Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
Click here to view the accidental yogist's map of los angeles yoga studios in a full-size page

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

lenten bhakti

today is ash wednesday. in the christian calendar, it marks the start of lent, a 40-day period of fasting and devotion that leads up to holy week and easter sunday.

after my friend mary mentioned during last night's IM chat that she was busy checking ash wednesday services at churches near her office, i countered that i really didn't care to walk around town with people pointing out that i had somehow gotten some smudge on my forehead.

JONI!!!!!, she replied. i could almost see her wagging her finger at me, much like the nuns did whenever they didn't approve of something i said or did.

even then, i guess i wasn't a very good catholic...

but since there will be many opportunities for me to practice some form of devotion, or bhakti, this weekend, i suppose i can tie the whole lent/yoga thing into a pleasing package of music and meditation.

and i won't even have to get my forehead dirty :)

Mantra, Mudra & Meditation with Samantha Mehra & Spring Gross
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Feb 28th 12:30-3:30pm
Cost: $35

Explore the aspects of bhakti yoga. Allow your practice to deepen by opening your heart, expressing your voice, and connecting to your true self.
In this workshop the focus is to unlock the body's wisdom. Through learning various techiques in Pranayama we will access our vital energy source.
With restorative asana, including mudras, we open the chakras. Understanding placement of breath and sound with mantras and kirtan, lead us to freeing our natural voice with confidence, ease, and playfulness. As the collective consciousness of change is present, let your voice be heard.

Rainforest Alliance Benefit: The Sacred Language
Kula, 1231 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica
Saturday, Feb 28th 8:00pm
Cost: $15, a third of the proceeds go to Rainforest Alliance

Reid DeFever performs world music from all 4 sacred language CDs in an organic fusion of rhythm, vibration and inspiration.
Floor style seating, please bring a pillow to be comfortable.
Entrance to Kula is through parking lot at rear of building. Please do not park in our neighbors' parking lots... we wish to preserve our excellent relationships!

Ecstatic Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Brentwood
Saturday, Feb 28th 8:00pm
Cost: By donation

We invite you to join us for a blissful evening of chanting.
The evening will open your heart, still your mind and lead you to a state of profound euphoria.
Wear comfortable clothing, bring a cushion to sit on and enjoy.

The LA Kirtan Collective presents: Chant for Peace - A Night of Sacred Music
Power Yoga West, Santa Monica
Saturday, Feb 28th 8:30-11:55pm
Cost: Suggested Donation $12

"The LA Kirtan Collective" features a host of different Kirtan artists and musicians: Joey Lugassy, Zat Baraka, Spring, Daniel Stewart, Ambika, and Special Guest Richard Horowitz. Also: Patrick Richey on Tabla, guitarist MoMo Rocking, and percussionist Matthew Hufschmidt.
Expect to sing and be moved into motion.
We open to a deep experience of inner peace and world peace. Join us for this beautiful upbeat and meditative environment.
Bring a comfy pillow and blanket.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

for your viewing pleasure

you know you live in the movie capital of the world when you receive emails from local yoga studios regarding changes to this sunday's class schedule (btw, the oscars will be aired LIVE at 5pm pacific time)...

from silver lake yoga:

Watch the Oscars - Guilt Free!
Due to historically low attendance during the Academy Awards (hey, we're still in a company town), Sunday evening classes will be canceled. There will be no 5:30 pm Slow Flow class, nor the 6:30 pm Restorative class.

from swerve:

This Sunday, February 22nd, World Beat Workout will be offered at the special time of 1:30 - 2:45 to accommodate your Academy Awards viewing pleasure!

from yummy yoga:

Oscar Night - Evening Classes Cancelled
Sunday, Feb 22, Ducky's Sunday 10:00 AM All Levels class will be held as usual; the 5:30 PM and 7:15 PM classes are cancelled.

Friday, February 20, 2009

come celebrate a new beginning!

in these times when we seem to be finding more and more of our favorite places going out of business and closing down, it's nice to know that there's a new place in west LA that'll be opening its doors and could even become a new favorite place for us: the hub!

here's an invite to their grand opening ceremony that will be held today, february 20th:

The Hub Grand Opening
Yoga Breathwork Meditation

Come for Yantra Ceremony, Light Lunch, and Celebration!

We have two new beautiful creative spaces and a wonderful gift shop.
Please come and see LA's new urban oasis for yourself.

DATE: Friday, February 20, 2009
TIME: Noon - 2:00pm
LOCATION: 2001 South Barrington Avenue, Suite 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 575-4200
(Yoga studio is located on street level, at the bottom of the parking garage.)

followed by

FREE Yoga Class
TIME: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
The last half hour will feature our ground breaking 3 part breathwork.

R.S.V.P. For both events at info@thehub-la.com

The Hub is the Heart… an urban sanctuary for the body and soul, inviting people of all ages and body types to explore yoga, breath work, meditation, and movement.

The Hub is a Welcoming home for new and seasoned students where we believe the secret to a balanced life is the combination and integration of physical, mental, and spiritual modalities.

The Hub is the Center of the Community where students and teachers come together to study and thrive in an atmosphere that is fun, inspirational, and uplifting.

Our knowledgeable and dedicated instructors take great pleasure in providing expert personal assistance. Our highest wish is to leave you with an experience of greater strength, flexibility, happiness, and peace of mind.

drop by soon and take advantage of their grand opening specials:

Special Offers beginning February 23rd
1st consecutive 2 classes FREE*
2 weeks unlimited yoga for $30.00
1 month unlimited yoga for $58.00 (regular price $160.00)*

*for new students only

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

challenge survivor!

two weeks ago, i was halfway through my upgraded version of the lululemon south bay yoga challenge; not only was i going to challenge myself to take 4 yoga classes a week for 4 weeks, but i was going to do that one better and take a yoga class every day for 4 weeks. but when i posted my progress at the halfway mark, i realized that it still wasn't that much of a challenge. at least to me. so i decided to up the ante and throw in as many yoga styles as i could within those 4 weeks. i had so much fun mixing it up that before i knew it, the challenge period was over.

