Archive for October, 2009

Day 92 San Diego-Haute Yoga-Michael Fukumura

Haute Yoga's Sensory Rich Lobby

Haute Yoga

Warmly welcomed into the newly opened, luxuriant walls of Haute Yoga in Solana Beach, the YoYos realized they had just pierced the artistic imagination of its’ world traveled owners. Taken by the opulent colors, lavish bamboo floors, sumptuous loungin’ areas, chic “everything yogi” retail space, rich use of rock, stone and metal in the swanky shower/dressing rooms, and the behind the scenes state of the art “eco-friendly” everything, the impressed YoYos immediately dissolved into the magical sensory experience,  owners Dino Flacco and Olivera Bogdanovich-Flacco have lovingly created for the virtual sea of SoCal yogis who are lucky enough to call this innovative spa-like studio, h”OM”e.

Michael Fukumura

Michael Fukumura

Findin’ a mere 2’x6’ for the Manduka on the mat to mat, cushy floored space of Studio #2, we peacefully awaited “rock-star” Anusara teacher, Michael Fukumura. After 6,000 miles and 107 days, the roadtrippin’ YoYo’s were ecstatic to finally find our way to the knowledge and heart-expandin’ practice this talented guide is known to share.

 

Michael Opened our Hearts and our Minds

Opened Hearted Michael

Startin’ in a ginormous circle of smilin’ happy yogis, Michael, who, after returnin’ from volunteering his vast talents at the 3rd Annual San Diego Karma Yoga event supporting Shakti Rising; opened with a touchin’ story about a young woman who desolately lost her way but gratefully found a guidin’ path back, through the structure of Yoga. Throughout this 90 minute alignment master’s class, Michael encouraged every “sweatin’ buckets” yogi to seek that same structure; while he generously allowed space to form each pose, root into it, set intention and use that directed energy off the mat, out the door and into the cosmic challenges of everyday life.

The amazed YoYos continue to be in awe of the depth of experience and flat out good vibes that radiate from the “off the charts” Anusara teachers we’ve experienced on this epic yogic discovery; Seattle’s Denise Benitez, Portland ‘s Sarahjoy Marsh, San Francisco’s Laura Christensen, Katchie Ananda, and Stacey Rosenberg, L.A’s Tara Judelle , San Diego’s Michael Fukumura, and of course, Anusara Founder John Friend who, the wound-up YoYos caught at Squaw Valley’s Wanderlust Festival; these mind-expandin’, body strengthenin’, peace providin’ teachers have given these grateful YoYos life-changin’ lessons they’ve taken with them to every class and throughout every amazin’ day of this “most excellent” adventure.

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Day 93 San Diego-Yoga Tropics-Margaret Stockalper

The Cliffs of Encinitas

The Cliffs of Encinitas

Is it the rumored vortex hangin’ off the sparklin’ shore , the spiritual energy of SRF that lives atop the vertical cliffs or is it simply a fluke that has the town of Encinitas packed with so many yoga studios, that even legendary klutz, YoYoYogini, could pitch a ball with eyes closed and hit a studio or two? Seemingly 24/7 this quintessential SoCal beach community, offers continual classes swarmin’ with surfers, runners, bikers, paddle boarders and ½ naked people who turn to Yoga as a way to keep them bendy, stretchy, strong and lookin’ hot.

Carla, Margaret, & Tracey

Carla, Margaret, & Tracey

Openin’ this “most excellent” yoga significant, 94th day, with the miracle of a hummin’ bird literally kissin’ The Ru; the wise, kind, ‘ol, grandfather cocker spaniel on his “ginormous” nose, the YoYos hightailed it to Yoga Tropics in Encinitas. Here ,we were to see how the Stockalper’s, a super-cool family of previously beaten-up athletes have shared their savin’ grace of yoga, and built one helluva tight-knit yoga community. Drawin’ top-notch surfers, professional athletes, gurus, beginners, kids and “silver foxes”, everyone is seemingly attracted to this charismatic Mom, Dad, and two stunnin’ daughters that simply love yoga and their beach paradise in which it thrives.

Warmly, or “hotly” welcomed into the packed 105 degree studio, the YoYos were excited to experience the signature “Basic Tropics Flow” from Mom, Margaret. Accalmatin’ to the heat, the toxin’ releasin’ YoYo’s loved the friendly feel, fillin’ this inferno. Mixin’ it up and creating a unique yoga style influenced by Bikram, Vinyasa and Ashtanga; Margaret led this fiery power hour while daughters Carla and Tracey expertly adjusted every sizzlin’ yogi in this steamy space. Attention abounded as this carin’ trio made sure every yogi, athlete or klutz, worked their personal edge and felt the love.

