Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

yogis and bikes

slowly but surely, the bicycle commuting population continues to grow here in LA.

there are many reasons why more and more people are jumping on the cycling bandwagon: higher gas prices, worsening traffic problems, inadequate parking facilities. there's also the desire for cleaner air, improved physical fitness, and just being able to have fun and meet other like-minded people.

and it's through my participation in the various events organized by the LACBC, or the los angeles bicycle coalition, that i've had that chance to meet many of my fellow cyclists. or in the case of the recent LA bicycle count, a fellow yogi.

last week, almost two hundred LACBC volunteers were stationed at 50 intersections within the LA city limits. the goal: to count the number of bicyclists and pedestrians who travel through these intersections on three separate days. i was one of those volunteers; when the initial sign-up sheet was posted, i offered to work afternoons at either of the two intersections that were close to where i lived. and when the final assignment spreadsheet was handed out, i was happy to find out that i got the afternoon shifts at the intersection closest to my home -- the corner of bundy and idaho in west LA. and in a strange coincidence, a guy named yogi got the morning shifts at the same intersection.

yogi? as in a practitioner of yoga? or as in the bear? hmmm...

since there was a span of almost six hours between his shift and mine, there was no way we'd ever run into each other. too bad.

at the press conference held at the corner of lincoln and venice the first morning of the count, i thought that i might catch him there. i didn't. (shameless plug: while i was chatting with some of the other cyclists gathered on the sidewalk, a photographer for the argonaut took a picture of us and put it in last week's issue. while the article can be found online here, the photo can only be found in the print issue. my friend michael first spotted the photo, and as he put it, "You're on your bike watching other bikers hold a LA Bicycle Coalition Sign. Page 9. Your legs and hair look great." i have really nice friends, don't i?)

later that afternoon (and again the next day), i sat at my assigned corner, counting all the cyclists and pedestrians who went through the intersection. i had to keep track of the direction they were headed, the number of kids, and whether the cyclists were riding without a helmet, on the sidewalk, and/or riding on the wrong side of the street. there was also a separate count for female cyclists (the theory being that if a neighborhood is perceived to be unsafe, women will tend to avoid it). luckily for me, it was a beautiful almost-fall day and it was a treat just being able to sit outside and watch the cars and the bikes and the pedestrians go by. and remind myself every now and then to mark my tally sheet...

as compared to some of the other intersections covered during the survey, bundy and idaho is relatively quiet. during the two-hour period on each of those days, i counted an average of around a hundred bicycles and easily over twice as many pedestrians. one cyclist, after finding out what i was doing, suggested that i add a hundred more to the count so that we'd get a bike lane on that street. i told him that i would do it only if he biked back and forth through the intersection that many times. he biked away and never came back. he was no fun.

a post-count party was held saturday night at a dive bar in downtown LA. while we stood around ingesting mass quantities of pizza, beer, and red bull (who were sponsors of the soapbox races that were held around the corner earlier that afternoon), i finally ran into the elusive yogi. and when i asked him about the origin of his name, he said that it was his real name, bestowed upon him by parents who were influenced by the cartoon character, the sports legend, and their own personal lifestyle -- they were yoga practitioners.

so does yogi do any yoga? yes he does; in fact, he leads classes at the church on ocean park in santa monica. it was through psalm isadora, a mutual friend of ours, that he found that space. and in a strange coincidence, both of us were invited to her birthday party later that evening. i told him i was going... would he be there, too? he said he'd try.

how cool was it that my bicycle and yoga paths had somehow come to an intersection?

anyway, after finding and friending yogi on facebook, i decided to attend his acroyoga class earlier this evening. and despite it being a small group that showed up -- including one person playing various instruments and another videotaping as much of it as he could -- i had a great time doing some basic flying maneuvers. me definitely want more!

by the way, as of next week, yogi's acroyoga class will be immediately followed by an ecstatic dance session with some really good musicians playing some really good music... or so goes the plan. the details are still being ironed out, but here's a heads-up if you're interested:

acroyoga + ecstatic dance
church in ocean park, 235 hill street, santa monica
tuesdays at 6:15pm, starting oct 6th

6:15-8:00pm - acroyoga with yogi hendlin
8:00-10:30pm - ecstatic dance

website: http://www.ecstaticdancela.org/

parking can be an issue around the venue, especially in the evening, so you might want to join the growing ranks of bicycle commuters and leave your car at home! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

a pescetarian's guide to the LA food truck scene

about a year and a half ago, i stopped eating meat.

i had my reasons -- partly to lose weight, partly in the spirit of ahimsa (non-violence to animals), partly to save the environment. but i knew that going from being a full-on carnivore to eating nothing but veggies would be a total shock to my foodie side. and i probably would be doomed to fail. so i came up with my less drastic "nothing with feet" dietary plan -- in other words, no beef, pork, chicken, turkey. everything else was ok: vegetables, dairy, eggs, fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, potato chips, cookies, ice cream, chocolate...

in short, i've turned into what people refer to as a pescetarian; more specifically, a junk-food eating one :)

i still allow myself some leeway for "meat emergencies"... like the times i'm visiting friends for dinner and there's nothing but meat on the table. or when i'm traveling and the must-try dish is mouth-watering ribs. or even the time when my friends convinced me to try guinea pig in peru (luckily, the restaurant ran out of the delicacy by the time we got there. whew!). or when i have an overwhelming need to try something i've heard so much about. like the korean bbq pork taco at the kogi truck...

by now, i'm sure you've heard the buzz about all the twittering food trucks that have been making their rounds around the LA foodie scene. while the green truck has been around for a while now, kogi was the first to post their location updates on twitter. which really makes it so much easier to keep track of them as they move around to evade the parking enforcement gestapo :(

sadly, most of these food trucks feature menus heavy on the meat. beef ribs. pork tacos. chicken curry. so what's a pescetarian like me to do?

fortunately, there are options. and if your dietary restrictions are anything like mine, here's a quick run-down of what's available out there. i've also included their websites and twitter usernames if you want to follow them. and if you want to see what they look like, click here to see my food truck slideshow (with my lime green bike tagging along at times for fun)...

asian-mexican fusion cuisine trucks:

kogi BBQ (http://www.kogibbq.com/ @kogibbq) - korean-mexican; they have kimchee tofu tacos and burritos as well as kimchee quesadillas. i made the mistake of trying the pork tacos just to see what the buzz was all about, and i have to admit that since then, the tofu variety pales in comparison :( be prepared to wait in a long line, though. since this is THE truck that everyone knows about, crowds rush to it as soon as they hear it's going to make an appearance...

calbi BBQ (http://www.calbibbq.com/ @calbiBBQ) - korean-mexican; the menu is similar to kogi's, but besides the usual tofu tacos and kimchi quesadillas (which are tastier than kogi's, imho), calbi also has shrimp tacos. yum! and much shorter lines. yay!

bool BBQ (http://www.boolbbq.com/ @boolBBQ) - korean-mexican; sadly, all their menu items are meat-based, so the only option right now is a kimchi quesadilla, hold the meat. i had the chicken pastel once... yes, i cheated, but it was SO worth it!

bull kogi (http://www.kimchibulkogi.com/ @bullkogi) - korean-mexican; they don't tweet much. in fact, i just happened to find them as i was checking out the miracle mile lunch scene. the tofu taco was excellent -- big chunks of tofu topped with crunchy cabbage kimchi. there's a burrito version available, too.

don chow tacos (http://www.donchowtacos.com/ @donchowtacos) - chinese-mexican; try the soy-ginger tofu tacos and burritos. every now and then they have chow fun on special. when that happens, don't think twice -- order the shrimp chow fun stat! btw, the owners of don chow have regular day jobs, so you can usually find the truck hanging around the late-night bar scene.

