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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

taking the long drive south

after almost a year and a half of driving all over LA, trying to visit every studio in town, it looks like i'm finally getting close. and it's not because i've been taking my sweet time; before this weekend, i'd already hit 82 studios -- that's an average of one a week -- and that's not even counting the ones that i'd been to outside of LA (including those outside of california and the US itself)!

one reason why i still have a number of studios left on my list is because they're all "way out there", so to speak. they're out on the far reaches of LA county: out east at the san bernardino county line, north at the kern county border, and south just before reaching "the OC". thankfully, trying to cover the western edge of the county has been relatively easy for me, but only because it's close to where i live.

feeling adventurous this past weekend, i finally decided it was time to reach out and touch some distant studios. so after getting a friend to agree to let me spend the night, i checked out class schedules and came up with two studios down south in long beach.

day #1, studio #1 -- a friday evening class at yoga world:

Yoga World Studio
6511 East Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 804-5525
website: www.yogaworldstudio.com

All of our classes aim to restore peace and calm and clarity. Some of our classes are more physically vigorous than others but they all cleanse the body, calm the mind and soothe the nerves.

Each of our teachers have various degrees of influence from the Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, and Anusara traditions. Additional influences include Ana Forrest, Erich Schiffmann, and Saul David Raye. There are strands of similarity between all the classes, yet each teacher shares their own authentic expression of yoga.

All classes are considered hatha yoga which has as its basic aim to unite the body (soma) and the mind (psyche) and the seer and the seen.

long beach is right on the southern edge of LA county; in fact, yoga world is located just a few blocks north of the orange county line. its friday evening class schedule offered me some flexibility: if i got stuck in traffic and was late for the 5:30pm intermediate class, i could always find something to do in the surrounding area (where there's a wild oats, a barnes and noble, a starbucks, plus more) then return later for the 7:00pm "open" (i.e., all levels) class.

perhaps being overly cautious, i had given myself an hour to drive the 12 miles from torrance after work. the traffic on the southbound 405 must not have been as terrible as i'd thought it would be; i got to yoga world with 15 minutes to spare, with ample time before the 5:30pm class to sign in and change.

yoga world is located in the nicely-landscaped long beach marketplace at the corner of PCH and 2nd street. it's close to the expensive neighborhoods of belmont shore and naples. and a stone's throw from the long beach marina. so theoretically, you could sail in, pick up a guest mooring, walk the few blocks to yoga world, then take a yoga class to stretch out your sea legs. aaahhh... that's living!

parking is free and plentiful, a definite plus in my book. the easiest way to find the studio is to look for the claim jumper restaurant; yoga world is right behind it. once you walk in, you'll find a small retail area with clothing, CDs, books, and yoga props (and yes, there's a sale basket, too!). the reception desk is farther in, right by the classroom door. after filling out the usual registration paperwork and signing in for class, i made my way into the room and found a spot in the back of the room by the windows.

the classroom is large and bright with high ceilings. with around a dozen of us in our class that afternoon, there was plenty of room for us to spread out. the series of poses dawn macdonald had us do were appropriately challenging for our intermediate class (including another chance for me to work on my handstand... yay!).

after scanning the bios of the instructors at yoga world, it's clear that they've been trained by the best from yogaworks, sacred movement, forrest yoga, and the iyengar institute. and with classes scheduled throughout the day, there's bound to be at least one class for your kind of yoga at your time of day.

as for me, i know i found a great class to take the next time i'm in the area... whenever i find myself 30 miles south of home, that is.

my long beach weekend continues...