Archive for July, 2009

Day 15 Seattle-Samadhi Yoga-Steve Davis

Samadhi Yoga

Samadhi Yoga

 

Ever since our arrival, Master Teachers have been singin’ praises for Samadhi Yoga, founder Kathleen Hunt and all Samadhis’ top notch instructors who have been the spring board for several of the Seattle greats. Our final day in this epic center of yoga, takes us to this revered Seattle studio identified by just a small “OM” sign in an old commercial building in Capitol Hill.

Main Studio

Main Studio

Entering this enormous yogi sanctuary filled with spiritual books, kirtan CD’s, spacious old wood floored studios, well used cubbies stuffed with stuff, and a special spot for “family” to hang their mats, the YoYos felt comfortable, easy and calm…and that was even before beginning our “Move, Breathe and Meditate” class with Steve Davis, ex- U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer turned inspirational Yogi.

Steve Davis with Hang Drum

Steve Davis with Hang Drum

This totally unique experience began by Steve melodically playing the Hang, a Swiss made, steel drum kinda instrument that exuded ethereal harmonic tones. Movin’ into rapid heat-buildin’ asana and forever held poses, this one-of-a-kind sequence magically released our YoYo mind and bodies as the energy started flowin’ every which way. And so it was…as this exceptional experience became a yin yang adventure of sweatin’ fiery movement, sah weet stretches, and “oh dear God” butt burners. Steve led pranayama exercises that left the poor YoYos no choice but to feel “high” before falling into much anticipated Meditation. When time for final savasana, the YoYos just sank as this introspective teacher waved an unfamiliar scent over the relaxed faces of the yogis and once again played the Hang as the mystical rhythm took us deeper still.

“Transformed by the Magic of Yoga”, The YoYos experienced the mission of Samadhi Yoga down to their yogi toes as we left floatin’, knowin’ only a few hours of daylight were left before hittin’ the road. We scooted over to Lincoln Park in West Seattle to discover our final hidden treasure of our Northern Most Epic Adventure.

Yo Yo Yogiman can't resist soft serve

Yo Yo Yogiman can't resist soft serve

Yo Yo Yogini in Lincoln Park

Yo Yo Yogini in Lincoln Park

Picking’ up the Ru, the wise, kind, old beggin’ to go beachin’ cocker spaniel, we hit PCC, grabbed a Kombucha (stuff gets addicting) and off we went to the zillion acre park; running through the amazing forest covered with ferns, mondo trees, giant flowers, happy people and silly yogis posin’ in the park. Finding the trail leadin’ to the beach our eyes popped open to find a regular nostalgic oasis of boardwalkin’ happy people: sun-bathin’, roller-skatin’, pool-swimmin’ and lickin’ the best  butter pecan soft serve on the planet from Cowboy Ice Cream. A day at the beach hadn’t been like this in years- and the YoYos were happy!

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Day 16 Portland-One Song Yoga-Denise Payne

The children woke up and they couldn’t find them.
They left before the sun came up that day…..
(C’mon….everybody sing now …..)
…..where were they going without ever knowing the way?

 

Leavin' Seattle

Yo Portland!

 
Alligator tears waterfallin’ down the face of our younger daughter every time this classic ‘98 exit song played, fearin’ that her “never leave the kid out of their sight for a minute” parents, would pack it up, and disappear in the middle of the night.  But, that was then…

and this is NOW!…the YoYos actually did leave in the middle in the night to beat the Seattle sunrise- and “Away We Go”, as we continue our epic journey hittin’ 100 studios in 100 days and headed south to the Yoga Holy Land- Portland, Oregon, a virtual magnet for yogis near and far.

