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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

holiday substitutions

still trying to earn more air miles for my frequent flyer account, i flew up to san francisco last thursday for a two-day yoga vacation. after all, the time was right (i'm on vacation until the 1st), the price was right ($145 for the roundtrip airfare plus FREE lodging courtesy of my friend fred), and the yoga was right (there are so many excellent teachers to choose from!), so the decision to travel to the bay area was a no-brainer.

i scanned the holiday yoga schedules and eventually settled on two teachers at two yoga studios: stephanie snyder at yoga tree castro and jasmine tarkeshi at laughing lotus. since i'd never taken any classes from any teachers in the SF area, i chose these two because of their backgrounds -- stephanie is a teacher trainer at yoga tree and jasmine is co-director of laughing lotus. so how could i possibly go wrong?

day one: thursday

after tossing and turning all night, worried silly that i would oversleep and miss my early morning flight (them's the breaks when you're looking for cheap fares), i caught my 7am flight out of LAX and arrived at OAK an hour later, hungry and exhausted. not a problem; a quick trip to trader joe's took care of the hunger, and a quick snooze at fred's place near oakland took care of the exhaustion. a nice hot shower helped re-energize me for the day's planned adventure.

one bus ride, one BART ride, AND one muni ride later, i finally arrived at the corner of market and castro, right in the heart of the castro, aka the gayest spot on earth -- not that there's anything wrong with that :) it was a delightful place for shopping and eating; had i known that earlier, i would have taken a shorter nap and given myself more time to browse through the stores and walk around the neighborhood. i'll remember next time.

my first stop was a.g. ferrari foods, an italian market with shelves piled high with a mouthwatering variety of delights imported from italy: cheeses, chocolates, sauces, wines, and much more. and at the back of the store was a deli case brimming with goodies such as pastas, paninis, salads, and meats. it didn't matter that i had already eaten earlier in the day; there's always room for more fantastic food in my belly!

i spent the next hour or so popping in and out of the many businesses on castro street. and i managed to find some cool finds, including a 2008 daily yoga planner which includes "weekly themes for practice, spotlighting various styles and methods; room to record your reflections on your practice each week; and daily space to note the asanas you practice." sounds like something that could come in quite handy, doesn't it?

with less than an hour left before stephanie's 6pm vinyasa 2-3 class, i had to put an end to my shopping spree and start making my way to yoga tree castro located a few blocks away at the corner of collingwood and 18th:

Yoga Tree, Castro
97 Collingwood Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
415) 701-YOGA
website: www.yogatreesf.com/studiocastro.htm

At Yoga Tree we strive to bring you the best yoga instructors the San Francisco Area has to offer in studios that are clean, warm, and supportive. We are committed to green practices that make our studios safe for our students, as well as the environment.

Although we offer a variety of styles of yoga, all of our classes share one thing in common -- a comfortable safe space in which to explore the body, mind and soul.

i walked up to the second floor and found the reception desk at the top of the stairs. after making sure that i was on time for the class, i filled out the registration form and turned down the new student offer of 3 classes in 2 weeks for $20, opting instead to pay the drop-in rate of $16 for the one class i was there to take. unless i wanted to squeeze in two classes the next day, the deal just wouldn't work for me.

while standing in the lobby, waiting for the previous class to end, i overheard the receptionist tell another student: stephanie can't make it tonight... what?!? did i hear what i thought i heard? i walked over to the desk and asked who would be teaching the class. elizabeth rosser, i was told. i had no idea who she was, but since it was too late anyway to get to another studio, i had no choice but to accept the last-minute substitution.

either elizabeth's a very popular teacher or the time slot's in high demand; whatever it was, students streamed in through both doors leading into the classroom and immediately filled up the large classroom. while we were all busy finding our spots in the room, elizabeth walked in, accompanied by a guitar-toting musician. live music? maybe this was going to turn out well after all...

she started the class with quiet meditation, followed a few oms. she then led us through a chanted call-and-response mantra, which turned out to be like a kirtan with neither the instruments, the hand clapping, nor the wild enthusiasm. i couldn't figure out why everyone remained perfectly still while responding in a slow, controlled fashion; hadn't these people ever been to a kirtan before???

once elizabeth got us up and moving, she quickly transitioned the class into a vigorous series of poses. in no time i was sweating up a storm... and then i started to feel lightheaded. it was at that point that i noticed the gigantic ceiling-mounted heaters that were blasting away and turning the room into an oven! what's with the artificial heat?!? i can understand trying to warm up the room to stave off the cold, but why did it have to be almost bikramishly hot? i had to leave the room twice to cool off and rehydrate myself with water from the water dispenser outside the classroom. needless to say, the heat zapped all the energy out of me, causing me to sit out many of the later poses :(

midway during the practice, i realized that all i had been listening to so far was elizabeth trying to make herself heard over the blasting heaters and the recorded background music. but i thought there was going to be live music... maybe was there an instrument malfunction? i got my answer during savasana, when dazza greenwood got up from his spot in the room and joined elizabeth on the stage. he started playing a slow melody on his guitar which didn't sound like anything in particular, yet it was so soothing that i must've dozed off. because before i knew it, i was being roused by the ringing of a tibetan bowl.

one more slow chant and a few oms later, the class came to an end. since i had dinner plans with fred after class, i had to peel off my soaked clothing and change back into dry clothes just so i wouldn't catch my death of cold when i walked back out into the frigid weather outside. i couldn't do anything about my hair, though, which looked like i had just stepped out of the shower :(

thanks to a recommendation i got from julie at the italian market earlier that afternoon, fred and i had a marvelous meal at garcon!, a french bistro on valencia street, just outside the castro district. despite my bedraggled look, we received excellent service from the waitstaff. when our orders arrived, fred quickly devoured his serving of salmon while i eagerly worked at my large bowl filled to the brim with mussels With Tomato fennel sauce, splash of Ricard. our entrees were followed by an unbelievably moist raspberry bread pudding, topped with two candles in honor of my birthday on the 22nd and fred's on the 29th. tres fantastique!

day two: friday

since i was technically on vacation, i allowed myself the luxury of hanging around in my pjs until late in the morning. reading the paper while watching the today show on tv seemed like a better alternative than walking around in the cold weather while dragging my luggage around city streets (i planned to head straight for the airport right after my afternoon class). once i finally got moving, it didn't take long for me to get to my destination since the BART has a stop at mission and 16th, right at the edge of the mission district where laughing lotus is located.

unlike the castro, where i felt fairly safe walking around by myself, the denizens of the mission, at least those standing right outside the BART station, seemed a bit questionable. and as i walked down mission street, the crowd didn't seem to get any better. so i turned off on 17th and headed west towards what i hoped to be safer territory. i immediately came upon a boutique that had some interesting christmas stuff on sale, so ventured in.

before i knew it, i was picking up little things here and there -- christmas cards, gift tags, a notepad, and more. they were all unique items that wouldn't normally be found in a hallmark store or a drugstore. and they were all 30% off, which made them even more desirable :) i eventually found myself chatting with aldea's owner, johanna, and asked her for suggestions on where to dine and shop in the area. once i paid for the items and started to make my way out the door, she noticed my suitcase and offered to hang on to it, as well as my purchases, while i cruised around the neighborhood. i took her up on her kind offer, left my stuff in her care, and headed towards valencia street, a block away.

once again, it was unlike the castro; the shops and the clientele were more edgy and eclectic. the merchandise seemed to cater to college students and recent grads. there were fantastic markdowns to be had, but most of the smaller sizes were already picked over. oh well. i eventually found myself standing outside the door of tartine bakery at 18th and guerrero, and when i saw all the happy faces inside who seemed to be enjoying their food, i knew i had found my meal stop.

loaded with a bag full of treats for the plane ride home, i made my way back to aldea to pick up my belongings, thanked johanna, and hauled everything a few blocks over to 16th and dolores for my next class. the studio's exterior color scheme was so vibrant that there was no mistaking that it was where i wanted to be:

Laughing Lotus Yoga Center, San Francisco
3271 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 355-1600
website: www.laughinglotus.com/sfhome.html

Laughing Lotus Yoga Center is an energetic and Soulful Yoga Community blossoming in the heart of San Francisco and has been rooted in New York City’s rich Yoga Community for over 7 years. In the Spirit of Yoga, we invite you to join us in cultivating a way of life where peace, joy and friendship are celebrated as the very essence of who we are.