LA fuxion (http://www.lafuxion.com/ @LA_FuXion) - asian-latin; i should point out that "X" in spanish is pronounced "sh", so be careful! ;) the first thing you notice is the quirky menu featuring XOGOGI, XOGALBI, XOCY, XEN, XUNA, and XOFU. once you get over all those X's, order the XUNA tostada, which is a sauced-up tuna sashimi on a crispy tortilla. if you don't do raw fish, get the XOFU taco, tostada, or burrito. they're spiced really nicely. gian and nick are really friendly guys who run the truck when they're not running around their respective college campuses.

ethnic street food trucks:

marked5 (http://www.marked5.com/ @Marked5) - japanese; the torakku V is a tofu/egg patty (plus lettuce and tomato) smothered in a tasty torakku sauce sandwiched between two rice "buns" and wrapped in seaweed. the trick is figuring out how to eat it without getting the sauce on your hands... because you'll want to savor all of it! i just heard that tran now has a salmon "burger" on special; i need to try it while i can!

fishlips sushi (http://www.fishlips-sushi.com/ @fishlips_sushi) - japanese; this rolling sushi truck is a delight to the eyes as well as the belly! the sushi chef on board assembles the rolls and temari balls only as they're ordered. the fish is pretty fresh; there was one day when they canceled their scheduled stop because they couldn't find fish they considered good enough to serve. and as far as i know, they serve nothing but seafood, so there are lots of menu options! i've tried the california roll, the spicy tuna roll, the crunchy roll, the yellowtail temari, the...

skewers on wheels (http://www.skewersonwheels.com/ @SKEWERSONWHEELS) - japanese-inspired; gabino serves all kinds of teriyakied meat on sticks (hence the name). and also on rice in bowls. so if you have a hankering for a chicken bowl or a beef bowl, his food will make you plenty happy. and i should know, because i scarfed down an entire chicken bowl and didn't feel the least bit guilty about it... because they had NO veggie options and i was VERY hungry! ** update: this truck no longer roams the streets; it was taken over by marked5 and has been converted to their black truck...

india jones chow truck (http://www.indiajoneschowtruck.com/ @indiajonesct) - indian; honestly, i haven't found anything yet on chef sumant's truck that i didn't like. while there are the requisite meat options on the menu to keep the carnivores coming back, there are many choices to keep vegheads like me happy -- paneer frankies, veggie curries, channa masala, potato parathas, and more!

dosa (http://www.dosatruck.com/ @dosatruck) - indian; leena is from the local yoga scene, so she and i had much to talk about when we first met. every now and then, she'll park outside one of the yoga studios on main street in santa monica, hoping to catch yogis as they leave class. there are masala dosas, spinach/mushroom/cheese dosas, sweet potato dosas, samosas and an occasional smattering of veggie specials.

nom nom (http://www.nomnomtruck.com/ @nomnomtruck) - vietnamese; there's pretty much only one veggie option: the lemongrass tofu banh mi sandwich... which i'm addicted to! there's also a taco version, but as far as i'm concerned, the roll wins over the tortilla. and don't forget their iced coffee... it's a great way to fight the need for a post-lunch nap :)

border grill (www.bordergrill.com/bg_t/bg_twel.htm @BorderGrill) - mexican; this is the mobile version of their restaurant right off the 3rd street promenade in santa monica. they have gourmet-quality tacos (fish, avocado, potato), quesadillas (chile, mushroom), tamales (mahi-mahi, corn), and ceviche, with gourmet prices to match. whatever you do decide to order, make sure you add on an order of churro bites. with the cinnamon and whipped cream on top, they're to die for!

good-old american grub trucks:

green truck (http://www.greentruckonthego.com/ @Green_Truck) - organic; i suppose you could say the green truck was one of the pioneers of the "not your usual roach coach" band of food trucks. they'd already been appearing at location shoots and special events for some time before they started to make regular appearances on the street. while they specialize in organic vegetarian food, they also serve items with free-range chicken and niman ranch beef. their signature dish is the mother trucker, a vegan burger that they make themselves. while it's a bit squishier than your usual veggie burger, it tastes wonderful! the falafel wrap is just as good, and if sweet potatoes are in season, make sure you order their sweet potato fries! and like every other place that sells organic stuff, their prices tend to be higher. sigh.

let's be frank (http://www.letsbefrankdogs.com/ @letsbefrank) - hot dogs; while technically not a truck, this trailer is almost as large. while everyone raves about the beef and pork dogs, vegheads will be perfectly content with their veggie dog. top it with grilled onions and organic sauerkraut, squeeze on some spicy mustard, and you'll swear you'll never eat anyone else's dog again.

south philly experience (http://www.southphillyexperience.com/ @SouthPhillyExp) - philadelphia-inspired food; two cousins from south jersey started the truck because they couldn't find decent cheesesteaks here in LA. of course, i had to see for myself if they came anywhere close to the real thing, so i called a "meat emergency" and ordered a cheesesteak wiz wit (with cheese whiz and grilled onions). and honestly, it's about as good as the stuff you get at pat's, geno's, and jim's back in philly. with that finally out of my system, i got the eggplant with broccoli rabe on my next visit and swore that it tasted even better than the cheesesteak! don't forget to pick up a tastykake (the butterscotch krimpet's my favorite) while you're there :)

barbie's Q (http://www.barbiesq.com/ @BarbiesQ) - BBQ; in my mind, there is only one thing to order off john's truck, whether or not you're vegetarian -- the applewood-smoked veggie burger! this is no ordinary VB; he smokes a garden burger, chops it up, smothers it in BBQ sauce, then shovels it into a sub roll. my mouth is watering as i write this...

LA BBQ guy (http://www.labbqguy.com/ @labbqguy) - BBQ; look for the black truck with "Spring Street Smoke House" painted in large flaming letters across the side. once again, i had to call a "meat emergency" and take a few bites from what my friends ordered only because there was absolutely nothing vegetarian on the menu. except for maybe the coleslaw and hush puppies. oh well.

chef on wheels BBQ (http://www.chefonwheelscatering.com/ @chefonwheelsBBQ) - hawaiian-inspired BBQ; this is the kind of food you'd probably find in hawaii -- ribs, tri-tip, pulled pork, loco mocos -- but i usually order either the shrimp or fish taco. the nice thing about this truck is that it parks in almost the same spot every day for lunch... right around the corner from where i live. and if you remember the word of the day (which he tweets), you get a treat for FREE with your order!

and lastly, my personal favorite, the dessert trucks (which are totally vegetarian!):

get shaved (http://www.getshavedice.com/ @getshaved) - hawaiian-style shaved ice; kristin and her husband pat are two of the happiest and friendliest people i've ever met on a food truck. maybe it's because they don't have to stand over a hot fryer. or maybe because they get to spend all their time schmoozing with customers. anyway, the best thing about eating shaved ice is that not only is it refreshingly delicious on a hot summer day, but it is totally vegan! and fat-free! i've tried almost every flavor of syrup they have. as well as every add-on: ice cream, sweet azuki beans, condensed milk, and the sour spray (the ice cream and condensed milk are obviously dairy products, so not vegan). you really can't go wrong with anything you get!

