good a time as any to try out that new studio.

for those of you familiar with the parking lot known as LA traffic, you'll agree that there is no better christmas gift to the wandering yogi than to be able to drive faster than the posted speed limit on the santa monica, pasadena, AND hollywood freeways on a monday morning, make a U-turn on a very empty sunset boulevard, and back up four car lengths to pull into a parking spot right in front of the intended yoga studio (traffic violations? i admit to nothing, officer). total elapsed travel time from santa monica to silverlake: under 30 minutes. amazing.

finding urth yoga was fairly easy. from the silverlake exit off the hollywood freeway (I-101), it was half a mile north, with a quick jog right onto occidental, which dead-ended right at the big red building where urth is located (although for those more responsible drivers who choose to avoid making my illegal U-turn, the better option would be to exit on rampart, turn left on sunset, and drive a few blocks to get to the studio...)

already in a happy mood because of the ease of my commute, i was met by an equally happy jeff starin, co-owner of urth, who was going to teach our class that morning. we had a lively chat while i filled out a new student registration card and paid for the class; we talked about his two-month-old studio, other studios in the neighborhood, and many other things yoga. after leaving my flipflops outside the large asana room, i set up my yoga mat right in front of the raised platform, then walked back out to the lobby to take a look around.

i guess the word to describe the place is: spartan. it's a very simple place with light green walls, bare wooden floors, and a few pieces of furniture. jeff himself remarked that there wasn't a lot of artwork in the place as he pointed to the statue of the hindu deity that was sitting outside the classroom door. and as expected from an ecologically-conscious studio, all the mats and props provided are made of natural materials, latex- and PVC-free.

considering that our class was held at a relatively-unknown yoga studio on christmas day, it surprised me that there six of us who showed up that morning. with the exception of myself, the group was composed of urth regulars with varying levels of ability. i later found out that two of them had made a pact to embark on a daily yoga practice, and since urth will be open everyday during the holidays, including new year's day, they should have no problem holding fast to that commitment.

while jeff's lighthearted class was definitely inspired by his anusara background, he chose to start the class with three oms instead of the usual opening invocation and thematic talk. he also kept the class flowing from one pose to another without pausing for alignment demonstrations. jeff led us through a good variety of standing and sitting poses, along with some balance poses thrown in for good measure. it was exactly the pre-christmas feast workout that i was looking for!

urth is a small, friendly studio that caters to those who live and/or work near the downtown area. i'll drop by again if i ever find myself in the silverlake area, and hopefully i'll meet gabe hendrie, urth's other co-owner. in fact, that next visit could be fairly soon, especially since i've just found out that there's an inexpensive vietnamese pho place a few doors down the street as well as a filipino eatery where i can find some decent pancit and lumpia. yum :)

in the meantime, i'm keeping their website bookmarked to find out when they're going to have their grand opening celebration... with talk of it possibly being a kirtan event, it's something i don't want to miss!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

blessings of the season

last thursday, dec 21st, was the eve of my 50th birthday. it also happened to be the winter solstice, when the time between sunrise and sunset is at its shortest. or to look at it from another perspective, it was the first day of winter, when we start looking forward to more and more daylight as we move towards summer.

so it made perfect sense to celebrate that auspicious date with an equally auspicious celebration:

Thursday, December 21, 2006
Golden Bridge Solstice Celebration
6:00 PM Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh
7:30 PM Darshan with Sri Swami Vishwananda

"When giving Darshan I touch people on the forehead and at the back of the head. By pressing my hand simultaneously on the Medula Point at the back of the head and the Ajna Chakra on the forehead (also called the third eye) the God-given life-energy that sustains our bodies and flows through everyone, is centered and sent to the heart, which makes it vibrate stronger and helps to open the heart. It may also be sent to different parts of the body where there is a lack of energy. It is important to understand, that the love which may be felt during Darshan is the love of the own inner Self, the own divine Soul.

To receive Darhsan or blessing from a master is a help, but it doesn't lead to "enlightenment". It doesn't release one to do daily meditation, introspection and other consistent spiritual practices. Nonetheless, Darshan and the peaceful atmosphere created by singing the divine names can be a significant support on the path.

My work is to open the hearts of people and make them realise they have a lot of love inside themselves — and that it’s very easy to give it away unconditionally to everyone around them. It’s really very simple. You just have to start doing it! "
- Swami Vishwananda

This night will also include kirtan featuring Geoffrey Gordon, Larisa Stow, Hariananda, Sura Das, Bolo, Girish, Vamadeva and friends!

after all, i got through the first fifty years of my life in one piece; to receive a blessing from one who is considered a holy man by many sounded like a good way to start the next fifty...

keeping in mind that i had to get to golden bridge in hollywood from my office in woodland hills during the height of rush-hour traffic, i gave myself an hour and a half for the 20-mile drive. the gods must have been looking out for me that evening; not only did i get there in only an hour (which really isn't that bad when you consider the thousands of other motorists sharing the road with me), but i found a FREE parking spot on the street a block away.

things continued to go my way once i walked into the studio. no one was in line at the front desk, so i signed in and paid for my class without delay. since i was there early, i got first dibs at a choice of spot in gurmukh's class. and since i was fortunate enough to get a spot by the entrance to our classroom, i was able to keep an eye on the goings-on in the large area right outside the room where the darshan was going to be held. once the early attendees started arriving, i ran out to lay down a blanket to reserve a prime spot for myself while i was in the kundalini class. with all bases covered, i lay back on my mat and waited for our solstice class to start.

the theme of our class was about becoming comfortable in the darkness before emerging into the light. it seemed particularly apt for me; with the physical, emotional, and financial difficulties i've been going through this past year, i definitely needed to emerge into a happier, more comfortable state.

with that in mind, i poured my mind and body into the class. i moved energetically and chanted lustily. at one moment, i was a frog, squatting and bending. then i was a rabbit hopping up and down. later, i was a crocodile flipping over onto my back, then back on to my belly. i was starting to feel ridiculous, but no matter; if it exorcised my demons, then so be it :)

when we formed a large circle for the healing ra ma da sa sa say so hung mantra chant towards the end of the class, i found myself gravitating to the middle of the room. i lay myself down to receive all the healing energy that was being given out by everyone in the group. and once we moved into savasana, while girish chanted us into deep relaxation, i let all that i had received sink in, hoping that i could hang on to it for as long as i could.

once class ended, i quickly picked up my belongings and moved outside to my pre-reserved spot in front of the stage.

before the darshan ceremony began, we were treated to a kirtan session with the temple bhajan band, who were accompanied by girish on the tabla as well as other talented musicians. once swami vishwananda made his appearance, we greeted each other with a "jai guru dev", and after his opening words and opening prayers, we chanted even more, this time with bolo. and just when i realized that it was getting very late and i needed to start heading home, the darshan finally began.

those with special needs found their way to the front of the line -- the old, the injured, the parents with young children. and even if there were so many people wanting a blessing, swami v gave an appropriate amount of attention to each person. the line moved very slowly; i began to wonder if it was worth hanging around. but i persevered, and in time, i found myself at the front of the line, waiting for my turn to receive a blessing.

when the assistant motioned for me to take my place in front of the swami, i knelt on the pillow at his feet. he anointed my forehead with a waxy substance and held my head in his hands. he then placed some rose petals and a small packet of sacred ash in my hands, a sign that my time with him was over. i returned to my spot, gathered my stuff, and walked out into the cool december evening.

now that i've been blessed, all i have to do is wait and see if anything good results from it...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

holiday awareness

The Awareness Center
2801 E. Foothill Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 796-1567
website: www.awarenesscenteryoga.org

Through Kundalini yoga and meditation as well as many other transformational practices, we are here to inspire, uplift and empower you.

