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

Thursday, June 28, 2007

a patch of green in the concrete jungle

the yahoo! center is located within a 15-acre city block in santa monica. like many other commercial complexes in the area, it's comprised of mid-rise buildings that house the offices of various design, entertainment, and technology firms.

as is true with most clusters of office buildings, the concrete walkways that connect the buildings and the outdoor eating areas in the yahoo! center are dotted with shrubs, flowering plants, and grass in order to make the area more inviting and to look less, um, concrete. during the lunch hour, employees sit on benches or at the tables that are scattered about on the concrete pads. no one ever feels compelled to lay a blanket on the lawn, kick off their shoes, and take a break from workday responsibilities. usually it's because there's barely enough time for them to pick up a quick bite from the food court and rush back to their desks to meet a project deadline.

and when they're ready to unwind at the end of the day, many of these same office workers head for the treadmills and weight machines at the trifit health club or for happy hour appetizers at the daily grill, both located within the complex, although most just head straight home. so the park-like areas remain untouched and underappreciated.

what many of these worker bees aren't aware of is the transformation that this outdoor area goes through on the weekend, when truyoga, a yoga studio located within the yahoo! center, turns the small grassy section outside their studio into a place where people come from all over to share in ancient rituals and sacred music.

you could say that the space was christened when swami shankardev saraswati and jayne stevenson, along with a small group of yoga tantra students, held a havan, or fire ceremony, on the grass during the recent memorial day weekend. because the ritual was open to the public, i was fortunate enough to have been able to join the group as we burned spiritual offerings in the kund, or fire pit, (including ghee, fruit, nuts, twigs, and dried cow dung!) and chanted sanskrit mantras to the gods to remove obstacles and stimulate our intellectual and creative powers.

and the gods must have looked upon us kindly, for as peter sterios, director of truyoga, explained to us before the havan, it was only due to a last-minute ok from building management that we were able to proceed as planned with the ceremony.

with that initial hurdle out of the way, peter has found another way to gather the yoga community together in that same outdoor space: the truyoga summer concert series. also known as afternoon on the lawn - music for a cause, it is jointly sponsored by truyoga, lululemon santa monica, and yogi times and will feature well-known musicians such as tina malia, girish, and dave stringer, to name a few.

the concert series schedule has been announced; each 4pm sunday afternoon performance will be preceded by a free yoga class held outdoors, with the proceeds from each concert being donated to charity.

the first concert of the series was held last june 17th, when shimshai, masood ali khan, and danny mcgaw entertained the crowd seated on blankets scattered about on the lawn. the concert's beneficiary was the harmony project, an organization that provides musical instruction to underprivileged children in LA. the turnout was a bit smaller than what was hoped for, but the enthusiasm exhibited by those gathered more than made up for the group's small size. again, i was fortunate enough to have been part of this inaugural performance; as a volunteer, i was able to enjoy the show while helping the organizers keep everything moving smoothly.

those scheduled to perform through the end of summer are:

july 1st - tina malia with special guest lakshmi devi, masood ali khan, and joey lugassy
july 29th - tom freund, david ralicke, and anita coats
august 12th - girish, daphne tse, and bhakti ma
august 26th - dave stringer & miles shrewsbery, wah!, donna de lory, and scott huckaby

more details:
~ tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door -- tickets available at truyoga and lululemon santa monica
~ pre-show yoga class is from 2:30-3:30pm and is free with advance ticket purchase. space is limited, so RSVP to hold your spot
~ bring a blanket or mat if you'd like to sit on the lawn; there are a limited number of chairs and benches on the periphery
~ bring your own refreshments; the food court is closed on weekends

i hope to see you one of these sundays out on the lawn!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

another yoga discovery

thanks to scott, an officemate of mine who's been clued in to my yoga addiction, i've just discovered a new yoga studio in the south bay.

a few days ago, he dropped by my cubicle and mentioned that he had just driven past a yoga place on his way to work that morning. where was it?, i asked, expecting him to mention the coordinates of a studio i'd already heard about. 182nd and hawthorne, he said. hmmm, i've never heard of a place out that way, i replied. he said he'd try to get their name the next time he drove by. in the meantime, i started googling the address plus the word "yoga" and came up with nothing.

the next morning, scott popped by again to provide more information. it's called CORE, he said. and again, i googled. and again, nada.

now totally stumped, i decided to drive out there today during my lunch break to see the place and check it out. after all, there are many places that claim to offer yoga classes, yet it turns out that they teach only one yoga class a week in addition to whatever else it is that they normally do. and as far as i'm concerned, that's no yoga studio.

i found the place quite easily. sure enough, right after i turned west onto 182nd from hawthorne boulevard, i found a building on my left that said "The Core". but there was no other sign that hinted at yoga classes, which made me wonder if scott was hallucinating (and no, he wasn't; i later found out that i would have seen the "yoga" banner if i had approached the building from the opposite direction).

i walked in to pick up a schedule of classes, and as i approached the reception desk, a friendly face asked me if i needed any help. i told her that i had heard about their studio and wanted to get some information. so not only did she hand me the brochure and schedule, but she also offered to give me a tour of their brand-new facilities.

melanie, my tour guide, explained that their classes are geared towards both adults and children, with adult and kids classes taught simultaneously. which means that while the adults are busy working out in their nia, pilates, or yoga classes, the kids are busy having fun in their art, dance, or yoga classes (with the latter possibly with their parents, too).

all the rooms looked clean, bright, and inviting, so inviting that i immediately checked my calendar to see when i could fit in a yoga class. and right now, it looks like i might be able to work in next monday... assuming, of course, i'm not wiped out from this weekend's yogathon...

so if you want to check out the place before i do, this is where you'll find them:

The Core, Your Perfect Center
4450 West 182nd Street, Redondo Beach, CA
(310) 542-2182

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the excitement is building!

i'm starting to get getting nervous... my yogathon at city yoga is THIS weekend!

for those of you who haven't been following along with me, here's what's going on: the wonderful people at city yoga, led by the very special anthony and rebecca benenati, are putting together a 24-hour yogathon from june 30th through july 1st to celebrate their 8th anniversary and to raise funds for habitat for humanity. and yes, i felt compelled to sign up; it sounded like the perfect synergy between my yoga addiction and my marathon mania.

i just received the latest version of the yogathon schedule, and not only does it have more details, but it's way more exciting than the original version!

Take your yoga beyond your mat!

yogathon! 2007

8am. Saturday. June 30th. The summer morning sun beams triumphantly through the beautiful arched windows. 60 inspired yogis have rolled out their mats for an amazing cause. For 24 hours. To celebrate the heart. To share an unprecedented yoga journey that will include asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting, restorative, and more! All to support the ongoing good work of Habitat for Humanity-Los Angeles. Are you with us?!

raise the roof!
From 8am Saturday to 8am Sunday, the upstairs studio will once again become home for yogathon! Join us for 24 heartfelt hours of yoga! Be part of your community as we rally together to make an extraordinary offering to the local community. Raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity-LA, a nonprofit organization that builds homes for deserving families in need. Take your practice to the next level!

build a roof!
yogathon! features a stellar roster of City Yoga teachers and extra-special guests!

preliminary schedule:

June 30th
8:00–9:45 Opening chant; standing poses with Rebecca Benenati
10:00–11:45 Arm balances with James MacDonald
12:00–1:15 Backbends & Pranayama with Hillary Rubin & Kate Frankel
1:30 LUNCH
2:00–3:45 Chanting with Govindas
4:00–5:45 Hip openers with Camilla Bergstrom
6:00–7:30 Partner Thai Yoga massage with Michaela Bohem-DeWet
8:15–9:45 Restorative yoga with Sharon Skok
10:00–11:30 Chanting with Wah!
July 1st
12:00–1:30 Inversions with Tony Giuliano
2:00–3:30 Ecstatic Yoga Groove with Tara Judelle
4:00–6:00 Sun salutations with Anthony Benenati
6:15–8:00 Closing Ceremony/Prizes/Check presentation to Habitat

honestly, how can one not get psyched after looking at a schedule like that?!?!?

just think --
yoga practice sessions with the best anusara instructors in town!
kirtan chanting with well-known stars in the kirtan universe!
relaxing partner massage!
and most importantly: meal breaks!

i still have to figure out if i can snooze during the inversions at midnight or while ecstatically grooving at 2am... i might have to settle for catnapping during the restorative session at 8:15pm, although it's way before my usual bedtime...

anyway, it's not too late for you to support me and make a donation to habitat for humanity... if you want to help out, email me your pledge details at [joni AT accidentalyogist DOT com] and i'll add you to my list!

and as always, i'll keep you posted :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

a yogi on the beach

i was one of the close to a hundred yogis who congregated just north of the hermosa beach pier this morning for the 100 yogis on the beach celebration.

this large-scale yoga event on the beach was held as part of hermosa beach's 100th birthday celebration. in order to attract as wide an audience as possible, four classes were held simultaneously, within close proximity of each other: vinyasa flow, iyengar, kids' yoga, and prenatal (and contrary to what you would think, the iyengar class did not make use of any props. from what i read, the iyengar class was more of a hatha yoga class taught in the traditional style while the vinyasa flow was more of a cardio workout.)

the weather was perfect for our outdoor practice. with the summer sun still trying to burn its way through the morning marine layer, the air and sand temps were cool and comfortable. plus we were spared the blinding glare from the bright sunlight which was just beginning to peek through the clouds. the weather gods couldn't have done any better.

each class was team-taught by teachers hailing from the local yoga studios -- alive and well, lyfe yoga, the pilates room and yoga lounge, yoga loft manhattan beach, yogasofia/body mind and soul -- as well as by other yoga teachers who teach around the south bay -- athena engleman, danay divirgilio, desiree bartlett, kristin doubet, and leeann carey.

