Archive for September, 2009

Day 64 Santa Barbara-RussaYog-Teresa Singh

RussaYog Yoga

RussaYog Yoga

Our last morning in Santa Barbara finds the curious YoYo’s in an eye-poppin’ playroom filled with vibrant colors, strange hangin’ ropes and peculiar padded bars.   RussaYog owners,  Jasprit and Teresa Singh, use this one-of-a-kind, happy space to teach their adventurous community and today, the slightly jittery  YoYo’s, this unique, mind-body- spirit , east meets west, strength buildin’ practice.

Teresa & Jasprit Singh

Teresa & Jasprit Singh

Growin’ up in India, Professor of physics, electrical engineering & computer science, Jasprit Singh, was inspired by his father who woke every day before dawn to chant, practice asana and engage in vigorous exercise.  Feelin’ lucky to witness the countless joys of mental and physical health beginning at a young age,  Jasprit incorporated  these formative lessons when he created this unique system and with wife Teresa, opened the first RussaYog studio in Michigan over 10 years ago.

RussaYog at the Beach

RussaYog at the Beach

Stretchin’ swayin’ and swingin’;  Teresa Singh, taught theses joyful YoYo’s how to use these hangin’ props in free-spirited ways that burnt every muscle in our YoYo bodies and allowed us to “fly” without fear.  Teresa’s gentle demeanor centered the courageous yogis before each unfamiliar move by encouragin’ us to close our daring eyes and visualize our bodies in the pose and just… let go, trusting ourselves… and, in those amazing  joyful, bendin’ , stretchin, super-strong (russa)ropes.

Imaginative, inspired, and artistic…this challenging practice was just plain cool!  The YoYo’s can’t wait to return to this enchanting beach town, dig our yogi toes into the sand and join the Saturday party of RussaYog’ers  on the beach, who use the several “pack it up and go” versions  of ropes and poles to practice with these innovative leaders.

Malibu Coast

Malibu Coast

Feelin’ strong and pretty much like we were ready for …whatever… we scooted down the coast through beach cities of the rich and famous…

Welcome to L.A…

HOME TO SWIMMIN’ POOLS

AND YOGI STARS…

The line –up of studios and teachers here, reads like a “who’s who” of Yoga Journal… Stay tuned fellow wanderlustin’ yogis… for our “most excellent” Southern California adventure.

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Day 65 LA-Yogaglo-Tara Judelle

Tara Judelle

Tara Judelle

First stop in L.A… Yogaglo, where the skeptical YoYos spotted a sign that read…”Monthly Yoga-$18”.  Really?  The YoYos knew that’d be the price of admission to take just one “e-ticket” ride with our “Seattle to San Francisco” recommended Anusara teacher, Tara Judelle, or any of the other “super star” instructors at this pioneering studio.  So what’s the catch??? Would unsuspecting yogis have to wash mirrors and clean toilets for all eternity?

Class with Tara at Yogaglo

Class with Tara at Yogaglo

Closely examining this chic, pure white, vast studio soundstage, we discovered hidden cameras and small tape marks on the floor where yogis in this innovative space were to lay their mats. Welcome to L.A!  The “not dressed for success” YoYos quickly found a front and center space to throw down the Mandukas to shy from the cameras that were filming from the back.  Bummer, if YoYoYogini would have known her backside would be smilin’ to the camera, she would have been sportin’ her new butt liftin’, thigh squeezin’, leg- lengthenin’ Hatha Power Pant from Lucy.

Derik Mills

Derik Mills

Seems recently opened Yogaglo(bal) is the brainchild of Derik Mills, a regular genius of a yogi who has pioneered a way to bring “off the charts” yoga into living rooms across the globe, by streamin’ diverse HD classes onto computers or flat screens takin’ away the age old snag of time and money.  But, here’s where this ground breakin’ idea explodes…yogi members on a budget, the international set and road trippers alike are invited to attend the plethora of  classes offered at this stylin’ space at no additional charge.  Cool!

Tara loves those Hip Openers

Tara loves those Hip Openers

Tara, our tale tellin’ teacher, entertained our class as she opened with a story about her “glo”in’ sister who had endured four days of natural child birthin’ labor while goin’ through intense contraction and powerful expansion with bouts of joy and saltiness.  HMMMM…sounded like the YoYo’s in Tara’s class.   This skilled instructor continually returned to this seemingly humorous recount of her sisters “breathin’ through it” exercise, while joyfully introducing challenging and unfamiliar asana, a killer balancin’ sequence, and “birthin’ babies” hip and thigh openers as she comically kicked our ass.

