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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

it's time to partner up!

the days leading up to valentine's day can get pretty stressful.

for some reason, we spend a lot of time worrying about little things. like landing reservations at the hot new restaurant in town. buying (or receiving) the perfect v-day gift. fitting into that oh-so-revealing outfit. finding the right words to say when you finally pop the question. or merely trying to come up with something more interesting to do than just staying home and answering email...

so instead of stressing out over all of that, why not take your favorite person to a partner yoga class? it's cheaper, more fun, and better yet, you don't have to get all dressed up :)

here are some partner classes with an excellent group of teachers. since many of the classes will be held on days before and after valentine's day, you'll still be able to celebrate the 14th the old-fashioned way if you're so compelled... by the way, did you make those dinner reservations yet?

Partner Yoga with Lonne and Melannie
Free Spirit Yoga, Long Beach
Sunday, Feb 10th 1:00-3:00pm
$25 single/ $35 for 2 people

Come celebrate Valentine's Day with a Family member, Friend or Loved One. In this Partner Yoga Workshop you and your partner will explore Restorative and Challenging yoga postures as well as Thai Yoga Massage . When practicing yoga with someone else you find a deeper connection to your yoga practice and the one you share this moment with. Come join us as we Breathe, Move and Laugh together.

Couples Yoga Workshop with Christy and Jason Marsden
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Sunday, Feb 10th 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: $50 per couple before February 3rd, $60 per couple after

Looking for a way to celebrate Valentine's Day?
Come join Christy and Jason for an afternoon of loving fun as we explore partner poses and breath work. Try something different this Valentine's Day & leave feeling more connected with your partner in body, mind & spirit.

Valentine Partner Yoga With Christine Burke
Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, Feb 10th 2:00pm-4:30pm
Cost: $35 per duo; Limited Space so the workshop must be paid in advance to ensure your spot!

This special heart-centered practice will unite breath, body and soul in an exploration of ways to connect to one another and therefor to our selves. It will be a truly ALL levels experience with opportunities for more basic fun and more advanced excitement depending on the needs and desires of each student.
Now for those of you who are "valentineless" this year but like the sound of partner yoga - grab a friend - think outside the candy box!! Maybe this year your valentine is your best pal! OR take that big plunge and ask that cute guy/gal across the class every week if they would like to be your partner! Carpe Diem!

Open Sky Partner Yoga and Massage Workshop with Julian Walker
Santa Monica Yoga, Santa Monica
Sunday, Feb 10th 2:00-5:00pm
Cost: $50 up to a week in advance, $60 on the day; $90 per couple up to a week in advance

Julian's Open Sky Yoga is an tremendous tool for self exploration, healing and awakening awareness of energy. Open Sky Partner Yoga and Massage is based on Julian's in-depth research and experience (since 1994) teaching yoga and in his busy private bodywork practice. He combines breath, supported partner stretches and intentional touch to weave an extraordinary initiatory three hour experience for participants.
This workshop is designed to:
~ get you comfortable doing partner stretches
~ create a space to ask for what you want
~ explore the shared experience of giving and receiving
~ be a fun environment to be "in your bodies" together
This workshop is an excellent way to deepen intimacy and begin exploring the possibilities of ecstatic embodiment with each other. Come with lover, spouse or close friend. Just before Valentine's Day!

Partner Yoga with Rick Feldman and Heather Camp
Revive Studios, Chatsworth
Monday, Feb 11th 7:30-9:00pm
Cost: $50 per couple

Valentine's Partner Yoga with Scott and Andrea Lewicki
Urth Yoga, Silver Lake
Wednesday, Feb 13th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $50 before Feb 6 or $60 after. Full Payment is required to reserve a space. Payments are non-refundable after February 12

In this workshop, we will playfully explore ways that working with a partner in yoga can deepen our connection to one another and to ourselves. We will move through sequences of partner-assisted poses, where one helps the other, and double yoga poses, where each reflects the other in dynamic and balanced symmetries. We will use synchronized breathing exercises for relaxation and ultimate connection with one another.
In the texts of yoga philosophy there is the concept of Vimarsha which translates as Divine Reflection. Sometimes to see our full potential more clearly, it helps to have it reflected through the eyes of another. This can be profoundly true in yoga where working with a partner can afford us the opportunity to deepen our practice in new ways.
This workshop is for all levels. We welcome couples, friends, family... The only prerequisite is to giggle and have fun.

Partner Yoga: a Valentine’s celebration with Anthony and Rebecca Benenati
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Thursday, Feb 14th 6:00-8:30pm
Cost: $50 per couple, $45 before Feb 1st

Yogi Bhajan once said, "relationships are the highest form of yoga".
Love and relationships come in many forms - romance, family, and friendships, This Valentine's do something different! Forget paying for expensive dinners and jewelry. Come do yoga with your partner and really connect. Celebrate your relationship by bending, balancing, and breathing with them. Isn't that what we do anyway?
Rebecca and Anthony will lead this very fun, loving, and playful practice that includes asana, restorative poses, massage techniques, meditation and Valentine's treats to eat!
All levels are welcome to attend.

Valentine's Day Partner Yoga with Billy and Patti Asad
Yoga Works Main Street, Santa Monica
Thursday, Feb 14th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $55 by January 25th, $65 after January 25th (per couple)

An annual evening of fun and laughter exploring partner-assisted asanas and meditation.

Valentine's Day Partner Yoga with Billy and Patti Asad
Yoga Works Pacific Palisades
Friday, Feb 15th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $55 by January 25th, $65 after January 25th (per couple)

An annual evening of fun and laughter exploring partner-assisted asanas and meditation.

Date Night Yoga with Chandra and Jeff Gero
Yoga Works Westlake Village
Friday, Feb 15th 6:30-8:30pm
Cost: $40 per couple

This couples' workshop is designed for you and your partner to deepen and revitalize your relationship by assisting each other in a variety of simple yoga postures. You will experience an evening of fun, compassion, and intimacy while recapturing the loving feelings that first brought you together. Allow Date Night to open your heart and mind by letting the powerful tool of Yoga ground your relationship in love and compassion.
There's no need to find a babysitter, KidsWorks will be open for this special event!
Call (805)371-3030 to sign up!

Partner Yoga with David Lynch and Joan Hyman
Yoga Works Center for Yoga, Larchmont
Friday, Feb 15th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $55 by 2/1; $65 after 2/1 (per couple)

An evening of fun and laughter exploring partner-assisted asanas and meditation with David Lynch and Joan Hyman.

Guided Partner Class with Saul David Raye
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, Feb 15th 7:45-10:00pm
Cost: $50

It will be a guided partner class of giving and receiving, a healing and relaxing Thai Yoga massage session, to release tension and lift your spirit. No prior massage or yoga experience is necessary. We will work comfortably clothed on mats on the floor. Sign up with a friend or come alone.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

the la times wants your opinion...

a couple of weeks ago, i posted something from the LA times about some small, yet noteworthy, yoga studios in town. that article was part of a collection of articles about the fitness scene here in LA -- Special report: Shaping LA

the times also gave its readers a chance to chime in with their favorite fitness trends and resources. so if you want to push for your favorite studio, teacher, or what-have-you, here's your chance: Favorite yoga studios

now discuss among yourselves while i head off to bed... i need to get up bright and early for the yoga evolution conference tomorrow in century city. i'll tell you all about it the first chance i get :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

kids and stress

given that both this and my last post were inspired by something i saw on tv, you'll probably think that i've turned into a couch potato. but i haven't. really. you see, my daily routine includes me tuning in to the morning news shows while i'm getting dressed. and for some reason, yoga's recently been getting a lot of air time. which could be a good thing.

this morning, the today show ran a feature on how yoga's now being taught in schools to help kids cope with the stress and anxiety resulting from the pressure being put upon them to get good grades.

this accompanying blog entry from dr. michele borba at ivillage.com gives a good intro to that video:

Picture a high school gym where dozens of students lay on foam mats taking deep relaxing breaths to the cadence of their teacher’s voice. The class is Yoga 101 and it is the hot subject being taught from preschool to high school.

Educators are becoming increasingly concerned about how high stress levels affect students' emotional health and their ability to concentrate. They say students today are the most achievement-oriented batch yet. "Generation Stress" (as they’ve been nicknamed) is full of students that strive to be perfect, internalize everything, and don't know how to reduce their stress loads. To address these concerns, educators are offering stress reducers, such as yoga class, to help their students learn coping strategies.

wanna find out more? here's the video: calming stressed-out kids

it features a yoga class at castilleja school in palo alto, a private school for girls grades 6 thru 12. here's a write-up i found on their fitness and wellness program page:

The core of Castilleja's fitness and wellness program is a curriculum designed to emphasize equally physical and psychological components of well-being and to engage all students not just student athletes. The program combines a comprehensive curriculum with fitness activities that resonate with young women like spinning, mat pilates, water aerobics, circuit training, kickboxing, and core conditioning.

