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Thursday, February 15, 2007

coupling on valentine's day

dimmed lights... soft music... clasping hands... giving and receiving massages... releasing tension... then quietly listening to a partner's steady, rhythmic breathing...

welcome to saul david raye's valentine's day partner yoga and massage class at exhale venice.

i got lucky last wednesday evening. not only was the class taught by one of the best teachers in LA, but my partner was probably the best i could have hoped for. she (yes, it was a fellow female) was tracy krosnoff, a yoga teacher whose perfect downward dog i had fallen in love with the first time i had ever watched her demonstrate it in class.

i had originally shown up for the partner class sans partner. since the class description said: "Bring a friend, a valentine or come alone and we will find you someone to partner with," i had tried to convince my friends to join me, but found no takers. for some reason, they all chose work over yoga and said that they'd just meet me later for dinner. go figure.

knowing that i had a 50-50 chance of ending up with an interesting person to share my practice with, i went ahead anyway and showed up for class. as i walked into the lobby, i spotted tracy, who had just finished teaching a class and was animatedly chatting with a group of students. we exchanged greetings and i mentioned that i was there for saul's class. when tracy found out that he was teaching a special class that evening, she expressed some interest in the possibility of staying a bit longer for it. realizing that this was an opportunity i couldn't afford to let pass, i urged her to stay and be my partner. luckily, since it's fairly easy to convince anyone to take a class with saul, especially if it involves thai massage, it didn't take much arm-twisting on my part to get her to agree. besides, with most of the city driving around for their v-day dinner reservations, she knew that she was better off staying where she was than rushing out just to get stuck in traffic. once again, the yoga gods were looking out for me!

once we were all gathered in the room, saul had us pick partners. he then instructed us to place our mats right beside those of our partners and spread blankets over what were now essentially larger mats. he then had us lie down side by side on our covered mats and center on our breathing before proceeding with our class.

the asanas saul made us do were simple enough even for the non-yogi partners in the group. rather than my trying to describe each move in great detail, let's just say that we did partner versions of downward dog, warrior 2, triangle, and cobra, among others. and since i had tracy, another excellent teacher, as my partner, i reveled in the challenge of trying to match my alignment with her perfect yogic form.

the series of partner yoga poses was then followed by partner thai massage on the blankets. this is where the class became worth much more than the price of admission; not only did i learn the basics of giving thai massage, but i also ended up receiving a stimulating, yet relaxing, massage myself. starting with the soles of the feet, we massaged each other, moving up through the calves, to the thighs, through the sacrum up to the upper back. we pressed, we rubbed, we pounded. ahhh...

once all the tension was blissfully stretched and massaged out of our muscles, the entire class chanted in unison. before leaving the room, we thanked our partners (namaste, tracy!) then made our way out into the cool night to continue on with the rest of our valentine's evening plans.

if my friends only knew what they missed...

2 Comments:

Blogger Eva said...

Thank you for sharing your experience in partner yoga workshop. Do you know any good partner yoga DVD?

Namaste,
Kalidasi

12:01 PM  
Blogger joni said...

hi eva --
i checked amazon.com and found a handful of partner yoga DVDs, but since i'm not familiar with any of the teachers, i really can't tell you if they're good or not. i'll keep looking...

2:29 AM  

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