i chose to join the vinyasa flow class. our teachers for the 75-minute class were desiree bartlett, sofia meyen, jeri reeder, sandra liaw, ginger lewis, athena engleman, genevieve fischer, and page sieffert. of the group, i had taken classes with only two of them before -- genevieve at yoga loft and sofia at yogasofia -- so it was a great way for me to be introduced to the rest, especially desiree and athena whom i probably would never have been able to take classes with since they teach at places other than yoga studios.

according to the event schedule, each of the other three classes had a roster of three instructors. since our group had twice as many teachers, i can only assume it's because there were more vinyasa flow yoga instructors in the teacher pool than those who taught prenatal, kids, or even iyengar yoga. if given the chance to take two classes, however, i would have loved to have taken the iyengar class, too, so i could have met the planet yoga/lyfe yoga teachers, i.e., michael ruccolo, kristin doubet, and leeann carey. i'm sure i'll get a second chance somehow...

with all the yoga studios on the westside where i live, wouldn't it be fantastic if they could put together a similar event? after all, with it possibly being the yoga mecca of los angeles, just think of all the teachers and students who could potentially show up on the beach in santa monica! is anyone out there listening??? :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

embracing the chaos

amma, otherwise known as the hugging saint, was in town this week. when i told friends and family that i was going to see her so she could give me a hug, they all asked "amma who?". and you couldn't really blame them; after all, she doesn't have the same name recognition as the dalai lama nor pope benedict (whose name zoomed to the front pages recently when he and his cronies released the ten commandments for drivers).

i explained that she was like mother teresa in some way, and that while she didn't belong to any specific religion, she did good deeds and spread peace and love wherever she went. and that i hoped to get my fill of that peace and love while she was here in LA. of course, when they found out that i would be surrounded by gauzy white-clad devotees and that it involved chanting and meditation, they looked at me as if i had just told them that i was going to LAX to chant "hare krishna" and ask tourists for spare change.

and i guess you could say there was some truth to that. after all, i had to go to LAX (actually, the hilton hotel at LAX) and would be spending a good part of the night chanting with the group. however, instead of my asking others for spare change, i would be donating my own spare change to them. a slight difference.

anyway, thanks to an amma veteran who recommended that i show up at the public program on sunday or monday because it would be less crazy, i drove out to the hilton on monday for my latest adventure.

and when i got there, things seemed to be well under control. with an hour to go before the scheduled start of the evening program, i was directed to the end of the line which snaked all the way from the ballroom, along the main hallway, to the lobby, and down the escalator to the reception area below. when i got there, a volunteer asked me if this was my first time to meet amma, and when i responded in the affirmative, she stuck an orange dot on my shirt. it would be the mark that would for the rest of the evening announce to the world "be nice to me, i don't know what i'm doing".

the line eventually started moving, and when i got to the ballroom entrance, i received my token (i.e., my priority number to meet amma), and was led into the large room. fortunately, because i was the proud bearer of that orange dot, i was allowed to sit up front with the other newbies, right at the foot of the stage, within flower-tossing distance from amma herself. not bad, i thought.

it took a while to get everyone seated and settled down. then with great fanfare, amma entered the room. she was surrounded by children and a retinue of assistants. they all made their way to the stage, with amma seated front and center. after the obligatory welcome from a local politician, amma spoke to the crowd through her interpreter, a very entertaining swami. after that, we all sang and chanted, then were led through a brief meditation. finally, with all the preliminaries out of the way, the darshan, or blessing ceremony, began. long story short, since i had pulled a token in the "G" series of numbers, i didn't receive my hug until around 1am.

as for the magical hug itself, after all the waiting and the big to-do, i have to admit that it was anti-climactic. once my number was called, i knelt down at the end of the line and inched forward. her assistants then proceeded to sort out those who needed a group hug (as in mothers with children) versus the singles like me who were to be hugged individually. when i finally reached the front of the line, the assistant pushed me towards amma, indicating that it was time for me to lean forward and be hugged. at that point, amma put her arms around me and chanted something silently. what exactly she said or what language it was in, i have no clue. i tried to relax in her embrace, but as soon as she released me, someone else pulled me away as amma placed a chocolate kiss and a few rose petals in my hand. that was it? i realized that with all the machinations of getting through the line, i didn't feel the rush nor the sense of calm i was hoping to feel. but hey, i got my hug.

on thursday evening, thanks to all the media coverage on monday's news shows, it seemed like everyone in LA showed up -- both the faithful as well as the curious -- for the grand finale of the tour, the devi bhava.

Devi Bhava is the manifestation of the Eternal Feminine, the creatrix, the active Principle of the Impersonal Absolute. All deities of the Hindu Pantheon, which represent the numberless aspects of the one Supreme Being, exist within us. One possessing Divine Power can manifest any of them by mere will for the good of the world. During Devi Bhava, Mother manifests the mood of the Divine Mother in order to shower her grace upon us.

again, i arrived an hour early, but already the lobby and hallways were filled with people. in an effort to control the crowd (and appease the fire marshal), the organizers directed us to different function rooms so we could sit and wait until it was time to be led into the main hall.

and then, due to what seemed to be a breakdown in communications, things started going haywire.

one of the hosts walked up to the front of the room, and in a voice that could barely be heard from the front row, she asked all the orange dot / blue dot people to move up to where she was standing (i had a blue dot this time; when someone asked me if it was my first time, i said yes, only because i'd never been to amma's devi bhava before). not knowing what she wanted us to do, i left my belongings on my chair to hold my seat. sure enough, after consulting with someone on the other end of her earpiece, she apologetically asked us to go back to our seats.

someone turned out the TV monitors that were in the room, supposedly to show us a video about the ceremony we were about to participate in. at this point, i couldn't figure out if we were going to stay in that function room for the duration, or if we were ever going to make it downstairs. just then, another host walked into the room. she said that we were all going to be led down to the main hall. again, we could barely hear her. once people heard the word "downstairs", there was a mad rush for the exit door. citing the ever-present fire marshal, she tried to restore order to our exodus. but the damage was done. while i waited patiently for my turn, people cut in from all directions just to make sure they could be at the front of the line. soon realizing that half the room behind me was now in front of me, i joined the line-cutters as we made our way to the stairs.

and then suddenly, the line stopped moving forward. i had a bad feeling about this. and sure enough, we were told that the main room was full to capacity and that we would have to watch and participate in the ceremony via the monitors in the function room.

i drove all the way here, paid $9 to park my car, waited two hours, just to watch amma on TV?!?!?

after sitting for what seemed like an eternity in the sterile room, watching the goings-on downstairs on the TV monitor and feeling totally disconnected from the entire experience, i decided to go home. besides, i already had my hug a few days before and didn't think i'd stay long enough for another one (i pulled an "N" this time, guaranteeing that i wouldn't get my turn until way way past midnight). but before heading out to the parking garage, i made one last attempt to get into the main hall. after all, things were so chaotic that i stood a chance of being able to get in if i played my cards right.

but no dice. while people were going in and out of the ballroom supposedly on their way to/from the restroom, the bouncer guarding the entrance to the hall wouldn't let me in. not even to stick my head in the door to see what it looked like in there. the room's full, he said sternly.

i stood there and waited. something was bound to change. but when i started hearing the strains of the start of the atma puja, i knew that it was pointless for me to stand in the hallway. so i pointed to the food concession area and asked the bouncer if i could watch the puja on the TV monitors in there. as long as there was a chair for me to sit on, he said, he'd let me.

happy at last that i was that much closer to amma (and to the food), surrounded by seva-ites and die-hard amma followers, i chanted along with the group while i carefully held on to the container of holy water i received. after all, if it was blessed by amma and supposedly cures illnesses, relieves anxiety, and solves problems, it was worth hanging on to. you never know.

at the end of the atma puja, amma retired backstage, where she changed into her devi bhava finery. and once she stepped back out and began the darshan, i knew that it was time to make my exit. i had enough excitement for the evening.

before i left, i stopped at the concession booths to buy a souvenir. i ended up selecting a pale teal t-shirt with an "om" symbol on the front and this written on the back:

Om is the answer to all you've been looking for, Om is your own true nature. -- Amma

it had been one long, but eventful, night. ommmmmm....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

yo ho, yo ho, a surfer's life for me

The Pilates Room and Yoga Lounge
3205 Manhattan Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
(310) 376-6242
website: http://www.thepilatesroom.com/

Perfect for the serene to extreme athlete -- Improve your strength, flexibility, posture, and spirit

i received a call from dee at the pilates room earlier this afternoon. she thanked me for taking a class there last week, wanted to know if i had any questions, and hoped i'd find another chance to pay their hermosa beach studio another visit, especially since i lived all the way out in santa monica.

i was pleasantly surprised. after all, it's not often that someone from a yoga studio takes the time to go through the list of new students to thank them for their patronage. maybe that's the kind of personalized attention you get from a small studio. or should expect to get from one. either way, it was a nice touch.

i had found the pilates room and yoga lounge by accident two saturdays ago. it was less than a week after my last marathon and i had decided to skip my usual saturday morning run. my aching legs seemed to prefer sofia meyen's disco yoga class at yogasofia, so that's where i went. granted, it was all the way out in hermosa beach, but the thought of trying out yet another type of music flow class sounded appealing.

maybe it was the recurring 80's flashbacks during the class, but instead of hopping right away on the freeway after leaving yogasofia, i found myself cruising through hermosa beach and manhattan beach to take in what was turning out to be a beautiful summer day. and while driving through a residential area, i spotted a red awning with the big letters Y-O-G-A. was i actually seeing what i just thought i saw? knowing that there were no mind-altering drugs involved in the disco scene i had just left, i turned my car around to investigate.

shelley williams was in the process of locking up; her saturday morning class had just ended. she handed me a schedule, and among the short list of class offerings were two yoga for surfing classes -- tuesday evenings with kirsten hansen and thursday evenings with shelley. i'll be back, i promised her, as i walked back to my car.