All of our Yoga classes Celebrate the body as a temple for the Spirit to awaken the heart to its truest loving and free nature. The Yoga practice at our Center is a Spirited style of Vinyasa that creatively, passionately and mindfully links the physical poses with the rhythm of the breath. Our high spirited expert teachers infuse each class with inspirational Music, Divine Wisdom, devotional Poetry and Singing, creating an ecstatic experience of harmony within and with the world around us.

i was a bit early; it was still about half an hour before the start of class and the front door was locked. not wanting to roam around looking like a mugging waiting to happen, i stood in the vestibule of the studio and waited until someone showed up to open the door.

the receptionist must've noticed me standing outside because it didn't take long before she let me in. the inside was just as colorful as the outside. with shades of orange and pink splashed all over the walls, i felt like i had walked into a comic strip. it seemed like a very happy place :)

everything else in the studio was just as funky and bright, from the bathrooms to the dressing areas to the large classroom itself. even the small patio right outside the classroom had bright touches scattered about. i went back outside to the lobby to check out the stuff for sale.

and once again, i heard the reception tell someone: jasmine can't make it tonight... i couldn't believe my luck. katharine otis would be filling in for jasmine. i hated having to vent, but i was pretty annoyed at striking out twice in two days. but i was there, so i had to make the most of it.

katharine admitted that she usually teaches a level 1 class and that having to cover for a 2/3 was a bit daunting. and honestly, i really didn't care if the class ended up being a beginner class; with all my back issues, it was probably wiser if i took it easy anyway.

just like elizabeth's class the day before, katharine started the class with some oms and a call-and-response chant. was this a san francisco phenomenon, or just coincidence? i guess i won't find out until the next time i'm in town.

but unlike the yoga tree class the day before, there were NO blasting heaters! i was loving this place even more!

the class ended up being a really nice flow class. i was still bummed, though, about the last-minute sub, even if i knew full well that these things happen... especially during the holidays, i'm sure.

i know that a re-do is in order, and hopefully, things will go according to plan that next time. maybe i'll even try something more adventurous, like the midnight yoga with kate at laughing lotus on friday nights. or rusty wells's bhakti flow classes at yoga tree on sunday mornings. or even something totally different, like anusara yoga at yogakula or rocket yoga at it's yoga...

besides, i could always use more frequent flyer miles :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

have yourself a merry little birthday

last december 22nd, i turned another year older. and all the candles on my birthday cake generated a pyrotechnic display that could be seen for miles...

instead of going through the all the time and effort it took to plan my 50-day birthday celebration last year -- which included 50 mini-parties with 50+ of my closest friends and relatives and around two dozen yoga classes with some of the best instructors in town -- i decided to make no plans at all this year and just let things run their course. especially since it took almost half a year before i lost all the weight i had gained from all that partying (and i can only wonder how much more i would have gained if i didn't fit in all that yoga, too)!

since my birthday sometimes falls on the same date as the winter solstice, the timing of this year's actual solstice on the evening of the 21st seemed like a great time to kick off my birthday celebration, starting with a yoga date with BDB (day 22 of last year's 50-day event). we met at maha yoga for tom morley's level 2/3 class on friday evening, then walked over to the harvest restaurant a few doors down the street for one of the best dinners i've had in a while (with my crazy work+physical therapy+acupuncture+yoga+blogging schedule, i haven't been able to enjoy anything more than a quick bite while typing away at the computer!). it was nice to finally be able to sit back and enjoy a leisurely meal with a friend with whom i can talk about almost anything. in fact, we were so wrapped up in our conversation that we didn't realize that the waitstaff had been waiting for us to leave so they could close down the place for the night. oops...

because my birthday landed on a weekend this year, i happened to receive invites to two christmas parties on that day: one with my running buddies in the morning, and another with my relatives in the late afternoon. that pretty much left me with just the morning to take a yoga class, so i skipped my usual saturday morning run (which has since turned into a walk because of my hamstring injury) and headed out to yoga works main street instead for vinnie marino's butt-kicking level 2/3 flow class. and did i get my butt kicked! it was frustrating, especially since i knew that i could have easily handled the class if i weren't injured. sigh. and yes, i'm getting old. you don't have to remind me...

right after that, i met up with the usual running suspects for our annual christmas potluck. our large group included many of those with whom i had spent time with last year: rose and michele (day 3), debbie and ellen (day 14), genaro, dan, jackie, ken, sheri, and steve (day 16), dana (day 19), martin (day 31), and anita (day 50). while everyone else brought all kinds of goodies like fruit, veggies, pizza, sandwiches, salad, chips and cookies, i brought a chocolate cake so i could squeeze in a little birthday party of my own... and happily shared the honors with debbie and ken, the other december birthday babies in the group :)

after a quick trip home to shower and make myself presentable, i was off to my aunt's home for a family christmas get-together. at the party were many of the relatives who had gamely gone out of their way to meet up with me last year: cindy and sonny (day 1), larry and trish (day 23), tita baby, lee, and natalie (day 24), marilou (day 25), and gina (day 44). when word got out that it was my birthday (since my "party" had spanned so many days last year, no one really knew when my real birthday was), one of my cousins ran out and brought back a yummy mocha cake from goldilocks, a filipino bakery located a few miles away. my second birthday cake of the day! of course, it was the last thing i needed after stuffing myself with all kinds of filipino treats -- pancit, adobo, kare-kare, ensaymada, bibingka, puto, kutsinta, and more. it's a good thing i don't find myself doing this everyday!

throughout the day, long-distance phone greetings came in from friends and family: my daughter christina in boston (day 10), my sister suzy in manila (day 12), my other sister gigi in orange county (day 21), and my LA-based friends cindy (day 7) and steve (day 35) who were nice enough to think of me while attending to their holiday chores.

later that evening, my daughter amanda (day 9) and my sister tina (day 8) joined me for relaxing thai massages in thai town. after an hour of getting all the kinks of the last 365 days worked out of my neck, shoulders, back, and legs, i was primed for a much-needed good night's sleep. something an old geezer like me could use more of...

Friday, December 21, 2007

home for the holidays

update: i've added in more class changes from the websites, and where it got too cumbersome to type in all the changes, i've included links to the actual schedules.
thanks to susan for pointing out that i left out the new year's eve celebration at golden bridge... although to keep from having to duplicate things, i've listed just the class changes here, while the special events are listed on the december events page :)

if you're like me and plan to stay right here in LA where it's relatively warm and dry (i'm sure our friends back east consider our daytime highs in the 60's to be quite toasty), here are the schedules for the yoga studios around town. thanks to the teachers who will be homebound, too, we have lots of classes to choose from between now and the end of the year.

here's what i've gathered from the emails i've received so far. i'll continue to check studio websites and fill in their holiday schedules.

note: a big NAMASTE to bks iyengar institute, black dog yoga, city yoga, golden bridge yoga, inner power yoga, power yoga east/west, still yoga, urth yoga, and yoga blend who will be OPEN on christmas day!

the absolute yoga and pilates, woodland hills

Closed December 24, evening
Closed December 25-26
Re-open December 27,2007
Closed December 31-January 1, 2008
Re-open January 2, 2008

alive and well, hermosa beach

click here for the schedule changes; CLOSED on christmas eve and christmas day.

ananda yoga, santa monica

Please note that Ananda LA will be closed from December 26th - 29th.

angel city yoga, studio city

Christmas Eve Schedule:
8:30am Easier Yoga with Shosha Bottoms
10:30am Pre-Natal & Special Conditions with Shosha Bottoms
12:00pm Easier Yoga with Shosha Bottoms
New Year's Day Schedule:
8:30am Easier Yoga with Shosha Bottoms
10:30am Pre-Natal & Special Conditions with Shosha Bottoms
12:00pm Easier Yoga with Io Bottoms
New Year's Day Schedule:
8:30am Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga with Amber Williamson
10:00am Easier Yoga with Steven Vincent

annie's yoga, sherman oaks

click here to download the holiday class schedule; CLOSED on christmas day and new year's day.

the awareness center, pasadena

We will be CLOSED for regular classes on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
We will be OPEN for Sadhana on New Year's Day 4:15 - 6:30am.

back for yoga, el segundo

Back for Yoga will be closed December 24, 25 and the morning of the 26. We will also be closed December 31 and January 1.
Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

bikram yoga downtown, los angeles

Due to the holidays, we will be running on a limited schedule for the next 2 weeks. Please update your calendar! view the schedule

black dog yoga, sherman oaks

We're open for classes every day, on our regular schedule through this Sunday the 23rd.
Our modified schedule runs from the 24th to January 1st, and that schedule can be viewed on our website - www.blackdogyoga.net/holiday.html
New permanent schedule and new classes - beginning January 2nd!

bks iyengar yoga institute, los angeles

The Institute will have an abbreviated schedule December 24 through January 1.
Dec 24: 9-11 all levels with Paul
Dec 25: 9-10:30 Level 2 with Chris, 11-12:30 Level 1 with Miriam
Dec 26: 9-10:30 all levels with Aida, 6:30-8 all levels with Sophie
Dec 27: 9-10:30 all levels with Randee, 6:30-8 all levels with Sophie
Dec 28: 9-10:30 all levels with Val, 4:30-6 all levels with Marla
Dec 29: 8:30-10:00 level 2/3 with Marla, 10:30-12:00 level 1/2 with Chris, 4:30-6 all levels with Paul
Dec 30: 9-10:30 all levels with Paul, 4:30-6 all levels with Jim
Dec 31: 9-11 all levels with Paul
Jan 1: 9-10:30 Level 2 with Kirk, 11-12:30 Level 1 with Paul
The normal schedule will resume January 2, 2008

city yoga, west hollywood

a reduced class schedule will be offered during the christmas holiday (click here to access their website), with these classes on christmas and new year's eves/days:
December 24th:
9:00am - rebecca benenati
10:45am - anthony benenati
December 25th:
9:00am - james macdonald
10:45am - hillary rubin
December 31st:
8:30am - anthony benenati
10:30am - rebecca benenati
January 1st:
10:00am - anthony benenati
11:00am - caleb asch
12:00pm - tom jermain

dancing shiva yoga and ayurveda, los angeles

CLOSED: Monday, Dec 24th and Tuesday, Dec 25th MERRY CHRISTMAS
Wednesday, Dec 26th 7:00pm with Mas
Thursday, Dec 27th 10:30am w/ Ze' & 6:00pm with Mas
Friday, Dec 28th 10:30am & 6:00pm with Ze' Coquenao
Saturday, Dec 29th 10:00 am with Mas
Sunday, Dec 30th 10:00am with Mas
CLOSED: Monday, Dec 31st and Tuesday, Jan 1st
New winter schedule begins, Wednesday, Jan 2nd

earth's power yoga, los angeles

Schedule for the Holiday Season:
Monday 24th 10:30 am Liz
Tuesday 25th Closed
Wednesday 26th Closed
Thursday 27th 10:30 am Omar
Friday 28th 10:30 am Liz
Saturday 29th 10:30 am Liz
Sunday 30th 10:30 am Liz
Monday 31st 10:30 am Closed
Tuesday January 1st 2008 5:45 pm Steven
Wednesday January 2nd Full Schedule Resumes.

