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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

finding joy in santa monica

Ananda Los Angeles
2210 Main Street, Suite 208
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 396-9900
website: www.anandala.org

Ananda, which means "joy" in Sanskrit, was founded in 1968 by J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda) to support others in their quest for spiritual growth.

Ananda is about supporting your quest for inner peace and happiness. Feel cared about by a dynamic, non-judgmental and supportive network of friends as you meet the challenges and victories of your own spiritual journey.

Ananda is a vibrant spiritual community. We offer Meditation, Yoga philosophy and Self-understanding classes. Ananda Yoga and individual healing sessions help you keep calm, healthy and centered. Sunday services and Social events with friends will feed your soul. Come regularly; drop by on occasion or call to chat. We're here to give you support for your spiritual life.

my first taste of the ananda style of yoga was in july of this year at inner harmony yoga in san pedro. while i found it to be a very gentle and comforting form of yoga, the location of the studio was a bit inconvenient for me (i think it's safe to say that having to drive 28 miles to get to anything isn't something i'd like to do on a regular basis!).

it was also at around that time that i was sent an invitation to attend the launch of the latest book by swami kriyananda, the founder of the ananda organization. since the opening of the ananda center in LA was also imminent, i made sure i had myself added to the e-mail distribution list to receive updates on its progress.

and things moved along fairly quickly.

in late july, they started holding satsangs at the santa monica home of krishnadas and mantradevi lo cicero, leaders of the LA ananda group.

by the end of august, a permanent space was located in santa monica. shortly afterwards, the satsangs were moved to the new location.

after required renovations were completed by a crew of ananda volunteers, the dedication/blessing ceremony for the new ananda temple was held on september 29th; more services were added to the schedule.

then right before i left for vacation earlier this month, i received this update:

Ananda Yoga sessions will begin October 29th on Monday, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. Ananda Yoga is a gentle, rather than an aerobic, form of hatha yoga, suitable for all ages and body types. See website for times at www.anandala.org. First class is free, after that a single class is $12, 5 classes for $50.

but since i was still busy trying to learn how to say "oh my god, that's too expensive!" in french, the news didn't really sink in at the time.

then last saturday, as i was leaving a yoga class at the yoga works studio on main street, i happened to notice the rather large ANANDA LOS ANGELES banner on the building across the street. all of a sudden, all those email updates started to bubble up from the recesses of my time-shifted brain...

i crossed the street to pick up a class schedule and found myself arriving at the center just as the saturday evening satsang was about to begin. i introduced myself to the person standing by the door, said i was there to pick up some class information, and after meeting a really helpful group of people in the room, i excused myself and left with a handful of fresh-off-the-press flyers.

fast forward to earlier this evening, where i barely made the 7pm class due to the massive day-long tie-up on the 405 caused by an overturned big rig and crane. the freeway and all the surrounding north-south streets were backed up, and all the drivers were understandably perturbed. despite the fact that i spent a good half hour inching along the stretch adjacent to LAX, i kept myself fairly stress-free, thanks to my friends who gamely kept me entertained via cell phone (using a handsfree headset, of course!). what i didn't count on was not being able to find available street parking in the area where i normally park for free. nor being to easily circle the neighborhood because the traffic was all backed up on main, ocean, and 4th streets :( eventually, i found a small metered parking lot a block away and was just darned lucky that i had enough quarters to keep my car safe from the meter maid until i returned from class.

i made my way to the glass-enclosed building, pushed open the front door, and walked up the metal staircase. once i reached the top of the stairs, i immediately noticed that my surroundings were far more welcoming than the sterile lobby downstairs.

fyi -- the ananda center is located in a space that was the original location of world gym (founded by the late joe gold, former owner of gold's gyms, who decided to get back into the gym business after he had sold his name and business to another party). and if you stop to think about it, it's a bit ironic that yogis will now meditate and chant where bodybuilders used to grunt and groan. but hey, but that's LA for you...

the remodelling work was almost complete. new walls had been erected, flooring and carpeting were replaced, and most of the rooms had been appropriately furnished. i followed the trail of temporary signs that were posted on the walls until i found the yoga studio. there i found our teacher, ocean steffin, along with other ananda folk. after brief introductions, i excused myself so that i could quickly change into my yoga gear and rejoin the group.

our yoga class turned out to be a pleasantly gentle yet inspiring class. if nothing else, it succeeded in calming me down from my earlier commuting ordeal. at the start of the class, ocean reminded us that we needed to do what was right for us and our own bodies (advice i really need to heed while i'm recovering from my hamstring injury). before each pose, she would demonstrate tips on proper alignment. and as we followed her instructions, she would walk around the room and make adjustments as she saw fit. it was nice that i learned a couple of new alignment tips from her that i hadn't heard anywhere else. but then again, maybe i had heard them before from other teachers; i probably just wasn't paying attention at the time :(

one thing that made this practice different from any other was her reading of affirmations as we moved through the poses. in ananda, each pose is associated with a specific meditative phrase. for example, while we were holding still in tree pose, ocean repeated the affirmation: "i am calm, i am poised." honestly, it was hard for me to stay calm while i was teetering from side to side, but i guess that's the point; if i remained calm, i probably would have been able to maintain my balance more easily...

when it was all over, ocean put a stack of affirmation cards on the sign-in table; we were free to pick a card and keep it. i selected one that seemed to talk to me at the time. it said:

I am master of my energy.
I am master of myself.

energy -- that's something i'll definitely be needing this weekend! i have a marathon lined up for this coming sunday, and because of my hamstring injury, i'll be walking it instead of running it :( now what was it again that ocean said about doing what's right for our own bodies? i'll learn, eventually, i hope...

Monday, October 29, 2007

and the list just keeps on growing...

i recently received another email from another yoga studio asking me to cast a vote for them in the myfoxla's best yoga studio poll -- that is, if i felt they were worthy of that title. i liked the fact that they asked nicely :)

so since it had been a while since i last checked, i thought it was a good time to take a look-see.

and to my surprise, the list of nominees appears to have doubled!

here are the nominees; i've indicated the additions with asterisks:

ashtanga yoga shala, silver lake
bikram yoga of covina *
bikram yoga downtown LA *
bikram yoga manhattan beach *
bikram yoga pasadena *
bikram yoga silverlake *
black dog yoga, sherman oaks
bryan kest's power yoga, santa monica
city yoga, west hollywood
creative chakra spa, marina del rey *
earth's power yoga, west hollywood
exhale center for sacred movement, venice *
free spirit yoga, long beach
goda yoga, culver city
golden bridge yoga, hollywood
greenleaf yoga, whittier *
(home) simply yoga, santa monica
inner harmony yoga studio, san pedro
karuna yoga, los feliz *
le studio yoga, hollywood
liberation yoga, los angeles
long beach yoga centre, long beach
lotus kitty yoga studio, valley village *
maha yoga, brentwood
mark blanchard's power yoga, brentwood and studio city
mission street yoga, south pasadena *
ragazzi artistic lounge, whittier *
rising lotus yoga, sherman oaks
rudra yoga center, long beach
santa monica yoga, santa monica
silver lake yoga, silver lake
urth yoga, silver lake *
yoga at the village, glendale *
yoga bindu, san pedro
yoga blend, burbank *
yoga circle downtown, los angeles
yogahop, santa monica
yoga house, pasadena *
yoga kingdom sanctuary, pasadena *
yoga works, various locations
yoga world studio, long beach
yummy yoga, los feliz *

and as of 11:11pm on october 29th, these studios were perched at the top of the list:

mark blanchard's power yoga 25%
rising lotus yoga 24%
goda yoga 12%
yoga at the village 7%

and surprise, surprise! -- sacred movement's finally on the list, although i have to admit that i never got around to nominating them. so thanks to the person who did!

but the info supplied for one of my favorite studios could NOT have been written by someone from the original sacred movement -- aka venice -- location. see here:

"Exhale was a vision that became reality when we realized there was a need to bring high-quality, transformational mind body programming into the city spa setting; creating a destination spa experience that could be part of every day life..."

huh? it may be true for the santa monica location since it's primarily a spa anyway, but the yoga studio in venice? the last i looked, they didn't offer massages nor facials there (although i wouldn't have minded if someone massaged my sore muscles after a rigorous class). and even more strange is the fact that the photos in the photo gallery aren't from either of their locations in LA! or am i just hallucinating because i'm still terribly jet-lagged?!?!

