Posts Tagged ‘Iyengar Yoga’

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

Share

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!

Share

Day 24 Portland-Gudmestad-Hope Fyfield

A Brand New Day in Portland

A Brand New Day in Portland

Loudly singin’ the YoYo’s theme… “Turn the clock to zero, honey…Sell the stock; we’ll spend (what’s left after the downturn in the economy) money…STARTIN’ OF A BRAND NEW DAY…

We approached large block letters on the giant John’s Landing office reading “Gudmestad and Associates.” O.K.…we think we’re in the right place. Up the stairs we find a super spacious studio – one of three, and on the other side of the huge lobby…the impressive Gudmestad physical therapy offices.

Julie Gudmestad, owner of this east-meets west, balance producin’ community and author of Yoga Journal’s well-read column, “Anatomy of a Yogi”, unites western physical therapy with the healing energy of yoga. Currently away, sharing her vast knowledge of yoga’s therapeutic benefits and anatomy awareness, we were generously put in the capable hands of Physical Therapist and Yoga Instructor, Hope Fyfield.

Darn Near Perfect

Darn Near Perfect

Now, the misguided YoYo’s like to think they know a bit ‘bout alignin’ the bones.… but on this, brand new day, Hope changed that foolish belief, bringing fresh perspective to time-honored asanas. Good natured Hope just took all the time in the world to ensure that every vertebra, in every yogi in that room was well accounted for. Slow and strong, smooth and long … She got the YoYo’s thinkin’ in a brand new way …and thinkin’ they’ll be ‘bout the hips, tips and various other body parts that worked their little hearts out during that against the wall, “do it ‘till its darn-near perfect” positioning.

The Gudmestad Gang

The Gudmestad Gang

“Feelin straighter than a stick”, the 2” taller YoYos, understood they were in the presence of greatness and had to check out the impressive bios of all the other teachers at this one-of- a- kind, seriously relaxed, specialized studio. Would you believe these first rate Physical Therapist/Yoga Instructors are competitive cyclists, long distance runners and Olympic Nordic skiers? Although un yogi-like, this can make a YoYo start to feel a little “less than”.

Never done yoga before? Tri-athlete? Hurtin’? Pinnacle of Yogidom? The YoYos are pretty sure anyone can benefit from the super-body alignin’ instruction at this “Lucky for Portland” professional studio.

Share

Day 27 Portland-Sunset Yoga-Nina Pieiggi

For a fleeting moment, The YoYos thought about just hangin’ in front of the ginormous flat panel watchin’ the Yoga Channel in our “please can we live here?” suite at the Hotel Vintage Plaza, but today, it was off to Sunset Yoga Center, a strictly Iyengar studio in Beaverton.

Nina Pieiggi

Nina Pieiggi

Located on a “thank god we have GPS” side street, owner Nina Pileggi, student of the Iyengar family, warmly welcomed us into her serene, light filled studio.  Eye-ballin’ a wall of strange hangin’ ropes, perfectly folded blankets, colorful pillows and bolsters and ”the icing on the cake” folding chairs… the “feelin’ every muscle in their body”, YoYo’s,  mistakenly thought, “SCORE… we’re sittin’ this one out!”

Yo Yo Yogiman or Houdini?

Yo Yo Yogiman or Houdini?

Then… tricky Nina gently began class by openin’ our “never to return to their original shape” shoulders usin’ those humble hangin’ ropes and proceeded to thoroughly break down every asana usin’ all those pretty props, flawlessly aligning every yogi before goin’ deeper and deeper and deeper into an almost picture perfect pose.   We’re still tryin’ to figure out how we got our YoYo bodies into that “ Yo!” shoulder stand while hangin’ off a chair, and how the Houdini-like Yo Yo Yogiman, got out of those ropes when takin’  the courageous plunge to  hang upside down.  The YoYos walked out of this no-nonsense studio feeling light as a feather, open and super-strong… ready to take on their biggest challenge yet.

Wasabi-Burns Racing

Wasabi-Burns Racing

The “most excellent adventure seeking” YoYo’s, and “always entertaining” friends, lit-up when their, “permanently up to somethin’ cool” pal, Keith, suggested we take a “ride” on a river boat.  Soon, we realized that all those hangin’ ropes and pretty props were about to be a regular gift from God, as we  discovered this e-ticket “ride” on the famous Portland icon, DRAGON BOAT, was about to kick our  butts… arms, legs, shoulders and when we finally got it right… core!   These super-cool, big ol’ boats holdin’ 20 focused paddlers, race in teams down that river… and tonight we found ourselves practicin’ with the unrivaled super team, “Wasabi Burn.“  This totally “in sync” group of ace paddlers dared the YoYos to practice everything we had ever learned from Yoga… Be present… Be Focused… Breathe… and most importantly… Don’t Freak Out!  Water splashin’, sunglasses flyin’,  the YoYo’s were pushed to their limit, tryin’ not to screw up the perfect rhythm of this super dedicated group of fun lovin’ Portlanders that meet 3x a week to work as one. Thanks to all the inspiring Dragon Boaters for puttin’ up with a couple of YoYos and their pals. ….Wasabi Burn kicks some serious butt!