exhale, santa monica

December 24 - 7:15pm yoga class is cancelled
December 25 - CLOSED
December 31 - 7:15pm yoga class is cancelled
January 1 - CLOSED

exhale center for sacred movement, venice

December 24 - except for the 12:30pm and 12:45pm classes, all afternoon classes are cancelled
December 25 - CLOSED
December 26 - CLOSED
December 27 - the 7:00pm and 7:35pm classes are cancelled
December 28 - except for the 12:30pm and 12:45pm classes, all afternoon classes are cancelled
December 29 - the 5:30pm and 6:00pm classes are cancelled
December 30 - except for the 12:30pm and 12:45pm classes, all afternoon classes are cancelled
December 31 - except for the 12:30pm and 12:45pm classes, all afternoon classes are cancelled
January 1 - all classes cancelled except:
10:30am - Level 1/2 Jamie Elmer
10:45am - Level 2 Isabelle Du Soleil
12:00pm - Level 2/3 Seane Corn
12:45pm - Level 2 Brad Keimach
4:00pm - Level 2/3 Saul Davie Raye

free spirit yoga, long beach

Schedule for Christmas and New Year's: CLOSED CHRISTMAS DAY
Christmas Eve 9:30am-11:00am with Laura Tree and 12noon-1:30pm with Dharma.
Kim will be working the store from 9:00am- 2:00pm for your shopping needs.
New Year's Eve 9:30am-11:00am with Laura Tree and 12noon-1:30pm Flow with Andrea
New Years Day 9:30am-11:00am Flow into the New Year with yoga and Cindy

garden of yoga, woodland hills

We will have a modified schedule until the end of the year so please check the website for updates.
Diana is back!
Saturday, December 22nd at 10am: Winter Solstice Class with Diana - Mindful Flow for mixed levels.
Sunday, December 23rd at 11:45am: This class will be for Beginners and Pre-natal students.
Closed for Christmas and New Years.

glendale yoga, glendale

We will be closed on December 24th through December 26th. There will be no evening classes on December 31st and we will be closed on January 1st.

goda yoga, culver city

MONDAY, DECEMBER 24th: There will be ONE CLASS ONLY. 10:30am-12p (all levels), taught by TBA.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26th: There will be ONE CLASS ONLY. 11am-12:30p (all levels), taught by TBA.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31st: There will be ONE CLASS ONLY. 10:30am-12p taught by TBA.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2008: GODA will be closed.

golden bridge yoga, hollywood

~DECEMBER 25th - all classes cancelled except for:
10:00AM Becoming Like Angels - Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh
Cost: $20 (or 2 keytag swipes)
Out of the Mind Comes the Lotus – Experiencing the Kindness in You
Life is both plus & minus, but for some 2 + 2 = 5. They add smiles, warmth, love and kindness which equals the most powerful healing on the planet. We become like angels by celebrating our inner strength, allowing us to be secure, to give to all, and be consumed in the service of Life and Destiny. This class will challenge your ego and give you the health and inner energy to live from your angelic nature. Come dance, chant, sweat and enjoy the company with sweet treats & tea following class!

guerilla yoga, hollywood

Tiffany will be subbing the last few Guerilla Yoga classes for 2007:
Thursday 12/20 @ 6:30 pm at the Hollywood Dance Center
Sunday 12/23 @ 9:15 am at the Hollywood Dance Center
The Gorilla takes a two-week break. Classes resume on Sunday, Jan. 6.
Happy Holidays!

harmony yoga, manhattan beach and redondo beach

Manhattan Beach - CLOSED
Redondo Beach:
7:30am-8:50am Beginner Flow w/Simone
9:00am-11:00am Music Flow 2-3 w/Chappell
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Los Angeles Midnight Mission
Manhattan Beach - CLOSED
Redondo Beach:
7:30am-8:50am Beginner Flow w/ Simone
9:00am-11:00am Music Flow 2-3 w/ Chappell
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Los Angeles Midnight Mission

home simply yoga, santa monica

click here for the schedule changes; CLOSED on christmas eve and christmas day.

inner harmony, san pedro

Inner Harmony studio will be closed from 12/21 through Jan 1, we will re-open on Wednesday, January 2nd.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season!

inner power yoga, calabasas

Thursday Dec. 20th, 8:00 am is CANCELLED
Saturday Dec. 22nd, 8:00 am is CANCELLED
Monday Dec.24th, Inner Power will be closed ALL DAY!
Tuesday Dec. 25th, Inner Power will have one class at 10:00 am (rest of day
Wednesday, Dec. 26th, 10:45 a.m. class is CANCELLED. 7:35 p.m. class is CANCELLED. Ellen will be teaching the 6 p.m. class.
Monday, Dec. 31st, Inner Power will have one class at 10:00 am with Anya (rest
of day cancelled)
Tuesday, Jan 1st, Inner Power will have one class at 10:00am with Anya (rest
of day cancelled)

karuna yoga, los feliz

Sunday 12/23 AM Classes Only
Monday 12/24 Closed
Tuesday 12/25 Closed
Monday 12/31 AM Classes Only
Tuesday 01/01 Closed

liberation yoga, los angeles

Monday December 24th - Christmas Eve
9:00am-11:00am - Ashtanga/Mysore (Inside!) with Joel Bender
11:00am-12:30pm - Level 1 with Susan Kaye
12:30pm-2:00pm - All Levels Flow with Christine Burke
2:00pm-3:30pm - Gentle Restorative with Jeanne Korn
Wednesday December 26th
9:00am-11:00am - Ashtanga/Mysore (Inside!) with Joel Bender
11:00am-12:30pm - Level 1 with Sarah Hemphill
12:30pm-2:00pm All Levels Flow with Steven Espinosa
2:00pm-3:30pm - Gentle Restorative with Susan Kaye
Monday December 31st - New Year's Eve
11:00am-12:30pm - Level 1with Susan Kaye
12:30pm-2:00pm - All Levels with Will Duprey
2:00pm-3;30pm - Gentle Restorative with Jeanne Korn
10:00pm-Midnight - Special Practice and Celebration with Christine Burke
Tuesday January 1st - New Year's Day!!
11:00am-12:30pm - Level 1 with Kathleen Ross-Allee
12:30pm-2:00pm - All levels Flow - TBA
All other days of the week will be the usual schedule ~ Enjoy!

lyfe yoga center, hermosa beach

Classes will be taught for All Levels
December 23: 9:00am Jamie / 11:00am Kari
December 24: 9:00am Kari
December 25: Happy Christmas - No Classes
December 26: 10:00am Roberta / 6:15pm Kim
December 27: 10:00am Jamie / 6:00pm Jamie
December 28: 9:00am Michael / 4:30pm Roberta
December 29: 9:00am Elinore / 10:30am Michael
December 30: 9:00am Jamie / 11:00am Kari
December 31: 9:00am Maureen
January 1: New Year's - 10:00am Roberta and Michael

maha yoga, brentwood

December 24th and 31st:
7:00am Ashtanga - Jorgen Christiansson
9:15am All Levels Flow - Charlie Samos
11:00am Level 2&3 - Steve Ross
December 25th and January 1st: CLOSED

mark blanchard's power yoga, brentwood

Monday, December 24
Last Class 10:30 - 11:30AM with Mark Blanchard
Tuesday, December 25 - CLOSED
December 26 - December 30 - Regular Class Schedule
Monday, December 31, New Years Eve
Last Class 10:30 - 11:30AM with Mark Blanchard
Tuesday, January 1, 2008, New Year's Day... Renew, Refresh, Revive for 2008
12:15PM First Class of the Day with John Mackow

mark blanchard's power yoga, studio city

Monday, December 24
Last Class 12:00 - 1:15PM
Tuesday, December 25 - CLOSED
December 26 - December 30 - Regular Class Schedule
Monday, December 31, New Years Eve
Last Class 12:00 - 1:15PM
Tuesday, January 1, 2008, New Year's Day... Renew, Refresh, Revive for 2008
with Elizabeth Blanchard 12:00 PM - 1:15PM Power flow, flow, and more flow

mission street yoga, south pasadena

click here for class schedule changes.
closed on dec 24th, 25th, and 31st; mark frankel will be teaching a donation class on new year's day:
NEW YEARS DAY CLASS!!! Set your intention for the New Year and practice with Mark Frankel from 12-2pm on January 1st for a special by-donation class. Breathe, sweat and play with your fellow yogis and mark the beginning of a wonderful New Year.

the pilates room and yoga lounge, hermosa beach

Just a reminder that The Yoga Lounge will be closed from December 24 through January 1st. All classes will resume January 2nd.

power yoga east, santa monica

Christmas Eve, December 24:
7:00am Jerome
10:45am Bryan
4:30pm Bryan
6:30pm Bryan
Christmas Day, December 25:
10:45am Shana
4:30pm Vytas
New Year's Eve, December 31:
7:00am Jerome
10:45am Bryan
4:30pm Bryan
6:30pm Bryan
New Year's Day, January 1:
7:00am Jerome
9:00am Amy
10:45am Shana
4:30pm Vytas

power yoga west, santa monica

Christmas Eve, December 24:
5:30am Andres
9:00am Rudy
1:30pm Anaswara
4:30pm TBA
Christmas Day, December 25:
7:00am Andres
9:00am Rudy
10:45am Anaswara
New Year's Eve, December 31:
5:30am Andres
9:00am Andres
10:55am Ally (Mommy and Me)
1:30pm Anaswara
4:30pm TBA
New Year's Day, January 1:
9:00am Rudy
10:45am Anaswara
4:30pm Anaswara
8:30pm Ally

rising lotus, sherman oaks

Mon. Dec.24th, Christmas Eve
9 am Mixed Level Flow Claire
10:35 am Level 1 Sarah Bergman
Tues. Dec. 25th, Christmas Day Closed
Wed. Dec. 26th
9 am Mixed Level Flow Claire
10:35 am Level 1 Sarah Bergman
6:30 pm Mixed Level Flow Daniel
Regular schedule resumes until:
Mon. Dec. 31st, New Years Eve
9 am Mixed Level Flow Claire
10:35 am Level 1 Elinore Cohen
Tues. Jan. 1st, New Years Day
10:35 am Level 1-2 Elinore Cohen
12:15 pm Mixed Level Flow Daniel
See you all soon for some Holiday cheer!
Much Love and Many Blessings in the New Year!

