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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....