so here are the results of that challenge:

week 1
1/19: leslie kazadi @ truyoga - therapeutics
1/20: david lynch @ yoga works south bay - vinyasa flow
1/21: mark frankel @ still yoga - anusara
1/22: kishan shah @ exhale venice - vinyasa flow
1/23: knekoh fruge @ yoga circle downtown - vinyasa flow
1/24: hagar harpak @ black dog yoga - anusara
1/25: tom morley @ lululemon brentwood - vinyasa flow

week 2
1/26: annie carpenter @ yoga works main street - vinyasa flow
1/27: jesse lombardi @ be love yoga - kundalini
1/28: bonnie johanson @ spectrum club south bay - vinyasa flow
1/29: jamila tazewell @ downtown yoga loft - kundalini
1/30: jo tastula @ yogaglo - vinyasa flow
1/31: brigette dunn-korpela@ core power yoga HB - power yoga
2/1: *** surf city half marathon *** (yes, i actually skipped a day -- after running 13.1 miles, the mind said "yes i can!" but the body said "no you won't!")

week 3
2/2: catherine mcdonough @ santa monica yoga - vinyasa flow
2/3: travis eliot @ power yoga west - power yoga
2/4: genevieve fischer @ yogaglo - vinyasa flow / david kim @ yoga works westwood - vinyasa flow (two classes that day)
2/5: melissa margolin @ home simply yoga - ashtanga
2/6: ross rayburn @ guerilla yoga - anusara
2/7: marla apt @ yoga works montana - iyengar
2/8: ginger lewis @ lululemon south bay - power yoga

week 4
2/9: michael ruccolo @ lyfe yoga center - iyengar
2/10: julie rader @ yoga loft MB - vinyasa flow
2/11: noah maze @ yogaglo - anusara / jennifer fromm @ bikram yoga silverlake - bikram (another doubleheader)
2/12: marla wedge @ harmony yoga - vinyasa flow
2/13: sue elkind + naime jezzeny @ yoga works larchmont - anusara
2/14: tara judelle @ city yoga - anusara
2/15: amber rothwell @ karuna yoga - restorative

my 28-day adventure was something most yogis don't get to experience, much less in that compressed of a time frame. and because of that, i consider myself extremely fortunate. for one thing, not only did i visit yoga studios in the south bay, but i also stopped by places on the westside, in downtown, in the san fernando and san gabriel valleys, and even out in the OC. in addition, my yoga teachers ran the gamut from well-seasoned and well-known experts to those still trying to make their way up the yoga ranks. i should also point out that not all of the classes were in the usual 90-minute format; one of the classes was a 30-minute "quickie", while another was a two-and-a-half-hour workshop followed by a kirtan (which turned it into a five-hour delight!).

as for cramming in as many yoga styles as i could, it reminded me of what i liked -- and in some cases, didn't like -- about each of them.

take, for example, these observations:

anusara - all i can say is that all those inversions must be what's making anusaroids awfully happy people. sure, you have to work hard in class, but it always seems like a lot of fun. and the fact that most students can say ekapadarajakapotasana AND do it with a minimum of effort is totally amazing.

ashtanga - i'd always thought that ashtanga was for die-hards. i mean, i'd heard how ashtanga students are pushed and prodded by their teachers until their poses are textbook-perfect. and about how they can't move on to the next pose in the series until they've mastered the previous one. so it came as quite a surprise to me when i took a mysore class and was taught accessible modifications of the poses. in fact, after being given tips on how to do some poses more easily, i actually wanted to go back the next day to learn more. wow.

bikram - the way i look at it, you either love bikram or hate it. you either love that it's hot and you're oozing sweat out of your pores like it's no one's business, or hate that the room's so artificially heated that you're about to pass out. you either love that you do the same 26 poses each time and can easily monitor your progress, or hate that you do the same sequence over and over and are totally tired of it. but the thing that i'm still trying to reconcile in my mind is this: considering that the average bikram student probably drips a quart of sweat per class, why do most studios have their students practicing on carpeted floors? it's not like someone runs a wet-dry vacuum when class is over. ewww...

iyengar - just like kids have to practice their penmanship to have legible handwriting, or singers need vocalization exercises to improve their singing form, i need a regular dose of iyengar's structured discpline to learn proper alignment so that i can, hopefully, prevent further injuries.

kundalini - after some thought, i realized that my response to the constant repetive movement was similar to my response to the first few times i did pigeon pose -- i just wanted it to be over! getting my mind to see past the discomfort has been a study in patience and perseverance. i'm still not at the point where i actually feel blissful during my practice, but i do know that i'm blissfully relieved when i'm done!

power yoga - as far as i'm concerned, power yoga is pretty much the same as vinyasa flow yoga; the name just makes competitive people feel like they've pushed themselves harder. unless, of course, it's the kind of power yoga that's performed in a room heated up to 100 degrees or more. in which case it's pretty much the same as bikram yoga... with maybe a more creative sequence of poses.

restorative - this is probably the only style of yoga where you know that if you've fallen asleep at any point during your practice, you've had a great class :)

therapeutic - this is the class you go to when you want to know which poses will strengthen your weaknesses, heal your injuries, and soothe your aches. you might also learn which poses aggravate any conditions you may have and which variations are better alternatives.

vinyasa flow - this is the typical style of yoga class taught at most studios around town. you start with sun salutations, move on to standing poses, then seated poses, then backbends and inversions, and end with savasana. some teachers have you constantly transitioning from pose to pose, while some have you hold a pose for a handful of breaths before moving on to the next. if you have a good foundational knowledge of the mechanics of each pose, it can be an exhilarating experience. but if you have no idea what you're doing, or if you get careless and sloppy, you can end up hurting yourself. so be smart and pick your level wisely.

so now that i've completed my challenge and turned in my class card to the south bay lulus, i'm just waiting to pick up my reward: a lululemon eco align ultra mat and a 5-class pass to the south bay yoga studio of my choice. after considering my options (including a one-month yogaworks pass, for use ONLY at YW south bay), i chose to receive a pass to lyfe yoga in hermosa beach. why lyfe? because i like michael's iyengar class and because i feel his studio could use the extra publicity :)

so thanks again to all my teachers for all the wonderful instruction... and for their pretending to understand why i couldn't visit their classes again until my challenge was over!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

classified information

here's an ad i spotted in today's edition of the santa monica daily press:

are more
likely to
do yoga.

And show up to work in
a peaceful mood.