 

Denise Payne

Denise Payne

All wound up after our most excellent Kombucha filled road trip, we headed over to One Song Yoga, a killer expansion of Yoga Bhoga to kick off our Portland Yoga Studio Tour! Circling a few dozen times, we finally found this hidden ultra cool studio located in a converted warehouse turned “you got to be kidding me” hip urban yoga loft in a “up and comin’” SE area next to the Willamette River, railroad tracks (yoyoyogi man loves the sound of those trains), a packed to capacity trendy restaurant and artsy businesses.  We walked up the steel stairway to the 2nd floor, elated to find exposed brick walls, deep rich colors, magnificent beamed ceilings and the super-cool, super-fun, super-“God, I’m glad we came here”- owner, Denise Payne. 

Flyin' Denise

Flyin' Denise

We found our space on the expansive floor as friendly yogis just chatted away, makin’ us feel like one of the gang. We knew from the first “OM” that this spirited group was at the same time super accomplished and super accepting.  Denise asked the YoYos at the get-go, if we were comfortable with inversions- we are actually, perfectly comfortable, it’s just doing them that seems to get in the way, but the YoYos love a challenge and we loved even more the way Denise masterfully led her Classic Hatha Class with an amazing variety of diverse and unusual asanas that challenged our mind, strength and balance.   Joyfully, she encouraged all levels to accept what worked for them while expanding deeper and deeper, at times ending with anti gravity asanas for the yogis in this class that were- well, we know this isn’t very yogi-like, but … super impressive!  This class was fun/tough, fun/tough, fun- so fun in fact that after class, the yogis didn’t want to leave, so they just sat on the steps, hung out and …chatted away!

 

 

 


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Day 17 Portland-Yoga Shala-Tracy Vogel

Researchin’, surfin’ and just plain askin’ our fellow bandana wearin’ brethren to point us in the right direction, always gets us straight to the “not to miss” yoga studios on the west coast.  Today, we were lovin’ the guiding words…”Hey YoYo’s… if you miss Yoga Shala…you’ll miss yoga in Portland.”

North Williams Street

North Williams Street

 

Located in outer Mississippi, or was that outer Alabama, or was that just north of south…seems the folks in this ‘hood have a slight identity crisis on what to call this area… so much so, they are actually holding a clever name contest for the strip of land that claims hip restaurants, coffee houses, small cafes and one-of- a-kind; toy, cooking and design stores.  This surprising block in the NE area looks like an old warehouse with an ancient loading dock turned deck that opens to the sun. In the midst, shining like a beacon, sits Yoga Shala.  

Shiva Studio

Yoga Shala

Antique, turned cutting-edge, glass garage doors open to expose the entire 1st floor of this unique studio where everything yogi awaited. The YoYos were blown away to see stairs leading to a 2nd floor open loft with; not one…not two… but three….killer studios. The “omg” ceiling was super giant rounded wood; the walls…a kaleidoscope of Portland urban and the offerings were off the charts!

World-Class Kirtan

World-Class Kirtan

Pranayama series in one room, a plethora of immersion classes from talented instructors in the other, and Kirtan performances in the mother of all rooms with walls that open to seat 250…yep, 250, are common in this Center for Yoga which regularly hosts coveted performances and workshops from renowned artists and yoga greats.  

Located in outer –wherever, Yoga Shala NE is the expanded creation of owner Jodi Kurilla with the ever-popular original Yoga Shala remaining in the SE.   Tonight, slowin’ things way down, the YoYos basked in an easy to follow,  beginning class from Tracy Vogel, manager of this yoga nucleus to see just how this super successful studio kick-starts its community of loyal yogis.

First Thursday in the Pearl

First Thursday in the Pearl

Feeling a “bolt from the blue” after our astounding yogic discovery, the YoYos headed over to  First Thursday, held on …you guessed it…. the first Thursday of every month in the Pearl District throughout the summer, to witness first hand how yogis on a budget do P-Town right.  Free people-watchin’, free “up-scale” art studios openin’, free food eatin’ and free wine drinkin’.  Booths from Portland’s talented, creative artists and music on the streets from next weeks superstars while zillions of people come to have “hot” fun in the summertime….  Portland…you got it goin’ on!

