Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

going meat-free: not just for lent, but for life

it all started when i decided to do a mini-detox with mas vidal at dancing shiva in january of last year to "flush out all the deeply seated toxins in the bodily layers and to bring radiance and peace to the mind". i and everyone else participating in the shodhana, or purification ritual, spent four hours in a heated room, doing yoga asanas and chanting while slathering on aromatic oils and drinking detoxifying tea. when it was all over, we were instructed to eat kitchari -- primarily mung beans and rice -- for a few days after.

before i knew it, i was hooked on this indian version of rice and beans. i started wondering: for how long could i keep this up? in other words, could i continue to go without meat and not miss it? it certainly had its up side, at least as far as helping me lose weight, because i'd never find anything to eat at fast food restaurants. i considered eating only veggies and rice for the rest of the month, although to keep my foodie self happy, my dietary plan ended up being what i'd called "nothing with feet"; that is, if it walks, i don't eat it. so that meant no beef, no pork, no lamb, no poultry. fish, though, was ok. and so was shellfish (crabs don't walk; they skitter around -- at least according to me).

initially, when friends would find out about my new food restriction -- usually when we'd be poring over menus and discussing what we'd order -- they'd smile and give me that look; yeah, joni's gone all yogi on us... but it won't last long. they couldn't see me never eating another juicy medium-rare steak. or another chicken breast cooked in a delicate sauce. and honestly, neither could i.

the rest of january went by rather painlessly. so much so that i decided to extend my abstinence through the end of february. then through the end of lent. and come easter sunday, i "rewarded" myself with a large serving of chicken. then beef the next day. then pork...

by the end of that week, my stomach felt unsettled. i then realized that my digestive system seemed happier while i was on the meat-free diet. so i decided to return to my no-feet rule and see how long i could keep it going.

so here i am, a little more than a year later, and except for a few "food emergencies" (where i broke down and ate meat, only because i had no choice or i couldn't help myself), i've managed to stay away from all meat, except fish and seafood. which i suppose now makes me a pescetarian:

A pescetarian diet excludes land animals and birds, but includes fish, mollusks, and crustaceans in addition to fruits, vegetables, plants, legumes, nuts, and grains. Eggs and dairy may or may not be present in the pescetarian's diet.
(from pescetarianlife.com)

by now, everyone i know has accepted the fact that i don't do meat. they consider menus before we eat out, favoring places specializing in salads, seafood, or anything organic. and many times, they, too, will skip the meat and order the veggie plate.

i have to admit that there have been times when i've given in to temptation. i mean, how could i stop to have a beer at father's office and NOT have one of their signature maytag blue cheese burgers? or visit my daughter in philadelphia and NOT have a cheesesteak wiz wit? or run a marathon in south carolina and NOT have barbecued pulled pork? or spend christmas with relatives and NOT have a mouthful of my cousin's marinated-for-so-long-it-falls-off-the-bone baked ham?

so when sharon gannon, co-founder of jivamukti yoga in NYC, dropped by exhale venice in january of this year to teach a class and promote her book, yoga and vegetarianism, i made it a point to attend the event to learn more about the lifestyle i had just adopted.

right at the beginning of her book, sharon stated the main reason for vegetarianism:

lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu:
may all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

... No true or lasting happiness can come from causing unhappiness to others. No true or lasting freedom can come from depriving others of their freedom. If we say we want every being to be happy and free, then we have to question everything that we do -- how we live, how we eat, what we buy, how we speak, and even how we think...

she then touched on patanjali's five yamas, or restrictions, and how meat-eating violates each of them:

~ ahimsa: non-violence - animals raised for food are enslaved, abused, and tortured
~ satya: truthfulness - consumers are not told the truth about where their food comes from
~ asteya: non-stealing - the milk, fur, leather from animals rightfully belongs to them, not to us
~ brahmacharya: continence - breeding methods are violent and degrading to the animals
~ aparigraha: non-greed - billions of land animals and sea creatures are slaughtered for food each year

i realized that in order for me to follow all five yamas, i'd have to be vegan -- no fish, no dairy, no leather... and that, i know i couldn't do. as i told sharon while she autographed my copy of her book: i'm 90% vegetarian and working at it. she smiled and thanked me for my efforts.

then last week, saul david raye sent out this invite:

Join us this Friday evening, March 27th as we screen the movie, "Earthlings" as a part of Saul's Holistic Yoga Teacher Training Program. The event is open to the public and we invite you all to attend. Our intention is to raise awareness of the connection between humans, animals, mother earth and our collective future.

The powerful, informative and thought-provoking, EARTHLINGS is by far the most comprehensive documentary ever produced on the correlation between nature, animals and human economic interests.

EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment and scientific research.) The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix and features music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist, Moby.

Warning: This is a powerful film. It contains many graphic images about how animals are treated by humans. They are intense. And, they are all true.

in attendance was the film's writer and director, shaun monson. he talked about how the movie came to be, first as a public service announcement on the treatment of pets, eventually covering all other facets of the animal industry -- food, clothing, entertainment, and medical research. in most cases, footage was acquired through the use of hidden cameras, only because the parties involved would never want word to get out about the deplorable conditions that the animals were put through.

monson chose the title, earthlings, to point out that there really should be no reason why humans should feel superior to animals and mistreat them; after all, we're all inhabitants of the same planet. just as there should be no racism, no sexism, there should also be no speciesism.

the one thing that i came away with after listening to sharon gannon and shaun monson is this: you are what you eat. if there is violence involved in the manufacture of your food, you are ingesting that violence.

makes you stop to think, doesn't it?

it seems the best way to end this post is with excerpts from the latest health report on the effects of eating red meat:

Daily Red Meat Raises Chances Of Dying Early
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to the first large study to examine whether regularly eating beef or pork increases mortality.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found that those who consumed about four ounces of red meat a day (the equivalent of about a small hamburger) were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

"The bottom line is we found an association between red meat and processed meat and an increased risk of mortality," said Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute, who led the study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In contrast, routine consumption of fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of death by a small amount.

"The uniqueness of this study is its size and length of follow-up," said Barry M. Popkin, a professor of global nutrition at the University of North Carolina, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. "This is a slam-dunk to say that, 'Yes, indeed, if people want to be healthy and live longer, consume less red and processed meat.'"

There are many explanations for how red meat might be unhealthy: Cooking red meat generates cancer-causing compounds; red meat is also high in saturated fat, which has been associated with breast and colorectal cancer; and meat is high in iron, also believed to promote cancer. People who eat red meat are more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. Processed meats contain substances known as nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer.

Although pork is often promoted as "white meat," it is believed to increase the risk of cancer because of its iron content, Sinha said.

Experts stressed that the findings do not mean that people need to eliminate red meat from their diet, but instead should avoid eating it every day.

"You can be very healthy being a vegetarian, but you can be very healthy being a non-vegetarian if you keep your red-meat intake low," Willett said. "If you are eating meat twice a day and can cut back to once a day there's a big benefit. If you cut back to two or three times a week there's even more benefit. If you eliminate it entirely, there's a little more benefit, but the big benefit is getting away from everyday red-meat consumption."