Walkin’ into the “hangin’ out” lobby after class for a most coolin’ coconut milk, the whole family excitedly shared their buffet of yoga offerings which included an eclectic mix of the unheated variety and the upcomin’ surf/yoga event in Costa Rica with “yogi/surfer in the gnar”, Critter Baugh.

The YoYos love these guys, their epic community and… their “most excellent” family business!


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Day 94 SD-CPY-Amber Dawn Clark

Pacific Beach Boardwalk

Pacific Beach Boardwalk

The Pacific Beach boardwalk is jam-packed with young and old; bikin’ skatin’, walkin’ and joggin’ their way down the infinite path that seemingly stretches to Mexico. It is here, on this Zen road filled with beer stands, party houses and fake surf wave pools that The Ru; wise, old, kind, “rock star” cocker spaniel was recognized by hoards of peeps of the tiny variety. Compelled to look deep into his intelligent eyes, pat his turnin’ white head, attempt to sit on his comfy back and kiss his “hard to miss” nose, the leash holdin’ YoYos simply stood back and witnessed this uncomplicated, gentle soul, child magnet and wondered if all the elusive secrets of life were hidden inside his 3” head. After all; this gentle, caring, furry character lives life in the moment and spreads nothin’ but peace, love and happiness throughout the world.

Amber Dawn Clark

Amber Dawn Clark

Takin’ our “no worries” cue from the wooly one, we calmly ventured just down the road to CorePower Yoga – Pacific Beach (PB), where tonight, we carry boardwalk bliss into the peaceful, candle lit space where Amber Dawn Clark teaches the Hot Power Fusion class that this illustrious studio has made so popular, it has sparked others to emulate this innovative style, nationwide.

The end ‘o the week, Sunday Night YoYos loved the serene ambience created in the silent, packed room of regulars, restin’ with eyes closed, forgettin’ their worries, breathin’ deeply and calmin’ themselves for the testing hour of power they knew was to come from their inspired instructor .

Ground Down to Fly

Fly Amber Dawn - FLY!

Beginnin’ by groundin’ into Mother Earth and warmin’ the body with creative sun salutations, this luminous leader encouraged us to connect to the breath that would carry us throughout this perfect blend of balance, strength, alignment and stretch. Incorporating the challenge of Bikram, Vinyasa and Power accompanied by stellar sounds, this testing sequence set in the aura of steamy bliss; liberated the week behind while joyfully welcoming the one beyond.

How super-cool to have CorePower Yoga’s “hot” classes a “most excellent” part of this epic adventure!


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Day 95 San Diego-Willows Yoga-Myriam Machado-Baker

San Diego Coast

San Diego Coast

Zippin’ up breathtakin’ Hwy 1 on this dazzlin’ morn’, the always early YoYos thought they’d screwed up big time, and were about to miss the openin’ moments of their “Awaken” class at the illustrious So Cal studio, The Willows Yoga. Dashin’ through the charming, brick -sided “Lumberyard”, a shoppin’ area that marks “downtown” Encinitas, the just skatin’ YoYos tracked the sounds of sweet laughter… after all, this was San Diego’s Anusara Center and our Brazilian Teacher, “sweet wild thang”, Myriam Machado-Baker, was known for bringin’ joy and happiness to every one of the 3,500 classes that she had under her tiny belt.

Warmly invited into the spacious, one room studio where shiny, happy neighbors gather monthly for Kirtan chanting, we were greeted by a pure fireball of Latin energy. Cool… we made it! We were just in time to find a comfy seat and join this jubilant band for Anusara’s signature BIG “Om’s” and Myriam’s harmonium accompanied melodic invocation.

Myriam Machado-Baker

Myriam Machado-Baker

Rearranin’ ourselves to face each other, our energetic guide explained that today’s class was to be focused on the neck… the conduit that lies between the mind; whose job it is to think, reason and sometimes worry… and the heart, which if used exclusively could get us into trouble. Yep, today, we were to open that throat and introduce heart to mind… and vice -versa.

Startin’ in Tadasana (mountain pose) with feet, backs and head against the wall, Myriam encouraged us to feel the pose while we opened our throats, stretched our pallets, lengthened our bodies and allowed communication between head and heart to get into some serious conversation. Workin’ methodically through the slow, thoughtful series of perfectly sequenced asana, which included partnerin’ up for a most interesting handstand usin’ the magnificent props of wall and chosen yogi’s feet on back, we continually smiled and understood how the intensity of each posture changed dramatically when we focused on those teensy-weenie adjustments that Myriam so expertly taught.