Share

Day 41 SF-Turtle Island Yoga-Tony Briggs

Zen Yo Yo

Zen Yo Yo

When the over-zealous YoYo’s were sent an article from the Wall Street Journal, with a headline reading… “The YoYo Has Had Ups and Downs, But It’s Far From End of Its String”… we shouted “SCORE!

Bummed were we, when we actually read the article to discover it was about the other YoYo, not the kind that goes on “most excellent” yoga adventures.  Jealous of a plastic toy, we reluctantly scrutinized every word about the latest-greatest, “better than ever” plaything equipped with high-tech ball bearings that makes these puppies move at the speed of sound.

Our sour way of thinkin’ disappeared as we suddenly understood-we were one with our namesake- YoYo!  Ups-Downs… Far From End of String… New, Improved Version.  Cool!  Looks like some things that have been around a while are…. better than ever!

Tony Briggs

Tony Briggs

And so it was today as the YoYo’s really did SCORE with yoga legend Tony Briggs at his studio, Turtle Island Yoga in San Anselmo.  Renown throughout the San Francisco Bay, Tony studied in both India and the United States with B.K.S. Iyengar and his daughter, Geeta…the YoYo’s were pretty sure they were about to have a “real deal” practice from this respected leader that was busy teaching before yoga had mats.

Turtle Island Yoga

Turtle Island Yoga

Packed with habitual students that traveled from near and far to attend this Hatha 3-5 class, the experienced yogis grabbed their props of every shape and size as the “what do we do now?,” YoYo’s, took instruction from this “down to earth”, easy to understand, super cool guide.  Startin’ in Supta Virasana supported with bolsters by Tony, professor of perfectly placed props, we felt our bodies start to release-big time!  And so it was… as Tony guided us through prolonged postures using blocks, straps, blankets and bolsters in ways the YoYo’s never imagined.  All those prankster, comfy lookin’ supports did an about face as we realized they weren’t there for sleepin,’ but rather as support to allow us to go deeper and deeper into the sequenced body openin’, mind-expandin’ asana that Dr. Tony prescribed. Good thing this guy was about as funny as they get, otherwise we may have, at- times wept, during this 2 hour class that we only wish would have lasted longer…and so did all the other yogis.  After class, students hung around, chattin’, askin’ questions, and just wantin’ a little more “Tony” time so they could continue to be around this “big hug” of a yoga teacher that’s far from the end of his string.


Share

Day 50 SF-Piedmont Yoga-Ann Dyer

Yo!…Day 50…  Already half way through this most excellent adventure… and the “spinnin’ on a dime”, YoYo’s celebrated by throwin’ their “best laid plans” out the proverbial window.  Seems the “in the know” Bay Area yogis are a little more than adamant about addin’ more epic of the epic teachers to the YoYo’s vast itinerary.  So “away we go” on this divine day, as we head waaaaay across the Bay to the space where luminary owners Rodney Yee and Richard Rosen, bring yoga leaders of legendary scope together at the Piedmont Yoga Studio.  This stellar studio voted “Best Yoga Studio 2009″ by the readers of East Bay Express offers yoga classes for everybody;  seniors, disabled persons, people suffering from illnesses, mom’s to be and well, …just everybody!

Ann Dyer

Ann Dyer

Today, we had the profound pleasure of takin’ a Hatha 2-4 class at this celebrated studio from Ann Dyer, ex-dancer, former jazz singer and now, on now her 3rd blissful life, as a “most excellent” Hatha and Nada yoga instructor.  Using her spiritually rich gift of voice, Anne joyfully began by filling the room with a most beautiful, soothing chant that relaxed the YoYo’s into Ann’s theme of the day….Shoulders!

Yogini and Singer

Yogini of Sound

Shoulders openin’, shoulders rotatin’, and shoulders at times, feelin’ like they were gonna fall off;  we learned how to use the tops, sides and blades of those “holdin’ the weight of the world” ledges to allow our chest, back and even our kidneys to open- or in Ann speak, “fluff”!  Rehearsing Ann’s scientific lesson through familiar postures during this subtle, yet advanced practice we learned to make our “tired” Down Dog’s and Warrior One’s, feel bright, shiny and new!

The YoYo’s loved practicin’ what we were learnin’ under Ann’s super-experienced microscopic eye, knowing these priceless lessons were a gift to take with us on the next 50 days…and the rest of our yogi lives!

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Feelin’ strappin’ and strong after our most remarkable time with brilliant Ann, the YoYo’s took a long drive to the Pacific Ocean. Wearin’ sweats and sweaters, hats and gloves….we heard every beautiful language on the planet earth being spoken at Muir Beach, “The United Nations of Marin County”. Whippin’ wind didn’t faze the always curious YoYo’s who decided to climb above the opaque fog to get the “full monty” of this jaw-droppin’ place that people come from all over the world to see.

Lucky YoYo’s are we!  Fifty down and 50 most excellent days to go!


Share