anyway, i've noticed a few studios on the list that i'd never heard of before, so when i finally get my bearings back, i'll go give them a try. after all, some people out there think that each of them is worthy of being best yoga studio in LA :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

an american in paris

finally, after spending a week and a half on the european continent sans internet connection, i'm back!! (and i have to admit that without the usual "distractions" of email-checking, internet surfing, and blogging, i actually got more sightseeing done than i would have otherwise!)

my buddy BDB and i flew to france to rack up enough miles to maintain our elite status on our frequent flyer accounts. you see, during the course of a "normal" year, i usually reach the minimum number of air miles required just by traveling to the east coast to run marathons and/or visit my daughters away at college, or by flying to the philippines to visit my family. this year, however, i didn't fly as much; almost three-quarters of the year was over and i was still a whopping 15,000 miles short of my goal! so when i found out that B was thinking about going to france to fatten up his own mileage piggy bank, i decided to tag along. after all, going halfsies on the hotel and car rental expenses seemed like a good way to earn the miles while keeping costs down :)

once our plane touched down in paris, we were informed that the transport workers had gone on strike. just our luck! many bus, train, and subway services were cancelled for the day, so the best way to get to the city center was via taxi. however, once we spotted the long taxi wait lines outside the terminal, we decided to take our chances and go the cheaper route: by airport bus. and apparently, so did many others; soon after we loaded our luggage in the cargo compartment and found seats on the bus, the driver announced to those still standing on the curb that the bus was full and that they had to wait for the next one. and if that wasn't lucky enough for us, the subway line we needed to take from the bus drop-off point to our hotel was one of the few that were running that day. ok, so maybe the subway trains were coming by every 15 minutes instead of the usual 3, but at least we had a way of getting to the hotel without having to drag our bags a mile or so through the busy parisian streets.

most of our time in france was spent driving around the loire valley, with overnight stays in reims, auxerre, tours, and chartres. we had our fill of cathedrals, chateaux, and medieval villages, plus miles and miles (or rather, kilometers and kilometers) of scenic roadside vistas. we drove around in luxurious comfort, thanks to the fantastic deal B somehow negotiated on a BMW 525i rental. and with turn-by-turn direction provided by sylvie (B's nickname for our navigational system's female voice), we managed to reach all our intended destinations without getting horribly lost.

we also spent a few days in paris doing the obligatory touristy stuff -- like riding the elevator to the top of the eiffel tower at night, navigating our rental car around the arc de triomphe while avoiding getting hit by aggressive drivers, zigzagging past all the tour groups at versailles, experiencing catechism class flashbacks while visiting the notre dame cathedral and the sacre coeur basilica, strolling along the left and right banks of the seine, walking past the louvre, d'orsay, and pompidou museums (had we had more time, we would have been able to view the art collections contained within them), and of course, shopping for souvenirs and gifts for the people back home. we even managed to squeeze in an evening at the salle pleyel to listen to the orchestre de paris with yo-yo ma as the featured soloist. tres magnifique!

ah, and then there was the yoga.

while i didn't even try researching possible yoga stops outside of paris before we left for france, i made sure i brought along a handful of yoga studio listings to choose from when we got to the big city.

once we reached paris, with all the wonderful sights and sounds (and food and wine) all around us, it was hard to find the time to check out the local yoga scene. but we did manage to take two yoga classes at two wonderful and welcoming studios: rasa yoga and paris yoga.

Rasa Yoga
21 rue Saint Jacques, Paris 75005
+33 01 43 54 14 59
website: http://www.rasa-yogarivegauche.com/

In a peaceful inspiring setting, Rasa offers a diversity of yoga classes exploring the art of yoga.
To suit our individual needs we offer different teachers and styles, suitable for all ages and ways of life.
In our rasa spa we offer a wide range of soothing and nurturing holistic treatments to restore your overall well being.
Discover the spirit of Rasa!

there were a number of reasons why rasa was a must-visit on my list.

back in april, travel and leisure magazine had named rasa yoga one of the top 25 yoga studios around the world:

Located in the shadows of Notre Dame (in the Fifth Arrondissement), Rasa is a peaceful haven with immaculate white walls, dark wood floors, and slanted skylights that let in the sun. Vinyasa is the main tradition taught here, but there are also classes in Ashtanga, Mysore, and Yin. Check the online schedule for classes in English.

then last september, rasa actively participated in the global mala event and was able to successfully raise enough money to plant 5000 trees. i figured that if an event at rasa could attract enough participants to raise that kind of money, it had to be a pretty popular studio.

so the first chance we got, we headed out towards notre dame, then walked the few blocks from there to rasa's front door. what we found inside the studio was a far cry from the old wooden door that shielded rasa from the street noise outside. the interior was very modern and bright, with white walls, sisal carpeting in the reception area, and separate changing areas for men and women. there were even showers for freshening up after class! it reminded me of the high-end yoga studios back home... except that the receptionist spoke with a heavy french accent and the class set us back 20 euros each. at the current exchange rate, that was a whopping $28! mon dieu!

at least our rather large investment afforded us the use of yoga mats and all the props we needed for our practice :) as both B and i started to spread our yogitoes towels out over our borrowed mats, we noticed that two others in the class were about to do the same. very unusual, i thought, especially since i've found that in most of my travels outside of LA, i'm usually the only one who uses one...

our vinyasa 1/2 class was taught by alessandro boi, who was subbing for elaine that morning. interestingly enough, since 4 of the 6 students in the class were visitors from the US (yup, all four of us were the yogitoes users), alessandro opted to teach the class in english. after hearing him refer to the navel as "belt" and the spine as "column", it was quite apparent that english was NOT his first language. but his instructions were understandable enough that i was able to follow along without much difficulty. as for the class itself, it wasn't the type of class i had expected; instead of a vinyasa flow level 1/2, it was more of a hatha 1/2. regardless, the stretching we did was a great way to get the kinks out from all the traveling we'd done, although i still couldn't get over having paid almost twice the LA going rate for a simple yoga class :(

on our way out, we met and chatted with daniela schmidt, owner of rasa yoga. originally hailing from germany, she initially spent many years as an architect in a number of cities around europe. in time, she finally found her calling as a yoga instructor in paris. i had hoped to have been able to take her class, especially since she had trained with shiva rea, john friend, and others, but unfortunately, it just didn't fit in with our schedule. oh well.

by the way, i found out that besides vinyasa, ashtanga, iyengar, and kundalini classes, rasa also offers anusara classes -- and as far as i know, not many yoga studios in LA can claim to have a schedule of classes as varied as that!

Paris Yoga
9 rue Magellan, Paris 75008
+33 01 40 70 14 44
website: www.parisyoga.com/indexEN.htm

Paris Yoga is the first center of Agni Yoga in the world. Five minutes from the Etoile and the Champs Elysees, you will find a large, bright and warm space dedicated to the practice and study of Yoga and Ayurvedic Massage.

Agni Yoga is an ancient practice originating in the high Himalayas. Its objective is physical health and particularly strength and flexibility of the spine, pelvis, legs and arms. Through numerous exercises and postures, some of which are performed with sticks or boards, the student works on the body's structure, develops flexibility and strengthens the muscles.

the way i looked at it, when searching for yoga class in paris, it made perfect sense to check out the studio named "paris yoga". besides, i had never practiced agni yoga before, so that's where we were headed next.

after a brief metro ride from our hotel to the george V subway station, we easily found paris yoga a few blocks away. not knowing what to expect from the agni yoga class we were there to take, i wondered what i had gotten both of us into as we each paid the 18 euro class fee -- which at $25 per class is less expensive than the $28 at rasa, but just as painful! -- then went to the dressing rooms to change (note: i had found an online article about yoga in paris which cautioned: "... changing rooms in most of the places are non-existent, so be prepared to 'see-and-be-seen'...". maybe we were just lucky that both of the yoga studios we visited had private changing areas?)

our teacher was myrto hadjigeorgiou, who had learned the agni style of yoga from yogi arun, who had practiced yoga for many years while he lived up in the himalayas. both myrto and yogi arun are co-owners of the studio, and if the list of teachers on their website is correct, they're also the only teachers on staff.

the first thing i noticed when i entered the classroom was that the floor was covered with thick wall-to-wall rubber matting. no one was using a yoga mat nor a towel; we were going to practice on the surface we were standing on. there were some props stacked along the back of the room, but since no one had bothered to take any, neither did i.

