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Thursday, July 16, 2009

living within my means, part 1

it was sometime in june that i came to the unsettling realization that i had been unemployed for just over six months, with no job prospects in sight. while things had started out quite promisingly back in november -- a slew of interviews, continual dialogue with various headhunters -- the well slowly started to dry up. and despite my best efforts to scan job postings and check in with employment agencies, there really hasn't been anything that has even looked remotely like a possible fit. but i continue to stay positive... after all, you never know...

in the meantime, i decided that i needed to cut back on expenses even more. including all the money i've been spending on yoga classes.

yes, you read that right.

but cutting back on yoga expenses doesn't necessarily mean cutting back on my daily yoga practice. it just means spending smartly. or at least trying to.

so for the month of july, my plan was to take yoga classes at studios where i still had unused series passes and/or work-study class credits. and obviously, at any place that offered FREE classes. the only exceptions would be fundraiser events. and, along the same line, any classes that were taught by teachers who donated to my own fundraising efforts for the city yoga / habitat for humanity yogathon last month. and of course i gave myself full permission to take classes at new studios and/or any places i'd never been to. after all, that's what i do :)

so here's how the first half of my month went:

wednesday, july 1st: it was a doubleheader day of sorts for me. i started with an afternoon class on tantric meditation taught by sally kempton at yogaglo. ok, so it cost me $20 (i broke the rules right from the get-go!), but i'd heard so much about the teacher and the topic that i just had to attend. and it was during sally's guided meditation sessions that i realized that no matter how hard i try, i can't seem to stay awake once i clear my mind of all the chatter :(
that evening, i took a class with athena engleman at truyoga (cost: $0, since i'd won a series of classes at a truyoga event a few months earlier). athena was subbing for someone that day and i was the only one brave enough to take her class -- or so it seemed. but that proved to be a bonus for me -- i ended up getting a delicious private lesson with her! and it was just what i needed; since my lower back had been bothering me, all we did were poses that kept it relatively happy...

thursday, july 2nd: with my back still acting up, i opted for a deep tissue massage instead. i justified the expense as being a necessary medical procedure. it sounded good at the time.

friday, july 3rd: i don't have anything written on my calendar. i think i resorted to doing savasana. in bed. damned back.

saturday, july 4th: i started the independence day festivities on my bike in the santa monica 4th of july parade. i and a few other cyclists rode down main street with the greenpeace group -- including a waving polar bear! -- with the point being that stopping global warming (and riding a bike instead of driving) is patriotic. all i know is that it was fun... and a good way to get me to the doorstep of exhale venice for steven espinosa's level 1 class. i chose the studio not only because of its proximity to the parade route, but also because i thought i still had some unused classes on my series pass. apparently, i thought wrong; right before i walked into class i was told that i had already used up my last class. not wanting to find another place to go, i bit the bullet and bought a 5-pack of classes. argh. but i did use my KCRW fringe benefits card to save myself $17 on the purchase of that series. yay!

sunday, july 5th: i took kyra haglund's flow class at santa monica yoga. and this is where i get to pat myself on the back -- not only did i get through kyra's nicely-challenging class, but i also used up one of my work-study class credits! net cost: zero!

monday, july 6th: chris chavez was scheduled to teach his first level 2/3 anusara class at the hub that evening, so i cashed in a work-study credit and joined the giggling group of lululemon yoginis and die-hard anusara addicts as we pushed ourselves through 90 minutes of strength poses and inversions. the result: lots of sweat, zero expense!

tuesday, july 7th: KTLA dropped by yogaglo to tape a segment for kurt the cyberguy. so our small group of yogis (who managed to take the weekday afternoon off) were led through a quick vinyasa class taught by jo tastula and isabelle du soleil. the segment has yet to air, so as i write this, i'm still wondering if i ended up on screen or on the cutting room floor. hmmm...
as the sun began its descent over the pacific ocean, i headed out for one of aaron reed's summer beach yoga classes on the sand, which ended under the glow of a beautiful full moon. yum...
by the way, both classes were FREE!

wednesday, july 8th: it was the first day santa monica yoga would be offering yoga classes at the newly-opened annenberg community beach house. $10 didn't sound like a whole lot of money in exchange for an ocean-view class in a historic venue. as it turned out, our yoga teacher that day, natalie canessa, is a great-grandaughter of marion davies, the original occupant of the property. and while natalie taught our vinyasa flow class, she kept having flashbacks of her summers spent in the same pool we could see from our classroom. how cool was that?