In addition to the health benefits, a major reduction in the eating of red meat would probably have a host of other benefits to society, Popkin said: reducing water shortages and pollution, cutting energy consumption, and tamping down greenhouse gas emissions -- all of which are associated with large-scale livestock production.

the entire article can be read here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032301626.html

Thursday, March 26, 2009

reveling in the darkness

i haven't seen much press about the upcoming earth hour event this saturday, march 28th, so to help spread the word, here's what it's all about:

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.


on the local level, here's something you might notice if you're flying in or out of LAX saturday night:

Pylons at LAX to go dark for Earth Hour

If any of you have ever been to the Los Angeles International Airport in the evening, you will have surely seen the multitude of three story neon pylons illuminating the terminal entrance. Airport officials have committed to powering down the pylons from 8:30 to 9:30pm on March 28th and multiple airlines have signed on the dim the lights wherever it's safe to do so.

other local landmarks will also be turning off their lights, including the santa monica pier, the capitol records building, the el cap and el rey theaters, and the griffith observatory. even pinks hot dogs will be going lights-free (which could be a bit disconcerting for those standing in line!)

you can also join other earth hour revelers at the big event at the new LA live complex in downtown --


March 28, 2009 6 - 9:30pm
Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live

6pm Dine by Candlelight at L.A. Live Restaurants
7:15pm Show Begins
8:30-9:30pm Lights Out for Earth Hour!
9:31pm Culmination - Work Really Begins

Join Emcee Tony Okungbowa, Superstar DJ for the Ellen Degeneres Show, Major Antonio Villaraigosa, Urban Soul Goddess Gina Rene, Tim McAfee-Lewis and Agape International Choir, Earth-Loving Celebrities, Surprise Music Guest and more to celebrate WWF's Earth Hour LA!

on the other hand, if you'd rather spend a more intimate earth hour with a special someone, here are some restaurants where you will be dining by candlelight:

Adoro Mexican Grille - Downtown Los Angeles
Akasha - Culver City
Bistro 45 - Pasadena
Border Grill - Santa Monica
BottleRock - Culver City
Bravo's Pizza and Cucina - Santa Monica
Buon Gusto Ristorante - Mission Hills
Chaya Brasserie - Beverly Hills
Chaya Downtown - Downtown L.A.
Chaya Venice - Venice
Cheebo - Los Angeles
Chop Suey-Far Bar - Downtown Los Angeles
Ciudad - Downtown Los Angeles
Coconut Bay Bar and Grill - Rowland Hights
Euphoria Loves Rawvolution - Santa Monica
Fleming's Prime Steak House and Wine Bar - L.A. LIVE
Four Seasons Hotel - Beverly Hills
Gyenari - Culver City
Got Kosher - Los Angeles
Lawry's Prime Rib - Beverly Hills
Lawry's Carvery - L.A. LIVE
La Cachette - Los Angeles
Le Merigot at A JW Marriot Beach Hotel and Spa - Santa Monica
Locanda Del Lago- Santa Monica
M Cafe - Melrose
Mani's Bakery - Fairfax Area
Mistral - Loews Hotel Coronado
Melograno - Hollywood
Mucho Ultima Mexicana - Manhattan Beach
Napa Valley Grille - Westwood
O Bar - West Hollywood
Ocean and Vine - Loews Hotel Santa Monica
Ristorante daVinci - Long Beach
Rock 'N Fish - L.A. LIVE
Rush Street - Culver City
Shade Hotel - Manhattan Beach
SiLa Bistro - Siverlake
Simon LA - Soffitel Hotel Los Angeles
Taste At The Palisades - Palisades
Taste On Melrose - Los Angeles
Tender Greens - Culver City
The Corner Hollywood - Hollywood
The Farm - L.A. LIVE
Tracht's Restaurant - A Modern Chop House - Long Beach

more LA-related earth hour news can be found at www.earthhourus.org/losangeles

finally, for you yogis who need to get your saturday night yoga fix, i just found out that exhale venice will be turning off the lights at saul david raye's event that evening:

Ananda Kirtan ~ Sing and Dance to the Rhythm of Existence
Saturday, March 28th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $20

Singing and Dancing have long been sacred healing practices to awaken the life force, connect us to spirit and embody an ecstatic connection to the Divine force that sustains all life. Join us for this inspired evening of chanting, live music and sacred dance to celebrate life, and open to the very rhythm, energy and bliss of existence.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

finding bliss through kirtan

i came across this recent article about kirtan in the new york times and thought i'd share some excerpts with you:

March 5, 2009
Yoga Enthusiasts Hear the Call of Kirtan

ON one of her regular visits to New York from Virginia, Christine Breighner told Rebecca Damon, a longtime friend, that she didn’t want to visit the tourist sites she’d seen before. She wanted to extend her horizons beyond the latest Broadway show or exhibit at the Met. Not too long before, Ms. Damon had received a brochure advertising a call-and-response chanting session called kirtan after a yoga class. Now she passed it along.

Recently, Mrs. Breighner and Ms. Damon attended a Friday night kirtan at the Integral Yoga Institute. The two friends, along with about 60 participants, sat on cushions facing a group of musicians who wore traditional Indian kurtas — collarless cotton tunics — and played a variety of instruments, including bongos, a wooden flute and harmonium, an accordion-like organ.

For about two hours, the musicians played and chanted in Sanskrit while the audience responded when moved. Some clapped and swayed as they repeated the words; others simply listened with closed eyes and beatific smiles. The mood became more festive as the evening wore on, with many participants jumping up to dance: springing straight up and down, making chorus-line kicks and even walking on their hands.

It was a definite scene — a mix of a religious revival meeting, a Grateful Dead concert, and summer camp. And it could certainly challenge many comfort zones. But if you can adjust your comfort level to include white people in dreadlocks and saris, if you can roll with belting out several rounds of "Hare Krishna" and "Om Nama Shivaya," then you might just enjoy yourself.

And with the average kirtan in New York requesting a donation of $10 to $15, it's a relatively inexpensive route to bliss in difficult times.

As with meditation, the intent of chanting is to calm and focus the mind, relieving it from its usual chatter — grocery lists, money worries, petty arguments. "Chanting works well because it engages the mind and because it's musical," said Mitra Somerville, 49, who leads Integral's community kirtan. "The melody and the vibration of the words are very soothing and uplifting so people can really connect with it."

And an increasing number of Americans seem to be connecting with kirtan. At the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, N.Y., attendance to its Ecstatic Chant festival has doubled over the last five years. The numbers are also up at Integral. Jo Sgammato, 57, the center's general manager, said the Friday-night kirtan would have about 25 participants 10 years ago; now the center will sometimes host 400 in a single weekend when kirtan stars like Krishna Das, Jai Uttal and Wah! perform. At the Jivamukti Yoga School in Manhattan, 700 people came last September to see Krishna Das, setting a record for kirtan at the center.

If you've ever taken a yoga class where a rich, sonorous voice chanted on CD, chances are it was Krishna Das, who has become so popular over the last five years that he now performs at mainstream venues like the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles, the Berklee Performance Center in Boston and last month at Town Hall in Manhattan.

