Archive for the ‘Hot List 5’ Category

Day 8 Seattle-Yoga Tree Kitty Wittkower

FremontPete's

Colorful Fremont

Peace and Love in Fremont

Peace and Love in Fremont

Tonight, we traveled over the Fremont Bridge trying to stay focused on the lights ahead and not the breath-takin’ scenery below.  Full sails billowing in the soft breeze as diamonds popped off the water of Lake Union….The road to this free-spirited town is just dazzlin’. As we entered Fremont, rememberin’ the last time we were here for the Solstice Parade with streets full of outrageous floats, great music and naked painted people riding bikes, we just smiled.  Tonight, all was back to normal (?). The fun and funky neighborhood was crowded with people just hangin’ at the bazillion outdoor cafes, natural food stores and coffee houses.  Stoppin’ at PCC, we grabbed yet another Kombucha and readied ourselves to take Kitty’s Wittkower’s class at the Yoga Tree- Seattle.

Kitty-ruby-red-slippers

Kitty's Ruby Red Slippers

Now, the YoYos have no set expectations as they enter Seattle’s Premiere Yoga Studios-knowing they are about to take class from some of this country’s top teachers, they just open their mind, and “OM” right along-tonight was no exception.  We entered the inviting, warm, one room studio in anxious anticipation of taking a killer class from this highly regarded teacher.  Kitty, super-colorful (check out the ruby reds) and expressive, started her class with a resonating 3 OM’s, a beautiful Sanskrit chant and a strong warm-up…. from there, the word “CLASS” took on a whole new meaning.

Kitty told us (or in our mind “warned” us), that her class was all about inversions. Yikes, say the word “inversion” and we start feel a little “less than”. Truth is the YoYos are just a little edgy about hangin’ upside down.   Tonight, however, Kitty was going to change all that!  

Kitty Wittkower

Kitty Wittkower

The experienced yogis at the Hatha 2-3 class excitedly pulled their mats up against the wall, and that’s when Kitty started to shake things up.  Giving clear instructions, she proceeded to break down each inversion with an almost child like ease.  Continually rallying the yogis close together to ensure complete understanding, she slowly demonstrated each inversion, then with assistance from beautiful and bendy, Maraha, showed exact form down to the neck muscles, expertly defining Alignment, Positioning, Rotation…O MY.

 The YoYo’s, first internally kickin’ and screamin,’ found themselves slowly floatin’ their way into a handstand, arm stand, headstand and shoulder stand.  The individualized instruction and continual adjustments Kitty generously shared with her students, allowed the YoYos to feel- what they didn’t know they were supposed to feel, for the first time.  

Thanks Kitty!

Thanks Kitty!

Well, let’s just say we didn’t actually walk out of class ready to join Cirque du Soleil, but don’t be surprised if  next year when you see the YoYos at the Solstice Parade, they’re walkin’ down the street, confidently on their hands, with a big ‘ol smile and some colorful paint! 

Ready to give it a go?

 

Photos of Kitty by Patricia Ridenour

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Day 25 Portland-Yoga Pearl-Tiffany Cruikshank

Yoga Pearl

Yoga Pearl

Was it excitement or flat out fear that had us sleepin’ with eyes wide open, knowin’ the morning was bringin’ the YoYos a likely to have a “heels over head,” class at  super-star studio, Yoga PearlTiffany (Viehman) Cruikshank, International Teacher Trainer, “arms length of credentials”  super- star Instructor and, judging from her photos, would be star of Cirque de Soliel, was about to rock the YoYos world in her advanced Sunday class.

Tiffany Cruikshank

Tiffany Cruikshank

Bright smilin’ charisma oozin’, Tiffany, started the class announcin’ something about workin’ on a “Tick Tock.”  Confused, The YoYos whispered…what’s a tick tock?  This class of returning Tiffany loyalist turned around in unison and answered firmly….”you don’t want to know”!  It was fight or flight… and the flight part was soundin’ pretty good – if not for the charm of this gifted teacher and courage of this fearless crew, we may have run to the safety of the “around the corner” world-famous Powell’s Books to bone up on tapas- the niyama of fiery discipline-consistency.  Lesson learned…we were stayin’ in it.  Over the course of the next 1 ½ hours of usin’ straps, ‘n blocks, ‘n breath, Tiffany helped us open things we didn’t know we had, and learn things we didn’t know to ask.

Dancin' Tiffany

Dancin' Tiffany

Step by step, the “made it look so easy” Tiffany, sequentially opened each body part while buildin’ to that  flowin’ pinnacle – Wheel to Handstand to Downward Dog…and back again…Tick Tock!

