Posts Tagged ‘Ashtanga’

Day 19 Portland-The Yoga Space-Michele Loew

The Yoga Space

The Yoga Space

To get that deep, opening flow goin’, all a YoYo really needs is a big old space to throw down a mat, a super-focused teacher, and an awesome community of “chill” yogis…Today, we found exactly that in SE Portland, behind a white corner storefront with a small sandwich sign aptly announcing, “The Yoga Space”.   A better name in the entire world couldn’t be found for this unassuming spot that was custom made for “soul” Yoga. 

No fanfare, no frills…no butt liftin’, tummy suckin’, cleavage enhancin’ yoga wear at this “it’s all about the yoga” studio.  Nope, this unique space with 100 year old floors, huge windows and “no worries” attitude keeps it simple, allowing owner and teacher extraordinaire Michele Lowe, to continue on a path of world-wide learning so she can bring it back to her well established and growing community of loyal yogis. 

Spot-on, the YoYos were lovin’ Michele’s unique ability to expertly adjust every body and every asana for everyone in this full, “even on the 4th of July”, class making the all-levels Vinyasa Flow easy to follow for the newbie or “born in headstand” yogi.  No wonder the tight-knit community at Yoga Space keeps comin’ back for MORE and more, especially on Tuesday and Thursday night when The Yoga Space serves up a $5 Happy Hour Class… Now, that’s a yogi style deal! 

Walkin’ out the door, we realized …it was goin’ to be a scorcher here in P-Town…
Burnin’ Blues…Blazin’ Fireworks… Sizzlin’ Fare
So…off we headed to the Waterfront, for a little 4th of July action….Portland Style!

Waterfront Blues Festival

Waterfront Blues Festival

4th Of July Fireworks

4th Of July Fireworks

Yo! The YoYos haven’t seen a crowd like this since Obama’s innaguration… Food from everywhere on Planet Earth, sounds from Blues Superstars, people watchin’ that will end all future people watchin’ and the most excellent Fiery Party in the Sky… and to think… this is all about this community givin’ back to the Oregon Food Bank.  The Annual  Safeway Water Front Blues Festival- fund raiser/party is the biggest of the year and that’s sayin’ something for a lively city that’s all about micro-brews, happy hours, and supporting those in need.

Could it be that we are goin’ on Capt’n Jason’s lil sailboat to watch the fireworks on the water? Of all the places in all the world, there is nowhere the YoYos would rather be than in Portland tonight!

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Day 37 Santa Cruz-AYI-Mangala

After yesterday’s exhilarating bombardment of dazzlin’ colors and deafenin’ sounds, the YoYo’s raced the morning sun in search of a little peace at the beach before once again, all hell broke loose.

West Cliff Drive

West Cliff Drive

Above the madcap action of the Santa Cruz seashore, we came across a serene 2 ½ mile path that skirts illustrious West Cliff Drive. A magnet for runners, walkers, bikers and everything surfer, this tree lined path overlooks the untamed ocean filled with hard core wave riders testing their mettle at legendary Steamer Lane, the birthplace of mainland surfing.  Along our wandering, we pay homage to the gigantic surfing statue and the old lighthouse that now houses the surfer’s museum. YoYoYogiman turned Geraldo- Investigative Reporter; talked with some wet suit wearin’, board carryin’, wave riders who were practicin’ a little Adho Mukha Svanasana and Bhada Konasana before they jumped in.  Seems these yoga practicin’ surfers thought strength, flexibility and calmness of mind was always good when the big ones hit.

Surfer Joe

Surfer Joe

Leavin’ the serenity of this picture-perfect, laid-back viewing spot, we sauntered over to our much anticipated class at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in the Pacific Cultural Center which is supported by the Hanuman Fellowship, a non-profit organization founded by students of Baba Hari Dass, the master yogi from India who has maintained a vow of silence since 1952.

Ashtanga Yoga Institute

Ashtanga Yoga Institute

A soothing fountain and colorful gardens, welcomed the already blissed out YoYo’s into the massive old church that oozed decades of peaceful energy.

Mangala Norskog

Mangala Norskog

Mangala Norskog, the gifted teacher of the teachers and the lucky YoYo’s teacher tonight started the class with a beautiful chant, setting the tone of peace and tranquility in this spiritual space.  Seated, she began a flowing pranayama practice making room for the calming Ashtanga level 1-2 practice and continued, giving clear, precise, and anatomically right-on easy to follow Q’s.  Her slow, steady tempo, magnificent tone and gentle ease led the class perfectly from one carefully defined asana to the next.  Interlaced with love and devotion, the YoYo’s felt our heart and bodies open from this powerfully meditative class.