and true to my word, i was back that thursday. it was easy to find the classroom -- the pilates room was busy with students going through their routines on the reformers, while the yoga lounge was more sedate with students setting up their mats on the floor. half expecting a room full of surfer types, what i found instead was a room full of what looked to be "regular folk" like me. but no matter; after all, who couldn't get something out of a class that "is a challenging, heat generating class designed to increase strength, flexibility, and agility while opening shoulders, neck, and low back. Enhances focus and deepens breath..."?

shelley started us in a brief meditation, where we lay quietly with our eyes closed and pictured ourselves floating on the blue pacific (ok, so maybe it's not that blue out here), feeling the sun and the gentle breezes. since the beach was only a block or two away, it's too bad we had to settle for imagining being outside rather than actually being there...

continuing with the sand and surf theme, we transitioned into a gentle warm-up, observing the marine life as we swayed from side to side then moved in circles, first to the right, then to the left. eventually, the movement became more and more physical as we found ourselves in warrior poses, backbends, and ultimately, arm balances and handstands. while i can't say we did anything that simulated riding the waves atop a surfboard, it was a great class, especially since it didn't involve doing faceplants in the sand nor swallowing mouthfuls of salt water :)

while i would love to go back and check out more classes, there aren't many to choose from; according to their current schedule, they only teach one yoga class a day, and only on mondays, tuesdays, thursdays, and saturdays. that's four classes a week, with two of them being the yoga for surfing class. there's another class taught there that's not on the schedule: it's a 9am class on thursdays, taught by genevieve fischer from yoga loft manhattan beach. thanks to shelley williams and page sieffert, owners of the pilates room, the temporarily displaced yoga loft has found another space to hold classes.

while all their classes are currently held indoors in their yoga lounge, there's a chance that they may also hold a class or two on the beach over the summer. and now that i'm on their mailing list, i'll find out the moment that happens. and so will you.

Monday, June 18, 2007

beach yoga updates

i'm continuing to add classes and events to my beach yoga post as i find them, so please check the beach yoga 2007 link (kinda catchy, isn't it?) on my site every now and then so you don't miss out on all the fun.

speaking of missing out, here's something that's been puzzling me: if the city of hermosa beach hopes to celebrate its 100th birthday by having 100 yogis practice on the beach this sunday, june 24th, how do they hope to round up those yogis if they don't publicize the event through the yoga studios or yoga mags? i've been to a few south bay studios this past week and have even checked their websites, but i haven't heard a peep.

at first, i thought that maybe the event was cancelled, but i've been checking with people involved in the hermosa beach yoga scene, and as far as they know, it's a go. hmmm.

update: i just checked with leeann carey and she confirmed that it's definitely proceeding as planned. remember to bring a towel to practice on as well as lots of sunscreen!

so even if i've already included it in my beach yoga listing, it's worth another mention, especially since it's THIS SUNDAY:

100 yogis on the beach - hermosa beach centennial
where: hermosa beach - meet near the 13th street lifeguard tower north of the pier
when: sunday, june 24th 9:30am
cost: FREE

In celebration of Hermosa Beach's 100th birthday and working towards completing 100 Acts of Beautification, the Centennial Committee has coordinated a program with local Yoga instructors to offer a FREE Yoga program on Sunday, June 24th from 10 am-11:30 am. Sign up begins at 9:30am.

4 classes will be offered simultaneously:
a. Cardio Yoga (Vinyasa/Flow) class
b. An Iyengar (classical yoga) class
c. A Yoga for Kids (PARENTS WELCOME) class - these will be two 30 minute classes for kids under 12
d. Prenatal Yoga clinic and class

The goal is to get 100+ students out of the house and onto the beach, practicing beside some of the South Bay's best instructors. Leeann Carey, owner of Planet Yoga and the liaison to the Centennial Committee says "I've been blessed to nurture Hermosa's yoga soul for a decade... imagine, our collective Hermosa yoga spirit can now support 100 Yogi's... join us at the beach... breathe, refresh and enjoy our joy of yoga with Hermosa's best 100 Yogi's".

and while i'm at it, here's another yoga event that, while not actually on the beach, is beach-related:

yoga for surfers - quicksilver edition mission
where: 1621 abbot kinney blvd, venice CA
when: saturdays, june 9th thru august 25th - all classes 10:00-11:00am
cost: FREE

This summer YogaWorks is proud to team up with QuikSilverEdition to provide weekly yoga classes for surfers and aspiring boardriders. Be sure to join us for special in-class appearances by legendary Quiksilver athletes such as Reese Forbes, Dave Kalama and Shayne McIntyre who will join YogaWorks instructors to help improve your board performance through yoga, for your extreme (or not so extreme) sports.
Please RSVP to request a spot as space is limited.

The QuiksilverEdition Mission is a temporary community space in Venice Beach, California.
The Mission hopes to be a venue and a gathering place for Venice locals. It is also our ambition to create a nexus for the greater California coastal community by drawing people from all over the LA area to participate in unique cultural and educational celebrations. Unless otherwise posted, the events are free to attend and open to the public (however, we do request previous notification).
From June 8th until August 30th 2007, our open hours are Thursday and Friday evenings, and then every Saturday from early in the morning until late at night. On Sundays we are organizing midday activities, workshops and neighborhood outings. Our events will be varied, but united by the values of the QuiksilverEdition brand: “The Mission on Abbot Kinney strives to ensure a sustainable natural environment, a welcome and creative society and the freedom to enjoy life’s easy pleasures.”
There are regular weekly events at the Mission which will include our Sunset Cinema Series on Thursday nights and Live Music Out Back every Friday evening. (If you are a musician or a filmmaker interested in playing at the Mission, contact Greg.West@quiksilver.com) On Saturdays we host Yoga for Surfers in the morning and then the Missionary Speaker Series during our lunchtime barbecue. So you can come by for either the stretching or the the Bloody Marys, the important conversations or some delicious food and great company… or, get our combo platter and stay for the whole day!
In addition to the weekly happenings which you can count on at the Mission, this is also the place for an exciting roster of Marquee Events. Get ready to join us for everything from celebrity appearances, book signings, and art openings to dance parties, film premiers, and tequila tastings.
It’s all happening here, stay tuned.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

a palooza of a day, part two

only someone as adventurous as me would think it made perfect sense to drive from weho to noho by way of atwater village...

but with three hours to kill between the yogapalooza at plummer park in west hollywood (see yesterday's part one) and the grand opening celebration at yoga groove in north hollywood, i found time to take care of other business. like visiting my friend joe at his new store near griffith park, a runner's circle, so i could buy a new pair of running shoes.

joe matias, a fellow filipino, used to take care of all my running needs at top to top in marina del rey, where he was the manager for many years. when i found out that he was planning to open up his own running store in another part of town, i was very happy and excited for him. unfortunately, it also meant that i would have to find someone else at top to top who would give me the same kind of personalized service joe did. i promised to check out his new digs the next time i was in that part of town, so since i was headed out to north hollywood, which was close to toluca lake, which was close to burbank, which was close to griffith park... see? i was close by :)

joe and i chatted about all things running related -- races, training, shoes, clothing, you name it. an hour later, i walked out of his store with a new pair of brooks adrenaline 7's to replace the BA 6's that i had already worn down to the midsole. you think my training for and running three marathons since i got them had anything to do with it?

after a brief stop at a nearby starbucks to grab an iced tea and change into my third outfit of the day, i hopped on the freeway for the short trek to:

Yoga Groove
10502 Magnolia Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 508-9434
website: http://www.yogagroovestudio.com/

soft heart - sharp mind - vibrant body

with a name like "yoga groove", i half expected all their classes to be of the music flow variety, something like those taught at maha or yogahop. but apparently not. they teach a variety of classes for different levels of students: flow, non-flow, power, kundalini, family, restorative, and a specialized class called feminine elegance,

This class focuses on maintaining and increasing energetic flow in the second chakra. Perfect for the goddess in all women. All levels, Pre and Post Natal welcome.

and that was the class i showed up for that day. would it make me more feminine, more elegant? or would i turn out to be a hopeless case? :(

our class was taught by wendy obstler. i had never taken any of her classes, yet she thought she had seen me somewhere before (my evil twin, perhaps?). after comparing practices, we were almost sure that we'd seen each other in daniel stewart's sunday morning class at rising lotus (there's that rising lotus connection again -- not only does sarah isenberg from my earlier class this morning teach there, but wendy from this afternoon's class occasionally subs there, too. as large as it is, the yoga world here in LA seems to be getting smaller and smaller by the minute!)

as expected, all the students in our class were female. we came in all shapes and sizes, all ages and abilities. our focus was the second chakra, aka the pelvic/genital region. wendy explained that the asanas that zoom in on that part of the body help with fertility... which is the last thing i need to work on! however, according to an article in yogajournal.com:

Associated with the hips, sacrum, lower back, genitals, womb, bladder, and kidneys, this chakra is involved with sensuality, sexuality, emotions, intimacy, and desire. All watery things about us have to do with this chakra: circulation, urination, menstruation, orgasm, tears. Water flows, moves, and changes, and a healthy second chakra allows us to do so too.

ok. that i can deal with.

we also focused on the fourth, or heart, chakra. again, according to yogajournal.com:

The fourth is the balance point, integrating the world of matter (the lower three chakras) with the world of spirit (the upper three chakras). Through the heart chakra, we open to and connect with harmony and peace. The health of our heart center registers the quality and power of love in our life.

harmony, peace, and love. it's all good.

every now and then, i'd look around the room to take in the tastefully-decorated surroundings. more antique-like than ikea-like, the cabinets, cubbies, and seating areas of dark stained wood accent the polished wooden floors and green walls that seem to be de rigeur these days for yoga studios. soft flowing curtains screen the asana area from the street-facing front windows on one side and from the patio-facing rear door on the other. in a separate smaller room is the reception area where students can sit and sip a complimentary cup of tea. and maybe even stop to chat with karen, the owner of yoga groove, like i did.