unlike our previous class, this class was taught in french. it would have been easier for me if myrto had used a sanskrit term or two, but she didn't. aware that there were students in the class who weren't native french speakers, myrto translated her instructions into english whenever she thought we didn't quite understand what she was saying. in time, i started recognizing her most-used french words: inspirez = inhale, expirez = exhale, sol = ground, mains = hands, bras = arms, jambes = knees, pliez = bend, debut = starting position.

we started with gentle poses -- forward bends, side bends -- and gradually progressed to deeper stretches -- downward dog, lunges. eventually, while the poses remained fairly basic, the stretches became more intense, so intense that i couldn't follow her instructions without causing pain to my injured hamstring (sidenote: the pain in my butt was finally diagnosed as a hamstring pull/tear, and not the sciatica it was originally thought to be).

just when i had found myself reaching the limits of my flexibility, she asked us to each take a wooden platform from the back of the room. these platforms were U-shaped contraptions measuring about 24 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 6 inches tall (imagine placing a box with those dimensions on the floor, then remove the front and back sides as well as the bottom. see it?). we used these platforms to achieve an even deeper stretch. standing on the platform, we bent our knees, grabbed the front edge, then straightened our legs. ugh. after standing back up, we bent our knees again, grabbed the back edge, then straightened our legs again. argh. next thing i knew, she was asking us to keep our hands flat on the floor as we straightened our legs (and yes, our feet were still up on our platforms). by now, my having to restrain myself to keep from reinjuring my hamstring was getting frustrating. i hate it when i can't play along with the others :(

we later transitioned to doing tree poses on the platform (much easier on a hard surface than on the rubbery floor) and seated poses where our legs were extended out in front of us (basically dandasana with our bottoms raised up from the floor), followed by seated forward bends, cobbler pose, and finally, an easy seated position.

the hour-long class was simple, yet challenging. while i can't see it being my primary practice style if i lived in paris, i definitely would take a few classes every now and then to benefit from the deep stretching i'd get out of it.

on our way out of the classroom, we met joelle, yogi arun's wife, an american from new york who had met arun some time ago while she was traveling in india. and now they're both in paris, running a studio that teaches the form of yoga he practiced with monks for many years. quite an interesting story!

as always, vacations are never long enough. there's always some other place you'd wished you had visited, some delicacy you'd wished you had tasted, maybe even some activity you'd wished you had done. in my case, there were a few more yoga studios that i'd wished i had taken classes at.

like the centre de yoga du marais, which was a short metro ride away from our hotel. i wanted to meet the owner of the studio, michelle jacobi, who hails from california, especially after having read one of the posts in her blog about being american in a foreign country. but unfortunately, she wasn't teaching on any of the mornings we were able to take class. too bad.

and the red earth centre, a studio run by louisa raszyk, an aussie who came to paris after spending some time in japan and spain. intriguing? i thought so. and yes, classes are taught in both french and english. good to know.

there was also the federation francaise de yoga (apparently now known as the gerard arnaud studio), which turned out to be a mere half-mile walk from our hotel. not only was our first class going to cost us only 10 euro each (a fantastic incentive to take a class there!), but gerard arnaud is a well-seasoned yoga instructor who holds workshops in france and around the world. in fact, he's scheduled to teach a two-day workshop in san diego this coming december. methinks i need to calendar that... hmm...

oh so many reasons to plan another visit to france -- more pastries, more cheese, more chocolate, more yoga :) i can't wait for that next time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a welcome distraction

passport... check
online check-in boarding pass printed... check
international cell phone service activated... check
hotel reservations... check
travel guides and maps... check
adaptor plugs... check
new memory card for camera... check
quart-size ziploc bag for carry-on liquids (argh!)... check
bags packed and ready to go... not quite :(

i had to skip my usual yoga class today just so that i could get some last-minute errands done before my trip to paris tomorrow morning. and now i find myself madly running around the room, trying to figure out what to squeeze into the small suitcase i've decided to take along with me.

so why not use a bigger bag?, you ask. since i'm trying to stay within a tight budget, i'm hoping that if i don't have any extra room in my suitcase, i won't spend gobs of money shopping for stuff i don't need. but i know darned well that my plan never works because i now have a garage full of extra suitcases i've bought during previous trips!

i know... just take that bigger bag...

by the way, i won't be carrying a laptop with me on this trip, so since i don't know if i'll get around to dropping by an internet cafe while i'm gone, this video snippet from tmz.com showing some lulu-clad yogis practicing in the middle of sunset boulevard will have to keep you amused for now. many thanks to brandon for sending this yoga humor my way, even if it did distract me momentarily from my packing duties :)

i'm going to miss the crazy yoga scene here in LA while i'm gone, although i am looking forward to practicing yoga en francais!

i hear my suitcase calling out to me, so for now, au revoir!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

move like an egyptian

i found this note in my e-mailbox today; i thought you might be interested in these FREE intro classes in egyptian yoga (note that the invite is for tuesday and wednesday of THIS WEEK):

My name is Nadia Pillay, I am a new yoga teacher in town. I relocated from Washington, DC and reside in Downtown LA.

The style of yoga I teach is called KEMETIC Yoga (Egyptian Yoga).

KEMETIC YOGA is taken directly from the hieroglyphics etched on the temple walls in Egypt. As a natural and consistent part of their lifestyle, the Pharaohs practiced Kemetic Yoga as a means of staying connected to the royalty within. Kemetic Yoga was only practiced by the Royals.

It is a system of movements and postures aimed at aligning the physical, psychological and spiritual,components within the body. Kemetic yoga provides the connection between these components by continuously moving from one posture to the next using continuous breath. The energy that permeates in the system as the body moves is called SHU: life force. KEMETIC YOGA celebrates the life force and royalty within each individual.

I am offering 2 free classes on OCT. 16 & 17 2007 from 6:30pm-7:45pm @ 610 S MAIN ST. Downtown LA 90014 (Pacific Electric Lofts - Lounge). I would like to invite you and your community of friends to participate in this offer. Please feel free to contact me at shu.yoga@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Nadia Pillay

as for nadia's background, i found this additional info on her profile page at www.sojournals.com:

My objective is to preserve our history and culture at every opportunity I can. Yoga has become a billion dollar industry but in no way has the African origins of yoga been promoted to those that support this industry. SHU YOGA aims to fill that void and support a growing community of individuals, particularly our black community, who are choosing a healthier lifestyle. Promoting a healthier perspective to ones body and BEING is my ultimate goal.

sounds interesting, doesn't it? i'm going to try to make it one of those two days, and if i do, i'll tell you all about it :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

one on one

there's nothing like some one-on-one time with someone who knows what to do with your body.

wait... that didn't come out right... let me try that again...

there's nothing like spending some one-on-one time with someone who's been trained to align your body parts so you can get the most out of the experience.

oh god. i must be suffering from almost-on-vacation brain!

let's get this straight -- in order to protect the innocent, i should make it perfectly clear that nothing inappropriate happened during the class i took the other day. that being said, i'll continue...

because of a big anniversary celebration at the office last wednesday, we were allowed to leave work earlier than usual. naturally, i took advantage of the situation and checked out my yoga class options. i remembered having picked up a printed copy of the truyoga schedule earlier in the week, so i gave it a quick check and noted that kathryn (budig, i assumed) was teaching at 5:45pm that day. cool! it had been a while since i had last taken her class; it would be nice to see her again :)

when i got to the studio, i walked over to the class sign-in sheet and noticed that the teacher name listed at the top of the page was not kathryn's. instead, it said "yogadan".

what happened to kathryn?, i asked as i pointed towards the display of class schedules on the counter. she doesn't start until the 24th. oh...

yogadan? i'd heard that name before, and i remembered wanting to try his class. of course, i couldn't remember where he was teaching at the time, but it didn't matter; here was my chance.
when i walked into the classroom, there was one person stretched out on a yoga mat, reading a book. it turned out to be yogadan himself.

since it looked like i was going to be the only student (unless, of course, others showed up later), i took the time to talk about all the "stuff" that was going on with my body. the lower back pain. the sciatica that recently reared its ugly head and just wouldn't go away. he nodded understandingly and related his own stories of back and neck pain. he then suggested that we start with a legs-up-the-wall pose.

after i moved my yoga mat over to the wall and propped up my legs, he carefully corrected my alignment (yes, i know i'm off-kilter, which is probably why i have all these back issues) then placed a sandbag on top of my feet so that i'd get a nice stretch through the back of my legs. while i lay in that position, we chatted a bit more about our injuries. as well as his teacher training in arizona with ian lopatin and david romanelli (who's another great guy, so i knew i was in good hands).

after that gentle stretch, he had me stretch other muscles that were related to my aches and pains. my hips. my piriformis. my psoas. my lats. and so on. we even did an "acroyogic" high* flying whale (i think i got the name right, or did i, huck?) so that i could use gravity to get a nice backbend, followed by child pose to counter that bend. and with each move, he made sure that i was properly aligned -- arms were level, feet were parallel, body was square -- and that nothing hurt. all the while, he had some wonderful music from his ipod playing in the background; it ranged from chants by jai uttal to chillout music from bliss (a lot of it i also have loaded on my ipod, which is probably why i liked his music so much).