We are here to offer you a spiritual home, where you can practice, play, grow and change. Now is the time to take the leap... open your heart and discover who you really are.

Welcome home.

last sunday was the third night of hanukkah, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than to spend it doing hanukkah yoga with lee rothman at the awareness center in pasadena!

i happened by lee's class quite fortuituously. i had spent the earlier part of the day taking the train from union station in LA to the santa fe depot in san diego to meet up with my friend mark. after returning to union station that evening, i wanted to squeeze in a yoga class before heading home for the night. knowing that the awareness center, a yoga studio on my to-visit list, was within a half-hour's drive of downtown, i checked out their schedule and found:

7:00pm - Chanukah Class with Lee Rothman
Lee's regular Sunday night class will take on a holiday theme, celebrating the Festival of Lights on this third night of Chanukah.

my train was to pull in at 5:45 that evening and i had just over an hour to retrieve my car, drive to pasadena, and get ready for class. perfect!

the center was easy to get to; from the 210 freeway, i took the san gabriel exit, turned left on foothill, and a block later, i found a parking spot on the street right in front of the second floor studio (i was told that they'll be swapping space with the engineering firm downstairs when the ongoing renovation activity is complete. they'll have a much larger space to accommodate all the grand things they have planned).

when i entered the studio, lee was busy setting up the room for the class. the room was very welcoming; tinted in muted tones of green and beige, it felt like i had just walked into someone's living room. there was a plate full of dreidel-shaped cookies on the sign-in table along with some jellybeans and yogi tea. jewish music was playing through the speakers, and there was an arrangement of votive candles on the table by the back wall that simulated a menorah.

shortly after i changed out of my street clothes, another awareness center teacher, denise, walked into the room. with five minutes to go before the start of class, it appeared that we were going to have a very intimate group of two students. that is, until another awareness student showed up with her entire family in tow -- her son, daughter-in-law, and their three kids! with the kids animatedly interacting with the adults, it was at that point that i felt the true spirit of hanukkah, the miracle of family and friends.

lee started the class by having the kids tell the group what the feast of hanukkah was all about (and yes, the kids were of the jewish faith, so they had some basic knowledge). lee filled in some missing facts, then had us "tune in" by closing our eyes and imagining that we were menorahs, pulling in energy to light the wicks on the tops of our heads.

after a few stretches, lee had us stand up for our warm-up sequence, then she told us to dance! and as with all jewish celebrations, our little group formed a circle and, while jewish music continued to play in the background, we did the hora... talk about a non-traditional kundalini yoga set!

since the two older kids had been taking kids yoga classes, they were familiar with some of the poses lee led us through after we were happily warmed up. kundalini sets can be quite interesting; there was a time when all of us -- kids and adults -- were lying on our backs with our legs bent, wildly kicking our feet back to reach our bottoms... i can only imagine what we looked like to someone who just happened to look through the window...

after savasana, lee led the kids to the makeshift menorah at the back of the room (and i, being a kid at heart, joined them) so that they could light the candles and say the blessing:

Boruch Attah Adonoy, Elohainu Melech ha-olam, asher kidishanu b'mitzvotav, v'tsivanu l'hadlik ner shel Chanukah.
Boruch Attah Adonoy, Elohainu Melech ha-olam, she-asah nissim la'avosainu bayamim hahaim bazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has made us holy through His commandments, and commanded us to light the Chanukah light.
Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.

after all three (plus one) candles were lit, we all were treated to cookies, tea, and sparkling apple cider.

and just in case the fire marshall happens to be reading this: we made sure we blew out the candles before we left to make sure the studio, including the remodeled space downstairs, would be untouched by candles left to their own devices :)

a happy hanukkah to all!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

christmas holiday schedules

here's a compilation of holiday schedules from emails i've received from various yoga studios as well as information i've found on studio websites. while most studios are closed on christmas day, there are a handful of them that will be teaching a class or two on that day. to them i say: namaste!

i'll try to keep this updated as i continue to search for schedule changes.

please note: this list is only as accurate as the information posted by the studios themselves. when in doubt, i suggest you contact the studio(s) directly...

the absolute yoga and pilates

The Absolute will be closed Sunday 12-24-06, Monday 12-25-06, Sunday 12-31-06, and Monday 1-1-07
Happy Holidays!

angel city yoga

EASIER YOGA: 9:00-10:15 a.m.
Instructor: Suzan Singh
Instructor: Stephanie Hechtman
HATHA YOGA FOR EVERYONE: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Instructor: Marie Besso


EASIER YOGA: 9:00-10:15 a.m.
Instructor: Suzan Singh
Instructor: Stephanie Hechtman
HATHA YOGA FOR EVERYONE: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Instructor: Marie Besso

EASIER YOGA: 9:00-10:15 a.m.
instructor: Kevin O'Kane
ALL LEVELS YOGA (Pre-Natal Women Welcome): 10:30-11:55 a.m.
Instructor: Shosha Bottoms
MORE CHALLENGING YOGA: 12:00-1:25 p.m.
Instructor: Stephanie Hechtman

the awareness center

Dec 24, Christmas Eve: Closed for regular classes
Dec 25, Christmas Day: Closed for regular classes
Dec 31, New Year's Eve: Closed for regular classes
Jan 1, New Year's Day: Closed for regular classes

Monday, December 25, 2006
Christmas Day with Santokh Claus!
Yoga for Children of All Ages

Santokh Claus (Dr. Santokh Singh - in full Santa costume, no less) will lead a holiday yoga set, then bring out his guitar and lead the class in traditional Christmas carols and yoga songs. Bring the whole family for this fun Awareness Center tradition! FREE. Donations may be made to help needy children through Five Acres Children's Organization.

Sunday, December 31, 2006
An Old-Fashioned New Year's Eve with Atma Kaur and friends

An old-fashioned family affair full of laughter, love, and magic! Ring in the New Year in our candlelit new studio with your Awareness Center Family. Long-time teacher, Atma Kaur is back for this special celebration. Set your intention for the coming year with a 1-1/2 hr. yoga set and a homemade vegetarian meal. Hosted by Ravijot Kaur and Harpal Kaur. $25.

Monday, January 1, 2007
40 days of Morning Sadhana Begin

Start the New Year off with 40 days of group Early Morning Sadhana. This daily spiritual practice consists of reading the “Jap Ji," (the Song of the Soul) practicing a short yoga set, and chanting the Aquarian Sadhana chants. Whether you decide to participate for one day or 40, you are always welcome. This event is free.“We clean our house so we can use it. We do sadhana so we can use our life.”– Yogi Bhajan.

back for yoga

Back for Yoga will be closed
Sunday 12/24, Monday 12/25
Sunday 12/31, Monday 1/1

bala yoga (and yoga inside out)

Sun 12/24: 8:30am Tiffany, 10:00am Anna, 11:30am Huck
Mon 12/25: 10:00am Huck Special 2 Hour Christmas Class!!
Tues 12/26: 10:00am Huck, 6:00pm Keric
Wed 12/27: 12:00pm Elsie, 6:00pm Tanya
Thu 12/28: 10:00am Tiffany, 6:00pm Elsie
Fri 12/29: 12:00pm Elsie, 6:00pm Tara
Sat 12/30: 10:00 Mother, 11:30am Ginny
Sun 12/31: 10:00am Anna, 11:30am Keric
Tues 1/2: 10:00am Hagar, 12:00pm Will, 4:30pm Lucy, 6:00pm Marc

bikram's yoga college of india

Christmas Eve : Dec. 24, 10:00AM Class only.
New Years Eve: Dec. 31, 10:00AM Class only.
Christmas Day and New Years Day: Closed.