Stunned by this amazin’ lesson and flat out “good vibes” of this “off the charts” studio and seriously awesome teacher, the YoYos were eternally grateful they didn’t miss one single, “most excellent” moment.


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Day 96 San Diego-Spa Spirit-Michele Hébert

It was on Day 40, in our fortuitous Marin County class with Sherri Baptiste where we first learned about the celebrated Michele Hébert; a life-long student of Walt Baptiste, former manager of the acclaimed Baptiste Retreat in El Salvador and renowned leader in mind/body/spirit integration. Seems that when this global pioneer in the health and fitness industry is not leading the Power of Yoga for Women events with Sherri, or world-wide retreats with husband, Mehrad Nazari, Ph.D., this visionary Raja yoga instructor brings committed yogis into her one hundred year old La Jolla sea cottage turned dream studio for extraordinary yoga and meditation. What grateful YoYos are we, that today we shared that beautiful space with these fortunate ocean yogis.

Michele Hébert

Michele Hébert

Headin’ west in the mid 70’s, leavin’ hometown Cleveland in the rearview mirror, young Michele thought that by enduring a yoga class with Walt at the revolutionary Walt Baptiste Yoga and Health Center in San Francisco, she’d have a shot at gaining employment at the well-known Baptiste natural food restaurant. Seems that more than coveted employment was waiting, as Walt soon became the guru that would open her life through connecting the mind, body and spirit… as she would for others… forever.

Finding our way onto the antique floors, we gazed out to the ocean beyond, as our respected leader opened this time honored practice with a guided meditation that taught us to not only feel, but envision our breath. Working through gentle asana, Michele slowly led a series of beautifully sequenced back bends and intense hip openers that allowed even these YoYos to find that illusive lotus. Allowing space and time, Michele’s melodic voice encouraged us to discover a specific breath for each posture… one that would allow us to stay in a pose…seemingly forever. Concluding with deep meditation, Michele’s imaginative language created visualizations that encouraged us to melt into our center, deeply relax and powerfully connect with the energy of our chakras.

Inner-Practice-The ecstatic YoYos were thrilled to take, “The Inner Practices of Yoga” with us out the blissful door and into the YoYoYogimobile, as we knew we’d have a piece of these “mind expandin’ teachers with us, as we continue on our “most excellent” adventure.


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Day 97 San Diego-Ginseng-Bhava Ram

Bhava Ram

Bhava Ram

When blog readers, yoga teachers and seemingly everyone that roams these sandy streets points us to their “favorite” San Diego yoga tradition; the receptive YoYos, listen to the locals and make our way to the historic, hilly, character rich ‘hood of South Park, to excitedly experience the memorable class of Bhava Ram at celebrated, Ginseng Yoga.

Bhava and Sundari - Founders Deep Yoga

Bhava and Sundari Ram Founders of Deep Yoga

After all, when the amazed YoYos discovered the miraculous story of this former broadcast journalist and world traveled, foreign correspondent who completely restored his body through the intense study and daily practice of yoga after a devastating accident, failed surgeries and subsequent “terminal” cancer nearly took his life; we understood that the “Deep Yoga” class with this soulful teacher, was an absolute “not to miss” experience in this epic journey.

Ginseng Yoga's Yellow Room

Ginseng Yoga's Yellow Room

Enterin’ the colorful, “good vibe” space of this popular studio, the YoYos felt this distinctive community just oozin’ with love and light. Joyfully greeted by smilin’, charismatic owner Brad, this vast clan moved through the stunnin’, multihued, “everything yogi” lobby, and found their familiar, comfortable space in the soothin’ “Yellow Room” on the jam-packed 100- year- old, gleamin’ fir floors.

Beautiful Voice and Soul

Beautiful Voice and Soul

The uncharacteristically tongue tied YoYos think mere words could do a disservice as we only attempt to explain the pure love that flowed from the heart and soul of our authentic teacher, Bhava Ram. Leadin’ this group of joyous chanters with his beautiful guitar and amazin’ voice accompanied by dynamic percussion, spirited clapping and ecstatic voices, the captivated YoYos were pretty sure that the vibrant energy of this happy clan was shakin’ its way into the vast universe. And so it was, as our therapeutic healer lead an emotionally releasing sequence of deeply flowin’ asana, intermixed with soft chants and BIG “OM’s” that completely filled our hearts, our body and our soul.