In the Middle School, the goal of the fitness and wellness program is to empower students with the knowledge that enables them to make informed choices for lifelong fitness, health, and well-being. Coursework is interdisciplinary and integrated throughout the year. For example, we will partner with the Palo Alto-based Art of Yoga Project for a special program of eighth graders. Art of Yoga's mission, to guide young women to use yoga and creative expression as tools for well-being, accountability, and empowerment, complements the department's dual focus on mind and body.

wow. yoga, spinning, mat pilates, and kickboxing? how times have changed since i was in high school!

while browsing through the school's website, i also found out that the annual tuition cost hovers around $30,000 (yes, you read that right -- it costs that much per kid A YEAR!). knowing that, i say the school should also offer yoga classes to the parents to help them de-stress every time they write out those tuition checks... ouch!

some schools here in the LA area, both public and private, offer yoga classes to their students through yogabuddies. contact danay divirgilio if you'd like to get more information about their pre-K thru 8th grade classes.

many of the yoga studios in town also offer yoga classes for kids, with some requiring pre-registration. here are some of them (i've excluded the baby and toddler classes):

the awareness center in pasadena - kids 4-8: fri 4:15-5:15pm
black dog yoga in sherman oaks - kids 3-6: wed 3:30-4:00pm, kids 7-12: wed 4:15-5:00pm
free spirit yoga in long beach - kids 5-11: mon 4:30-5:30pm
glendale yoga in glendale - kids 4-7: wed 4:30-5:15pm
golden bridge in hollywood - kids 3-5: sat/sun 9:30-11:00am, kids 6-12: sat/sun 9:30-11:00am
inner power yoga in calabasas - kids (no ages specified): thu 3:15-4:15pm
karuna yoga in los feliz - kids 4-12: fri 4:30-5:30pm
liberation yoga in los angeles - kids 4 and up: sun 10:00-11:00am
mission street yoga in south pasadena - kids 3-5 wed 3:30pm, kids 6-8: mon 3:30pm, kids 9-13 4:30pm
santa monica yoga in santa monica - kids 6 and up: wed 3:10-3:55pm, kids 11 and up: mon 3:45-4:45pm
silver lake yoga in silverlake - kids 4-7: wed 4:00-5:00pm, kids 8-11: mon 4:00-5:15pm
the core in redondo beach - kids 4-6: tue 5:30-6:30pm, kids 6-9: wed 5:30-6:30pm, ages 10 and up: mon 5:30-6:30pm
yoga at the village in glendale - kids all ages: thu 11:00am-noon, kids 2 1/2 and up: fri 4:00-5:00pm
yoga blend in burbank - kids 4-6: mon 4:00-4:30pm, kids 6-10: 4:35-5:25pm
yogahop in santa monica - kids 4-7: fri 3:30-4:30pm
yoga house in pasadena - kids 4-7: tues 4:00-5:15pm, kids 8-12: fri 4:00-5:15pm
yoga madre in arcadia - kids 4-6: thu 4:00-5:00pm, kids 7 and up: mon 4:00-5:00pm
yoga works larchmont in los angeles - kids 3-5: tue 4:00-4:55pm
yoga works montana in santa monica - kids 3-6: thu 3:30-4:25pm, kids 7 and up: tue 3:30-4:25pm
yoga works pacific palisades in the palisades - kids 3-5: mon 3:30-4:30pm
yoga world in long beach - kids 3-10: tue 4:15-5:00pm
yummy yoga in los feliz - kids (no age specified): thu 4:00-5:00pm

as always, links to the studio websites can be found on the sidebar on your right :)

by the way, if you're thinking of buying a yoga mat for your son or daughter and don't want to spend the big bucks for an adult-sized mat (which could be too big or too heavy for them to carry anyway), you might want to consider looking into mats specifically made for kids. there's one company that i know of, only because its owner, katy downey, was nice enough to send me a mat to try out (my being vertically challenged does have its advantages):

Lotuspad is a little company that makes little eco yoga mats for kids who love to practice their downward dogs, trees, and warriors. We also carry a large yoga mat for adults.
While we’re small, the idea that inspired us is not - that a special yoga mat made from the highest-quality, earth-friendly material and sized correctly for small children can actually inspire a lifelong love of movement.

not only are their mats eco-friendly (read: no PVC), but they come in both small (48") and large (66") lengths. pick a mat, wrap around it one of lotuspad's brightly-colored yoga mat carry straps, and next thing you know, your child will be eagerly trotting off to yoga class, just like you :)

btw, they're having a sale on their products through the end of january, so shop now!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

yoga on channel 4

i thought it interesting that there was not just one, but two, items about the LA yoga scene on channel 4 this weekend. for all i know, there could have been more, but since i rarely watch tv, finding these two was news enough for me :)

the first one was aired saturday on your la, a weekly show which features stories about the people, places, and events that make up the LA scene. called "yoga for guys", this video had reporter tony arneson interviewing diamond dallas page at the equinox gym in santa monica.

here's the teaser:

Meet three-time world champion wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. He's traded his wrestling mat for a yoga mat, and created what's been called "the best damn workout on the planet!" Yoga for Regular Guys combines inspiration with perspiration for a workout that's made for every body.

one of the students in the yoga class was arthur klein, a local filmmaker whose soon-to-be-released film, y yoga movie, spotlights diamond dallas as well as other prominent LA-based yoga instructors (according to the website, "early 2008" is when the DVD's going to be available for purchase).

i caught the second feature on sunday night's channel 4 news extra; it was a re-airing from a news show earlier in the week. titled "how to avoid yoga injuries", the video features yoga works instructor natasha rizopoulos as she shows a student the correct way to do poses.

here's the text of the report from dr. bruce hensel:

Expert Offers Tips To Avoid Yoga Injuries

Research has shown that yoga is good for stress, immunity and a host of other ailments, but it also has a risk of injuries, KNBC's Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.

The popularity of yoga has exploded in recent years, with millions of people flocking to classes at studios and gyms -- but many of them don't realize just how physically demanding yoga can be.

"If people don't understand the correct alignment and practice thoughtfully and consciously, people can sometimes develop injuries," said orthopedic surgeon William Stetson.

Stetson said that he has seen more and more yoga and pilates students come in with lower back, knee and shoulder injuries -- especially baby boomers.

"We know that as you begin to be over 40, 45 into 50, your muscles lose their flexibility and you have to be more diligent," Stetson said.

Shari Caine Markus didn't realize she was hurting herself in yoga, and even considered surgery.

"After practicing for several months, my shoulder was in excruciating pain," Markus said.

It wasn't until she went to Yogaworks instructor Natasha Rizolpoulos (sic) that she realized she was collapsing her shoulders and straining her muscles, Hensel reported.

"So what I taught her how to do was to draw the elbows against her sides and now the triceps are working and the triceps can actually share the work of the pose," Rizolpoulos said.

"It didn't enter my mind before that there is a correct way and an incorrect way," Markus said.

Rizolpoulos recommended that yoga students start slowly in beginner classes, go to smaller classes and ask the instructor to keep an eye on their poses.

She also recommended students go to a reputable studio where instructors are certified, and to stop if there is pain.

More Resources:

Friday, January 18, 2008

so soon?

apparently, this just happened because i could've sworn they still had classes scheduled at this location when i checked last week... and the grand opening was less than a year ago!


Unfortunately we have had to close our Manhattan Beach location




Thursday, January 17, 2008

i'm in with the "yin" crowd

my recent affair with antibiotics forced me to temporarily shelve all hardcore strength-based yoga classes and focus instead on classes that were more relaxed. in other words, it was out with the fast and furious; in with the slow and gentle.

because of that, i'm becoming quite the yin yoga connoisseur :)

i've discovered that just as there are different variations of vinyasa flow and power yoga classes, there are also many versions of yin yoga classes.

there's the original taoist yin/yang yoga, fine-tuned and taught by paulie zink (with whom i was fortunate enough to take a class at santa monica yoga last year):

The style of Taoist Yoga taught by Master Zink was originally developed by Taoist priests in northern China and used for maintaining physical vigor and mental clarity. It encompasses flexibility training, movement exercises, visualizations and breathing meditations which are designed to increase suppleness and stamina, cultivate vital life force, release tension, calm the mind, and enhance self-awareness.