Find them
in the
Santa Monica Daily Press

Call today to learn about
our local hiring packages.

since i'm an unemployed santa monica resident who definitely does yoga, look no further -- you've found me!! :)

Monday, February 09, 2009

single awareness month

i'd like to openly admit that i became more and more frustrated as i put this month's list together. since it's february, most of the events are centered around valentine's day: partner yoga, couples yoga, lovers yoga...

what sucks is that i don't have a partner -- whether it be male or female -- who is willing to do a yoga workshop with me.

i keep hearing the same excuses.

i'm too busy.
i'm not flexible enough.
me, do yoga? are you delirious?
my wife would kill me if she found out!

hopefully, you'll have better luck than me...

as always, this is a work in progress, so keep checking back. by the way, this list goes through march 1st, since it happens to fall on the last weekend of this short month.

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!

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.

Beach Yoga with Brad Keimach
On the beach at Barnard Way and the water's edge in Santa Monica
Every Saturday and Sunday, 10:30am-12:00pm
Cost: By Donation

In honor of the great weather coming up (which will continue till next January), Beach Yoga will now take place on BOTH Saturday and Sunday, at 10:30am! It is a startlingly beautiful experience, unexpectedly profound. Come and enjoy!
How do you get there? Easy: just walk down Barnard Way, towards the beach. Go right on to the sand, and continue all the way to the water's edge. I will be there to greet you! This is a donation class. Be sure to wear sunscreen. A LARGE beach towel will work, as well as your mat. I've ordered dolphins and seals again, and I believe that since the temps will be approaching 80, they will make an appearance. Class will be canceled if it rains.

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 complementary fitness class for all ages and levels. Join us and some of the area's best fitness instuctors for yoga, pilates, dance, and other formats of fitness classes.
Weekly classes are followed by healthy snacks!
We have mats for the community or bring your own.
Sunday Feb 1st - Brigette Bedi
Sunday Feb 8th - Marlize Joubert from Truyoga
Sunday Feb 15th - Karen Powell with Yoga of Love and Forgiveness
Sunday Mar 1st - Kia Miller from YogaWorks

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

It is going to be a FUNKY, feisty, FABULOUS, fierce, and FEROCIOUS February!
This February month our complimentary in-store classes will be provided by the amazing instructors of The Goddess Center. Let's GROOVE into the loving month of February!
As always, the classes are ALL levels.
Don't forget, we have snacks and refreshments to refuel post-class.
Feb 11th - Nia & Yoga w/ Susanne Conrad & Ted McDonald

Complimentary 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 are welcome - perfect for beginner, intermediate or advanced practitioners. Check out our events page for up to date information!

Community Fitness Classes
lululemon Calabasas, 4719 Commons Way, Suite R9
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!
February 15 - Partner Yoga with Ambassador Georgina Purple
Ambassador Georgina Purple (Purple Tree Yoga) will teach a special partner yoga class! Bring a partner to celebrate your love through partner yoga poses. Create strong sense of trust, connection and harmony. This is a great class for all, no yoga experience is necessary.
March 1 - Kundalini Yoga with Absolute Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is the "Yoga of Awareness", an ancient, specific system involving classic poses, coordination of breath and movement, with sound and meditation. This powerful and active style of yoga is effective for strengthening and balancing the nervous, glandular and immune systems, as well as, increasing mental energy and developing a deep inner calm. Kundalini Yoga produces quick results and is excellent for stress reduction, healing depression and insomnia, breaking bad habits, weight control and so much more.

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 from 9:30-10:30am at our store in the Americana at Brand! We host classes ranging from yoga and salsa to pilates and acro yoga!
Limited mats available, light refreshments to follow
See our "Community Events" page for more info!
February 1 - Yoga with Vanessa Giorgio from Lotus Kitty
February 8 - Vinyasa Flow Yoga with LeTania Kirkland
February 15 - Pop Sculpt/Yoga with Jennifer Williams from Pop Physique
February 22 - Tribal Dance and Yoga with Christy Marsden from Yoga Blend

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! Check out our events section for complete details.
February 8 - Ginger Lewis is back in town and teaching a power yoga class! Stop in at 9:30-11:00am and get sweaty!
February 15 - Meredith Miller and Lisa Austin will be teaching this fun yoga and strength training class that is sure to make you sweat!
February 16 - Relax and unwind from the 3-day weekend with Usha Patel as she leads a yoga flow! This class will also be our final class in the 30 Day Yoga Challenge. Please bring your score cards to turn in!
March 1 - The amazing and oh so fabulous Marla Wedge is teaching an all levels yoga flow class. Come early to squeeze in your mat!

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).
February 8 - All Levels Sunday Yoga with John Bea
February 15 - All Levels Sunday Yoga with Lalo Quezada
February 22 - All Levels Sunday Yoga with Rachel Figura

YOGA ON THE SAND with Howard Davis
Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades
Sundays, Feb 1st, Feb 22nd, March 1st (1st and 3rd Sunday of the month) 9:00am
Cost: $20

If you've never experienced the exhilarating joy of doing yoga outdoors, please join us at 9am. Don't eat breakfast, bring a towel and layers of clothing, and park on Temescal Canyon.

Yoga on the Beach with Claudia
Next to the Lifeguard Tower on Ave H, left side, close to the water, Redondo Beach
Sundays, Feb 1st, March 1st (1st Sunday of the month) 10:00-11:15am
Cost: $10 or more is gratefully appreciated

Yoga in nature is very powerful since we are connecting with the 5 Elements of the universe. Sometimes we see the dolphins. Let's greet them with the dolphin pose (asana). Yes there is a pose.
More info at www.feelthebliss.wordpress or 310-370-3278

Kirtan with BhaktiMa
Lyfe Yoga Center, Hermosa Beach
Saturday, Feb 7th (1st Saturday of the month) 6:30pm
Cost: $10 Suggested Donation

Join us for an evening of live music and chanting inspired by the ancient Indian tradition of bhakti yoga.

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.

Yoga on the Beach with Claudia
Ave I/Esplanade, close to the water next to Lifeguard Tower Ave H in Redondo Beach
Sunday, Feb 1st (1st Sunday of the month) 10:00-11:15am
Cost: Love donation $10 or more is gratefully appreciated

All beginners are welcome!
If you can breathe, you can do Yoga. Yoga is for everybody.
Bring a huge towel or blanket and water.

FREE Community Night ~ Meditation with Tara Judelle
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Tuesday, Feb 10th (2nd Tuesday of the month) 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

Come explore the inner world of yoga. Meditation can liberate your mind from negativity and contraction, and reveal the true creative power of you consciousness.
This class will show you how to begin an sustain your own meditation practice.
Bring a friend!

