Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
Click here to view the accidental yogist's map of los angeles yoga studios in a full-size page

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

my trip to long beach, day two

after my yoga class friday evening, i spent the rest of the night visiting with an old friend of mine near long beach. early the next morning, after a quick merci and adieu, i was off to yet another yoga studio.

day #2, studio #2 -- a saturday morning class at free spirit yoga

FreeSpirit Yoga
3910 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807
(562) 989-9959
website: www.freespirityoga.com

We are a local community Yoga Studio that welcomes everyone from any other community. We are seeking to incorporate the benefits from the many facets of Yoga and Meditation. Our Philosophy is to incorporate movement with breath to make the body and mind healthy, and to take silent time to get centered before and after class. Practicing this inside the classroom helps you to take it into your life, relationships, work and play. Being centered and grounded in all that you do and in all that you are. And having FUN in life, being in the FLOW of life.

i have to admit that the main reason why i chose to visit freespirit yoga that morning was because it was the closest studio to the 405 freeway, and i knew that there was a good chance that i would be running late for an 8:30am class.

and sure enough, i ended up walking into the classroom after the class had started. but it wasn't because i hadn't given myself enough time to get there; i was absent-minded and exited the freeway three off-ramps too early. rather than retrace my steps back to the freeway when i realized my error, i decided instead to continue on surface roads. and then found out that i had taken the long way there. oh well.

once i finally found the address, i pulled into the perfect parking spot right outside the front door... until i discovered that the actual entrance was around the building on the back side. with the minutes continuing to tick away, i was lucky enough to find an empty spot in the small parking lot in the rear. and even luckier to find out that i could still join the class, which was already in progress. but to get to the last free spot way in the back of the small room, i had to walk past the instructor and the roomful of students. so much for trying to sneak in unnoticed :(

(in my rush, i never found out the name of our teacher that morning; all i know is that she was subbing for the regular teacher.)

since it was an all-levels class, it seemed to cater to the less-experienced students in the group. there were a lot of slow stretches, a lot of basic moves. the overly-bendy woman in front of me seemed almost freakish as she moved double-jointedly through the poses; in stark contrast, the elderly gentleman beside me could barely touch his toes while executing a forward bend. while there were times when i'd hoped that our teacher would pick up the pace, in a way i was glad that i was forced to slow down and take it easy. it gave me a chance to rest and recharge and prepare for the long day i had ahead of me. as well as for my long drive back home.

freespirit yoga is located in a small storefront on a busy thoroughfare near the long beach airport. unlike yoga world, which draws its students from the affluent southern section of long beach, freespirit attracts those who live in or near bixby knolls, an upscale neighborhood in the northern part of the city.

the instructors at freespirit come from a varied selection of backgrounds -- from the sivananda ashram in northern california to the yogaworks studios in southern california -- and have trained in styles ranging from traditional iyengar to the hybrid yogafit method and everything in between.

while their classes regularly cost $15, they also offer discount packages, including a 2-week new student rate of $20. since it wasn't going to cost me much more, i went ahead and paid the extra $5 for the intro special, hoping that i might find the time to take another class at freespirit within the next 14 days. and if i do, at least i know i won't be spending as much time driving around trying to find the entrance to their studio :)