coolhaus (http://www.eatcoolhaus.com/ @COOLHAUS) - gourmet ice cream sandwiches; ok, i've decided that anyone who works on a dessert truck is happy and friendly. natasha and freya always greet me with a big smile whenever i pop by to order one of their massive culinary delights. while they do claim to serve architecturally-themed ice cream sandwiches named after famous architects, the only thing artistic is the way their homemade cookies balance nicely on either side of the large scoop of creamy ice cream. besides the usual vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream choices, they sometimes offer matcha green tea, chai, sea salt caramel, guiness stout, toffee coffee, and other flavors one only fantasizes about. oh, and because freya is one of my people (she's a filipina, like me), she always has at least one tropical flavor that reminds me of my childhood :)

king kone (http://www.kingkone.net/ @kingkonela) - soft serve ice cream; like other ice cream trucks that drive up and down residential streets in search of customers, teddy doesn't stay parked in one spot very long. when you do find him (sometimes after having to scout around a bit), you can help yourself to all kinds of concoctions featuring soft serve ice cream: cones, floats, shakes, and sundaes. lowfat it definitely isn't, but when you want to treat yourself to something decadent, order a rocky mountain cone; it's ice cream on a cone, dipped in thick chocolate (none of that cheap chocolate shell stuff), and rolled in almonds. i had one and thought i'd died and gone to heaven...

there are a few more trucks that i have yet to try and probably many more on the horizon. i'm sure i'll get around to checking them all out sooner or later, and when i do, i'll fill you in on what i find!

update: i've visited even more trucks since i posted this; check out veg-head LA food truck guide, part 2 for more truck love :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

aparigraha and bikram yoga

aparigraha, or non-possessiveness, is the fifth yama described in patanjali's yoga sutras. it means to take only what is necessary and not to take advantage of a situation or act greedily.

strangely enough, despite the fact that aparigraha is an important precept of yoga, why does bikram choudhury, the founder of bikram yoga, feel the need to acquire even more money than he already has?

here are excerpts from an article i recently found on forbes.com; click on the title to access the article in its entirety:

Bikram Yoga's New Twists
by Maureen Farrell - Forbes Magazine dated September 21, 2009

Bikram Choudhury's sweaty techniques are a hit with yoga studios. Now he wants his cut.

What's a yogi's ride of choice? If you're Bikram Choudhury--the short, chiseled and youthfully radiant 62-year-old inventor of "Bikram Yoga"--it could be one of his several dozen Rolls-Royces or Bentleys, fine complements to his 8,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills. His taste in food is more modest: Choudhury says he subsists on one small high-protein meal after midnight and less than three hours of sleep, though he does have an appetite for diamond-encrusted Rolex watches.

Choudhury's yoga routine involves a 90-minute series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in 105-degree rooms. About 350 U.S. studios market Bikram Yoga classes--under the condition that instructors survive a nine-week training course hosted by Choudhury's company, Bikram's Yoga College of India. The boot camp includes several steamy sessions per day; graduates say vomiting and/or intravenous rehydration are common (Choudhury claims he's never witnessed either). Recent training costs: $10,500 per session, including $3,000 for room and board in Palm Desert, Calif. At two sessions a year, each of which draw about 325 trainees, that's $4.9 million in annual revenue. To that add 15 speaking engagements, generating about $20,000 each in ticket sales, plus another few bucks from books and dvds. "I'm a yogi, not a businessman," Choudhury demurs.

That yogi now wants another revenue stream: franchising fees paid by studios that use his name. His alternative is to have lawyers send threatening letters to all studios who sell Bikram Yoga without paying for training. "I can't afford to pay the lawyer bills anymore," he laments. In August Choudhury mailed out a 150-page franchise disclosure document to all affiliated studios demanding their signatures within 60 days of the mailing date.

Under the terms, existing studios would cough up 1% of their revenue in royalties, while new ones would pay 5% or $1,000 a month, whichever is greater. New studios would also fork over $10,000 in startup costs--not including instructor training--and $400 per month to cover advertising, Web site development and other overhead. Owners that don't sign on must give up the right to use Choudhury's name and techniques. "So many people are stealing Bikram Yoga," he says. "It's like you're practicing medicine, but you're not a doctor."

Choudhury has fought to capture more value for years. Since 1978 he has secured eight copyrights covering a series of poses and instructor scripts, and in 2002 trademarked "Bikram Yoga" (along with variations on the name). That same year Choudhury sued a Costa Mesa, Calif. studio that used the Bikram name but did not employ teachers formally trained by him, for copyright infringement. Following a federal district court ruling that leaned Choudhury's way, the studio paid an undisclosed sum and agreed not to run Bikram-style classes.

Choudhury's threat might not only lack teeth but might also invite lawsuits coming the other way, says Philip Zeidman, a franchise lawyer at dla Piper. That's because the Federal Trade Commission could claim Choudhury has been operating as a franchise for decades by letting others use his name, asking for a degree of control and requiring affiliates to pay for the privilege (via those training sessions). Studio owners could potentially sue Choudhury for operating as a franchise without proper documentation. (Choudhury's lawyer James Ullman, of Greenberg Traurig, says that the yogi's affiliation agreements do not constitute franchise relationships.)

check out the flyer for the fall 2009 teacher training class in las vegas which has bikram clothed in a form-fitting leather top and leaning against what i assume to be one of his rolls-royces. if he manages to convince all the bikram studio owners to cough up the new franchising fees, the flyer for the next teacher training session could find him draped in an even more exotic animal skin and leaning against his own personal jet...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

when burning man meets woodstock

or at least that's my impression of how the bhakti festival held this weekend in joshua tree, from sept 11th thru 13th, is going to turn out.

picture a bunch of yogis blissfully chanting for three days in the desert heat, starting at noon friday, ending around 10:30pm sunday. non-stop. imagine hot sunny days turning into warm starry nights. and the chanting continues. on and on and on. i can see it now -- i'll be surrounded by a throng of sweaty bodies clapping their hands and whirling about ecstatically. and soon, i'll find myself caught up in the group call and response... and call... and response... and call... and response...

i'm already delirious, and i haven't even left LA yet :)

here are the musicians scheduled to perform at this weekend's bhaktifest: chaitanya, annmarie solo, krishna's kirtan, joey lugassy, wynne paris, suzanne sterling, dave stringer, MC yogi, larisa stow & shakti tribe, arjun baba, tony khalife, prema mayi, masood ali khan, montino bourbon, dana-dharma devi, abhiram, saul david raye, jaya lakshmi, govindas & radha, donna de lory, sean johnson & the wild lotus band, wade imre morrisette, wah!, jai uttal, gaura vani & as kindred spirits, MC yogi (again!), shantala, chris morro, zat baraka, andrew zenoff, hanuman chalisas, ullas fowler, amma bhajan band, damian rose prayer bowls, lalita lily diamond, mukti, amritakripa, girish, temple bhajan band, shyamdas, geoffrey gordon, karnamrita das... and the festival will end with an all-star kirtan jam! jai ma!

and of course, what's a yogi event without some yoga? there will be classes held throughout the day, taught by marjan jai ran, kristin olson, saul david raye, mark whitwell, shiva rea, joan white, kasey luber, rainbeau mars, sara ivanhoe, and govindas & radha. and to cap off the event, all those who have signed up for the yoga aid challenge (including yours truly) will be led through a mala of 108 sun salutations on sunday afternoon. yes, after being sleep-deprived the entire weekend. should be interesting, don't you think?

