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Thursday, May 15, 2008

a capital time!

it was bike to work day today in LA county. not only did they have free refreshments and giveaways this morning at designated pit stops all over town, but they also offered free rides all day on buses and subway trains to those who boarded with their bikes and helmets.

participating in the event sounded like lots of fun (especially since there was free food involved!), but the logistics just wouldn't have worked for me.

why not? i hate to say this, but the rapid transit system in my neck of the woods sucks.

even if my home and office are both short bike rides to the nearest bus stops, the bus ride itself from santa monica to torrance would've taken an hour and a half... for a commute that normally takes no more than 30 minutes from door to door! it would have been nice if any of the subway lines came anywhere close to where i live (or even work), but no, local politics had made sure many years ago that the so-called "bad elements" wouldn't get anywhere close to the beach communities. bad decision.

you see, i've found that many of the major metropolitan areas i've visited have efficient and affordable subway systems that make getting around without a car a breeze. new york, boston, san francisco, even paris during a transit strike -- as long as i had my metro map and pass in hand, i could find my way almost anywhere, including the more popular yoga studios. but here in LA, no such luck. sigh.

which brings me to my long overdue account of my recent trip to washington DC, where i spent four days visiting my sister, a bunch of yoga studios, the earth day celebration on the mall, and last but not least, my guru, yogadawg!

the entire trip was a whirlwind of activity, starting with my plan to celebrate DC yoga week by cramming close to a week's worth of yoga classes into one day. i mean, with each eligible class costing only $5, i could get three classes for the price of 1! who in their right mind would turn that down? (although more realistically, who in their right mind would even considering doing that at all?). and thanks to the DC metro system, i was able to get to all my destinations without having to deal with all the headaches that accompany the whole driving experience -- car rental, parking, gas, getting lost...

so here, in a nutshell, is how that whole trip went down:

day 1 - friday

after touching down at DCA at 9am on the red-eye from LAX, i bought an all-day metro pass at the the airport, then hopped on the blue line for the farragut west station. my destination: my sister's office on embassy row (i suppose you could say i know people in high places!) to drop off my luggage. me in my yoga pants looked quite out of place compared to all the diplomats in dark suits, but when they heard i was in DC to do gobs of yoga, they all wrote me off as "the crazy sister" and continued about their business.

from there, it was a short walk to the farragut north station, where i caught the red line then transferred to the yellow line. fifteen minutes later, i was at the U street station, practically across the street from my first yoga studio of the day.

Inspired Yoga
1115 U Street NW, Suite 202
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 462-1800
website: http://www.inspiredyoga.com/

This is your community -- a place where your spirit and individuality are honored and celebrated. Here you are encouraged and challenged to go beyond your perceived limitations and discover your true potential.

We offer a full range of Vinyasa flow classes for all levels, as well as workshops, retreats and nutritional consultations. Our studio is spacious, warm and inviting. Our teachers are superb. Come visit and see for yourself.

Breathe. Move your body. Feel better than you ever have. Join Us. Be Inspired.


inspired is a bright and modern studio on the second floor of what appears to be either a new building or a newly-remodeled one. i filled out the registration form and handed my $5 to the assistant seated behind the reception desk. i briefly looked around the retail area to see what was for sale, then walked into the classroom, where i found kyra sudofsky, inspired's director, who was scheduled to teach the noontime all-level inspired flow class.

she looked at me and immediately asked, "are you joni?" when i responded in the affirmative, she asked me if i had paid for the class. affirmative again. at that point, she said that my class fee had already been taken care of -- yogadawg had called her and asked her to put my class on his tab. NICE! see what happens when your guru is a celeb? :)

i pocketed the $5 that she gave back to me (and promptly handed it back with more bills after class when i found a cute studio-logo cami to buy).

anyway, after exchanging brief how-are-you's, we found out that we were both recovering from long-distance flights -- me that morning from the west coast and she the night before from some exotic tropical isle (of course, i was so brain-dead that i quickly forgot where she came from). thank goodness for that, because she ended up taking things nice and easy during our hour-long class. the class was surprisingly full for a friday; could it be that everyone just had extremely generous lunch breaks?

because it was an all-levels class, students were given the option to ramp up the difficulty. i chose to stay on the mellower side of things, using the hour-long class primarily to get the economy-seat kinks out of my back and joints. ahhhh....

as we said our namastes after class, i found out that she was leaving that afternoon to lead a weekend retreat in the shenandoah valley in west virginia. and i thought i was crazy busy!

after checking kyra's bio, i found out that while she was trained at the kripalu center in massachusetts, she "has studied with Rodney Yee, David Swenson, Shiva Rea and her personal favorite, Saul David Raye..." i can't seem to leave the LA yoga scene behind, can i?

from there, i retraced my steps to my sister's office. i retrieved my bags and headed for my hotel. once there, i checked in, changed clothes, momentarily fought the temptation to snuggle into the oh-so inviting bed, then grabbed my yoga gear and headed back to the metro station located right outside the hotel entrance.

this time, a ride on the orange line to the yellow line to the columbia heights station dropped me off a few blocks from...