Taoist yoga draws upon the doctrine of the five elements and the principle of yin and yang used in Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Yin and yang are the polarities of a whole, the complimentary opposites of dark and light, cold and hot, soft and hard, female and male that allow all things to come into being. They are the two sides of a coin. One cannot exist without the other. Yin and yang are contraction and expansion, the crest and peak of a wave. Yin and yang are the pulse of the universe, the vibration of energy that is inherent in all life.

then there's the more commonly-practiced version of yin yoga, based on taoist yoga and made popular by zink's student, paul grilley (btw, he'll be teaching a series of classes next month at yoga house in pasadena):

A Taoist analysis of Yoga practice emphasizes the critical difference between Yin and Yang tissues of the body. Muscles and blood are Yang, connective tissues and joints are Yin. Yin and Yang tissues do not respond to training in the same way and a student’s practice becomes more effective when the difference is understood.

Most forms of Yoga practiced today are Yang, they emphasize muscular movement and contraction. By contrast Yin Yoga targets the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Yin postures are held three to five to ten minutes at a time. This type of practice complements the more muscular styles of Yoga and is a great aid for learning to sit in meditation.

being a yoga student here in LA has its advantages; i've been able to practice with teachers who've clearly been influenced by both yin masters.

on one hand, there was cindy fraser's slow deep stretch/yin yoga class at santa monica yoga on saturday afternoon. cindy's one of the few teachers here in southern california who've actually trained with and have been teacher-certified by zink himself. her class consisted of slow, controlled movements that worked on stretching and loosening up the joints in the body. we rotated and shook our shoulders, arms, and legs to get them to ease up. we flexed our backs and swayed our hips to help them become more pliable. we held poses for a few minutes until our muscles let go. i emerged from her class feeling more limber, more relaxed. ahh...

and on the other was catherine moulding's yin class at harmony yoga on tuesday evening. instead of a loose, free-form practice, her class was more structured. it seemed to mimic the version described online at yinyoga.com, a site that describes in depth the yin form taught by grilley:

In Paul Grilley's book Yin Yoga, he lists eighteen yin poses, along with five yang poses to be used in between the yin poses. If you are planning to hold each pose for five minutes, and if you allow a one-minute rest between postures, a five-minute meditation at the beginning of the practice, and a five-minute Shavasana at the end, in a ninety-minute class you will have time for only thirteen poses. There will be even fewer if you are doing two sides or other variations in each posture.

of course, i didn't know this when i showed up for class, so finding out that i was being exposed to a version of yin yoga with a fixed repertoire of poses was an interesting discovery.

but unlike the other yin teachers who spend a considerable amount of time describing how to get into each pose and how to make modifications if needed, catherine merely called out each pose, gave us a brief description of what went where, then remained silent for the next five minutes or so. which was fine and dandy if you knew what the "seal", "swan", and "dragon" poses were. but since they were neither the english nor sanskrit names i was familiar with, i had to look around to see what everyone else was doing. problem was, i really couldn't see any of the students around me because it was pitch dark in the room! you see, to make it more conducive to relaxing, all the lights in the room were dimmed way down. but it was so dark in there that half the time i couldn't even tell where catherine was as she roamed around! to make things worse, there were times when i couldn't even hear what she was saying. that's because the music was cranked up so loud that it drowned out what little she said (can someone please tell me how to relax when music's pounding in your ears?). so since i couldn't hear nor see what i was supposed to be doing, i ended up making things up as i went along. by the time class ended, i found myself frustrated and annoyed. which was in stark contrast to the regulars in her class who were cheerfully bidding her goodbye. argh... to each his own...

and then there are the yin instructors who teach variations of zink's and grilley's style of teaching.

like aaron reed who taught at exhale sacred movement monday night (he was subbing for denise kaufman); his teaching style is more aligned with the taoist method, so we spent most of the time moving freely and fluidly through the poses.

and lynda carre, whose class i had taken the prior saturday, again at sacred movement. she focused on stretching the connective tissue of the body by having us hold poses for long periods of time. somewhat like the class at harmony, but it just seemed like a more soothing experience to me.

other yin teachers i've practiced with in the past are denise kaufman at sacred movement and guin lyster at santa monica yoga. there are many others whose classes i'd like to visit; i'll make sure to try them out the next time i need to stretch more... which is pretty much all the time. oh well.

on the days when i couldn't find any yin classes that fit into my schedule, i took some restorative classes to stay within the slow stretch theme, like sharon skok's wednesday evening class at city yoga and shari goodhartz's sunday evening class at still yoga. and like all other restorative classes, it was all about using props -- bolsters, blankets, and straps -- to remain in supported poses to help calm down and restore my mind and body.

sometime during the week, i felt the need to the waters and see how my energy level was doing; i attended the IGNITE celebration of yoga and activism at sacred movement on friday night. it was team-taught by hala khouri, seane corn, and shiva rea. i was instantly reenergized as i flowed through 36 sun salutations, then moved wildly and freely while suzanne sterling and her band filled the room with ecstatic chanting and drumming.

it was then that i realized that i was back to my normal self... and could finally take a break from the "yin" thing and veer back into "yang" territory... at least for now...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

wouldn't it be loverly?

update: just received this note from sarah --
I am so sorry to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances, the Lovers’ Yoga Package has been cancelled.

oh well. keep reading if you want to find out about the luxurious NYC yoga package you could have treated your sweetie to on v-day...

sarah pallack from think PR asked me to share this valentine's day package deal with all of you. i think it sounds heavenly... too bad i can't make it to NYC that weekend. but maybe you can?


W New York – The Court and W New York – The Tuscany Introduce The Lovers’ Yoga Weekend Package

NEW YORK, NY – January 2008 – W New York – The Court and Tuscany Hotels invites guests to live (and wuv) well with an exclusive Lovers’ Yoga Weekend Package. Designed for couples who want to celebrate their shared love for the art of yoga together, this unique experience gives valentines the chance to relax, rejuvenate and create deep, lasting bonds while practicing poses in the stylish ambiance of a W Hotel with world renowned yoga instructor, Darrin Zeer.

Available exclusively at W New York – The Court and W New York – The Tuscany the weekend of February 15-17, 2008, the Lovers’ Yoga Weekend Package includes:

~ 2 yoga sessions with Darrin Zeer (a 3-hour session on Saturday, February 16 and a 2-hour session on Sunday, February 17)
~ Lovers’ Yoga and Massage books personally written and signed by Darrin Zeer
~ A $50 Blissertificate to Bliss Spa
~ Nut breads, bananas and strawberries served in-room
~ A Spectacular Room at a wonderful price

The Lovers’ Yoga Weekend Package starts at $709 and can be booked by calling Maya Stanic at 212.726.9534, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

About W Hotels Worldwide

W Hotels is a global lifestyle brand with 21 properties in the most vibrant cities around the world. Inspiring and indulging its guests with thoughtful, refreshing and stylish experiences, signature restaurants, bars and destination spas, W has become the fastest growing luxury hotel brand in the world. Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design, comfort, and cultural influences from fashion to music to art and everything in between. W’s first residential property, W Dallas-Victory, opened in June of 2006, and soon thereafter was named a Forbes Magazine “Top Business Hotel.” W Hotels have been announced in Scottsdale (2008), Midtown Atlanta (2008), Fort Lauderdale (2008), Buckhead (2008), Hoboken (2008), Minneapolis (2008), Downtown Atlanta (2008), Downtown New York (2009), South Beach (2009), Hollywood (2009), Philadelphia (2009), Washington, D.C. (2009), Austin (2010), and Huntington Beach (2010). Internationally, W has announced plans for hotels in Istanbul (2008), Doha (2008), Hong Kong (2008), St. Petersburg (2008), Santiago (2008), Athens (2009), Milan (2009), Shanghai (2009), Barcelona (2009), Dubai-Festival City (2010), Macao-Studio City (2010), Guangzhou (2010), Dubai-The Palm (2010), Yokohama (2011), Bangkok (2011), and Amman (2011). W’s first Retreat & Spa, W Maldives, opened in September of 2006 and in March of 2007, received the prestigious Travel + Leisure Design Award for Best Resort. W has plans to open Retreat & Spa hotels in Vieques (2008), Koh Samui (2009), Bali (2009) and Verbier (2010), the latter of which will serve as W’s first ski retreat. For more information, visit http://www.whotels.com/

About Darrin Zeer

Darrin Zeer spent seven years in Asia studying the Eastern arts of yoga, meditation and relaxation. A writer and consultant to corporations such as 3M, CNN, Pixar and Golden Door Spa. Darrin has been featured on CNN and NPR and in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and TIME.

Friday, January 11, 2008

size doesn't always matter

i ran into christy marsden and her yoga blend crew at the off the mat event at sacred movement earlier this evening. and thanks to them, i heard about this recent article in the LA times which recognizes the "little guys" in the local yoga and fitness scene.

so kudos to the staff at silverlake yoga, liberation yoga, goda yoga, and of course, yoga blend for receiving the recognition they deserve!