"It has left the churches and the yoga studios because it's such a simple practice," said Krishna Das, 61, who grew up on Long Island as Jeff Kagel and traveled to India in the early 1970s. "It's not about belief in any religions, so people are coming from all walks of life. You give it a try and if it works, you're in fat city. If not, you do something else."

Although kirtan is rooted in India's devotional religions and involves chanting the names of God, Krishna Das says the practice requires no allegiance to any deity or set of beliefs, and he is dismayed that many associate the chant "Hare Krishna" with people who begged on the streets and danced in airports in the 1970s.

He recalled the chant he led at a medium-security prison in Virginia. "The group was pretty into it," he said. “They were clapping and chanting along, and then as soon as I sang 'Hare Krishna' they all looked at each other and went, Oh, that's what he is. And they just stopped singing and stopped participating. That was just terrible."

i guess i must be one of "them", too... one of the saffron-robed crowd who bang drums and dance around at the third street promenade :)

there's more to the article; you can read the rest of it here: Yoga Enthusiasts Hear the Call of Kirtan

by the way, one of the kirtan artists named in the article, wah!, will be performing next weekend at the hub in west LA. here's the promo for the event:

Wah! Concert for Ekatvam Charity with Amma Adi Sakthi and Swami Shanmuga
The Hub, 2001 S Barrington Ave Suite 150, Los Angeles
Sunday, April 5th 6:30-9:00pm
Cost: $15

Wah! performs kirtan with those wishing to contribute to charity and welcome Amma Adi Sakthi and Swami Shanmuga. Hypnotic, mesmerizing and energizing - just a few adjectives that could be used to describe a recent performance by Wah! The success stems from Wah!'s extraordinary voice, which might be characterized as Jewel meets Sade...

i hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

couldn't revive this one...

i have to admit that i saw this coming the moment i found out that heather camp, owner of revive yoga in chatsworth, had joined the list of yoga instructors at the yogaworks in westlake village. sadly, the little mom-and-pop shops have to fight for survival whenever the big YW opens up a new location in their neighborhood. and here's what happens when they lose that battle:

Hello Everyone,

Revive Yoga will be closing its doors on April 25th......
First, and most importantly, I would like to say how blessed I am to have had such a wonderful community of students to provide yoga to. This journey of cultivating a yoga community for the past 2 years has been a gift in more ways that I have ever dreamed of.

Those of you who have pre-paid packages and have been into the studio in the past 6 months... Yoga Works Westlake Village has been gracious enough to extend their hospitality and honor your existing series. Yoga Works has been a leader in yoga instruction in LA since 1987. It has a deep commitment to quality yoga programming. It offers yoga to all levels and to all stages of life. This studio is the first of its kind in the yoga industry and features three asana rooms, tea bar, childcare, lockers and showers. It also features classes and workshops taught by some of the most renowned teachers and workshop leaders.

I will be available to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have. You can contact me at 323-687-4823 or at heather@heathercamp.com. I welcome you to come by the Yoga Works office and get a taste of what Yoga Works has in store. Yoga Works is located at 2475 Townsgate Road. You can visit the website at www.westlakeyogaworks.com


Heather Camp
Revive Yoga

by the way, according to the yogaworks website, their new location in tarzana is scheduled to open at the end of 2010. god only knows how that's going to affect the teacher rosters at the existing yoga studios in the san fernando valley...

Friday, March 20, 2009

marching into a new year

i was leafing through my calendar the other day and noticed that since the start of the new year last january 1st (according to the gregorian calendar, which is the calendar most of the western world uses), there have been at least three other new year celebrations (and i'm sure there are other obscure ones that didn't quite make it to the list):

~ chinese new year on january 26th,
~ tibetan new year on february 25th,
~ and persian new year on march 21st

so since tomorrow is march 21st, i'd like to greet you all a happy new year once again!

of course, with every new year's day comes a new set of new year's resolutions. and in my case, it's the same one: to get the month's events list posted at the start of the month! sadly, this month has been my most delinquent to date; i find myself sending it out after three-quarters of the month has already passed! oops.

the spring equinox occurred today, march 20th, so there are a number of equinox-related events going on this weekend. with our days now gradually getting longer and longer than our nights, you know that it's just a matter of time before summer's here! and speaking of summer, i'd like to point out that there are now FOUR teachers who teach classes on the sand, with at least one class being held each day of the week. yay!

at this point, i don't think there will be many more changes because there's only a little bit more than a week left to go. so let's see what's left on the calendar, shall we?

ongoing events:

Yoga on the Sand with Vanda Mikoloski and Anna
Rose Avenue and the Pacific ocean, Santa Monica
Everyday except Sunday 9:00am
Cost: By Donation

Join us! Every Monday through Saturday, 9-10 am (ish). Cost is whatever you feel peaceful about giving - we pass a hat. Gentle, stretchy, contemplative, fun yoga community. Perfect for beginners. Bring a big sheet or blanket. Dress in Layers. Anna West teaches Fridays.

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!
March 18 - Iyengar Yoga with Absolute Yoga
Using props, such as belts and blocks to aid in performing asanas, Iyengar focuses on the structural alignment of the physical body during practice.
this practice is a powerful tool to relieve the stresses of modern-day life!

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.
March 1 - Kia Miller from YogaWorks
March 8 - Stephen Weigand from Maha Yoga
March 22 - Garth Hewitt from YogaWorks
March 29 - Gigi Snyder from YogaWorks

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!
March 15 - Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Andrew Abaria
Join us for a complimentary yoga flow class with Andrew "Andy" Abaria; student and protege of Ragunath Cappo (North Beverly Ambassador). Having studied the Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Bikram systems of yoga, Andrew teaches a well rounded flow-based class.
March 22 - Spring Equinox Yoga Flow with Diane Hudock
Awaken to the Flow with an ectastic morning yoga practice!
A unique flow series designed by Diane Hudock which incorporates strength, unleashes fear and expands the heart. Prepare to sweat -- challenge yourself in deeper transitions and step into your power within! {Intermediate levels and up recommended, but all levels are welcome!}

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!
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.
March 22 - 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.
March 29 - Anusara Yoga with Georgina Purple
Anusara Yoga is heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, and yet grounded in the Universal Principles of Alignment™ for both the inner and outer body. It is a uniquely integrated style of hatha yoga in which the artistic glory of the human heart blends magically with the biomechanics of the body.

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!
March 22 - Kundalini Yoga on the Green with Sat Prem
March 29 - Anusara-inspired Yoga on the Green with Karen Byers

Weekly In-Store Fitness/Yoga Class
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Every Sunday 9:30am **NEW TIME!**
Cost: FREE

Let's get our beach bodies on! March is a month to get those bodies buff, bronzed, and beach-ready!
The month of March will be hosted by our studio of the month, Circuit Works. Every Sunday at 9:30am (NEW TIME) we will have a complimentary circuit class! A great cross training exercise for all you LA Marathoners! Let's MARCH into fitness!
INSTRUCTORS: Rafael, Alba, Justin & Michael
As always, classes are ALL LEVELS! Bring your tennis shoes!!