Kirtan with Daniel Stewart & Friends
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Friday, Feb 13th (Once a month) 8:15pm
Cost: By Donation

Come join Daniel Stewart and many talented musical friends this Friday February 13th @ 8:15 for a joyful evening of musical meditation and chanting. Daniel will be singing with Larry, Steve, and Keelan on drums, Sarah and Sylive on vocals, Angela on flute and Jeff on guitar.
No singing experience needed, only a willingness to open your heart to the joy.
The energy of our chanting keeps growing. Thank you for helping to make these events so joyous and powerful.
Hope you'll come and help us warm up the room and spread the joy at the Lotus. Jai Ma!

Kirtan with BhaktiMa
Harmony Yoga, Redondo Beach
Saturday, Feb 21st (3rd Saturday of the month) 7:00pm
Cost: $10 Suggested Donation

Join us for an evening of live music and chanting inspired by the ancient Indian tradition of bhakti yoga.

Outdoor Yoga Hike with Hilary Kimblin
Michael Lane and Trailer Canyon Fire Road, Pacific Palisades
Saturday, Feb 21st (Once a month) 9:00-11:15am
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 day of

Throughout the winter months, let's get outdoors in the SUNSHINE. We'll meet in the Palisades, hike 45 minutes to our "classroom", practice 1 hour of yoga, then hike downhill for 30 minutes ~ fin. It's a great way to meet people and enjoy nature. (Pre-pay online and it's only $15.)
Please RSVP hilary@yogaunderthetrees.com or call 323.841.3606

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Brentwood
Saturday, Feb 28th (Once a month) 8:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Come to Maha Yoga for an enchanting evening of chanting with Steve. Open your heart and fill the studio with bliss. Sing along or just sit back and enjoy. Bring a cushion to sit on and wear comfortable clothing. Donation for our musicians.

Kirtan (call and response chanting) with Travis Eliot and Friends
Santa Monica Yoga, Santa Monica
Saturday, Feb 28th (4th Saturday of the month) 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation

other special events:

Men's Night is back!
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Tuesday, Feb 3rd 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

After a long hiatus the very popular and always intriguing Men's night is back on. We will explore relevant topics and practice together in male fashion.
This class is open for all levels and you are invited to bring friends. Bring your mat and a towel and get ready to open up.

Radiance Sutras Sessions
Kula, 1231 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica (www.kulaspace.com)
Wednesday, Feb 4th 8:00-11:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Come and be part of a new community participatory event. We'll be using Dr Lorin Roche's juicey, sensuous translation of the Vijnanabhairava Tantra, the Radiance Sutras, combined with music and chanting led by Dave, Denise and others, to push the boundaries of our creativity and capacity to get down!

Free Restorative Class with Karen Byers
Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Thursday, Feb 5th 8:00pm
Cost: FREE

Please join Karen Byers for a FREE restorative class!! This is a great way to enjoy an evening of relaxation. You can even bring a friend. Especially great for people who are new to yoga.

A Special Class with Guru Singh - Align the Heavenly Forces in Your Life! A Time for Action!
Yoga West, Los Angeles
Friday, Feb 6th 7:00-9:00pm
Cost: By Donation

We were just in Mercury retrograde and are now in the midst of an extreme period between two eclipses. This is a time for only conscious action. Here is the subtler score: the New Moon Solar Eclipse of January 25-26, 2009 and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse of February 9, 2009 connects with a Mars/Saturn/Uranus link within the Moon and Jupiter locked on the 8th and 11th of February. Those two days do NOTHING but meditate and relax.
As this is a binary universe - for every action there is an equal reaction - the two weeks we are reviewing here are not only a time to watch out for, but also a moment of unique opportunity. It can greatly empower anything you truly focus your attention on.
The proceeds from this class will be given by Yoga West to Y.O.G.A. For Youth. Everyone is encouraged to additionally participate in some way.
Y.O.G.A For Youth would love to have global volunteers and participants to help with the great uplifting work they do. Additional donations can also be made online at Y.O.G.A. For Youth or at class check-in at Yoga West.

Open House!
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, marina del rey
Saturday, Feb 7th 1:00-3:30pm
Cost: FREE

Come take a free yoga class and meet the teachers!
An opportunity to become familiar with Yoga, our courses and workshops, and the peaceful way of life practiced here at the Center. This event is free and suitable for total beginners.
Introduction to the practice and theory of Yoga and Meditation. Sow the seeds for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Find out what yoga is and how it affects the body, mind and spirit.

Sat Kartar Kirtan/Chant Concert
Yoga West, Los Angeles
Saturday, Feb 7th 6:30-8:30pm
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Sat Kartar's only Los Angeles appearance, featuring music from her new release, Listen

Partner Yoga: A Pre-Valentine Workshop
Lyfe Yoga Center, Hermosa Beach
Sunday, Feb 8th 1:30-4:30pm
Cost: $40; $70/couple

Observation, Trust and Communication - The foundation of any Relationship.
Join Michael and Simone as they introduce their version of Partner Yoga. In a fun and innovative way, Michael and Simone will instruct how to practice yoga with your husband, wife, partner or friend. Their approach is sure to bring a smile on your face.

Full Moon Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Monday, Feb 9th 7:00pm
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!

"Lovers' Night" Yoga Class
Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda, Los Angeles
Thursday, Feb 12th 7:00-9:00pm
COST: $20

Pre-celebrate Valentines Day with our first candle light "Lover's Night" with Mas Vidal.
Dedicated to the divine one in our hearts, this special class will bring us together with the intention of invoking the love of and devotion to God within in our hearts!
Friends, partners and couples are welcome, however, singles are also strongly encouraged to attend this tantric celebration of Divine Love. It is not a couples-only class. Rather, it is a class to awaken and stimulate the transformative, comforting, and restoring power of love within.
Stay after the class as well to celebrate this love in fellowship with one another...there will be special Valentine's treats--strawberries and raw chocolates!!!

Yoga + Chocolate with David Romanelli
Yoga Works South Bay, El Segundo
Friday, Feb 13th 7:30—9:30pm
Cost: $35 for members, $45 for non-members

Created by David Romanelli and Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff, Yoga + Chocolate is a 90 minute vinyasa flow class set to amazing music (from the Grateful Dead to Erykah Badu). By emphasizing simple pleasures like a great tune, a deep savasana, and a rich chocolate truffle, David will break down life to its bare essence...a deeply present moment. After class, David will lead you through a tasting of exotic Vosges chocolate truffles. The chocolate is a metaphor...everything is sweeter in the moment. If you are looking for a fun, unique, delicious celebration of Valentine's Day, look no farther than Yoga + Chocolate.

