Archive for the ‘Hot List 2’ Category

Day 4 Seattle-The SweatBox-Laura Culberg

The SweatBox Yoga  / Capitol Hill – Laura Culberg

Capitol Hill 1

Alfresco Dining in Capitol Hill

Not exactly 40 days and 40 nights but record breaking days in a row withOUT rain in Seattle hit 29! That was until today as the YoYos changed all that and created more pouring precipitation than humanly possible at Seattle’s premiere Bikram Yoga Studio appropriately named The SweatBox. How many times have the YoYos come out of class and heard a red-faced, wiped-out yogi say, “I’ve never sweated so much in my whole life”? Today, was the YoYo’s turn! We looked at each other, wiping bucketing perspiration from our blurry eyes, acknowledging silently that we had totally got our butts kicked by Laura Culberg, co-owner of this unpretentious Bikram yoga studio located in the urban alternative neighborhood of Capitol Hill.

LauraCulberg_Sweatbox_Seattle

Laura Culberg

The SweatBox, a Seattle Bikram Yoga stalwart has been a wildly popular fixture for over 8 years and with owners Laura Culberg and Frankie Grausa, at the helm, it is easy to see why. Community is this studios calling card and these yoginis have created a fiercely loyal group. Bottom line, the diversity of these yogis makes it addicting to hang out here! So habit forming in fact, they have duplicated themselves to keep up with the demand and opened another studio in Shoreline, Washington just 10 miles away. Dressing room conversations revolved around the hope that yet another SweatBox would open in Capitol Hill. Yogis love this place!

SweatboxYoga

SweatBox Yoga

To loosely paraphrase a studio review…there are other Bikram Studios that you might want to date, but The SweatBox is the place you want to marry!

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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 47 SF-Yoga Sausalito-Laura Christensen

Yoga of Sausalito

Yoga of Sausalito

The YoYos felt some embracin’ vibes radiating from the Bay side haven of Yoga of Sausalito– sweetly livin’ on a charming street filled with shiny happy locals lookin’ like they were gettin’ ready to set sail.  With open arms and open heart, this “off the charts”  love-fest  of a yogi community led by owner Stephan Buehl and studio angel Alisa  greeted the “YoYo’s” , foreshadowing the jubilant practice they were about to share with the swarming room of yogis who are lucky enough to call this dynamic neighborhood and stunning studio, home.

Laura Christensen

Laura Christensen

Laura Christensen, the celebrated Anusara teacher, devoted student of John Friend and member of the Anusara Certification Committee, opened her “group hug” of a class on this beautiful morning, by askin’ this regular crowd what song their heart would sing… if it had a song. The YoYo’s, lucky enough to own the “record”, immediately identified… The Beatles classic, “All you need is Love”. These spiritual words, say it simply…and so did this deeply caring teacher as she unfolded a class that brought passion to every breath and every asana.

Heart Openin' Dance

Heart Openin' Dance

Laura, continually reminding this happy bunch to look for “enthusiasm” in their practice,  steadily lead with a beautiful smile and unwavering encouragement proving that patience, love and flawless instruction can do wonders, as every “givin’ it their all” yogi,  found themselves willingly tested in demanding asanas.   Brilliantly, this gifted guide initiated poses in their simplest form and persistently added baby steps that brought mental and physical breakthroughs to students who mistakenly thought, “I can’t do that”.  But when, as a team, they “pushed the preverbal envelope” and went a little deeper  than ever before, this supportive teacher and room full of spirited yogis, celebrated… on and off the mat.

Buddha in the Yoga of Sausalito Garden

Yoga of Sausalito's Buddha


The love fest in this community doesn’t end when class is over.  The owner, teachers and students that make up this tight knit bunch like to take the “feel good” out the door and down the street  to the local Indian café they commonly frequent…while they chat, laugh and build on the “feel it in your bones” joy, that binds them together.


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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 77 LA-YA-Ally Hamilton

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Damn… no wonder the whole world wants to live here! The flip-flop lovin’ YoYos could get used to the 72 and breezy that we’ve experienced every day since arriving on the endless sandy beaches of Santa Monica, CA. The walkin’, bikin’, skatin’ boardwalks, endless outdoor fun in the sun, and flood of “off the charts” yoga, make this SoCal beach city a perfect place to “practice in paradise”.