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Day 18 Portland-CPY NW-James Grant

Studious RU

Studious RU

Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts District

Today was the day The Ru; the wise, kind, old, “soon to be published” grandfather cocker spaniel had been waitin’ for since bein’ stuffed in the YoYo mobile and forced to explore parts unknown to begin this epic adventure. So happy was author Ru, that “Down Dogisms” was to be made available in “About Us” in the YoYoYogi blog that we celebrated by goin’ to that ‘hood great writers had gone before…The Alberta Arts District. Here, he could gather fodder for his plagiarized reflections. Swaggering Ru, felt at “one” with this avant-garde community of coffee houses, old-school barber shops, toy stores, head shops, rib pits, stores made out of tin and wine stores sellin’ zin. A day of relaxin’, was just what the 3 of needed… knowin’ a most welcome treat and thorough butt-kickin’ was waitin’ for us on the other side of town.

James Grant

James Grant

Now, Every roadtrippin’ yogi needs a place to call h“OM”e and when the YoYo’s feel the need for speed, it’s all about Portland’s, “turn up the volume” yoga…CorePower Yoga-NW! Vigorous and humblin’, these “power-worshippin’” yogis love this potent, super-sweaty, swarmin’ room with killer music, monster humidifiers, and ever-changin’ inspired flows. It was here, in this addicted yoga community that the YoYos first laid eyes on James Grant… doin’ some kinda something while standin’ on what appeared to be one finger with legs flyin’ ever which way. Now, we’d had been hangin’ with yoga for years, but never had we seen anything like this… and to think, today, the courageous YoYos were to challenge themselves beyond previous capacity at this accomplished teacher’s, 90 minute- 100 degree Core 3 class.

Startin’ slowly and quickly pickin’ up the dramatic pace, this artistic guide kept our minds busy while leadin’ our bodies in hot pursuit of that continually expandin’ edge throughout this inspired, inventive and super-original flow. Blarin’ tunes that rocked our world and messages that melted our hearts, this innovative leader reiterated our unwaverin’ belief that there IS… No Place like h”om”e.

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Day 19 Portland-The Yoga Space-Michele Loew

The Yoga Space

The Yoga Space

To get that deep, opening flow goin’, all a YoYo really needs is a big old space to throw down a mat, a super-focused teacher, and an awesome community of “chill” yogis…Today, we found exactly that in SE Portland, behind a white corner storefront with a small sandwich sign aptly announcing, “The Yoga Space”.   A better name in the entire world couldn’t be found for this unassuming spot that was custom made for “soul” Yoga. 

No fanfare, no frills…no butt liftin’, tummy suckin’, cleavage enhancin’ yoga wear at this “it’s all about the yoga” studio.  Nope, this unique space with 100 year old floors, huge windows and “no worries” attitude keeps it simple, allowing owner and teacher extraordinaire Michele Lowe, to continue on a path of world-wide learning so she can bring it back to her well established and growing community of loyal yogis. 

Spot-on, the YoYos were lovin’ Michele’s unique ability to expertly adjust every body and every asana for everyone in this full, “even on the 4th of July”, class making the all-levels Vinyasa Flow easy to follow for the newbie or “born in headstand” yogi.  No wonder the tight-knit community at Yoga Space keeps comin’ back for MORE and more, especially on Tuesday and Thursday night when The Yoga Space serves up a $5 Happy Hour Class… Now, that’s a yogi style deal! 

Walkin’ out the door, we realized …it was goin’ to be a scorcher here in P-Town…
Burnin’ Blues…Blazin’ Fireworks… Sizzlin’ Fare
So…off we headed to the Waterfront, for a little 4th of July action….Portland Style!

Waterfront Blues Festival

Waterfront Blues Festival

4th Of July Fireworks

4th Of July Fireworks

Yo! The YoYos haven’t seen a crowd like this since Obama’s innaguration… Food from everywhere on Planet Earth, sounds from Blues Superstars, people watchin’ that will end all future people watchin’ and the most excellent Fiery Party in the Sky… and to think… this is all about this community givin’ back to the Oregon Food Bank.  The Annual  Safeway Water Front Blues Festival- fund raiser/party is the biggest of the year and that’s sayin’ something for a lively city that’s all about micro-brews, happy hours, and supporting those in need.