Shiva & Shakti: The Divine Dance of Love with Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny
Yoga Works Center for Yoga, Larchmont
Friday thru Sunday, Feb 13th-15th
Cost: Friday: $40, Sat or Sun only: $75 each, Full Weekend: $175

Join senior certified Anusara Yoga teachers Naime Jezzeny and Sue Elkind in this blissful weekend of yoga, pranayama, meditation and life-affirming philosophy.
From one creative Universal force, all of life emerges. Divine energy takes the form of everything manifest and unseen—expanding, contracting & radiating from this light of existence. Each one of us is an expression of this supreme consciousness, who’s innate nature is love and joy. When we step into ourselves (body, mind and heart) fully, we begin to see that everything we seek is never further than the distance of our own heart! All levels of yoga practitioners are welcome to attend.-- all you need is an open mind, a willing heart, and a love of yoga.
Fri: 7:30-9:30pm - Hip openers, Seated Forward Bends and Meditation with Naime and Sue
Sat: 1:30-5:30pm - Standing poses and Backbends with Sue
Sun: 1:30-5:30pm - Arm balances and Shoulder Therapeutics with Naime

Wild Love Calls ~ a Ritual Evening of Kirtan with Dave Stringer + Shiva Rea
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, Feb 13th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $20 in advance; $25 day of

Join Shiva Rea + Dave Stringer for a pre-Valentine’s treat of kirtan, tantric sutras, bhakti poetry, ecstatic dancing and meditation. The band includes singers C.C. White and Joni Allen, tabla player Miles Shrewsbery, hammer dulcimer and bouzouki player Jeff Andrews, harmonica player Denise Kaufman and bassist Mark Gorman, along with poetry readings by special guests.

Intro to Acroyoga
Urth Yoga, Silverlake
Friday, Feb 13th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $20

AcroYoga blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of Acrobatics. These three ancient lineages form the foundation of a unique new practice that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness.
Experience a full spectrum AcroYoga practice in a supportive environment suitable for students of all levels. This introduction will include partner yoga, acrobatic foundations and Thai massage. Learn new pathways into turning upside down and playfully opening your heart to the world around you as we cultivate safety and trust. No partner necessary.
We can accommodate a limited number of students for this event so sign up ahead of time to ensure your space.

COUPLES YOGA WORKSHOP with Christy and Jason Marsden
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Saturday, Feb 14th 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: $50 per couple by Feb 7th/$60 per couple after

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

Partner Yoga Workshop with Lara Catone
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Saturday, Feb 14th 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: $30 for you and your partner!

Celebrate Valentine's day with a playful afternoon of yoga.
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!

Valentine Weekend Partner Yoga with Matthew Cohen
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday and Sunday, Feb 14th and 15th 2:00-4:00pm
Cost: $50 for the weekend; $30 per session

In this 2 day workshop we will extend our solo experience and share it with another. Consciously working with another person translates into useful life skills. Partner Yoga deepens our sensitivity, awareness and compassion. The mutual support and connection to others strengthens the sense of community. We will focus on breath, postural alignment & placement. Ultimately, working with partners allows us to learn more about ourselves. This is a potent, enlightening and joyful workshop. Partner Yoga is a creative way to revisit your practice using touch as communication while enjoying the benefits of moving deeper into one's practice with a little help from a friend! Class will include backbends, forward bends, balance, twists and more...Bring a partner or one will be provided for you!
Matthew incorporates practices from dance, yoga, chi kung (qi gong) and martial arts.
All levels are welcome.

Partner Yoga with Maja Zimmermann and Dana Marcoux
Silver Lake Yoga, Silverlake
Saturday, Feb 14th 3:00-5:30pm
Cost: Fee: $25, SLY passes will be honored

Come with your partner, friend, neighbor, agent, therapist, dog-sitter, spouse -- anyone who wants to join in the fun of partner yoga!
Beginners are welcome.
You can walk in or register by phone at 323-953-0496. Registration recommended.

Yoga & Chocolate on Valentine's Day
Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Saturday, Feb 14th 4:30-6:30pm
Cost: $40 per person. Bring a friend – only $70 for two!

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate your triumph over fear and your passion for all that's good in life in this 2 hour vinyasa flow class set to amazing music (ranging from the Grateful Dead to Frank Sinatra) At the end of class, to toast your newfound freedom, David will lead you through a tasting of exotic Vosges Haut-Chocolat truffles. Behind the chocolate is a powerful message.
Simple pleasures often yield the sweetest solutions.
Check out the flyer at http://www.blackdogyoga.net/BDY_YogaChocolate09.pdf

Valentine's Day Celebration with Tej, Gurmukh & Gurushabd
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Saturday, Feb 14th 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Cost: $16/keytags + a pair of socks for our sock drive!

The Heart center is the strongest of all centers. The heart center effects 108 trillion times more effectively than the head. Heart has the power of a 108 suns. Whenever you pray with your head, it will take a long time -- you have to go through intellect, thought, circumstances, environment, space, and time. Whenever you sing or pray from heart, it will be timeless, spaceless and absolutely effective. It works.
Let your heart become the Temple of Gold.
Please join us for a bountiful, beautiful and blissful heart-felt Kundalini Yoga and Meditation evening. This incredible class will be dedicated to the Infinite Power of the heart. Bring a sweet treat (besides yourself!) to share!

Calling in the Beloved - Valentine’s Venus Kriyas for Singles and Couples with Wahe Guru Kaur
Awareness Center, Pasadena
Saturday, Feb 14th 5:00-7:00pm
Cost: $25 Single, $40 Couple

This magical evening will include a short Kundalini yoga warm-up, Venus Kriyas and exercises for enhancing intimacy and love. Whether you bring a partner or come to make new friends, you will feel comfortable in the playful, spirit-infused environment.
Venus Kriyas combine masculine and feminine polarities with asanas, mudras, mantras, pranayam and meditation to generate strong psycho-magnetic fields. Divine energy is drawn in during these exercises and is positively directed toward cleansing, release and the raising of awareness through the chakras to unite both partners with their highest consciousness.