bikram yoga downtown la

Holiday Schedule:
Sat 12/23 - 8:45am
Sun 12/24 - 8:45am
Mon 12/25 - CLOSED
Tue 12/26 - 12:15pm, 4:30pm, 6:15pm
Wed 12/27 - 5:15am, 4:30pm, 6:15pm
Thu 12/28 - 12:15pm, 4:30pm, 6:15pm
Fri 12/29 - 5:15am, 4:30pm, 6:15pm
Sat 12/30 - 8:45am
Sun 12/31 - 8:45am
Mon 1/1 - 10:30am, 4:30pm

BKS iyengar yoga institute

Greetings: Our schedule will change for the days between Xmas and New Year's Day.
All classes are All Levels.
Sun Dec 24: 10:30-12 Marla
Mon Dec 25: 10-12 Aida
Tue Dec 26: 9-11 Kishor, 6-7:30 Kishor
Wed Dec 27: 9-11 Aida, 6-7:30 Kirk
Thur Dec 28: 9-11 Sherry, 6-7:30 Marla
Fri Dec 29: 9-11 Larry, 6-7:30 Marla
Sat Dec 30: 9-11 Kirk, 4:30-6 Kishor
Sun Dec 31: 9-11 Larry
Mon Jan 1: 10-12 Marla
Tuesday, January 2, 2006 we will resume our regular schedule.

black dog yoga

SUNDAY, 12/24
9:00a - 10:30a Level I Lauri Janover Hatha
9:30a - 11:00a Level II Hanna Gilan Hatha Flow
10:30a - 12:00n Level II-III Jenny Brill Anusara-style

MONDAY, 12/25
9:30a - 11:00a Level I Lauri Janover Hatha
10:30a - 12:00n Level II-III Jenny Brill Anusara-style

TUESDAY, 12/26-SUNDAY, 12/31
the regular schedule with a few substitutions and changes:
Tuesday/Thursday 6pm and 7pm Level II classes replaced with 6:30pm Level II
Wednesday 11:30am Baby and Me cancelled
Friday 7:30am Hour of Power cancelled
Sunday 11:30am Kundalini cancelled, 5pm Restorative cancelled

MONDAY, 1/1/07
10:00a - 11:30a Level I Lauri Janover Hatha
11:30a - 1:00p Level II-III Jenny Brill Anusara-style
1:30p - 3:00p Level II Peter Barnett Hatha Flow

New Year's Yoga Mala with Shirley & Steve O'Connor - Sunday, December 31st, 8:00p - Midnight
$25 per person, $40 for two!

You'd think you couldn't - but you can! New Year's Eve evening, you're doing a Yoga Mala - 108 Sun Salutations (4 sets of 27, in case you were wondering) - an amazing personal and group accomplishment. You CAN do it, and it's very cool. Head into the new year totally motivated.
Reservations are a must - Call (818) 380-0331

city yoga

their holiday schedule is posted at www.cityyoga.com/holiday%20schedule/holiday_schedule.jpg

i haven't had a chance to compare it with their regular schedule, but some dates to note are:

Sunday, Dec 24:
9:00-10:30am James MacDonald
9:30-11:00am Kris Nelson
10:45-12:15pm Tara Judelle
11:12:30pm Linda Eifer

Monday, Dec 25:
9:00-10:30am Kris Nelson
10:30-12:00pm Tara Judelle

Sunday, Dec 31:
9:00-10:30am TBA
9:00-10:30am Kris Nelson
10:45-12:15pm Tara Judelle

Monday, Jan 1: FREE CLASSES!
10:00-11:30am Anthony Benenati
11:00-12:30pm Steven Espinosa
12:00-1:30pm Rebecca Benenati

Throughout January 40 Days 40 Classes
In many traditions it is believed that it takes 40 days to make or break a habit. If you do something for 40 days straight you can forge new neural pathways and “fill in” old, outdated ones. What have you always wanted to create in your life? What patterns aren’t working for you anymore? Are you ready to change? These questions apply to your whole life, however, yoga is one place where we can manifest change rapidly. We will do this together. You make the commitment to forty days of yoga and we will give you a special unlimited pass to help you. You can come to any class on our schedule. It doesn’t have to be the same class or time, just show up.There is no better time to put this ancient teaching to the test.
Price: $140
no extensions ~ no refunds ~ no going back. Available the entire month of January ONLY!!

dancing shiva

Sat. Dec. 23rd - 10am & 5:15pm Yoga Class
Sun. Dec. 24th & Mon. Dec. 25th - Closed for Christmas
Tues. Dec. 26th - 1pm, 6pm & 7:30pm Yoga Class
Wed. December 27th - 5:30pm & 7pm Yoga Class
Thurs. Dec. 28th - 1pm, 6pm & 7:30pm Yoga Class
Fri. Dec. 29th - Closed
Sat. Dec. 30th - 10am Yoga Class
Sun. Dec. 31st - Closed
Mon. Jan. 1st - Closed New Year's Day
Tues. Jan. 2nd - Open!!! "Happy New Year"

DATE: Friday, January 5th
TIME: 7 - 9pm
LOCATION: Dancing Shiva Center
COST: By Donation

Join Shiva Kumar and Dancing Shiva for a New Year's celebration to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, health, and happiness. This beautiful evening will be filled with music, chanting, flowers, and candle light. Let Shiva's entrancing movements bring you into a state of peace and ecstasy. Bring a meditation cushion and your favorite flower or fruit if you wish.

exhale santa monica

Sat/Sun, Dec 23-24: All classes cancelled
Mon, Dec 25: Closed
Tue, Dec 26: 6:30pm Cheri Rieder
Wed, Dec 27: 5:05pm Cheri Rieder
Thu, Dec 28: 6:30pm Cheri Rieder
Fri, Dec 29: 5:05pm Cheri Rieder
Sat, Dec 30: 4:00pm Cheri Rieder
Sun, Dec 31: 9:30am Cheri Rieder
Mon, Jan 1: Closed

exhale venice

For teacher substitutions, check website.
Class cancellations:
Sun, Dec 24: all afternoon/evening classes cancelled after 12:30pm class
Mon, Dec 25: Closed
Tue, Dec 26: Closed
Wed, Dec 27: 7pm and 7:35pm classes cancelled
Thu, Dec 28: 7:35pm class cancelled
Fri, Dec 29: all afternoon/evening classes cancelled after 12:45pm class
Sat, Dec 30: all afternoon/evening classes cancelled after 11:00am class
Sun, Dec 31: all afternoon/evening classes cancelled after 11:00am class
Mon, Jan 1: Closed

forrest yoga institute

We will be closed on 12/25 and 1/1.
We are offering one class only on 12/24 and 12/31 from 9-10:30 for All levels.
On 12/26 two classes are offered; 9:30-11am level 1&2 and 7:15-8:45pm All levels.

garden of yoga

Sunday, Dec. 24th - Christmas Eve 10am only with Stefan
Monday, Dec. 25th - Christmas Day CLOSED - HAPPY HOLIDAYS
Please note that we will be closed from Monday, December 25th through Friday, December 29th, as Diana and Stefan take a few days to rejuvenate, and give some tender lovin care to the studio.
Join us for a special class on Saturday, December 30 at 10am with Diana, or on Sunday, December 31st at 10am with Stefan to wind down before the New Year.
Monday, Jan 1st - New Year's Day CLOSED - HAPPY HOLIDAYS
We look forward to your return when our new schedule starts on the 2nd of January.

glendale yoga

Saturday, December 30th
9:30 -11:00 am All Levels Laura
11:30 -1:00 pm Flow Laura
Sunday, December 31st
9:30 - 10:45 am All Levels Laura
11:00 - 12:15 am All Levels Sam
We will be closed January 1st.

goda yoga

Closed Christmas & New Years Day
Sunday Dec. 24th, Tuesday Dec.26th, Sunday Dec. 31st, Tuesday Jan. 2nd: 11:am-12:30 pm (one class only)

golden bridge yoga

Saturday, December 23: Normal schedule
Sunday, December 24: 9:30 AM Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh, ALL OTHER CLASSES CANCELLED
Monday, December 25: 10:00 AM Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh, ALL OTHER CLASSES CANCELLED
Tuesday, December 26 - Saturday, December 30: Normal schedule
Sunday, December 31: 9:00 PM One Night: New Years Eve Celebration, ALL OTHER CLASSES CANCELLED

Monday, December 25, 2006 10:00 AM
A Kundalini Holiday with Gurmukh
Cost: $15 or keytags

Join Gurmukh and your Golden Bridge family for a very special class rejoicing in the spirit of the day. Following class, enjoy fresh-baked cookies and delicious yogi tea. Whatever faith, path, walk of life, let us join in peace, love and harmony in the name of Christ consciousness for peace on this earth and goodwill to all of humanity.
Please note this will be the only class offered on this day.