(by the way, i've edited this article to only include the yoga studios. the complete article can be read here)

It's the small things
L.A. has its fair share of neighborhood gyms that offer less and more than big-box fitness centers.

by Jeannine Stein
January 7, 2008

THINK "fitness club" and the first image that comes to mind is some warehouse-sized complex with blaring music and boatloads of shiny equipment. But the Los Angeles area is also peppered with neighborhood gyms and studios offering a different experience -- a more relaxed environment, smaller classes and less of a cookie-cutter approach. Some are posh with trendsetting workouts; others are holes in the wall where you feel as comfortable as if you were in your own living room. Though the city offers great outdoor workouts (the Santa Monica stairs, cycling trails in the mountains), there are times when only a class or equipment will do. Here's a sampling of noteworthy places in Los Angeles -- and just beyond:

Silverlake Yoga
2810 1/2 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles
(323) 953-0496

Billed as the oldest yoga studio in Silver Lake (12 years in one place), Silverlake Yoga is proud of its friendly, mom-and-pop environment. The studio offers 65 classes a week, including kids' yoga, Pilates, tai chi and prenatal classes taught by co-owner Juliette Kurth, a certified doula. Classes are generally small, with about 10 to 12 participants, but weekend classes can attract twice that number. "We've been here long enough that the entire life cycle of the community passes before our eyes," says co-owner Jonathan Emerson. "Students have gotten married, had babies and now bring their kids in."


Liberation Yoga
124 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
(323) 964-5222

Liberation Yoga has both ends of the yoga spectrum covered. For newcomers, there's an intro course that goes over the basics and explains the history and philosophy of yoga. For more seasoned practitioners, there are noteworthy workshops such as the Five Elements workshop series, which explores connections with nature. And several yoga styles are available, says co-owner Christine Burke, including Iyengar, vinyasa and ashtanga.

For people looking for an alternative to the four-walled studio, Liberation features a garden studio, a covered patio complete with heating (when it's cold) and plants, lending an outdoor feel for when you just can't be fully enclosed.


Goda Yoga
9711 Washington Blvd., Culver City
(310) 287-1255

Goda Yoga is the quintessential neighborhood yoga studio. Small and friendly, the entire 1,250-square-foot facility includes a yoga room that holds 30, a dressing area and boutique. The studio offers classes for all levels and specializes in personal service. "There's a lot of gentle instruction, and your teachers get to know you very well," says owner Cheryl Moss. "This area isn't saturated with yoga studios like the Westside, so the students are often beginners with no expectations."


Yoga Blend
1921 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
(818) 954-9642

Got a hankering for a yoga class at 9:30 at night? Head over to Yoga Blend in Burbank, where classes start early and go late. It's hard to find but perfect for a studio-heavy neighborhood where not everyone works a traditional 9 to 5.

A choice of about 70 classes a week includes a wide variety of styles and focuses, including meditation, prenatal, beginning, power yoga and stretching. Workshops are available for those who want to delve into new territory, according to owner Christy Marsden. The studio also fosters a noncompetitive atmosphere and encourages newcomers by adding modifications in classes for those just starting out.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

what if bill were one of us?

after viewing the video about bill gates' upcoming retirement which was shown at the recent CES (that's the annual consumer electronics show in las vegas), and seeing him being turned down for record, movie, tv, political, and even environmental gigs by bono, spielberg, stewart, hillary, and gore (yes, i know it's a spoof), i wondered:

has bill considered getting into yoga?

i mean, can't you see him donning a pair of speedos and giving bikram a run for his money?

or playing the harmonium and becoming an even bigger kirtan wallah than krishna das?

or performing the perfect double-jointed gravity-defying pose and ending up on the cover of yoga journal?

oh well, i was just trying to be helpful :)

by the way, the video file is fairly large; you'll have enough time to perfect your own yoga journal cover pose while waiting for it to load...

Monday, January 07, 2008

blah, blah, blah

i suspected there was something wrong with me last thursday when i decided to skip yoga class that evening. and i had no excuse for not going. i didn't have to rush home. i didn't have to meet up with friends. the predicted rainstorm wasn't arriving any time soon. i couldn't even blame it on being cash-strapped because i still had a bunch of unexpired class passes at my disposal.

i didn't go because i just felt... blah.

at least i put the extra time to good use; i went home and started compiling the list of events for january and was able to round up a lot of interesting things, but in my state of blah-ness, i couldn't even decide on which ones i wanted to add to my personal calendar. it was that bad.

the next day, friday, wasn't any better. it was so slow at work that under normal circumstances i would've snuck out early to squeeze in a class before my massage appointment later that evening. but no, i chose to sit at my desk and stare at my computer screen until it was time to drive out to that appointment. so no yoga class again. blah.

i started getting really worried when i didn't even feel like getting out of bed the next morning for my saturday morning run/walk routine. i eventually made it to the bathroom... and found my thighs covered in red spots. what the?!? i knew it wasn't chicken pox nor the measles; i had them eons ago. writing it off as an allergic reaction to something i ate/touched, i rubbed some cortisone cream on my legs and continued to get dressed. i knew i'd be late, but at least i'd be able to get in some mileage. i ended up walking four miles, which was infinitely better than zero. and after hanging out with my friends and listening to them talk about how well their 23-mile training run went, you'd think that i'd be all fired up to prove my own yogic endurance. but no; i decided that running errands was more interesting. what was happening to me?!?!

at around 5 o'clock that evening, worried that i would keep finding excuses not to go to class, i finally got my butt in gear and found the easiest class i could take. 5:30pm. yin yoga. lynda carre. sacred movement. when i got there, i was so tired that i didn't even want to find street parking and walk a few blocks. i parked underground in their lot, knowing it would cost me $1.50 to do so. blah.

it took a while for my body to realize that it was actually enjoying the slow deep stretch it was receiving from lynda's class. all the connections in my joints were finally waking up. and i found myself doing what my physical therapist and massage therapist constantly remind me to do -- stretch my hip flexors:

Overdeveloped and tight hip flexors can contribute to lower back pain by causing the pelvis to tilt forward. To counteract this, you must stretch the hip flexors and strengthen the Abdominal muscles. This will reduce pelvic tilt and decrease lower back pain. Strengthening the lower back can also help improve the balance between the muscles of the hip region. (from anatomy of the hip flexor muscles)

at least something good was coming out of my doing nothing :)

by the time i got home, the spots on my legs had increased in number and in size. i didn't have a fever, though, and the itch was minor, so i rubbed on more cortisone, plopped myself into bed, and called it a night.

sunday was another blah day. i considered taking raghunath's community class at lulu beverly hills (after all, it was FREE!), but i didn't feel i had the energy for all his usual arm balances and inversions. instead, i corralled my daughter and spent the day brunching and shopping with her. when my friend cindy checked on me later that afternoon, she was shocked to find out that i hadn't done a single yoga class all day. and honestly, so was i. by now scared silly, i dropped off my daughter and headed once again to sacred movement for aaron reed's 6pm relax deeply class, which was subbed that evening by isabelle du soleil.

once we were comfortably lying on our backs, isabelle talked us through a yoga nidra session:

Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep. It is a state of conscious Deep Sleep. In Meditation, you remain in the Waking state of consciousness, and gently focus the mind, while allowing thought patterns, emotions, sensations, and images to arise and go on. However, in Yoga Nidra, you leave the Waking state, go past the Dreaming state, and go to Deep Sleep, yet remain awake. While Yoga Nidra is a state that is very relaxing, it is also used by Yogis to purify the Samskaras, the deep impressions that are the driving force behind Karma. (from yoga nidra: yogic conscious deep sleep)

while she was talking, i really don't know if i was awake, asleep, or somewhere in between; i could somehow hear her voice, yet had no idea what she was saying. and i didn't really care because i was doing yoga in my sleep. perfect!

monday morning. more spots. i was getting worried. i called the doctor's office and grabbed the first available appointment.

the diagnosis: i had picked up a bacterial infection from the jacuzzi i had been sitting in before my acupuncture treatment wednesday evening. and the welts were more pronounced (and painful) where the needles were inserted. oh joy. no wonder i was so lethargic -- my body was trying to fight off a bacterial invasion :(

so now that i'm on a week-long course of antibiotics, i know that i'll be getting better soon, although i'll probably have to endure a few more days of blah-ness. which is well and good, because it'll force me to get in more stretching. as well as more rest, which my body seems to be craving right now...