Quiet Mind Yoga
3423 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 299-0111
website: http://www.quietminddc.com/

quiet mind yoga is dedicated to offering a thoughtful reprieve from one's daily routine by providing mindful yoga instruction in an inviting and serene environment.

classes offer detailed instruction that focus on the proper posture alignment, strengthening and fluid movement found in iyengar, ashtanga, anusara and vinyasa.

instructors place great emphasis on the need to relax and restore one’s mind and body, leaving quiet mind students invigorated and radiating peace.


i must've spent too much time at the hotel debating the merits of yoga vs. sleep because by the time i arrived at the quiet mind, nicole foley's level 1/2 iyengar/ashtanga fusion class had already started. i quietly let myself into the classroom, stashed my belongings in one of the cubbies, and set up my yoga mat at the back of the room.

nicole's class seemed to be geared towards the beginner student, which probably wouldn't have been challenging enough for me, but because i was both sleep- and food-deprived at the time (my last "meal" was the bagel i picked up somewhere along the way), i thanked the yoga gods for allowing me to hold on to the little energy i had left.

i had a chance to chat briefly with nicole after class, and when i told her i was from los angeles, her eyes lit up; she had received her teacher training at yoga works and she knew that i had easy access to classes with the best instructors around.

i had to dash out to my next class, so i we exchanged email addresses to keep in touch.

(soon after, i received this sweet note from her:

Can you pack me in your bag on the way home? ;) Thank you so much for coming out yesterday. It was great to meet you!
I hope your trip to DC has been a good one. I'm so glad you made quiet mind one of your stops along the way. We'll be open a whopping 3 weeks tomorrow, and so far...so good. It seems Columbia Heights was really ready for a studio, and that's very exciting.
Columbia Heights used to be a "less appealing" destination in DC, as in a ton of crime, drug dealing, etc. And while those things still exist, overall, the neighborhood has changed quite a bit in the last few years.
Amidst all the corporate giants that have moved in in the last year, it's exciting to be an indie business owner. I have a bulletin board dedicated to promoting local businesses. I've also offered local businesses a 10% discount to really develop a community feel of the studio.


leave it to the little guys to be there for each other!)

i closed the gate of the quaint rowhouse behind me as i walked back to the metro station. back on the yellow to the red, this time exiting at trendy dupont circle.

Tranquil Space Yoga
2024 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 223-yoga (9642)
website: http://www.tranquilspace.com/


(note: effective may 2nd, tranquil space relocated half a mile away to 1632 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)

tranquil space is a vinyasa yoga playground located in dupont circle with a sister studio in bethesda, maryland and arlington, virginia. our emphasis is on encouraging the growth of one's potential, enjoying the sacred in every day, and living our five studio values: initiative, passion, community, creativity, and compassion.


tranquil space is also the home of kimberly wilson, aka the hip tranquil chick, whose pink-and-leopard themed blog features podcasts and stories about her life, her studio, and yoga in general. while i was bummed that i couldn't take a class with kimberly herself (she only teaches on tuesday evenings and i was leaving on monday), i had something else to look forward to: finally being able to practice with yogadawg himself!

the dawg and i had planned to meet at the dupont circle station, and of course, we waited for each other at different exits! after a few phone calls, we eventually found each other and walked over to the multi-level pink palace, where he not only gifted me with yet another class but also with a fairly hefty yogadawg figurine (see image at the intro of this yogadawg video).

with all the fun stuff lining the studio's boutique shelves, i was looking forward to finding something cute to buy. alas, nothing i wanted was left in my size, probably because it made no sense for them to stock up on items that would have to be boxed up for their impending move. oh well, one less thing to carry home...

yogadawg was fighting a nasty cold that day, but i convinced him that he was well enough to take dibora amanuel's yoga 1 class. just to play it safe, we both set ourselves up at the back of the packed class just in case he had to bail. and even if her level 1 class ended up being significantly more difficult and way more sweaty than the classes i had taken earlier in the day (probably even equivalent to a few level 2/3 classes i've taken), we both managed to get through it without incident -- him without a major coughing fit and me without passing out from exhaustion. in fact, he did so well that he decided to join me the next day as i continued on my yoga tour of DC.

to be continued...

2 Comments:

Blogger YogaDawg said...

It was great doing Yoga with you Joni. See you in Philly!

3:36 AM  
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