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.
March 1 - All levels Yoga Flow with Marla Wedge
March 8 - Yoga Flow with Andrew Abaria
March 15 - Yin Yoga with Jan Kain
March 22 - Power Yoga with Jackie Mendes
March 29 - Yoga Flow with Jaclyn Hinds

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).
March 29 - All Levels Yoga with Janelle Parsons

YOGA ON THE SAND with Howard Davis
Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades
Sundays, March 1st and 8th (Selected Sundays 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, March 1st, 15th, and 29th (1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays 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

Friday Night Groove Night with Brigette Dunn-Korpela and Pete Korpela
Yoga Groove, North Hollywood
Friday, March 6th 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: $8 Suggested Donation

Come and take your yoga flow off the mat and into space. Brigette and Pete will fuse and intertwine yoga asana postures with the creative freedom of dance and live percussion and give birth to a whole new level of movement and spiritual expression.
Breathe and weave your practice throughout the sounds and vibrations of world, classical, and contemporary rhythms. Focus will be on breath, alignment, and a creative rhythmic flow.
Transform your yoga practice into an artistic form of self-expression and enjoy the experience of pure freedom of mind, body, and soul!

Kirtan with BhaktiMa
Lyfe Yoga Center, Hermosa Beach
Saturday, March 7th (1st Saturday of the month) 6:30-8:00pm
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.

FREE Community Night: Pranayama with Tony Giuliano
City Yoga, West Hollywood
Tuesday, March 10th (2nd Tuesday of the month) 7:30pm
Cost: FREE

Prana: breath, Life force Ayama: lengthening, extending
Come take a voyage into the self as we explore the power of breath. On this evening we will dive into several different techniques of Pranayama.

Kirtan with Daniel Stewart & Friends
Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Friday, March 13th (2nd Friday of the 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, March 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, March 14th (Once a month) 9:00-11:15am
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 day of

Let's get outdoors in the SUNSHINE for a hike and a Hatha Yoga class. We'll meet in the Palisades, hike 45 minutes to our "classroom", practice 1 hour of yoga, then hike downhill for 30 minutes. It's a great way to meet people and enjoy nature. (Pre-pay online and it's only $15.)
This March enjoy the last day-time Yoga Hike as future ones will be held at night on the Full Moon.
Please RSVP hilary@yogaunderthetrees.com or call 323.841.3606

Chanting with Steve Ross
Maha Yoga, Brentwood
TBA (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, March 28th (4th Saturday of the month) 8:00-9:30pm
Cost: By Donation

Kirtan comes from the yoga path of Bhakti (love and devotion). It is chanting of the traditional Sanskrit mantras synergized with dynamic melodies. It is the calling, the yearning, the crying to connect with the divine. The beauty is that chanting shows us we are already in this state of "oneness", it's just about dissolving the maya (illlusion) of separateness. Chanting ignites every aspect of our being, absorbing us into a state of bliss. Add the power of chanting within a group setting and the ecstacy becomes absolutely boundless! Kirtan is for anyone and everyone regardless of background. It is the universal language of heart. Om Shanti...

other special events:

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!

Yoga Blend, Burbank
Friday, March 6th thru Sunday, March 8th
Cost: varies by event

We are turning four!!!
In celebration (and to show our gratitude) join us for a weekend of dancing, yoga, meditation, movies and more! Stay for all of it, or come in anytime to share our birthday.
Friday March 6th
8:30pm-10:30pm Tribal Blend w/ Christy - Suggested Donation $15
A guided blend of yoga asana, dance, chanting and music to open the body, mind and spirit into a free-form, creative expression of your tribal self! For those apprehensive about the free- form part, not to worry, this is a guided experience! Be prepared to sweat...a lot!
8:30pm-6:00am Yoga Blend's 1st Sleep-over!
Food, games, movies, chatting and sleeping, if you want. Bring a healthy dish and your favorite games and/or movies, sleeping bags, pillows, and a yoga mat.
Saturday March 7th
6:30am-7:30am Sunrise Meditation & Stretch w/ Bekah - By donation
1:30pm-3:30pm 108 Sun Salutes w/ Nicole - $10
Sunday March 8th
1:30pm-3:30pm Intro to Yoga w/ Christy (Please RSVP) - FREE

The Yoga + Chocolate + Wine Party for the Ages with David Romanelli
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, March 13th 7:45-10:00pm
Cost: By Donation; proceeds go to Heal the Bay

Celebrating the launch of his debut book, David invites you to a party you will not want to miss. He will teach a 90 minute vinyasa flow yoga class set to great music (ranging from the Grateful Dead to Frank Sinatra). The class will focus on the message of simple pleasures. Even if the economy is rough, we can always indulge in fine chocolates with a nice Cabernet and some classic Jerry Garcia. But there is an art to quieting the mind and letting in the beauty, and this class will emphasize the powerful rewards of investing in time to enjoy. After class, while you are indulging in a feast of exotic Vosges Chocolates and fine Sicilian wines from the Feudo Arancio vineyards, David will read from his newly released book. It will be an evening of culinary, cerebral, and spiritual ecstasy.
For several years and in studios near and far, David Romanelli has been teaching the Yoga + Chocolate and Yoga + Wine experience. He seeks to share how everyday passions, embraced mindfully, are gateways to the present moment. With the debut of his book Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment, David is launching a new wave of yoga, chocolate, wine, and music-inspired ecstasy.
90 minutes yoga, 45 minutes wine/chocolate

ZEN DANCING ~ Ecstatic Dance Ritual Concert with Micheline Berry
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, March 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

David Newman live Kirtan in Los Angeles
Narayan Mandir, 1668 Rising Glen Road, Los Angeles
Sunday, March 15th 7:00pm
Cost: $15 Suggested Donation

House Kirtan with David Newman (Durga Das) and Mira joined by Philippo Franchini
SPREAD THE WORD! Only one night LA! Magical Kirtan at a Magical Location in the beautiful West Hollywood Hills!

Yoga on the Dark Side of the Moon with Daniel Overberger
Antebellum Gallery, 1643 N Las Palmas Ave, Hollywood
Two Wednesdays, March 18th and 25th 7:00-8:30pm
Cost: $20 (cash preferred)

This class will focus on breathing (pranayama), hands-on adjustment, and ending with a brief attempt at meditation. ;)
This class will be taught in the light of lava lamps to the music of Pink Floyd.
These workshops are purposely small to assure one-on-one attention. Space is limited, so if you want to guarantee your spot, e-mail your reservations for one or both nights to: yoga7daniel@gmail.com
After class (from 8:30 to 9ish), the owner of Antebellum (Rick) is going to serve complimentary tea on the back patio.

Poses for Paws with Kathryn Budig and Jesse Schein
lululemon Santa Monica, 331 Santa Monica Blvd
Thursday, March 19th 7:30-9:00pm
Cost: By Donation - All donations will benefit New Hope Program

Enjoy a donation based all level energetic flow taught by Yogaworks' Kathryn Budig and Jesse Schein at the Lululemon store in Santa Monica!
Poses for Paws was created by Kathryn Budig and Jesse Schein as a way to repay the love that animals bring into our lives. Our mission is to raise money through yoga to donate to local animal shelters and organizations who thrive to provide a loving life to those less fortunate. 100% of your donations will go to the New Hope Program. 100% of your love is needed and appreciated.
New Hope is a networking program for animals that are in quarantine as "rescue only" and cannot be adopted by the public b/c of special needs AND it also networks animal available to the public that have been at the shelter too long and are about to be put down.