Could it be that we are goin’ on Capt’n Jason’s lil sailboat to watch the fireworks on the water? Of all the places in all the world, there is nowhere the YoYos would rather be than in Portland tonight!

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Day 20 Portland-OmBase-Todd Williamson

OmBase Studio

OmBase Studio

As we stepped our yogi toes inside the walls of Hillsdale’s sensory yoga experience, OmBase, we knew our two hour, donation based BLIS class had already begun.  Welcomed into the newly opened visceral space that seem to breathe from the energy that created it, we melted into the imagination of owners Todd Williamson and Vittoria Palazzi. Warm hickory floors, reclaimed timber from old-growth forest, massive beamed ceilings and a rainbow of color, grounded our yogi souls and made an inspiring visual backdrop for the imaginative artwork, light fixtures and stained glass created by the ultra-talented community of yogis lucky enough to call this soul enrichin’ studio…”OM”.

Todd & Vittoria

Todd & Vittoria

Feelin’ one of those peace-providin’ practices comin’ on… The YoYos just “let go” as Todd, our experienced guide began his, “pretty sure this is about as blissed out as we’ve ever been” mediation with soothing words and soft rhythm that made thirty minutes fly by in a flash. He then slowly warmed up the body and mind for original, artistically inspired poses done with a strap laced through a secured recessed bar that opened our shoulders, hips and hearts, challenging the YoYos to trust their intuitive leader, and themselves. This day…the YoYos were feelin’ the BLIS!

Cannon Beach on a Sunny Day

Sun-Shinnin' - Day Cannon Beach

Floatin’ out of the studio…we heard the ocean callin’ as we set off on a most excellent adventure at the jaw-droppin’, Canon Beach; land of endless stretches of white sand, Gi-normous rocks jutting out of the everlastingly sea, historic beach cottages, runners, walkers, bikers, and shiny happy people holdin’ hands.

Hurricane wind blowin,’ Ru’s furry feet flyin’, the freezin’ tank top wearin’ YoYo’s were goin’ to have a gritty good time on the beach today!  Wrapped in a wet blanket with the full grown YoYo child and the Ru (the wise, kind old grandfather- even he’s freezing with fur) cocker spaniel; here we all were, havin’ a super-fun picnic at the shore.  Munchin’ on our most disgustin’ sand laden lunch proudly packed by the “not too good in the kitchen” YoYoMan, we counted our blessings as the blowing sand pitted our smilin’ faces letting us know we were alive…and it was good!

 


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Day 21 Portland-Yoga Union-Todd & Annie

Annie and Todd

Annie and Todd

An undeniable by-product of takin’ a most excellent adventure to 100 yoga studios in 100 days is growin’ as ya go…and so it was at our two hour “Freestyle Flow” class as the YoYos not only opened their hips,  but opened their minds under the guiding eyes of Todd Vogt and Annie Adamson, owners of Yoga Union.  This talented team of super-cool, super-hip yogis has created a joyful yoga community offering its SE neighborhood a perfect space to practice “off the charts” yoga.

Hunuman - The Monkey God

Hunuman - The Monkey God

These “in sync” partners began their distinctive class in a BIG circle, so warm and welcoming that the YoYos felt like breakin’ into a rousin’ rendition of Kumbaya. Instead, this imaginative teaching team chose to lead a beautiful chant – as Annie followed by telling a most eye-widening tale about Hanuman-the Monkey God, renown for his courage, power and faithful selfless service. Cleverly, she continued to drip this mischievous story throughout the class, timed perfectly just as the mind started that “O dear God!” dialogue – which there were plenty of, in this powerfully potent and exciting practice. 