Sunday, December 31, 2006 doors open at 9:00 PM
ONE NIGHT: A Golden Bridge New Year's Eve Celebration
Cost: $54/adult or $27/children 12 and under

Join us for a Magical New Years Eve Celebration!
Flexing your body and soul in Gurmukh’s invigorating “Power of ONE” Kundalini Yoga class ...
Meditating into the New Year for Infinite prosperity, health and happiness...
Dancing into bliss with DJ Tej as you are surrounded by performers...
Knowing your tomorrows with our palm readers, psychics, tarot readers and more....
Feasting on a delicious midnight dinner from Nite Moon Cafe....
Celebrating with others...Bring in the New Year together!
Buy your tickets early! This event WILL SELL OUT!

insight yoga

Please note that our Holiday Schedule 2006 will be in effect
Thursday December 21 through January 2, 2007:
Thursday 12/21: 11am Kate, 6pm Aaron
Friday 12/22: 11am Maja, 4:30pm Bindu
Saturday 12/23: 11am Dottie, 4pm Lisa
Sunday 12/24: 9:30am Suwon
Monday 12/25: STUDIO CLOSED - Merry Christmas!
Tuesday 12/26: 11am Bindu, 6pm Bindu
Wednesday 12/27: 11am Dottie, 4:30pm Kids w/Abby
Thursday 12/28: 11am Bindu, 6pm Bindu
Friday 12/29: 9am Dottie, 4:30pm Aaron
Saturday 12/30: 10:30am Dottie
Sunday 12/31: 9:30am Aaron
Monday 1/1: STUDIO CLOSED - Happy New Year!

karuna yoga

12/24 - a.m. classes as scheduled; p.m. classes cancelled
12/25 - Closed for Holiday
12/31 - a.m. classes as scheduled; p.m. classes cancelled

New Year's Eve Kundalini Yoga, Feast & Talent Show
December 31st, 9:00pm - 12:15am

Suggested Donation $20
Karuna Yoga in collaboration with Living Light Productions presents this unique opportunity to practice yoga, eat well and share your creative talents. Bring your yoga mat, a delicious vegetarian dish, your musical instrument, favorite dance, poem or song to share with friends. Please come showcase your talent and/or marvel at the talent of your peers.
Evening's Events
9:00pm -10:15pm – Kundalini Yoga w/Alexandra
10:15pm -11:45pm – Talent Showcase
11:45pm – 12:15am – Meditation
12:15am – Celebration & Food
We will also offer an all night meditation that leads directly into our daily sadhana.
Please email Alexandra at creatureoflight@gmail.com for a talent time slot!

Free New Years Day Yoga - Hatha/Kundalini with Kelly!
January 1st, 10:00-11:30AM

Share your practice with us on New Year’s Day — a very powerful day to set an intention and begin your 2007 with a smile and rested heart. Our Karuna community continues to grow and we will have such a great time being together — committing to wellness within ourselves, each other, our families and friends.
Thank you for being here!

liberation yoga

Open Christmas Eve - Closed Christmas Day
Classes will be as usual except:

Level 1 with Jessie Bernard - 12:00pm-1:30pm
Gentle with Mark DeWhitt - 1:30pm-3:00pm
All levels Flow with Steven Espinosa 3:00pm-4:30pm
The boutique will be open for last minute treasures until 6:00pm. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

12:00pm-1:30pm Level 1 - Jessie Bernard
1:30pm-3:00pm - Level 1-2 - Sarah Hemphill
*10:00pm-12:00am - All Levels Flow - Christine Burke special class see below for details~

10:30am-12:00pm - Level 1 - Susan Kaye
12:00pm-2:00pm -A special 2 hour Vinyasa Krama Flow with Arun Deva and Sequoia Neptune. The studio will close at 3pm and resume regular scheduling on Tuesday January 2nd~

New Year's Eve
Practice with Christine and support an orphan!
December 31st 10:00pm-12:00am

This New Year's Eve do something different - something that will fill all of your desires to be healthy, to give back, to eat chocolate and drink champagne!
Join Christine for a special late night all levels class ending with meditation and song. A portion of the price of the class will go to funding and orphan in 2007. This is the beginning of a "family" of children that the Liberation Yoga community will support in the coming years. Following the class we will greet the year with champagne and chocolate! Please pre- register as there is limited space

maha yoga

dec 24th: 7am jorgen, 9am tom, 10:30 steve
dec 25th: closed
dec 26th- 30th: regular schedule
dec 31st: 7am jorgen, 9am tom, 10:30 steve
jan 1st: 7am jorgen, 11am steve

mission street yoga

Sunday 12/24/06 - All classes cancelled
Monday 12/25/06 - All classes cancelled
Sunday 12/31/06 - All classes cancelled

progressive power yoga brentwood

*Until further notice, the Saturday 6:00 pm classes are cancelled*

***Sunday, Dec. 24***
8:45 am - w/ Beau
10:30 am - w/ Shoshana

***Monday, Dec. 25***

***Tuesday, Dec. 26***
10:00 am - w/ Kathleen
4:00 pm - w/ Carla
6:00 pm - w/ Heather
7:45 pm - w/ Beau

***Sunday, Dec. 31***
8:45 am - w/ Beau
10:30 am - w/ Shoshana

***Monday, Jan. 1***
11:00 am - w/ Mark (Start your New Year off right!)

progressive power yoga studio city

***Sunday, Dec. 24***
9:00 am - w/ Kiersten
10:30 am - w/ Ruthie

***Monday, Dec. 25***

***Sunday, Dec. 31***
9:00 am - w/ Kiersten
10:30 am - w/ Ruthie

***Monday, Jan. 1***
12:00 pm - Hip Opener Flow class w/ Elizabeth (Start your New Year off right!)

revive studios

Sunday December 24th - NO CLASSES
Monday December 25th - NO CLASSES
Monday January 1st - NO CLASSES

rising lotus yoga

Sunday December 24: All afternoon classes cancelled
Monday December 25: Christmas Day - Closed
Sunday December 31: All afternoon classes cancelled
Monday January 1: New Year's Day - Closed

Claire will be teaching Sunset Flow in honor of the new year at 6:30 pm December 29. We'll set intentions, honor our journey from the past year and open our hearts for the unfolding path of 2007. Don't miss this rare opportunity for an evening practice with Claire's lovely energy.

