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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!

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