After witnessing the Santa Cruz superstar surfers, The YoYos are pretty sure that they must be dedicated students of The Pacific Cultural Center.

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Day 57 SF-Yoga Works-Peggy Orr

Bolinas Coastal Cafe

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Seems impossible that after just a few thousand cliff-hangin’ switchbacks we’ll find ourselves on the swarmin’ 101, surrounded by trendy ‘hoods and spendy real estate.  Before headin’ through flora and fauna, saltwater and shoppin’ malls, the YoYo’s and The Ru savored the sights of Bolinas; a shrine to liberal nirvana of the magnificent Marin County coast – population 1,246.   One organic restaurant,  one health food store,  one cool yoga providin’ community center, loads of peace symbols,  and tons of “OM”bama signs… no wonder the shadowy organization “Bolinas Border Patrol” ripped down the signs pointin’ to their secret sanctuary .

Bolinas Surfers

Surfer's Paradise

Feelin’ fine from the salt air and good vibes from the artists, writers, eccentrics and surfers that make this seaside retreat their home, we head to Larkspur Landing to continue our amazing day .

Peggy Orr - YogaWorks Mill Valley teacher

Peggy Orr

The astute YoYo’s know that when we’re referred to a teacher a few dozen times…something’s goin’ on.  From Seattle to San Francisco, teachers and students alike communicated the dire importance of making it to Peggy Orr’s “not to miss” class while in the Bay.  Thanks to the “off the charts” energy and enthusiasm of June Katzen, manager of the stunning Yoga Works– Larkspur, the YoYo’s found ourselves warmly welcomed into Peggy’s 6 year strong,  jam-packed, mid- day class of loyal yogis. Today, we were to bear witness to the accomplishments of a steadfast practice with an inspiring and gifted teacher.

Peggy’s smooth voice and sax soundtrack resonated as she slowly unfolded a class that first warmed us and then encouraged us to find our unique practice within the structured guidelines of this beautifully sequenced class.  The YoYo’s couldn’t help but notice Peggy’s accomplished clan of resolute students  confidently pullin’ off one-of-a-kind modifications and sometimes even fuller expressions to the many testing asanas that Peggy introduced. Offering time and space to explore, 100- eyed Peggy observed every yogi’s pose while her talented hands offered flawless adjustments to those wanting to experiment with something challenging or new.

Safety in the hands of an expert, and security in this house of friends, these lucky yogis have built an incredible practice under the guiding eyes of this truly “not to miss” teacher.


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Day 63 Santa Barbara-Yoga Soup-Steve Dwelley

Knowin’ our time in Santa Barbara was close to the end, we decided to play “tourist for the day”.  Walkin’ with The Ru; the wise, kind, old, nobody wants on their restaurant patio, grandfather cocker spaniel, we went in search of just one place that would allow this luminary canine in for a little weekend breakfast.  Turned away, the disheartened YoYo’s reflected on Portland,  where it was rockstar, Ru, that opened doors to the best happy hours in town for his schlepping’ YoYo’s.

Sambos

Sambos

Finally, we found Sambo’s- circa 1957, the YoYo’s were pretty sure nothing had changed except maybe the prices and the politically incorrect story about some kid who chased a tiger around a tree so many times, the tiger turned to butter…or something like that.  The Ru, along with his YoYo entourage were warmly received into the nostalgic patio… where we all happily ate pancakes.

Santa Barbara Carousel

Santa Barbara Carousel

Off to the Art Faire, where every Sunday artist and craftspeople line the magnificent oceanfront selling everything from inspired paintings to quilted pacifier holders; through the ocean park we travel to find the 1917 carousel, watch happy duck families swimmin’ in the pond and sharpen our “off to see the wizard” footwork down the red brick road that leads us to that “super-cool” studio….Yoga Soup.

Steve Dwelley

Steve Dwelley

Today, we take our first Ashtanga primary series class from renowned Santa Barbara teacher, Steve Dwelley, who studied this athletic sequence extensively with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in India.  This laid-back teacher who quietly kicked our ass, reminded us that as your practice expands… seemingly backwards you go…  learnin’ all over again…  like a 2- year- old whose continually growin’.  Well said, as many times in this challenging class, the YoYo’s became well acquainted with their inner child….especially during that repeated “odeargod” jump back into vinyasa, and jump through into seated sequence. The YoYo’s love Steve’s smooth, helpful energy and his deep connection to this “takin’ it to the edge” group,  who understood the meaning of embracing the challenge of this physically demanding class.

