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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

a lofty pursuit

my dear friend and yoga buddy BDB is about to make the big move from the 'burbs to the city; if all goes to plan, he'll be closing escrow soon on a lovely loft in the heart of downtown LA. besides it being conveniently located to his office, his gym, as well as one of his favorite hangouts in the city -- the walt disney concert hall -- he's decided that living right in the center of LA's transit system will hopefully minimize his dependence on his car and maximize his efforts to save the environment.

it all sounds well and good, but there's the issue about his access to yoga classes...

when he lived north of downtown, he frequented the studios in pasadena and south pasadena. and on weekends, he'd hop on the freeway and fly out to the studios on the westside. but now that he wants his chief mode of transport to be bus, rail, or foot, what are his options, if any?

leave it to me to do the research for him while he stresses out over escrow fees and CC&Rs :(

there were two yoga studios in the downtown area that i had checked out sometime ago (you can refer to this map i found online if you're not familiar with what's where downtown).

one of them was bikram yoga downtown LA in the civic center at the corner of 1st and hope, across the street from the disney concert hall. i had taken a class there shortly after they opened back in '06 (and it seems like just yesterday!); click here to read what i had to say after that visit. and i'm sure the place hasn't changed much since then; after all, bikram is bikram is bikram. you get the heat. the same sequence of 26 poses. done twice. the sweat. and more sweat. and a place to shower all that sweat off before you head out back into the outside world. thank goodness.

anyway, the only thing that's new -- that i know of, anyway -- is that the parking in the adjacent garage is now FREE while you're in class. and as far as downtown goes, that's a definite plus!

another downtown studio i'd been to was yoga circle downtown, located in the old bank district. according to my yoga log, i took knekoh fruge's class in march '06, but for some reason, i can't seem to find any entry about that visit :( i did find an email i had passed along from her regarding the problems she was having with the building management, and how the future of the studio was at stake. it seems, though, that whatever issues there were at the time have been resolved because the studio's still going strong today.

i managed to take knekoh's class again last week, so to make up for my previous omission, here's my long-delayed post:

Yoga Circle Downtown
400 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 620-1040
website: www.yogacircledowntown.com

According to yogic tradition a student should never have to pay to be instructed BUT the student should never ask to be instructed without first offering a gift. In following with this tradition, we are a donation-based studio. We suggest a $16 contribution, but if you cannot get that together, pay what you can, when you have got more, drop it in the box. The practice is what is important. AND we warmly accept donations other than the monetary sort. Time, energy, services etc.

last friday, i happened to be at the go green expo at the LA convention center. after spending the bulk of my afternoon there, i decided to check out knekoh fruge and her friday evening class. in the interest of going green, i considered walking to the yoga studio from the convention center, but when i realized that walking a mile through the dark streets of downtown on a rainy evening wasn't the smartest thing to do, i hopped in my car and crawled through rush hour traffic. at least i felt safe and dry in my car, even if i wasn't moving very quickly.

yoga circle downtown is located at the corner of 4th and main in the san fernando lofts building in the old bank district, which is north of the historic downtown district, east of bunker hill, and southwest of little tokyo.

when i visited yoga circle over two years ago, it was a saturday morning. at that time, i chose to park in the parking structure across the street. for some reason, i have this vague recollection of the parking attendant not being there when i returned to retrieve my car, so i may have gotten away with not having to pay for parking. but i'm sure that's not usually the case!

this time, i lucked out again and managed to land myself some free parking on the street. the trick was to get to a nearby parking meter right at the stroke of six (during the rush, the entire street's a "no stopping" zone, so once parking becomes available again at 6pm, there's a mad rush for those spots, especially since the meters don't need to be fed at night).

i walked up to the front entrance and easily located the directory by the door. after finding the "yoga circle" code, i punched it in; knekoh picked up the phone and buzzed me in (if you're lucky and your timing is right, someone may spot your yoga mat and hold the gate open for you, saving you from having to pre-announce your entry).

once i entered the lobby, a big sign led me right to the studio door. the layout hadn't changed much since i was last there. it was the same large room with the sky-high ceiling. the cubbies for shoes and belongings and all the props were on the right and the practice area was off to the left.

knekoh's class was a nice level 1/2 flow, complete with some fantastic body-buzzing gong action during savasana, thanks to the magical way the sound waves bounce around all the surfaces in the room. it was a small class (probably because it was date night, or maybe because of the rain?) and knekoh seemed to know most everyone in the class. she even claimed to have remembered me from the last time i was there, but unless her memory is really that good, i won't hold it against her if she was just trying to be nice :)

all the classes at yoga circle downtown are by donation, with a suggested $16 drop-in rate. there's an unattended donation box by the cubbies, so what you choose to donate is solely between you and the box. as with all donation-basis classes, the point is to give what you can afford to give. so if you're making a decent living, it would be terribly un-yogic to put a dollar in the box. yeah, you know who you are...

last tuesday, i found myself checking out a new yoga studio in the southeastern part of downtown:

Be Love Yoga and Bodywork
1855 Industrial Street #10, Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 415-1828

website: www.beloveyoga.com

hatha kundalini fusion classes
open level, no experience necessary

be love yoga is located just east of the corner of alameda and 6th. the studio's website says it's in the arts district; another website claims it's in the toy district, just south of the arts district. as far as i'm concerned, it's way out there in nowhere land -- all that's out there are warehouses and factories, and once they shutter down for the evening, everything turns ghostly quiet. except perhaps for the area immediately surrounding the renovated loft buildings scattered about the neighborhood, where you can find signs of upscale life. such is the case of be love yoga, which is located in the high-end toy factory lofts building, across the street from the high-end biscuit lofts building, both with foodie-worthy restaurants on their ground floors. so with late-model cars lining the street around the building, i didn't worry too much about having to park my ten-year-old car a block away from the studio.

unlike the other yoga studios located in loft buildings, be love yoga is conveniently located on the ground floor with its own separate entrance. since it just opened earlier this month, i sensed the newness of the place the moment i walked in the door. jesse greeted me as i walked in, and since we had already sent some "are you open yet" emails back and forth before my visit, it was nice to put the face to the name. we chatted as more students walked in the door, and since i still had to change, he led me to the bathroom which was located in his living space at the back of the studio.

i first heard about jesse and be love yoga through dave stringer, who was scheduled to do a kirtan there for the studio's grand opening. as it turned out, the kirtan was cancelled at the last minute after the homeowners association warned jesse that the commotion caused by the kirtan would be a violation of the CC&Rs. gotta love the HOA gestapo!

the best way to describe jesse's class is "yogi bhajan meets chuck and maty". after first training with yogi bhajan at yoga west, he then took the teacher training program at yogaworks. the result is a hatha kundalini fusion, with sun salutations and the familiar asanas mixed in with "breath of fire" pranayama and the rapid flailing of limbs to awaken the energy in your body. and, of course, there was the sound of the gong i sooo love to listen to during savasana :)

jesse knew everyone in the class by name; as it turned out, with the exception of myself, they were all good friends of his. which, i suppose, is what you do when you're trying to build a student base -- start with people you know and hope they pass the word along...

we all hung around after class and talked about anything and everything, with jesse doing most of the talking. but then again, with all the interesting stories he had to tell, i didn't mind listening to him relating all the odds and ends of his life. and i'm sure that the next time i drop by, there'll be even more to hear about!

while there was no "first class free" offer or anything of the sort, the $15 class price was pretty reasonable, given the cost of yoga classes these days. and considering that i didn't have to pay for parking, i'd say it wasn't a bad deal for a great class.

by the way, after leaving be love, i took the opportunity to check out the new location of urth caffe in the nearby arts district. it took me a while to find this trendy cafe near the corner of hewitt and 4th, especially since the streets in the dark warehouse district aren't laid out in a grid like the rest of downtown. after finding myself trying to go the wrong way down one-way streets (and worrying that i'd get pulled over by the cops for driving so erratically), i eventually found urth right across from the block-long barker lofts building. the restaurant was surprisingly busy for the late night hour. my guess is that it's the only place within walking distance for the loft dwellers to hang out, and its being a source of healthy and organic food is a definite bonus...

that brings me to the fourth yoga studio in the downtown area, at least for now:

Downtown Yoga Loft
639 South Spring Street, Loft 6C, Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 471-2761
website: www.downtownyogaloft.com

Welcome to the Downtown Yoga Loft where we currently offer classes and workshops in Yoga and Meditation.

Located on the 6th Floor of a Downtown Loft on Spring Street, DTYL is an amazing space in a home setting. Classes are held in this relaxed urban setting, with brick walls, big windows and lots of natural light.