Daniel will be teaching on Sunday morning, December 31 @ 9:30 am and 10:30 am, where we'll set intentions, release the year and welcome in the new. We might even sing a little after the 10:30 class and Larry might bang on his drum...

samata yoga

There will be no Samata Yoga classes (Marina del Rey) on the following days:
Tuesday 12/26, Tuesday 1/2
Samata Classes will resume in 2007 on Tuesday January 9th

santa monica yoga

Saturday Dec 23 9:00 am Mixed Level Hilary White
9:30 am Level 1 Daniela Ardalla
10:45 am Mixed Level Daniel Stewart
11:00 am Level 1 Gentle Romy Phillips
12:30 pm Pre- and Post-natal Shayna Reid
2:15 pm Mixed Level Community Romy Phillips
2:30 pm Pilates Mat Rebecca Brown
4:00 pm Slow Deep Stretch Cindy Fraser

Sunday Dec 24 9:00 am Level 1-2 Travis Eliot
10:45 am Mixed Level Kyra Haglund
12:30 pm Mixed Level Community Dana Marcoux

Monday Dec 25 Closed
Tuesday Dec 26 Closed

Wednesday Dec 27 7:00 am Mixed Level Flow Tueykay
9:00 am Mixed Level Gimela Everett
10:00 am Level 1 Guin Lyster
12:30 pm Mixed Level Community Laura Kachergus
5:00 pm Level 2-3 Robyn Shumacher
6:00 pm Level 1 Mary Donovan
6:30 pm Mixed Level Travis Eliot

Thursday Dec 28 9:00 am Level 1-2 Mary Donovan
12:30 pm Mixed Level Community Gimela Everett
12:45 pm Slow Deep Stretch Guin Lyster
6:00 pm Level 1 Iyengar Amanda White
6:30 pm Mixed Level Travis Eliot

Friday Dec 29 7:00 am Mixed Level Flow Tueykay
9:00 am Mixed Level Gimela Everett
10:00 am Level 1 Guin Lyster
3:30 pm Level 1-2 Kundalini Community Elizabeth St. Clair
5:00 pm Level 2-3 Robyn Shumacher
6:00 pm Level 1 Cindy Fraser
6:30 pm Mixed Level/Trance Dance Julian Walker

Saturday Dec 30 9:00 am Mixed Level Gimela Everett
9:30 am Level 1 Jane Zingale
10:45 am Mixed Level William Duprey
11:00 am Level 1 Gentle Romy Phillips
12:30 pm Pre- and Post-natal Shayna Reid
2:15 pm Mixed Level Community Romy Phillips
4:00 pm Slow Deep Stretch Cindy Fraser

Sunday Dec 31 9:00 am Mixed Level Julian Walker
10:45 am Level 1 Guin Lyster
12:30 pm Mixed Level Community Dana Marcoux

Monday Jan 1 Closed
Tuesday Jan 2 Closed
Wednesday Jan 3 Regular Schedule Resumes

silverlake yoga and silverlake yoga two

Sat Dec 23: 3:00 - 4:15 pm Beginners II with Hanna, 4:30 - 6:00 pm Flow with Dana
Sun Dec 24 - only one class offered: 10:00 - 11:15 Beginners II with Sam
Mon Dec 25: Studio closed
Tues Dec 26: 6:30 - 7:30 pm Pilates with Joanne
Wed Dec 27: 7:00 - 8:00 am Mixed Levels with Allison
Thurs Dec 28: 7:00 - 8:00 Flow with Peter, 6:30 - 7:30 pm Pilates with Tannis
Fri Dec 29: 6:30 - 7:45 For Fuller Figures with Laurie
Sun Dec 31: 5:30 - 7:00 Slow Flow with Marti Jo
Mon Jan 1 - only one class offered: 10:00 - 11:15 Beginners II with Jonathan
On Hiatus: Kid’s Yoga on break Dec 19 - Jan 9, Fuller Figure on break through Jan 13
You can call the studio at (323) 953-0496 for the latest info

sivananda yoga vedanta center

We will have a limited schedule during the holidays. Please take note of the following...
Christmas Eve, Sunday December 24: 10:30am Open Class Only. Closed Rest of Day
Christmas Day, Monday December 25: Closed - No Classes
New Year's Eve, Sunday December 31: 10:30am Open Class, and
10:00pm - 12:30am Puja and Chanting to Welcome the New Year!
New Year's Day, Monday January 1: Closed - No Classes
Tuesday January 2nd: Normal schedule begins again!


SWERVE is CLOSED December 25th & January 1st
SATURDAYS, December 23rd & December 30th: 8:30am - World Beat Tone & Stretch w/ Kim, 10am - YBB w/ Gillian
SUNDAY, December 24th: 10am - YBB w/ Kim Blank
TUESDAY, December 26th: 9am - World Beat Workout w/ Kim B., 10:15am - 6 Pack Abs w/ Gillian, 10:45am - Booty Kickin Sculpt w/ Gillian
SUNDAY, December 31st: 10am - YBB w/ Rachel

u studio

happy holidays to everyone!!!
just letting you know the schedule over the christmas / new year's weeks...
i will be teaching my usual schedule through and including next saturday, the 23rd,
then closed the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th
returning for the 6pm class on thursday the 28th at that point i will teach my regular schedule...
there will be both the 10:30am and 4pm new year's eve and a 10:30am and 4pm new year's day

urth yoga

Sunday, December 24: 10:30-12:00 Celeste Den
Monday, December 25: 10:00-11:30 Jeff Starin
Sunday, December 31: 10:30-12:00 Staff, 4:00-5:30 Staff
Monday, January 1: 11:00-12:30 Staff, 4:00-5:30 Staff

YAS yoga and spinning

Sunday 12/24/2006 - Closed pm
Monday 12/25/2006 - Closed
Sunday 12/31/2006 - Closed pm
Monday 1/01/2007 - Closed

yoga at the village

Open as usual except:
Sunday Dec 24 and Sunday Dec 31 we are open for the 9:30AM class only on both days.
We are closed on Monday, Dec 25th and Monday Jan. 1st.
Happy Holidays!

yoga blend

We will have a limited schedule on December 24th and be closed on Christmas Day, December 25th.
We will have a limited schedule on December 31st and will be closed on New Years Day, January 1st.
All other classes will remain as scheduled.
Happy Holidays! Namaste~

yoga circle downtown

Sunday December 24, Closed
Christmas Day, Closed
Tuesday December 26, 6:05pm
New Years Day, Closed
All Other Days, Regular Schedule

yoga desa

Unless otherwise posted, Yoga Desa will be CLOSED on: New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

MON. JANUARY 1ST 2007 10:30AM – 1:00PM

The years 2007-2012 will see incredible changes on the face of the Earth. Cosmic waves and pulsations of energy are increasing as the overall frequency of consciousness rises on our planet. This very special workshop-style class will be a sacred exploration of cosmic energy and the Law of Attraction, which states that our thoughts and beliefs generate a frequency that attracts the quality of our life experience every moment. This is an all levels experience. Perfectly suited for everyone. Easy-Does-It, Levels 1-2-3, all are welcome and will be quite comfortable.
We will explore techniques to channel energy thru pranayama (breath work), visualization, asana (postures), mudras (gestures), and sankalpa (intention). Sankalpa is the true energy that directs creation. The ancient yogi’s developed a practice of deep relaxation called Yoga Nidra, which allows us to set intentions at the deepest layer of our being. This makes a Sankalpa much more positive technique for personal transformation than the “New Years Resolution.” We will experience the magic of Yoga Nidra and feel completely rejuvenated and ready to start the year in Peace and Light.
Evan’s harmonium and soothing voice create vibrations of warmth, peace and healing.
Call Yoga Desa to reserve 310-455-7522. This class will sell out.

yoga garden studios

Summary of last week December 24-31:
There will be one class on Sunday, December 24 with Ida at 9 AM
There will be no classes on Monday, December 25
There will be no classes on Tuesday, December 26
Sherry will teach at 4 & 6 Pm on Wednesday, December 27
There will be no classes on Thursday, December 28
There will be no classes on Friday, December 29
Jennifer will teach at 8:15 AM on Saturday, December 30
Ida will teach a pranayama class from 9-10:30 on Sunday, December 31. Please RSVP
Sherry will teach from 3-5 PM on Sunday, December 31
Happy 2007!