so why "yoga groove"?, i asked her. coming from a dance background, karen related how she once had the privilege of choreographing a yoga/dance performance at the ford amphitheatre. and ever since then, she's been trying to develop a class centered around that same movement blend. when she finalizes the details of that yoga groove-like class, she'll add it to the list of offerings at her studio.

now here's the $64,000 question: can someone with two left feet like me survive a coordinated class like that? it looks like i'll have to meet that challenge to find out. and if i don't make a spectacle of myself, i might even write about it someday :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

a palooza of a day, part one

my plans for today started out fairly straightforward -- i was going to run a few miles with my running buddies, get a much-needed haircut, then go home, shower, and veg out until around 3pm, when i'd drive out to north hollywood to make the last class of the day at yoga groove, a new yoga studio. it was going to be a nice, relaxing saturday.

then everything changed late last night when i came across a posting somewhere on the internet about the yogapalooza crunch fitness was having at a west hollywood park. i took one look at my schedule and realized that i could fit in that extra class. but would i want to? what the heck, i thought; i was supposed to be in training for my upcoming yogathon at city yoga :) of course it meant that i wouldn't have the luxury of being able to take a nice warm shower and kick back and do nothing for a few hours, but how i could pass up on two yoga adventures in one day?

so after an early morning run, followed by a hair trim, blow dry, and change of clothes (and thank god for body cleansing towelettes!), i arrived at plummer park a half hour early. i looked for some sign, any sign, of a yoga event -- a tent, a musical performer, balloons, yoga mats -- and found none. i spotted some people carrying yoga mats and followed them, just to find out that they were headed towards the city-sponsored level 1 yoga class with mark dewhitt at 10:30am. wrong class, but good to know...

after narrowing down the possible locations to one of two grassy areas, i headed towards a park bench to rest. just then, i noticed a muscular adonis about to place a box of yoga mats on the grass on the west side of the park. crunch fitness? yoga? how could it not be what i was looking for?

eventually, other yogis started filtering in, including our teacher for the day, sarah isenberg. it turns out that sarah usually teaches the saturday 11am power yoga class at crunch; her indoor gym class was moved outdoors to the park for the event. many of those who showed up were her class regulars, so she clearly had a familiar relationship with most of them.

as for me, finding out that she was teaching the class was a bizarre coincidence (cue twilight zone theme music); we had just been emailing each other the previous day about my taking her class at either liberation or rising lotus next week! i immediately knew that this was going to be a great class, after all, anyone who teaches at christine/gary's place in los angeles or daniel/claire's place in sherman oaks has to be good :)

and it was!

i have to say that while a warm day and bright sun might be exactly what you want at the beach, it doesn't really make for a comfortable yoga practice. besides the possible sunburn issue (and kudos to crunch for supplying sunscreen!), not only was the bright sun right in our faces whenever we looked up to the sky, but the rays also made the mats too hot to touch. despite that, we made the best of the situation. we ended up ditching our overheated mats halfway through the class, and that's when things got creative.

it was like being a kid again, being able to dig our hands and feet into the cool grass while being oblivious to the swarms of flying gnats, the grass stains on our clothes, and the dirt that was finding its way into our hair and faces. we were being one with nature, and it was a blast! and the best part was my being able to get into a comfortable tree pose... and holding it! it was like my feet actually took root into the ground and kept me upright. maybe that explains why i've never been able to do it successfully on a hard wooden floor :(

and after all the fun and games were over (including wild attempts at arm balances and handstands), there was nothing like stretching out in savasana on the grass under the warm summer sun. ahhh.... and when we applauded sarah and the crunch crew at the end of class, the rest of the crowd gathered in the park applauded with us. i'm sure we were their entertainment for that morning!

more yogapalooza events are scheduled for the coming weeks. according to sahara, another crunch yoga instructor who joined our class, the class on sunday the 24th will be a summer solstice celebration. the details are being ironed out, and if she emails them to me before then, i'll pass them on to you.

as for the promised freebies, we were supplied with bottles of "shape yourself naturally" contrex mineral water and crunch tote bags. there was supposed to be a raffle for a free hugger-mugger tapas mat, but in the excitement, it slipped everyone's mind. i'm sure things will get more organized as the summer progresses; i'm looking forward to spending another weekend morning in the park with them!

Friday, June 15, 2007

practicing outside the box

i'm not a big fan of gym yoga. my biggest gripe has to do with the disparity in student ability and experience, with the teachers usually deferring to the more advanced in the group so that they'll be sufficiently challenged. after all, it's a gym; you're supposed to look and act like a physical god or goddess. or so that's the intention. in the meantime, the yoga newbies are completely overwhelmed and are embarrassed to admit that they can't touch their toes. how are they supposed to impress the athletes beside them who are effortlessly floating in and out of arm balances?

and then there's the issue of monthly dues. the yoga classes with the better teachers are at the better gyms. the more upscale ones. the ones like equinox, sports club la, and crunch. and membership at those places don't come cheap. sure, with your membership comes access to all the fitness facilities, but if you're just into the yoga like i am, the $100+ a month fee is a lot to pay for a handful of yoga classes (because as you know, i can't take the same class over and over again, day after day).

but when those yoga classes are taken out of the building and held in a public park for FREE (with a chance to win cool stuff, no less), i can make an exception :)

crunch fitness is sponsoring a series of outdoor yoga classes at plummer park in west hollywood starting this weekend. here's the promo from their website:

Yogapalooza: Outdoor Tour
Feel the concert vibe in this traveling yoga show featuring local musicians. Held outside in the park, this class energizes your practice with live tunes. Lighters not included. Get the chance to win free cool stuff from Smart Water, Hugger Mugger, Sprig.com and Kneipp.

Saturday, June 16, 11:00am at Plummer Park. (Meet at 10:45am)
Sunday, June 24, 12:00pm at Plummer Park. (Meet at 11:45am)
Saturday, July 14, 11:00am at Plummer Park. (Meet at 10:45am)
Sunday, July 22, 12:00pm at Plummer Park. (Meet at 11:45am)

it should be interesting to find out who the teachers will be and what style of yoga they'll be teaching. i'm going to try to make this saturday's class and let you know how it went :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

searching for the right yoga class?

last week, i ran into BDB, my former partner in yoga/running crime (i say former because he's been sidelined recently by injuries and work responsibilities). we were both at the physical therapist's office late monday afternoon; he had just finished his shoulder rehab exercises and i was waiting to get treated for my back.

i asked him how his shoulder was feeling -- much better, he said -- and if he was interested in joining me afterwards in a yoga class later that evening.

you mean with tom? (as in morley at maha)

yeah, sure, i responded, knowing full well that he was was full of it. not only did he used to tease me about how i would never get a "tom adjustment" because i wasn't a young buxom blonde celebutante (and he's right -- i still haven't), but he wasn't physically ready for a level 2/3 hip-hop flow class anyway.

wait... let me find you a nice gentle restorative class, i offered. i pulled a stapled list out of my purse and started flipping through it. as he watched me scan through the four-page document, he peered over my shoulder. completely puzzled at this point, he asked me what i was looking at.

it's a list of all the yoga classes around here... the ones i can get to after work...

now totally amazed (but not surprised), he asked me to hand over the list. and as he looked down each page and noted the days, the times, the classes, the teachers, and the studios, he asked me if the list was posted on my blogsite.

well, no... it's my own personal list... these are the studios that are on my way home from the office...

but why not?, he asked. just think what a resource this could be for your readers!

and that got me thinking.

so after updating my list to include a few more studios in the area (which aren't convenient for me but may be for you) and to pick up recent schedule changes, here it is:

it includes the class schedules for all the yoga studios on the westside -- brentwood, culver city, marina del rey, pacific palisades, santa monica, venice -- sorted by day, time, and class style. since most of us are desk-bound from 9am to 5pm, the class list starts at 6pm and goes through the end of the day (notice that there are late-night classes every night except friday). i've also listed the studio phone numbers so you can call and check for last-minute cancellations or teacher substitutions. what i didn't include are the addresses; those won't change (at least in the near future). you can get those by accessing the studio links on my blogsite.

check it out and let me know what you think :)

anyway, going back to my earlier story, after all of that, BDB ended up passing on the yoga class. he needed to get back to the office to finish a project and couldn't wait the hour-or-so i needed to get through my own rehab routine. i'm sure it would have been different had i found the perfect class for him -- believe it or not, with a list of 30 or so to choose from that evening, not one was a gentle/restorative class!

and yes, tom's class is on that list. after all, i'm confident enough in my practice that i won't feel crushed if i don't get an approving nod nor a shoulder rub from him while i'm surrounded by the brentwood beauties...