Startin' the kids off right

Startin' her first-born off right

Tonight, we did just that, as we visited the esteemed Ally Hamilton, owner of Yogis Anonymous; the brand spankin’ new, donation based yoga studio. Learnin’ this high-flyer had given birth to her second child just 8 weeks ago, we were pretty sure that followin’ her lead would take us in the right direction. After all, it was 8:30 pm, and this beautiful ball of energy, was just rarin’ to give one of her infamous ass-kickin’ classes.

Happy YoYos were we, to find a ginormous, “yogi on a budget” parkin’ garage adjacent to this totally hip, one room space located just 2 blocks from the beautiful Pacific. Checkin’ out “YA’s”, “hot of the press” already full schedule of daily classes, the YoYos recognized the impressive names of some of the most sought after teachers in this sizzlin’ hot yogi zip code.

Ally Hamilton

Ally Hamilton

Jam-packed and full of late night energy, the YoYos threw down the Madukas and, after a long day in the California sun, sighed with delight as Ally told us to start by “lyin’ on our back”. Cool! Little did the naïve YoYo’s know that this trickster was merely havin’ us assume the position to begin the “right out of the gate”, killer, core sequence. From there, this joyful, funny, story tellin’ powerhouse laid out a “most excellent” sweat producin’, full-body series of strength and stretch that seriously focused on “daisy duke wearin’’’ butt- asanas. Whoa! Who woulda thunk that a class that ended after 10pm would burn a zillion calories, leave us drippin’, enlightened and make us want to party on the streets of this lively town?

This burstin’ with love teacher has got it goin’ on! Fun and fabulous, Ally has brought together every element to make this innovative studio a massive success!

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Day 89 San Diego-Yoga One-Amy Caldwell

 

RU Catches a Wave in Del Mar

Hangin' 10 at the Dog Beach

Today as the wise, kind, ol’, crestfallen, Grandfather cocker spaniel, The Ru, was kicked off the bazillion mile stretch of glorious Pacific Beach, asked to leave the sandy patio of a sidewalk dive, and dejectedly read the “No Dogs Allowed” signs at the celebrated San Diego Zoo and killer museums; the adaptable one just wagged, knowin’ that life’s great disappointments are often disguised gifts that offer grand fodder for his well-read insights, “Down Dogisms”; and, the accomodatin’ YoYos would spend the best part of their lives lookin’ for a haven that would welcome this illustrious, 5th dimension channeler with open arms.

Findin’ that sanctuary 20 miles north in the drop- dead gorgeous beach town of upscale Del Mar, The Ru yowled as we approached the teeny-weeny stretch of sand where seemingly every canine in California comes to surf, belly board and practice their “down dogs” on 72 an’ breezy afternoons… Finally, the shade wearin’ Ru found inclusive peace in this sometimes exclusive world.

Yoga Journal 30th Anniversary Issue

Yoga Journal 30th Anniversary Issue

After a full Dog Day of Summer, the anxious YoYos were excited for tonight’s Flow set amongst the high rises of Downtown San Diego at the illustrious Yoga One; winner of seemingly every award given to this county’s Yoga Studios for several years running. Followin’ the framed City Beat “BEST OF” magazines and stunning Yoga Journal covers featuring tonight’s teacher and owner Amy Caldwell up the steep stairs, the YoYos were pretty sure, this famed instructor’s class would be one to remember.

Strong and Calm Fits Amy to a T

Strong and Calm - That's Amy

Enterin’ the expansive, antique space, the YoYos joyously discovered historic wooden floors to hang out on with fellow SD yogis who make this popular tip-to-toe full body flow their addictive yoga of choice. Connectin’ to breath in a seated exercise, Amy began by beautifully integrating our “89 day” bodies into this 75 minute challenge of fluidity intermixed with creative arm balances, and innovative use of blocks that increased the unique dynamic leg stretches in this all levels class. Seems these lucky yogis not only use this beautiful yoga home for killer asana, but occasionally come back on weekends for acoustic concerts where they relax with a soft seat and bottle of wine…this weekend, Sean Hayes….See ya there!


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