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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! :)