Monday, June 11, 2007

oral yoga

so there i was this morning, standing in the pharmacy line at my local CVS, waiting to pick up my prescription. i had stopped by on my way home from the dentist; the oral surgery i had just undergone necessitated a week's supply of antibiotics. the anesthesia was already starting to wear off and the area where my tooth used to be was throbbing. i couldn't wait to get my hands on an ice pack and some painkillers.

to distract myself, i checked out the store shelves beside me. there were condoms to my right, diabetes supplies to my left, and cough and cold remedies right behind me. luckily, there really wasn't anything interesting enough for a compulsive shopper like me to add to my purchase. until, that is, i spotted a nutrition bar display rack with a large sign that announced:


ouch! the thought of doing any oral asanas after all the tugging and drilling that just went on in my mouth was just too painful to consider. but you know me; if it involved any kind of yoga, i needed to know.

turns out it was a promotion for soyjoy all-natural fruit and soy bars. of course, i have no idea how yoga could in any way be connected to eating a snack bar, especially since i didn't feel the urge to chant om nor levitate the last time i ate one, but it was something i could easily look into later, at least when i was able to eat solids once again.

you see, soyjoy bars were heavily promoted at the last two marathons i ran -- the eugene marathon in april and the rock 'n' roll marathon in june -- and at both events i was given handfuls of all the varieties: berry, apple, raisin almond, and mango coconut. i remember tasting them then and liking them all; in fact, i was so hungry after finishing the eugene race that i stood at their booth and ate what amounted to an entire bar of each flavor. and if that weren't bad enough, the nice soyjoy folk gave me an entire case of berry bars to take back home with me (and yes, i had to check it in as luggage because it wouldn't fit in the one carry-on bag i'd brought with me. and no, i haven't eaten them all. yet).

now that i'm home from the drugstore, i've checked the soyjoy website. and there, in one of the many so-called soyjoy vlogs, emy was waving bars about in a trance-like state, murmuring "... apple pose, down berry, half mango..."

and on a media campaign-related webpage, emy goes on to say:
"After yoga today I ran into my teacher, Swarna, snacking on a SOYJOY. And she had that same cat-like smile on her face like she does mid-asana. I bet I didn't look anything like that while eating my so-called 'nutrition bar.'"

maybe i'm just loopy from the painkillers, but i still don't get the connection between soyjoy and yoga. i'll need to meditate on this while i continue to hold an ice pack to my cheek...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

embrace love and compassion

On the morning of the 27th of September 1953, in a small poor fishing village, Parayakadavu in the Quilon district of Kerala, a baby girl was born. She came into this world not in tears as babies usually do, but with a beaming smile on her face, as if prophesying the joy and bliss she was to bring to the world.

‘Amma’ as she is known all over the world today, has inspired and started innumerable humanitarian services. She has earned international recognition for her outstanding contributions to the world community. She is recognized as an extraordinary spiritual leader by the United Nations and by the people all over the world.

For the past 35 years Amma has dedicated her life to the uplifting of suffering humanity through the simplest of gestures – an embrace. In this intimate manner Amma had blessed and consoled more than 25 million people throughout the world.

When someone asked Amma why she receives every person who comes to her in a loving embrace Amma replied, “ If you ask the river,' why do you flow?' what can it say?”

-- from "amma" at amma.org

and now you, too, can receive a hug from amma; she will be in LA from june 17th thru june 21st.

here are the details on amma's visit as found on the LA satsang website:

Our beloved Amma is returning to Los Angeles to shower Her children with flower petals, hugs, kisses and Her Divine Love at the luxurious Airport Hilton Hotel. The Public Programs, Retreat and Devi Bhava will be held in the spacious International Ballroom - beautifully transformed into a magical temple which is dedicated to welcoming our dear Amma and all who come to be with Her.

The Hilton Los Angeles Airport
5711 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Free Public Programs
Sunday, June 17 – Monday, June 18

Mornings, 10:00 a.m. – meditation and individual blessings
Evenings, 7:30 p.m. – spiritual talk, music, meditation and individual blessings

Tuesday, June 19 - Wednesday, June 20 (Retreat ends at 2:00 p.m. on June 21, 2007)

Includes special classes, renowned musical guests, meditations, question-answer session, and dinner served by Amma herself. Pre-registration and fee is required.

Devi Bhava
Thursday, Evening, June 21

7:00 p.m. – special free Public Program
Amma will receive all who wish to have her blessing.

be prepared; you might have a long wait before you receive your hug from amma. according to a recap of last year's visit which ran from june 20th thru 24th:

... the crowds were quite large. And Devi Bhava went on until 11:30 a.m. on the 25th...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

a new groove

i recently heard about a new yoga studio opening in the toluca lake/north hollywood area (thanks to yogi times for the tip), but i wanted to wait until the class schedule was posted online before i passed on the word about the grand opening celebration (after all, it's hard to show up for a free class if you don't when the class is or what kind of class it is). so my apologies for the short notice; the celebration is a week from now on father's day weekend.

here's the write-up from the yogi times insider as well as the class schedule that was finally posted on the yoga groove studio website today:

YOGA GROOVE Grand Opening Celebration!
Friday June 15, 2007 from 7 to 10 pm.
Come and join us as we celebrate the Grand Opening of our new studio in the NoHo area. We will have Live Music, tea and desserts, plus FREE YOGA WEEKEND on the 16th & 17th to welcome our community.
10502 Magnolia Blvd. Toluca Woods CA 91601 (2 blocks East of Cahuenga Bl). Please call at 818.508.9434

SCHEDULE - Free Yoga Weekend Only

Saturday, June 16th
9:00-10:30am / Damian / Power Yoga Level 2
11:00-noon / Jules / Family Yoga Mixed Level (Parents and children together)
12:30-2:00pm / Blu / Hatha Flow Level 1
4:00-5:30pm / Wendy / Female Elegance Gentle

Sunday, June 17th
9:00-10:30am / Julie / Hatha Flow Mixed Level
11:00-12:30pm / Ambre / Vinyasa Mixed Level
3:00-4:30pm / Danny / Hatha Yoga Level 1 (Anusara-inspired)
6:00-7:30pm / Linda & Barry / Kundalini Yoga (with Live Music)

Friday, June 08, 2007

support iyengar yoga in LA!

i came across this series of workshops on the yogaworks events page and after reading the details, i have to applaud yogaworks and its staff for its efforts in helping to save the iyengar institute here in LA. it's comforting to know that the yoga community truly cares for its own...


Iyengar yoga lovers, students, teachers

Six Benefit fundraiser workshops - Together, we can make a difference!

Marla Apt, Paul Cabanis, Chris Stein, Lisa Walford, Chris Beach, Bob Metzler with the support of the Iyengar yoga Yoga Works teaching staff. Workshops will be a combination of asana, discussion, contemplation, and philosophy.

The history of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles mirrors the history of Iyengar yoga in Los Angeles. Your teacher most probably trained at the Institute, and continues to go frequently to the mother well to draw deeply from the teachings and community.

The Institute, now located in West Hollywood, is seeking a new home. These workshops will help raise funds funneled into a capital campaign necessary to relocate. All proceeds from these workshops will go directly to the Iyengar Yoga Institute.

In addition, Yoga Works is generously offering a 10% match, dollar to dollar, of whatever we raise in the workshops. Together, we can make a difference! Need we say more? Join our illustrious staff in honoring the teachings and the temple!

Pricing Information:
$75 per workshop. Show your support and sign up early.

Schedule Information:

Los Angeles

Paul Cabanis and Marla Apt
Saturday, August 4th 2:00-5:00pm

Center For Yoga
230 1/2 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 464-1276

Chris Stein
Saturday, Sept 29th 1:30 – 4:30pm

Yoga Works Westwood
1256 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 234-1200

Lisa Walford
Sunday, October 7th 12:00 – 4:00pm

Yoga Works Montana
1426 Montana Avenue, 2nd Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 393-5150

Orange County

Chris Beach
Saturday, August 25th 2:15-5:15pm

Yoga Works Laguna Beach
350 N. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 415-0955

Bob Metzler
Sunday, September 16th 1:00-5:00pm

Yoga Works Costa Mesa
1835 Newport Blvd, Suite A208
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 642-7400

Bob Metzler
Sunday, October 14th 1:00-5:00pm

Yoga Works Costa Mesa
1835 Newport Blvd, Suite A208
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 642-7400

and here's the latest update from the iyengar institute:

Dear Friends in Yoga,

In its search for a new home for IYILA, the relocation committee has now reviewed well over 100 properties. As we indicated in our last email, one of the primary difficulties in finding a suitable space has been the lack of parking associated with most of the properties we have reviewed.

As a yoga studio, there is a mandated parking requirement of 10 spaces per 1000 square feet, a requirement that is almost impossible to meet within the city of Los Angeles. We are therefore now pursuing the option of changing our designation to either philanthropic institution or trade school, both of which require significantly less parking per square foot.

If granted, this change in status will allow us to consider spaces with lower parking requirements, and we will retain our non-profit status as a 501c corporation. We will still look to provide parking for the students by a combination of onsite parking, metered and unmetered street parking, city lots, and commercial pay lots.

This process has been approved by the Board, and we will pursue the attainment of this variance through proper city channels. Once initiated, the process should take about one month to complete, and it will allow us to be more flexible in our search.

The Relocation Committee

Thursday, June 07, 2007

feel the sand between your toes

it's summer, and you know what that means -- beach yoga!

why spend a perfectly beautiful summer day cooped up in a yoga studio? take your practice outdoors as you salute the sun... and the sand... and the waves...

yoga on the beach with athena engleman - city of hermosa beach
where: hermosa beach - meet at 14th street, close to the water
when: mondays, wednesdays, and/or fridays june 18th thru august 24th 8:00 - 9:00am
cost: residents $50-$100 / non-residents $55-$110 (depends on pre-registered class selection) Start your day off with a breath of fresh air and the sounds of nature's music as we practice yoga on the beach. Strike a pose and get some sand between your toes. What to bring? A large beach towel and an open mind.

fun yoga on the beach with vanda! - enlighten up! with vanda
where: santa monica - meet at rose avenue and the ocean's edge
when: mondays, wednesday, and fridays 9:00-10:15am
cost: $10 suggested donation
This class is a metaphor for living a great life, a possibility-rich life... Serious fun celebrating being fully vital in body/mind/spirit, remembering how perfect and radiant we are!
Bring a flat bedsheet or large beach towel.
As your yoga teacher, I am committed to forwarding what is important to you in your life. I teach an eclectic style informed by so many yogic traditions, custom-designing a practice to your needs every class. I'm 47, so I've hurt myself enough that I can teach you not to so as you foster compassion and responsibility for your "edges."

sunrise yoga - city of santa monica
where: santa monica beach - meet at lifeguard tower #20, north of ocean park blvd
when: tuesdays and thursdays june 10th thru august 30th (depends on pre-registered class selection) 6:00-7:00am
cost: four class series - residents $62 / non-residents $68
Greet the dawn at the seashore with revitalizing yoga that focuses on the calming benefits of breath and the healthy alignment of the body and mind. A moderately paced class -- no previous experience required. Shoes optional.