santa monica yoga, santa monica

Through Sunday, December 23 - Regular schedule
Monday, December 24 - CLOSED
Tuesday, December 25 - CLOSED
Click here for class schedule for December 26-30
Monday, December 31 - CLOSED
Tuesday, January 1 - Special Classes by Donation to Venice Family Clinic:
11:00am-12:30pm - Mixed Level Flow - Nathalie Canessa
1:00-2:30pm - Restoratives - Felice Rhiannon
Wednesday, January 2 - Regular schedule resumes

silver lake yoga, silverlake

No 7am classes from Thursday, Dec. 20th through Tuesday, Jan. 1st. 7am classes will resume Wednesday, Jan. 2nd.
No 4pm Wednesday Little Kids Classes from Dec. 20th through Jan. 9th. No 4pm Monday Older Kids Classes from Dec. 24th through Jan. 14th.
No 8pm Mixed Levels/Flow Wednesday Dec. 19 - 26th. Class will become Ashtanga with Matt Moyer in January.
Friday, December 21st – three classes only: In Studio 1: 9:15 – 10:30 am Beginners with Jonathan / In Studio 2: 3:45 – 5pm Community class with Jill / 5:30 – 7pm Mixed Levels with Hanna
Saturday, December 22nd – All classes will be in Studio 2 (We’re refinishing the floor!)
In Studio 2: 9:15 – 10:45am Mixed Levels II with Hanna / 11:30 – 12:45pm Beginners with Jonathan
Sunday, December 23rd - In Studio 2: 9:00 – 10:15am Beginners with Sam / 11:00 – 12:30pm Flow with Carrie Kim
Monday, December 24th - In Studio 2: 9:15 – 10:30am Beginners II with Jonathan
Tuesday, December, 25th – Studio closed!
Wednesday, December 26th - In Studio 1: No 7am Mixed Levels with Maja, No 4pm Kids Class / In Studio 2: No 8-9am Meditation class with Terry, No 4-5pm Pilates with Tannis, All other classes as scheduled!
All classes as regularly scheduled from Thursday Dec. 27th through Dec. 30th except 7am and Kids classes
No Iyengar class Saturday, Dec. 29th at 8:30am
Monday, December 31st - Last class of the day in Studio 1 will be the 12:30 – 12pm Mixed Levels with Marti Jo; No classes in Studio 2
Tuesday, January 1st - In Studio 1: 10 –11:15am Beginners with Sam / 11:30 –1:00pm Mixed Levels with Dana

space studio, manhattan beach

Regular schedule through this Sunday, December 23, with two exceptions:
~ Special Yoga for Kids (ages 4-6) this Saturday, December 22 at 9am.
~ No Power Yoga till January 2.
We are open every morning next week, except Tuesday, December 25. Spin only, no yoga.
Back to the regular schedule for the weekend of 12/29 and 12/30.
A huge THANK YOU for your patronage this year! Thank you for your support, your friendship, your loyalty, and your referrals!
Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a very happy and healthy 2007!

still yoga, silverlake

click here for the schedule changes; gina zimmerman will be teaching a 9:00am class on christmas day and lucy bivins will be teaching a 11:00am class on new year's day.

swerve studio, los angeles

(note: i've only listed the yoga classes; check their website for the other classes)
10:00 - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Lauren for 1hr
11:15 - "Vinyasa Flow Yoga" with Stella 1hr
10:00am - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Teigh for 1.25hr
6:00pm - FREE CLASS! - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Bianca for 1.25hr
11:00am - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Gillian for 1.25hr
FRIDAY 12/28:
7:30 - "Anusara Yoga" with Brookelin for 1hr
12:30 - "Anusara Inspired Yoga"(CC--$9) with Brookelin for 1hr
6:15 - "Yoga Booty Ballet Happy Hour!" with Patty for 1hr
10:00 - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Lauren for 1.5hr
5:00 - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Bianca for 1.25hr
SUNDAY 12/30 ~ 12/30:
10:00 - "Yoga Booty Ballet" with Lauren for 1hr
10:00 - "Yoga Booty Ballet " with Lauren for 1.5hr

truyoga, santa monica

Monday 12/24 Closed - Christmas Eve
Tuesday 12/25 Closed - Christmas
Wednesday 12/26 Closed
Thursday 12/27 Open
Friday 12/28 Open
Saturday 12/29 Open (for 10:30am class)
Sunday 12/30 Closed
Monday 12/31 - Closed - New Years Eve
Tuesday 1/1 - Closed - New Years Day

u studio, los angeles

Sunday, December 23 - 10:30am with Andrea
Monday, December 24 & Tuesday, December 25 - Closed
Wednesday, December 26 - 10:30am with Ze / 5:30pm with Ursula
Thursday, December 27 - 5:30pm with Ursula
Friday, December 28 - 5:30pm with Ursula
Saturday, December 29 - 10:30am with Andrea
Sunday, December 30 - 10:30am with Andrea
Monday, December 31 - 10:30am with Ursula
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 9:00am and 10:30am with Andrea / 4:00pm with Ursula
*please sign up in advance at the studio to secure their spot for these popular New Year's Day classes.

urth yoga, echo park

click here for the schedule changes; jeff will be teaching a 9:00am class on christmas day AND a 10:30am class on new year's day!

YAS, venice

click here to download holiday schedule.

yoga at the village, glendale

Open on Christmas and New Years' Eve Daytime Classes only.
6pm and 7:30pm classes will NOT be in session.
Closed Christmas Day and New Years' Day.

yoga bindu, san pedro

The studio will be closed on December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1.
On December 26 and January 2, only the 8:30 AM class will be held.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

yoga blend, burbank

Monday, December 24th
9:30am-11am Level 1-2 w/ Nicole
11:30am- 12:45pm Gentle w/ Bekah
12:00pm-1:30pm Level 1-2 w/ Keric
1:00pm-2:00pm Yoga Stretch w/ Bekah
Special Christmas Eve Class!
4:00pm-5:30pm Level 1-2 Flow with David
Tuesday, December 25th
7:00am-7:45am Meditation w/ Bindu
8:00am-9:00am Gentle/Stretch w/ Bindu
Monday, December 31st
9:30am-11am Level 1-2 w/ Nicole
11:30am- 12:45pm Gentle w/ Bekah
12:00pm-1:30pm Level 1-2 w/ Keric
1:00pm-2:00pm Yoga Stretch w/ Bekah
Special New Year's Eve Class!
4:00pm-5:30pm Level 1-2 Flow w/ David
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
7:00am-7:45am Meditation w/ Bindu
8:00am-9:00am Gentle/Stretch w/ Bindu
Special New Year's Day Class!
10:30am-12:00pm Restorative w/ Bekah
We will re-open on January 2nd with our full schedule!

yoga circle downtown, los angeles

Over the next couple of weeks our schedule will be as follows:
Christmas Eve Closed
Christmas Day Closed
Wed Dec 26, 12noon and 7:30pm
Thursday Dec 27, Return to Regular Schedule
New Years Eve 12noon only
New Years Day Closed
Wed Jan 2, 12noon and 7:30pm
Thurs Jan 3, Return to Regular Schedule

yoga groove studio, north hollywood

Starting Tuesday, December 4, 2007 the 7:45 PM Class will be cancelled for the month of December 2007. Class to resume in the New Year!
There will be no classes offered this day.
There will be no classes offered this day.
There will be an 11 AM class only. Karen will teach an All Level Flow class.

yoga house, pasadena

Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve:
7:00am Level 1 Anne Bosi
9:00am Level 1 John Sovec
10:00am Level 1-2 Susan Priver
Tuesday, December 25, Christmas Day Closed
Monday, December 31, New Year's Eve:
7:00am Level 1 Carolyn Sachs
9:00am Level 1 John Sovec
10:00am Level 1-2 Hanna Gilan
Tuesday, January 1, New Year's Day Closed
Happy Holidays from Yoga House

yoga loft, manhattan beach

Yoga Loft will be closed on Tuesday, December 25 and Tuesday, January 1.
Reduced Class Schedule (12/24-12/31)
Mon, 12/24
7:05-8:30am Level 1/2 with Dion
8:40-10:05am Level 2/3 with Gen
Wed, 12/26
8:40-10:05am Level 1/2 with Kelly
4:15-5:40pm Level 2/3 with Dion
6:00-7:25pm Level 2 with Tanya
Thu, 12/27
8:40-10:05am Level 1/2 with Kelly
4:15-5:40pm Level 2/3 with Jamie
6:00-7:25pm Level 2 with Kyra
Fri, 12/28
7:05-8:30am Level 2/3 with Alicia
8:40-10:05am Level 1/2 with Alicia
5:00-6:25pm Level 2 with Tanya
Sat, 12/29
8:00-9:25am Level 1/2 with Tanya
9:30-11:00am Level 1 with Elena
11:00-12:25pm Level 2/3 with Elena
4:00-5:25pm Level 2 with Alicia
Sun, 12/30
8:30-9:55am Level 2/3 with Kelly
10:00-11:25am Level 1/2 with Kelly
5:00-6:25pm Level 2 with restoratives with Kyra
Mon, 12/31
7:05-8:30am Level 1/2 with Gen
8:40-10:05am Level 2/3 with Kelly
Have a safe, happy holiday!!!