*and did i mention that dan's a REALLY tall guy? with him at 6'7", i was flying pretty high as i balanced on the soles of his feet once he stretched out his legs!

all in all, i thoroughly enjoyed dan's class. i'd love to take his class again if i ever get another chance to, but unfortunately, he doesn't have a set class schedule right now. he did say that he sometimes subs at both mark blanchard's studio and at liberation yoga, so i have to keep an eye out for that. in the meantime, he's picked up a few sub slots at truyoga later this week, so it might be my chance to take that next class. who knows -- it could even be a group one this time. which would be too bad, because i was beginning to enjoy being the center of attention :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

yoga + dinner = a yoga date!

going on a date can be lots of fun, especially if it starts out with good company, good conversation, and better yet, good food. and if things turn out really well, it could also involve some good physical activity, if you know what i mean...

as for me, my recent escapades have been quite similar, except that things have been happening in reverse. barely after we've said hello to each other, we find ourselves getting all hot and sweaty. then only after we've had a chance to put our clothes back on do we find ourselves unwinding over dinner and exchanging pleasantries.

(and if my mother's reading this, she's probably madly reaching for her rosary beads so that she can pray for the redemption of my soul.)

don't worry, mom; i'm only doing what any good catholic girl would do... on a yoga date, that is :)

it started a couple of months ago, once my buddy BDB decided that his ailing shoulder was back in business. after a few restorative classes with karen byers at city yoga to test the waters, so to speak, we were off and running.

in true macho fashion, B decided to pick up from where he left off almost a year ago -- at one of tom morley's level 2/3 classes at maha yoga. i was surprised that he was willing to push himself that hard that soon, but if that's what he wanted to do, so be it. sure enough, by the time class was over, i had to practically peel him off the floor to get him out of the way of the students coming in for the next class. not surprisingly, he didn't care where we had dinner; he just wanted to get something into his system before he passed out.

the next time we got together, we decided to pay a visit to our mutual friend matt reyes at yogahop. once again, we found ourselves in a level 2/3 class. this time, B fared much better, although there were times when it looked like he needed CPR to get him through some of the tougher sequences. thankfully, the savasana at the end of class worked its magic; we were able to walk to father's office a few blocks down the street for the best gourmet burger-and-beer meal in town.

it was at this point that i convinced B that he needed to try out some of the other teachers in town, as well as some restaurants he'd never been to before.

since he expressed an interest in getting back to practicing handstands, i suggested taking a guerilla yoga class. we showed up at tiffany fraser's anusara class at the woman's club of hollywood one evening, where not only did he end up doing the handstands he'd been itching to do, but a few more inversions and arm balances, too. we capped off the evening with a pan-asian dinner in a restored trolley car at the formosa cafe, an old-time celebrity hangout with a bar that seemed surprisingly busy for a school night. but then again, we were in hollywood...

then there was the time we both took bryan kest's power yoga class at his studio above the radio shack on santa monica blvd. B finally experienced what it was like to stand in the line of yogis that snaked out of the building and around the corner AND be the object of puzzled stares from all who passed by. despite being drenched in sweat after class, he pronounced it was "just what i needed", then happily followed me to the real food daily (better known as RFD) next door for an organic vegan meal.

there was also the friday evening when we were both suffering from aching backs; we opted to take aaron reed's relax deeply class at sacred movement. after an hour and a half of much-needed gentle stretching, we drove out to mao's kitchen a mile away and joined the late-night crowd for some inexpensive "communist" chinese food. not only was it good, but it was also fairly healthy (except perhaps for all those fried wonton strips dipped in sweet-and-sour sauce that we practically inhaled while waiting for our dinner to arrive).

just the other day, i received this note from truyoga:

Rudy "THE YOGA WARRIOR" Mettia will be teaching a donation-based Power Yoga class from 7:15-8:45PM. Afterwards we will enjoy our post-yoga-glow with some wine, cheese, tea, fruit, etc. No need to RSVP just show up. Yes…this is the infamous Rudy that also teaches Power Yoga on 2nd Street . This is more of a workout than a yoga class, so come prepared to sweat.

i immediately forwarded the message to B, and as i expected, once he read the words "warrior" and "power" combined with "wine" and "cheese", he was in. and apparently, so were many of rudy's groupies, because there were more bodies in that class than at most of the classes i'd taken at truyoga! it turned out to be a wonderfully satisfying evening, and the light repast that followed was just as delightful as the class itself.

so what's next?

how about this: we're off to france next week, not only for more yoga and wine and cheese, but also for the fabulous music, art, and architecture! ooh la la!

we're still working on last-minute plans, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

poll watch

it's been over a week since i first posted the results of fox tv's "hottest yoga studio in LA" poll, so it's time to see how things stand...

as of 1:00pm october 9th, the top 4 yoga studios are:

goda yoga 51%
inner harmony yoga 22%
yoga works 5%
rising lotus yoga 4%

and the other studios still in the running are:

ashtanga yoga shala, silver lake
black dog yoga, sherman oaks
bryan kest's power yoga, santa monica
city yoga, west hollywood
earth's power yoga, west hollywood
free spirit yoga, long beach
golden bridge yoga, hollywood
(home) simply yoga, santa monica
le studio yoga, hollywood
liberation yoga, los angeles
long beach yoga centre, long beach
maha yoga, brentwood
mark blanchard's power yoga, brentwood and studio city
rudra yoga center, long beach
santa monica yoga, santa monica
silver lake yoga, silver lake
yoga bindu, san pedro
yoga circle downtown, los angeles
yogahop, santa monica
yoga world studio, long beach

since my last poll check, two studios were removed from the list for a legitimate reason (i.e. they're no longer in business): bala and forrest yoga. and three studios have been added: mark blanchard's power yoga, rising lotus, and yogahop. special kudos to the rising lotus community for not only getting their studio on the hot list but also making it to the top 4!

i'm still wondering, though, why sacred movement (aka exhale venice) hasn't made it to the list... i was hoping to remain an innocent bystander during the voting process, but it looks like i may have to speak up and nominate them :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

a circle of support

a few weeks ago, this email came in from knekoh fruge, owner of yoga circle downtown, a small yoga studio tucked away in a historic building in the old bank district.

Some of you have already caught wind of the drama unfolding behind the scenes at Yoga Circle.

Through the encouragement of several students who have insisted we should do so... I have decided to make public this drama so that if you are so inclined, you may help.

Our Landlord has sent a letter stating that if we do not pay them an unfounded astronomical sum of money in the next few days they will begin eviction proceedings. I have always paid all of our rent on time. It's just that now they want more than we ever agreed to. Obviously there is a lot more to the story than this. But I must be very careful what I say considering I may be about to be sued.

Here's how you can help... We are hoping that an outpouring of support from the community will convince our landlord that Yoga Circle Downtown is a good thing and should be supported instead of torn down... What is important is that they know you support the Yoga Circle, you love your teachers and that you are a viable member of the community...

i had considered dropping by to take a class and see how things were going, but my schedule prevented me from doing so. weeks went by without any word...

and just when i was starting to hope that "no news is good news", this email update brought that much-needed good news:

Finally, to dispel any rumors to the contrary, obviously WE ARE STILL HERE. I want to take a moment to thank you for your letters of support. We were overwhelmed by the content and sheer volume. Thanks for caring. AND Thanks to the generous support of many of our students, through gifts, loans and early “yearly” purchases, we were able to pay the back CAM bill our landlord presented. Ultimately though our rent has drastically increased in the form of those same monthly CAM (common area maintenance) charges. In order to survive, our class pricing must go up.