Yogi Tea and cookies (often homemade) are served after class and if you catch it just right you might find something more substantial being offered up as this is our home and we cook a lot.

it was just my luck that i decided to visit the downtown yoga loft on the same day as the LAUSD teachers strike. how was i to know that their march ended right up the street from where i was headed? and that traffic would be miserably snarled along my intended route? maybe i should have checked the news first? argh.

the 6:30pm class was scheduled to be taught by patrick lacho, but when i called the studio to ask for traffic-evading and parking advice, his wife, jamila tazewell, answered the phone. she was subbing for him that night, and since the classes are held in their home, she didn't have to go out of her way to do so.

because i was worried about having to fight the gridlock once more if i didn't find a parking spot, i opted to park in the first lot i found. it cost me $4 to park my car in a parking structure that was going to close promptly at 9pm. i suppose i could have found a free spot on the street if i persisted, but i was already late for class as it was :(

downtown yoga loft is located in the spring tower lofts in the old bank district. unlike the toy factory lofts, this building wasn't as snazzy or upscale. and neither was the neighborhood. in fact, in my attempt to walk quickly past the assortment of unsavory characters who seemed to be everywhere, i ended up walking past the building and had to backtrack to find the entrance. at that point, the lululemon manifesto came to mind: "do one thing a day that scares you". well, walking at night on this street definitely qualified as something that took me out of my comfort zone!

once i was safely in patrick's and jamila's humble abode, i was finally able to relax. one other student was already seated on her mat in the yoga practice space which took up a good part of the living room. with the large windows that covered most of the wall space of their corner unit, i can only imagine how warm and bright the room can be during the day. at night, though, the interior lights needed to be left on just so we could see well enough to get through our exercises.

jamila led us through some meditation and two exercise sets, one for the third chakra and another for immunity. it seemed appropriate, at least to me, that we worked on strengthening our immune system, especially since i was diagnosed with strep throat that morning and had just started a course of antibiotics. maybe it was because of my weakened state that i found myself struggling through the physical portion of the class. and getting antsy while doing what seemed to be an eternity of breath of fire breathwork. and being lulled to sleep by the gong during savasana.

after class, jamila invited us to join her for some chai tea; i was the only one who took her up on her offer. she was sweet enough to offer me a slice of cake that she had baked earlier that morning, and i couldn't resist a taste of her carrot-zucchini-banana-pear creation (me, turn down food? never!). over tea and cake, we talked about she and patrick both teach at golden bridge, about how they recently got married, moved into the loft, and decided to set up a home studio. i glanced at the clock and noticed the time, and not wanting to find my car locked up for the night, i thanked jamila for the treats and the class (for which i paid just $5, thanks to a new student coupon) and bid her goodbye.

as i walked back out to the street, everyone seemed even more unsavory than the earlier group. or could it be that i'm just not cut out for downtown living?

anyway, the upshot of my whole downtown adventure is that we now know that there definitely is yoga to be found in downtown LA, from bikram yoga to vinyasa flow yoga to kundalini yoga. and while parking can be an issue, all of that is moot if you travel by bus or by bike. or if you live close enough to walk to class.

and as for my friend BDB, now that he knows that he has many places to choose from, i hope he finds something that suits him and his plan to stay local!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a multitude of gods

i spent my early years in catholic school, where i was taught that there is only ONE god. nevermind that it is a three-in-one god -- god the father, god the son, and god the holy ghost (who was later renamed god the holy spirit so as not to frighten youngsters like me); there was only one god we were to worship, lest we find ourselves breaking the first commandment,

I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me.

but now that i've become more immersed in the hindu religion because of its association with my yoga practice, i find myself learning about the gods and goddesses that surround me in class, in kirtans, and so on. and honestly, when it comes to getting through my day-to-day issues, it can't hurt to ask for extra help, can it? :)

so with it being the new year and everything (including chinese new year, which starts tomorrow -- gung hay fat choy!), it seemed like a good idea to spend some time learning about the hindu god of all beginnings, ganesh, as well as to get in a good yoga practice, too, while i was at it.

i attended a workshop taught by hagar harpak, an anusara-inspired teacher, at black dog yoga in sherman oaks. here's the write-up:

Ganesh is the lord of all beginnings.
So now, in the beginning of the year, what are your wishes, goals, determinations?
Ganesh is the remover of all obstacles, and also the one putting them there.
In this workshop we will learn how to use our obstacles for the process of breaking through them. What would you like to break through this year, in your life?
Maybe a habit or a pattern? Maybe something you wish to overcome, somewhere you feel stuck, something you want to manifest? What pose/poses do you wish to break through?
Please bring a pose you may be struggling with, or even a class of poses you find challenging. Bring an open mind and heart, and the willingness to play with possibilities.

there were almost two dozen of us in the class. hagar talked about ganesh, the remover of obstacles, and how he came to be. about how he was created by parvati to stand guard outside her door while she bathed, and how he blocked shiva from entering because he'd never met him, and how shiva, angered, cut off ganesh's head then had to replace the missing head with an elephant's head when parvati found out what happened... how do they come up with these wild stories, anyway?

after chanting a mantra to ganesh, hagar had us sit in a circle, and as we introduced ourselves, we were asked to share with the group the poses we found challenging. a number of poses were mentioned, such as parsvottanasana, parivrtta trikonasana, pincha mayurasana, hanumanasana, chaturanga, and handstand. i, somewhat hoping for an aha! moment, offered headstand as my personal waterloo. i mean, i've been practicing for how long now and still can't figure out how to do something that's fairly basic?

and during our two-hour workshop, hagar was able to touch on most of the requested poses, including my beloved headstand. in fact, not only did she spend some time using me as the demo model for the correct way to do a headstand, but i got some additional tutoring from peter barnett, owner of black dog, who was also there for the class. and while i still can't do a headstand on my own in the middle of the room, i now have more pointers under my belt that might help me get there sometime soon. or so i hope.

just as our class was about to wind down, daniel stewart showed up with a few of his musician friends to give us a nice musical interlude during our savasana. sooo nice!

once our class ended, more of daniel's entourage joined them as they set up for the kirtan later that evening. and of course, i stayed right where i was and chanted late into the night with "daniel stewart and the family om" and all the others who showed up for the kirtan. and yes, not only did we chant to ganesh, but to the other deities as well. i'm sure the nuns are shaking their heads, pointing at the confessional. oh well...

yesterday's workshop was the first of 12 monthly workshops that will be taught at black dog:

Playing With the Gods

Join Hagar Harpak each month in 2009 for 12 exciting workshops that focus on a hindu God or Goddess.

In each workshop we will:
• Learn the important symbols of each deity and what it means in our own lives.
• Tell one or more stories about the specific deity.
• Learn a mantra to invoke the energy of the god/goddess in ourselves.
• Practice Asana weaving all the different aspects into the practice, so that you can feel what we learn in your body.
• Be guided through a meditation on the deity as a gateway to one’s own heart.

The gods and goddesses of the Hindu tradition play an important part in our yoga practice because they each represent aspects of the divine in ourselves. A journey through the hindu mythology is an opportunity to explore the heart, mind and body in a new way, and deepen the understanding of who we are.
The intention for this series of workshops is to awaken to our own power through the discovery of these characters, and learn from the mythology how to enhance the beautiful and human qualities of these characters in ourselves.

so far, only next month's workshop has been posted on their website:

Join the dance of balance between contraction and expansion, revelation and concealment - the dance of life through the play of balancing poses.

in an attempt to guess at the other ten deities who will be covered in the series, i took a look at the workshop flyer to determine the gods and goddesses from their pictures, based on how they looked or what they were doing.

some weren't too hard...

the elephant-headed boy is ganesha --
Ganesha is the lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

the monkey is hanuman --
Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion.

the blue god playing the flute is krishna --
Krishna is the embodiment of love and divine joy, that destroys all pain and sin. He is a trickster and lover, an instigator of all forms of knowledge and born to establish the religion of love.

the god in dancer pose is shiva --
Shiva is the most powerful and fascinating deity in Hinduism, who represents death and dissolution.

the goddess riding a tiger is durga --
Durga, also called Divine Mother, protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.

the dark goddess sticking out her tongue is kali --
Kali is a goddess associated with death and destruction. Despite her negative connotations, she is not actually the goddess of death, but rather of Time and Change.

the goddess holding a lotus and sitting on a lotus is lakshmi --
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual.

the goddess playing a lute is sarasvati --
Sarasvati is the goddess of knowledge, music and the creative arts.

and then there were those i had to research...

the multi-headed white bearded god is brahma --
Brahma is the creator of the universe and of all beings.

the god pictured with a multi-headed snake is vishnu --
Vishnu is the Preserver or Sustainer of life with his steadfast principles of order, righteousness and truth.

with two still left to be identified, i found myself stumped. luckily, i spotted peter barnett online and asked him for the complete list...

the goddess holding a pot of water turned out to be ganga --
Ganga represents the innermost pristine coolness, piety and purity. The goddess Ganga incarnated herself in the form of a river for the welfare of mankind: the Ganges, the holiest of water which is used in all the Pujas of Hindus and is believed to wash away the sins of mortal men.