yoga house pasadena and yoga house toluca lake

Sunday, December 24, Christmas Eve
• Pasadena: morning classes only, Shop open until 5:00pm
• Toluca Lake: Closed
Monday, December 25, Christmas Day
• Closed: Merry Christmas!
Sunday, December 31, New Years Eve
• Pasadena: morning classes only
• Toluca Lake: Closed
Monday, January 1, New Years Day
• Closed: Happy New Year!

yoga loft manhattan beach

Sat 12/23: Regular schedule
Sun 12/24: Morning classes ONLY
Mon 12/25: STUDIO CLOSED - Merry Christmas!
Tue 12/26: 6:45am Level 2, 8:30am Level 1, and 4pm Level 2/3 ONLY
Wed 12/27: 7am Level 2/3, 8:30am Level 2, and 5:30pm Level 2 ONLY
Thur 12/28: 6:45am Level 2, 8:30am Level 1, and 4pm Level 2/3 ONLY
Fri 12/29: 7am Level 2/3, 8:30am Level 2, and 5:30pm Level 2/3 ONLY
Sat 12/30: Morning class ONLY (8:30am Level1/2 and 10am Level 2/3)
Sun 12/31: Morning classes only (8:30am Level 2/3 and 10am Level 1/2)
Mon 1/1: STUDIO CLOSED - Happy New Year!
Tue 1/2: New 2007 Schedule Begins!

yoga loft woodland hills

There may be some classes cancelled between 12/24 and 1/1/07. Call 818.710.9057 to check for cancellations.
Looking for a quieter way to celebrate the New Year? Alisha and Randall will host The Yoga Loft's second annual Candlelight Meditation, 8-10 pm on 12/31. Donation, refreshments will be provided.

yoga west

Yoga West will be CLOSED:
Sunday, December 24th
Monday, December 25th
Monday, January 1st 2007
ONE CLASS ONLY on Sunday, December 31st: Our New Year's Party at 6:30pm!

Sunday December 31st
New Year's at Yoga West!

6:30-8:30pm Guru Singh Yoga Class
8:30-10:30pm Food, Bhangara & Fun!
10:30pm We gather across the street at Guru Ram Das Ashram to chant & welcome in the New Year!

yoga works larchmont
yoga works main street
yoga works montana
yoga works pacific palisades
yoga works westwood

i just got my hands on their new year's eve / new year's day schedule:

NEW YEAR’S EVE - December 31, 2006
Main Street
7:30-8:55 Yoga Works (2&3) Nate Brewer
9:00-10:30 Yoga Works (1&2) Heather Seiniger
10:45-12:15 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Vinnie Marino
12:30-2:00 Yoga Works (1&2) Rachael Simmons

Montana Ave
7:30-9:25 Iyengar (1&2) Chris Stein
8:00-10:10 Led Ashtanga (1st Series) John Doyle
9:30-10:55 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Kathryn Budig
10:15-11:45 Hatha Blend (1) Sarah Mata
11:00-12:25 Yoga Works (1&2) Roberta Lombardi
12:00-1:30 Restoratives /Pranayama Chris Stein
12:30-2:00 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Peter Barnett

8:30-10:00 Iyengar (2) Saraswati Browne
9:00-10:25 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Peter Barnett
10:15-11:45 Yoga Works (1&2) Thomas Taubman
10:45-12:15 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Greville Henwood
12:00-1:30 Yoga Works (1&2) Kara Price

9:00-10:25 Yoga Works (1&2) Anne Van Valkenburg
9:15-10:40 Iyengar (2) Knansie Sandercock
10:30-11:55 Viniyoga (1) Fred Miller
10:45-12:15 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Whitney Allen
12:15-1:45 Yoga Works (1&2) Amy Lafond
12:30-2:00 Vinyasa Flow (2) David Lynch

Pacific Palisades
8:30 - 9:55 Hatha Blend (1&2) Rochelle Robertson
10:00 - 11:25 Hatha Blend (2) William Asad
11:30 - 12:55 Mixed Level Jeff Wells

NEW YEAR'S DAY - January 1, 2007
Main Street
10:45-12:15 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Raghunath
12:30-2:00 Yoga Works (1&2) Kia Miller
2:30-4:00 Iyengar (2) Kishor Stein
4:15-5:45 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Greville Henwood

10:30-11:55 Vinyasa Flow (2&3) Joan Hyman
11:45-1:15 Yoga Works (1) Al Tavera
12:00-1:30 Yoga Works (2) Carmen Fitzgibbon
12:00-1:30 Prenatal Patricia Starr
1:30-3:00 Yoga Works (2&3) Cortney Cantrell

*The Montana Ave, Westwood, and Pacific Palisades studios will be closed on New Year’s Day.

by the way, all classes at the main street and larchmont locations are FREE on new year's day!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

moving forward

as i mentioned in yesterday's post, yoga garden studios in santa monica will be closing its doors after sherry gould's 3-5pm class on sunday, december 31st. for those of you who've been students of sherry, ida unger, and the other teachers at the garden, this recent email from ida will help you find your favorite teacher(s) after the close:

I am pleased to present you with many options for continued yoga studies beyond the garden.
Please let the teacher know you are interested and get full details of their schedule, cost, and location from them.

Gitta teaches daily, Monday-Friday, at Santa Monica College, Emeritus Program, (310) 434-4306. Classes are free, and you must pre-register for each quarter of the year, in one or two of her three classes. Her classes are at 9 am Monday mornings, 2 pm Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, 8:30 am Wednesday and Friday mornings. She will be in Hawaii for most of the winter session; however, Doug Dee will sub for her classes. She will return to teaching at Emeritus on February 9, 2007.

SHERRY GOULD, (323) 823-1344
Sherry will continue to teach both 4 & 6 pm Mon/Wed classes as well as the 4:30 pm Sunday class from a place she's renting space from in Culver City. If you don't see her in classes before year's end, please contact her directly for details.

DOUG DEE, yogidoug@hotmail.com
Doug will teach his Saturday 10 am class at Eric Small's Beverly Hills Iyengar Yoga Institute.
In addition, Doug teaches Wednesday nights at 7 pm, Santa Monica College, Community & Continiuing Education program, (310) 434-3400. Next session begins January 3, 2007.

JENNIFER EDWARDS, yogamagic@sbcglobal.net
Jennifer will teach out of her home studio in Culver City and will be adding classes to match her classes here, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. She also has a class Tuesday evenings at 7 pm at her home, and teaches at Santa Monica Yoga, Monday nights at 7:30 pm.

KOREN PAALMAN, Koren@moontribe.org
Koren teaches out of her home in Venice, and may be open to adding a Friday class to continue from here. In the meantime, she teaches Wednesday nights at her studio. She is taking her certification exam this weekend. Good luck, Koren.

JUDITH LUTZ, judelutz@gmail.com
Judith is pursuing options for an evening class and a Saturday class. Please let her know of your interest.

ANDREA ISCO, number17@wgn.net
Andrea will mainly be teaching in the Alhambra area. Please be in touch with her via e-mail.

IDA UNGER, iunger@yogagardenstudios.com
Will continue to offer the incredible weekend at Spa-Yoga experience. The next retreat will be June 1-3, 2007. In addition, I will teach two Sunday workshops at Santa Monica Yoga (dates and topics to be announced). I hope to teach in the neighborhood on Sundays, but as yet have not found the right location. The search process has shown me I need time off to digest the huge changes, before I begin fresh. I will keep you posted as things develop.