At Day 97 and countin’, the mistaken YoYos, who thought we had experienced most, were completely taken by the gift of these heartfelt yogis, the blissful space found in this tight-knit community, and most of all; the songs, chants, mantras and depth of teaching we experienced tonight, from this spiritual teacher, author and musician – Bhava Ram.

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Day 98 San Diego-CPY-Amy Opielowski

Bodies by Yoga Sculpt

Beach Bodies by Yoga Sculpt

Where were all the ½ naked, beautiful people scootin’ off to… the curious YoYos wondered as they took off on a flat out chase after the perfectly chiseled? After all, we were mere days from headin’ home and the un-yogi like westerner in us knew that friends and family would be checkin’ us out to see what 100 days of yoga looked liked. Seems the San Diego secret that keeps the barely clad lookin’ hot, was simply hittin’ the super-popular Yoga Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga in Point Loma. Apparently, this class is so powerful that even a couple of YoYos could hit this weight in hand, yoga hybrid and find those illusive abs of steel.

Amy Opielowski

Amy Opielowski

Enterin’ the “non-heated” inferno of this incessantly jam-paced space a full twenty minutes before the super-fit, co- manager and lead for CorePower Yoga’s boot camp program, Amy Opielowski began; the YoYos squeaked out a bitty space for manduka, yogi toes and the wussy weights that they hoped they could handle. Lookin’ into the eyes of intensity that loomed throughout this no nonsense room, the clairvoyant YoYos knew this next hour of “A” personality power was gonna kick their melancholy butts back up the coast from whence they came.

Gently and methodically, seemingly sweet Amy lead beautifully sequenced warm-ups and a weightless flow designed to dupe us, if only for a mistaken moment , into thinkin’ we could get through these graceful movements with no problem. Then, like a flash, this trickster teacher turned up the volume, picked up the weighs and it was all.. .Go…YoYos… Go!

Yoga Sculpy

Yoga Sculpt

Sweat pourin’, muscles burnin’ and music poundin’… this “not for the light of challenge” class took the sweet asanas that we have so lovingly mastered and turned even ol’ faithful down dog into an epic adventure. Holdin’ belly to backbone through every bend, stretch and balance, the obedient YoYos did as told and controlled our bodies, our breath and mind until the final…most appreciated… lake o’ sweet sweat…. SAVASANA!

After hittin’ Core3, Core2, Fusion and now this “flab to fabulous” class, the YoYos understand why CorePower Yoga is ALIVE in SoCal. These awesome studios treat their loyal students to killer classes, top-notch teachers, tight-knit communities, coveted showers and “off the charts” fun!

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Day 99 San Diego-Prana Yoga-Gerhard Gessner

Nobel Peace Prize Winnin' OmBama

Nobel Peace Prize Winnin' OmBama

“YO” BAMA “OM” BAMA bama… bama SHANTI SHANTI “YO”

The pep rally creatin’ YoYo’s happily sang this YoYo original after hearin’ the joyous news that our Prez was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for his most uncommon efforts to bring peace, love and happiness to the world!

The high-spirited YoYos knew this 99th day, the almost last before makin’ our way to the fall colored Sierras was the perfect time to explore deepenin’ workshops, begin the launch of YoYo reader contributions and start on the super cool ,“Have Yoga Mat will Travel” YoYo guidebook to “not to miss” studios and teachers on the west coast.

Gerhard Gessner

Gerhard Gessner

And so it was, on this concludin’ SoCal afternoon , that the YoYos were to take a self-inflicted internal final exam and investigate all they had learned from our “off the charts” guides as today, we’d challenge our strength of body in class of “tough as nails “ teacher, Gerhard Gessner and our equanimity, strength of mind , as annoying , self promotin’ politicians begin their chronic Obama trash talkin’.

Gerhard and his baby girl

Gerhard and his baby girl

Enterin’ this weekly Vinyasa 2/3 class at the stunnin’, expansive, light-filled Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, our master teacher began by generously providin’ expert guidance on feelin’ and tweekin’ our muscles as he skillfully unfolded each body part in the intensely difficult sequences that crescendoed with some kinda feet flyin’ in air, arm balancin’ on elbow, headonfloorasana… or twisted variation. This patient guide seemingly understood every sinew in the body as he opened it, worked it, and stretched it before attemptin’ to help us find an elusive modification of somethin’ we’d only seen on the cover of Yoga Journal. Difficult but excitin’, this experienced teacher assisted, adjusted and encouraged this skilled clan to attempt something new and work it the way the body allowed… today.

What a wonderful lesson! It made us think… if Obama would have given up anywhere along the line… the outcome of today’s Peace Prize would have been different. When ya think about what he has accomplished with unwavering calmness and unshakable perseverance… a little ‘ol handstand seems kinda tame.