and the last goddess, who really had no distinguishing features, was parvati --
Parvati is looked upon as the mother of all creation; the Mother Goddess. She is usually represented as a fair and beautiful. Parvati is depicted with bare breasts, a mark of divinity in ancient India (and the picture didn't really show those bare breasts, by the way, which is why i couldn't figure her out).

so here's the schedule peter sent me:
January - Ganesha
February - Shiva
March - Parvati/Uma
April - Lakshmi
May - Sarasvati
June - Vishnu
July - Krishna
August - Ganga
September - Hanuman
October - Durga
November - Kali
December - Brahma

while i don't think i'll be able to take all 12, i'll probably pick a couple more as the year moves along. maybe i'll concentrate on those who might grant me what i'd like more of, like lakshmi and krishna. or maybe even those i don't know much about, like vishnu and brahma. we'll see...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


yesterday, january 20th 2009, was the inauguration of the 44th president of the united states: barack hussein obama.

from all appearances, it looks like the entire yoga community has thrown its full support behind the new man in charge -- from the jai obama! emblazoned on a cake served at a david newman post-election kirtan, to the lululemon ad with a cartoon of "ombama" in lotus pose and gyan mudra, to the recent chant4change that was held in washington DC on inauguration eve (there's a chance you still might be able to catch part of the webcast of the four-hour event at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/chant4change). in fact, while obama's and biden's home states, the youth, the military, and a whole slew of other groups were dining and dancing at inaugural balls around town, the yogis were doing their own celebrating at their very own om ball!

and it makes total sense, especially since the values obama touched on in his inaugural address come straight from the yoga sutras of patanjali --

~ ahimsa (peace, or non-violence)

Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more...

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

~ aparigraha (non-greed, or non-possessiveness)

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

~ tapas (perseverance, or self-discipline)

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

~ karma (community service, or selfless action)

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

with all the madness that's been going on -- the loss of jobs, homes, and confidence in our government -- it's comforting to know that we now have a leader whose values resonate with ours.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

so what are we waiting for? let's make this change happen!

hari om-bama!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a core makeover

last month, i mentioned that the core, your perfect center in redondo beach was closing at the end of 2008. it was a studio that taught music, art, and movement classes for kids as well as yoga and dance classes for adults. after the final children's christmas show on the 31st, the lights were turned off and the doors locked for the last time...

i just received an update from them yesterday:

The Core is Back in Action!

New Name

The Core YPC, Inc. will be dissolved as a company, but the spirit of the company will live on... All future classes will be billed, accounted and administered through Melinda Fornero's other company, Music 'N Motion, Inc. Think of it as a Core makeover: fresh name, fresh location, fresh start!

New Location

We're still shopping around for the perfect new space, but in the meantime, please join us at

Celebrate Life
23706 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505

Located near Crenshaw and Lomita, this cozy location will accomodate fewer numbers, but will allow us to move forward as a family as we await a new, more permanent location. With only 8-10 spaces available per class, be sure to reserve your spot today!

While we're seeking a new location to continue the success of The Core's children and adult classes, please understand that we are not looking to open a new facility on our own. With the trials and tribulations of today's economy, it serves us better to rent a facility on an hourly basis.

Same Quality Classes

There's no question that the inviting space and beautiful décor is what initially made us fall in love with The Core... but it's the quality of the instructors and classes that kept us coming back for more. The warm, loving, welcoming energy that you felt as you walked through The Core's doors has not been lost and will live on as long as you continue to take classes with us!

Kids' Classes Coming Soon

Don't worry, parents....Miss Melinda will be back soon! Keep checking your e-mails as we hope to add yoga, drama, dance and hip hop beginning in February! Location TBA.

The Schedule

Hurry, first class starts January 15th!

Yoga - All Levels
Tuesdays: January 20th & 27th
7:15p - 8:45p

Belly Dance
Wednesdays: January 21st & 28th
7:45p - 8:45p

Stretch Yoga
Thursdays: January 15th, 22nd & 29th
7:45p - 9:15p

Yoga - All Levels
Saturdays: January 24th & 31st
12:45p - 1:45p
(possibly until 2:15p)

The Cost

60 minute classes: $12 / 75 minute classes: $15

Cash or check only. (Checks payable to Music 'N Motion)
Due to the limited class size, payment for all classes must be paid in full at the start of your first class.

How to Sign Up

E-mail us the date(s) you wish to attend to thecoreypc@gmail.com
Enrollment will be handled on a first come, first serve basis.
You will receive e-mail confirmation within 24-hours as to your enrollment status.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

financial aid

i don't know about you, but when i was in college, i had to rely on financial aid to help me pay for my school-related expenses: tuition, books, housing, meals, clothing, movies, parties... :)

so in these difficult times, it's good to know that we now have another source of financial assistance, at least as far as yoga classes are concerned.

home simply yoga, an eco-friendly studio in santa monica known as the home of ashtanga yoga on the westside, is now offering vinyasa flow classes by donation. similar to the concept pioneered by bryan kest and his power yoga studios just up the street from home simply, the donation classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis. low on funds this week? pay what you you're able to spare. had a great class and want to show how much you enjoyed it? pay what you think the class was worth to you... and make the teacher a happy camper :)

they've managed to fill their donation-yoga time slots with a group of well-known teachers, some of whom have taught at well-known studios in LA. as of the beginning of this year, their class schedule includes vinyasa classes taught by ashley albrand, jessa baxter, brock cahill, krista cahill, and dice iida-klein. the classes range from a level 2 with core work to a level 3/4 (handstand aficionados, this one's for you!), so there's something to challenge everyone. in addition, ally nicholls teaches beginning ashtanga and gary margolin led ashtanga, also by donation.

the ashtanga community will continue to have access to their beautiful practice space during the usual morning time slots, with an additional mysore class at four in the afternoon on weekdays. the donation classes are held during the week at lunchtime and in the evenings after 6pm. so far, there's one morning donation class on saturday and on sunday, but more are in the works. stay tuned.

metered parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood, but you can save even more money (not to mention the environment) by riding the bus (a number of MTA and big blue buses stop nearby), biking, or maybe even walking to class. your wallet -- not to mention mother earth -- will thank you for it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

the three kirtaneers

at least that's how shiva rea referred to the three musicians who were assembled on the stage at the exhale center for sacred movement in venice last saturday.

shiva rea and jai uttal were leading a two-day workshop, raise the vibration!, a celebration to call in the new year. i was there on the first day for the thunder love kirtan and yoga trance dance:

Embark on a vocal journey through the sacred sounds of ancient India. Drawing from an unbroken tradition of Indian devotional singing, Jai Uttal will introduce and lead us in the ancient practice of "Kirtan" (or chanting), the heart of devotional yoga. This practice of calling to the divine creates a bridge between the individual and the eternal, opening the heart and welcoming the spirit. Sometimes soft and meditative and sometimes loud and wildly rhythmic, Kirtan takes the participant on a deep emotional and musical journey through our mostly unexplored inner world. With solo performance and call-and-response group chanting, Jai creates a space of invocation, prayer, and heartfelt expression.

thunder love is the title of jai's latest CD, which is scheduled for a march release on the new nutone music label. there was a point in the evening when we trance-danced with shiva to a cut from the new album, but like myself, most of the audience was there to listen to jai sing live. it had been a long time since he last performed in LA, so many were eager for the chance to chant with him. and he was more than happy to oblige.

the usual LA kirtan regulars -- who came from far and wide -- were there that night. it turned out to be a fun social gathering, at least for me, because i kept running into people i knew!

compared to most multi-instrumented kirtans, the evening's call-and-response was a fairly simple affair, with jai playing the dual role of "call" chanter and "response" leader while patrick richey kept rhythm on tabla. during a break between chants, a third musician joined them on stage: dave stringer (who seems to be showing up at everyone else's kirtan these days!). besides taking over the task of guiding us through the response, dave also demonstrated his deft tingsha ringing ability (you've seen them; they're those mini-cymbals connected by a leather strap that yoga teachers ring at the end of savasana).

it was at that point i realized that, with shiva, jai, and dave in the room, i was being treated to a preview of the upcoming chant4change, a powerful kirtan event that, sadly, i won't be able to attend because i won't be in washington DC for obama's inauguration.

but here's some good news -- i just found out that they're working on making a chant4change webcast available; click here to add your name to the webcast news distribution list. i've sent in mine, and i can't wait to see how the event turns out!

Friday, January 09, 2009

setting new intentions

the new year is upon us, and it's time to start fresh with new plans, new goals, new habits. since most of january's events focus on getting rid of the old and making way for the new, they'll probably tie in quite nicely with all your new year's resolutions :)

yoga day USA will be observed this year on saturday, january 24th. according to the event website,

Join thousands across the country for Yoga Day USA, a history-making celebration where yogis, novices, couch potatoes and triathletes, young, old and everyone in between join together to stretch mind, body and spirit through the practice of yoga.