level 2 beach yoga with jo tastula - yoga loft manhattan beach
where: manhattan beach - meet on the beach at 9th street
when: tuesdays, june 5th / june 12th / june 19th / june 26th - all classes 5:30-6:50pm
cost: regular class rate

sunset yoga - city of santa monica
where: santa monica beach - meet at lifeguard tower #20, north of ocean park blvd
when: tuesdays and thursdays june 10th thru august 30th (depends on pre-registered class selection) 6:30-7:45pm
cost: four class series - residents $62 / non-residents $68
Wind down the day at the seashore with relaxing yoga that focuses on the calming benefits of breath and the healthy alignment of the body and mind. A moderately paced class -- no previous experience required. Shoes optional.

yoga beach workshop with aaron reed - exhale venice
where: venice beach - meet at the water's edge at the intersection of rose avenue and the pacific ocean
when: tuesday, june 19th / tuesday, june 26th / wednesday, july 18th / tuesday, august 7th - all classes 7pm-last light
cost: FREE

sunset beach yoga with athena engleman - city of hermosa beach
where: hermosa beach - meet at 14th street, close to the water
when: wednesdays, june 20th thru august 8th 6:00 - 7:00pm
cost: resident $55 / non-resident $60 (pre-registration required)
End your days with the sounds of waves crashing on the shore and spectacular sunset views. Join Athena Engleman for evening yoga on the beach. Bring your energy and good vibes. What to bring? A large beach towel and an open mind.

third annual summer solstice at cabrillo beach - yoga bindu, san pedro
where: cabrillo beach - meet by the fire pits
when: thursday, june 21st 6:00pm
cost: FREE
Stay after class for s'mores. Bring 2 towels (one to practice on, and one to cover up with).

saturday morning beach yoga - lululemon el segundo
where: manhattan beach - meet at the 40th street lifeguard tower
when: all saturdays in july and august at 9:00am
cost: FREE
Please join us on the beach each Saturday morning for an invigorating yoga class on the sand!
It is a great way to start your day, but even better, you may win a pass to our "Surf, Sand, and Sun Salutations" event with Luna bar on July 28th. We will be drawing 5 names each Saturday until we have our 30 lucky surfers. Class is complimentary, and please bring a mat, water, and sunscreen.

sand, surf, and sun salutations - lululemon el segundo
where: manhattan beach - meet at the end of rosecrans
when: saturday, july 28th (time not specified)
cost: FREE
Join us for an invigorating morning of surfing with the guys from "Camp surf", followed by a yoga stretch led by ambassador Dion Lyman. A light lunch will be served afterwards on the beach. lululemon and Luna Bar are teaming up for the summer to bring you some amazing events!
This is a complimentary event, and space is limited. How can you be one of the lucky "Gidgets" to attend?

beach fitness walks with sofia - yogasofia, hermosa beach
where: hermosa beach - meet at yogasofia to drop off your keys and bags
when: 1st, 3rd (and 5th) sunday of the month - 8:30am, with tea in the lounge at 9:15am
cost: FREE

100 yogis on the beach - hermosa beach centennial
where: hermosa beach - meet near the 13th street lifeguard tower north of the pier
when: sunday, june 24th 9:30am
cost: FREE
In celebration of Hermosa Beach's 100th birthday and working towards completing 100 Acts of Beautification, the Centennial Committee has coordinated a program with local Yoga instructors to offer a FREE Yoga program on Sunday, June 24th from 10 am-11:30 am. Sign up begins at 9:30am.
4 classes will be offered simultaneously:
a. Cardio Yoga (Vinyasa/Flow) class
b. An Iyengar (classical yoga) class
c. A Yoga for Kids (PARENTS WELCOME) class - these will be two 30 minute classes for kids under 12
d. Prenatal Yoga clinic and class
The goal is to get 100+ students out of the house and onto the beach, practicing beside some of the South Bay's best instructors. Leeann Carey, owner of Planet Yoga and the liaison to the Centennial Committee says "I've been blessed to nurture Hermosa's yoga soul for a decade... imagine, our collective Hermosa yoga spirit can now support 100 Yogi's... join us at the beach... breathe, refresh and enjoy our joy of yoga with Hermosa's best 100 Yogi's".

sunset beach yoga - lululemon santa monica
where: santa monica beach - meet at the santa monica store
when: sundays, july 15th thru september 16th 7:00pm ** extended from august 26th! **
cost: FREE

You and your friends are invited to join us on warm summer evenings for complimentary yoga classes taught by your favorite Santa Monica instructors!
Meet us at the store and we'll walk to the lawn together. All levels are welcome.
Bring a mat, though we'll have extras if you need one.
email santamonica-community@lululemon.com or call 310.319.9900 if you have questions.

speaking of lululemon, if you happen to find yourself down in orange county, you might want to check this out:

yoga on the beach - triad yoga, irvine in conjunction with lululemon athletica
where: laguna beach - meet at main beach
when: sunday, june 24th 7:00pm plus more (see below)
cost: FREE

and a follow-up -- Our first class taught by Mark on June 24th went better than we could have ever hoped for! We are very excited to announce to you our line up of instructors for the next four Sundays:
7/1 - Betsy
7/8 - Anahatha
7/15 - Louise
7/22 - Brynn
The classes all start at 7pm on Main Beach in Laguna Beach and are free of charge.
We hope to see all of you there!

i'll be keeping my eye out for more announcements...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

summer sessions

this month, yoga studios around town will be honoring fathers (including stepfathers, foster fathers, grandfathers, even godfathers) and celebrating the summer solstice. there's going to be lots of music and dance as well as a number of fundraising events, so take your pick...

(you can find the links to the yoga studios on the sidebar to your right)

ongoing kirtan evenings:

Community Chanting with Rick, Sylvie, and Suwon
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Every Friday at 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

Kirtan in the Canyon with Andrew and Michele and Friends
Yoga Desa, Topanga
Saturday, June 2nd (First Saturday of each month) 7:00pm

Call and response chanting with live devotional music. A truly wonderful experience. Call (818) 340-6088 for information

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Los Angeles
Saturday, June 16th 8:00pm (once a month)
Cost: By Donation (for our musicians)

Fill your heart with divine bliss as Steve leads us through beautiful chants. Guaranteed to have you floating out of the studio. Wear comfortable clothing, bring a cushion to sit on and enjoy.

Kirtan Chanting with Govindas and Radha
Power Yoga West, Santa Monica
Saturday, June 2nd (First Saturday of every month) 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Govindas & Radha will hold a candlelit evening of Kirtan Chanting, as always on donation basis.
Come sing from the deepest corner of your heart!
Bring meditation cushions or blanket (no yoga mats). Wear comfy clothes.

Kirtan with Daniel Stewart
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Friday, June 8th (Second Friday of every month) 8:15pm
Cost: By Donation

Come join us for an evening of ecstatic chanting. No singing experience needed, only a willingness to open your heart (and your mouth) to the blissflul flow. Kirtan (from the sanskrit word for singing) is easily learned and instantly memorable. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds. Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, is also the mother tongue of many modern languages. But the true meaning of its sounds are in the effect they create. As everyone's breathing becomes synchronous, a feeling of unity and timelessness arises. When we sing without restraint our heartfelt expression brings peace and joy and meditation follow effortlessly.

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot
Santa Monica Yoga
Saturday, June 9th (Second Saturday of every month) 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation

special events:

yoga for global consciousness with Joan Hyman and Peter Barnett
All Levels
Yogaworks Westwood
Friday, June 8th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation (Suggested donation: $25)
*Special Musical Guest: Michael Perricone

Please join us at this special event in support of the Whole Planet Foundation. The class will be offered for free with a suggested donation to the Whole Planet Foundation, helping families escape poverty.

Free movies - Upbeat documentaries personally tested & loved by Sofia, preceded by a mini-lecture on a current health topic
YogaSofia, Hermosa Beach
2nd and 4th Saturday of the month 6:05pm (pre-show at 5:30pm)
Cost: FREE

June 9th - Who Killed the Electric Car? / Tommy Adams (Eco Cafė): "Cleansing Junk Food from our Spiritual Palate"
June 23rd - An Inconvenient Truth / Dr. Ed of Hermosa Chiropractic & Live Nutrition: "Adding Raw Food to Your Diet" (w/ free smoothie samples!)
July 14th - The Secret
July 28th - The Corporation
Aug. 11th - Why We Fight
Aug. 25th - Loose Change
Sept. 9th - LA Story
Bring comfy pillows, snacks, and people you like!

Zen Dancing Ritual Concert with Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland, and Shaman's Dream
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, June 9th 8:30-10:00pm
Cost: $15, $20 at the door

Where ecstatic dance and live world music meet, Zen Dancing induces peak states of ecstatic embodiment and deep union with the pranic "flow" between dancer and drum, breath and beat. The language of dance is universal and since 1996 Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland and their world ensemble Shaman's Dream have been resurrecting and defining the ritual world dance in Los Angeles, CA. Their live concerts are akin to a world ethnotronica odyssey that will sweep you up in a wave of trance dance marked by the evocative indigenous sounds and deep visionary grooves that have become the signature of their music.
No experience necessary...simply come prepared to move and let the music take you where it will.

Dancing Into Light Party
Santa Monica Power Yoga West
Saturday, June 9th 8:30pm
Cost: By Donation

2 DJ's ~ Raw Foods ~ Reeds Ginger Brew ~ Live Drumming ~ Projections ~ LOVE

Summer Solstice Workshop with Guru Singh
Yoga West, Los Angeles
Sunday, June 10th 1:00-4:30pm
Cost: $49

Summer Solstice is the annual moment of our Sun's highest energy. The Sun is the source of physical light and life in our solar system.
This is the time to sit with the "you in you", the God within -- the Generator, Organizer, Deliverer -- detach from the mind's trillion thoughtsand develop a conscious path unto destiny.
At this course we will perform and perfect a series of meditations that bring our minds and emotions into alignment with our intentions; learning to achieve harmony with time and space and serve and contain the gifts of life through conscious breathing.
Please attend in comfortable clothing, bring a soft mat to sit on, writing materials, and a piece of fruit.