anyway, before i close this off and get ready for bed -- me and my carpool buddy nanci are hoping for an early start tomorrow to beat the rush-hour traffic -- i should probably fill you in on the ongoing saga of my personal yoga month challenge, i.e., yoga at a different studio every day in september...

day 4, friday - i did my first mala of 108 sun salutes for the month (that's right... FIRST for the month) at yogaglo in santa monica. it was a donation class, with proceeds going towards yoga aid and yogamonth, team-taught by LA-based teachers annie carpenter, mark blanchard, kia miller, tamal dodge, joan hyman, tommy rosen, and ally hamilton. while we basically did surya A's the entire time (except for when mark decided that he wanted to lead us through a more challenging power flow instead), everyone had a different teaching style. so it seemed more fun than monotonous. or tedious. in fact, i'm not quite convinced that we actually did all 108. i'll need to watch the rebroadcast on the yogaglo site (click here for a preview) to count and see how many i actually did!

day 5, saturday - my original plan was to attend the yoga+exhibit event at yogaglo, which was robert sturman's Impressions of Yoga: The Radiant Spirits photographic exhibit paired with a yoga class taught by his wife, marlize joubert. but since that would be put me in the same yoga studio two days in a row, i felt compelled to take that class PLUS another one. so after my run saturday morning near the santa monica pier, i headed out to yoga works main street, also in santa monica, and took a level 2 class with birgitte kristen, a highly-regarded YW teacher-trainer. needless to say, after running in the heat, transitioning to a 90-minute yoga class, then taking yet another yoga class (a level 2/3 at that!), all i wanted to do was lay in savasana until the next morning. and if it weren't for the barbecue that was held right outside yogaglo's front door, i probably would have stayed put on my mat overnight because -- guess what -- i was going to take yet another class at yogaglo the next morning!

day 6, sunday - once a month, marc holzman teaches his guerilla yoga classes at yogaglo in santa monica instead of his usual venue at the hollywood dance center. so, of course, the opportunity was a no-brainer for me, only because instead of my having to drive for half an hour all the way out to hollywood, all i ended up doing was bike less than five minutes down the street. and while i knew full well that it would mean yet another class at yogaglo, i love marc and the anusara community so much that i just had to do it. like i said last week, i was going to give myself credit for a guerilla yoga class. besides, there was no way i was going to do another double, especially since i was still tired from the day before :(

day 7, monday - ah, the labor day holiday... there were enough yoga studios open that day that i had a slew of classes to choose from. including dan ward's class at yogaco in santa monica on the third street promenade. dan had sent me a facebook friend request some time ago, and since i don't usually make it a habit to "friend" people i've never met, i thought it was about time i made his acquaintance. luckily, dan didn't have us labor too much through his power yoga flow. or did it just seem that way because i allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in that day and getting some much-needed rest? hmmm...

day 8, tuesday - on my calendar for the day was another must-do class: a donation yin yoga class taught by LA yoga editor felicia tomasko, with live drum and flute music provided by marla leigh. the proceeds were going to benefit marla's rhythms in peace project. there was one catch, though. it was going to be held at yogaglo yet AGAIN. but also on my calendar for the day was a task to drop off global mala flyers at various yoga studios around town. so to kill two birds with one stone, i decided i was going to take a class at one of the studios while i was doing my rounds. as good as my intentions were, though, it was never to be; i got a late start and ended up skipping the extra class altogether. but since i DID stop and park my car at a bunch of studios, i gave myself credit for karuna yoga and yummy yoga in los feliz, earth's power yoga in hollywood, dancing shiva yoga and liberation yoga in los angeles, and u studio yoga in miracle mile. hey, i can make up my own rules, can't i? :)

day 9, wednesday - i was exhausted. i knew it. my body knew it. so i ended up taking a gentle yoga class: leslie kazadi's therapeutics class at truyoga in santa monica. the experience was so gentle that i didn't even have to hop on my bike to get to class; all i had to do was walk a couple of blocks to join leslie and her small band of loyal students. all of us had our own issues that morning, from bad backs to bad knees to bad shoulders. and leslie was able to cater to all our needs. and inject some humor into the process, too. i keep telling myself that i should go to her class more often. and after the craziness of this whole month is over, i probably won't just want to -- i'll need to!

day 10, thursday - and that brings me to today. i was invited to a book-reading session with dave romanelli and his new book, Livin' the Moment at the topo ranch store in venice. and while i'd already been to a similar event when his book was first released earlier this year, i was enticed to go because of dave's promise of FREE wine and chocolate. and maybe even a deal on organic clothing. besides, he asked nicely :) so i ended up stopping by exhale venice to take jo tastula's class on my way to dave's event. it actually felt good to spend some time with the aussie goddess at one of my "home" studios. by the way, jo also teaches at yogaglo... and i swear it's just a coincidence...

anyway, like i said earlier, i'm headed to the 3-day bhaktifest tomorrow. and looking at the clock, i should've been asleep a long time ago. so i'm going to be cutting out here.

have a great weekend, and i'll see you at the other end!

Monday, September 07, 2009

yoga classes in LA, without all the stress

a few weeks ago, i was asked by the editor of Free L.A.: The Ultimate Free Fun Guide to the City of Angels to write a blog post for its companion website, freefunguides.com. i gladly agreed to send in something, and after finally being able to clear my calendar just long enough for me to write that post, i've come up with an initial draft. so if you have any additions, corrections, and/or comments, i'd appreciate hearing from you. thanks!

here it is:

FREE and Affordable Yoga Classes in LA!

Every day of the week, somewhere in your neck of the woods, there's a FREE yoga class that's perfect for you -- you just need to know where to find it!

You might want to start with a nearby yoga studio; most yoga studios offer a "First Class FREE" deal to new students. Some may restrict the offer to locals, although the definition of "local" can mean anything from a resident of the same city to a resident of the same state! A number of studios also offer FREE introductory classes to newbie yoga students. All these offers are meant to give you a taste of the facilities, the teachers, the classes, and maybe even the other students. The hope is that you'll like the studio so much that you'll want to come back... as a paying student, of course. But not to worry; there usually are discounts available if you belong to a group (like KCRW, students, and seniors) or if you buy a series of classes. Just make sure to ask if your prepaid classes have an expiration date; in most cases, you'll forfeit them if you don't redeem them quickly enough.

(Pardon the shameless plug, but I have a nice list -- and map, too! -- of LA yoga studios on my blogsite, The Accidental Yogist, along with links to their websites.)

FREE yoga classes are also offered on weekends (usually on Sunday mornings) at all lululemon athletica locations around town. Here are their locations in the LA area; click on the store name to access its community events page:

You might also want to consider going to a donation-based yoga studio. Donation-based means you should give what you can comfortably afford to pay for the classes you take. There may be times when you're so broke that a dollar is all you can spare, and there may be times when you can easily pay the suggested amount (usually around $14) or more. What you choose to give is entirely between you and the donation box. Keep in mind that the teachers make their living from what ends up in that box at the end of class, so as long as they can continue to make ends meet from your contributions, they will continue to be there for your yoga class needs.