yoga loft, woodland hills

Cancelled Classes:
Sun 5 pm & 7 pm - Resumes 1/20/08
Mon Dec. 24 & 31: 5 pm & 7 pm
Studio closed Tues Dec. 25 & Jan 1st
Thurs Jan 3rd: 6:30 pm
Fri Dec 28 & Jan 4th: 9 am
All other classes will be taught as scheduled. The daily schedule will also be on the outgoing telephone message.
The staff at the Yoga Loft wish you a happy holiday and a Hatha new year.

yoga madre, arcadia

Christmas: December 24: open 9-12 - Closed on Christmas Day, December 25
New Year: December 31: open 9-12 - Closed on New Year, January 1st, 2008

yoga sofia, hermosa beach

click here for schedule changes; closed on christmas day and new year's day.

yoga west, los angeles

Happy Winter Holidays! We hope this email finds you happy, healthy and enjoying special time with your family and friends. In order to allow our teachers and staff to spend time with the ones they cherish this holiday season, we have lightened our class schedule beginning on December 24th, Christmas Eve, through January 1st, 2008:
Monday, 12/24
9:00am- 10:30am - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Adesh Kaur
6:00pm-7:30pm - Sat Nam Rasayan with Hargopal Kaur
7:00pm-8:30pm - Yoga, Chanting & Philosophy with Guru Singh
Tuesday, 12/25 - CLOSED for Holiday
Wednesday, 12/26 - CLOSED for Holiday
Thursday, 12/27
9:00am- 10:30am - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Zizi
10:30am-12pm - Pregnancy Yoga with Nancy
5:30pm-6:30pm - Happy Hour Yoga with GuruMeher Singh
6:00pm-7:30pm - Yoga for Absolute Beginners with Aida
7:00pm-8:30pm - Yoga, Chanting & Philosophy with Guru Singh
Friday, 12/28
7:00am-8:15am - Rise & Shine morning yoga with Pamela
9:00am-10:30am - Women's Yoga & Meditation with Aida
12:30pm-2pm - Lunchtime Yoga with Ajai Kaur
5:30pm-6:50pm - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Jeannie
6:00pm-8:30pm - Yoga with Sat Nam Rasayan with Lou & Hari Nam Singh
7:00pm- 8:30pm - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Har Darshan Kaur
Saturday, 12/29
8:30am-10am - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Siri Gopal Singh
10:30am-12pm - Beginners Yoga with Aida
12:30pm -2pm - Pregnancy Yoga with Monique
Sunday, 12/30
10am-11:30am - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Dr. Wahe Guru Singh
5pm-6:30pm - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Amrit Singh
Monday, 12/31
9:00am- 10:30am - Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Adesh Kaur
6:30pm-9:30pm - New Year's Eve Yoga with Guru Singh!
Tuesday, 1/1
11:00am-12:30pm - New Year’s day yoga with Amrit Singh! Develop the resolve to keep your resolutions!
We’ll be back to our regular schedule on January 2.

yoga works, all locations

click here to access the class schedule (can select specific location, teacher, level, style, day); all locations have a limited schedule on December 24th and are closed on December 25th. they'll also have a limited schedule on December 31st and January 1st (although all classes on New Year's Day are FREE -- at least the few that will be offered at the larchmont, main, and montana locations; the palisades, westlake, and westwood locations will be closed on the 1st).

yoga world, long beach

Yoga World Studio will be closed starting 12/24/07 and we will reopen on 1/2/08. All passes will be automatically extended to incorporate the holiday break.
New Years Day Class: Gabriel will be teaching a class at 12pm on New Years Day. It will be an open level class. All are welcome. The class will be taught at the Marketplace location.
We will be relocating to our new flagship location at 5508 Britton Avenue in the Los Altos Shopping Center in early 2008. We will let you know as soon as we have an exact date.
Have a Happy Holiday Season

your neighborhood studio, culver city

Dec 22nd - No Saturday Sculpt
Dec 24th - 9am Yoga Flow
Dec 25th - Closed
Dec 31st - 9am Yoga Flow &
Join us for our New Year's Yoga Groove! (starts at 8pm)
Jan 1st - Closed

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

marking the start of my third year!

exactly two years have passed since i started this blog, and to mark the occasion (since i really don't have anything to talk about today), i thought i'd pass along instead this youtube video i happened upon recently: 12 days of christmas.

and yes, there's a yoga-related theme buried in there somewhere... enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

'tis the season

christmas is the time of year when it's easy to do things in excess -- too much eating, too much shopping, too much whatever. and i'm no exception.

ok, so maybe i did eat too much last saturday at my friend mary's birthday lunch at the chado tea room in west hollywood. when someone offered me a mouth-watering assortment of sandwiches, scones, cookies, and cakes, i naturally wanted try a little bit of each item. the problem was that we were each given our own tray of delicacies, so it was hard for me to stop nibbling... and if that wasn't bad enough, our meal was followed by an insanely-rich birthday cake! needless to say, i couldn't eat anything else the rest of the day; just thinking about food made my belly hurt :(

i also kinda overdid the yoga thing this past weekend, but then again, what's new?

i mean, was i supposed to ignore the fact that there was a can't-miss yoga holiday fundraiser on saturday at yogaworks larchmont? an event that raised funds for the alliance for children's rights, a non-profit that serves and protects abused and impoverished children right here in LA? a class that was team-taught by some of the best instructors on staff at yogaworks? of course not!

and neither could many others in town because the largest classroom at larchmont was packed from wall to wall with yoga students of all varieties -- the guy beside me was so new to yoga that he barely knew how to get into triangle pose, while the guy in front of me would throw in an occasional handstand while doing a vinyasa. guiding us was an amazing group of teachers, starting with lucy bivins, who helped us set our intentions for our practice, and ending with david lynch -- dressed in a santa outfit, no less -- who helped us wind down in savasana after our two-and-a-half-hour class. helping to make the flow class delightful were clay kyle, james morrison, joan hyman, kathryn budig, malachi melville, mia togo, and whitney allen. and in keeping with the holiday spirit, there was live music to inspire us during the class and christmas carolers to bring us a sense of peace and joy afterwards. the biggest gift was an annual yogaworks pass; sadly, only one lucky student won it in the raffle held at the end of class, and that student wasn't me :(

i couldn't pass up the opportunity to practice with will duprey on sunday at santa monica yoga, either.

ever since he moved from santa monica yoga to liberation yoga, i've missed will and his unique teaching style. so when he sent out an email that he was subbing for julian walker this sunday morning, i immediately blocked off the time just to make sure that nothing got in the way of my being able to take his class. while some of julian's "yoga church-goers" were busy groaning that they were being subjected to something they weren't used to, i was relishing all the weird and funky asanas he kept throwing our way. the hour-and-a-half class went by way too quickly. luckily for me, though, there was more to come.

two hours later, after grabbing a cup of hot tea at a nearby coffeeshop, i was back at SMY for more yoga. bruce bair had sent out a plea earlier in the week for student guinea pigs for the teacher training final exam, and since i had helped out previously at other studios such as city yoga, yogaworks, and the iyengar institute, i felt compelled to volunteer my time at the place where i first practiced after my knee surgery, the place where my current yoga-obsession grew wings and took flight.

one by one, each teacher trainee walked into the classroom where our small group of "students" were gathered. they would introduce themselves to us, then ask if there were any injuries. and boy, were we one injured bunch! there was a hamstring pull, a funky lower back, a fused spine, an old neck injury, a groin pull, a painful knee. only one student claimed to have absolutely nothing wrong with her; by the time the question was asked a third time, i was expecting her to make something up just so that she, too, would have something to talk about :)

after the introductions, the mentors -- kyra haglund, nancy goodstein, and shari friedrichsen -- would read out to each trainee his/her assigned two poses. in sanskrit. and it was up to them to know what the poses were so they could teach them to us. there were a couple of instances when the trainee misunderstood the sanskrit and taught us the wrong pose -- oops! -- but for the most part, they did a great job. including bruce, who landed the last spot in the rotation and ended up teaching us sarvangasana (shoulderstand) and savasana (corpse pose). at first glance, it sounded like his assignment was a no-brainer, but when you consider that he had to come up with modifications for all of those with neck and back injuries AND teach a level 1 student how to do her first-ever shoulderstand, it was clear he had to pull his weight just like everyone else. yay bruce!

and what's the holidays without a shopping overload? get this: i dropped by the eco gift show not once, not twice, but THREE times in a two-day period (and i'm not even counting the five hours i spent at the venue on friday night helping set-up)! with my busy weekend schedule, i had to try to fit in the shopping whenever i could; i went saturday morning before the luncheon and again saturday evening after the holiday flow class. and when i realized that i was still short some gifts, i dropped by once more after the teaching training session on sunday. and i'm glad i went that third time, not only because i was able to cross more names off my gift-giving list, but also because i ran into so many friendly faces at the fair... like at the yogaworks booth, the yoga tribe and culture booth, the amazon herb booth, the manduka booth, the dali mama booth, the spiritual cinema booth... and that's not even counting the new acquaintances i made at many of the other booths!

maybe i should add "too much socializing" to my list of excesses. but then again, 'tis the season! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

mindful holiday shopping

last month, while scanning the bulletin board at santa monica yoga, i came across a flyer for a volunteer opportunity in santa monica:

Volunteer for the Eco Gift Expo!