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Day 100 LA-Yogaworks-Kia MIller

Today, on this “most excellent” 100th day of this epic journey; with bodies strong and minds followin’ along, the YoYo’s were electrified knowin’ that the so-called “conclusion” of this marathon yogic adventure was in reality, merely a “can’t put it down” chapter.  Amazed by the plethora of “not to miss” studios and talented teachers” linin’ the west coast, the “inquisitive” YoYos went over schedule in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco… oops!  With just a few more “off the charts” L.A. teachers on the calendar and the San Diego world of yoga still to be uncovered… the energized YoYos will carry on… as promised, all the way to the border.

Lia Miller

Kia Miller

So, with our “soon to be seen in yoga classes across the universe”, typed-dyed, “Groovy collection”, Yogitoes in hand; the “Summer of Love” YoYos, headed to the energy awakening Kundalini class, taught by the celebrated, charismatic teacher, Kia Miller, at Yogaworks Main in Santa Monica. Already pumped from the last 99 days, the YoYos were curious to see what form the coiled power that sits at the base of the spine would take, as this experienced guide would bring it up through all 7 chakras.

Kundalini Rising

Kundalini Rising

Illuminatin’ the room with her brilliant smile, Kia opened by ignitin’ this class with the “breath of fire,” followed by a series of blazin’, churnin’ asana.  Continuing through an inferno of moving postures, this talented guide challenged us to hold bhandas, drop our chin, lift our gaze and visualize the powerful spiralin’ energy from within,’ rising up, up, and away through the crown of our head, connectin’  earth energy with that of the infinite.  Whoa…good thing we were grounded into our super-psychedelic Yogitoes!

Ending with a most unusual rhythmic, WTH, arms to side and up over head, forever movement, Kia admitted she wasn’t sure how some weird cave dwellin’ yogi figured out how this exhaustive repetition could drive energy up and out…expandin’ our aura … but it did… and it was cool!

Once again, with the superb talent of brilliant guides, The YoYos are tappin’ into that www of the universe, and connectin’ as we continue, this “most excellent” adventure.


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Homeward Bound Santa Barbara-YMCA-Felicia Tomasko

The RU get's ready to head h"OM"e

The RU readies for the trip h"OM"e

Endless dark nor chill o’ night could keep the YoYos from gettin’ their crazy asses up at 3am and cramin’ into the artistically packed YoYoYogimobile, turned travelin’ luxury resort, for The Ru; the wise, kind, ol’, “lookin’ fine  from his “U Wash Doggie” encounter, grandfather cocker spaniel . Yep, the Ru requested comfort as he readied himself for the unhurried drive to the mountains where he’d take carroty-colored autumn hikes, reflect on his YoYo-a-Go Go adventure, and tap into www. Universe for answers on how to open out his explodin’ column.

Felicia Tomasko

Felicia Tomasko

The “eyes barely open” YoYos knew that a most excellent way to evolve into Chapter 2 of their continuin’ adventure was in the early mornin’ flow class of new pal, Felicia Tomasko.  Happily zippin’ up the coast, the just skatin’ YoYos were warmly welcomed into the happenin’, 7am yogi community of the Montecito YMCA.  Here, lucky residents of this coastal jewel eagerly awaited their dynamic teacher whose vast credentials include Editor in Chief of LA Yoga Magazine, practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine and RN.  Seems this energetic yogi splits her capable time by teachin’ in this eye-poppin’ beach village and coverin’ the happenings of the dynamic L.A. yoga scene.

Greeted by welcomin’ smiles into this tight knit clan, the YoYos joined this lucky beach bunch as Felicia slowly opened and released every tight from sittin’ muscle.  Intermixin’ friendly conversation, this happy group embraced their carin’ teacher who knew their names, their stories, and their bodies as she worked through the familiar room, giving each dedicated yogi individual attention and adjustments. The YoYos loved the easy feel and immense knowledge of this east meets west medical whiz who shared the physical benefits of each posture while stetchin’ and strengthin’ the dedicated in this all levels class.

Headin' back to Lake Tahoe

Headin' back to Lake Tahoe

Takin’ off to finish the  9 ½ hours up this beautiful coast;  through valleys, hills and farms… the roatrippin’ YoYos had time to think about their yogic adventures practiced at luxury spas, community centers and garages;  their solo practices on sandy shores and in jam packed spaces; with unknown “not to miss” teachers and the superstars of yoga… What an exciting’ openin’ chapter the grateful YoYos have had on this “most excellent” adventure!


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