One thing in all this that will remain is that we are now and will always be a donation based studio. Money should never be an obstacle to a Yoga practice. We’d rather have you contributing what you can than not be here at all and (we) maintain faith that those who can will pay the higher rate.

To all of you, Thank You for your Support. And remember the best way to continue your support is attendance. Together we can build a Downtown institution, be there for us and we’ll always be there for you.

After all, without you there is no Yoga Circle Downtown.

Knekoh Fruge

Saturday, October 06, 2007

marathon endeavors

i received an email from denise mazan at your neighborhood studio earlier this afternoon. she sent out information about an upcoming dance event at the music center later this month (i know, it has nothing to do with yoga, but it sounds like fun anyway):

REGISTRATION: Plan to register early to guarantee your spot.
Take advantage of reduced fee and register on or before October 10: $25 flat fee for 6 hours of dancing.
Registration fee after October 10: $35.

Join Active Arts at the Music Center for our first annual A Taste of Dance-A-Thon!
Boogie, shake, and shimmy the day away on the Music Center Plaza while raising money for the arts. Share your love of dance, and your love of the arts, with friends and family who can sponsor your dancing feet as you "taste" diverse dance forms throughout the day.
Come dance in a sociable, mistakes-allowed, joyful environment.
This fundraising event is designed for everyone, from the first-timer to the experienced dance enthusiast. Dance for as much or as little as you want (6 minutes or 6 hours!)

No prior dance experience necessary. Instruction provided. Marathon format is as follows: at the beginning of every hour is a 50-minute dance lesson, followed by a 10-minute break.
Line Dance and Texas Two-Step • Afro-Peruvian Dance • 60's Funky-Fun • Hip Hop • Salsa, Cha Cha, Merengue, and Samba • Bhangra

All proceeds support Active Arts programs. Registration closes when maximum capacity is reached. Children under the age of 3 will not be permitted on the dance floor.

and if this whole "move until you drop" concept intrigues you, here's another marathon event that you might want to consider (by the way, it's next week):

SATURDAY, OCT. 13th 4:30PM to SUNDAY, OCT. 14th 8:00PM
REGISTRATION: Come For Some, Come For All:
Single class (not regular GB classes): $27 in advance; $40 at door
Saturday night only (4:30 pm -6:00 am): $54 advance; $64 at door
Sunday day only (6:00 am - 8:00 pm): $54 advance; $64 at door
Entire 26 hours: $108 advance; $118 at door

This extraordinary night features:
Harijiwan’s Gong and Meditation Extraordinaire, talk to the Angels with Sandra Bossier and Sylvia Kalicinski’s Earth and Sky meditation and Angel Dance, Kundalini Yoga and Music blended in the Delicious & Divine Chocolate Chakra Shakedown, sleep with angels to overnight mantra mix and gong, wake to celestial sadhana, sweat with Yogaworks Viniyasa instructor Natasha Rizopoulos, open your heart with Vanessa’s Tibetan Heart Yoga, Elevate your soul with Gurmukh and the Golden Bridge Choir, Open your Intuition with Tej, Face the Future of Humankind with Gahl, grab a partner and practice to Live Music with Gurmukh and Girish, and after a delicious dinner, Let your spirit soar chanting kirtan with Girish and his all-star band.

All proceeds to benefit Amrit Davaa World Health’s humanitarian and medical expedition leaving on Nov. 17 bringing doctors and medical supplies to the Manjushree Orphanage in India (9,500 feet in the Himalayan Mountains), one of the most remote and impoverished regions in the World.

Saturday, October 13
4:00 pm: Registration and Sign In
4:30 – 4:45 pm: Tej, Dr. Nevins, and Padmini (Debra Bergman)
4:45 pm – 7:00 pm: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with Tej
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Gong Meditation with Harijiwan
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm: Earth and Sky Meditation & Angel Dance with Sandra & Sylvia
11:00 pm - 1:00 am: Dj Sharu & The Chocolate Chakra Shakedown Kundalini Yoga & Mantra Mix
Sunday, October 14
1:00 am – 4:00 am: Gong Extravaganza & Mantra Mix with Patrick Lacho & Sat Puran
4:00 am - 6:30 am: Sadhana
6:30 am - 8:00 am: Tibetan Heart Yoga with Vanessa Hopkins
8:00 am - 9:30 am: Vinyasa Flow with Yogaworks Natasha Rizopoulos
9:30 am - 11:30 am: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with Gurmukh, accompanied by Maggie Wheeler
11:30 am – 1:30 pm: Sat Nam Rasayan with Hargopal
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation: Open Your Intuition with Tej
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Face The Future Of Humankind: Science Fiction To Spirituality with Gahl
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Kundalini Partner Yoga and Meditation with Gurmukh Live Music by Girish
6:30 pm: Dinner served!
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Kirtan with Girish
Dinner, light snacks, water and beverages provided

on the other hand, if the thought of any kind of prolonged effort just isn't your thing, how about making a donation on behalf of someone who has volunteered to do all the work for you? check this out:

SUNDAY, NOV. 4th 1:00-4:00PM
MAKE A PLEDGE - Yog-a-thon West participants are now accepting pledges from sponsors for their yogic endeavors.

The BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles faces the loss of its home as early as the end of this year after nearly 23 years in its current location. In an effort to help out, local Iyengar Yoga teachers are joining together to do some Yoga to benefit the Capital Campaign Fund. The Capital Campaign Fund has been established to raise enough money to find, lease, and renovate an appropriate space to continue and hopefully expand the current programs being offered at the Institute. For more information about the campaign, check out the FAQ page.

Inspired by and loosely based on the NY Institute’s annual Yoga-thon events, we’ve opted to name our event Yog-a-thon West! Yog-a-thon West, is an opportunity for the LA Yoga community to come together, have some fun and raise some money to support the continued presence of an Iyengar Yoga Institute in Los Angeles. Be sure to come out and cheer on the participants!!

Julie Adler - 108 Repetitions of the Invocation to Patanjali
Aida Amirkanian - 60 minute Salamba Sarvangasana and/or sequence from Light on Yoga
Marla Apt - in absentia
Jim Benvenuto - 60 minute Sirsasana
Sophie Boller - The 4 seasons of Upavistha Konasana (60 minutes)
Saraswati Browne - 108 Surya Namaskar
Lani Daniels - Chant the first two padas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (off book)
Christina ("Dela") de la Fuente & Brad Smith - Stand & Deliver: 108 minutes of standing poses
Anna Delury - First 108 Poses from Light on Yoga
Mark Harelik - 60 minute Sirsasana
Efrat Lavie - Gang Supta Padangusthasana I and II (unlimited)
Now That's Twisted!: Andrea Isco, Gisele Terry
Pushkala Mahdevan - Chanting 108 names of Patanjali
Garth McLean - 108 Armbalances
Koren Paalman - 108 minutes of various inversions
Val Shaffer - 60 minute Adho Mukha Svanasana (in ropes)
Lisa Walford - 108 Dropbacks (Tadasana to Urdhva Dhanurasana and Up)
Amanda White - 108 Handstands
Yoga Magic Urdhva Dhanurasana Tag Team: Kate Arterber, Jennifer Edwards, Judith Lutz, Toby Sternlieb
Master of Ceremonies: Eric Small

i considered volunteering to do 108 minutes of savasana as my "yogic endeavor", but since i think i'll be out of town that day to run an actual marathon, i'll have to pass :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

gentle healing for cancer survivors

aware of my obsession with all things yoga, my friend stan recently forwarded to me an email from tabby biddle, a yoga teacher who runs with his pace group on saturday mornings.

it went something like this:

Please pass the word that I am looking for new yoga clients, either one-on-one or small to medium-sized groups. I do housecalls not only to homes, but also to workplaces, schools, churches, temples, etc. I tailor the practice specifically for the client(s) to bring them the most benefit. I teach everything from Power Yoga to Gentle Healing Yoga and everything in between. Please visit my website, www.tabbybiddleyoga.com, to learn more and book a session for yourself, your friend, your spouse, your colleague, or anyone else who needs some stress relief and tools for healthy, happy living!