Bryan Kest's Power Yoga studio in Santa Monica was one of the earliest proponents of donation-based classes. It's because of this that most of the donation-based studios seem to be clustered around Santa Monica, although there are a few places that have opened closer to Downtown. Here are some yoga studios to get you started; click on the studio name to access its website:

As with all yoga classes, please show up for class dressed in clothing that will allow you to move comfortably. You will also be expected to take your shoes off at the door, so consider wearing footwear that can easily be slipped on and off. Many locations have yoga mats available for a nominal rental fee, although if you bring your own mat, you'll know that you were the only one whose sweat has touched its surface! It's best if you refrain from eating at least two hours before class -- just imagine yourself twisting and bending with a full belly, and you'll understand why. And please don't forget to turn off your cell phone before class starts!

Yoga is a great stress reliever, and knowing that yoga CAN be affordable will help reduce that stress even more!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

sure doesn't feel like the last day of summer...

i'm not sure who designated the labor day holiday as the official end of summer; all i know is that with the heat wave we're currently going through, it's going to be a loooong while before summer's really over here in LA!

speaking of the labor day holiday, here's a quick recap of the holiday schedules at yoga studios around town (see sidebar for links to studio websites):

aanand saagar, venice
Yoga Class with Meghan McDonough
Monday, September 7th 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Suggested Donation $10
Intimate Class with lots of individual attention. The most important thing to me in a class is that you walk away feeling inspired, aware and peaceful. The practice is gentle and challenging, specifically geared toward the individuals needs to maintain balance and achieve their own personal goals.
'Remember to laugh, cause you are always on your path'

alive and well, hermosa beach
Closed for Labor Day

angel city yoga, studio city
Monday Sept 7th - Labor Day Schedule
7:15-8:25am Kevin O'Kane - Easy Yoga
8:30-10:00am Shosha Bottoms - Easier Yoga
10:30-11:45am Shosha Bottoms - Special Conditions Rope Wall and PreNatal
12:00-1:15pm Io Bottoms - All Levels Vinyasa

awareness center, pasadena
Labor Day, Monday Sept. 7th
CLOSED for regular classes.

back for yoga, el segundo

beach yoga with brad keimach, santa monica
Beach Yoga with Brad x 3 this weekend! Labor Day, too!
Yes, indeed! Saturday, Sunday AND Monday (Labor Day!) we will meet on the beach for a deep breathing, heart opening Beach Yoga practice!
Join us this weekend for 3 memorable mornings of yoga and fellowship. Here are the details:
WHEN: Every Saturday and Sunday, 10:30-12, and this Monday!
WHERE: Santa Monica. Walk up Marine Street, all the way to the water's edge, by lifeguard station #29. I'll be there to welcome you!
COST: Donation.
BRING: Large towel, or mat. Sunscreen! Your great spirit! A sense of adventure and beauty!

bhakti yoga shala, santa monica
There will be no changes in our yoga class schedule for Labor Day, Monday September 7

black dog yoga, sherman oaks
Labor Day September 7:
8:45a-10:15a Hatha Flow II Dice Iida-Klein
9:30a-10:55a Hatha Flow I Sigrid Matthews
10:30a-11:55a Anusara-inspired II-III Jenny Brill
11:00a-12:30p Deep Stretch, All Levels Heidi Kaufman

city yoga, west hollywood
8:30-10:00am basics with Anthony Benenati
9:00-10:30am mixed with Rebecca Benenati
10:30-noon mixed with Tara Judelle

earth's power yoga, los angeles
Labor Day Monday the 7th just one Class at 10:30 am. All classes this weekend are on going.

echo park yoga, echo park
Early Morning Kundalini is in session for the brave tomorrow! 6:15 AM
Start the day off early and get the most out of your holiday

exhale center for sacred movement, venice
We will be open for classes on Labor Day with the following class schedule:
9am-10:25am Level 2/3 with Shiva Rea
9:15am-10:40am Level 1 with Kerianne Telford
10:30-12:15pm Level 2/3 with Saul David Raye
10:45-12:10pm Level 1/2 with Matthew Cohen
12:30-2:00pm Level 1/2 with Ashley Turner
12:30-2:00pm Music Yoga Flow with David Romanelli
12:45- 2:10pm Level 2/3 with Brad Keimach

free spirit yoga, long beach
Labor Day Classes with Lonne:
9:10am Free Chant
9:30am Level 1 class
11:00am All Levels

garden of yoga, woodland hills
We will be closed on Labor Day - Monday, September 7th.

glendale yoga, glendale
Laura will teach an All Levels class from 10:00-11:30am.
This will be the only class on this Monday.

goda yoga, culver city
Labor Day Schedule - Monday, September 7
10:30 - 12:00 pm Mixed Level with Jules
4:30 - 6:00 pm Flow with Nathalie

golden bridge yoga, hollywood
Monday, September 7th 10:00am - 12:00pm
Labor Day Class: Expanding into your Excellence with Tej Kaur
Cost: 20.00
We all have a destiny we have been given to grow towards, and we all have an inner calling that reflects a bright and beautiful ray of light of the Infinite.
That inner connection can become so bright & peaceful that you can wake up another person just with your glow. When your own Vastness is awakened in you, your presence will speak.
As the consciousness is elevated, we are given the courage, organization and one pointedness to find our direction. With the help of Kundalini Yoga and Deep Meditation, we can decide how the next chapter of our lives will look, and move towards our own Greatness.
Join us as we awaken the psyche towards the next great adventure of our own unfolding.

happy me yoga, redondo beach
We will have class on Saturday!

heartbeat house, atwater village
We will be closed Monday 9/7 in observance of the Labor Day Holiday.

home simply yoga, santa monica
All classes cancelled on Monday, Sept 7th

the hub, west los angeles
The Hub will be closed for Labor Day, Monday September 7th.

in focus wellness institute, santa monica
Mon September 7 Classes (only yoga classes listed)
8:00 - 9:00 AM Yoga Naga (advanced) Nisha Rodrigo

in the mudra yoga and dance, canoga park

iyengar institute, los angeles
On Monday, September 7th
9:30AM - 11:30am, All Levels Class with Garth McLean
(Regular classes are canceled on that day.)

ja yoga, long beach
Closed Labor Day Weekend - Sat Sun Mon
(Sorry for any Inconvenience)

karen shuman's beyond yoga, sherman oaks
Karen Shuman's Yoga will only be having 1 class on Labor Day:
11:00-12:30 PM Gentle Hatha Flow Karen S.
All other classes will be at their regular scheduled time over the weekend.

liberation yoga, los angeles
We will be open all weekend as usual and have a shortened schedule for Monday as follows:
8-10am - Ashtanga with Joel Bender// 10-11:30am - Iyengar with Pagan// 10-11:30am All levels Vinyasa Flow with Elle Larson// 11:30am-1:00pm - Level 1 with Lynn Taylor
EVERYTHING IN THE BOUTIQUE WILL BE 50% OFF FOR MONDAY ONLY!!! Store hours will be 8am-2:00pm!