Valentine's Partner Yoga
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Saturday, Feb 14th 6:00-8:00pm
Cost: $50 per couple; $45 if you register before Feb 7!

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

Partner Yoga with Scott and Andrea Lewicki
Urth Yoga, Silverlake
Saturday, Feb 14th 6:30-8:30pm
Cost: $40 in advance; $50 at the door

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

ZEN DANCING - Valentine's Ecstasy w/DJ Drez, Micheline Berry + Shamans Dream
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, Feb 14th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $15 in advance; $20 day of

A renowned ecstatic dance and world music journey, Zen Dancing induces peak states of embodiment and a deep union with the pranic flow between dancer and drum, breath and beat. Come shake your Buddhi to live Latin, Soul & East/West grooves as well as DJ'd sets of the latest in world beat music sure to arouse your heart and set your feet on fire! Come prepared to let the healing groove move you.
Shaman's Dream World Groove Rotating Ensemble Members:
Micheline Berry, Creative Director & Vocals
Craig Kohland, Music Director, African & World Percussion
DJ Drez, World Beat/Hip Hop Grooves, Loops & Programming
Jim McGrath, World Percussion
Patrick Richey, Tabla & World Percussion
Philippo Franchini, Guitar & Oud
Domonic Dean Breaux, Winds
Joe De Sa, Latin Guitar

Valentine's Yoga on the beach with Claudia
Ave I/Esplanade at Lifeguard Tower Ave H, close to water in Redondo Beach
Sunday, Feb 15th 10:00am
Cost: $10/yoga class or more is gratefully appreciated

Are you ready to attract the right people, job, finance, creativity, family, friends, health in your life?
Change your thoughts, change your life!
Practice Heart Chakra Opener Poses (Asanas) with prana (breath) and powerful self healing
Bring a large sheet or blanket, water and sunscreen
More details at www.feelthebliss.wordpress.com

Gurmukh's Birthday Party!
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Sunday, Feb 15th 5:00pm
Cost: $16/keytags

Please join us for a birthday party for Gurmukh!!
Come to the 5:00 Sunday class for a powerful Kundalini Yoga experience - we’ll dance, we’ll chant and we’ll transform!
Stay after class for our traditional Sunday night dinner, plus cake and ice cream!
Please no gifts for Gurmukh - instead, please bring donations for the orphanage!

Conquering Fear Through Yoga + Chocolate with David Romanelli
Exhale, Santa Monica
Sunday, Feb 15th 5:30-7:30pm
Cost: $25

With all the chaos of the economy, who hasn't felt fear rear its ugly head over the past few months? Are you sick of fear's effects on your relationship, career, mind and body? Anxiety, nervousness, worry, sleep-loss. Who needs it! After much research, a spray that cures fear has been discovered in a far corner of the world. Being that this spray is years away from FDA approval, Yahoo Wellness Expert and yoga teacher, David Romanelli, is excited to announce that he has been granted a provisional license to test the spray. He says, "It's amazing!"
In this 2 hour vinyasa flow class set to amazing music, David will touch upon fear and all the ways it impacts the human experience. Without creative rituals and colorful analogies by which to perceive fear, it's a lifelong battle. Toward the end of class, David will spriz you with a bit of "fear spray" and once and for all -- you will be free. The class will end with a tasting of exotic Vosges chocolate truffles to finish the Valentine's Day weekend with just the right touch of sensory freedom. You and your relationship will be refreshed, revitalized, and relieved from the nagging effects of fear.

Grand Opening of "The Hub" Yoga & Wellness Center
The Hub, 2001 South Barrington Ave, Suite 150, Los Angeles
Friday, Feb 20th
Cost: FREE

The Los Angeles Yoga Community would like to invite each and every one of you to a very special event. The power of intention is raised and becomes limitless when human consciousness is geared towards truth and healing. It is with this intention that hundreds of people have brought into birth a brand new community driven Yoga and wellness center in West Los Angeles. You have gifts to share, make "The Hub" your outlet for teaching & healing! The great swami Nityananda said, “the heart is the hub of all sacred places, go there and roam!” It is with the divine teachings of Neeb Karori, Prabhupad, Yukteshwar, Baba Ji and all of your favorite personal guides that we bring you “The Hub” in West Los Angeles.
Come for Yantra Ceremony, Light Lunch, and Celebration! ~ Noon - 2:00pm
followed by a FREE Yoga Class ~ 6:00pm - 7:30pm
R.S.V.P. For both events at info@thehub-la.com

Radiance Sutras Sessions
Santa Monica Meditation Center, 1001 Colorado Ave Unit A, Santa Monica
(enter through alley on side, first door on the left) ** new location! **
Wednesdays, Feb 18th and 25th 8:00-11:00pm
Cost: By Donation

Come and be part of a new community participatory event. We'll be using Dr Lorin Roche's juicey, sensuous translation of the Vijnanabhairava Tantra, the Radiance Sutras, combined with music and chanting led by Dave, Denise and others, to push the boundaries of our creativity and capacity to get down!

Partner Yoga with David Lynch and Joan Hyman
Yoga Works Center for Yoga, Larchmont
Friday, Feb 20th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $55 by 2/6; $65 after(per couple)

Join David and Joan for an evening of fun and laughter exploring partner assisted asanas and meditation.

Kirtan with Corina Barta
Dancing Shiva Yoga and Ayurveda, Los Angeles
Friday, Feb 20th 8:00pm
Cost: $16 suggested donation

Dancing Shiva invites you to spend an evening with Corina Bartra on a blissful kirtan. Corina Bartra is an initiate of various teachings and yogic traditions. She is an internationally certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and works with the chakra system. She is also an inspirational singer from Peru and a devoted practitioner of Nada, (sound yoga) who has recorded several outstanding CD's.

Kirtan: Chanting the Yoga of Sound with Dave Stringer and Ensemble
Yoga House, Pasadena
Saturday, Feb 21st 8:00 pm
Cost: $20 in advance; $25 at the door

Dave Stringer’s sound marries the transcendent mysticism of traditional Indian instruments with the exuberant, groove-oriented sensibility of American gospel. He is regarded as one of the most gifted singers in the genre of ecstatic chanting known as Kirtan. Dave is also known for his special ability to bring people together and inspire them to sing, creating a modern and participatory theatrical experience out of the ancient traditions of Kirtan and yoga. Open to a multiplicity of interpretations and accessible to all, this is truly beautiful music that will open your heart.