i emailed tabby back to get more information about her classes, and she replied: "Most of my classes are private right now. I do teach a Women's Gentle Healing yoga class for women living with cancer or survivors of cancer at the Wilshire Temple on the corner of Olympic and Barrington Wednesdays at 7pm. The class is free and is sponsored by LA TEAM SURVIVOR."

since that ties in with this month's breast cancer awareness theme, i tracked down the team survivor website and found out that they offer a number of FREE yoga classes for women living with cancer at various locations around town, in both LA and orange counties.

in addition to gentle yoga classes, they also teach lying down & letting go classes, where "Both mind and body are exercised equally, using a very gentle, but thorough routine that takes from both Western and Eastern disciplines. Designed specifically for women who are in treatment or have recently completed treatment for cancer, these classes provide a routine that enhances the flow of energy while building strength, endurance and flexibility. All fitness levels are welcome."

so if you or someone you know is interested in taking a class to help regain and maintain health and well-being, pick a class from the list below, then call (310) 477-8557 to register. and don't forget to bring a mat and/or towel and water with you to class!


burbank - mondays 7:00-8:30pm
providence st. joseph medical center
501 south buena vista st @ alameda

los angeles - mondays 1:30-2:30pm / tuesdays and thursdays 2:00-3:00pm
LAC + USC hospital breast cancer clinic
1200 north state room 4P43 (outpatient clinic)
between zonal and marengo, park 12A or 9A

los angeles - thursdays 6:00-7:30pm
stentorian fire station
1409 west vernon ave @ normandie

redondo beach - thursdays 6:00-7:00pm
the wellness community south bay
109 west torrance blvd, across PCH and catalina
right into 2nd driveway, upper lot, bldg 109

sylmar - wednesdays 2:00-3:00pm
olive view - UCLA medical center
14445 olive view dr
special treatment clinic

west los angeles - wednesdays 7:00-8:30pm
wilshire boulevard temple
11661 olympic blvd @ barrington
moyer dance studio 271


fountain valley - thursdays 7:00-8:15pm
orange coast memorial medical hospital and center
9940 talbert ave
special program bldg, 3rd floor near room 301

laguna hills - mondays 6:00-7:00pm
saddleback memorial medical center
24451 health center dr
women's hospital bldg, conference rm 2 in basement

mission viejo - tuesdays 7:00-8:30pm
mission viejo hospital conference center
26726 crown valley parkway

santa ana - tuesdays 6:30-8:00pm
the wellness community orange county
540 north golden circle dr, suite 315

many thanks to team survivor, as well as to the following instructors without whom these classes would not have been possible: tabby biddle, maria de la paz garcia, joyce gauss, lia hirtz, olivia israel, micheline keating, kim mason, sonia morales, karen penhale, and nancy pirozzi!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

no tricks, just treats!

as far as october goes, here's what i've found so far -- including one halloween-themed class :)

please keep checking back since i'll continue to update this as the month progresses...

ongoing events:

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

Friday Night Groove Night
Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Every Friday 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: Regular class rate

Uniquely themed classes created by the Yoga Groove staff. May include candlelight, live music, dance, meditation, singing, and chocolate.
Please check www.yogagroovestudio.com for details of each week.

Kirtan in the Canyon with Andrew and Michele and Friends
Yoga Desa, Topanga
Saturday, Oct 6th (First Saturday of each month) 7:00pm

Singing these special songs with full enthusiasm is a meditation in itself and can leave you quite happy and high. See for yourself.
Call (818) 340-6088 for information.

Kirtan Chanting with Govindas and Radha
Power Yoga West, Santa Monica
Saturday, Oct 6th (First Saturday of every month) 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: By Donation

The first Saturday of every month, from 8-10pm, Govindas and 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 mat). Wear comfy clothes.

Kirtan with Daniel Stewart and Larry Klein
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Frday, Oct 12th (Second Friday of every month) 8:15pm
Cost: $15 Suggested Donation

Come join Daniel, Larry, and other special guests for a joyful evening of music, meditation, and chanting. No singing experience needed, only a willingness to open your heart to the blissful flow.

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot and Daniel Stewart
Santa Monica Yoga
Saturday, Oct 13th (Second Saturday of every month) 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation

This month, Travis will be joined by Daniel Stewart, Larry Klein, Inna, Daveed and Mark Joel on Tabla.

Zen Dancing Ritual Concert with Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland + Shaman's Dream
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Oct 13th 8:30-10:00pm (once a month)
Cost: $15 in advance, $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.

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Los Angeles
Saturday, Oct 20th 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.

Soul Flow: Creative Dance with Haridass Kaur
Awareness Center, Pasadena
Friday, Oct 26th 7:30-9:00pm (once a month)
Cost: $20 or 2 for $30

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.

other special events:

Baby and Me Yoga with Leah Miller
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Thursday, Oct 4th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Mommies and/or daddies bring the little one and join Leah Miller for Baby and Me yoga. Classes start at 10am here at the store!

Yoga Groove at the NoHo Arts Festival
Lankershim Blvd between Magnolia and Weddington, North Hollywood
Saturday, Oct 6th 11:00-11:30am
Cost: FREE

We will be performing in the NoHo Arts Festival. Come join Karen and some of the Yoga Groove staff for a live yoga / music performance to open the festivities at 11 a.m. on the main stage on Lankershim Blvd.

B.O.L.T Live at Yoga Groove
Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Saturday, Oct 6th 8:00pm
Cost: $12 with printable flyer or $15 at the door

The B.O.L.T. performs live at Yoga Groove at 8 p.m. They will be accompanied by Rock Yoga and Mike Weiss. This event is presented by Jen Swain and Om the Road Yoga.
Please come and enjoy these great live performers along with kirtan and drumming.

Revive Studio's One-Year Anniversary
Revive Studios, Chatsworth
Saturday, Oct 6th 4:00-6:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Come celebrate one year of Revive Yoga with us! Each class brings a different theme and energy!
The evening will host an open house from 4:00-6:00 PM. All the instructors, friends and family will be present bringing all their positive spirit into the next year.
8:00~9:15 AM Sunrise Family Flow with Stephanie Winnard ~ all ages welcome
9:30~10:45 AM Detoxifying Twists with Heather Camp ~ mixed level
11:00~12:15 PM Classic Vinyasa Flow with Heather Camp ~ not a first time class
12:30~1:45 PM Core Values with Rick Feldman ~ mixed level
All classes for the day will be by donation for the instructor teaching.

Deva Premal and Miten with Manose in Concert
Loyola Marymount University - Sunken Gardens
Saturday, Oct 6th 7:30pm, doors open at 6:30pm
Cost: $30 in advance through yogamates.com, $35 at the door

Deva and Miten’s music is an expression of spiritual devotion, through song and chant. The couple have been living and playing together since 1991, releasing a string of acclaimed CDs along the way. The openness and honesty in which they share their lives and their music has touched the hearts of thousands of seekers throughout the world.
Bring a jacket and something to sit on.

uniTREE: A Benefit For The Treepeople Organization
Urth Yoga, Silverlake
Saturday, Oct 6th 8:00-11:00pm
Cost: $20 Suggested Donation

This event aims to inspire Angelenos to become active stewards of the Earth. The name uniTree symbolizes a universal coming together of people to protect, preserve & sustain the environment for future generations.
The event will kick off with an inspiring opening set by SUN. Guests will then receive and participate in a Lakota Blessing by Andrew Soliz accompanied by Native American Flute. The evening will open with Vedic chanting by Carry Kim and Suwon Weaver. The night continues with Reid De Fever on tabla & taiko drums, classical Indian Odissi Dance by Hemalayaa Behl and the Tantric Dance of Feminine Power with Nita Rubio, Kamala & Geanna Gonzales-Wood. Shaolin Masters Yan Xu & Yan Yue will showcase Shaolin martial arts. Both monks were recently hand-picked by head Shaolin Master Abbot Shi Yong Xin to teach the authentic teachings of Shaolin and Bodhi Dharma for the first time in the West.
A silent auction will continue throughout the evening, filled with healing & wellness services (massage, Tibetan & Hatha yoga, pilates, Gyrotonics, Feldenkrais, nutrition), sustainable products and services from pioneering, local eco-conscious companies such as Erewhon, Euphoria Loves Rawvolution, Pure Beginnings, Dtox Day Spa, Blunda Aromatics, Taste of the Goddess, Regeneration, Chocolate Sun, Flexcar, Healing Waters, Viridis Luxe, Cru and more. Artwork from professional artists & photographers will also be auctioned. Tree dedications for loved ones will be available throughout the evening.
This collective of conscious companies and individuals joins TreePeople in their work as the leading non-profit organization dedicated to healing our cities with nature while offering sustainable solutions to better the environment overall. Tree People trains communities to plant and care for trees, educates children and adults about the environment and works with government agencies on critical water issues.