Friday, January 04, 2008

new plans for the new year

it's the new year... time for new year's resolutions, starting things anew, trying something new... you get the idea.

here are some local events that you might want to look into this month. and please keep checking back; i'll keep adding to the list...

ongoing events:

Friday Night Groove Night
Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Every Friday 7:45-9:15pm
Cost: By donation

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

Kirtan in the Canyon with Andrew and Michele and Friends
Yoga Desa, Topanga
Saturday, Jan 5th (First Saturday of each month) 7:00pm

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

Devotional Chanting
Ananda Los Angeles, Santa Monica
Saturday, Jan 5th 7:30pm

If you like music, either singing yourself, or sitting quietly while others make music around you, come take part in Ananda's chanting sessions (kirtan in the Sanskrit language).
The sacred sounds of chants penetrate deeply into the consciousness. They have the power to transform and uplift the soul, and to open the heart. Chanting is an excellent, easy way to lift your spirits, and revitalize yourself after a long week of work.
Yogananda and Kriyananda have written many beautiful chants in English. We also sing some traditional chants of India in Sanskrit. Melodies are simple, and usually repetitious so you can easily join in. The chants are usually accompanied by harmonium, guitar, drums and cymbals.
Some Kirtans will be dedicated to Babaji and Lord Krishna with chants, stories of these great saints, an arati, and periods of meditation.
We pull out all the stops and let the devotion flow with chanting on harmonium, guitar, drums and cymbals.
Come ready to clap, sing and let your heart open wide to God's blessings.

Kirtan Chanting with Govindas and Radha
Power Yoga West, Santa Monica
Saturday, Jan 5th (First Saturday of every month) 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: By Donation

The first Saturday of every month, from 8-10pm, Govindas and Radha will hold a candlelit evening of Kirtan Chanting, as always on donation basis.
Come sing from the deepest corner of your heart!
Bring meditation cushions or blanket (no yoga mat). Wear comfy clothes.

FREE Community Night -"What is Yoga"?
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Tuesday, Jan 8th (Second Tuesday of every month) 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

You are invited to join us for a FREE night of lecture, discussion and practice beginning this Tuesday night January 8th at 7:30pm. As a new offering for 2008, on every second Tuesday of each month, City Yoga will hold an informal gathering featuring different teachers and topics.
Hillary Rubin will kick off this new year as she discusses "What is Yoga"?
She will include the general history and philosophy of this ancient practice as well as the physical aspects and take your questions.
Come enjoy Tulsi tea and cookies and bring a friend.

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Los Angeles
Saturday Jan 5th 8:00pm
Cost: By Donation (for our musicians)

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

Kirtan with Daniel, Larry & Friends
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Friday, Jan 11th (Second Friday of every month) 8:15pm
Cost: By Donation

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

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot, Daniel Stewart, Terra Gold & Friends
Santa Monica Yoga, Santa Monica
Saturday, Jan 12th 8:00-9:30 PM
Cost: By Donation

Zen Dancing Ritual Concert with Micheline Berry, Craig Kohland + Shaman's Dream
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Jan 13th (Second Saturday of each month) 8:30-10:00pm
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door

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

Chanting Workshop
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Marina del Rey
Saturday, Jan 19th 4:00-6:00pm
Cost: FREE

If you love to chant or want to learn, this is your chance! Come for a relaxed afternoon of Kirtan (mantra chanting) and good company. Practice the traditional call-and-response Sivananda daily chants, experiment with rhythm, become confident to lead chants, learn new ones. It's easy, and uplifting.
Mantra chanting is the most joyful when done in a group. The awakening energy develops devotion and selfless love. These are wonderful complements to your hatha yoga practice.

other special events:

Baby and Me Yoga with Cindi Cnopp
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Thursday, Jan 3rd 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Join us this Thursday at 10am for baby and me yoga with our favorite teacher Cindi Cnopp!!

Runners Yoga with Steve Mackel
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Thursday, Jan 3rd 6:30pm
Cost: FREE

Join us for runners yoga this Thursday at 6:30pm with Steve Mackel!!

BRING IN THE NEW YEAR FLOW with Kia Miller and Annmarie Solo
Yoga Works Main Street, Santa Monica
Friday, Jan 4th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $25

Start your year with an ecstatic infusion of Vinyasa yoga and heart opening live music. Through our meditation and breathwork we will invite and invoke a personal vision for the New Year. What does your soul yearn for? What is it you wish to manifest in 2008? What vision do you hold for yourself?
This powerful yoga practice which includes asana, pranayama, meditation and chanting, is designed to connect you to the Divine flow of life and your hearts deepest desires. Our fun filled journey will set the tone for your year, and evoke a state of grace and outrageous joy.
“The greatest gift we can give ourselves, and others is our inspiration. We will take a moment together in this yoga practice to connect to what inspires you!”
Don’t miss this opportunity to fuel your personal visions with the collective energy of your fellow yogis. If only one person is connecting to the Divine the whole group will benefit—are you that person? Come bring your joy!

3HO Birthday
Yoga West, Los Angeles
Saturday, Jan 5th All Day Long!
Cost: FREE

“Happiness is your birthright!”
This is what Yogi Bhajan declared on Jan 5, 1969 when he founded 3HO, his non-profit, Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization. Making that declaration, he said that it would be the mission of 3HO, to help people be healthy, happy and holy, provide them with the time-proven technology and sacred science of Kundalini Yoga, meditation, a healthy, vegetarian diet, and a philosophy of compassion and kindness.
Join us in class on the 5th and afterwards share a sweet treat and a cup of Yogi tea as we celebrate this special day!

Yoga Mala: 108 Sun Salutes Celebrating Winter and the New Year with Jo Tastula
Yoga Loft, Manhattan Beach
Saturday, Jan 5th 6:00-8:30pm
Cost: $25

Join Jo for a beautiful, spiritual evening of intention-setting for 2008 and challenging, physical post-holiday detox. An ideal way to kick off the 30-Day Yoga Challenge. Always one of our most popular events, so please register in advance at the front desk or call (310) 372-7334.

Yoga with Raghunath
lululemon Beverly Hills, 334 North Beverly Drive
Sunday, Jan 6th 9:30am
Cost: FREE

Come experience yoga with our beloved ambassador, Raghunath! Raghunath studied yoga in India for six years where he learned the disciplines of meditation, pranayama, japa (chanting mantras), kirtan and yogic philosophy. Raghunath's classes are imbued with an authenticity that is both uplifting and refreshing. Ragunath is excellent at taking esoteric philosophical ideas and presenting them in a modern contextual framework, which he explains in his challenging yoga classes. His vinyasa flow class weaves storytelling, pranayama, chanting and asanas, leaving the students physically revitalized and spiritually inspired.
Class starts at promptly 9:30AM.
Fresh young coconuts will be served to celebrate the start of the New Year!

Yoga with True Yoga's Ericka Bryant
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way
Sunday, Jan 6th 9:30-10:30am
Cost: FREE

Ericka Bryant, owner of True Yoga in Westlake Village, will instruct a complimentary yoga class from 9:30am-10:30am

Sunday Yoga with John Bea
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Sunday, Jan 6th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

One of our favorite teachers, John Bea, will be teaching our yoga class on Sunday. He's a great teacher for those of you who like a yoga class that builds strength!

New Moon Yoga with Harijiwan
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Tuesday, Jan 8th 6:00-7:30pm
Cost: $16/keytags

This being the first New Moon (and in Capricorn) of the year is a great time for beginnings and for initiating or starting projects. If you are looking for a time to plant seed ideas and make goals for the year, this is a good day to do so. Spend some time reflecting on what you must leave behind (such as limiting beliefs, old habits or defeating patterns) in order to enter this new cycle of promise.
Join us for a new moon celebration, a new beginning, a new illumination... a calling from the inside of you.

Set Your Goals For the New Year with Sat Prem
Awareness Center, Pasadena
Thursdays: Jan 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st 7:00-9:00pm
Cost: $15 single class, $50 for Series by 1/10

Awaken awareness with Kundalini Yoga
Create attainable goals
Form purposeful action plans
Using a combination of written and verbal exercises, Kundalini Yoga and visualization, you will craft acheivable goals for 2008. Our group discussions will help you create focused action plans to complete your goals. Let go of past blockages and open up to your bright future!
-Come prepared for a meditative yoga set; wear loose clothing
-Price includes workshop materials and light refreshments

360 degree Mat Demo with Desiree Bartlett
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way
Friday, Jan 11th 1:00-2:00pm
Cost: FREE

Come see why the new 360 mat is so revolutionary when Desiree Bartlett brings in 2008 with an in-store demo on January 6th from 1-2pm!!! The 360 yoga mat, created by Desiree Bartlett, is the first of its kind and is ready to give your yoga practice a new light! Come join us!!

IGNITE ~ a ritual celebration of yoga + activism
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, Jan 11th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $20

Exhalesoul and OTH present: Ignite ~ a ritual celebration of yoga, service, and activism with Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, and Suzanne Sterling
Join in community with fellow yogis as we co-create a ritual of prayer and inspiration and set intentions for the New Year. Activate with an Ardha Mala (54 Sun Salutes), Kirtan, Chanting, and a Homa Fire Ceremony.
Celebrate… Awaken... Unite for Change!!!