Yoga Union

Yoga Union

Just smilin’away, our engaging duo explained (or warned -depending on your POV) that the focus of today’s class, was hanumanasana (named after the Monkey God-they are clever), commonly known as the dreaded SPLITS.  The YoYos, not exactly excited about workin’ their crotch to the floor, allowed themselves to just breathe as our gifted team masterfully led the class; sequentially opening every piece of connective tissue, muscle and bone. First one engaging teacher leading while the other adjusted and then the other, back and forth, ensuring every yogi in this totally focused class was personally guided to their perfect asana. Slow, specific instruction and easy to follow teensy-weensy adjustments… made this class a power house…and a whole lotta fun!  Light hearted and lots ‘o laughs; serious openings were created as this dynamic duo worked their magic.  The YoYos love these two and the personal attention they gave to every yogi in this, “learning so much… can I sign up?… can’t wait to come back”, class.

Ravenous Yo Yos at Papa G's

Ravenous Yo Yos at Papa G's

So hungry after our most excellent Yoga Union- yogic adventure, we made a mature decision to breathe rather than eat the upholstery off the car seats.  Feelin’ kin to the Donner Party, we dashed over to Papa G’s, a quintessential P-Town, organic, vegan, “grown from local farms” deli. Decisions…Decisions – will it be the outrageous organic salad bar, a “from another planet good”- hot entree, or something on the menu of endless sandwiches??? At this point, one of everything will do. We met up with the YoYo’s “always up for free lunch and good laughs” full grown child (aka YoYoBarbie)…and ate everything that didn’t eat us…and it was GOOD!

 

  

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Day 22 Portland-Amrita-Sarajoy Marsh

Sarahjoy Marsh

Sarahjoy Marsh

So why does every bloggin’, face-bookin,’ tweetin’ yogi in existence keep tellin’ the YoYo’s  to just throw down that manduka with Sarahjoy Marsh at amrita: a sanctuary for yoga ; while in the land of bridges, beer, bicycles, tattoos and feelin’ good city-wide group hugs, Portland.  Floatin’ into this yogi haven in the early morn, we were about to solve this mysterious puzzle…

Smooth and easy, Sarahjoy slowly began her Anusara 3 class, sharin’ her mat with her  “cute as a button, monkey toy chewin’” pup, who was bent on skippin’ this stimulating, spiritual, philosophical, deeply felt inverted practice and get right to savasana.  Seems Paquito was accustom to feelin’ the mellow vibes of his trusted companion, the soothing energy from this welcoming clan of yogis and the calming effect created by this mind-expandin’, hand standin’ heart-openin’ joyful practice.  The YoYos growin’, learnin’ and enjoyin’ every minute spent with this “wealth of knowledge” teacher, were about to find out…this was only the beginning…

Living Yoga

Living Yoga

Living her yoga, on and off the mat; this accomplished yogi, spiritual teacher and sought-after trainer founded, “Living Yoga,” a P-Town based program bringin’ yoga to people who would otherwise never know its peace-producin’ benefits. Just 10 years ago, Sarahjoy began livin’ her karma yoga by teachin’ two classes per week at a minimal detention center.  She was inspired…and inspiring, as more teachers joined her quest to expand yoga to those living in personal prisons or behind prison walls.  Steady and strong, this amazing vision grew, received its non profit 501(C) (3) status and now serves 10,000 hours of yoga each year to people in real need!  The “soul full” eyes of Jim, a volunteer yoga teacher at a maximum security prison, tells the story of this caring man who understands with his heart, that it is possible that anyone with one bad decision made, could end up in the same position as the people he dedicates his time to.  Shyly, he admits this program feeds his soul. A committed community willing to “Invest in the Human Spirit” forges this amazing program forward.  Living Yoga is alive in this beautiful sanctuary!

YO!!!  The YoYos now get to join the party with the, bloggin,’ facebookin,’ tweetin’ yogi geeks of the world…PUZZLE SOLVED!…amrita: a sanctuary for yoga is extraordinary!