Pre-Natal Yoga with Dion Lyman
lululemon Plaza El Segundo, 2008A East Park Place
Sunday, Oct 7th 9:00am
Cost: FREE

Join ambassador Dion Lyman for a wonderful pre-natal yoga class. Dion will guide you through a class specifically designed for the
journey of pregnancy.
Linking yoga postures with the breath will lead you to new discoveries, bringing awareness to the mind,
body and spirit, and also the spirit of your baby.
Class begins at 9 am.
Please RSVP to manhattanbeach-community@lululemon.com.

luluthon Orientation!
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Sunday, Oct 7th 9:30am
Cost: FREE

Come join us at 9:30am on October 7th for breakfast with our ambassador, Christine Kwok and Paralympic superstar Katy Sullivan to learn all about the upcoming luluthon. We will discuss all the details of the event and get a sneak peak of the luluthon training that you can partake in! See you there!

Sunday Yoga with Roland Mathews
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Sunday, Oct 7th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Join Roland Mathews as he leads us in gentle yoga, focusing on our breathing. Class is on our back patio

Open House at Your Neighborhood Studio
Your Neighborhood Studio, Culver City
Sunday, Oct 7th 10:00am-6:00pm
Cost: FREE

We are so excited to offer you FREE classes all day. No RSVP necessary.
10:00am Zumba - Wil
10:30am Hip Hop - Wil
11:00am Yoga for Women - Shari
11:30am Belly Dance - Maria
12:00pm Yoga Flow - Monique
12:30pm Basic Ballet - Alicia
1:00pm Jazz - Diane
1:30pm Bollywood - Achinta
2:00pm Hip Hop - Tiffaney
2:30pm Sculpt - Tiffaney
3:00pm Yoga & Kirtan - Andres
3:30pm Salsa - Rolando
4:00pm Rumba - Rolando
4:30pm Cardio Salsa - Rolando
5:00pm Booiaka (Cardio Hip Hop) - Tatiana
5:30pm Breakin' - Peppa
Go to www.yourneighborhoodstudio.com for class descriptions.

Help Save the Iyengar Institute with Lisa Walford
Yoga Works Montana, Santa Monica
Sunday, October 7th noon-4:00pm
Cost: $75

Five Benefit fund raiser 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!

Voice Celebration Workshop with Deva Premal and Miten
Marina del Rey Hotel, 13534 Bali Way
Sunday, October 7th, 3:00-6:00pm
Cost: $60

Throughout the ages every culture, tradition, and religion has one common thread: the power of song. The singing voice is our most potent of healing instruments, and yet in these days of radio, television, and recorded music, it lays dormant in most of us.
When was the last time you really opened your voice in joy and sang from your heart to the open sky and the stars? It's almost like having limbs and not using them. Many people have the idea that they can't sing--an idea usually implanted at the most sensitive time of our lives--our childhood. The result is easy to see, an unconscious resistance to one of our most natural resources--making music ourselves. And what more beautiful way to make music than to sing our own song!?
We're not interested in making you a technically great singer. That is not our aim.
This workshop is for people who have such a longing inside their hearts that they just want to sing their own "YES!" to life, a longing to sing "THANK YOU!" to life, a longing to open the door to their own inner being, to their own inner peace.
This can be done easily by using the voice to chant ancient and sacred mantras.
By feeling yourself uplifted on the wings of harmony and becoming aware of your voice melting with others, you begin to enter into a world of undiluted bliss. It doesn't take much, just a willingness to let go into love, a willingness to drop the mind and dive into an ocean of sound. You can experience the joy of being one with others and with everything. You can feel it--because you are it!

New Moon Vinyasa Yoga flow and Trance Dance with Julie Rader and Gordon Peek
Yoga Loft Manhattan Beach
Wednesday, Oct 10th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $30

A celebratory flow class that transitions seamlessly into a trance dance. Accompanied by live drumming and culminating in a peaceful meditation.

Baby and Me Yoga with Syd Delaski
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Thursday, Oct 11th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Mommies and or daddies bring the little one and join Syd Delaski for Baby and Me yoga. Classes start at 10am here at the store!

Kirtan at Garden of Yoga
Garden of Yoga, Woodland Hills
Friday, Oct 12th 7:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Join Art of Living Foundation teachers Andrew & Michele for an evening of kirtan with special guest Stefan Storace. Singing ancient sanskrit mantras with full enthusiasm is ameditation in itself and can leave you quite happy and high. Come see for yourself. Open to the public and for beginners as well.
To contact Andrew & Michele call 818-340-6088 or andrew@artoflivingla.org

Navaratri 2007
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Marina del Rey
Ten Days - Oct 12th thru 21st
Cost: By Donation

Come join with us for the nine nights of the Navararti festival!
This festival lasts for nine days in honor of the nine manifestations of the goddess, Durga. In India during Navaratri (the word literally means "nine nights"), devotees observe a fast, Brahmins are fed, and prayers are offered for the protection of health and property. The basic aim of this celebration is to honor Shakti--the goddess in her aspect as power--to bestow all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, and knowledge (both sacred and secular) upon us all.
Behind whatever special request we may ask of her, is our desire to link with the divine. There is no other aim. This is being effected consciously or unconsciously. Everyone is blessed with Her loving mercy and is protected by Her.
On the tenth day, the Day of Victory, come for an early morning puja and have the tools of your work (instruments of karma) blessed. Yes, bring your computer keyboards, keys, photos, personal items, anything you use on a regular basis. Have them energized. And stay for the feast!
Pujas are free of charge. Sweets, flowers or monetary donations are gratefully accepted.
Durga: Fri, Oct 12th 9:30pm / Sat, Oct 13th 6:00pm / Sun, Oct 14th 6:30pm (Satsang)
Lakshmi: Mon, Oct 15th 9:00pm / Tue, Oct 16th 9:00pm / Wed, Oct 17th 7:00pm (Satsang)
Saraswati: Thu, Oct 18th 9:00pm / Fri, Oct 19th 9:30pm / Sat, Oct 20th 6:00pm
Day of Victory: Sun, Oct 21st 6:00am (Morning Puja - Bring Your Tools of Karma)

Mission Street Yoga's 5 Year Anniversary Celebration!
Mission Street Yoga, South Pasadena
Saturday and Sunday, Oct 13-14 all day
Cost: FREE

Happy 5th Birthday to all of us! This fall marks the five year anniversary of MSY. To celebrate, we invite you to come practice all weekend long on October 13 & 14 for FREE. Explore classes during our regular weekend schedule that you've never tried before and meet our wonderful teaching community and your fellow students. Enjoy 15% off all series for returning students.*
Want to help grow the community? Pick up a bunch of our colorful postcards at the studio this week and write your name on them. If someone who's new to the studio buys a series and presents a postcard with your name, we'll credit you with one free class.
And on this Sunday from 2:30-3:30, come experience our Family Yoga Playground with Hagar Harpak. Come play this Sunday for FREE and then consider participating in our new 1x/monthly Family Yoga Playground series which starts this November. Fliers will be available at the Open House. All ages welcome.

Kia Miller's Off the Mat and Into the World Workshop
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Saturday, Oct 13th 8:00am
Cost: FREE

Come join our ambassador Kia Miller and the lululemon staff for a introduction workshop on Saturday October 13th at 8am.
The workshop will ask intriguing questions like, what does it mean to live a purposeful life? How can we use our unique gifts and attributes to create the world we dream of? Each of us has a calling that will manifest if we align ourselves with it and nurture it. In this fun and profound workshop, we will teach you how to bring your yoga practice into the world in a powerful and meaningful way.
Personal healing is the initial focus of our yoga practice as we strengthen our bodies and quiet our minds. Then, our focus shifts to the interpersonal. How do we interact with people, places and our environment? This is the yoga of our relationships. Our interactions with the world are the the outward result of the work we do in the yoga studios. Through yoga and activism we can collectively take our yoga to the next level and make a difference in the world from a place of balance, connection and fierce love!