maha yoga, brentwood
Monday Sep 07
7:00:00 AM Mysore Ashtanga Jorgen Christiansson
9:15:00 AM All Levels Anne Israel
11:00:00 AM Level 2&3 Steve Ross

mission street yoga, south pasadena
Schedule for 9/7/2009:
09:00AM Level 2 Jennifer Webster
10:30AM Basics Nancy Kyes

rising lotus yoga, sherman oaks
Mon September 7 Classes
9:00 - 10:30 AM Mixed Level Flow Claire Hartley
9:30 - 11:00 AM Easy Does It Karen Rosales
10:35 - 12:05 PM Level 1 Sarah Bergman
12:15 - 1:15 PM Lunch Flow (Mixed Level) Michelle Goldstein

santa monica yoga, santa monica
Closed Monday September 7 for Labor Day

shanti shala, los angeles
This weekend we have a special Schedule:
Sunday: 11AM Mysore Ashtanga (as usual)
Monday - Labor Day: 8AM Intro to Second Series, 10 AM Mysore Class
RSVP for any of our classes at shantishala@gmail.com

silver lake yoga, silverlake
There will only be one class on Monday, Sept. 7: All-Levels Flow taught by Dana from 10-11:30 a.m.
All other classes will be canceled.

still yoga, silverlake
Mon September 7 Classes
9:00 - 10:30 AM all levels anusara-inspired Hagar Harpak
12:30 - 2:00 PM all levels anusara-inspired Tony Giuliano

studio surya yoga, venice
Come do a little holiday yoga with Yonnus Becker! 9am, 11am, 2pm, 6pm and 7:30pm

swerve studio, los angeles
Special Labor Day Schedule (only yoga classes listed)
Saturday 9/5:
10:00am Yoga Booty Ballet with Teigh
2:45pm Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Courtney Munch
Sunday 9/6:
10:00am Yoga Booty Ballet with Lauren Haze
Monday 9/7:
10:00am Yoga Booty Ballet with Lauren Haze
12:30pm Vinyasa Flow Yoga (Community - $9) with Masha Sapron

tenth gate yoga, los angeles
SAT 9/5 10-11:30 AM
MON 9/7 9-10:30 AM
Both classes are 90 minutes long, include ROPE YOGA, and cost $20.

truyoga, santa monica
Tru has a Labor Day class with Jen at 1:00 on Monday!!

u studio, miracle mile
Labor Day Weekend at U Studio
Friday 9/4-- 5:30pm Andrea
Saturday 9/5-- 10:30am Nikki
Sunday 9/6-- 10:30am Nikki
Monday 9/7-- 10:30am Renee
(Back to regular schedule Tues 9/8)

urth yoga, silverlake
Mon September 7 Classes
8:30 - 10:00 AM Basics - Anusara Inspired Gabe Hendrie
10:30 - 12:00 PM Mixed Levels - Anusara Inspired Jennifer Gaecke

YAS, silverlake
ALL YAS Locations will be OPEN 1/2 DAY on MONDAY!! (Labor Day)

YAS, venice
YAS Venice is OPEN for 1/2 day on Labor Day with the following schedule:
YOGA for ATHLETES® - 8:30am-1-2 with Denis, 10:00am-All Levels with Kimberly
YAS Class - 11:15am-Julie
We will be closed in the evening.

yoga at the village, glendale
We are open as usual Labor Day Weekend

yoga bindu, san pedro
Our student teachers are graciously offering three classes over Labor Day weekend, donating all proceeds to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and San Pedro Animal Shelter!
The only classes offered Labor Day weekend are as follows:
Saturday, September 5, 10 AM, All Levels - for St. Jude's
Sunday, September 6, 10 AM, All Levels - for St. Jude's
Monday, September 7, 10 AM, All Levels - for San Pedro Animal Shelter
These classes are offered on a donation basis. Bring a friend and support our excellent new teachers!

yoga blend, burbank
9:30am-11:00am Level 1with Nicole
11:30am-12:45pm Gentlewith Heather
12:00pm-1:30pm Level 1-2 with Keric
All other classes are CANCELLED!
Studio Closes at 1:30pm following Level 1-2 class. Our regular schedule resumes Tuesday, Sept 8th.

yoga circle downtown, los angeles
There will be no 4:30pm class on either Saturday or Sunday.
We will be closed all day on Monday, Labor Day.

yogaco, santa monica
YogaCo will have an almost full schedule and only be cancelling a handful of classes:
Water Room
9:00-10:25am PowerFlow All Levels Kelsey - canceled for Labor Day
10:30-11:45pm Vinyasa All Levels Jay Co - canceled for Labor Day
Earth Room
7:00-8:15pm Power No Level Aras - canceled for Labor Day
8:30-9:45pm Vinyasa All Levels Ryan - canceled for Labor Day
Sky Room
9:30-10:30am Gentle Yoga All April - canceled for Labor Day
11:00-12:15pm Basics All Rachelle - canceled for Labor Day
4:30-5:30pm mini-yogis Ages 5-8 Sara - canceled for Labor Day
6:30- 7:45pm Prenatal All Maggie - canceled for Labor Day
8:00-9:30pm Tao Yin Yoga All Daniel - canceled for Labor Day

yoga darsana, alhambra
Studio closed on Labor Day

yoga desa, topanga
Yoga Desa will be CLOSED on Labor Day

yogaglo, santa monica
Classes canceled due to holiday.

yoga groove, north hollywood
There will be only one class on Labor Day!! Come join us for an all levels 10:00 am class to celebrate this special holiday!

yogahop, santa monica
Sunday, September 06:
8:15AM Summit 2/3+ - Matthew Reyes
4:00PM Summit 2/3 - Kourtney Kaas
Monday, September 07:
9:15AM Level 2/3 - Matthew Reyes
6:15PM Summit 2/3+ - Matthew Reyes

yoga house, pasadena
Yoga House will be open with regularly scheduled classes on Monday, Labor Day.

yoga kingdom sanctuary, pasadena
Remember labor day weekend , Monday: one class only at 9:30 am

yoga loft, manhattan beach
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 ~ 2 CLASSES ONLY (both 1 hour long):
8:00-9:00am Level 2/3 with Jaclyn Hinds
9:15-10:15am Level 1/2 with Amy Beausang

yoga loft, woodland hills
The studio will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2009 for Labor day. In Joy the day. Our NEW schedule begins on Tuesday September 8, 2009. The schedule is posted on the website http://www.yogaloftla.com/.

yoga madre, arcadia
Labor Day schedule update: one class only on Monday, Sept 7:
9 am all levels with René

yoga west, los angeles
There will be only one class Monday, September 7th from 9-11 am with Gurudhan Singh. The regular schedule will resume Tuesday, September 8th.

yoga works, all los angeles locations
Click studio below to see special Labor Day schedule:
Center for Yoga
Main Street
Montana Ave
Pacific Palisades
South Bay

yoga world, long beach
We will be open for a 10:30 am All Levels class at the Los Altos Studio with Gabriel on Monday, Labor day. We will be closed the rest of the day. We will reopen with our full schedule on Tuesday September 8.

yogis anonymous, santa monica
We're open for every class at yogis anonymous!

yogi tree, toluca lake
In honor of Labor Day, we're closing the door Monday, September 7 -- lights out, "Gone Fishin'" sign on the door, taking a day off to enjoy the kids. Regular classes will go on as scheduled Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6, and will resume Tuesday, September 8.

yummy yoga, los feliz
Sunday, Sept 6
10:00 AM ~ 90 minute All Levels taught by Larry Santiago
5:30 PM ~ 90 minute Level 2/3 taught by Amy Dominguez
7:15 PM ~ Restorative: Cancelled
Labor Day Monday, Sept 7
9:00 AM ~ 90 minute All Levels with Ducky and Caroline
All other classes cancelled. Celebrate safely!!!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

three down, twenty seven to go

last tuesday, the first day of september and the start of yoga month 2009, i pondered the various and sundry challenges i could put myself through for the next 30 days. yoga every day? yeah, i could do that. yoga every day at a different studio every day? also doable, given that there are jillions of yoga studios in town (i exaggerate, but it sure seems like it). or how about yoga every day at a different studio every day AND get to class by bike or bus? i suppose i could try that, but i seriously doubt that'll happen...