In the spirit of karma yoga, or service to others, all Yoga Day USA classes and workshops are free — or nearly free. The brainchild of the Yoga Alliance, this powerful annual event is held in yoga studios, parks, beaches and private homes throughout the US."

considering that LA is yoga central, i'm a bit surprised that i haven't heard of many local events. i've listed what i've found so far and will continue to check around.

by the way, there's a new lululemon store in brentwood at the corner of san vicente and montana. and just like all the other lulu stores, they're offering FREE in-store yoga!

i'll keep updating this list; keep checking back...

ongoing events:

Yoga For A Cause
Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Every Wednesday 4:30pm
Cost: By Donation

Join Laurie Searle For This Inspiring All levels Class!
A weekly all levels flow class with the intention of raising awareness for the issues we care about as a studio and community. Although this is not a donations class, donations are collected at the box hanging at the front desk and go directly to the cause. No donation is too small. This class is sponsored by www.ewishingwell.org

Community Fitness Classes
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way
Every Wednesday 7:30-8:30pm
Cost: FREE

Join us for complimentary yoga and fitness classes on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm! Come relax and rejuvenate, or come to build those muscles - you choose what class you would like to take!
January 14 - Restorative Yoga with Ambassador Stefan Storace
Restorative Yoga is a series of poses, supported through the use of bolsters, blankets, and pillows. The body can be held in each pose without having to exert any effort, creating a deeply healing and meditative experience. This class opens the body’s energy channels to stimulate, soothe and relieve the effects of chronic stress. Therapeutic and relaxing experiences that will leave you in complete bliss.
January 28 - Yin Yoga with Ambassador Diana Storace
Yin yoga focuses on breathing and passive holding of poses for longer periods to enhance chi and its movement through the meridians (channels) and chakras.

Yoga for Runners with Steve Mackel
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Every Thursday 6:30-7:30pm
Cost: FREE

Join us on our outdoor patio for Yoga for Runners with Certified ChiRunning Instructor, USA Triathlon Coach, and lululemon Ambassador, Coach Steve Mackel.
Class is held every Thursday at 6:30pm on our store's back patio in Miller Alley just off Delacey Ave.
Coach Steve Mackel works on creating overall balance, taking runners through a series of yoga poses and explains the correlations between the pose and the biomechanics of running. He also moves students through vinyasa flow series while he focuses on creating strength first and flexibility second.
Limited community mats are available. As classes fill up quickly and space is limited, please come early. Also, please dress in layers so that you may remain comfortable as you warm-up during the class.

Kirtan at SMPY West
Power Yoga West, Santa Monica
Every Saturday 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Our instructors will hold a candlelit evening of Kirtan/Chanting every Saturday of the month. Different instructors lead each week and always on donation basis.
1st Saturday of every month, Govindas and Radha (kirtanwithgovindas.com)
2nd Saturday of every month, Travis (traviseliot.com)
3rd Saturday of every month, Andres (powersoulyoga.com)
4th Saturday of every month, Terra and Friends (terrawellness.com)
Bring meditation cushions or blanket (no yoga mat). Wear comfy clothes.
Come sing from the deepest corner of your heart!

Complimentary Fitness Class
lululemon Brentwood, 11920 San Vicente Blvd
Every Sunday 9:00-10:00am
Cost: FREE

Every Sunday we host a complimentary fitness class featuring different styles of yoga, pilates, dance and personal training.
Join us and Maha Yoga on the following dates in January!
Sunday 1/4/09 - Stephen Weigand
Sunday 1/11/09 - Ed Rumann
Sunday 1/18/09 - Stephanie Phelan
Sunday 1/25/09 - Tom Morley
Looking forward to seeing you in our store.

Weekly In-Store Fitness/Yoga Class
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Every Sunday 9:00-10:00am
Cost: FREE

This January month our complimentary in-store classes will be provided by our amazing ambassadors. What a perfect way to uphold your 2009 goals with the best of the best of our Santa Monica community!
As always, we provide yoga mats and the classes are ALL levels. Don't forget, we have snacks and refreshments to refuel post-class.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you from lu!
Jan. 4th - YogaHop w/ Kourtney Kaas
Jan. 25th - Yoga Flow w/ Kishan Shah

All-levels Fitness Class
lululemon Beverly Hills, 334 North Beverly Drive
Every Sunday 9:30-10:45am
Cost: FREE

Every Sunday we host a complimentary fitness class featuring different styles of yoga, pilates, dance and personal training. All levels welcome - perfect for beginner, intermediate or advanced practitioners. Check our community events listing, we do family classes too!
Weekly classes are followed by healthy snacks to refuel!
Sample some of the Los Angeles area's best instructors in a non-intimidating environment, deepen your practice with personal attention in an intimate space and practice with us!
We have community mats for our guests.
January 18 - Yoga with Ambassador Raghunath
That's right folks! One of our all time favorite yoga instructors is back in town from New York and he is going to be at our very own lulu to teach an amazing class!
You don't want to miss this... Class begins at 9.30am!

Community Fitness Classes
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way, Suite R#9
Every Sunday 9:30-10:45am
Cost: FREE

Join us for complimentary yoga and fitness classes on Sunday mornings at 9:30am! Come relax and rejuvenate, or come to build those muscles - you choose what class you would like to take!
January 25 - Yoga with Sri Hari Moss
Come take a Hatha yoga class to balance the mind and body via physical postures and exercises (asanas), controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation.

Yoga on the Green
lululemon Glendale, 233 South Brand Avenue
Every Sunday 9:30-10:30am
Cost: FREE

Come and join our free fitness classes every Sunday at our store in the Americana at Brand! We host classes ranging from yoga and salsa to pilates and acro yoga!
This month - Yoga with YAS Silverlake!
YOGA for ATHLETES® is a complete 60 minute workout that strengthens and stretches every area of the body, blending the most effective postures in a concise sequence. While participating in sports, imbalances occur in the body which can lead to strain on the joints. This routine, when practiced regularly, corrects the imbalances that active sports create in the body.
January 4 - Nicole Sessions
January 11 - Denis Morton
January 18 - Jill Villaluna
January 25 - Anne Israel

In-store Fitness Classes
lululemon South Bay, 2008A East Park Place
Every Sunday 9:30-10:30am
Cost: FREE

Join us every Sunday for our FREE fitness classes!
January 4 - all-levels iyengar yoga with Michael Ruccolo
January 11 - all-levels yoga class with Michelle Butler
January 18 - all-levels yoga class with Marla Wedge

All-levels Yoga
lululemon Pasadena, 110 W Colorado Blvd
Every Sunday 10:00am
Cost: FREE

Every Sunday at 10am we have an All Levels Yoga class. We feature various teachers from the Pasadena community.
Limited "community" mats are available. Bringing your own mat is encouraged. As classes fill up quickly, and space is limited, please come early.
Please dress in layers so that you may remove articles as you warm-up during the class. Our space is outdoors behind the store on the patio (accessible through the alley on Delacey).
January 11 - All Levels Anusara Yoga with Alma White
January 18 - All Levels Yoga Flow with John Bea
January 25 - All Levels Yoga with Steve Hsu

Kirtan in the Canyon with Andrew and Michele and Friends
Yoga Desa, Topanga
TBA (1st Saturday of the 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.

Monthly Devotional Chanting Kirtan
Ananda Los Angeles, Santa Monica
TBA (Once a month) 7:30pm

Just a reminder: we have changed our kirtan schedule. Kirtans are now being held once per month, on the first Saturday night. We hope to see you there. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to experience the profound inner peace and joy of devotional chanting. As Yogananda said, "Chanting is half the battle!"

Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Friday, Jan 2nd (1st Friday of the month) 8:00-9:15pm
Cost: $5 Suggested Donation

Only a suggested donation of $5 that goes to support the artists is requested for a great evening of fun filled entertainment.

Kirtan with Daniel and Friends
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Friday, Jan 9th (Once a month) 8:15pm
Cost: $15 Suggested donation

Join Daniel and friends this Friday January 9 @ 8:15 for a joyful evening of musical meditation and chanting. Daniel will be singing with Larry, Steve, and Keelan on drums, Sarah and Sylvie on vocals, Angela on flute and Jeff on guitar.
Hope you'll come and help us warm up the room and spread the joy at the Lotus. Jai Ma!

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Los Angeles
Saturday, January 10th (Once a month) 8:00pm
Cost: Donations for our musicians

Please join us for a beautiful evening of chanting with Steve Ross. Open your heart and fill the room with bliss. The perfect way to start 2009. Bring a cushion to sit on and enjoy!

Community Nights at City Yoga: Singles Partner Yoga with Linda Eifer and Tom Jermain
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Tuesday, January 13th (2nd Tuesday of the month) 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

Don't have a 'partner' for Rebecca and Anthony's Valentine's Day Workshop?
No problem. Come next Tuesday night for SINGLES PARTNER YOGA CLASS with 'single' teachers Linda and Tom.
We'll partner you throughout the evening with SINGLE yogis.
All are welcome...young & old, gay & straight, novices & advanced, Democrats and Independents.... (okay, Republicans too!)
Bring a SINGLE friend or friends along for this evening of fun. Make new friends and who knows... YOU may have a partner by February 14th!!