Angelika: Concert of Sacred Music
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Marina del Rey
Wednesday, June 13th 7:00pm
Cost: By Donation

You will have the opportunity to join Angelika in a sacred experience: Many listeners comment on the extra-ordinary healing energy flowing through Angelika's voice and music and many have reported seeing a host of divine beings when she shares the healing blessings through this Sacred Music.
Angelika is an internationally acclaimed musician, song-writer and recording artist who dedicates her life to uplift, inspire and heal through the gift of her music. Her songs, prayers and Mantras in different languaes help us to remember the one source of all paths, religions and ways of worship. The heartfelt music she plays on her special, handmade stringed instruments inspires a meditative state and sacred space effortlessly.

An Evening To Benefit Ramana’s Garden Orphanage And School In Garhwal, India
Solstice Infusion with Gurmukh, Gurushabd & Tej

Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Friday, June 15th 7:00pm
Cost: $26 - all proceeds benefit the orphanage! (No keytags, please!)

Please join us as we welcome back Gurmukh and Gurushabd from their travels to India. Gurmukh will lead us in a very special yoga class and a Solstice meditation.
Experience! Double Gong, played by Gurushabd and Gurmukh during this time of renewal and transformation.
Enjoy! Live music by Maggie Wheeler and the Golden Bridge Community Choir
Eat! Bountiful and delicious food!
Envision! Dynamic and inspiring presentation and talk by Prabhavati, the charismatic director and founder of the orphanage.
Create! Arts and Crafts for children with jewelry designer Angelle Agabashian.
Win! Free Raffle with fabulous & exciting prizes from Satya Jewelry, Golden Bridge Yoga, Nite Moon Cafe, the Amrit Davaa Wellness Center and more!
Gather the light of the Solstice sun to expand your heart for the children.
All proceeds will go directly to Ramana’s Garden Orphanage!
Day care is available during the yoga class for $10 per child. Preregistration for childcare is required.
For more information about the orphanage, please go to www.sayyesnow.org

Manipura Chakra Yoga Ritual workshop with Lygia Lima
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, June 16th 1:30-4:30pm
Cost: $44 in advance or $53 at the door

Yoga ritual is a journey of self-investigation. The purpose of this ritual Is transformation, to inspire people to improve their quality of life through the art of yoga.
This is a multi layered, sensorial experience of the Manipura Chakra, the fire center of the body, where Agni ignites the Light of Consciousness and inner power, redirected inside toward the heart. Move beyond your limits holding your intentions for the new moon, a seed with full potential to grow. We will honor the rituals in our lives, using image, color, music, silence, yoga and dance.
The journey of the afternoon:
Mauna= silence
Bija mantra of manipura chakra
Yoga mala= 108 sun salutations
Aarti= fire offering ceremony
Prasad=blessed food
Asana dance trance
Participants are asked to bring:
*Non perishable food to be donated with part of the proceeds to a local shelter
*Your personal intentions written in small piece of paper for the fire offering
Please dress in the colors yellow or gold to the best of your ability (this greatly enhances the sensorial experience)
Please arrive early to mentally prepare for the sadhana.

ExhaleSoul Benefit: Spontaneous Pathways with Jamie Elmer and Sherry Brourman
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, June 16th 4:00-5:45pm
Cost: $20 Minimum donation

A musical, fanciful, all levels class...
Based on their instincts and intuition, Jamie Elmer and Sherry Brourman will work together, as they have for years, to unfold a light and delicious sequential class. It will be, of course, spine stabilizing, and of course, uplifting and fun. Sure to include heart openers, inversions, breathwork, musical delights and surprises along the way.

Satsang into Summer
Santa Monica Power Yoga West
Saturday, June 16th 9:00pm
Cost: $10 Donation

Get ready yall!!!!!!!!!!!! Satsang into Summer is here and wow, is this one going to be a blast. Not only will you be graced by the etherial sounds of AMBE, funky unifying sounds of Full Moon Rising, the wholesome sounds of The B.O.L.T., and the diverse eclecticism of DJ SUN, tantalized by the flavors of Angie’s Grace - Love Inspired Foods, as well as The Vegan Joint, and mesmerized by many of today’s up and coming artists, no no, you will walk in to a completely transformed yoga studio. Just imagine being Virtually “Under The Sea.” That is all the information that can be released, JUST SHOW UP!!!!
First band begins at 9PM
Come early and mingle with the vendors
Dress Light as It Will Get HOT!!!!!

Happy Father's Day!
All Yogaworks locations
Sunday, June 17th
Cost: FREE

Bring your Dad to any YogaWorks for a FREE yoga class on June 17.

Father's Day Specials
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Sunday, June 17th
Cost: FREE / 30% off

Bring a "Dad" in for any class on Sunday and it's FREE.
Better yet, bring him to Pheobe's Thai Yoga Massage Workshop on Sunday the 17th @1 pm and he'll get in for 30% off the prices of the workshop.
A great gift to share together as a recognition of the men who support us and bring us love.

Afternoon on the Lawn Concert Series: Shimshai with special performances by Danny McGraw and Masood Ali Khan
Truyoga, Santa Monica
Sunday, June 17th 4:00pm
Cost: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
Tickets are available at TruYoga (310) 829-2420 and Lululemon (310) 319-9900.

Join us this Summer at TruYoga's "Afternoon on the Lawn" concert series in the courtyard gardens of the Yahoo Center. Each concert begins at 4pm on Sunday afternoons, so bring a blanket, a picnic dinner, and your friends and family to enjoy great music in the outdoors.
*FREE YOGA CLASS at TruYoga studio before concert from 2:30-3:30 taught by Ben Fritz. You must reserve a spot at time of ticket purchase. Space is limited.

Father's Day Yoga with Sat Mohine Kaur
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Sunday, June 17th, 5:30-6:30pm
Cost: $15 per student, or punch card - Fathers are FREE!

Fathers, take a break to relax and clear your mind. This class is our gift to you. Bring your family or friends for an hour of yoga and fun. Sat Mohine's down to earth style and sense of humor is contagious. You will definitely leave with a smile on your face.

Sacred Breathing Circle - Summer Solstice: Solar Power with Wahe Guru Kaur
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Wednesday, June 20th 7:00-9:30pm
Cost: $30 by June 15, $35 thereafter

Join Wahe Guru Kaur for a transformative evening of Kundalini Yoga and "Healing Breath"
Take a journey into your SELF where you may identify and release mental, emotional and physical blocks and bring light into the areas of your lfie that need healing.
"Healing Breath" is an ancient pranic healing technique that promotes healing and regeneration on all levels.

Here Comes The Sun... Celebrate Summer!
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Thursday, June 21st (see below for times)
Cost: Regular class price

Join us for a Summer Solstice Celebration ~ Call in the summer with ritual yoga classes where we will set our intentions for the new season through asana, dance, live music, and celebration:
9:00–10:25am — Hala Khouri + DJ Drez
5:45–7:30pm — Saul David Raye
Purchase a 10 or 20 series + receive two free classes!

Summer Solstice Celebration with Tej
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Thursday, June 21st 6:00pm AND 7:30pm
Cost: $15/keytags (per class)

This is the longest day of the year! A time of renewal and growth. A time to awaken and transform. A time to unveil the vital energy of the sun and moon. A time to dance and sing and laugh!
Join Tej to open your Radiant Body for Victory & Vitality on this special night in both the 6:00 & 7:30 classes!
After class, stay for delicious iced yogi tea and cookies!

Yoga Mala: 108 Sun Salutes Celebrating the Summer Solstice with Jo Tastula
Yoga Loft, Manhattan Beach
Friday, June 22nd 7:00-9:30pm
Cost: $30

Practice an ancient ritual of celebrating the change of seasons by initiating your own seasonal change. Join us as we welcome the spring season and set bearings for the warmer months ahead. The 108 Surya Namaskars take 2 1/2 hours to complete, so come prepared for a potent journey ~

Ecstatic Chanting with Steve Ross
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, June 22nd 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $15, $20 at the door

Chanting stills the mind and opens the heart. A beautiful practice leading to effortless meditation. Join us for this celebratory event.

Kirtan with Michael Dunn
Yogaworks Pacific Palisades
Friday, June 22nd 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door

Kirtan is a growing phenomenon in the West. As yoga classes become a staple of American health and fitness, more students are exploring the relaxing, healing power of yoga chanting and meditation. Michael Dunn and The Chant Band blend the peace-producing depths of kirtan with an appealing Western flavor (combining English and Bengali lyrics) backed by a skilled overlay of the sounds of India with an American groove, including kirtan treatments of classic rock ballads - intensely romantic and straight from the heart.

Women's Sacred Journeys with Mary Donovan: Purifying the Light Within - Summer Solstice Celebration
Santa Monica Yoga
Saturday, June 23rd 6:30-9:00pm
Cost: $25 (until 6/18) or $30 at the door

Join us for a yogini adventure designed to purify heart and soul and to celebrate our entry into summertime.
Sacred alignment with the earth and its circle of seasonal diversity is a potent, conscious opportunity to pause, unify and deepen. Utilizing a creative blend of yoga, meditation, chanting, sacred movement and solstice ceremony, join us as we gather to honor the summer fires of transformation and their particular significance for you in your circle of life. Bring an instrument or drum to play, if you like. All levels welcome.

It's Movie Night at IYILA!
BKS Iyengar Institute, Los Angeles
Saturday, June 23rd 7:00pm
Cost: Free to IYASC Members, Non-Members $7

Join the most energetic and social movie audience in Southern California (your friends in yoga) and experience a truly great and exciting film of Iyengar yoga in action!!
The program will feature a 1984 film of a demonstration and lecture by BKS Iyengar at Barbican Centre in London. A light meal will be served before the screening. Approximate running time: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Please RSVP by Friday, June 22nd to the evening's Host with the Most, Kirk Stricker, to ensure that there will be sufficient refreshments for everyone.
Come early to get a good seat and prepare to be inspired!