thursday, july 9th: i spent the morning listening to joshua bell and the LA philharmonic as they rehearsed for their performance later that evening at the hollywood bowl (here's a freebie alert -- it costs nothing to sit in on the rehearsals at the bowl. even the parking is free!). then spent the evening schmoozing at the LA bike coalition table at the joan baez concert at the santa monica pier. while on an all-day music high, i somehow neglected to take a yoga class...

friday, july 10th: it was fitness friday at the lucy store in santa monica! a recent graduate from the yogaworks teacher training program, suzi vishmid taught our hour-long flow class. while the class itself was FREE to all, i walked out of the store $30 poorer, only because i ended up buying an adorable wrap that was on sale. but isn't that considered saving money? :)
later that evening, there was a pre-bhaktifest kirtan and party at lululemon brentwood. it was by donation, with the proceeds going to the bhaktifest charity. and it was well worth the money i dropped in the donation box, with performances by bhaktifest musicians donna delory, govindas and radha, chris morro, and larisa stow. plus i won a piece of ganesha artwork, courtesy of yogini rukmini at yogini designs. score!

saturday, july 11th: naime jezzeny, one of the first anusara-certified instructors to teach in LA and who now calls philadelphia home, was in town for a workshop. to celebrate his homecoming of sorts, he taught a FREE class at yogaglo that morning. and if that weren't enough to get me on a yoga high, i spent the evening chanting with krishna das at the wilshire ebell theatre. ok, so it cost me $30 for the ticket. but we're talking KD here, if you know what i mean...

sunday, july 12th: i'm still wondering if i can say i "did yoga" if i took no classes that day, but instead spent the evening at the hollywood bowl in the company of the editor of LA YOGA magazine and three other yoga instructors... at least i can say i didn't spend a dime that day on yoga classes!

monday, july 13th: tara judelle was back in town from an extended vacation/meditation workshop, so it seemed a good idea to check out her evening anusara class at yogaglo. and because i have an annual pass, i didn't have to pull out my wallet to pay for the class. yay!

tuesday, july 14th: i'm ashamed to admit that i spent the bulk of bastille day chasing down lunch trucks -- and eating their wares. for those of you hip to the LA social scene, the big thing around town these days are the twitter-able food trucks, the best known of which is the @kogibbq truck. but since it wasn't in my neck of the woods that day, i ended up at the @marked5 truck (purveyor of japanese-inspired "burgers"), the @green_truck (known for its gourmet organic food), the @chefonwheelsbbq truck (a new kid on the road which specializes in -- well, duh -- barbecue), and the @coolhaus truck (with its architecturally-inspired ice cream sandwiches, such as the frank behry, the richard meyer lemon ginger, and many more). between that and biking around town posting flyers for the upcoming wanderlust, yogamonth, and yoga gives back events, let's just say i put down "karma yoga" on my calendar and left it at that.

wednesday, july 15th: i originally planned to take julian walker's class at exhale that morning (he was subbing for saul david raye, who was out of town), but as luck would have it, i discovered right before i left home that the back wheel of my bike had gone flat. instead of driving to class, i chose to walk my bike to the nearby helen's cycles to get the flat fixed (i know, i should've done it myself to save money, but i'm not yet that skilled in bike maintenance). with the morning gone, i opted to take ryan brewer's vinyasa flow class at the hub that evening (using up another work-study class credit!). after i had run into him at THREE separate events over the weekend (the party at lululemon, the KD kirtan, and the world music night at the bowl), it seemed appropriate to continue the streak and run into him one more time. after his class ended, i was tempted to do a doubleheader and stay for chris chavez's class (and use up yet another credit), but with my back feeling considerably better, i decided not to push my luck. another pat on the back for me :)

thursday, july 16th: the only thing i had written down on my calendar was "10:15am yoga with valinda cochella and girish at lyfe." i had earned a 5-class pass to lyfe yoga, courtesy of the lululemon south bay challenge i did earlier this year, and it was high time i cashed it in. however, expecting a vinyasa flow class, i was surprised to find out that the class was a kundalini class. not that anything was wrong with that, but i probably should've checked before i showed up for class! oops. since i've done enough yoga to confidently handle any class that's thrown my way, i smiled as i found myself going through rounds of breath of fire instead of sun salutes. besides, how can one complain when one has to chant "ek ong kar sat nam siri wahe guru..." for 11 minutes straight while girish skillfully thumps on the tabla? gotta love it!

so there you have it -- the first half of my cost-cutting month. i'll keep you posted on the second half once the end of the july rolls around...