December 15-16, 2007
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

The Eco Gift Show is a shopping festival where 15,000 consumers and 150 great companies get together to make shopping and giving the most fun ever. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating with you there.

~ Best Gift Shopping Ever
~ Uplifting positive environment
~ Organic Food Court
~ Musicians, magicians, performers

Volunteers are needed for set up and for on-site show operations,
Volunteers must complete at least one 6-hour shift.

Volunteers will receive:
~ Free admission into Expo
~ Organic cotton Eco Gift staff t-shirt
~ Exclusive Eco Gift Expo Gift Bag

it sounded like a fair enough trade. in exchange for six hours of my time (which really wasn't too bad if i had nothing better to do), i would get free admission, a t-shirt, and a gift bag. if i found some items to buy, fantastic! if i didn't, at least i had a new shirt and a bag full of goodies i could hopefully use :)

i took down the information, stashed it in my purse, and eventually forgot about it...

that is, until i started seeing the gift fair plugged in almost every other newsletter i received. in time, i realized that this was no small-time event; there were some big-name businesses that had signed on to become a part of this first-ever eco-conscious shopping spree: dali mama, elephant magazine, energy muse, greenopia, inner waves organics, los angeles times, manduka, sacred sounds radio, spirit voyage, star 98.7, vespa, whole foods, whole life times, yoga journal, yoga tribe and culture, yogi tea, yogi times, plus many, many others. it was sounding more and more like something i wanted to go to, whether or not i got in for free. or even got that free t-shirt.

shortly after, i bumped into tommy rosen, eco gift expo founder, at the shakti fundraiser at power yoga west. when i told him that i was thinking of volunteering, he seemed so genuinely grateful for any help i could give.

the next thing i knew, i found myself signing up online to work the set-up shift on the evening of the 14th, which happens to be tomorrow night. needless to say, i probably won't be able to shop at that time, but with the free entry i'll be receiving, i'll be able to shop freely on saturday and/or sunday and not have to worry about having to attend to volunteer responsibilities.

i really hope i find a lot of good gifts to buy at the expo, especially since i haven't started my christmas shopping and there are only 12 days left before the big day!

by the way, the santa monica civic's located at 1855 main street, at the corner of main and pico, just down the street from city hall and the santa monica place mall.
parking is $8 (honestly, since almost all big blue bus routes have stops within walking distance from the venue, you're better off taking the bus).
tickets are $10.
expo hours are 9am to 8pm on saturday, dec 15th and 9am to 5pm on sunday, dec 16th.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

shock therapy

when i told the people at the office that i needed shock therapy, they laughed and said: it's about time!

they're lucky i knew they were kidding... or were they?

i shared that news with them yesterday morning after my visit to the doctor; he was following up on my low back pain and pulled hamstring.

the back pain, though still a problem, seems to be more tolerable, thanks to my new regimen that includes a new physical therapist, new acupuncturist, some chinese herb supplements, and improved posture (i'm trying to sit and stand straighter). something i've been doing is working, and since i don't know exactly what that something is, we both agreed that i should stay the course and hope for the best.

as for the hamstring, it's status quo. it's been five months since the original injury and it isn't getting any better; in fact, there've been times when i could have sworn i was getting worse. maybe there's something i haven't tried that might speed up the healing process?

along with more invasive options, he mentioned a new treatment called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). it was originally designed to treat chronic heel pain, but there have been studies that show that it's been just as effective in treating other muscle injuries, including hamstring tears like mine.

it just so happened that he had an ESWT machine in his office for a trial run. would i be interested in joining his test group of patients? the recommended course of treatment is for three sessions, each scheduled about a week apart. and since he only had the machine until the end of the month, i needed to start ASAP...

i wondered if my insurance would cover it.

... oh, and there will be no charge for the treatment...

i immediately pulled out my calendar and made those three appointments, with my first encounter with the swiss dolorclast machine scheduled for the next day.

which happened to be this morning.

i spent a short three minutes getting the source of my pain pummeled by a jackhammer-like device. yes, it hurt, but it was tolerable. when it was over, the familiar pain was still there; thankfully, though, it wasn't any worse. one visit down, two more to go. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

the only instruction i received was to avoid taking anti-inflammatories while the hamstring was re-healing itself. other than that, i could resume my usual activities, including yoga, as long as it didn't cause any pain.

choosing instead to take the more conservative path and just take it easy, at least for the rest of the day, i went straight home after work and tackled my to-do list:

1. i've updated the december events post. click here to see what's coming up this month, including new year's eve celebrations of music, meditation, and in one case, movement (all 108 of them!).

2. i've updated the westside weekday yoga class compilation (the corresponding class schedule link on the sidebar now points to the revised version). i still have to finish updating the south bay version; so far, though, not much has changed since the version i published four months ago.

3. i've tentatively planned a yoga trip to san francisco during the holidays. while my reservations have yet to be finalized, i have a pretty good idea of what i want to do.

all this sitting at the computer is starting to bother my back. gotta go rest now...

Monday, December 10, 2007

iyengar institute update

i just got back from the messiah sing-along at the disney concert hall, where i had a great time even if i wasn't able to sing all my parts note-perfect. but then again, if i keep working at it (not now, of course, but sometime before the next sing-along), i can only get better :)

so before i turn in for the night, i'd like to share this note i received from the iyengar institute earlier this afternoon. note the text i've highlighted and mark your calendars accordingly:

Dear IYILA Community,

Our landlord at 8233 W. 3rd Street has at long last given us a clear picture and firm timeline for the final months of our presence in our current location. He has agreed to permit us to remain in our current location through March 31 with no increase in rent. And so as of Saturday, March 21, we will say goodbye to our current location, so that we can dismantle and transfer our useable facilities—cabinets, mirrors, rope walls, floors, light fixtures, etc. The transition may go much quicker than that, but that is the current cautious estimate.

Also, concurrent with the sending of this letter, the Board of Trustees’ Relocation Committee is reconfiguring itself and renewing its efforts in finding a worthy home for our Institute within a reasonable geographic area of our present location. After the recent immense and ongoing successes of our capital campaign, the Relocation Committee will be financially empowered to act upon viable properties with much greater swiftness than previously. The members of the Relocation Committee, as of this date, are Eric Small, Larry Heliker, Chris Beach, Randee Devlin, Mark Harelik, Adriana DeFranco, Lani Daniels, and Garth McLean. The committee is working with a commercial real estate brokerage, North American Realty.

For those of us, faculty, staff, and trustees alike, charged with the daily operation of our Institute, our primary goal is to remain steadfast in our service to you, our students, who have chosen a life within the world of Iyengar Yoga. Our intention is that the end of March will be the beginning of our life in a new home, with a swift and graceful transition. We will fully maintain our regular schedule up to March 21. Plans are in the works to make Saturday, March 21, a special Farewell to 3rd Street Day.

IYILA will honor all current class series that extend beyond March 21, 2008. It is our firm intention to allow the smallest possible gap in class continuity, as well as remaining within our geographical area. However, if the practical realities of the real estate market drive us further away, we understand that some may choose to be refunded for their unexpired class series. Please know that once we know where the new and improved IYILA will be situated, we will be contacting you personally.

Though we will be saying goodbye to 3rd Street with poignancy in our hearts, we are excited and energized by the prospect of a new home, better parking, broader curriculum, and room enough for all in Manouso’s sellout workshops.

The Board of Trustees of IYASC-LA

Sunday, December 09, 2007

making beautiful music together

recently, i've found myself attending more kirtans than i usually do, and it's only because they were led by awesome performers that are a dream to chant with.

a week after the shakti fundraiser at power yoga west (and yes, my write-up made it to the december/january issue of LA yoga!), i endured the madness known as LA-drivers-attempting-to-drive-in-the-rain to get to yoga works in larchmont to listen to krishna das chant with steve ross and a host of others. i was initially turned away at the door because the performance was sold out and i hadn't pre-purchased a ticket (what's with that?!?), but thanks to an angel named nicole, i was able to buy the ticket her boyfriend brad couldn't use because he was horribly stuck in the same traffic i managed to get through earlier. with all the excitement that was buzzing about the room before KD walked on stage, i was somewhat disappointed when we were asked to refrain from clapping while singing because the performance was being taped. having to chant in such a reserved manner definitely put a damper on the kirtan, as far as i was concerned. too bad.

then a week later, i drove out to hollywood for dave stringer's concert at golden bridge. he was on tour to promote his new divas & devas album; along with him were vocalists suzanne sterling (one of the divas on the album) and spring, as well as the usual assortment of musicians whom i seem to keep running into at kirtans. and this time, all of us in attendance were able to respond as freely as we wanted; by the end of the evening, we were clapping and chanting ganapati om wildly and ecstatically... now that's kirtan!

but if only singing with a group were always that easy...

for the past month, i've been busy trying to learn the music for an upcoming holiday sing-along. while the average person would be perfectly happy singing familiar seasonal songs and christmas carols with friends and family in a church or town hall, the more adventurous push themselves to do something more demanding -- like singing george frideric handel's messiah in an acoustically-exquisite concert hall, accompanied by a world-class symphony and chorale. in four-part harmony, no less.

and as you know, i'm no slacker, so guess what i just got myself into :)

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

BDB passed along an invite he had received for prime seats to this extravaganza; he knew i was itching to try my hand at singing the messiah. and i, a former member of my high school glee club and of a small singing group that some friends of mine had put together way back when, took the bait and agreed to join him. after all, with my catholic girls' school background, i had sung my fair share of sacred choral music in three-part harmony (i sang soprano II at the time). so while i don't consider myself a seasoned chorister -- it's been a long while since those days -- i figured i could at least follow along well enough to have a good time.