anyway, now that we're on the third day of the month, here's how things have gone so far:

day 1, tuesday - choosing which class/studio to take was a no-brainer. with it being the opening day of the new donation-based yogis anonymous studio in santa monica, right off the third street promenade, i knew that i had to take ally hamilton's "hurts so good" class. not only did i want to show her my support (since she's the mastermind behind YA), but i also wanted to find out exactly what would hurt and how good it would hurt. apparently, there were many others who had the same thing in mind; despite the late hour (an 8:30pm start on a school night!), the room was packed with students of all shapes and sizes and abilities. as it turned out, the hardest thing for me wasn't getting through the class; rather, it was my not being able to eat dinner until after class was over! luckily, the calbi BBQ truck was parked right around the corner, so i was able to pick up a korean-mexican tofu burrito on my way home and chow down as i watched the "women in cults" WEtv episode that night...

day 2, wednesday - i promised my friend joe matias that i'd drop off some flyers for my marathon training group (the la leggers) at his running store in atwater village (a runner's circle) the first chance i had. and that first chance happened to be on the day he was off (of course, i didn't find that out until after i set foot in his store). it was all good; i actually ended up using the trip as an excuse to visit a yoga studio i hadn't been to in a while: silverlake yoga. i got there just in time for laurie parlapiano's community flow class. there were only three of us in class, so for a mere $8, i ended up in what could be considered a semi-private class. such a deal! we all received lots of hands-on attention from laurie; after i told her about my hypermobile SI joint problem, she kept a watchful eye on me to make sure i didn't do anything to aggravate the joint. learning all those do's and don'ts from her definitely made my long drive worth the time and the gas!

day 3, thursday - i had a late morning massage appointment in brentwood, so i popped by the 12:45pm all-levels class with gabi (who turned out to be a he, not a she) at maha yoga. and the hour-long class cost me only $10. score! gabi had us doing so many strength and balance poses that i was drenched in sweat by the time we were done... and i promptly rehydrated by downing an iced tea from the starbucks store downstairs, followed by an iced coffee from the nomnom bahn mi truck that i had stopped at to get lunch. yes, it's another food truck in LA :)

three down, twenty seven to go...

the month's just started, and already i have a slew of plans lined up for the rest of september:

sept 4th, friday - 108 sun salutations fundraiser class at yogaglo with kia miller, annie carpenter, ally hamilton, julian walker, tommy rosen, mark blanchard, and joan hyman. proceeds go to yoga aid and global mala.

sept 5th, saturday - art exhibit/yoga class/live music/BBQ fundraiser at yogaglo with robert sturman, marlize joubert, and masood ali khan. proceeds go to off the mat, into the world. there's also an intro to acroyoga class at the shiatsu school earlier that morning that i'm considering doing. two classes in a day? we'll see.

sept 6th, sunday - marc holzman is taking guerilla yoga on the road... and his destination: yogaglo! i know, taking three classes back-to-back at the same studio goes totally against my plan to hit a different studio every day. but in this case, i'm going to go ahead and call this third one a guerilla yoga class. which it is. so there :)

then farther out into the month:

sept 11th thru 13th, friday thru sunday - bhakti fest at joshua tree retreat center near palm springs. i'll be volunteering at this 3-day kirtan and yoga festival. and i'll be camping, too. it'll be wild! i'm halfway expecting it to be a cross between woodstock and burning man.... you never know... oh, and it'll end sunday afternoon with a series of 108 sun salutations as a fundraiser for yoga aid. yes, my second 108 in two weeks!

sept 20th, sunday - global mala celebration at the HAX hangar in hawthorne. and the main event is -- you guessed it -- another 108 sun salutes! that'll be three in a row for me in as many weeks. insane! i'm volunteering at this one, too, so if you'll be there, look for me...

it's way past my bedtime; i really should get some sleep, especially since i have those first 108 coming up in less than 14 hours. eek!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

it's time to celebrate all things yoga!

after months of preparation for the big event, it's finally here: yoga month 2009!

starting in 2008, the month of september has been designated by the department of health and human services as national yoga month. in fact, the national health information center has included it on its calendar of national health observances. and we're in good company; while we're celebrating the benefits of yoga this month, we can also celebrate the merits of fruits and veggies, whole grains, sports and home eye safety, and healthy aging. after all, one can't live by yoga alone :)

back in may, i posted the details about this year's observance of national yoga month, so as not to repeat myself, here's a link to that post: september is national yoga month!

the annual global mala event that will be the highlight of the local yoga month celebration will be held on sunday, september 20th. here are the details:

Yoga Month Festival Los Angeles
Sunday, September 20th 9:00am - 7:00pm
HAX hangar (near LAX airport)
3203 Jack Northrop Ave., Hawthorne, CA

Join us at the main National Yoga Month event, a Once-A-Year-Celebration of the yoga community Sept. 20 in Los Angeles.

Exceptional yoga teachers representing the variety in yoga and inspirational speakers, empowering musicians, yoga sun salutations, kirtan music and dance performances. Also featuring green exhibitors, healthy food, entertainment, kids and family fun. This is an event you can not miss.

A FREE EVENT open to beginners and advanced yoga students. Benefiting Yoga Health Foundation's educational programs to bring yoga and health education into schools and Autism Speaks.

9:00am Festival Opening Ceremony
11:00am Global Mala Yoga for Peace Registration
12:00pm Welcome with Johannes R. Fisslinger
~ Yoga Groove Dance Performance
~ Music with Travis Eliot
~ Yoga for Kids and Youth with Leah Kalish
12:30pm Yoga and Wellness with Mariel Hemingway
~ 18 Sun Salutations with Mark Blanchard
~ 18 Sun Salutations with Kia Miller
~ Music with Tony Khalife
1:30pm 18 Sun Salutations with Beth Shaw
~ 18 Sun Salutations with Sara Ivanhoe
~ Kirtan Music with Govindas & Radha
2:30pm 18 Sun Salutations with Hala Khouri
~ 18 Sun Salutations with Saul David Raye
~ Kirtan Music with Zat Baraka
3:00pm Meditation with Saul David Raye
~ Bowls during Meditation with Michael Perricone
3:30pm Ecstatic Dance Celebration with Hemalayaa
4:00pm Closing Ceremony

** - join the yoga gives back team at the global mala as they do the 108 to raise funds for microfinance in india -- all team members will receive a limited edition YGB t-shirt! email yogagivesback@earthlink.net for more information.