Now, you may think the YoYos felt frustrated  and wanted to cry just because they kept fallin’ on their butts and collapsing on the floor when some others  in this room  looked so pretty floatin’  in and out of this advanced pose requiring both super-strength and gumby-like qualities, but it just aint so. This remarkable teacher made us believe in our YoYo bones that if we came back to this class, week after week, that maybe we could do something close to that tick tock thing…or a myriad of other things… or maybe just get a whole lot stronger and definitely a whole lot smarter about a whole lotta different aspects of yoga.  After all, if this class of super-consistent yogis learned so from this super knowledgeable teacher…then why not a YoYo?

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Day 53 SF-Yoga Loft-Jason Crandell

Kayak Time Lake Tahoe

Kayak Time Lake Tahoe

While on our speedy “pick up The Ru” Tahoe trip we, not surprisingly, decided to sneak in just one most excellent kayak before catchin’ our later that night class with popular teacher, Jason Crandell back in San Francisco.   Leavin’ late on this still Sierra morn, we put our perfect “avoid traffic” plan in place and began our scoot back to the Bay.   After just minutes of blissfully sayin’ bye to the pine air, we found ourselves crammed into one long, forever California lane, and we knew…our scootin’ days were pretty much over …

Just Breath….

Above the businesses on Divisadero off Haight, the Yoga Loft looks down at the city through its patchwork of serene 2nd floor spaces that are both very old and very cool.  Two busy yoga studios intermix with a nostalgic foyer-parlor turned hang-out space, vintage hotel inspired check -in spot, an antique room for dressin’ and ginormous hallways, packed with “waitin’ for class to begin”, yogis.

Focused on the Breath at Yoga Loft

Focused on the Breath at Yoga Loft

Faithful Jason-ites snatched a spot when the prior class crammed out of the airy, historic space makin’ room for the loyalist of Jason’s easy style, even tempo and continual attention to the breath in his, No Hurries… No Worries… No Performin’, class.  Expectations set by this mellow teacher to melt as though you were to hang out awhile in each asana, helped the YoYos find our skeleton and some welcome focus on that-exhale.  Inversions unfolded with no pressure, advanced postures introduced with no demands, modifications done with thorough instruction were accomplished as  a compliment to the teacher who continually encouraged each yogi to experience, not muscle each shape.

With the YoYo’s Yogi’s tool chest of yoga gems overflowin’, we gratefully add Jason’s “spot-on” insight to use the asana to create awareness in the body, instead of usin’ the body to simply build a pose.


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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 81 LA-Bhakti Yoga Shala-Govindas & Radha

Located just 2 blocks from the shimmerin’ Pacific, we enter the serene space of Bhakti Yoga Shala, juxtaposed against the jam-packed, vivacious, high action energy of the Santa Monica Promenade. It was here we were to discover how this new, donation-based, eco-conscious studio manages to “shine like a beacon” through the endless buffet of tantalizn’ L.A. yoga.

Govindas and Radha

Govindas and Radha

Engulfed by dark crimson walls, soothing lighting, rich wood floors, and the peaceful quality of owners Govindas and Radha; the comforting ambiance encouraged these “wound-up from street action”, YoYos, immediate and most welcome, restorative dissolve into a unique 1 ½ hour Bhakti Yoga Love Fest.

Pure, sweet energy, poured from Govindas as he opened this “Flow into the Weekend,” class with “othankgodasana,” groundin’ postures of appreciation that took on an almost euphoric quality when accompanied by the transporting voice and gentle guitar of exquisite wife, Radha. Together, this uber-talented team led this intimate class through a glorious chant that began soft and grew into a dynamic, spirited offering.

Heartfelt music for the soul abounded as artistic Govindas took to the Harmonium and voiced peace, love and happiness while Radha lead this devoted group through wondrous, free flowin’, sun celebratin’ salutations. As so it was, back and forth, throughout this body and heart, magical, musical celebration of devotion, and truth… this dynamic duo each bringin’ their unique sound, life and humor to this relaxing sequence of “liquid” asana. Encouragin’ freedom of movement, this graceful practice ended as it began, with postures of gratitude and joyous resonance.

Bhakti Yogis and Kirtan Artists

The floatin’ YoYos were “over the top” excited to learn that these gifted two had just released a CD, with the simple title of their not so simple names, and can be seen again by these blissed out YoYos on Sunday, as they lead the world of L.A. yogis through sun salutations at Global Mala.

Peace!


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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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