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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!


Blogger Unknown said...

what is the pho place you speak of?

12:13 PM  
Blogger joni said...

hi patrick --

i believe it's called pho cafe. i haven't been there, so i can't say much about it, other than it sounds inexpensive...

11:04 PM  

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