Mahasivaratri Festival
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Marina del Rey
Monday, Feb 23rd - Festivities and Chanting starts at 9:00pm
Cost: FREE

All are invited to celebrate Sivaratri, the Night of Siva, one of the most auspicious events of the year in the Hindu calendar.
It is said that Lord Siva protects the world throughout the year but this is his one night to rest. It is our duty to watch over the world for him. This all night vigil with continuous chanting of the names of Siva, Lord of Yogis, will tune your mind to the highest spiritual vibrations.
Stay for the first puja (devotional worship), which begins at 10:00pm or all through the night.
Offerings of fruits, sweets and flowers are welcome. The festival of Sivaratri will end with a feast at dawn.

Off The Mat, Into The World presents: Karma Yoga with Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling
Yoga Works Main Street, Santa Monica
Friday, Feb 27th 7:30-10:00pm
Cost: $40 by 2/13; $50 after

Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Action. Through asana, introspective and group exercises and meditation, Hala and Suzanne will guide you through in inspirational and motivational journey towards your purpose.

AcroYoga Series - Counterbalance with Lara Catone
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Four Saturdays, Feb 28th, Mar 7th, 14th, and 21st 1:30-3:30pm
Cost: $55 for all 4 workshops. $18 drop in

AcroYoga blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of Thai massage and the dynamic power of acrobatics.
In this series come experience the magic geometry of counterbalances, a practice of finding ease through the sharing of gravity! This playful exploration of partner yoga, flying therapeutics and acrobatics will be deepened through themes of trust and reflection. Uncover and share your inner light through the dance of mutual support.
Perfect for beginners or those who have already explored AcroYoga.

Free Spirit Yoga, Long Beach
Saturday, Feb 28th 2:30-4:30pm
Cost: $35 per couple pre-reg, $45 per couple day of

Join Lonne and Melannie as they guide you and your partner. Come celebrate life and love with a family member, friend or loved one and us. In this Partner Yoga Workshop we will explore restorative and challenging yoga postures with a mix of Thai Yoga Massage. When practicing yoga with someone else you find a deeper connection to your yoga practice and the one you share this moment with.

The LA Kirtan Collective
Power Yoga West, Santa Monica
Saturday, Feb 28th 8:30-11:55pm
Cost: Suggested Donation $12

"The LA Kirtan Collective" features a host of different Kirtan artists and musicians: Joey Lugassy, Zat Baraka, Spring, Daniel Stewart, Ambika and other special guests, also MoMo Rocking on Guitar and percussionist Matthew Hufschmidt. Expect to sing and be moved into motion.
We open to a deep experience of inner peace and world peace. Join us for this beautiful upbeat and meditative environment.
Bring a comfy pillow and blanket.

Yoga Gives Back Fundraising Celebration with Joel Bender and Steven Espinosa
Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, March 1st 2:00-4:00pm
Cost: $25 by February 22nd; $30 at door

For The Cost Of Two Classes You Can Change A Life!
Back by popular demand! The non-profit group Yoga Gives Back (www.YogaGivesBack.org) seeks to return the favor of the yoga tradition by helping struggling Indian women with micro-finance. Liberation ashtanga teacher Joel Bender will be speaking on the gifts and challenges of India; while this month's vaunted guest star, Liberation's own Steven Espinoza, will be teaching a special, all levels class designed to raise both awareness and funds for this worthy cause. Expect raffle and light refreshments with your yoga. This is a yoga experience that will truly be working on many levels!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

restored, recharged, and ready for the new year!

my daughter was sitting on my bed when i returned home from a yoga class.

what's that on your pants? she asked.

i did a quick scan for food stains. i couldn't find anything.

she pointed. that thingie on the back of your pants...

i looked in the mirror and saw what she was referring to. it was an embroidered design on the back of my purple be present pants.

oh, it's a symbol that refers to one of the chakras... one of seven energy centers located on the body, from your feet up to the top of your head. there are bodily functions associated with each chakra, and colors, and...

at that point, i could see her eyes glazing over. yeah, i know, TMI.

i'm glad she wasn't interested in the details because i honestly couldn't remember which color went with which chakra. or which chakra controlled which bodily function. i obviously needed a quick refresher course. but where to find one?

i then remembered hearing about the monthly chakra restorative class at liberation yoga taught by constance hart:

This unique once a month 2 hour class is a candlelit healing experience that combines gentle supported restorative poses with color, aromatherapy and meditations to clear, awaken and renew your seven major chakras (energy centers). Increases awareness and restores energy balance. A special treat with chakra-tuned music! A fantastic way to end your weekend and move harmoniously into your workweek.

it was just what i needed, so i called liberation to reserve a spot in constance's next scheduled workshop.

when i showed up for class, i expected to find myself doing the usual restorative poses -- stretches, twists, hip openers, backbends. but when i saw the rather large light box positioned at the front of the class with vividly-colored bottles neatly lined up on its shelves, i knew that this class was going to be different.

and different it definitely was.

constance hart shared her background with us at the start of the class. she was initially attracted to ashtanga yoga twenty years ago; its demanding practice was a perfect match for her high-energy, goal-oriented personality. but when a friend introduced her to restorative yoga many years later, she found its gentleness very healing and realized that it was the perfect adjunct to the vigorousness of her regular practice. delving more into the healing properties of yoga, she started to focus on the energy-balancing role of the chakras. in time, she felt she had to share her knowledge with others. including myself and everyone else who had signed up for her sunday evening class.

and her restorative class ended up bringing together everything i'd learned about the chakras from all the yoga classes that i'd ever taken. and much more.

by the way, for those who, like me, can't remember which chakra controls what, here's a cheat sheet:

first - root, or base of the spine; controls groundedness and stability (red)
second - sacral; controls reproduction and sexuality (orange)
third - solar plexus; controls energy and growth (yellow)
fourth - heart; controls compassion and love (green)
fifth - throat; controls communication and creativity (pale blue)
sixth - third eye; controls perception and intuition (indigo)
seventh - crown, or top of head; controls wisdom and spirituality (violet)

in the darkened classroom, we used our senses to re-energize and awaken all seven energy centers as we slowly moved up the body, from the root chakra on up to the crown chakra.