The YoYo’s love the “off the charts” quality of this teacher and  groundbreakin’ studio who’s truly bringing yoga to everyone…even the roadtrippin’ YoYo’s, who can now just fire up the MAC and Yogaglo anywhere… on this most excellent adventure!

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Day 66 LA-Yogaworks-Vinnie Marino

“All I want to do is have a little fun before I die”, said the yogi next to us…out of nowhere…

This Ain't No Country Club... It's LA

This Ain't No Country Club... It's LA

… and the YoYos were pretty sure that every other yogi in L.A. had the same idea as they clamored en masse to locate a meagar 2’x6’ to experience the famous ,“turn up the volume” class, from  rock star teacher, Vinnie Marino.

Vinnie Marino

Vinnie Marino

Welcomed by super-smilin’ faces into the unpretentious lobby of legendary Santa Monica studio, Yoga Works Main, the YoYos were admittedly impressed by the jaw-droppin’ line-up of teachers who are irrefutably some of the most recognized in the country. Tonight’s class with Vinnie, the renowned “wicked, butt-kicker to the stars, rocker”, had the YoYos all wound up…after all, we were in L.A… and we too, just wanted to have a little fun….

Butt to Butt, Another Packed Vinnie Class

Mat to Mat - Packed Vinnie Class

We felt our temperature rise and sweat pour as Vinnie opened with energetic Sun Salutations, a mere pre-cursor to the next 1 ½ hours of power that was a most eye-openin’ introduction to 2-3 Flow- L.A. style.   Vinnie’s killer eclectic soundtrack and quirky wit intermittently amped up its volume, and our YoYo’s energy, at the precise moment we internally cried out for that extra jolt that allowed us to hang with this multifaceted, dynamic flow. Shoulder touchin’ shoulder and front touchin’ rear with fellow strappin’ yogis; we loved the pulsating energy and the depth of each asana that this exciting teacher created throughout every inch of our, “pushin’ it to our expandin’ edge”, YoYo bodies.

Swimin’ out the door, the YoYo’s were unyogi-like proud of ourselves, observing we actually didn’t die at all. In fact, we vibrantly interrupted each other with a total “minute by minute” recount of every worked out body part  that had been stretched and strengthened  to its max and seemingly beyond.  Excited YoYos were we to know we’d be comin’ back… time and time again, to Vinnie’s absolutely “not to miss”, super class… just to have a little fun!

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Day 67 LA-Exhale-Seane Corn

Seane Corn

Seane Corn

All amped up with anticipation, we entered the illustrious Santa Monica studio, EXHALE, where dramatic artwork of the “Superstars of Yoga” that teach in this celebrated space, are lined along its famous walls. Immediately, we recognized the stunning, poster sized photo of Seane Corn, who inspired the YoYos in our “worn out and replaced 3 times” beloved collection of Bryan Kest Power Yoga Series as the super-strong, “white leotard-ed”, beautiful bendy student.  Excited were we, that tonight, live and in person, we were to take class from that “front and center” yogini, turned world renowned instructor/activist, in this vibrant L.A. studio.

Seane serves up individual attention

Seane serves up individual attention

Tryin’ to be chill when Seane entered, lookin’ absolutely identical to the way she did in those mid 90’s tapes (sans the white leotard); the YoYo’s somehow easily relaxed during the commencing total body integration.  We couldn’t help but once again be inspired by this skilled, eagle-eyed teacher who immediately scoped out the packed class and built our amazing practice based on the needs of this individual clan.  Seems tonight’s band of yogis started with tight little “hammies” that Seane wasn’t goin’ to let us leave with. As she worked us through every spiral imaginable in those stretched to capacity legs, the YoYo’s were pretty sure; we might walk out of this class, 2” taller with hanumanasana (crotch on floor splits) as part of our daily practice.  Seane beautifully built this sequence, step by step, preppin’ each muscle for the next more advanced move, making the surprising abilities of our own YoYo legs, unrecognizable.   The YoYo’s loved the way this giving teacher freely offered her endless experienced mental and physical adjustments to every well cared for yogi in this supported space.

Off The Mat Into The World

Off The Mat Into The World

Seems the studio is only the beginning to Seane’s generosity as she has taken her yoga “off the mat” to work with Annie Lennox’s SING Project to bring awareness to AIDS in Africa, Ashley Judd to fight YouthAIDS in India and most recently, teemed with Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling to start a remarkable organization.  Recently launched, “Off the Mat Into the World” offers in-depth workshops for searchin’ yogis to help them discover their unique purpose and inspire them to use their special gifts to give back to their local or global communities.  What a stellar concept from this… most inspirin’ teacher!