9:00am Festival Opening Ceremony
Yoga classes held throughout the day
7:00pm Festival Closing Ceremony

Silent Auction 11-5pm: Bid on amazing trips, art, products or services. All benefiting charity.
* 7 Day Samasati Nature Retreat Costa Rica - value $ 1,500
* Nutone Artist CD Package - value $ 140
* Adventure Yoga Retreats Mammoth Yoga Ski Vacation - value $ 650
* Beautiful Mandala Painting - value $ 750
* 10 Shakti Mat - value $ 80 each
* and many others

Exhibits: Over 50 Yoga, Health and Wellness Exhibitors, including
LA YOGA, YOGAMATES.COM, LUCY, YOGAFIT, JADE YOGA, SHAKTI MAT, Centered Meditation, TrueBloom, Mani Mantra Mala, Zico Coco Water, EnerChi, Yoga Groove Studio, Autism Speaks, Energetic Solutions, Heaven 2 World / Ki Energy, Positive Thought Brand, Saturn3Lightflyers, Yogaworks, Be Present, Samasati Retreats Costa Rica, Nutone, Manduka, Hawaiian Spring Water, American Laser Centers, Adventure Yoga Retreats, Mandala.com / Paul Heussenstamm, Brahma Kumaris, Uganda Mala Beads, Off The Mat, Into the World, Yogi Ramesh, Omstream, LMU Extension/Yoga Studies, Lululemon, Sean O'Shea Foundation, Exhale Spa, Harmony Yoga Center, Tani Media Factory, Inc.

Kids Area: Kids yoga classes, crafts, magicians and lots of fun activities for the whole family. Special needs classes will be available.
Presented by Jules Hogan and friends from Updog DownDog Yoga

Exclusive Yoga Month Gift Bag: Donate $20 or more to receive the exclusive Yoga Month Gift Bag with books, DVDs, CDs and other yoga, health and beauty products, as well as preferred mat space in front of the stage.

another nationwide observance this month is the yoga aid challenge on the weekend of september 12th-13th. the challenge is to do 108 sun salutations to raise funds for charities such as amma, africa yoga project, foundation for women, india heritage research foundation, and 4 oneworld. here in the los angeles area, the challenge will be held at the bhakti fest in joshua tree on sunday, the 13th. that's 108 sun salutations after three days of yoga and chanting in the desert. talk about commitment!

so now that everyone's had a chance to plan for this big event, here's a quick listing of who's doing what and when this month:

Bhakti Fest, Joshua Tree
Sunday, September 13th 5:30pm - 7:30 pm

We are so pleased to be holding the Yoga Aid Challenge at the Bhakti Festival this year. The Yoga Aid Challenge event will be held as the concluding Yoga event at the festival.
The event will last for 2 hours and will be an all-star Bhakti Practice with Mark Whitwell, Saul David Raye, Suzanne Sterling, Sara Ivanhoe, Joan White, Rainbeau Mars, Kia Miller, MC Yogi, Govindas & Radha, Ally Hamilton, Kristin Olson, Marjan Jai Ran, Ishwari Jay and Masood Ali Khan, and many others.
100% of the proceeds benefit the charity of your choice. We ask that you raise $108 minimum before arriving at Bhakti Fest.

Awareness Center, Pasadena
FOR NEW STUDENTS attending their first class between the dates: Sept. 14th – Sept 19th
Wahe Guru will donate the proceeds of her class on Sept. 20th at 9:30am to the Global Mala Project. We are participating for the first time in an LA community project that benefits Yoga Health Foundation and Autism Speaks.

Global Mala Project Kundalini Class with Wahe Guru Kaur
Sun. Sept. 20th, 9:30 - 11:00pm
$15 or Dharma Tribe Pass

Proceeds of the class will go to the Global Mala Project, a world wide service organization. Bring your friends and family to this worthy event!

Inner Harmony Yoga, San Pedro
Mala for a Cause - Point Fermin Park
Sunday, September 20th 9:30am
... a mala is 108 opportunities to express your love...
Participants will obtain sponsors and complete rounds of yoga sun salutations for charity.
Sponsor a participant and/or join us to manifest Good Karma!

Rising Lotus Yoga, Sherman Oaks
Kirtan Mala with Daniel & Sarah for the Global Mala Peace Project
Saturday, September 19th 6:00-10:00pm (Mala begins at 6:00, Kirtan begins at 8:00)
Donation $15 for the mala or the kirtan alone, $25 for both

Join Daniel & Sarah in a Mala of 54 Sun Salutes followed by a joyous Kirtan in support of the Global Mala Project, Yoga Month & the UN International Peace Day. All proceeds go to charities that support Children here and around the world.
The Mala is limited to 35 people, the Kirtan will be open to many more! Join us for the Sun Salutations alone. Join us for the Kirtan alone. Spend the evening with and join us for to BOTH!
Join us to take our yoga off the mat and into the community for change!
This event was a huge success last year and the asana Mala will sell out quickly. Don't wait to reserve your space.

Yoga at the Village, Glendale
108 Malas: SURYA NAMASKAR (Sun Salutation) with Maya Gingery, RYT
Saturday, September 19, 2009 1:00 - 4:00pm
Suggested Donation $10 -$15

Yoga-At-The-Village will host 108 Malas, a special Yoga Month event. The 108 Malas is a guided practice of Surya Namaskar (Sun SalutationS) in 4 periods of 27 complete cycles. With musical accompaniment and an atmosphere of community and commitment, we will offer our practice as a prayer to enhance all aspects of our humanity.
Space is limited! Pre-registration is strongly suggested. Please call the studio to reserve your space: 818-265-9833

Yoga Blend, Burbank
TRIBAL BLEND with Christy Marsden
Friday, September 18th 8:15pm - 10:00pm
$15 suggested donation

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charities selected by Yoga Month
Inspired by the teachings of Shiva Rea's Yoga Trance Dance, this is a guided blend of yoga, dance, chanting, drumming, hooping 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!

FALL EQUINOX with Bekah Finch
Saturday, September 19th 2:00pm - 4:00pm
$15 suggested donation

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charities selected by Yoga Month
It is time again to honor the changing seasons and bring balance back to our days. Fall is a time of harvest, gratitude, evaluation and celebration. What do you want to honor? What do you want to release? Where have you been doing too much and where have you been doing not enough?Through sacred circle, yoga, meditation and creation we will welcome the Autumn and bring balance to our bodies, minds, emotions and spirit.

Yogaco, Santa Monica
108 Sun Salutations - in celebration of Global Mala and National Yoga Month, hosted by YogaCo and Lululemon
When: Saturday, September 19th, 2009 @ 10am on 3rd St. in Santa Monica
Where: On the Promenade...meet in front of YogaCo - 1408 3rd Street Promenade
Be led through 108 Sun Salutations by
~ Kathryn Budig
~ Jay Co
~ Alexandria Crow
~ Tamal Dodge
~ Athena Engleman
~ Eden Goldman
~ Terra Gold
~ Michelle Goldstein
~ Grant Gottfurcht
~ Rudy Mettia
~ Kelsey Oldershaw
~ Stephanie Phelan
Bring a Mat, Water and your Spirit!!!

Yogaglo, Santa Monica
108 Sun Salutations to benefit Yoga Aid and Global Mala
Friday, September 4th 5:00-7:00pm
Cost to attend at Yogaglo: donation, any amount is acceptable

Join us for 108 Sun Salutations at Yogaglo with a very special group of teachers who will lead us, each with their unique way, on this ancient, purifying journey of offering ourselves for the benefit of others: Kia Miller, Annie Carpenter, Ally Hamilton, Julian Walker, Tommy Rosen, Mark Blanchard, Joan Hyman
The class will then be available on yogaglo.com for $4.99 on September 5th. Download it and keep it, do all 108 Sun Salutations at once or in segments. Profits from the download will go to Yoga Aid and Global Mala.

Yoga Loft, Manhattan Beach
In honor of National Yoga Month, all classes are FREE for NEW STUDENTS ONLY on Sunday, September 20th. Invite a friend!

i'm sure there are others that i'll come across during the course of the month; i'll add them to this list as i find them...