Spring Equinox Celebration with Gurmukh Kaur and Dr. Gurudev
Golden Bridge Yoga, Hollywood
Friday, March 20th 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Cost: $40/adv or $45/day

A tradition and legacy designed by the Creator’s Divine Wisdom as we journey together from darkness to light. As spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. What a miraculously divine day for celebration! The Ancient Ones gathered for thousands of years as we do today.
Join us in Kundalini Yoga, meditation, chanting and dancing to live drumming. Join Gurmukh, Dr. Gurudev and percussionist Julio Moreno for a powerful evening as we journey together into the Light!
Live Music, Live Drumming, A lively celebration!

Lift Your Spirit: Spring Equinox Celebration with Lucy Bivins
Yoga Works Center for Yoga, Larchmont
Friday, March 20th 7:30-9:30pm
Cost: $25

What better way to birth new beginnings than with a luxurious two hour yoga class filled with live music, inspiring readings, fresh flowers and warm candlelight.

Ritusamhara: A Celebration of the Seasons with Sara Ivanhoe
Yoga Works Main Street, Santa Monica
Friday, March 20th 7:45-9:45pm
Cost: $25

This mini-festival will include asana, pranayama, mudra, mantra and music – all in praise of spring, the beginning, the birth of all things.

Yogic Healing Ceremony for the Vernal Equinox With Saul David Raye, Tony Khalife, Marla Leigh, David Watts & special guest Tantric / Vedic Priest Amarananda Bhairavan (Nandu)
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Friday, March 20th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 day of

Join us for this 5,000 year old yogic healing ceremony to celebrate the arrival of spring and renew the power of your spirit and connection to the life force. The Yoga tradition has a deep and profound understanding of the cosmic energies; how to live in harmony with them and awaken them for health, peace and prosperity. The turning of the seasons is a powerful time within the cosmic rhythm to do this. This puja will be done in honor of the Divine force that sustains life, we call Mother Earth. it is also a puja to Ganesha the power of life force and new beginnings.
Join us for this magical evening of sacred ceremony, chanting, simple movement, breathwork, prayer and opening to the powerful energies of renewal, vitality, abundance and positivity. A sacred space will be created and all participants will have the opportunity to participate in this ancient healing ceremony and make a offerings. The ceremony will include live music, authentic chants and powerful group healing energy. Don’t miss this wonderful celebration and affirmation of life! It will open your heart, lift your spirit and nourish your inner spring!
* please feel free to bring any small objects you want energized and blessed on the communal altar.

Live Well, Be Well Fair 2009
lululemon Calabasas, 4799 Commons Way
Saturday March 21st 10:00am-4:30pm
Cost: FREE

Join us for a day celebrating health and fitness in your community.
Enjoy complimentary classes taught by local experts, chair massages, and organic snacks. Learn to find your inner-zen with tips on meditation and how to create a healthy lifestyle, and we guarantee
you will leave motivated and ready to take on the world!
Special guests include: Equinox, Stroller Strides, Bar Method, YogaWorks, Spectrum, S Factor, and lululemon ambassadors!
10:30-11:30am - Dancin' It Up with Delandis!
12:00-1:00pm - Fitbody Workout with Stephanie Vitorino
1:30-2:30pm - Yoga with Sri Hari Moss
3:00-4:00pm - Mat Pilates with Gayle McCauley

Spring Yoga Mala: 108 Sun Salutations Marking the Change of Season with Jo Tastula
Yoga Loft, Manhattan Beach
Saturday, March 21st 5:30-8:00pm
Cost: $25

A yogi ritual intended to mark the transition between seasons. Spring is a time of hope, opportunity, and fresh starts; join Jo for an evening of physical challenge and intention-setting for the Spring season.

Yoga Blend, Burbank
Saturday, March 21st 6:00-8:00pm
Cost: $15 Suggested Donation

Throw off the winter coat and welcome the rebirth of Spring in a two hour celebration with Bekah Finch.
Spring Equinox is one of two days in the year that night and day are equal. It is a powerful opportunity to balance and align our body/mind/spirit as the days grow longer and the energy of spring awakens. This is the time for manifesting our dreams created during the winter hibernation.
Through yoga, meditation & creation we will open our hearts to the possibilities and share the blossoming of new growth both internally and externally. It is time for the earth and our dreams to come alive!

Spring Equinox Celebration with Lonne Dickerson
Free Spirit Yoga, Long Beach
Saturday, March 21st 6:30pm
Cost: $30 pre-registration, $35 at the door

Bring in the Spring with 108 Sun Salutations to Live Music. Joel Long will play the Sitar and Drums to guide you on your transformative journey while Lonne will lead you through various forms of sun salutations. Cleanse and purify for the new season. You will need a small towel, yoga mat & some water. Space is limited. Following class will be light refreshments.

Erica Gimpel and Trio
Kula, 1231 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica
Saturday, March 21st 7:30pm
Cost: $20; Discount tickets will be available and no one will be turned away

In honor of International Women's Month, Erica will be performing her newest songs in a benefit concert for the Downtown Women's Centers newest facility PROJECT HOME
Joining Erica are Ryan Cross-Bass/Cello and Louis Van Taylor-Woodwinds, plus special guests.
For more info about the Downtown Women's Center, please go to dwcweb.org.
** Enter through door on right at rear of building. There is small parking lot at rear of building but, PLEASE do not park in our neighbors lots... We have a great relationship with them and would love to keep it that way!

Yoga Hike in Palos Verdes with Claudia
Top of the cliffs at Malaga Cove, Palos Verdes Estates
Sunday, March 22nd 9:00-11:00am
Cost: $25, reservation required by noon, March 21st (limited space for 8 available)

Practice yoga on the top of the cliffs at the bluff cove (Malaga Cove) in Palos Verdes Estates. View people surfing and enjoy the spectacular view of Catalina Island. Enjoy nature while staying in shape through hiking and yoga.
What: 1 hour hike/walking plus 1 hour hatha yoga (beginners are welcome)
We meet at the parking lot of the Malaga Cove Plaza at the fountain at 8:45 am. Be on time.
Bring a big old sheet or large blanket plus yoga mat (yoga will be practiced on flat area on top of cliff).
Wear comfortable clothes. Bring water, snack, sunscreen and walking shoes
Often have breakfast at the Malaga Cove Cafe (your choice)
Connect with nature the 5 elements of the universe - balance your chakras (energy centers)
For more info call Claudia or www.feelthebliss.wordpress.com

Guru Singh Teaches Meditations for the Spring Equinox
Yoga West, Los Angeles
Sunday, March 22nd 1:00-4:45pm
Cost: $50

Please join us at Yoga West for the annual Spring Equinox yoga and meditation workshop. This is a sacred time to prepare, with our meditative mind, the planting of our year's projections. The Sun, Moon, and Earth are each one perfectly aligned for this blessing.
Join us as we plant the seeds of personal abundance and global unity. The meditative sequence for this Spring Equinox is one that matches the perfect balance of such a moment.
Please bring a piece of fruit, paper and pen, and a blanket.