Full Moon Yoga Hike with Hilary Kimblin
Michael Lane and Trailer Canyon Fire Road, Pacific Palisades
Saturday, January 17th 9:00-11:15AM
Cost: $20; Pay in advance through the website and save $5!

Usually we have the Full Moon Yoga Hike on the full moon, however since the winter months are usually (yes, usually) cooler, the hike this month will take place on Saturday morning from 9 - 11:15am.
We will be on the trail by 9am and out by 11:15am. Please bring a yoga mat or towel, warm layers, water, sunglasses, decent walking shoes/boots, and a sense of adventure!
Please RSVP hilary@yogaunderthetrees.com or call 323.841.3606

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot and Friends
Santa Monica Yoga, Santa Monica
Saturday, January 24th (4th Saturday of the month) 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation

other special events:

Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda, Los Angeles
Friday, January 9th 7:00pm
Cost: Suggested Donation $16

Our annual Puja (ceremony) for Abundance is dedicated to none other than the great Goddess Maha Lakshmi. This sacred gathering brings us together with the intention of invoking abundance and prosperity in our lives. The evening will be hosted by Mas Vidal and Tony Khalife will be master of ceremonies. All are welcome, family, friends and children.
Please bring offerings to the Goddess such as flowers, fruits or sweet treats. Arrive early and give yourself time to park, because this event gets very crowded. Puja is a sacred ceremony that promotes physical, mental and spiritual abundance in our lives.

Relax Deeply with Vinnie Marino
Yoga Works Main St, Santa Monica
Friday, January 9th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $35 by 12/26, $45 after 12/26

The holidays can be a stressful time. Rejuvenate yourself in Vinnie’s annual workshop. No vinyasas, no down dogs, no sweat. Just blissful relaxation.

Yoga House, Pasadena
Saturday, January 10th 2:00-5:00pm
Cost: $45 until 1/9/08; $50 day of workshop

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 2009
• 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 World-wide Spiritual Directors
Ananda Los Angeles, Santa Monica
Saturday, January 10th 4:30pm
Cost: The temple program is donation basis and dinner will be $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, 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.
Please RSVP for the dinner as soon as possible (you can either register online below or call us). All proceeds go toward sharing the teachings of Self-realization in the L.A. area. Pre-registrations for the dinner are needed, call 310-396-9900. All are welcome.

YOGA MALA: 108 Sun Salutations Celebrating the New Year with Jo Tastula
Yoga Loft, Manhattan Beach
Saturday, January 10th 6:00-8:30pm
Cost: $25/ $30 at the door

This is the one that kick starts it all off! The yoga Mala of yoga mala's... which has the potential to set the tone for the entire year.
Please join me and other inspired yogis for a seasonal offering to the powers that be, through meditation, intension setting and the magical number of 108 Surya Namaskar. If you're interested - make sure you step up your yoga practice to prepare your lungs,hamstrings and deltoids for this potent journey.
*Please register in advance by emailing: jaclyn@yogaloftmb.com

Thunder Love Kirtan and Yoga Trance Dance with Shiva Rea + Jai Uttal
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, January 10th 7:00-10:00pm
Cost: $30 prior to 1/5, $35 thereafter

Embark on a vocal journey through the sacred sounds of ancient India. Drawing from an unbroken tradition of Indian devotional singing, Jai Uttal will introduce and lead us in the ancient practice of "Kirtan" (or chanting), the heart of devotional yoga. This practice of calling to the divine creates a bridge between the individual and the eternal, opening the heart and welcoming the spirit. Sometimes soft and meditative and sometimes loud and wildly rhythmic, Kirtan takes the participant on a deep emotional and musical journey through our mostly unexplored inner world. With solo performance and call-and-response group chanting, Jai creates a space of invocation, prayer, and heartfelt expression.
No previous experience is needed. This is an exploration of the heart, independent of vocal or musical technique.

YOGA SOUND BATH WORKSHOP With Heather Hudson and Jamie Bechtold
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Sunday, January 11th 2:30-4:30pm
Cost: $30 by Jan 9th/ $35 after

The Yoga Sound bath is like a cosmic symphony. You will enjoy a full spectrum of healing as you are moved through gentle and restorative poses while the sounds of healing crystal bowls and gongs fill the air. A great way to get a head start into the new year and renew your spirit!
Our intention for this gathering is to create an environment where you can feel safe and cozy so that you can relax your body and start your new year off with a clear and balanced sense of self.

Full Moon Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Sunday, January 11th 5:00pm
Cost: $16/keytags

Join us for this special class that calls upon the powerful energy of the moon. Enhance the rhythmic Dance of Life and balance your mind, calm your spirit, and energize your soul with full moon magic, when your mind is most open and you can manifest your prayers!

Chakra Restorative Yoga with Constance Hart
Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, January 11th 6:00-8:15pm
Cost: $40

This Month's Focus: 7 Chakras, 7 Colors, 7 Energies
Awaken & Balance Your Internal Energy System
Experience this unique fusion of restorative yoga & energy medicine with color therapy, color aromatherapy, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, mantras and sound healings specific to awakening the pranic flow through the Chakras. This session offers a special meditative journey through your 7 major chakras with guided visualizations. Leave with a clear awareness of which chakras you need to focus on for better daily balance & the colors that will nourish your energy system. Come breathe into these vital energy centers, clear your Chakras & leave feeling totally renewed in body, mind & spirit.

Jivamukti Workshop, Reading, + Book Signing with Sharon Gannon
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Monday, January 12th 7:00-10:00pm
Cost: $50 in advance; $60 the day of (cost of the workshop includes Sharon's book "Yoga + Vegetarianism")

Join us for a powerful and uplifting evening with the incomparable Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga that will inspire and transform. The workshop will begin with a brief book signing opportunity, followed by a two-hour Jivamukti yoga practice and then a one-hour reading/discussion/signing.
Sharon will read excerpts from her latest book Yoga and Vegetarianism. An insightful, optimistic and non-judgmental exploration into Patanjali’s five Yamas, it explores how we relate to the food we eat, and how it affects personal issues such as violence, self esteem, wealth/poverity, and physical wellbeing.
The all levels yoga practice will be vigorous as well as intellectually stimulating interweaving the 5 tenets of Jivamukti yoga of ahimsa (non-harming), bhakti (devotion), nadam (sound), scripture & meditation.
All participants will receive a copy of Yoga and Vegetarianism as part of the workshop fee. Everyone who eats food is welcome: carnivores, vegetarians and vegans!
Schedule for the evening:
7:00pm-7:20pm - Book Signing before workshop
7:30pm-9:30pm - Jivamukti Master Class
9:30pm - 10:30pm - Reading/Signing

Yoga and Vegetarianism with Sharon Gannon - A Workshop and Book Signing
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Tuesday, January 13th 6:00-9:30pm
Cost: BOOK SIGNING (6:00-7:00pm) FREE / WORKSHOP (7:30-9:30pm) $40/adv or $50/day of (Workshop cost includes a Copy of Sharon's new book "Yoga and Vegetarianism")

Join us for a powerful and uplifting evening with the incomparable Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga that will inspire and transform. The workshop will include a one-hour reading/discussion/signing followed by a two-hour Jivamukti yoga practice.
Sharon will read excerpts from her latest book “Yoga and Vegetarianism” bringing an insightful, optimistic and non-judgmental exploration into Patanjali’s five Yamas and how they relate to the food we eat, and how that in turn affects personal issues: of violence, self esteem, wealth, poverty, and physical health as well as identity issues arising from our perception of our past, present and future or who we are and who we will become.
The all levels yoga practice will be vigorous and intellectually stimulating interweaving the 5 tenets of Jivamukti yoga of ahimsa (non-harming), bhakti (devotion), nadam (sound), scripture & meditation. All participants will receive a copy of Yoga and Vegetarianism as part of the workshop fee. Everyone who eats food is welcome: carnivores, vegetarians and vegans!

Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, January 17th 12:30-3:30pm
Cost: $35

Join Micheline and special musical guest Donna de lory for this New Years winter ritual yoga practice accompanied to live world music to activate and deepen the flow of Shakti Prana – the sensual, vibrant creative aspect of our yoga practice. This special yoga journey integrates a deep, liquid practice of yoga asana, somatic afro-brazilian dance movement and meditation. You will come away from this practice feeling deeply empowered, juicy and rejuvenated.