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain!
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength
Lift it up, be not afraid
Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

i do have one disadvantage, though: i can't sight-sing. i have to learn my part by rote; i hear it, sing it, and keep repeating the process until i've committed it to memory. so just having a copy of the vocal score -- which is a must if you want to do the messiah right -- wasn't enough. and neither was listening to the CD version of the oratorio itself, because it's nearly impossible to pick out a single vocal part and follow along from beginning to end.

so how was i supposed to learn my part? in a little over a month??

He trusted in God that He would deliver Him
Let Him deliver Him, if he delight in Him.

thanks to rehearsal arts, i found the perfect solution: a learning CD with the alto vocal part (because i can't reach the high soprano notes) sung clearly over the rest of the chorus and orchestra. so all i had to do was listen and repeat. over and over and over until i got it. i placed my order online and within a few days, the CD arrived at my doorstep. i eagerly opened up the jewel case and popped the disk into my car CD player so i could sing along while stuck in traffic on my way to and from work.

two weeks later, i realized that i wasn't spending enough quality time learning my part. of the 17 choruses i needed to learn, i could follow along with only a handful. and i was far from being able to sing them from memory! i loaded the contents of the learning disk onto my ipod so i could listen to it wherever i happened to be -- at physical therapy, on the bus, on the train, while waiting for yoga classes to start, while falling asleep in bed at night (you never know; what they say about learning while you sleep could be true!).

then finally, the acid test. two days ago, i popped my copy of the london symphony orchestra performing the messiah into the CD player, hit play, and tried to sing along... and found myself getting so overwhelmed with the grandeur of the work that i kept losing my place.

Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ
And He shall reign for ever and ever.
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah!

needless to say, i've resigned myself to just being able to sing what i can, especially since the sing-along is TOMORROW. technically, i still have a few hours to cram, but since our seats are in a prominent location, i.e, the choral bench seats (which face the audience!), i'm probably going to have to follow the advice my older daughter gave her younger sister before their school's christmas program: if you can't remember the tune, just mouth the words and no one'll know any better.

yes, it looks like i'll have to fake it this time.

honestly, all i want to be able to do is to be able to sing the hallelujah chorus with confidence and gusto; it's so well-known that i should be able to follow along, even if i end up singing a hybrid of the alto and soprano parts. and who would really know? except for BDB, perhaps, who'll be there right beside me. yes, mr. B who can sight-sing AND has mastered portions of the messiah for his chorale's concert next week. argh.

at least i'll be better prepared for next year's messiah sing-along, if that's any consolation...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

lost in the holiday shuffle

the nice thing about being a yoga blogger is that i get to hear from many teachers around the LA area who tell me all about the classes they teach. and since i'm open to all kinds of yoga, i usually make an attempt to try them out.

there are a few teachers whose classes are still on my to-visit list, but with the holiday season and all, i'm finding it harder to find the time to get there. but who knows; it could still happen before the end of the year...

here are some of the teachers/classes that i've been meaning to check out:

charu morgan
tantric yoga -

I work with Tantra, many people say that Yoga is actually one facet of Tantra. I use breath, movement, sound, guided meditation and communication techniques to help people connect more deeply with their bodies. The unique thing about Tantra and forms of Tantra Yoga is that the Tantric path embraces ALL aspects of the body, including our sexuality. Since our sexuality has been repressed by our culture for so many years, there is much to be discovered about ourselves and what is holding us back from being the enlightened beings that we are through addressing the WHOLE person including how they are showing up sexually and in relationship.

This work is a great extension for the yogi to discover how to bring what they are learning in their practice into every aspect of their lives, particularly their relationships. Just to dispel the urban myth, it is important that you know that all of the work I do is fully clothed with no sexual contact.

charu's classes are on tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00pm in santa monica and are open to both women and couples. she also hold workshops at various locations around town; she had a women's sacred circle workshop that i considered taking last week but ended up choosing to do twister yoga instead. i suppose you could say i still learned how to work with my body, but in a G-rated way instead :)

nadia pillay
kemetic yoga - shu.yoga@gmail.com

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 was this close to driving out to downtown la to take nadia's class last october, but something came up and i couldn't make it. i checked in with her a month later to see what her current class schedule was, and she sent this back:

I am still teaching downtown. I primarily do private but have made evening classes available.

Mon, Tues., Thurs. @ 7:30pm
610 South Main Street, 90014 UNIT #403
$10 per class or $25 per week (3 classes)
$100 for the month (12 classes)

eugene park
supersoul yoga - www.supersoulyogala.com

I'm joining up with Raghunath Cappo (Yoga Works, Sports Club LA, Beverly Hills Sports Club) and a few other teachers to start up a bunch of donation-based yoga classes in West L.A.

supersoul yoga's classes follow a format similar to that of bryan kest's power yoga and marc holzman's guerilla yoga -- they're donation-based classes taught by a collection of teachers in a rented dance studio space. supersoul's classes are held at the pacific arts center on santa monica blvd between beverly glen and overland. the majority of the classes are held on weekday mornings (which explains why i have a hard time getting there), but there are a few held on weekend mornings and afternoons.

here's a recent update that came in this past week:

Super Soul Yoga is winding down for 2007. There will be a limited class schedule for the next two weekends (8th, 9th, 15th, and 16th). Then we're on break until the new year.

Here's the schedule for this weekend and next weekend:
Saturday: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM (Andy) and 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM (Melissa)
Sunday: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Eugene)

there could be other invites sitting in my inbox that have somehow gotten lost in the clutter. hopefully, i'll find them when i get around to sorting through my email. but with all the stuff i need to do, that might not be until after the holidays...

Friday, December 07, 2007

twisting the night away

The Core, Your Perfect Center
4450 West 182nd Street
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 542-2182
website: www.thecoreypc.com

The Core, Your Perfect Center stands alone in the fitness industry as a one-stop fitness and wellness center for the entire family. With children and adult classes running simultaneously, The Core is truly the fitness oasis the South Bay has been waiting for!
Adults enjoy Nia, Yoga, and Pilates classes from some of the most renowned and inspiring instructors in Southern California while children channel their energy in a positive direction through Art, Dance, and Yoga.
With additional classes tailored specifically for expectant mothers, babies, toddlers, teens, and seniors, there is something for everyone at The Core!
We invite you to socialize in our lounges, enjoy moments of tranquility in our meditation room and devote time to yourself, knowing your children are simultaneously laughing and learning in an enriching class of their own.

while browsing through the various entries i had on the yoga studios here in LA, i realized that i had never gotten around to posting anything about the core in redondo beach. i found that a bit bizarre, especially since my experiences there had been quite memorable and were definitely worth writing about.

like the time i had a one-on-one yoga session with jennifer stevanus and was introduced to her wonderful mix of meditation and movement. i can't seem to recall exactly what we did in class since it was almost six months ago (heck, sometimes i can't even remember what i did in class last week!), but since we were the only ones in the room, we spent much of the time comparing notes and finding out that we both traced our roots back to the philippines. another kababayan!

then there was the special core event when jennifer led our mixed group of students through 108 sun salutations; we were given bowls of beads to help us count our repetitions, and at the end of our two-hour session, we were treated to juice and cookies while we strung the beads on stretchy string and turned them into mala bracelets. so not only did i have to be mindful enough to remember to transfer a bead from one bowl to another each time i completed a surya namaskar, but i also perfected my manual (and visual) dexterity so that i could get the skinny string in those teeny-tiny bead holes when we were done (note to self: face it -- it's time for reading glasses. argh).

this time around, i felt like i had wandered into a kids' class when i dropped by jennifer's 8pm adult yoga class last night. the yoga studio had been converted into a playroom; in the middle of the floor were two twister mats laid side by side -- we were there to do twister yoga!

the class was something jennifer had devised to celebrate the holiday season. there were only three of us who showed up for class that evening (jennifer, a student named john, and myself). since it had been a long time since any of us had played twister, we started out with a brief session of the standard game to limber up. at one point, our arms and legs practically spanned both twister mats. we were doing pretty well until my bottom touched the floor as i tried to duck under john's arm as he reached over me. with our practice session ended, it was time to move on to the real stuff...

jennifer (or anyone with a free hand) would spin, and we would take turns following the instructed combination: right/left hand/foot on green/yellow/blue/red circle. we were free to do any pose we wanted, just as long as the correct body part touched the correct color. both jennifer and john got pretty ambitious in their choice of poses, opting to hold tree and warrior 3, for example, until their next turn. as for me, i passed on the balance poses and chose to stick to standing and seated poses instead. after all, it takes creativity to realize that dandasana, child pose, and wide-angle seated forward bend are acceptable if your turn requires you to keep a hand on the floor :)

since the point of the class was to have fun while doing some yoga, we kept the rules pretty lax just so we could keep going until it was time for savasana. after the class was over, we brainstormed and came up with more ideas for the class; i want to do it again just to see how it evolves!

so far, twister yoga is scheduled to be taught every thursday evening during the month of december only; if there is great demand for more sessions, it could very well be added to the regular schedule of classes. and having something that's a cross between a kid's game and an adult yoga class actually makes sense for a place like the core, a studio for kids of all ages, including those who need reading glasses like me...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

the french connection

round-trip train ticket from the irvine amtrak station (with free parking!): $36
overnight stay at the downtown rodeway inn (with free breakfast!): $85
one-day MTS day-tripper ticket (with unlimited bus and trolley transfers!): $5
sunday's inversion workshop: $40
monday's vinyasa flow class: $14
experiencing yoga in san diego: priceless

i regretted not having been able to take gerard arnaud's class at his studio while i was in paris last october, so when i found out that he was going to be teaching a workshop here right here in southern california, i felt that i was being given a second chance to learn from this seasoned yoga guru. and since i didn't have to go through the traumatic experience of watching my stash of hard-earned dollars convert into a measly handful of euros, it was an opportunity i couldn't afford to pass up.