YOGA SOUND BATH with Heather Hudson and Jamie Bechtold
Yoga Blend, Burbank
Sunday, March 22nd 2:30pm-4:30pm
Cost: $30 by March 19th / $35 after

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

Playing with the Gods:Parvati with Hagar Harpak
Black Dog Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Saturday, March 28th 5:30–8:00pm
Cost: $30 in advance, $35 day of

Embody the teachings of Parvati in your asana practice. Join Hagar for an afternoon of contemplation, forward bends and inversions, pranayama and meditation. Parvati is the consort of Siva.The mother of Ganesh. She is Sakti – the manifesting power of the universe. She is the breath, the force of life. It is the union of Siva and Sakti that makes everything come into being. Parvati is knowledge and action, forming the unformed. Learn about Parvati through storytelling. Discover her important symbols and their meanings. Learn a mantra to invoke Parvati’s energy.

Ananda Kirtan~ Sing and Dance to the rhythm of existence with Saul David Raye
Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, Venice
Saturday, March 28th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $20

Singing and Dancing have long been sacred healing practices to awaken the life force, connect us to spirit and embody an ecstatic connection to the Divine force that sustains all life. Join us for this inspired evening of chanting, live music and sacred dance to celebrate life, and open to the very rhythm, energy and bliss of existence.

Yoga Blend, Burbank
Saturday, March 28th 8:00pm-10:00pm
$30 by March 21st / $35 after

Come to this fun and lighthearted Yoga session where we will explore an alternative view to our pre-existing concepts of Yoga and Life. Be prepared to move and groove, laugh, sing and shout. Maybe shake up some internal junk, and then as we surround ourselves in positive energy, we'll throw out any of that unwanted trash like a television through a cheap motel window!
This workshop is open to all students who have a basic physical practice and a desire to enjoy a surprising mix of sensory delights.
Open your mind to a broader perspective, release judgment and expectations, and then climb over that old brick wall and cross the tracks to arrive on the better side of town, minus the ball and chain but with mohawk intact!
Comfortable, alternative, even radical makeup, hair and clothing encouraged, but please no army boots!

The Sacred Language: DRUM & FLAME - Music and Art by Reid DeFever
Your Neighborhood Studio, Culver City
Saturday, March 28th 8:00-10:00pm
Cost: $20

A mobius trip through the story of Shiva and the ongoing cycle of birth and destruction of the Universe. Experience India, Africa, Asia, Persia, Australia, Brazil and visitors from other worlds!
Featured instruments: tabla, taiko, didge, hang, marimba, cajonbek, doumbek plus special guests!
Art Gallery (original oil paintings for sale), Dance performances, Group chant & trance dance!

Nailah - Songs of Soul and Spirit featuring Paul Legaspi, Matt DeMerritt, Tracy Wannomae, Justin DiCenzo
Kula, 1231 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica
Saturday, March 28th 9:00pm
Cost: $15 at door; Discount tickets will be available and no one will be turned away

Concert to Benefit Stand Up For Kids and Sisterhood Agenda. March 28th is also the designated day for EARTH HOUR, a global call to action for everyone to honor our planet by switching off lights for one hour. In light of our commitment to Mother Earth (no pun intended), we'll be starting the evening unplugged.
** Enter through door on right at rear of building. There is small parking lot at rear of building but, PLEASE do not park in our neighbors lots... We have a great relationship with them and would love to keep it that way!

Yoga and the Play of Energy
Liberation Yoga, Los Angeles
Sunday, March 29th 1:00-4:00pm
Cost: $15; preregister at yogagiveback@earthlink.net

A special event to help India's poor: Yoga workshop with Pagan plus live music and ecstatic chanting with the Temple Bhajan Band
Where are you in the field of energy?
From standing poses to back extensions, from movement to stillness, this workshop will take a yogic and quantum look at the play of energy.

Kirtan / Sacred Chants with Keshavacharya Das with Srirama on Bengali drum to Benefit Kiva
Kula, 1231 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica
Sunday, March 29th 7:30pm
Cost: $15

Keshavacharya Das is now presenting his new album - "Sweet Surrender".
Visit keshavacharya.com and kiva.org for more info
** Enter through door on right at rear of building. There is small parking lot at rear of building but, PLEASE do not park in our neighbors lots... We have a great relationship with them and would love to keep it that way!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

mood music

last month, i received an email invite from daniel overberger of runyon canyon yoga fame. instead of his usual daytime yoga class in the great outdoors, he was going to teach an evening class indoors. and to make it even more enticing, it was going to be held by candlelight, with music. but not just your usual alternative/rock/hiphop/world yoga class playlist; he was going to feature music from one of the jazz greats himself, miles davis!

i sent in my RSVP as soon as i finished reading the invite:

On Wednesday, February 25th, from 7pm to 8:30 pm, I will be teaching a yoga class/workshop at Antebellum art gallery on Las Palmas in Hollywood. This class is going to focus on breathing (pranayama), alignment and hands-on adjustment* (which was a large part of my training in India). This class will be by candlelight with the music of Miles Davis.

After class, the owner of Antebellum (Rick) is going to serve tea.

* Adjustments are: Me physically pushing and pulling you into the poses to accelerate your opening. (My teacher in India is a master at this.)

NOTE: Antebellum is an erotic/fetish art gallery, so there is the potential for "things that may distract you". My yoga class will have nothing to do with fetish or erotica... to the best of my knowledge.

i didn't think i'd ever practiced in an art gallery before, but if i did, it certainly didn't have erotic art on the walls. this was going to be a very interesting night!

not being very savvy with the parking situation in hollywood, especially near the pantages theater, i got there early -- in fact, so early that i ended up sitting in my car and listening to KCRW while killing time -- and found a spot on the street a block away. i later found out that had i not been able to find street parking, i could have parked in the pay lot across the street from the gallery and paid a discounted rate with a validation from antebellum. a handy good-to-know...

daniel was running a bit late that evening, so rick castro, antebellum's owner, spent some time describing the artwork on the walls to us early arrivals. soon after, daniel walked in the door and greeted us as he ran around getting the room set up.

he leaned his backpack against the front wall and made his way to the back of the room to cue up the music on the the gallery's computer. right after he walked away, his backpack fell over.

it was only after he smelled smoke that he realized that his backpack had landed on top of a lit votive.


luckily, he was able to bound across the small room and put out his rapidly-melting backpack before any fire sprinklers went off. it had all happened so quickly that many of the students who were busy socializing were totally oblivious to the goings-on.

daniel was relieved that nothing burned down. and so was rick.

at this point, there was only one problem. the computer somehow didn't want to play the disk that daniel had brought with him. what now?

as they say, the show must go on. and it did.

while daniel led our group of nine through an opening meditation and sun salutation sequence, his friend nancy ran over to his apartment to get his laptop. it wasn't long before she walked back into the room and the familiar strains from the kind of blue album started to fill the room. the music brought me back to my college days -- back to when i'd taken a jazz history class at UCLA and listened as our professor played recordings from dizzy gillespie, dave brubeck, duke ellington, charlie parker, thelonius monk, and of course, miles davis.

