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Sunday, May 25, 2008

happiness is...

i had a good day today.

it's not that all my other days have been bad; it's just that i had a really good time today doing things that made me happy. and being happy at the start of summer is a good omen... at least i hope so!

it started out with a snag-free drive from santa monica to pasadena (how often can one say that?). the lululemon pasadena store was celebrating its one-year anniversary with a day filled with free classes, free food, free entertainment (music and acroyoga demos), free yoga mats (with a $50 purchase), and of course, free smiles from the always-helpful lulu crew.

(by the way, did anyone notice the beefcake shot on their home page? other lulu stores feature their women; this one features their MEN! woo hoo!)

anyway, my brain must have been just a bit too happy when i exited the pasadena freeway. i somehow got turned around and kept missing the entrance to the parking lot behind the lululemon store (all those one-way streets in old town pasadena didn't help, either). by the time i got to the lulu patio, their weekly "all-levels sunday yoga at 10am" class had already started and the outdoor space was packed. no worries -- while i had missed the chance to practice with john bea, there was another class at 11:30am with scott lewicki from mission street yoga in south pasadena.

i walked around to the front of the store to shop and while away the time, but i found out that the store wasn't scheduled to open until 11am and the crew was still busy setting up for the party. i asked if i could just stand inside and stay out of their way, and luckily, freda -- whom i believe was in command at the time -- let me in. i'm sure my being a familiar face had something to do with it; i had met her at the opening of the lulu glendale store earlier this month.

by the time they cranked up the cash registers, i had already found something i wanted to buy, so i paid for my purchase and received my free "supernatural" yoga mat (a $54 value) plus a gift pack from the origins store around the corner. yay!

i also got to meet onil chibas, the chef/owner of elements kitchen, the pasadena-based restaurant that was catering the affair. i eagerly tasted the food selections as he described them in detail: pita chips with a variety of dips, quinoa with balsamic vinagrette, vietnamese spring rolls, chicken roulades, argentinian beef skewers. yum!

more lulu staff soon appeared bearing drinks and an assortment of fruit. before i knew it, my belly was stuffed with all this natural goodness. i know, it wasn't a good idea, especially right before a yoga class, but it was just too hard to say no...

scott lewicki arrived, and after he had a chance to greet people at the store, he led us to the patio for his class. his anusara yoga class. and if you're familiar with anusara, you know that all the teachers and students are inherently happy. why is that? beats me. but since a quarter of my yoga practice is with those of the anusara persuasion, i end up being just as happy as them by the time class is over :)

after class, i chatted with a student whom i could have sworn i'd seen somewhere before. we never quite found out where that "somewhere" was, but as luck would have it, i did find out that he taught at the yoga co-op, a collection of yogis and yoginis who teach affordable classes in pasadena and monrovia ($10 for a single class in pasadena, $7 for a community class in monrovia). since i've never been there, i'll have to try a $7 with seven (the name of that guy in class). kinda catchy, huh?

before i left -- almost four hours after i got there! -- i spent a short time observing tamara usman teach a group of students some massage techniques. i was tempted to stay a while just so someone could practice getting the kinks out of my back, but i had to leave because i had planned to spend the afternoon with my daughter.

sure enough, she was eagerly awaiting my arrival; i had promised her that once i got home, we'd finally break open the wii fit that was sitting by the tv. she'd been eyeing it since i brought it home wednesday night, and the fact that i wanted to wait until the weekend to try it out was torturing her to no end (so does that make me a bad mother?).

it didn't take long for us to take the balance board and the game out of the box, load the batteries, and skim the instruction booklet. we initialized our mii avatars by entering our age and height, the wii determined our weight while we stood on the balance board, and our BMI results were calculated and stored. we were both within the normal range -- i was at 20 and she was at 18. the kicker was that it also gave us our respective fitness ages. i was 5 years younger than my chronological age and she was 10 years older than hers. she wasn't happy with that at all. but then again, she usually sits around and studies or plays with that wii, while i'm busy doing yoga and running on a regular basis. if that prods her to spend more time getting active, then the wii fit was a great investment!

we then took turns with the balance test and found out that we were both slightly imbalanced. yes, like mother, like daughter. ha!

i moved on to the strength section, and while i thought i was doing a good job of following along with the push-ups and side planks, the wii fit claimed i was only good enough to rate a "couch potato". what?!?

totally disagreeing with that analysis, i moved on to the yoga section. and sure enough, i fared much better, scoring a "yoga trainer" rating in the breathing, side bend, and warrior poses! ah, but that was followed by tree pose... and since the game sensed that my one-footed balance was a bit shaky, it awarded me a mere "yoga novice" rating for that. argh...

at that point, i turned off the game and put it away. why ruin the happy high that i had been floating on all day? after all, i have the rest of the summer to practice and get good at this game called yoga :)