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Day 23 Portland-CPY SE-Jill Allen

CorePower Yoga SE Portland

CorePower Yoga SE Portland

Havin’ experienced a most outrageous butt-kickin’ at CorePowerYoga NW, the masochistic YoYos decided to travel across P-town to check out the latest, greatest creation of this national powerhouse. Enterin’ CorePowerYoga’s SE location, we found CPY’s  signature urban hip space; filled with friendly yogis chattin’, comfy couches for hangin’, spa-like dressin’ rooms for chillin’ and outrageous yogi wear for stylin’ while takin’ some of the most rockin’ yoga classes on the planet.

Jill Allen

Jill Allen

Findin’ our way inside the sparklin’, sun drenched space; we found our 2×6 next to the dazzlin’ wall of windows and breathed deeply while waitin’ for this innovative studio’s premiere teacher, Jill (ie) Allen, a sweet, killer red-head with a gentle demeanor – at least for the first few minutes. Her filled to capacity class of faithful followin’ “love to power it up” yogis began with a “come onto your mat- and into your body warm-up” that soon lead to a, “you gotta be kiddin’ me- this is kickin’ our butt”, unique flow that made the YoYos wonder how they could be totally wrung out, and beggin’ for more. This girl mixed it up and kept the YoYos on their toes… feet, heads and hands as we envisioned Jill spending days, hours and weeks in creation of those perfectly sequenced asanas. Consistently, she tested the commitment, strength and balance of her super – experienced students, as she guided those “up for a challenge newbie’s” right along with the pros. Her precise adjustments and spine-tingling foot massage in savasana clued the YoYos that Jill was a supreme massage therapist… You can be sure to find the YoYos blissin’ at Jill’s place, Just Breathe Oregon.

Wrung out, calmed down and lovin’ the world as we oozed out the door , we decided to do some YoYo roadtrippin’ research and check out not one, but many of the zillion happy hours that help make this electric city a YoYo fave!

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Day 24 Portland-Gudmestad-Hope Fyfield

A Brand New Day in Portland

A Brand New Day in Portland

Loudly singin’ the YoYo’s theme… “Turn the clock to zero, honey…Sell the stock; we’ll spend (what’s left after the downturn in the economy) money…STARTIN’ OF A BRAND NEW DAY…

We approached large block letters on the giant John’s Landing office reading “Gudmestad and Associates.” O.K.…we think we’re in the right place. Up the stairs we find a super spacious studio – one of three, and on the other side of the huge lobby…the impressive Gudmestad physical therapy offices.

Julie Gudmestad, owner of this east-meets west, balance producin’ community and author of Yoga Journal’s well-read column, “Anatomy of a Yogi”, unites western physical therapy with the healing energy of yoga. Currently away, sharing her vast knowledge of yoga’s therapeutic benefits and anatomy awareness, we were generously put in the capable hands of Physical Therapist and Yoga Instructor, Hope Fyfield.

Darn Near Perfect

Darn Near Perfect

Now, the misguided YoYo’s like to think they know a bit ‘bout alignin’ the bones.… but on this, brand new day, Hope changed that foolish belief, bringing fresh perspective to time-honored asanas. Good natured Hope just took all the time in the world to ensure that every vertebra, in every yogi in that room was well accounted for. Slow and strong, smooth and long … She got the YoYo’s thinkin’ in a brand new way …and thinkin’ they’ll be ‘bout the hips, tips and various other body parts that worked their little hearts out during that against the wall, “do it ‘till its darn-near perfect” positioning.

The Gudmestad Gang

The Gudmestad Gang

“Feelin straighter than a stick”, the 2” taller YoYos, understood they were in the presence of greatness and had to check out the impressive bios of all the other teachers at this one-of- a- kind, seriously relaxed, specialized studio. Would you believe these first rate Physical Therapist/Yoga Instructors are competitive cyclists, long distance runners and Olympic Nordic skiers? Although un yogi-like, this can make a YoYo start to feel a little “less than”.

Never done yoga before? Tri-athlete? Hurtin’? Pinnacle of Yogidom? The YoYos are pretty sure anyone can benefit from the super-body alignin’ instruction at this “Lucky for Portland” professional studio.

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