Symphonic Yoga with Brad Keimach
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Oct 13th 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: $25

This is a Level 2/3 Vinyasa Flow class, to all classical music including Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Verdi, Puccini, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Strauss, and Mendelssohn, among others. Come and see how your practice feels, and how your breath moves when accompanied by some of the towering geniuses of classical music! A once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Yoga Blend's First Annual Halloween-Themed Yoga Class with Jason Marsden
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Saturday, Oct 13th 8:13pm-9:30pm
Cost: $15

It'll be fun! It'll be frightening! What's gonna happen? You'll have to show up to find out!

Yoga Extravaganza: A 26 hour Yogathon Fundraiser!
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, Oct 13th 5:00 PM thru Sunday, Oct 14th 7:00 PM
Single class (not regular GB classes): $27 in advance; $40 at door
Saturday night only (4:30 pm -6:00 am): $54 advance; $64 at door
Sunday day only (6:00 am - 8:00 pm): $54 advance; $64 at door
Entire 26 hours: $108 advance; $118 at door

This extraordinary night features:
Harijiwan’s Gong and Meditation Extraordinaire, talk to the Angels with Sandra Bossier and Sylvia Kalicinski’s Earth and Sky meditation and Angel Dance, Kundalini Yoga and Music blended in the Delicious & Divine Chocolate Chakra Shakedown, sleep with angels to overnight mantra mix and gong, wake to celestial sadhana, sweat with Yogaworks Viniyasa instructor Natasha Poulous, open your heart with Vanessa’s Tibetan Heart Yoga, Elevate your soul with Gurmukh and the Golden Bridge Choir, Open your Intuition with Tej, Face the Future of Humankind with Gahl, grab a partner and practice to Live Music with Gurmukh and Girish, and after a delicious dinner, Let your spirit soar chanting kirtan with Girish and his all star band.
All proceeds to benefit Amrit Davaa World Health’s humanitarian and medical expedition leaving on Nov. 17 bringing doctors and medical supplies to the Manjushree Orphanage in India (9,500 feet in the Himalayan Mountains). One of the most remote and impoverished regions in the World.
Saturday, October 13
4:00 pm Registration And Sign In
4:30 – 4:45 pm Tej, Dr. Nevins, and Padmini (Debra Bergman)
4:45 pm – 7:00 pm Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with Tej
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Gong Meditation with Harijiwan
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm Earth And Sky Meditation & Angel Dance with Sandra & Sylvia
11:00 pm - 1:00 am Dj Sharu & The Chocolate Chakra Shakedown Kundalini Yoga & Mantra Mix
Sunday, October 14
1:00 am – 4:00 am Gong Extravaganze & Mantra Mix with Patrick Lacho & Sat Puran
4:00 am - 6:30 am Sadhana
6:30 am - 8:00 am Tibetan Heart Yoga with Vanessa Hopkins
8:00 am - 9:30 am Vinyasa Flow With Yogaworks Natasha Poulous
9:30 am - 11:30 am Kundalini Yoga And Meditation with Gurmukh, accompanied by Maggie Wheeler
11:30 am – 1:30 pm Sat Nam Rasayan with Hargopal
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Kundalini Yoga and Meditation: Open Your Intuition with Tej
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Face The Future Of Humankind: Science Fiction To Spirituality with Gahl
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Kundalini Partner Yoga and Meditation with Gurmukh Live Music By Girish 6:30 pm Dinner served!
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm Kirtan With Girish
Dinner, light snacks, water and beverages provided

Restorative/Gentle Yoga with Lisa Tsujimoto
lululemon Plaza El Segundo, 2008A East Park Place
Sunday, Oct 14th 9:00am
Cost: FREE

Relax, rejuvenate and restore with a restorative yoga class taught by Lisa Tsujimoto of Body Therapy Center and Spectrum. You'll surely feel as though you got a full body massage after attending this class!
Class begins at 9 am.
*If you own any of the following props, please bring to class: mat, block, bolster, wool blankets, eye pillow, sand bag.
Please RSVP to manhattanbeach-community@lululemon.com.

Sunday Yoga with Carla Slepak
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Sunday, Oct 14th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Carla Slepak leads our all levels Sunday yoga today!! Join us on our back patio at 10am.

Baby and Me Yoga with Cindi Cnop
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Thursday, Oct 18th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Mommies and or daddies bring the little one and join Cindi Cnop for Baby and Me yoga. Classes start at 10am here at the store!

Kids Yoga with Danay DiVirgilio
lululemon Plaza El Segundo, 2008A East Park Place
Sunday, Oct 21st 9:00am
Cost: FREE

Imagine a class that improves your child’s focus, increases strength and flexibility, and heightens self-esteem all while having FUN!! That’s what YogaBuddies’ classes provide for their students. YogaBuddies offers a creative curriculum that integrates yoga poses with character building lessons, breathing techniques and fun yoga games. Students leave class feeling peaceful and relaxed.
Join Danay DiVirgilio of YogaBuddies on Oct. 21 at 9 am for a great kids yoga class!
*Wear exercise/comfortable clothing
Please RSVP to manhattanbeach-community@lululemon.com.

Sing, Dance, and Pray with Mas Vidal and Tony Khalife
Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda, Los Angeles
Sunday, Oct 21st 7:00-9:00pm
Cost: $15 Suggested Donation

Navartri is an amazing yoga festival of song, dance and prayer in celebration of the Goddess. The word navartri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit and this event will be a culmination of the nine forms of shakti, the divine feminine powers. Don't miss it!

Yoga with Sarah Isenberg
lululemon Beverly Hills, 334 North Beverly Drive
Sunday, Oct 21st 9:30am
Cost: FREE

Sarah has been a yoga practitioner for over sixteen years and is a second generation yoga instructor. She first began studying yoga underneath the strong teachings of her mother Esther, a TriYoga Instructor. Like any mother’s daughter, she then set out to find her own path. Her “path” has lead her to study with some amazing teachers, like Baron Baptise, John Friend, Glenn Black, Shandor Remete, Ana Forrest, Kali Ray, Gurmukh, and the venerable Barbara Benaugh.
Sarah draws from her extensive background to encourage the practitioners to discover strong alignment principals and the fun of a daily practice. Sarah believes that a combination of alignment and flow allows the practitioner to transcend their perceived limitations and shed resistance, making space for the occurrence of miracles in their daily lives.
Class begins promptly at 9:30 AM.

Sunday Yoga with Steven Hsu
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Sunday, Oct 21st 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Steve Hsu from Equinox leads our all levels yoga today!! Join us at 10am on our back patio for a great class.

Baby and Me Yoga with Carla Slepak
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Thursday, Oct 25th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Mommies and or daddies bring the little one and join Carla Slepak for Baby and Me yoga. Classes start at 10am here at the store!

Sunday Yoga with Emill Kim
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Sunday, Oct 28th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Emill Kim teaches an all levels modified bikram yoga on our back patio. Join us at 10am.

Monday, October 01, 2007

something to pink about

as you all probably know by now, october is breast cancer awareness month. and in honor of all those who have fought the good fight against this dreaded disease, including my mother who's been symptom-free for over 20 years now, i've decided to turn my blogsite pink. but it'll only be until the end of this month, because honestly, the barbie look just isn't me :)

as has been the tradition for a number of years now, besides the usual public service announcements about the importance of breast examinations and routine mammograms, there will be all kinds of pink-ribboned items for sale this month, with a portion of the proceeds going towards breast cancer research.

recently, i came across the breast cancer action website. its think before you pink project urges everyone to do something contrary to what corporations have been conditioning us to do, which is:


here's more information about the campaign:

Think Before You Pink launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.

Think Before You Pink also highlights “pinkwashers”—companies that purport to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon campaign, but manufacture products that are linked to the disease.

Breast Cancer Action urges you to ask some critical questions before opening your wallet for pink-ribbon campaigns:

~ How much money from your purchase actually goes to the cause?
~ What is the maximum amount that will be donated?
~ How much money was spent marketing the product?
~ How are the funds being raised?
~ To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support?
~ What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

so before you plunk down your hard-earned paycheck to buy a pink edition mustang to show your support for the cause, you might want to find out how much of your money will actually go to breast cancer research. then donate that amount directly to a charity instead, because honestly, can you see yourself driving around town with a pink-trimmed V6 gas-guzzler? i didn't think so...