As you may have heard, my plan is to move to the Glendale area, at least for a few years. While I am still in Santa Monica (possibly one month, maybe as long as six months), I will offer private yoga at the studio. Furthermore, you all are invited to continue to use the studio to practice. I will put out a donation jar. If you would like to stop by to visit the dogs, they would love it. However, please arrange studio time or dog visits with me at (310) 450-0133, or by e-mail at iunger@yogagardenstudios.com, at least one day in advance.

Ida Unger

Saturday, December 16, 2006


note: updates to the updates have just been added (see ***)

here's a brief recap of the recent comings and goings (or rather, the openings and closings) in the los angeles yoga scene:


silverlake yoga two
2810 glendale blvd, los angeles, CA 90039
(323) 953-0496
website: www.silverlakeyoga.com

i found out about this new addition while searching studio websites for thanksgiving class schedules. i originally thought that silverlake yoga had opened up a new studio elsewhere in los angeles (much like yoga house did earlier this year), but i later found out that the new place was located right next door to the original silverlake yoga. in my book, that makes it a studio expansion, but then again, they can call it whatever they want :) anyway, i've wanted to take a class there just to see what the new space was like, but since the offerings are primarily pilates and prenatal classes, i haven't found a real reason to go. at least not yet. they do have an ashtanga class on saturdays and an iyengar class on sundays, so there's hope for a visit from me yet.

urth yoga
2809 w sunset blvd, los angeles, CA 90026
(213) 483-YOGA
website: www.urthyoga.com

there was a blurb in both the december issues of LA yoga and yogitimes magazines about this new studio which opened last november in silverlake. at first glance, i thought that someone had decided to annex a yoga studio to urth caffe, but i was wrong (too bad, because the urth caffe's culinary offerings would make for a great post-practice meal). anyway, it sounds like this new studio's following the lead of other eco-friendly yoga places such as home simply yoga and revive yoga. i have urth on my list of places to visit during the holidays, so i'll report back once i do.

2425 colorado ave, santa monica, CA 90404
(310) 829-2420
website: www.tryogala.com

thanks to liz hage for passing on the word about this new yoga studio in my neck of the woods: "I am happy to announce that beginning in mid-January, I will be adding two classes to my schedule on the Westside. A beautiful new GREEN yoga studio, Tryoga, is opening in the Yahoo Center and offering a full schedule. All classes are open to the public and free valet parking is available. I'll be there Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1:00 - 1:55 pm. Come for a yoga lunch!"
there's more on the january 12th grand opening festivities, including a free week of yoga the first week they're open, at the studio website.

*** your neighborhood studio
11154 washington blvd, culver city, CA 90232
(310) 621-2083
website: www.yourneighborhoodstudio.com

while scanning yogafinder.com for studios i've never heard of nor visited, i came across this new entry. it turns out that the studio offers yoga, budokon, and dance classes, with the yoga instructors being current/former teachers at bryan kest's power yoga studio in santa monica. the budokon classes will be taught by cameron shayne, the creator of budokon himself, starting jan 15th. as for the dance, it's an eclectic mix of hip hop, phunk, belly dance, and african dance. they just opened in november, i believe, and will be having their grand opening celebration on saturday, jan 13th.


bala yoga + yoga inside out = the new bala yoga
142 n la brea ave, los angeles, CA 90039
(323) 939-6424
website: www.balayoga.net

again, i found this during one of my periodic yoga studio website scans. on dec 4th, ross rayburn and his crew (yoga inside out) joined forces with ginny biddle and her peeps (bala yoga) and they now operate out of one beautiful space on la brea (the bala studio). i would think that it's a win-win as far as YIO devotees are concerned, because the bala location has a much larger asana room AND plenty of FREE parking. which is a real precious commodity around los angeles, where parking can cost an arm or a leg. or even a parking ticket. while scanning the class schedule, i noticed that most of the teachers are anusara teachers (a YIO legacy); however, there are still non-anusara teachers held over from the pre-merger days. as far as i'm concerned, the result is a great mix of teachers and teaching styles, so i'm looking forward to checking out the changes sometime soon.

*** jiva yoga + yoga works = yoga works pacific palisades
15327 sunset blvd, pacific palisades, CA 90272
(310) 454-7000
website: www.yogaworks.com/losangeles/studios.asp?loc=PP

i had heard rumors some time ago about this merger being in the works, so when i tried to access the jiva website the other day for their holiday schedule and wasn't able to, i suspected something was up. sure enough, i found this message today on the jiva home page:
Welcome. I am very excited to announce that Jiva Yoga is now part of a larger family of yoga studios, Yoga Works! With Yoga Works behind us, i am excited to watch the studio reach its full potential.
Christy Erlich
former owner Jiva Yoga
it looks like i have to drop by the old jiva location just so i can say i've been to yoga works pacific palisades...

*** yogasofia + body mind & soul studio = the new yogasofia
1332 hermosa ave, hermosa beach, CA 90254
(310) 798-0377
website: www.yogasofia.com

i happened upon this merger quite by accident; i was checking to see if there was a class i could take at yogasofia over the holiday weekend and noticed the acronym "BMS" liberally scattered about the class schedule. i eventually found out that it stood for "body mind & soul", another studio in hermosa beach that merged with yogasofia earlier this month.
according to an announcement at the yogasofia site:
Check out our new, bigger schedule, which incorporates BodyMindSoul Studio's classes, since our studios merged on Dec. 1! JERI, SANDRA, TIM, MINDY, & DEBORAH-- we encourage you to try them all! We are so honored to have them with us.


yoga garden studios
2236 26th st, santa monica, CA 90405
(310) 450-0133
website: www.yogagardenstudios.com

it was in the december 2006 issue of LA yoga magazine that i read about ida unger shutting down her home-based studio at the end of this month. since i had missed taking a class with her the last (and only) time i was at yoga garden studios, i want to make sure i catch her while i still can. i got this email from her just the other day, and it looks like i might be able to make her class this time. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Some of our classes will end early in the month due to holidays and teacher vacation schedules. The dates listed below should help you plan your yoga classes.

Andrea Isco's last class: Monday 9:15 am, December 18
Doug Dee's last classes: Thursday 8:00 pm, December 21; Saturday, 10:00 am, December 23
Gitta Walton's last class: Thursday 9:30 am, December 14
Ida Unger's last classes: Tuesday 5:00 pm, December 19; Sunday 9 -10:30am, December 31- Workshop on Pranayama
Jennifer Edwards's last classes: Wednesday 9:15 am, December 20; Saturday 8:15 am, December 30
Judith Lutz's last class: Monday 7:30 pm, December 18
Koren Paalman's last class: No class on Friday, December 15. Last class on Friday 4:15 pm, December 22
Sherry Gould's last classes: Monday 4 & 6 PM, December 18; Tuesday 6:30 PM, December 19; Wednesday 4 & 6 PM, December 27; Sunday December 24­ No class; Sunday December 31, 3-5 PM, Note time change

*** mukti yoga studio
2405 sepulveda blvd, manhattan beach, CA 90266
(310) 546-6727
website: www.muktiyogastudio.com

i just received this email from julie rader, owner of mukti yoga:

Happy New Year! Thank you for all of the kind e-mails. I am so grateful for your love and support through the closing of the studio.
I am teaching Mukti Yoga classes at Planet Yoga studio in Hermosa Beach on Tuesday 10-11:30am (all) & 6-7:30pm (all), and Friday 10-11:30am (level 1) and 4:30-6pm (all) www.planetyoga.com. Planet Yoga is kindly honoring class packages that were purchased before the closing of Mukti studio.
I am looking for a space to rent out in Manhatttan Beach to teach donation classes Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. The www.muktiyogastudio.com will have updated classes and events.
We still have some space available for the yoga retreat in beautiful Ojai February 2-4, 2007. Please let me know if you have questions or if you want to register. yoga@muktiyogastudio.com
May your intentions come to fruition in 2007!
Julie Rader

by the way, wah! will also be teaching her classes at planet yoga from now on; it'll be on thursdays at 10am.