depending on the chakra we were energizing, constance placed one or more colored bottles on the shelves of the light box. we were then instructed to focus on the color that resonated with us the most -- be it the lighter shade, the darker shade, the more intense color -- and absorb the energy that the color triggered. at the same time, we performed mudras (hand gestures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) to further enhance the process. despite being totally mesmerized by the assortment of colors we were presented with, i actually had a hard time looking directly at the bright light for extended periods of time. i would look just long enough to visually remember the color we were focusing on, then close my eyes briefly before opening them up again for another look-see.

besides color therapy, constance also used aromatherapy to stimulate each chakra. she walked around the room, placing on our palms drops of blended aromatic oils that she had created. we would then massage the oils onto the appropriate body part -- lower back, navel, chest -- while quietly inhaling their scent and feeling the sensation produced by the oil on our skin. there were also times when she'd spritz the air around us with aromatic misters while we sat or reclined in supported restorative poses. even if i found myself preferring some scents over others, i made a concerted effort to inhale each of them equally; heaven forbid that i'd end up with unevenly-balanced chakras!

and while my eyes, nose, and skin were busy absorbing whatever energy they could, my throat and ears were also doing their fair share of the work. we chanted seed mantras, or single-syllable sounds, to awaken all the energy centers. LAM... VAM... RAM... YAM... HAM... SHAM... OM... i swear i could almost feel the corresponding chakra vibrate as i chanted each sound! constance later played soothing music for us to listen to as we meditated, and in some cases, she used tuning forks to generate the exact frequency needed to stimulate each chakra.

with all that we did that evening, we all felt restored and recharged. and in my case, thankfully re-educated about all seven chakras!

constance hart teaches her chakra restorative yoga class at liberation yoga in los angeles every second sunday of the month from 6:00pm to 8:15pm. for more information, check out her website at www.consciouscolors.com.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

rising to the challenge, part one

sometime early january, i found this included in an email update from lululemon south bay:

Join us in exploring what 30 days of yoga can do for you! 30-Day Yoga Challenge begins Monday January 19th thru Sunday February 15th. 4 days of yoga in 4 weeks!

"4 days of yoga in four weeks" didn't sound like much of a challenge to me. i mean, that's just ONE class a week? that couldn't be right...

anyway, i happened to be in the south bay sometime last month and decided to pop by the lulu store for a quick look-see. and wouldn't you know it; it was january 20th and the yoga challenge had just started. the deal went something like this: if i took four classes a week for four weeks, got each teacher to initial and date the yoga challenge card, and turned in the card at the end of the four weeks, i'd get a free yoga mat and a 5-class pass! not bad, huh?

not wanting to turn down the chance for free yoga classes, i signed up. and as usual, the overachiever in me decided to ratchet it up a notch. i mean, 4 classes a week? piece of cake. how about a class everyday? a bit harder, but still no big deal... in the end, i committed myself to the ultimate challenge:

i would take a yoga class every day between january 19th and february 15th in a different location each day.

in other words, i wasn't allowing myself to repeat studios/gyms/whatever in that time period. crazy, i know, but since it's totally possible here in LA, aka yoga central, why not?

so here's how my first two weeks went:

week 1
1/19 - leslie kazadi at truyoga
1/20 - david lynch at yoga works south bay
1/21 - mark frankel at still yoga
1/22 - kishan shah at exhale venice
1/23 - knekoh fruge at yoga circle downtown
1/24 - hagar harpak at black dog yoga
1/25 - tom morley at lululemon brentwood

week 2
1/26 - annie carpenter at yoga works main street
1/27 - jesse lombardi at be love yoga
1/28 - bonnie johanson at spectrum club south bay
1/29 - jamila tazewell at downtown yoga loft
1/30 - jo tastula at yogaglo ++
1/31 - brigette dunn-korpela at core power yoga huntington beach
2/1 - *** surf city half marathon in huntington beach ***

i was doing really well until last sunday, when i was so exhausted after running 13.1 miles that i just plopped down on the couch and watched the superbowl on tv when i got home. i actually considered taking a restorative class that evening, but i got tired just trying to decide whose restorative to take :(

ok, so maybe i missed a day, but as far as the official rules go, i'm still good. so on to the next two weeks!

++ by the way, this seems like the perfect time to squeeze in a plug for yogaglo, a new concept in yoga classes:

there are websites that offer yoga audio classes, like yogi chocolate, and websites that offer yoga video classes, like my yoga online. there are some that charge per download, and others that charge a monthly subscription fee. in a way, yogaglo is like those sites, but maybe better. how so?, you ask.

for a monthly subscription fee of $18 -- the average cost of ONE yoga class -- you can stream as many yoga class videos as you want from the yogaglo website AND take as many in-house yoga classes as you want at the yogaglo studio in santa monica. granted, the site just went live january 30th and is still growing its collection of prerecorded videos as well as its in-house class schedule, but with anusara teachers like noah maze and steven espinosa and vinyasa flow teachers like jo tastula and genevieve fischer currently on their instructor list, you know that you'll have access to quality yoga classes, whether you're taking them privately at home or with a group at their studio. in addition, 5% of the profits will go to your choice of their non-profit partners.

here's more about them from their website:

Yogaglo is the new online yoga experience in HD video that provides the experience of being in the class at your home.

Yogaglo is everyone's yoga. Regardless of religion, culture, age, political views, something we all have in common is the human condition.

Yoga is the lifelong process of investing in the quality of our condition. Yogaglo's intention is to empower people around the world to engage in this process, to serve as a vehicle for social change by giving 5% of profits to our non-profit partners, and to unite the global yoga community to inspire regular practice.

Our classes are taught by experienced certified teachers who embody yoga and teach with an intimate understanding of the ancient yoga texts and various yoga traditions, whose devotion, lives and teachings are their art. Classes cover the spectrum of asana styles, meditation, lectures, workshops, and special events.

since i took jo's vinyasa flow class at their studio that first day, i ended up on the video that's now available for viewing (it's dated feb 02 2009). i was offered the option to stay out of camera range, but what fun would that be? besides, it was a chance to watch myself in action and see what corrections i need to make to my alignment. and also to see if i fidget as much as i think i do :)

since new visitors to the yogaglo site get a 15-day free trial period, you might as well give it a shot and see what you think.

fyi, the yogaglo studios are located at 1800 berkeley street in santa monica, between nebraska and olympic. so if you're a westsider like i am, that's one more studio conveniently located near you!