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Day 68 LA-Exhale-Saul David Raye

Saul David Reye

Saul David Raye

After experiencin’ our spirited, “Welcome to L.A”, yoga over the past few days, the achin’ YoYos were euphorically visualizin’ the magical healin’ energy of tonight’s class with, Saul David Raye, one of the Western hemisphere’s leading forces in yoga instruction and Thai massage.  Meeting this captivating yogi at the high-flyin’ EXHALE studio in Santa Monica before class, the YoYo’s felt a genuine peaceful vibe just radiatin’ off this spiritual teacher who began meditating as a teen, spent a year in a Buddhist Monastery and years training in both Asia and India.

Our grateful YoYo bodies couldn’t believe our God given destiny as this intuitive teacher had us begin this insightful class by lying on our back, reconnecting to the earth… the source.   In all the world, there was no place the YoYos would rather have been than stretched out on that comfy bolster listenin’ to Saul’s soothing voice guide us into bliss…  lettin’ our “super-fried” muscles take a much needed rest.

Reconnecting to the Source

Reconnecting to the Source

Set to the inspiring’ “So much Magnificence” soundtrack of Steve Gold, Saul began just lettin’ us go, lettin’ us melt, and flow and feel and live every free movement that he loosely led allowin’ us liberated yogis to go with what the body needed, creatin’ the energy we wanted, and find the relaxation we were cravin’.  Freedom to feel the movement, without stress or strain, Saul encouraged us to back away from that critical point of forcin’; but rather allow ourselves to just melt into our bones, lettin’ the poses find their unique fit in our body. Feelin’ boundless and released from this uninhibited practice, Saul introduced the power of joy through, “a YoYo first,” yogi laughter meditation, followed by the sweetest savasana on planet earth.

Soaring after this spiritual, reflective, joyous, centered, connected class, the YoYos floated back to the sailboat where they were spendin’ most every minute when not in our “most excellent” L.A. yoga classes; watched the full moon, drank the fruit of the vine, felt the breeze and once again… connected with Mother Earth.

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Day 69 LA-Yogaworks-Annie Carpenter

Annie Carpenter

Annie Carpenter

In yoga studios from Settle to Santa Monica, some of our most excellent teachers have raved “big time” about international trainer, Annie Carpenter.  Seems yoga instructors near and far just can’t get enough of this “teacher to the teacher”, that amps up their juice.  After takin’ class from some of these talented yogis, we weren’t sure what they’d do with more “juice”, but we were excited to take class with this highly respected leader.

Amazing Yogini and Teacher

Amazing Yogini and Teacher

Our third trip to Santa Monica Yoga Works-Main; the comfortable surroundings, cool yogi stuff, big casual hang out space, tall wood ceilings, yogis everywhere; all felt  familiar and relaxed as we waited for the doors to open to the unpretentious studio.  Mat to mat with our friendly neighbors in this mid-mornin’ class; smilin’ Annie entered and illuminated this space with her easy glow and welcoming way.  Continuing with her comical and “oh so thorough” asana explanations, Annie helped these challenged YoYos, and  Annie’s class of loyal students through some seemingly forever “leg-shakin’” moments in this “class” of a class.

Annie opened a whole new view of familiar poses;  reachin’ and rotatin’ things here, there and everywhere; makin’ unfamiliar spaces come to life.… all the while… holdin’ that illustrious edge.  Grateful YoYo’s were we to experience that “juice” that lucky teachers/ yogis at this studio and at

Annie’s world-wide workshops get from this “Professor of Yoga”.

Catalyst

Headin' back to dock

Late afternoon, the wind came up and YoYoYogiman turned into “bad mood” man, because he loves sailboats as much as he loves yoga and we’ve not been able to take our swapped “home away  from home” out to sea.  Today is the day we take our temporary floating space out on the ocean for the first time ever. Out to sea we go… and the waves were ginormous… so, we just breathed deep and rode the big waves.  And the big huge waves that at one time looked scary- didn’t look so big…

Lots of lessons for one little day.

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Day 70 LA-AcroYoga-Lara & Sarah

The first time the YoYos saw a “base” and “flyer” was at a comical “performance” by our 2 young daughters, eons ago, as a “gift in motion”, for Mother’s Day.  Entertained by their gutsy flight set to Garth Brook’s inspirin’ soundtrack,  the YoYos still rank that rockin’,  shakin’ and fallin’ feat of bravery, up with the best present, ever.