Detox with Naader
Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary, Pasadena
Saturday, January 17th 1:00-4:00pm
Cost: $40 Registration is required

Specially designed Herbal drink (balancing doshas) Practice for all ages and levels. Just a few of the benefits include improved digestion, clearer skin, more energy, stronger immune system, sharper memory and concentration, calmness... peacefulness.... stillness.....The Shodhana intensive will include Ayurvedic therapies (oils, herbs, teas & aromatic oils) complimented with therapeutic yoga postures and techniques to detoxify the body and vibrate the soul. Music will be woven into the practice. A guided Light Meditation will end our journey. Bring large towels, yoga mat, meditation cushion, one large bottle of water.
INCLUDED: Detoxifying tea, herbs will be provided for the purification process

New Year's Detox Yoga with Sara Ivanhoe
Yoga Works Montana, Santa Monica
Saturday, January 17th 2:00-5:00pm
Cost: $45 by 1/3, $55 after

The holidays are a lot of fun, but it is a time when we tend to overindulge and get lazy. Kick start your yoga practice with this intense 3 hour class to shed the malaise of 2008 and get ready for a new year!

Yogabeats Workshop with David Sye
Yummy Yoga, Los Feliz
Saturday, January 17th 3:00-5:00pm
Cost: $35 per person, payable upon registration

David Sye will be joining us all the way from the UK for a two-hour workshop introducing his trademark style of yoga, Yogabeats. David's unique approach will provide a new energy and insights to enhance and deepen your yoga practice!
Yogabeats is more than just Yoga, it is pure fun, a practice driven by music and rhythms, unapologetically sexy, empowering and provocative, leaving you higher than a kite and flying for the rest of the week. The yoga is an eclectic mix of styles designed to accommodate all levels of fitness and ability. Rather than using fixed postures, Yogabeats uses "micro-moves". These are continuous movements which do not lock off the muscles or disrupt the blood flow and increase flexibility.
Yogabeats combines classic mobile yoga postures with the latest rhythmic and ambient world music. This involves a slow warm up section followed by a more intense second section, partner work and meditation.
For more information about David Sye's Yogabeats, please visit his website: www.yogabeats.com

Yoga Blend, Burbank
Sunday, January 18th 1:30-4:00pm
Cost: $35 by Jan 11th/$40 after

When was the last time you felt fantastic?
RESTORATIVE HYPNOTHERAPY is what Lisa calls her unique synthesis of hypnosis, meditation and yoga. Experience all at once the heightened receptivity to positive suggestion of hypnosis, the calming and focusing of the mind in meditation and the profound relaxation of restorative yoga. Access your own innate capacity to transform and heal yourself.
During this workshop Lisa will share with you secrets for self-transformation she has discovered through her years of work with thousands of clients and students. She will assist you i n planting your most powerful intentions for change into the deep ground of your subconscious mind, where permanent change begins. You will release layers of accumulated tensions, fears and habitual conditioning that hold negative patterns in place.
Learn how to sustain a regular practice of RESTORATIVE HYPNOTHERAPY in your everyday life. Feel better than you may have felt for a long, long time.
Feel the boundlessness of your nature, the experience of yourself as far more than your thoughts, body and behavior.
Come to this workshop if you want to:
- Change your self-talk
- Release old habits that no longer serve you
- Increase your energy, optimism, confidence and enthusiasm
- Heal an aspect of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually
- Be more attractive to love, health, money, opportunities

Yin Yoga Workshop
Maha Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, January 18th 2:00-4:00pm
Cost: $20

Please join Steve as he leads you through a deep opening class. Slow deep stretch postures done on the floor. No loud music. No sweat. An ideal compliment to your regular flow practice. Ends with a meditation and chi gong. Please bring a sweatshirt or wear during savasana as you may get chilly.
No reservation required. Just show up and enjoy.

lululemon South Bay, 2008A East Park Place
Sunday, January 18th 5:00pm
Cost: FREE

Join us for a free screening of Y Yoga the documentary, and kick off the lululemon athletica 30 Day Yoga Challenge.
Filmmaker Arthur Klein examines the philosophy and reality of yoga in this comp;elling documentary. After becoming a devottee in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, Klein traveled the world to explore how yoga has affected others. From a a charter school in South Central Los Angeles to wrestler Diamon Dallas Page's yoga class for American soldiers in Iraq, Klein reveals how this ancient practice continues to bring harmony to the word.
**Film director Arthur Klein and a Special Guest will also be here for a question and answer session directly following the show**

The Alchemy of Hope
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Monday, January 19th 5:30 pm with Tej and 7:00 pm with Sat Siri
Cost: $16/keytags

On the eve of the most historic inauguration in our country’s recent history, our Monday evening Kundalini Yoga and Meditation classes will focus on hope and action.
Hope is a feeling that begins as a seed of prayers in the heart. How can our actions match our deepest hopes and dreams?
Let’s celebrate hope and the energy that will transform our hopes into purposeful actions as our new president takes office.

YOGA DAY USA with Ally Hamilton
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Saturday, January 24th 9:00am
Cost: FREE

Come celebrate Yoga Day USA with lululemon athletica Santa Monica and one of our local favorite instructors, Ally Hamilton. Complimentary yoga, fun treats and eats, YogiToes, and the lu's!

Yoga Day at Ananda LA - A day of Karma, Service to others, Yoga
Ananda LA, Santa Monica
Saturday, January 24th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

A day filled with:
~ Yoga Classes
~ Guided Meditation
~ Seminars
~ Food
~ Fun
~ Raffle
Join thousands across the country for Yoga Day USA, a history-making celebration where yogis, novices, couch potatoes and triathletes, young, old and everyone in between join together to stretch mind, body and spirit through the practice of yoga.

Yoga Day USA with Niki
No Place Like Ommm, 17122 Nance St, Encino
Saturday, January 24th 10:00am
Cost: FREE

I invite you to have a FREE taste of YOGA in my cozy home studio right here in Encino. On Saturday, January 24th I will be offering 4 classes to try out - 2 kids classes and 2 adult classes. So sign up to come, shed the outside world and see for yourself, how you can...
- Have fun and relax
- Learn the basic yoga poses and breathing techniques
- Discover how to build strength and flexibility in mind and body
- Develop self awareness and tools for self care
- Improve balance and poise
- Enhance focus and concentration
No Yoga Experience necessary, for all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes
10.00am -11.15am - Kids 8-11 yrs old
12.00 noon - 1.15pm - adults - beginners
3.00pm - 4.15pm - teens 12-17 yrs old
5.00pm - 6.15 pm - adults - beginners
Niki - 818 332 9674 email: niknak57@sbcglobal.net

Yoga Day USA - Intro to Yoga Workshop with Nicole Honnig
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Saturday, January 24th 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: FREE

New to Yoga? What class should you take? Have an injury? Need more energy? Want strength & flexibility? Then this workshop is for you. We will cover the basics of yoga philosophy, pranayama (conscious breath control) and asana (yoga postures). It is an excellent overview for newer or current students. Also great for those wanting to learn more about yoga before taking their first class.
To RSVP please call Yoga Blend at 818-954-9642

One World Peace Day for Teens
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, January 24th 1:30-6:30pm
Cost: FREE

On January 24, 2009 Golden Bridge Yoga will host the first One World Peace Day for Teens in Hollywood, California. This is a dynamic and fun gathering for teens to come together to create and elevate. Teens will promote world peace by exploring their own creativity through interactive workshops such as creating vision board and making personal prayer flags.
Teens will elevate their energy through fun yoga, a Brazilian Capoeira class, and live DJ music. This gathering of youth will transcend borders and promote world peace. Peace is experienced through collectively expressing joy and creativity. When we come together through joy and creativity, we experience our Oneness. Please join us for the One World Peace Day gathering to create and elevate.
This event is free of charge.

Yoga House, Pasadena
Saturday, January 24th 2:00-4:00pm
Cost: $35

Join us at Yoga House for Symphonic Yoga, an All-Level Vinyasa Flow workshop set to classical music. Composers whose music will accompany this special practice 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 the towering geniuses of classical music. A truly extraordinary experience!

Ganesha - New Beginnings with Hagar Harpak
Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Saturday, January 24th 5:30-8:00pm
Cost: $30 in advance, $35 at the door
You must pre-register with payment in order to secure a place in this workshop.

Ganesh is the lord of all beginnings.
So now, in the beginning of the year, what are your wishes, goals, determinations?
Ganesh is the remover of all obstacles, and also the one putting them there.
In this workshop we will learn how to use our obstacles for the process of breaking through them. What would you like to break through this year, in your life?
Maybe a habit or a pattern? Maybe something you wish to overcome, somewhere you feel stuck, something you want to manifest? What pose/poses do you wish to break through?
Please bring a pose you may be struggling with, or even a class of poses you find challenging. Bring an open mind and heart, and the willingness to play with possibilities.

Kirtan with Daniel Stewart and Friends
Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Saturday, January 24th 8:15pm
Cost: By Donation

Daniel Stewart and Friends from Rising Lotus Yoga will be at Black Dog for an evening of call and response music after Hagar's Ganesha workshop.

7 Year Anniversary Party starring Jah Fellowship
Free Spirit Yoga, Long Beach
Saturday, January 24th 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

We will have yummy foods and refreshments. Please join us in celebrating this milestone. We will also have a couple of drawings for current students and one for new students.
We are asking you to RSVP by 1/16 if you are going to attend. We sure hope you do!! This band is FUN!