Yoga Soup Library

Yoga Soup Library

After this dynamic practice, the YoYo’s headed straight to the outrageous Yoga Soup library to see what we could see and learn what we could learn…beginin’ by embracin’ our practice and our study with the mind of a child.

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Day 75 LA-Power Yoga- Bryan Kest

Now, some may think this “most excellent” adventure began 75 days ago when the “road-trippin’” YoYos packed The Ru; the wise, kind, old, “been everywhere man”, cocker spaniel, into the Suby disguised as a YoYo billboard and started hittin’ killler yoga studios on the west coast… but it ain’t true. This wild ride began eons ago when the then, hyper YoYo Yogini, was handed a video tape by a chum; hopin’ she might learn to “chill”a bit.

Power Yoga 1-2-3

Power Yoga 1-2-3

Watchin’ that unbeknownst to us at the time, life changin’ cartridge, the curious YoYo’s became captivated by a jean-sportin’, body challengin’, philosophy drippin’ dude who kept tellin’ us to… breathe.  Now, the mistaken YoYos thought we were breathin,’ but persistently we forged ahead, usin’ our best gym-rat skills and spent the next hour gruntin’ our way through the classic, Bryan Kest Power Yoga, Vol 3 Sweat.

For three full years, before ever settin’ foot into a “live” class, the now nose breathin’, stronger and chiller YoYo’s found a day was not complete without releasin’ a few toxins and an all night dialogue comparin’ various body parts. It was a happy YoYo day when we finally acquired “ 3’s” companions, Power Yoga, Vol  1 and 2 to round out our “extensive” yoga library.

Bryan Kest

Bryan Kest

Fast forward – one decade later…

Lookin’ for a “nowhere to be seen” sign on the busy  street, the baffled YoYos spotted a “traveled from Germany ” yogini, who assured us a hidden, unmarked doorway would lead us to the gigantic, unpretentious space of the famed, Bryan Kest Santa Monica Power Yoga studio.

Upstairs on Santa Monica Blvd

Upstairs on Santa Monica Blvd

Full circle, we were transported as 3-D Bryan began… “Alright everybody, let’s start in child’s pose”.  The upgraded YoYos, now the proud owners of every video, DVD , and  MP3 ever made by our virtual teacher,  were pretty sure that over the next 90+ minutes we were gonna get our minds stretched and asses kicked by Bryan’s signature, sensual practice.

We just love this guy

Namaste

The cool style of this master teacher proceeded to more than accomplish our belief, while workin’ every body part to hell and back, creating openings we never knew we had and “flirt” with muscles we had only heard about. With his inexhaustible emphasis on the breath, and sound advice to “back-off” before ya loose it, our grounded, colorful-speakin’, no-nonsense YoYo guru gave us exactly what we came here for… that amazin’ body-stretchin’, mind-expandin’ peace-providin’ practice… Bryan Style…  and the mind-blowin’ opportunity to meet our life-changin’ hero.

The YoYo’s loved this class and this man, who was the catalyst for our “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 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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YoYoYogi… Up Close and Personal in P-Town!

My o my.. how time FLYS when you’re blissin’ in the super-stylin’ “100 year old”  bricks and mortar studio of YoYoYogi!

It was only 4 fleetin’ weeks ago that yogis and the super-curious began their bare-footin‘  journey through our unknown doors.  Seems the seriously fun mission of YoYoYogi…. to bring thick and thin, young and old, big dudes and tiny grandmas together, under one beautiful, historic roof to experience many of the BEST teachers in Portland “unleashed and uncensored”…  has really caught on.

Since our first momentous day, the “never done yoga, can’t touch my toes” variety, has now… done yoga, and is workin’ down the leg and toward that foot… quite nicely thank you .  The brief-case slingin’ sort have found themselves “chillin’” and oftentimes moanin’ in an unexpected sweet release. Super-duper yogis have found themselves upside-down, inside-out and backwards.  And, those of the venturesome ilk have found that dance, martial arts and yoga is one hell of a super-fun soup as they experience the grace of a warrior in  “Samurai” Yoga”.

New friends have been made in the “Fun of Flying” team sport of AcroYoga and bodies have been stretched an inch in Yogaaaahhh bliss.   And, smiles, voices, strength and breath have been re-discovered in classes with goofy names that the YoYoYogi family of “off the charts” teachers have unleashed on this unsuspecting community. What a month it has been!

We hope you’ll keep on keepin’ on and if you haven’t checked out our $28 First Month of Unlimited Yoga… What are you Waitin’ For???

Tell your friends, tell your strangers… this mind-bendin’, body-stretchin, peace providin’ Yoga is… nothin’ but cool!

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