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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!!