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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!