ahhh... back to the days when life was simpler. and my only worry was making it through finals week...

i guess i was so lost in the musical moment that i blissfully moved from pose to pose. i somewhat remember daniel pushing and pulling me this way and that (and feeling somewhat like linda blair in the exorcist when i found my torso almost completely turned around in a bound ardha matsyendrasana), but i have to say that there's nothing like soothing music to help warm your heart, your soul, and your muscles!

once savasana was over, i gathered up my belongings and moved them over to the back wall before joining the rest of the group for tea in the patio out the back. next thing i knew, i smelled smoke.

what?!? where?!? who?!?

this time, it was my turn to play firebug. i had somehow dropped my yogitoes towel on a still-lit votive. the little silicone nubbins on the towel immediately started to burn and quickly turned to ash. by the time i whacked the last of the burning embers out, all i was left with was a towel with a number of large burned-out holes all over it :(

my updated facebook status reflected the excitement that evening:

joni accidentally dropped her yogitoes towel on a lit votive last night... and ended up with something very burnt and hole-y. so apropos for ash wednesday

and yes, the class was really held on the evening of ash wednesday.

after the class, daniel mailed me a copy of the book he wrote and published last year, leaving stress behind. in it, he talks about how he found yoga and about how it literally helped him leave behind the fast-paced life that was causing him great emotional and physical pain. touching on pranayama, meditation, and yoga therapy, daniel fills a large part of the book with a modified pose-by-pose guide to the ashtanga practice he learned while apprenticing with his guru in mysore. at the end of the book is a section with anecdotes from his time in india. there's even a companion CD with an audio version of a yoga class led by daniel himself.

and while the book is a very enlightening read, i personally consider it a very memorable possession. it'll forever remind me of the night we almost burned the gallery down, not only because it was penned (and autographed!) by our instructor that night, but because it also happened to be in the backpack that caught on fire... and even has the singe marks to show for it!

postscript -- daniel overberger plans to teach many more yoga + music classes in the coming weeks. last i heard, the next two -- pink floyd nights! -- are already sold out, and the third one he just scheduled is almost filled to capacity. so if the class listed below interests you, send your name and email address to yoga7daniel@gmail.com to get on his distribution list. do it quickly because he's already talking bob marley and radiohead...

so here's where i'll be tomorrow; i can't wait!

Yoga on the Dark Side of the Moon
with Daniel Overberger, author of Leaving Stress Behind
2 nights only: 3.18.09 + 3.25.09 @ 7pm

Deep Adjustments
Deep Breathing
Deep Meditation
Low Lights and the music of Pink Floyd

Antebellum Art Gallery
1643 N Las Palmas Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028
323 856-0667
3 blocks east of the Hollywood and Highland metro stop

Cost: $20

Space is limited. Reserve now: yoga7daniel@gmail.com

This class will be taught in the light of lava lamps to the music of Pink Floyd.

by the way, lava lamps are so much safer than candles, don't you think? :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

a birth announcement!

here's some good news from claire hartley and daniel stewart at rising lotus yoga in sherman oaks:

Our new room is open! Our second asana room is located just down the street above Salon True. New classes begin this Monday, 3/16 at 6:45 am with David Lynch, mixed level flow.

We'll be adding more classes in the next couple of months so keep checking the schedule and website.

Our front desk staff will be able to help with questions and direct you to the new space. Please remember to sign in, as you have been, downstairs for any class or workshop.

Please check our website for updates and schedule additions.

Thank you all for your love and support in helping the seeds we've planted become a reality.

See you on the mat!

the schedule for the new upstairs classroom at rising lotus includes a variety of classes ranging from a gentle easy does it with karen rosales to a more advanced the practice with jeff bass, with an assortment of hatha and vinyasa flow classes taught by ashley rideaux, david lynch, elinore cohen, holi rabishaw, mike wagner, sarah bergman, and shannon baker. and rounding out the offerings are more specialized classes like female balancing with shannon branham and yoga tune up with jill miller (which starts in april).

on a related note, santa monica yoga just published their spring schedule which includes a new set of classes in their new classroom. christened the garden studio (to avoid calling it the south of the south studio studio?), this room was annexed last year when their next-door neighbor moved out and the space became available. up until recently, it was used for teacher training programs and workshops. this smaller and more intimate room will now be the new home of santa monica yoga's prenatal, postnatal, ashtanga, and meditation classes. you can access it through the alley in the back, through the garden courtyard -- hence the name :)

and while we're on the topic of prenatal/postnatal classes and new spaces, black dog yoga in sherman oaks spawned a new yoga studio late last year (get it? prenatal/postnatal/spawn -- i know, i try). created by georgina o'farrill, two hearts yoga -- located in the same building as black dog -- offers the pre-/post- classes that georgina used to teach at black dog. it also provides the perfect solution to moms trying to balance their yoga and childcare needs: drop off kids yoga! catering to kids 3 and older, the kids yoga classes are timed so that their moms can drop them off, run over to black dog to take their own yoga class, then run back over to two hearts to pick them up. pretty cool, huh?

while i probably won't be needing to take a prenatal class anytime soon (although it may be an interesting experience worth writing about), you or someone you know might. so be a good friend and pass the word along :)

in the meantime, i'll be checking out the new space at rising lotus... sometime soon, i hope!

Monday, March 09, 2009

karma chameleon

tasmad asaktah satatam
karyam karma samacara
asakto hy acaran karma
param apnoti purushah

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.

from the bhagavad-gita, chapter 3.19, on karma yoga

i recently commented to a friend that -- given my current situation -- instead of my sitting around the house doing nothing and earning nothing, it made more sense for me to keep myself busy going around town doing something... and earning nothing. at least someone gets to benefit from my time.

take, for example, last sunday. i spent the morning volunteering at santa monica yoga. i checked in students, rang up sales, answered the phone, chatted with teachers and students -- the usual front desk work. it was a nice way to spend the beautifully sunny day; not only did i ride my bike to and from the studio, but i occasionally found myself walking around the block to get from the north studio to the south. and back. and for the few hours i put in, i earned myself a couple of yoga class credits. nice!

monday found me putting in more volunteer hours, but not anything yoga-related. you see, a couple of weeks ago, i had enrolled in a bicycling street skills class offered by the los angeles county bicycle coalition (LACBC):

Street Skills 101 is designed to give cyclists age 16 and up the confidence and skills to ride in all types of city traffic situations.
Day one features a comprehensive presentation on bike & helmet fit, the principles of vehicular cycling, and basic bike adjustments and preventative maintenance. On day two, attendees will develop bike-handling skills and learn essential evasive maneuvers on a vacant paved area. Participants will then apply what they have learned and receive constructive feedback that encourages safe riding techniques during a 5-6 mile road test.
Participants who successfully pass this course receive a Road 1 certificate from the League of American Bicyclists.

so not only did i learn the safe and legal way to ride around town, whether it be on busy main roads or quiet residential streets, but i also met the nicest group of instructors from the bike coalition: ron, chet, and jen. it was at that class that i decided to join the LACBC and offer them my support. which is why i found myself hopping on the big blue #10 bus to work at the LACBC office in downtown LA the very next week (and no, while i can now ride more confidently on my bike, i'm still not confident enough to ride all the way to downtown!).

