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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!

2 Comments:

Blogger Lenore said...

Joni
Sat Nam! I recently read this post about my class last Dec, 2006.
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I would like to be able to quote some of the blog to promote classes and workshops I plan to teach for children and families in other venues.

Just wanted to make sure that would be all right with you.

I now teach a monthly family yoga workshop @ The Awareness Center (on hiatus for August) last Sat of the month 10;30-12 noon

Look for it on September calendar at the Awareness Center

Blessings

Lee Rothman

5:09 AM  
Blogger joni said...

of course it's ok, lee, as long as you give me proper credit :)

it's been a while since i've been out that way; i need to drop by to check out your new studio. maybe i'll see you (or another teacher at awareness) sometime soon!

11:51 PM  

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