Archive for the ‘Hot List 7’ Category

Day 11 Seattle-Yogalife-Chiara Guerrieri

Stone "Stairway to Heaven"

Stone "Stairway to Heaven"

Upper Queen Anne

Upper Queen Anne

Takin’ off by foot to explore our soon-fleeting Queen Anne ‘hood on this glorious sunny day, we came upon a most excellent surprise…ancient stone stairs goin’ up as far as the eye could see.   What genius thought of this?  Back in Lake Tahoe, “OM” to the YoYo’s, the only way to ascend, is simply to scale sheer walls of granite.  Curious, the YoYos began climbing the “stairway to heaven” to discover what utopia waited! Surprised, we came upon teensy-weensy Kerry Park with views so stunning that every tourist in the city (including the YoYos) were snappin’ shots. Continuing the climb, we discovered gracious ‘ol manors, a kaleidoscope of flowering plants, an abundance of organic treats, colorful crowded outdoor cafes, smilin’ hyper  people drinkin’ even more coffee and the celebrated Yogalife, Upper Queen Anne’s premiere Yoga Studio.  It was in this hidden gem that the YoYos were to take class, simply titled “CORE”.

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Chiara Guerrieri showin' Abs of Steel

YoYos legs were pretty much toast after climbing the ba-zillionth stone stair, but CORE… for that, we were ready!  We entered the charming, brick building housing two enchanting outdoor cafes and crawled to the 2nd floor.  Greeted by a full room of Yogis gushing over the talents of instructor Chiara Guerrieri, we were told how lucky we were to be in the class of this “Italian Stallion” who was teacher to the teachers, in Seattle. Entering the breezy, sunny room with glistening hardwood floors, open windows, super- happy yellow walls and giant periwinkle ceilings, the YoYos, even with legs destroyed, immediately – felt the love! Chiara, super-expressive, passionate, and entertaining entered the room and we knew this class was simultaneously going to kick our butts, teach us a ton, and make us laugh.  

Five minutes into the teensy-tiny, precise, killer-tight floor movements, a roaring sigh came from an experienced student in the back of the room….We guessed he was doin’ the intense sequence, spot-on..  This Core class was not one of those fiery muscle burners that made you want to Heave-Ho…nope, it was a lesson on how to use that belly to the max demanding strength from those deeply-hidden muscles that we were just discovering.  Leavin’ the floor- work behind, Chiara, using humor to lighten our “deer in a headlight” faces, translated this one of a kind mid section lesson into every asana making postures, longer, stronger and more potent!  The class flew by as the YoYo minds concentrated on applying the recently learned lesson to every familiar pose making them feel entirely new- Powerful!  Newbie, hyper-bendy yogini, or super-yogi man; the YoYos are pretty positive that everyone could benefit from this one hour makeover.

The YoYos can’t wait to apply the principals they learned from this spirited teacher at the next 88 classes of their epic journey and will never forget the deep words Chiara left them with…“Remember,” she said smiling, “always put your ass in every asana”.  

You can be sure, the Yo Yos, always lookin’ for adventure, will be checkin’ for  Chiara’s next Italian Yoga Retreat!


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Day 29 Portland-Bikram Southeast-Douglas

So what makes 1 ½ hours, 26 testing poses, and a sizzlin’ hot, steamy room so addicting that fiercely loyal devotees of Bikram just keep comin’ back for more…and more?!?

Bikram Yoga Southest

Bikram Yoga Southest

The YoYo’s went in search of the answer to this age old question as we left for Bikram Yoga Southeast, where we were directed by a group of “bonded by blog” yogis.  The YoYos hit this “knowin’ we’re gonna sear” class early, before the day hit its predicted 95 degrees, which didn’t deter this colossal crowd of faithful followers to come ready and eager to begin this toasty experience.

Douglas, the owner tried to trick the YoYo’s into thinkin’ we had walked into an upscale spa with all those rich colors, aromatic scents, hip concrete floors, stylish dressing rooms and trendy mood lighting. The cool space made the YoYo’s almost relax as we entered the packed room of blowin’ heat while waiting to begin this “o dear God,” challenging practice.

Douglas

Douglas

Entering with his “radio” voice, vivacious inflection and undeniable charisma, Douglas made this demanding routine super engaging.  Continually moving through the students in this vast studio, this focused teacher ensured each yogi was on the mark, as he sporadically interrupted the set postures to realign the class guaranteeing veterans and first timers worked their butts off; gettin’ what they came here for… and more!  The YoYo’s were wiped…but not wiped out.   Somehow feelin’ strong, after we came back to our senses, we walked into that “spa”…took a quick shower…wrapped up in the soft fluffy robes that Douglas had for his after class yogis…and felt pretty happy that we didn’t die.