this time, i put my 30 years of computer experience to work. i entered names and addresses into the member database, printed membership cards, and stuffed and stamped envelopes (yeah, i know what you're thinking...). but even if the work was a bit mindless, at least for me, it was just nice to be doing busy work again. and it also feel good to be involved in a group whose mission is:

"...Through advocacy, education and outreach, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition brings together the diverse bicycling community in a united mission to make the entire L.A. region a safe and enjoyable place to ride."

amen to that!

i ended the week volunteering at the symposium on yoga therapy and research (SYTAR) conference, which was held at the LAX marriott from march 5th thru 8th. in exchange for set-up duties on the 4th as well as on-site assignments on the 5th and 6th, i earned myself free entry to the conference proceedings, practice sessions, and exhibits. and free breakfasts and lunches, too!

since it was my third time to volunteer at this annual conference, i managed to land myself some interesting assignments. i assisted at the problem desk during registration. i helped set up and price books, CDs, and DVDs at the conference bookstore. i played timekeeper and made sure presenters stayed on schedule during a group show-and-tell session.

through the course of the conference, i was able to listen to and learn from experts in the yoga therapy field. i watched highly-regarded yoga therapists walk us through their own patient intake and therapy sessions -- eric small and his iyengar patient with multiple sclerosis, shanti shanti kaur khalsa and her kundalini patient with diabetes, and leslie kaminoff and his viniyoga patient with back and knee problems caused by years of professional dancing. i sat through timothy mccall's lecture on yoga for stress relief. and marla apt's talk on adapting yoga to life cycle changes in women. i did hip opening asanas with doug keller. and shoulder openers with linda lack. and learned from marla apt the modifications women need to make to their practice as they go through different stages in their lives, not only during "moon days" but also while they're prenatal, post-natal, peri-menopausal, and post-menopausal. who knew that teaching women yoga could be so complex?

looking back, this week was a chance for me to network with an interesting and diverse group of people. and even if all i did was just volunteer at various places around town, i was essentially in job search mode the entire time. so i'm keeping my fingers crossed that all my schmoozing has planted some seeds that might, hopefully, bear fruit sometime soon...

Monday, March 02, 2009

a new collective force in town

according to a wikipedia entry,

A collective is a group of people who share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together on a specific project(s) to achieve a common objective.

and that seems to be the perfect description of the newest group to hit the LA kirtan scene: the LA kirtan collective.

with all the talented kirtan artists who perform on a regular basis around town -- in private homes, in yoga studios, in performance spaces -- it was just a matter of time before someone harnessed all this bhakti energy to raise awareness about how accessible this form of devotional yoga can actually be.

i mean, we've all practiced at one time or another to recorded music from the chant world superstars: krishna das, jai uttal, david newman, snatam kaur, and many more. but since they're all based outside our neck of the woods, we get to experience live call-and-response sessions with them only when they happen to be performing in town. which, sadly, doesn't happen very often.

enter zat baraka, who leads kirtans usually attended only by chanters who know him and his music.

he knew that there were others like him scattered about the LA area who lead kirtans and have followers of their own: joey lugassy, daniel stewart, spring, to name a few. so what if, he thought, they all joined forces for one night and invited all their friends and followers to chant along with them?

in other words, if he built it, would they come?

after i witnessed the turnout at last weekend's chant for peace at the power yoga west studio in santa monica, the answer was very clear to me: yes, they will!

as with most inaugural events, there were a few snags that evening -- including a late start and some unfamiliarity with some chord progressions -- but since the musicians were all seasoned performers, they all took it in stride and played along as best they could. so whether it was the familiar hare krishna or a chant that was unknown to everyone but the person leading it, the crowd chanted along lustily and loved every bit of it!

of course, proper credit should be given to all the talented musicians who supported the kirtan wallahs in their collective endeavor: patrick richey on tabla, matthew hufschmidt on percussion, momo rocking on guitar, dave lichten on violin and slide guitar, dave watts on bass, marla leigh on flute, dahveed hari bol on cartals and shakers, and jessica sokolove on vocals. thanks to them, the music filled every corner of the amazing space... as well as the heart of every devotee who was inspired to clap, sway, and even dance that evening!

with an open invite going out to every LA-based kirtan artist to join the collective, you can almost bet that their next get-together will be even more "bhaktified" than the last. so stay tuned; i'll be posting the next performance date just as soon as i find out...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

now open! well, sort of...

a little over a week ago, i posted the invite to the hub's grand opening celebration. i was looking forward to attending the event, not only because i'd finally be able to check out lauri ashworth's new yoga studio and shmooze with others in the yoga community, but because there was going to be a free yoga class that evening. and you know me; if there's a deal anywhere to be had, i'm there! :)

since the hub is just over a mile from my place, i rode my bike over to its convenient location on barrington, just north of olympic, in west LA. i was warmly greeted by lauri, who informed me that the blessing ceremony had already started. i quickly made my way to the large asana room and sat on the floor with the small group that was busy chanting around a yantra, or religious diagram. we were soon joined by other latecomers; by the time it was over, the room was filled with teachers, friends, and other well-wishers.

after the ceremony, while the temple bhajan band entertained the crowd with their music, i nibbled on the light vegetarian lunch that was graciously provided to us. interestingly enough, i noticed that the guests in the buffet line included the construction crew... it turns out that they'd been busily working since early that morning, trying to finish as much as they could before the noontime festivities! but by no means did the place look unfinished; the interior was beautifully-constructed with a pebble-wash entryway, light wood classroom flooring, translucent windows separating the entrance from the main asana room, and soft overhead lighting.

while we were busy celebrating, the UPS man arrived with a much-awaited delivery of yoga props and accessories. and the computer guy showed up to hook up their front desk computer to the internet. things were quickly falling into place!

since that opening party, i've been to the studio at least four times, each time to try out another teacher**. and all classes have been excellent. and free of charge. why free? because until the hub successfully meets all fire and safety regulations, they can't officially be considered open for business. so until then, all classes will be offered FREE to the community. just know, though, that since there are only a few more minor details that need to be attended to, the gratis offer may not last much longer...

one thing to note is that some of the daytime classes may need to be cancelled to allow the work crew to get things done; so make sure you call or check the website for the most current schedule. having to check for last-minute cancellations might be a bit inconvenient, but it really isn't much to ask for, considering the excellent classes you'll be getting in return.

i plan to keep going back for more, even after the free trial period is over :)

** the beauty of the roster of teachers at the hub is that it's filled with instructors who, up until now, taught only in the valley or studios east of the 405. take, for example, the teachers i've taken classes with so far:

~ ryan brewer is also at liberation yoga in the miracle mile district
~ vickie howie is also at rising lotus in sherman oaks and yoga blend in burbank
~ sabrina kappler is also at mission street yoga in south pasadena
~ and tad robichaux is also at guerilla yoga in hollywood

so i guess you could say my taking classes at the hub is helping me save on gas -- i don't have to drive out to all these teachers because they now come to me!