Laura Catone and Sarah Vosen

Lara Catone and Sarah Vosen

After all these years, it’s “most amazing” to see where the magicians of yoga acrobatics have taken this stunnin’ art form, since its early attempts by the YoYo kids. Hardly recognizable, except for that one basic “base on bottom, flyin’ person on top” move, the YoYo’s have become enthralled by the evolved shifting strength and grace of these accomplished acro-yogis.  Excited were we, that we were invited by Lara Catone and Sarah Vosen; “yogi, acrobat, dancer, flyers”, to try this amazing style of partner yoga.  Arrivin’ early to AcroYoga, locted in The Shiatsu Massage School of California, we met our new “up close and personal” beginning, acro-yogi “community”, as our skilled guides opened class with enlightening  “trust” exercises.

Circle of Trust

Circle of Trust

Now, The YoYos had to admit, the “upside down with head between strangers legs”, pose and the bizarre  feelin’ that we might fall on our willing “base”; were just two of the unfamiliar “trust” obstacles that were makin’ us a little edgy.  But, the last 82 days has proven that WTH moments accompanied by breath, always proves to be an amazin’ calmer.  With a deep inhale, we ultimately relaxed and let these calm, “easy to understand” teachers, be our “most amazing” guides.

Lara & Sarah make it look easy

Lara & Sarah make it look easy

Over the next 3 hours, we discovered that as our experienced coaches broke down into baby steps, seemingly impossible moves, allowing the YoYo’s jittery self-talk to move out and replace its “ugly” head with high anticipation of an exciting new practice.  After learnin’  these stunnin’ AcroYoga  sequences incorporated doses of Thai massage to relax and stretch after a strength held move, the YoYos  fascination of this “giving and receiving” practice  spiked  to, the “we have to do this” level.

A far cry from the efforts of yesteryear, our strong, most graceful teachers, in closing, performed the 2009 version of what’s possible in AcroYoga.  Whoa, could the YoYokids  imagine the YoYos attemptin’ anything, even vaguely similar to that?  Looks like after this “most excellent” adventure…we might just find out.

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Day 72 LA-Exhale-Dave Romanelli

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Southern California….Ever since we arrived to be greeted by the persistent 72 and breezy, the YoYo’s have just been goin’ with the “Flow.”  We’ve been flowin’ deep, flowin’ slow and most definitely with power through some steamier flows of the most challengin’ variety.  Here, in Santa Monica, seemingly the hub of yoga in the western world, the “household names” of yoga superstars convene to bring their special style and dynamic methods to this trendsetting, eternally hip, quintessential beach community. Today we return to EXHALE, where the YoYos are excitedly scheduled to return, time and time again, to take coveted classes from this select group.

Livin' in the Moment

Livin' in the Moment

As we pull ourselves off Main Street where the distracted YoYo’s got caught up in miles of enticin’  global boutiques, organic/raw/vegan groceries, jam-packed outdoor cafes and enough coffee houses to keep us flowin’ till doomsday,  we finally enter the vast, inviting EXHALE lobby.  Checkin’ out the super-hot yogi-gear, CD’s, and “must have”  books from many of Exhale’s yogi-star teachers,  the YoYo’s curiosity was piqued by the stand-out purple and yellow cover of, “Living the Moment”, a comical book on inspiration, faith and love written by our teacher for today, Dave Romanelli, aka “Yeah Dave”. Seems Dave’s slightly irreverent book takes a look at the light side in an attempt to bring the “chill out” factor to life through wine, chocolate and music.  Hmmmm… think the YoYo’s are gonna like this guy!

Dave Romanelli

Dave Romanelli

Storyteller Dave, opened his Music Flow class with an inspirin’ tale that he masterfully wove throughout the next 1 ½ hours of this easy to follow, cool sound tracked, full-body flow. Dave’s rousin’ legend chronicled the life and times of a Mexican Tribe who used their superhuman running abilities as their metaphor for life.  Seems this real-life tribe ecstatically ran for the unbridled joy that it gave their bodies and mind; not as an internal competition or “out of reach” goal.  Do you suppose this cool-book authorin’, awesome yoga class givin’, attention-grabbin’ tale tellin,’ trickster of a teacher was tryin’ to relate a vital element to our practice in this deliberate challenge of a flow?

“Yeah Dave”! The YoYo’s love the practice, the message… and of course … wine… chocolate … and music!