Partner Flow Workshop
Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Sunday, January 25th 12:30-2:30pm
Cost: $35 per pair advance purchase (send an email to karen@yogagroovestudio.com to reserve a spot), $40 per pair at the door

Partner yoga invites us to be receptive, playful, and sensitive. As we cultivate trust and surrender with the support of another you will melt into deep, relaxing stretches and discover meaningful connection to both the inner and outer world.
No prior yoga experience needed.
Come with a partner!

Yoga Blend, Burbank
Sunday, Jan 25th 1:30-4:30pm
Wednesday, Jan 28th 6:00-7:30am
Sunday, Feb 1st 1:30-4:30pm
(FREE Informational Session and Registration: Saturday, January 17th 1:30-3:30pm)
COST: $140 if registered by Jan 17th, $150 after (price includes 9 days of herbal products)

In the workshop Cindi and Keya will combine 3 days of specialized Geo Yoga (a sequence of cleansing yoga poses) with 9 days of Herbal Oxygen Tonic and Colon Therapy Capsules (a formula designed by Hariatma International). These two systems will cleanse and purify the internal organs on a cellular level, restoring energy for greater overall health and wellbeing.
Some benefits of The Yoga Cleanse workshop are:
- reduced appetite and belly bulge
- release of toxins
- minimized joint pain
- enhanced mental clarity
- emotional balance
This workshop is open to all levels of yoga including beginners and first time cleansers.

Yoga Gives Back! with Joel Bender and Clay Kyle
Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, January 25th 2:00-4:00pm
Cost: $30 dollars/$25 if you register by January 22nd at YogaGivesBack@earthlink.net

The non-profit group Yoga Gives Back seeks to return the favor of the yoga tradition by helping struggling Indian villagers with micro-finance. Liberation ashtanga teacher Joel Bender will be speaking on the gifts and challenges of India while vinyasa teacher/psychotherapist Clay Kyle will be teaching a special, "intentional", all levels practice designed to raise both awareness and funds for this worthy cause. This is a yoga experience that will truly be working on many levels!
Learn more about Yoga Gives Back at www.yogajournal.com/yogagivesback

Love and Compassion Night at Yoga Works Westwood with Eka Ekong and Adam Stern: A charity benefiting the UCLA AIDS Institute
Yoga Works Westwood, Los Angeles
Thursday, January 29th 9:00pm-midnight
Cost: By Donation

Featuring a vinyasa flow class with Eka Ekong at 9pm, this charity event will include a kirtan with Eka and Adam Stern, live poetry and music, a chance to meet our beloved yoga teachers and hear about the classes they're teaching, a DJ, dancing, appetizers and drinks.
All donations will benefit the UCLA AIDS Institute.

Wah! - Benefit concert for Amma’s charities
Blankenship Ballet, 132 Brooks Ave, Venice (corner of Brooks, Abbot Kinney and Main)
Saturday, January 31st 6:00pm
Cost: $17.00 in advance (online) and $20.00 at the door
Purchase Tickets online: www.lasatsangevents.com
Information: 323-469-1247

A festival of Devotional Kirtans, Dancing and Delicious Indian Food
Net Proceeds benefit the Orphans of Farmer’s Project in India and Mother’s Kitchen in Los Angeles
6pm opening acts: San Diego Amma Satsang, Sacred Dance Mandali, and Prema Soul
8pm WAH!
Bring a meditation cushion!
The Farmers Rehabilitation Project began in response to the desperate situation many farmers are facing in India. Due to the change in climate and conditions crop failure is rising while farmers are turning to suicide in response. As a result, many children are left without a means to continue their education. This is where Amma stepped in to offer scholarships to 100,000 orphans of the suicide farmers. Also in response to this growing problem Amma has started educating the farmers and offering alternatives to suicide as well as providing free vocational training for the women affected.
Mother's Kitchen in LA focuses on feeding the homeless in Santa Monica. In a team effort with HOPE (Helping Other People Eat), Mother's Kitchen feed the homeless in Santa Monica on a weekly basis.

Yoga Trance Dance with Lara Catone
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Saturday, January 31st 7:00-9:00pm
Cost: $18 in advance $20 at the door

Yoga Trance Dance blends breath-initiated yoga into a flow of free-form movement for an ecstatic connection to our creative energy, or shakti. This guided experience leads us into embodied freedom and the ultimate intuitive flow. Yoga Trance Dance is both energizing & deeply therapeutic.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

being receptive

Dharma Mittra Yoga Los Angeles
5376 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 937-YOGA (9642)
website: http://www.dharmamittrayogala.com/

Sri Dharma Mittra has been disseminating the ancient knowledge of how to achieve radiant health and spiritual development before styles of yoga became popular. He remains truthful to the original classical practice and guides his students and student teachers to do the same. For this reason, as well as his experience and knowledge he is frequently referred to as the “Teacher’s Teacher” and for his dedication and fortitude “The Rock of Yoga.”

Dharma’s practice is known as Shiva Namaskar. At DMYLA we currently teach levels 1, 11 and 111, passed down directly from Sri Dharma. (In 2009 we look forward to offering Shiva Namaskar levels IV and V.) The practice is rigorous and meditative all at the same time, a stairway to bliss that reintegrates the continuous flow of prana (cosmic energy, life force) through the spinal column, emanating deep into all areas of the self. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually you will be blessed by the practice. The only requirement? Be receptive.

i first heard about the new dharma mittra yoga studio from my friend brandon, a loyal student -- and, i swear, the adopted son -- of will duprey, an initiate of sri dharma mittra (will used to teach here in LA, but sadly, he moved his base of operations to NYC last year). so when it comes to anything related to dharma mittra, brandon's sure to be on top of it. knowing that i have this constant urge to try something new, brandon told me a couple of months ago about the new source of dharma mittra's teachings here on the west coast. so once the craziness of the holidays calmed down, i made it a point to check it out for him as well as for myself.

sonya enchill is the director of dharma mittra yoga LA, or DMYLA, which is located just south of the fairfax exit of the santa monica freeway (I-10). the studio has been open a mere four months, so as is the case with all new start-ups, there have been many changes that have occurred since the grand opening.

for one thing, DMYLA has replaced its original myspace page with its own studio website (the myspace page is still up and running, but i expect that it will eventually become obsolete as the website becomes the most up-to-date source of all studio information). also, the class schedule continues to undergo some tweaking here and there, so if you decide to drop by, make sure you check the website for the most current class schedule before you go.

before i forget, i should point out that your first class is FREE, and as an introductory offer, all classes for the month of january will cost only $10!

that being said, i chose to show up for sonya's level 1/2 class at 6:45pm on tuesday evening. not only was i in the mood for a mellower practice, but i've also learned that when it comes to unfamiliar styles of yoga, even if i consider myself a solid intermediate, it's always good to start at the beginning and work my way up. that way i can become familiar with the nuances of the style, whether it be the opening invocation chant, a different sun salutation sequence, new pose variations, and so on, before attempting the harder stuff.

the western end of adams boulevard just off fairfax is a dark and deserted street in the evening, with most of the businesses closed by 6pm. and while that means there's lots of street parking in the immediate vicinity of the studio, it also means that it's a bit hard to find the studio at night unless you know exactly where it is, which is at the southeast corner of adams and burnside, just two blocks east of the traffic light on hauser. it definitely is NOT in an upscale neighborhood, so given the dimly-lit street and the iron bars on the windows, i made it a point to stay aware of my surroundings at all times while walking from my car to the studio. this is the big city, after all; you never know...

once i walked into the studio, i was greeted warmly by vernon, the studio assistant. we chatted while i filled out the registration form and signed in for the class. he mentioned that he was co-teaching the partner yoga class that immediately followed that class i was there to take. he added that i could take it for free, too, if i decided to do a back-to-back. it was an offer i found hard to refuse, but i told him that i'd see how i felt after the first class.

each DMYLA class is a nicely rounded practice, with some chanting, some pranayama, some meditation, some instruction on the yoga sutras, with the majority of the class focused on the physical poses. for that evening, sonya focused on the level 1 poses and threw in a few level 2 at the end. and as far as i was concerned, the easier asanas were perfect for me; my SI joint issue has been causing me a lot of back pain recently, so much so that i'm ratcheting down my practice until i figure out what NOT to do. ugh :(

sonya had a nice music mix playing in the background during the class. part chant, part world music, it livened up our practice, but not to the point of distraction. there were six students in our small class, so each of us received individual attention, something that definitely doesn't happen in much bigger classes. she helped me get into some of the more advanced twisted poses (the difficulty of which surprised me, given that they were supposedly level 1 poses), and i was ecstatic that my back didn't complain while i attempted a twisted prasarita padottanasana (or whatever it's called) which involved holding the left ankle with the right hand, the right ankle with the left hand, then twisting to the left so that the head comes under the left arm and looks up -- while standing. yeah, it's twisted, alright!