Sellwood Bridge

Sellwood Bridge

So happy in fact, that we ran over to eat, “fresh from the farm”, Oregon strawberries turned gelato from Staccato Gelato, drank gallons of water and went wanderin’ through the charming neighborhood of Sellwood…  The home to antiquein’, coffee drinkin’, lots’ o’ park attendin’ and the most mind-bendin’, adrenaline raisin’ bridge on earth.  This “always something happenin’ here”, shiny happy families holdin’ hands and walkin’ their dogs ‘hood is a cool place to just hang  …and take spot-on, first-class Bikram Yoga.


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Day 58 SF-Yoga Tree-Rusty Wells

Rusty Wells

Rusty Wells

The YoYo’s can’t remember a time when we spoke of yoga in “The City” when the name Rusty Wells, didn’t dynamically enter the conversation by an adoring yogi who was afraid we were to miss this yogi luminary.

Leavin’ our fleeting seaside haven at the crack o’ dawn, we warily dodged a zillion colorful 2- wheeled crazies racin’ on fog engulfed  Mt. Tam, to ensure the 58th day of our “most excellent” adventure was to find us in the popular Sunday Mornin’, “Church of Rusty”.  Warned repeatedly by yogis near and far that this “not to miss” class would “fill up,” we arrived at Yoga Tree –Castro so early, that the usually feisty streets of this lively neighborhood were still quiet, and the doors of this San Francisco Yoga Mecca, still locked. Cool… the YoYo’s had just enough time to buzz it up with just a tiny cup from Philz… the YoYo’s latest obsession.

The "Church of Rusty" Rocks

The "Church of Rusty" Rocks

Meanderin’ back mere minutes later, we found the illustrious studio had turned into a virtual yogi convention. Yogis…yogis everywhere!  Loudly laugin,’ animatedly chattin’, and excitedly enjoyin’ this time, this space and each other;  the YoYo’s unaccustomed to “pre-funk”  festivity, loved joinin’ in with our 143 high-spirited neighbors.

Genuine Bhakti Flows

Genuine Bhakti Flows

Rusty began as his rich resonating voice accompanied by his percussive tambourine filled the huge space with a heartfelt chant which his bevy of adjusting assistants and every enthusiastic yogi joyously repeated with unbridled enthusiasm.   This feel-good, love fest of music soon gave way to Rusty’s “now we know what they’re talkin’ about”, kick your butt and melt your heart flow. With a rockin’ soundtrack and rousin’ warm-up, the YoYo’s felt their temperature explode and power turn on as Rusty’s seamless sequence and profound life lessons ignited our muscles, expanded our minds and warmed our hearts. Funny, inspiring, and spiritual, this jubilant leader encouraged dedicating our practice to someone “we would give it all for”, as he continued to develop this time into something much richer than perfectly aligned asana.  Ending the same empowering way this mind-blowin’ class began, except a whole hell of a lot wetter, we gratefully joined in the energetic chant with this charismatic leader and the fortunate yogis lucky enough to call him, Teacher.


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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 85 LA-Exhale-Hala Khouri

It appears the uniform of choice in L.A.’s yoga rich beach cities is the go-anywhere, little black flip flops accessorized with mat on back. You see it everywhere… walkin, bikin’ and scurryin’ to classes that seemingly take place every hour, on every corner.

Hala Khouri

Hala Khouri

But how the “headin’ south after the last day in L.A”, YoYos ask; do these bazillion accomplished yogis get started in this strange new world? Wouldn’t it be just a tad intimidatin’ for the “never done yoga before” minority to just jump in with theses super-bendy, Sanskrit talkin’, Kirtan chantin’, anti-gravity yogis that call this yoga Mecca home? Now, our blog-readers know that these mountain-livin’ YoYos began their “most excellent” quest parked in front of the flat screen where they remained for 3 years with the illustrious Bryan Kest. But, with that same Bryan and a regular Holy Host of some of the finest instructors in the world, teachin’ live, at a studio near these lucky, beachy ones; the chance to train early on…up close and personal, is, in our humble opinion, a gift beyond words.

Yogini and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner

Yogini and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner

Guided to Hala Khouri’s Yoga 1-2 class by the mat-carryin’ masses to investigate the question of launch and dive into yogidom, we were to experience how this “backbone” teacher of the illustrious Exhale, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, degreed psychologist and co-founder of “Off the Mat into the World,” introduces, refines and deepens the strange movements, unusual breath and enriching philosophy of yoga to L.A.’s curious.

Sweet Hala began her inclusive, welcoming class with the YoYo’s fave, “lyin’onyourbackasana”, as she invited this inquisitive group to feel their connection to breath and body. Demonstrating a series of spine loosenin’ poses followed by a challengin’ core sequence, Hala gently explained the importance of warmin’ up various body parts before salutin’, bendin’ and twistin’ through this masterful, full-body, 90 minute practice. Continually encouraging every yogi to internalize the “advanced practice concept” of listenin’ to your body, she persistently invited backin’ off throughout the comprehensive sequences of lunges, twists, balance and backbends. Rich with valuable insights and yogic philosophy, this talented guide broke it down to the simple practice that it is…takin’ away all mystery and deepenin’ this “most amazin’” practice to those who dare to plunge into the “arms wide open” world of yoga.


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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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