New Year's Detox Yoga with Sara Ivanhoe
Yoga Works Montana, Santa Monica
Friday, Jan 11th thru Sunday, Jan 13th (see below for times)
Cost: Full Weekend $140, Friday $40, Saturday $60, Sunday $60

Drop what you don't need. Join Sara for this special three day event to let go of everything that is weighing you down and holding you back. Through a series of specially designed vinyasa flow and restorative sequences, breathing techniques and mudras, you will improve your circulation, stimulate your digestion, soothe your nervous system, and emerge from the weekend feeling serene and refreshed.
Friday: 7:30-9:30pm
Saturday: 1:30-4:30pm
Sunday: 1:30-4:30pm

Heart Fire: Tending the Flame of Your Sva Shakti
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Jan 12th 12:15-3:45pm
Cost: $45

Join a celebratory afternoon igniting the sacred heart fire of our sva shakti - core essence of the Self as expressed uniquely through your vital energy. Just back from pilgrimage in Turkey and India, Shiva will ignite a ritual practice for the New Year in which to integrate the living yoga sadhana (practices) to tend your heart fire authentically as the center of one's creativity, vision, inspiration, wisdom and most of all transforming power of love.
Together we will explore:
• the universal and ancient understanding and practices of our heart center from
tantra, hatha and bhakti yoga integrated with the latest view of our heart’s intelligence for releasing our capacity for healing wisdom and love.
• dynamic and meditative vinyasa flow to awaken the body mandala and heart fire
• movement meditation and prana yoga to liberate the flow of your sva shakti
• chanting of the bija mantras of the heart chakra and the body mandala
• simple householders homa for connecting to the heart fire in daily life
• collective community celebration!

360 Mat Demo with Desiree Bartlett!
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Saturday, Jan 12th 1:00-2:00pm
Cost: FREE

Come see why the new 360 mat is so revolutionary when Desiree Bartlett brings in 2008 with an in-store demo on January 12th from 1-2pm!!! The 360 yoga mat, created by Desiree Bartlett, is the first of its kind and is ready to give your yoga practice a new light! Come join us!!

Yoga House, Pasadena
Saturday, Jan 12th 2:00-5:00pm
Cost: $40 until 1/11/08; $45 day of workshop pre-registration required

The turning of the New Year provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon the preceding twelve months as well as the year to come. Join Yoga House instructor John Sovec in “Art of the New Year,” a creativity workshop using guided meditation, experiential exercises, discussion, writing and art collage to release the energy of the past year and focus intentions for the New Year.
Under John’s guidance and drawing upon the collective support of the group, you’ll align yourself with the New Year by:
• Reflecting on the past year’s highlights, lowlights and unfinished business
• Identifying energy, relationships and goals in 2008
• Creating a collage “Treasure Map” for the coming year
Participants should bring old magazines to cut up; a photo of themselves they can spare; scissors (marked with name); a self-addressed, stamped envelope; 2007 calendar, day timer or journal; a pen and paper.

Paramhansa Yogananda's Birthday Celebration with Jyotish & Devi Novak, Ananda Worldwide Spiritual Directors
Ananda Los Angeles, Santa Monica

Saturday, Jan 12th 4:30-9:30pm
Cost: Temple program - donation basis; Dinner - $35-$75, sliding scale, pre-reservations needed

We invite you to join us for a gala, inspirational commemoration of the life of the great Indian master, Paramhansa Yogananda.
This will be a two-part celebration. At 4:30 pm we will gather in the Ananda LA temple for a devotional program with music by Ananda singers, chanting, an inspirational talk by Jyotish and Devi, and ending with a special Flower Ceremony. At 7:30 pm we will re-convene at the Mayura restaurant for a delicious Indian dinner, more musical entertainment and an Indian "Bharatha Natyam" dance performance.
All proceeds go toward sharing the teachings of Self-realization in the L.A. area. Come to all or both parts of this celebration. Pre-registrations for the dinner are needed. All are welcome.

The Church at Ocean Park, 235 Hill St, Santa Monica
Saturday, Jan 12th 7:00-10:00pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Cost: $20 at the door or $17 advanced online purchase

Join us for a night of ecstatic chanting with WAH!
The evening will open with the joyous kirtans of Bhakti Ma, and will continue on with Wah's unique soulful and spiritual sounds
A delicious vegetarian meal, homemade chai, and snacks will be made available, as will items for purchase from Amma's Bookstore and Boutique.
For more information call (323) 469-1247
All proceeds go to benefit Amma's local and worldwide charities.

Bollywood Nights
Yoga Works Westlake Village
Saturday, Jan 12th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $25

Get ready to dance-Indian style! These fun, seductive steps are a sure fire way to dance away stress. there's nothing like bopping to this groovy Indian hip-hop style music, known as bhangra, to let go of stress and get your Ya-Yas out.
Yoga teacher and Indian dancer, Hema has a gift for inspiring even the shyest of participants to own and express thier beauty, sacredness and femininity. No matter what your physical shape or body type, the playful dances and rituals that Hema teaches will stir and nurture your passion, exuberance and sense of play. A hallmark of Hema's workshop is laughter, her own and that of the participants.

January In-Store Events
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Sunday, Jan 13th (more dates and times)
Cost: FREE

Please join us for our complimentary community classes, held twice a week:
Sundays, come dance with us! - 9:30am:
NIA... every Sunday in January.
Tuesdays, bring your mat - 7:30pm:
01/15 360 mat class with Kourtney Kass!
01/22 Pilates with Diana!
01/29 Pliates with Sofia Klass!

Sound Healing Workshop with Himalaya Chakra Bowls from Tibet led by Suren Shrestha and Guru Bachan Kaur
Awareness Center, Pasadena
Monday, Jan 14th 5:00-9:30pm
Cost: $89 Pre-register by Jan 1st, $99 Thereafter

In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to use the vibrational energy of the specially made and selected Tibetan bowl sets for healing. Each set consists of 7 bowl sets for healing. Each set consists of 7 bowls which have been forged from the seven sacred metals which align with the seven chakras of our body. In their forging, the bowls are imbued with healing intentions by Tibetan holy men who further fine tuen each bowl to the specific note that affects each individual chakra. Reiki, massage and other practitioners of the Healing Arts are especially encouraged to attend. All interested students are welcome.
Limited to 12 participants…pre-registration is required.

Yoga Mat 360 Demonstration
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Friday, Jan 18th 1:00-2:00pm
Cost: FREE

Join us for a special Yoga Mat 360 Demonstration with Desire Bartlett, creator of this special mat.
Demonstration is from 1pm-2pm.
Please RSVP to reserve space.

Kirtan with David Newman
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, Jan 18th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 day of

Join us for an inspired evening of call and response chanting and devotional music with Kirtan Chant artist David Newman also known as Durga Das!
David’s distinctive approach to Kirtan embodies a heartfelt devotional mysticism with an adventurous musicality and poetic intimacy. His Kirtans are a joyous and spiritually uplifting journey into bliss! David will be joined by vocalist and percussionist Mira.

360 Yoga Mat Demo with Desiree Bartlett
lululemon Beverly Hills, 334 North Beverly Drive
Saturday, Jan 19th 1:00-2:00pm
Cost: FREE

Come In and See What All the HYPE is About!!
The 360 yoga mat was created by Desiree Bartlett right here in Southern Cali! Come by and see a demonstration done by Desiree herself. This is great opportunity to come and learn about the different uses for the 360 mat, ask questions that you have and even try it out yourself!!!
Kick off the new year by trying something new!

Symphonic Yoga II with Brad Keimach
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Jan 19th 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: $25

This is a Level 2/3 Vinyasa Flow class, to all classical music, all of which were performances conducted by Brad from his professional conducting days in New York. The composers whose music will accompany this special class include Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Verdi, Puccini, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Strauss, and Mendelssohn, among others. Come and see how your practice feels, and how your breath moves when accompanied by some of the towering geniuses of classical music! An once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Yoga for the Rest of Your Life with Fred Miller
Yoga Works Larchmont, Los Angeles
Saturday, Jan 19th 1:30-5:30pm
Cost: $50 by 1/5, $60 after 1/5

Begin 2008 by setting an intention for the rest of your life. Learn how to:
-Establish and maintain optimum physical and mental health.
-Limber up and stabilize your shoulders, upper back and hips.
-Increase suppleness and endurance in your body and mind.
-Relieve and eliminate lower back pain.
-Develop a bullet-proof back and strengthen core muscles.
-Quiet your mind and get better sleep.
-Expand your confidence.
-Create or deepen your spiritual practice.

Exhalesoul Presents Yoga and Healing with Shannon Von Burns
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Jan 19th 4:00-5:45pm
Cost: $15 Suggested donation

This workshop is suitable for all levels, options are provided for the beginning and advanced student. In this workshop, you will be challenged and inspired while being lead through a practice focused on ease, agility and the core of integrity. Prana, our life sustaining force, is an element you will be taught to explore by observing and transforming your individual breathing capacity. Whether it is your intention to discover the vinyasa approach to yoga or dive deeply into an intensive vinyasa experience, this workshop is designed to deepen your inner connectedness.