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Day 73 LA-Yogaworks-Baron Baptiste

Baron Baptiste

Baron Baptiste

Attemptin’ to be chill, the YoYos are tryin’ to remind themselves that tonight’s practice with power hero, Baron Baptiste, is not their first with a yogi superstar. However, it’s kinda tough tryin’ to conceal the flat-out excitement of taking class from this world renowned teacher; the originator of the YoYo’s beloved Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, author of the eye-openin’, “Journey into Power” ,  life-changin’“40 days to Personal Revolution”, and the clever parent/child book , “My Daddy is a Pretzel”.  Impactin’ the lives of major sports stars, celebrities, regular ‘ol YoYos and the impoverished, Baron, son of legendary yogis Walt and Magana, has thankfully brought his ground-breakin’ style and inspirin’ message across boundaries and out to the entire world.

Starting in Childs Pose - Baron at 7

Starting in Childs Pose - Baron at 7

Enterin’ the comfortable digs of our new home away from home, Yoga Works – Main ,in Santa Monica, habitat to internationally acclaimed yoga teachers and seemingly zillions of So Cal yogis, the YoYos felt the rush of energy sparkin’ off Baron’s loyal clan waitin’ for this  Vinyasa 2-3 class to begin. Startin’ in child’s pose, Baron instructed us to just, “let go”. No problem, the YoYo’s have been waitin’ years for the opportunity to “let go” and let Baron lead us through 1 ½ hours of Power, Baptiste style.

Baron Baptiste Sun Salutation

Sun Salutations Baptiste Style

Warmin’ up with a power integration that included firin’ up every YoYo body part for what was to come; Baron began his flawlessly instructed power flow.  Startin’ with those groundin’ stabilizers, the all important feet, and inchin’ up thru the entire body, Barron sequentially dissected every unhurried bend, deliberate twist,  lingerin’ stretch and killer STRENGTH move, ensuring our bodies were ripe and the juices was flowin’.   Deceptively intense, it wasn’t until savasana was a memory and the YoYo’s needed help to return to feet, that they realized they had been methodically and systematically worked to the core, by the effortless style of this yoga pioneer.

After class, the YoYo’s walked down the block to the deservingly famous, Santa Monica beach, and looked across the expanse of forever sand, out to sea.  There we stood, grateful our YoYo bodies stayed seemingly intact for this “most excellent” 73rd day.

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Day 74 LA-Yogaworks-Kathryn Budig

On Day 25 when salutin’ the sun in Portland, we had the most embarrassing pleasure of attemptin’ a class given by yogi inverter extraordinaire, Tiffany Cruikshank.  Jam-packed with arm balances and culminating with the “omygodasana”, Tick-Tock, we gained eye-openin’ insight into the world of “super-teachers” who cleverly break down seemingly impossible poses into everyday, YoYo speak.   Learnin’ that our “most excellent” adventure was headin’ south, Tiffany made us pinky swear that we’d experience the “off the charts” upside-down asana educator, Kathryn Budig, at Yoga Works Main while in Santa Monica.

Kathryn Budig

Kathryn Budig

Now, considerin’ the source of Kathryn’s glowin’ referral, and hearin’ nothin’ but super-shinin’ reviews about this “arm stand queen” from Yoga Works Marketing Guru, Terri Seiden, we knew this Flow 2-3 class was going to challenge us eager yet angst-ridden YoYos, to find a  spankin’ new, “edge”.

Igniting the room with her drop-dead gorgeous smile and playful vibes, we knew from previous encounters of the most scary kind, that while in the hands of this December ’08, cover model for Yoga Journal magazine, we would live to blog, if only we intently listened to our nationally celebrated teacher, gave our YoYo best effort and …remembered to breathe .

Kathryn in Sayansana

Kathryn chillin' in Sayansana

Startin’ “simple” by teachin’ us to catch air while jumpin’ into uttasana, we were soon addin’ crow to our Sun Salutations, or at least the yogi next to us was.  Kathryn proceeded through no shortage of   killer core, shoulder, arm, strength poses that clued us to the muscles that would be firin’ during the “feet over head” asanas to come.  Patiently, with total lack of demands, this gifted guide generously shared the “secrets” of taxin’ poses and gave us ample space to find our way through every “anti-gravity” asana.   Unknown years and 74 days of practice combined with 90 minutes with this master teacher, proved powerful as the YoYos actually held the “at the wall” hand, arm , head and whatever stand,  if only for  an “omg” second.  Playful and fun with total encouragement, this stellar teacher brought nothing’ but joy to her “Honey, we’re movin’ to Santa Monica” class.

HMMMM…. seems the only pressure these Roadtrippin’ YoYos ever feel while in the hands of these “super-teachers” is from inside…and that… we’re learnin’ to just breathe away.


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