Yoga Groove Night
Your Neighborhood Studio, Culver City
Saturday, June 23rd 7:00-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation

It's Wiggle time again!! Join us this Saturday June 23rd for an evening of Live Music, Dance, Yoga, Meditation and play! We are also fortunate to have world renowned astrologer Wendy Cicchetti available all evening for astrology and tarot readings. All ages all levels welcome. If you want to bring your kids under 10, it might be best to bring them after the yoga.
7-8pm - Yoga with Denise (all levels)
8-9:00pm - Dance, Groove and Boogie with Misty (all levels and ages)
9-9:30pm - Relax and easy guided meditation to complete the night

Soul Flow: Creative Dance
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Saturday, June 23rd 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $15, 2 for $25

Join Haridass Kaur/Basia for a wholesome and soulful evening! This eclectic event includes creative dancing with a healing journey through the chakras, flowing music, group interaction and playfulness, and a meditative closing circle.

The Open Wide Sessions
Santa Monica Power Yoga
Saturday, June 23rd 8:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Mind elevating artistic expressions hosted by Full Moon Rising

Live Harp Restorative with Bekah Finch and Regan Remy
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Sunday, June 24th 5:00-6:30pm
Cost: Regular class price

Join us for a spiritual journey as Bekah Finch leads you through restorative poses while Regan Remy plays the Harp. For anyone wanting to de-stress and renew their entire being, this soothing class is a great choice. Yoga props are used to allow for the deepest relaxation. A truly magical experience!

Pilates Night at YogaWorks
Yogaworks Westwood
Thursday, June 28th 6:30-9:00 pm
Cost: FREE

YogaWorks invites you to an evening of complimentary classes, private training and fun. Join us and discover why a Pilates program will increase your strength & flexibility, reduce your stress levels, give you relief from pain or injury and complement your current yoga practice or exercise routine.
The first 25 students to arrive receive a goodie bag filled with fun gifts. To Pre-register call or e-mail 310-234-1200 or jolette@yogaworks.com.

Ecstatic Dance with Wahe Guru Kaur
The Awareness Center, Pasadena
Saturday, June 30th 7:00-9:00pm
Cost: $15, or 2 for $25

-Release years of tension, stress and anxiety
-Breathe, sweat and lose weight
-Creatively express your authentic self
Let go of your old beliefs that you had to be a good dancer to dance. All that is required is that you move your body and breathe. Your dance is unique, like no other. We hold memories within our cells of everything we have ever experienced. Free movement helps you to unwind and gives an incredibly deep sense of relaxation and renewal.

Kirtan with Andres and Friends
Santa Monica Power Yoga
Saturday, June 30th 8:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Call and response yogic singing

Monday, June 04, 2007

rockin' and rollin' in san diego

i'm back from my marathon weekend trip to america's finest city!

i scanned my IOU list, trying to figure out what item to check off first, and realized that since i'm clearly suffering from a case of marathon-itis (where everything hurts, including my brain when i try to remember anything that happened in the past), it's probably best if i write about the things that i DO remember, i.e., the events of the past few days, before i forget those, too :(

the main reason for my trip to san diego was to meet up with old friends and run the rock 'n' roll marathon. we first got together 10 years ago; we were all members of a yahoo! groups marathon forum who had decided to meet at the inaugural event back in 1998. this year, expecting it to be a grand reunion of sorts, i had signed up to run the anniversary edition. unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons -- marriages, divorces, kids, grad school, injuries, illnesses -- there were only five of us from the original group who could make it to this year's race. of the five, three were "hall of famers"; in other words, they had run all nine rnr's and were signed up to run the tenth. as legacy runners, they were showered with all sorts of perks, including a special hall of fame pullover, a reception the night before the marathon, lunch in the post-marathon VIP tent, and a guest pass to each of those events. luckily, the two of us non-legacy runners were able to join in the fun, courtesy of those guest passes. and what a grand time we had meeting luminaries in the running world as well as other legacy runners!

and in response to the usual questions i get from people who hear that i've run a marathon:

- this marathon was 26.2 miles long (i guess i can't assume that everyone should know that ALL certified marathons, except for ultras, are the same length, just like all 5Ks are 5000 meters long)
- i didn't win, and yes, i'm OK with that (most of us don't run marathons intending to win them). and no, i didn't come in dead last (the last official finisher came in three hours after i crossed the finish line)
- it wasn't my best finishing time, but it wasn't my worst, either (the first marathon i walked four months after knee surgery earned that distinction)
- and yes, i am nuts... i've completed around 45 marathons so far and plan to do many more because, believe it or not, i actually have fun running them!

now on to the original intention of this post: to write about my yoga experience in san diego :)

after scanning yoga studio websites, i realized that it didn't make much sense for me to take classes that were similar to classes i can easily take back home. so i decided to look for classes that were unique, and if possible, maybe even those that could be considered "only in san diego". i eventually settled on two studios with classes i'd love to be able to take again the next time i'm in town...

day one: friday afternoon

5632 La Jolla Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92037
(858) 459- YOGA
website: www.yogafuzion.com

yogafuzion is grounded primarily in the three traditional yoga schools, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Vini.
In addition to the traditional forms other movement modalities are included in the yogafuzion curriculum including pilates and functional exercise.

yogafuzion has the largest retail store in San Diego including educational books, videos, yoga products and props, new age music, as well as yoga/casual clothing.

i have to admit that i had initially bookmarked yogafuzion because it claimed to be the largest yoga retail store in san diego. and as i started to compare it to the other yoga studios in the san diego area, it kept floating to the top for other reasons: it was supposedly rated as one of the best yoga studios in la jolla, it has an eye-catching website, it's close to downtown san diego, it offers a wide selection of yoga classes, it features a yoga wall, and there was a yoga wall class that was scheduled to start right around the time i'd reach san diego by car.

yogafuzion is located on a trendy strip of boutiques and restaurants in the upscale la jolla area. i had to crawl through PB (aka pacific beach) traffic to get there from the I-5 freeway off-ramp, but the friendly staff and pleasant surroundings made it worth the trouble. the lobby/boutique and classroom were large, airy, and nicely decorated. there were also a couple of massage rooms which would have been the place to be to get the kinks rubbed out after the race on sunday.

despite the hype, the retail area was a bit of a let down, at least compared to the studios here in LA that have a larger variety of items for sale (sacred movement, golden bridge, and yogaworks, to name a few). but i found enough interesting items to keep me entertained while i waited for our class to start.

natasha teran taught our all-levels yoga wall class. hailing from venezuela, natasha has a loyal following; not only did she know many of the students in our class by name, but she also conversed with quite a few of them in fluent spanish.

starting out with a few bends and twists to limber up, we eventually progressed to supported forward bends and back bends, using belts and slings attached to the wall. as i let myself relax into the poses, i felt my arms, legs, and torso getting deliciously stretched out. we then made a brief foray into swiss ball territory, where we worked on various balance poses to strengthen our abs and backs. finally, we set up the equipment for the piece de resistance (at least in my book) -- supported inversions on the wall! it was easy to spot the class veterans; they were the ones hanging in very creative ways. how i wished that i, too, could be a frequent visitor to the class! but having to drive over two hours from LA just to take a yoga class in la jolla sounds a bit unreasonable. too bad.

day two: saturday morning

Bird Rock Yoga
4651 Mission Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 736-6209
website: www.birdrockyoga.com

In Sanskrit the word Sangha means “group” translating as “community”. An opportunity to work as a conscious collective to rise our own energetic vibrations and as a result the energetic vibration of the entire Sangha - humanity. Bird Rock Yoga is a home for an ever growing Sangha that is supporting the betterment of humanity on an interpersonal and collective level, inspiring individuals to let go of the ego in exchange for living in freedom. As a result each individual is rising the consciousness of those around them and the transformation of humanity through Yoga is happening in the heart of our own community.

when i first came across bird rock yoga's website, i skipped past it, figuring that with all the different neighborhoods in and around san diego that offered yoga classes -- old town, hillcrest, mission valley, downtown, and more -- it didn't make sense for me to check out a second yoga studio that was essentially down the street from the first. especially since i had also access to classes with world-renowned teachers such as deepak chopra at the chopra center in carlsbad and tim miller at the ashtanga yoga center near encinitas. but a class selections and accessibility restrictions at the other studios kept bringing me back to the BRY site.

hmmm... best yoga studio in san diego, according to 944 magazine san diego... monthly kirtans with govindas and radha (who hail from LA)... surfer's flow classes (and the physically fit surfer dudes whom i might run into in class?)...

the thought of walking around PB on a warm sunny june day instead of driving farther inland was just too tempting; i ended up making my way past tanned beach bodies to get to bird rock's current location on mission blvd (according to their website, they're moving at the end of the month).

i managed to find another unique yoga class: deepening your practice, taught by maral hadidi, co-owner of BRY. it was a two-hour class, composed of 45 minutes of pranayama and chanting and an hour of challenging asanas, with the rest of the time spent in restful meditation and savasana. the class is geared towards students who already have an established yoga practice and are looking to expand their knowledge. i found it to be a very enriching class, not only because we worked on prolonging our inhalation, breath retention, and exhalation techniques (don't panic, she kept saying as we held our breath longer and longer, and i kept thinking about how i probably would panic if i had to hold my breath for that long underwater), but because the postures were a smidge more demanding than usual.

i was so focused on pushing myself and expanding my boundaries that the two hours just flew by. it's not often that you find a class that long on a regular schedule of classes; it's even rarer to find a class of that length where you're neither dying of boredom nor dying to keep up!

note: both yogafuzion and bird rock yoga offer free classes to new students; however, the offer only applies to san diego residents. too bad i couldn't convince them that santa monica was a nearby suburb of san diego :(