and as for the partner yoga class that followed, i decided to pass. it was around 9pm by the time we ended, and i didn't want to wait until after 10:30 to have dinner...

i enjoyed sonya's teaching style. she seemed really concerned that we all learn the poses properly. in the short time the studio's been open, it appears like she already has a regular group of students, and i can see why. in fact, when i told her about my back issues, she encouraged me to show up for her smaller gentle-level classes so that i'd get even more individualized attention. and at only $10 a pop, i may just take her up on it!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

do these yoga pants make my butt look big?

i'm female. (and if you're a regular reader, i'm sure you've probably figured that out by now)

and like most females, i am oftentimes obsessed with the way i look. especially when it comes to deciding what to wear to yoga class. i know it sounds like a no-brainer -- just pull on a top and a bottom that hopefully match -- but i find that different days require different dressing strategies.

for example, on the days i feel particularly happy about the way i look, i'll pull my body-hugging lululemon bottoms out of the closet, pair them with a stretchy cami-top, slip on a pair of coordinating flip-flops (ok, i have to confess that i own over a dozen pairs in different colors...), then head out the door.

during the holiday feasting season, on "moon days" (you know... when females aren't supposed to do inversions...), or on one of those i-can't-believe-i-ate-all-of-that-for-lunch days, i'll pick out a pair of my looser-fit be present pants, top them with a relaxed tank top, slip on a pair of coordinating flip-flops (at least that option never changes), then suck in my belly for a little additional help before making my way to class.

and on the days when i choose to live dangerously, i'll ease on one of my roll-down hardtail yoga pants, pull on a top that i haven't worn in a while, slip on those flip-flops, and hope that there isn't too much of a muffin-top lurking over my waistband :(

oh, the joys of being female...

recently, the nice folk at fertile goddess sent me samples of their yoga wear to try out. in the package that arrived on my front doorstep -- on my birthday, no less, which was a nice coincidence -- was a sassy tank in platinum and black and an all around capri pant in black. both in size small :) i quickly put the items in my yoga bag and hopped in my car; i had a 6pm birthday yoga date with BDB in westwood and wanted to beat the eastbound rush hour traffic (will someone please tell me why it takes an HOUR to get from santa monica to westwood in the evening when mapquest claims it should only take 8 minutes to drive those 3 miles??!?!?). mind you, i hadn't even checked first to see if the top and bottom fit! talk about living dangerously...

when i arrived at the yoga studio, i headed straight for the dressing room to change into my newly-acquired birthday outfit. i cut off the hangtags and pulled on the tank and the pants. and wouldn't you know it... they fit! but not only did they fit without my having to suck my gut in, but they were actually a bit loose! talk about a real ego-booster: wearing my usual size and feeling like i'd lost weight :)

the pieces felt really nice to the touch. they were soft and silky and weren't binding at all. and best of all, they survived the test of john neidlinger's level 3 class -- while i continued to sweat profusely, my clothes managed to wick away most of it, keeping me comfortable through all the vinyasas and challenging poses. after class, i walked back to the dressing room to change for dinner, and as i took off my damp clothes, i noticed the messages that were discreetly printed on them:

on the tank top - my inner garden grows every day (grows better, i hope...)
and on the capri pants - i am a woman of remarkable ability (no doubt about that!)

needless to say, these are going in my "live dangerously" pile of yoga clothes, because no matter how fat -- or not -- i'm feeling that day, i know they'll never make my butt look big :) that's because they seem to be sized for us "real" women -- the real goddesses -- and not the stick-thin model types that exist only in fashion magazines... and at the front of some yoga classes...

so for those of you who want to know more about the fertile goddess line (which also includes t-shirts, jackets, tote bags, and note cards), here's the scoop:

- All yoga tops are made from superior fabric that is moisture wicking, antibacterial, and have built in bra shelf and extra soft elastic.
- All pants are moisture wicking, quick drying, very soft hand, flexible, all standard rise.
- Fertile Goddess is exclusively online at www.fertilegoddess.com. The line is designed around images of ancient fertility goddesses, with a hidden message from a goddess inside the garment!

and best of all:
- Made in LA!

Monday, January 05, 2009

living from moment to moment

unemployment is a bad news / good news kind of thing, especially when it comes to yoga.

the bad news is that i have to think long and hard about whether it's wise to pay $45 for a two-hour restorative workshop this friday. especially since this "No vinyasas, no down dogs, no sweat. Just blissful relaxation" class will be taught by a teacher known for his sweaty, oh-my-god-do-i-have-to-do-another-vinyasa-push-up? classes. yes, i'm extremely curious and am dying to take it, but not only is $45 almost THREE times the cost of the average yoga class, it will surely eat up a good chunk of my weekly unemployment check. maybe i can swing it if i give up lunch for the week... my god, has it come to this? :(

the good news is that i have an entire day at my disposal to take a yoga class. everyday. any class. any teacher. any time. anywhere. and yes, many of you reading this from your desks at the office would now like to trade places with me. well, you know how to find me :)

anyway, i woke up at around 8 this morning -- there's that good news part again -- and lay in bed, mulling about my yoga class options. some local place i can walk or bike to? or some place across town that i'd need at least half an hour to drive to? a vigorous vinyasa flow class? or a gentle iyengar class? should i try a class with a teacher i've never practiced with before? or should i go and have fun with someone i'm familiar with?

i pulled myself over to my laptop, fired it up, and checked some yoga studio websites. then i remembered a new place that brandon, another yoga-crazed friend, had told me about a month or so ago. i checked the studio's website and found a level 1 class at 11am. an accessible class at an accessible time. and it wasn't too far away. perfect.

with just over two hours to kill, i logged onto facebook to check to see what all my friends were up to. big mistake. i eventually found myself chatting with an old high school friend. we talked about how our parents were doing. and how our kids were doing. and how our jobs were not doing. we compared health issues and our current exercise habits (or lack thereof). the next thing i knew, it was 10:30, i had yet to get dressed, and the yoga studio was half an hour away. argh. i'll have to try it another time...

since i was originally looking forward to trying something new, i checked my options and ended up taking a familiar teacher's class at a new venue: david romanelli at exhale venice. ok, so maybe dave's been teaching at that studio for a while now, but the last time i took his class was when he was still teaching at exhale santa monica. and that was before they canceled ALL of their yoga classes and replaced them with core fusion classes. me, work my core? ugh.

dave's class was scheduled for 2:30 that afternoon, and since it was a community class, it was going to cost me only $10. with the money i'd be saving, i could even afford to get myself an inexpensive lunch before heading out to venice. love it!

you could say that dave and i go way back... well, at least back to the time he moved to LA from arizona and started teaching at exhale santa monica when it first opened three years ago :) his classes have always been somewhat of a treat for me, with his eclectic taste in yoga flow music and his chatty demeanor. and his ability to somehow use current events to illustrate morsels of yogic wisdom.

take today's class, for example. dave read a line by kahlil gibran:

Love is the only freedom in the world because it so elevates the spirit that the laws of humanity and the phenomena of nature do not alter its course.

he then talked about the big headline on the news this morning: the still-unresolved death of jett travolta, john travolta's and kelly preston's 16-year old son. and how john and kelly must have loved their son so much that they probably would gladly exchange all their wealth for the ability to have their son back in their arms. i know, it's a bit depressing thinking about death right before embarking on a vinyasa flow class, but it was food for thought, nevertheless...

dave definitely has his followers. and i don't know why it is, but almost all his students are female. attractive young ones, at that. and considering that the class was held in the middle of the afternoon on a typical work day, i was surprised at how many of them were already in line at the front desk to pay for his class when i got there. they must either love him, love his class, or love the $10 price of his class. or all three. wait... there's that love thing again. see? i learned something today :)

dave romanelli has his own yeah dave website as well as a weekly email newsletter. the stories in his e-updates are quite quirky -- sometimes funny, sometimes silly, sometimes just plain stupid (and i mean that in a good way; after all, if you can't be stupid with your friends, who else can you be stupid with?). either way, what he says always manages to amuse me, so much so that i sometimes reply back to him with equally silly (and/or stupid) comments.

now it appears that he's compiled many of his wild and wacky stories into a book that's scheduled to be published in early march. titled yeah dave's guide to livin' the moment, the book is "a lifelong dream featuring 26 stories each with a feel-good inspirational message. Yes it's another self-help book but this is a different kind of self-help book with stories ranging from evading the attempts of an HHMW (hot, horny, married woman) to my guide to Re-Gifting with style. The book's overarching message: livin' the good life is Livin' the Moment!"

he's organized a book club for all those who want an early peek at his upcoming book. it's fairly easy to join; all you have to do is send an email to yeahdave@yeahdaveyoga.com with the subject "i'm in!" and he'll take it from there.

in the meantime, you can catch him here at exhale venice or on the road at one of his yoga + chocolate (and often + wine, too) workshops around the country. and yes, i've been to at least one of those. i mean, me turn down a chance for chocolate? that wouldn't be living the moment, now, would it?