arnaud's two-day workshop was going to be held at ginseng yoga in san diego, with the schedule listed as follows:

"Foundation work" for beginners & intermediates
Saturday, December 1st, 1:30 - 4 pm
Cost: $40 in advance / $45 at the door
Intermediate/Advanced workshop focusing on Inversions, Arm Balance, Advanced Spinal Twist, Hip Openers
Sunday, December 2nd, 12 - 2:30 pm
Cost: $40 in advance / $45 at the door
Both Workshops: $75 in advance / $80 at the door

knowing that i would probably get more out of sunday's inversions and arm balances workshop than saturday's foundation class, i considered heading south to san diego sometime late saturday morning, taking an afternoon class when i got there, spending some time with my friends that evening, taking the workshop on sunday afternoon, then heading back home before nightfall. it sounded like a great way to spend the weekend.

so all i had to do then was find a saturday afternoon yoga class. but where?

i remembered the YOGAone CD i had picked up at the global mala event. it's a blissful compilation of music from my favorite quango artists -- bliss, cantoma, bitter:sweet, thievery corporation, MIDIval punditZ, and more -- all selected and sequenced by amy and michael caldwell, owners of the yoga one studio in san diego. so there was no question what that second studio was going to be.

there was only one problem, though -- yoga one's last class on saturday started at noon. right around the time i had planned to leave LA. bummer.

i needed to re-think my plans.

i narrowed it down to two choices: i could take the saturday workshop at ginseng then the sunday morning class at yoga one, or i could take the sunday workshop as planned then take a monday morning class at yoga one instead.

making a long weekend out of it seemed like a wonderful way to start the holiday season, so after getting an OK to take monday off from work, i went ahead and firmed up my travel plans. the key was to make the trip as inexpensive and stress-free as possible, so after weighing all my options, i ended up spending saturday night halfway to SD at my sister's in orange county, taking the hour-and-a-half train ride on sunday morning, catching a city bus from the train depot, and arriving at ginseng with time to spare before the noon workshop began.

Ginseng Yoga
2985 Beech Street
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 338-YOGA
website: www.ginsengyoga.com

At Ginseng we strive to bring you the best yoga instructors that San Diego has to offer in a studio that is clean, warm and supportive. Although we offer a variety of classes and styles of yoga, all of our classes share one thing in common... a comfortable safe space in which to explore the body, mind and soul.

ginseng is located in the south park neighborhood, a few blocks east of the southeastern edge of balboa park. the studio is right at the corner of beech and 30th, just a half block away from where the #2 bus dropped me off.

as soon as i walked in the front door, i knew i would like it there; and it wasn't only because there was so much to see and touch (and buy!) on all the shelves that surrounded me in the lobby. i was greeted by a very friendly face behind the reception desk who turned out to be cindy bennett, owner of ginseng. she was also responsible for selecting all the cool stuff in the studio's retail area, which made my shopping experience even more delightful. but wait... i was there for the yoga, wasn't i? :)

and the yoga workshop didn't disappoint, either. gerard was fluent enough in english to instruct us capably through our vinyasa flow. and where there was some doubt on his part whether we got what he was saying, he would have his assistant, charlotte, demonstrate exactly what he wanted us to do. the sequence of poses was very similar, yet slightly different, from those taught by teachers i'd practiced with. and that's what made it enjoyable for me, because not only was i able to follow along comfortably with what was familiar, but i found myself being challenged, or at least having to think about, the moves that were unfamiliar.

we spent a good amount of time going through sun salutations as well as the standing and seated poses. we worked on inversions with our partners and spent some time doing headstands, forearm stands, and handstands as arnaud and charlotte circulated through the room to point out alignment tips.

unfortunately, we never got around to the arm balances that i was hoping to learn more about, so i'm still left with having to struggle through those on my own. oh well.

all in all, i enjoyed my experience at ginseng. i especially enjoyed interacting with all those i met, from those who were in the classroom with me -- arnaud, charlotte, and the small group of students whom i had a chance to work with -- to the those behind the front desk, namely cindy and her husband brad (who had taken her place while the class was in session).

given this great yoga studio find, i was amazed that it didn't find it when i searched for yoga studios the last time i was in san diego, especially since it's been around for around five years now. i'm glad that my google search for gerard arnaud led me to this wonderful place; i've added it to my must-return list!

after spending the rest of the day walking through the gaslamp quarter, then visiting with my marathon buddy mark and his family for dinner, i spent a relaxing evening in my hotel room, recharging my batteries for the next day's yoga class...

Yoga One
1150 7th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 294-7461
website: www.yogaonesandiego.com

Located in downtown San Diego, Yoga One has been voted "Best Yoga Studio" in San Diego for the past four years. We offer quality yoga classes in a variety of styles and levels. Our mission is to compassionately guide students toward enhanced well being.

since the yoga one CD is basically a compilation of music sequenced for a vinyasa flow class, i was determined to do just that. the first vinyasa flow class on monday morning wasn't until noon, so i had the entire morning to just kick back and relax. ahhh...

yoga one was just a couple of blocks from my hotel, so with nothing better to do, i got there early, hoping to be able to do more retail therapy. but all i found in the lobby was a table with informational flyers and a flight of stairs leading up to a locked classroom door. there was no smiling face behind a front desk, no assortment of items for sale :( there was a note, however, that said that the classroom would remain locked until right before class started, so i spent the extra time scanning the framed magazine pages on the wall by the staircase.

there were articles from various local and national publications -- san diego citybeat, 944 magazine - san diego, nostika, LA yoga, shape, fit yoga, yoga journal, and more -- which touted yoga one's status as best yoga studio in san diego for the past four years (this is from san diego magazine):

After studying with the world’s top yoga masters in India, Amy and Michael Caldwell opened their downtown studio, Yoga One (1150 Seventh Avenue, 619-294-7461), which just celebrated its five-year anniversary. Amy was recently featured on the cover of Yoga Journal and appears in a new pictorial calendar created by acclaimed dance photographer Lois Greenfield.

there were also reviews of their compilation CD (this one's from the light connection):

... Bruno Guez' Quango Music Group has led the way, breaking musical ground with sounds from musicians around the world to inspire relaxation and reflection. It was Guez and Quango that brought us the music of Talvin Singh, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Zero 7, Koop, and other artistic geniuses that have lulled and nurtured us over the last few years with their easygoing downbeat and chillout sounds.

Like other yoga teachers around the country, Amy and Michael Caldwell, yoga instructors and operators of downtown San Diego's Yoga One Studio, have been playing Guez' music in their classes. Struck by the thought that “a specially sequenced CD could be an incredible support for [their] students,” they made their way through the L.A. traffic to meet with Guez. Out of that meeting came Yoga One, a collection of world, dub, and chillout grooves, each track selected and ordered to fit with the flow of Yoga One's interdisciplinary Hatha Yoga classes.

The album is unique, from start to finish. I practice my own brand of yoga at home between writing and editing sessions, and I love the way this CD starts me out slow and gets me moving, freeing up my body and mind for… well, for Nothing At All. If you live in north county and never make it past the merge—or maybe you're not a SD resident at all—don't think there's nothing here for you. No no no. I'm sure it's fabulous at the studio, but it'll bring out the yogi in you wherever you are. And put a relaxed smile on your face.

with those built-up expectations of what was to come, i reached the top of the stairs, sat by the classroom door, and waited.

eventually, bonnie jones, our teacher for the class, entered the lobby and made her way up the stairs to unlock the door. i followed her in and placed my mat on the floor to reserve a spot in the large room. i was quickly followed by others as they, too, jockeyed for position in the room. there were some cubbies along the side wall to place our belongings, a clothing rack with items for sale on the other side of the room, and a floor-to-ceiling mirror covering the entire length of the front wall.

since there is no front desk help, in addition to meeting and greeting everyone who walks into the room, each teacher has to also collect money for classes and purchases and make sure that all new students fill out the required information forms. while bonnie was taking care of all of that, i managed to squeeze in a conversation with her about my trip to san diego and about how i had taken arnaud's workshop at ginseng the day before.

to my surprise, not only did she tell me that she had actually taken many of his classes in paris (and that she stays in the same neighborhood where my hotel was while i was there), but that she was also responsible for bringing him to san diego to teach at ginseng, where she also happens to teach. it was at that point that i realized that someone up there had planned for me to show up at her class; i mean, how else could anyone explain the coincidence?

i enjoyed bonnie's all-levels vinyasa flow class immensely. it consisted of the usual array of basic poses, but she also included modifications for the more advanced students that were so challenging that just thinking about attempting them made me work up a sweat! and yes, she did have some great music playing in the background, but i was so busy moving with the flow that i couldn't tell whether it came from the CD compilation or from some other mix.

whether it was because she knew i was a yoga aficionado, or because we had that brief bonding moment, she always seemed to be right there for me, whether i needed help getting into a pose or just needed a little adjustment. for a moment there, i thought i was personally being given the VIP treatment, but after hearing other students' comments to her after class, it sounded like she was there for everyone, not just me, which just goes to show how good of a teacher she actually is -- she made us all feel special :)

on my way back to LA, while enjoying the view of the setting sun over the pacific from the comfort of my train seat, i thought back on my short adventure in san diego. while it was true that i was a bit limited in my ability to get around because i didn't have a car, i still was able to find some great yoga places that were located close to downtown and the amtrak station. i'm sure there must be more that are just as easy to get to; i'll just have to track them down the next time i'm in town!