*** forrest yoga institute
1430 olympic blvd., 2nd floor, santa monica, CA 90404
(310) 581-8900
website: www.forrestyoga.com

this was a shocker to me, especially since they've been hyping the first anniversary celebration at their new location -- forrest yoga in santa monica is closing its doors!
here's the email i received about the latest development:

I am writing to you to let you know that I am closing the Forrest Yoga Institute January 31, 2007. After being open for 16 years, to close the Institute is a difficult and heart wrenching decision, but a necessary one.
I extend my heartfelt love, gratitute, and thanks to the Forrest Yoga teachers, students, and community of the Forrest Yoga Circle and Institute. YOUR love, dedication, excitement and sweat formed the womb that birthed Forrest Yoga into the world. I have a deep love of the Circle and it has a very special place within Forrest Yoga history.
I hope that each of you who have been touched, sparked, challenged, and healed will continue this powerful work within Forrest Yoga. To further my mission of MENDING THE HOOP OF THE PEOPLE, I will be focusing my efforts and resources on growing and deepening the Forrest Yoga teachers' programs, as well as continuing my extensive workshop and teacher training schedule.
Please stay in touch with me as I will stay in touch with you. One of the ways you can stay in touch is continuing a consistent practice with our Forrest Yoga teachers in Los Angeles. This is how:
We will have a dedicated webpage on our website www.forrestyoga.com
with all the contact information for our Forrest Yoga Institute teachers so you can find them. Also, my schedule is on the website. I would be delighted for you to join me on the road.
This is a time of transition that will create new openings. As one door closes, another opens.
Jonathan and I invite you to join us at the closing ceremony with the Forrest Yoga teaching staff on the evening of January 31st. Details of the closing ceremony times and schedule will be available soon.
My entire life is dedicated to MENDING THE HOOP OF THE PEOPLE. I do this by teaching Forrest Yoga to as many students and teachers as I can. My purpose and passion is to spread this deeply spiritual practice to people throughout the world.
I love you.
Walk in Beauty,
Ana Forrest

Thursday, December 14, 2006

feeling special

when i first got a gig as a work exchange student at yoga works on main street in santa monica, my assignment was to walk around the neighborhood and drop off studio flyers on front doorsteps. it was a good way for me to get some fresh air and exercise and an easy way to earn free yoga classes. the downside was that there was almost no human interaction involved (except for the time when i witnessed a dog attack in venice; the victim was visibly distraught over possibly losing her half-severed finger, and i stayed with her until the ambulance arrived to take her to the hospital). being the social animal that everyone claims i am, the solitude was a bit frustrating; i had to be content with merely saying hi! to mail carriers, delivery men, and the few other people i happened to walk by on the street.

so when marnie, the YW main street manager, asked me if i wanted to help check-in students inside the studio, i jumped at the offer. finally, a chance to interact with the public! all i had to do was stand by the computer at the studio entrance and scan keytags and/or type in names. and if someone had to pay for a class or renew their series, i was to direct them to the front desk. training took all of a few minutes; after all, i had a computer science degree and had worked the past 25+ years in IT :)

the extra check-in help was needed to handle the mad rush to sign in for the more popular classes, in particular, those taught by annie carpenter and vinnie marino. their classes always fill to capacity, with sometimes as many as 80 sweaty bodies crammed mat-to-mat into the windowless studio. this being LA, no one likes to wait in line, so the quicker the students got checked in, the better.

with annie carpenter being one of the lead trainers in the yoga works teacher training program in los angeles, most of her students are either teacher trainees or yogis who are very intent on furthering their yoga practice. she spends a good amount of time making sure that her students have proper form for each pose. she offers suggestions and adjustments, and everyone comes out of her class feeling like they've learned something new.

on the other hand, with vinnie marino's class having the reputation of being one of the toughest classes on the westside, he draws students who are there to push themselves to their limits. there is no chanting, no meditation, just pure physical exertion. he turns up the music once the class starts flowing, and oftentimes everyone's so wrapped up in keeping up with the poses that they're unaware of all the sweat that's dripping onto their yoga mats.

needless to say, after a number of volunteer stints, i became a familiar face to vinnie and annie. and with the number of work-study credits i was accumulating, i was able to take their classes whenever i wasn't busy studio-hopping and taking classes with the other teachers in town.

so it was sometime last month, when my back problems were preventing me from practicing strenuous yoga of any kind, that i happened to be checking in students for vinnie's class. my birthday was coming up and i had promised myself that if i made a concerted effort to take care of my back until then, i would "gift" myself with a vinnie marino class. and then it dawned on me: wouldn't it be great if i could take it on my birthday itself? but then again, with the event falling on the friday before christmas, there was always the possibility that he would be taking the day off to enjoy the holidays. i had to find out.

i walked over to vinnie as he sat behind the front desk and asked him if he was going to be teaching on december 22nd and told him why. fortunately, he said said that unless something came up, he was scheduled to teach that day. i marked my calendar and started the countdown.

as always happens during the holidays, i found out that my plans for my birthday had to be changed to accommodate other things. which meant that i wouldn't be able to take either his morning class at YW montana or his afternoon class at YW main street. with only two weeks to go, there was ONE chance for me to fit in his class. and it was tuesday evening.

after madly trying to finish up my work at the office, then rushing down topanga canyon and PCH for the 20-mile drive to YW main street, i finally reached the studio with barely enough time to find an empty spot in the room (which was almost full by then), change my clothes, and get back to my mat before vinnie walked in and closed the door behind him.

i rested in child pose for a while to clear my mind, then sat up and looked around. the guy to my left didn't look too bad. neither did the guy to my right. it was good to be in vinnie's class once again!

we went through a familiar series of poses -- sun salute A's, followed by B's, then by warrior 1's, 2's, 3's, triangles, twisted triangles, extended angles, side planks, half moons, and so on. my back was behaving itself, miraculously, and i was in my element. i was keeping up with the guy on my left and noticed that the guy on my right was quickly losing steam. while i know that yoga is not supposed to be a competitive sport (unless you're a bikram devotee), at that moment in time, i knew i was meeting the challenge and was darned proud of it!

... until we got to the balance poses, where once again, because of the dim lighting in the room, i couldn't find a steady drishti point and found myself struggling to remain upright... ok, so that's something i need to work on...

eventually, we found ourselves on our backs for the dreaded ab series of poses. and it was while i was lying with my feet up in the air, hoping that vinnie didn't notice that my hips and my back were not off the floor as he walked past that he stopped, tapped my feet, and said: isn't it your birthday today?

i was stunnned; with all the people that walk in and out of his classes, how could he have possibly remembered? i told him that while it wasn't my birthday yet, it was close enough, and yes, i was essentially celebrating my birthday in his class that day. he smiled and continued to move around the room. from that point on, it didn't matter what i did or didn't do; i was savoring the moment and doing only what felt good. forget trying to keep up with guy-on-left, who was still successfully executing one boat pose after another; i was choosing to do every other with bent knees and it was fine with me.

after winding down with a shoulderstand and some twisting poses, we rested in savasana. i closed my eyes, oblivious to the fact that the yogitoes towel i was lying on was soaked in sweat, and relieved that my back didn't give me too much trouble. i sensed vinnie walking around, then stopping right by me. he tugged on my feet, lifted my back, repositioned my arms, realigned my neck, then applied pressure to the middle of my forehead before walking away. ahh....

there's nothing like a little special treatment to make someone feel just a little more special... thanks, vinnie!