YogiMilan Launch Kirtan
Kula, 1231 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica
Saturday, Jan 19th 7:00-9:30pm

1)Suryadas & the Temple Bhajan Band www.templebhajanband.com
2) AMBE Led by Andrew Behla and Kamini Natarajan. Ambe is a kirtan band that fuses traditional chants with contemporary grooves. Dahveed Estrada and Dean Childers will also be playing. www.ambemusic.com
YogiMilan is an online community for yogis, i.e. people who are interested in yoga and who have made yoga a way of life. It was started with the intention of:
~ Disseminating the philosophy of yoga
~ Helping people practice yoga in everyday situations
~ Bringing together people interested in yoga
~ Providing yoga related products and services to the yoga community
~ Promoting wellness of individuals and communities through yoga
YogiMilan is a humble effort to create a comprehensive awareness of yoga among aspirants in the west and to guide them onto the right path. Affiliation with a sangha (community) is an important aspect of the yogic life, as we learn a lot from fellow yogis and are also able to focus more by associating with like-minded people.

Meditation with Scott Nelson
lululemon Beverly Hills, 334 North Beverly Drive
Sunday, Jan 20th 9:30am
Cost: FREE

Scott makes meditation easy! Come and learn simple methods to find peace of mind and connect with the source. Scott will teach you different techniques to quiet your mind, release stress, and be more efficient in your life. No experience necessary!!

Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class with Sony Trieu
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way
Sunday, Jan 20th 9:30-10:30am
Cost: FREE

Vinyasa flow class taught by Sony Trieu

Yoga Shodhana "The Detox"
Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda, Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan 20th 4:00-8:00pm
Cost: $50

Experience Mas Vidal's annual four hour Veda Yoga practice designed to flush out all the deeply seated toxins in the bodily layers (Dhatus) to bring radiance and peace to the mind. The Shodhana intensive will include Ayurvedic therapies (oils, herbs, teas & aromatic oils) blended with therapeutic yoga postures and techniques to detoxify the body and vibrate the soul. Considered a condensed replica of Pancha Karma (see brochure) you will also be given recommendations for preparation to deepen the purification process. Live music will be woven into the Shodhana, to end the journey with a guided Light Meditation. Only the strong survive!
BRING: Three large towels, Yoga Mat, Meditation Cushion, One large bottle of water. (These items can be purchased at the center).
INCLUDED: Detoxifing teas, herbs and oils will be provided to aid the purification process.

Yoga Day USA
Nationwide - http://www.yogadayusa.org/
January 26, 2008

Americans are all stressed out.
Yoga Day USA 2008 is the perfect prescription to help us learn to relax. This ninth annual nationwide celebration of yoga is set for Saturday, January 26. Just one class can help stop the harmful effects of stress, providing a heightened sense of well being and a preview of additional benefits including improved breathing, strength and flexibility.
Free, low cost or by donation workshops will be available in communities all across the nation.
Yoga Day USA is presented by Yoga Alliance (YA), a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to excellence in yoga education. YA sets nationally recognized educational standards for both teachers and schools. Sponsors for Yoga Day USA 2008 include Yoga Journal, Yoga Plus Joyful Living, MINDBODY Online, and the Mid- Atlantic Yoga Association (MAYA).

Yoga Day USA at the Core, Your Perfect Center!
The Core, Your Perfect Center, Redondo Beach
Saturday, Jan 26th all day
Cost: FREE (except for the henna body art)

This Saturday, January 26th, is an annual nationwide celebration to raise awareness about yoga's benefits by offering free or low cost workshops in communities all across the country.
The Core, YPC will celebrate the day by offering:
10:00a - 1:00p: Henna Body Art by Cynthia MacConnell ($5 - $40)
10:15a - 11:30a: FREE All-Levels Yoga Class with Jennifer*
1:00p - 1:30p: FREE Wellness Chat with Dr. Tonika McDaniel & Cynthia MacConnell
1:30p - 2:30p: FREE Posture Screenings & Chair Massages
Dr. Tonika McDaniel & Cynthia MacConnell have recently partnered in their practices & are thrilled to share their combined 20+ years of experience with The Core, YPC!

Good Medicine Event, featuring Donna De Lory
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, Jan 26th 1:00-10:00pm
Cost: $40/adv, $45/day of, $25/concert only

Come join us for an unforgettable day of healing, learning, growing and moving. Good Medicine brings you a variety of natural therapies and eastern modalities to sample - such as massage, Reiki, acupuncture, tai-chi, yoga, sound therapy, chiropractic, guided mediation and more – all administered by the loving hands and hearts of licensed practitioners practicing sacred service. Once you’ve experienced these modalities you can then learn about the benefits of these natural therapies from various experts in their respective fields. In the afternoon, we are proud to feature keynote speaker Dr. Mao, Founder of the Yo-San school of acupuncture.
There will also be lots of yummy, high vibration raw foods and juices to replenish you. And you’ll learn about the benefits of eating raw, vegetarian, vegan, etc.
The evening will conclude with the uplifting musical rhythms of Donna De Lory and her band at 7:00 P.M.

Maha Sadhana - A Shortcut to Immortality with Dharma Mittra
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Jan 26th and Sunday, Jan 27th 12:30-3:30pm
Cost: $80 each day, $70 in advance

Dharma Mittra Yoga is based on the continuous teachings of the living master Sri Dharma Mittra. He has been teaching since 1967, and is the most humble and beloved of teachers. He is the first independent teacher in New York City. His Shiva Namaskar Vinyasa series is a stairway to bliss that reintegrates the continuous flow of prana (cosmic energy) through the spinal column, emanating deep into all areas of the physical, metabolic, intuitive and bliss body. This program will begin with chanting of the holy names of the Lord, bringing one closer to their true self within their heart. You will be introduced to the holy mantra for purification and its meaning. Sri Dharma will impart the teachings of karma, reincarnation, and the foundation of yoga within eight steps. We will then practice ancient life giving pranayama techniques (breathing practices) to purify and energize the physical system, increase the flow of oxygen and stimulate the flow of prana up the shusumna. The carefully selected Yoga postures in his Shiva Namaskar Vinyasa series for all levels are inspirational. They will unify the physical, mental and emotional bodies, using intense, yet non-strenuous exercises that are designed to twist, stretch, manipulate and gain control of the body. Practice of these asanas strengthens and tones muscles, glands and internal organs. The postures are performed with slow graceful movements, so fantastic feelings of inner calm and self-control are felt immediately. With regular practice weight problems and disease are gradually brought to an end, health & stamina is attained & self-realization can easily follow. Dharma is a master at helping even those who thought they could never do it, lose their fear and become steadfast Yogis in this practice. Personal attention and helpful hints are given throughout the session as well as direction toward the true goal of Yoga.

Holy Satsang - Sitting in the Presence of a Master with Dharma Mittra
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Jan 26th 4:00-6:00pm
Cost: $50; $40 in advance

Holy Satsang is the spiritual practice of sitting in the company of the Guru for the traditional teachings of Self-realization. Satsangs are spiritual gatherings held to enlighten the disciple’s spiritual knowledge from the Holy words of the Master, as well as being showered in the Divine grace that comes from being in the physical presence of the Guru. Every soul is Divine, though blinded by maya (illusion) one remains oblivious of their highest spiritual nature. In every heart the Divine light shines with undiminished luster. You are born for Self-realization. The desire to attain the knowledge of the Self dawns in the person who is free from desires for worldliness and sense-objects. Life is a series of awakenings. You must conquer the mind and the senses. In this Holy Satsang, the joy of Samadhi (divine bliss), the attainment of Moksha (liberation) and the tools for attaining these states will be imparted to all participants. Through the help of these lessons, you will be able to remove all obstacles and pitfalls in daily Sadhana (spiritual practice), and receive new hope and joy in Sri Dharma’s spiritual lineage. Learn to conquer old habits, burn samskaras (negative impressions from the past), and control harmful thoughts and desires. The greatest victory is the victory over the turbulent mind. These are the lessons of love, peace and unity in diversity which maintains your connection to God at all times. OPEN TO ALL LEVELS

Yoga with Georgina Purple
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way
Sunday, Jan 27th 9:30-10:30am
Cost: FREE

'Come do some yoga and laugh a little in the playful style of Anusara Yoga®, with Georgina Purple. In this rat race called life, we can lose touch with ourselves and feel a little scattered.
If you're brand new to yoga, or a seasoned yogi/yogini, come join her for a yoga class designed to realign your body, get you out of pain, recognize bad habits we all pick up through our life, and come out a whole new person. But be warned, you may laugh a little, and have some fun. In the end, it's all about balance. So come play with her this Sunday.

Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan 27th 1:30-3:00pm
Cost: Whatever you want to donate!

Cause of The Month: Youth Aids
Yoga For A Cause is an all levels donation based class that happens the last Sunday of each month. This program is designed and orchestrated by Laurie Searle (Founder of ewishingwell.org), Christine Burke and Ashley Albrand and will include other teachers at Liberation Yoga. Every penny donated will go to the cause of the month. These causes will range from animal rights to kids rights and everything and anything where there is the need for our support. We hope to bring some awareness and financial aid to those who need it most while offering up our spirit and energy towards the highest good - all this and a fun and healthy yoga class too!
Please come join us and no donation is too small. For more information on some of the organizations that will be sponsored and for information on ewishingwell - visit www.ewishingwell.org.

Join the Evolution!
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Thursday, Jan 31st 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

Join the evoLUtion is a monthly event in which an inspiring guest speaker addresses current social/spiritual/environmental issues followed by a radiant, heart-opening yoga class. This is a unique opportunity to gather with your local community and learn ways to make a difference in our world through embodied spirituality and compassionate action. Participants will explore these ideas through, asana, music, and meditation.
The first event will take place on Thursday, Jan 31st at 7:30pm. Our guest speaker will be Andrew Beath of Earthways, speaking on the topic of Consciousness in Action. Kia Miller will be leading us through asana and meditation during this soulful, uplifting event.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


i don't know about you, but the holidays whooshed by so fast this year that they were over before i even realized they were here!

and while i don't remember doing much yoga, my calendar tells me otherwise. i mean, if i wrote it down, it must've happened...

starting with the weekend before christmas, here's how it went:

saturday morning, the 22nd. happy birthday to me! there was the strong flow class with vinnie marino at yoga works main street... as well as the rest of my birthday celebration that i wrote about here.

sunday morning, the 23rd. i dropped by the lulu store in beverly hills for their community class with kishan shah, just to find out that kishan couldn't make it; alex dawson (who's a she, not a he) from equinox fitness filled in for him that morning. which was ok with me, because 1: it was a FREE class, and 2: alex only teaches at equinox, and since i can't see myself joining a gym any time soon (because all my spare change goes to yoga classes), it would be the only way i'd be able to take her class. in order to accommodate the variety of students alex had in her class (child and adult, beginner and advanced) she led us through an easy flow, which was a nice way to get warmed up... and ready for my second class of the day...

sunday afternoon, the 23rd. part two. i mean, there was no way i was going to miss huck hirsch's acroyoga guerilla class that afternoon. freshly recovered from throat surgery, he had planned to teach only two classes before heading east for the holidays. and since i wasn't able to make the first one, this would be my last chance to fly in 2007! i'm glad i showed up, not only because i was able to hear what huck's wonderful singing voice really sounded like, but also because i had a chance to partner with another acroyoga instructor, sonia peltzer, who'll probably be teaching somewhere around town sometime soon.

monday, the 24th. christmas eve. i had received a short email update from hala khouri about her holiday yoga flow class with live music performed by suzanne sterling and josh brill at sacred movement. ok, so maybe this was the fifth or sixth time i'd listened to suzanne sing in just a couple of months (and i swear that she sounds more amazing every time i hear her), but it was also my first class with hala since the birth of her baby. i had hoped that she would have her cute little son with her; instead, she brought along her husband paul -- a tall, dark, and handsome guy whom i suppose you could say is just as cute :)

tuesday, the 25th. merry christmas! i overslept and missed rudy mettia's 9am class at power yoga west, the only class that i could fit into my day's schedule (actually, andres salcedo had a class at 7am, but i knew there was no way i could wake up that early).

wednesday, the 26th. it was a wednesday morning and i didn't have to go to work... which meant that i could get to lisa walford's iyengar class at yoga works montana. it must've been a long while since she had last seen me because she actually asked me if i had ever been to her class before! see what you miss out on when you have to work to earn money for yoga classes? :(

thursday, the 27th and friday, the 28th. my san francisco yoga trip.

saturday, the 29th. i decided to skip my yoga practice for the day and do some mother-daughter bonding instead. my baby wanted to watch sweeney todd, so i obliged her. if it weren't for the fact that i had enjoyed the broadway musical way back when, i probably would have passed on this gory movie; i mean, who wants to watch a bloody horror flick right before having to join relatives for dinner?

sunday, the 30th. i was back at yoga works montana, this time for kathryn budig's vinyasa flow class. she focused on shoulders and backbends, and as luck would have it, my back was killing me that morning. i did what i could, and kathryn was sweet enough to try and console me as best she could in my hour (and a half) of misery.

monday, the 31st. new year's eve. let's see... what was the best way for me to welcome in the new year? i could pretend i was in yoga warrior shape (not!) and do 108 sun salutes at black dog or revive. or i could just bliss out and chant with michael mollura at yogakula. or turn the evening into a spiritual experience and meditate with the ananda or the sivananda yogis. i considered attending the grand kundalini extravaganza at golden bridge, but chances were good that i wouldn't know a single soul. and what fun would that be? so i decided to celebrate with christine and gary at liberation yoga and got exactly what i was looking for -- the perfect mix of yoga and music and meditation and friendly faces... plus champagne to toast the new year! i also met some accidental yogist readers in our group of 40 students... hi galen, ken, and elizabeth!

tuesday, the 1st. happy new year! still a bit groggy from staying up late the night before, i barely made sara ivanhoe's vinyasa flow class at yoga works montana (and finally realized that trying to find a parking spot in their tiny parking lot can be a pain in my already-painful butt). and if i got anything out of her class that morning, it was her word of advice: this year, instead of constantly pushing to find the hardest way to do a pose, i will find the easiest way, knowing that i can still reap the benefits from a relaxed practice.

and if i do that, maybe i'll be injury-free this time next year? we'll see...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

a yoga/pilates twofer

so there i was, stuck in traffic on the northbound 405. i had just left the office in torrance and was headed for my physical therapy appointment in century city. i was actually moving pretty well through the south bay curve, at least until i reached LAX. then one by one, the cars ahead of me started hitting their brakes.

and no, it wasn't because of an accident on the freeway; it's like this every single day! weekday, weekend, day, night -- it doesn't seem to matter; for some reason, traffic comes to a screeching halt on the stretch of freeway right around the airport. is it caused by all the out-of-towners who hop on and have no idea where they're going? or the travelers who are insanely trying to cut across four lanes of traffic to get from the carpool lane to the century blvd off-ramp? or motorists who slow down to marvel at the jets descending over the freeway towards the twin runways? whatever it is, it's pretty annoying... it's gotten to the point where i expect it to happen and have to give myself an hour to drive what should take half as long under ideal circumstances :(

anyway, it was while i was sitting at a standstill that i spotted the billboard:

Love Yoga Love Pilates
Yoga & Pilates Conference and Expo
January 23-25 - Hyatt Century Plaza
fityoga.com pilatesstyle.com

oooh... a yoga conference! because the sign was located near the century off-ramp, i figured it was going to be held right there by the airport. until i remembered that the hyatt century plaza was NOT on century boulevard but in century city, out on the westside, fairly close to where i live. hmmm... three days? with my busy schedule, i might be able to squeeze in a day or two...

what initially sounded like a combined yoga and pilates conference turned out to be two separate conferences that'll be held at the same time in the same place:

yoga evolution conference, presented by fit yoga magazine, and
los angeles pilates style conference, presented by pilates style magazine

since both have identical registration rates (full conference - $375 early / $450 regular; day pass - $150 early / $175 regular) and follow almost the same schedule (including breakfast, lunch, and evening breaks), it seems that you should be able to hop around from class to class, regardless of which conference you actually register for. other than by checking badges, it would be hard anyway to tell who belongs where... after all, don't all yoga devotees look and dress just like all pilates junkies? :)

i can't speak for the pilates side of things, but the yoga offerings sound fairly interesting:

Experience three mind-expanding days of asana and enjoy compelling workshops in Anusara, Vinyasa, Ayurveda, Body Rolling, Traditional Indian Dance and much more. Practice with the rising stars of the yoga world as well as some of its most illustrious teachers including Ross Rayburn, Sara Ivanhoe, Amy Ippoliti, Jill Miller, Kristin McGee, Moses Love, Hemalayaa Behl, and Cameron Shayne. Including special Ayurveda programming presented by our sister publication LAYoga Ayurveda and Health Magazine.

i've already blocked off my calendar and plan to attend. and thankfully, i won't have to drive past LAX to get there :)

i hope to see you there!

update: they've added a kirtan led by joey lugassy on thursday, the 24th, at 7:00pm... so there's even more reason to hang around after the sessions!