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Monday, January 15, 2007

coming full circle

2425 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 829-2420
website: www.truyogala.com

TRÜYOGA'S approach to yoga instruction has been designed to accommodate a wide spectrum of students, including both casual and competitive athletes, serious yoga practitioners, office dwellers and professionals, householders and those who just want less stress in their lives.

Our classes are taught at levels I, II and III, and employ techniques which help create a realistic balance of strength, mental focus, and renewed body awareness. These classes prepare students to function better in all aspects of life.

Our goal in creating the TRÜYOGA program is to blend the wisdom of the ancient yoga traditions with the contemporary advances in healthy lifestyle integration. In our dynamic, stressful living environments, TRÜYOGA was created as a place where physical and mental rejuvenation can occur, within the confines of an urban environment. TRÜYOGA is for those that seek respite from their daily lives.

the first time i walked into the new truyoga studio in santa monica, i felt like i had come full circle in my yogic journey; it was in that same space that i had taken my first yoga class almost ten years ago.

at the time, i took the class mainly out of curiosity. i was a runner, and i had heard that all the stretching that one did in a yoga class made one's muscles more flexible and pliable and therefore less susceptible to injury. luckily, i happened to belong to a gym that included yoga on its list of class choices, so it wasn't going to cost me anything to give it a shot. it was also very convenient -- the gym was in the same complex as my office, which was walking distance from home. so in theory, i could drag myself out of bed in the morning, stagger half-awake to class, get stretched and energized, then shower and get dressed in the gym locker room before walking over to my desk at the other end of the complex.

unfortunately, after taking just a few classes, i realized that i valued my sleep too much; i dropped the yoga and went back to relishing that extra hour or so of shut-eye.

but how my attitude towards yoga has changed since then! while i still cringe at the thought of trying to take a yoga class before work, i now find that i've been giving up most everything else (including eating out, shopping, going to the gym, and even running) just to be able to go to yoga class after work.

... methinks i need to get a life, but i digress...

so as soon as i heard about truyoga's grand opening and the media previews they were holding, i wrote in, hoping that my credentials as a hardcore yoga blogger would be enough to score me entry to this VIP event. and within a few days, a personal invite landed in my inbox. my visiting 70+ studios over the span of a year and being crazy enough to write about each and every one of them had finally paid off! :)

so last thursday, preview day, i excitedly showed up at truyoga's door. we were first given a tour of the eco-friendly facilities, including the reception area and lobby, the retail boutique, the massage rooms, the bathroom and shower (which scores them extra bonus points in my book), and of course, the classroom. it was all very upscale, very well constructed. and it was no surprise, given that the studio's designer and yogi-in-residence is peter sterios, architect and manduka CEO.

our class was taught by peter himself, and all i can say is that his class was like no other class i'd ever taken. we spent a good amount of time warming up and stretching, but even doing just that was pretty challenging; we were pushed to our limits, almost to the point of pain, and were told that if we relaxed, we could get deeper into the stretch (at that point, i think i instinctively switched from ujjayi breathing to lamaze breathing). we progressed to standing and sitting poses which were familiar, but somehow different. peter said that his style of yoga is influenced by his qigong (or chi kung) training; it is all about controlled movements and controlled breathing. his new DVD, gravity & grace, gives some idea of what yoga ala peter is like (and no, we didn't have to do all those arm balances; thank goodness!).

the next day, truyoga held its grand opening celebration in grand style, starting with a yoga blessing class taught by shiva rea -- featuring 18 surya namaskar A's and a handful of B's! -- and ending with a performance by singer tina malia. outside, there was a fantastic food spread featuring sushi from houston's, dessert from leaf cuisine, and bubble teas from zen zoo tea (there was also a table pouring wine for the guests, but i somehow never got around to stopping by). in each of the two massage rooms, therapists were giving sample massages to the guests who managed to pull themselves away from the food and the entertainment. i lucked out and received a wonderful post-yoga massage from michael, who spent more than the allotted 10 minutes kneading out the kinks in my back!

by the time i left three hours after i arrived, the party was still going strong, with a group of music enthusiasts in the asana room and an even bigger crowd socializing outside. surely a good sign of good things to come...

speaking of good things, truyoga's offering FREE classes this entire week as well as a 10% discount on all class package and retail merchandise purchases! and you know i'll be there to take as many classes as i can before the promotion ends :)

i truly hope truyoga becomes a permanent fixture here on the westside, not only because so much time and effort was lovingly poured into creating the studio, but because it gives me a second chance to take advantage of a yoga studio that's within walking distance from home!

so far, i've taken dhyana tse's (subbing for her sister, daphne) 7:15pm class on monday, kishan shah's 7:30pm class on tuesday, but i overslept for peter's 6:30AM class on wednesday -- which proves that my need to sleep still wins out over yoga...