Posts Tagged ‘Power Yoga’

Day 1 Seattle-Shakti Vinyasa Yoga-Lisa Black

Seattle, Washington, June 15, 2009

Shakti Vinyasa Yoga / Ballard – Lisa Black

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Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park

The sun’s shinin’, the birds singin’ as we cross the threshold of our cool Queen Anne apartment and UNLOAD…we packed for 100 days, but this is ridiculous….all we really need is the itinerary of the Best Yoga Studios and Teachers on the West Coast, the Manduka, the Toes, the Mac, the ipod, the wise, kind, old grandfather cocker spaniel, Rudy (author of down dogisms), and of course, each other. However, it seems we brought just a little bit more. Hundreds of stairs later, (we keep sayin’ it’s good for the butt), we looked out the window to the awe-inspiring Puget Sound and watched as the diamonds jumped off the water – takin’ a deep breath…

LisaBlack_Shakti

Lisa Black

We ramped it into high gear and headed to the studio that Seattle magazine rates as the #1 Power studio in the city, Shakti Vinyasa Yoga, to take a Power 2 class from studio owner, Lisa Black.  The YoYo’s got  ready to SWEAT knowing that Lisa was featured in Yoga Journal 2008 as one of the top “talented young teachers shaping the future of yoga”. Wearing as little as the law allows, we raced across town to the quaint neighborhood of Ballard.

We were greeted by a kaleidoscope of eye-poppin’ colors that invigorated the mind and calmed the spirit at this stunning studio.  Instantly, we felt the welcoming energy of our fellow yogis at Shakti Vinyasa Yoga and understood why Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga is rippin’ up the yoga community, attracting supporters at light speed.

Shakti Vinyasa -Ballard

Shakti Vinyasa -Ballard

Lisa Black, Senior Master Baptiste Instructor, powered it up and the YoYo’s knew something very special was about to go down..  Her voice…so soothing, her easy way…so experienced, we didn’t realize until after class that we’d had every yoyo muscle worked to its infinite edge and back again.   Lisa’s adjustments were beyond compare as she assisted each student to a new level…was that really YoYoYogi man hangin’ in one-legged/armed-whatever crow…?

We went in search of “not to miss studios” on the west coast – Shakti Vinyasa Yoga is all that and more!

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Day 2 Seattle-Shakti Vinyasa East-Lisa Black

Shakti Vinyasa Yoga / Bellevue – Lisa Black

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Pike Place Market

A Mecca for fruit, veggies, flowers, damn good street musicians, tourist, and the YoYo’s, Pike Place Market is a microcosm of the Emerald City. Old, young, every color and country on earth is represented in the outrageous gift of this square mile. Fun & Funky, the sights and sounds of this farmer’s bounty enlivens every YoYo cell and encourages us to just breathe and be as we prepare for a return trip to the teachin’ excellence of Lisa Black.  Tonight we head across town to Shakti Vinyasa Yoga EAST to her newest studio in Bellevue, Washington.

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Peter Avolio and Lisa Black

Lisa Black’s Shakti 3 is her powerful & challenging Signature Class. Based on her creative genius from the previous night, we are excited to take it on.  We find the Bellevue studio on a quaint street of boutique businesses and enter the jaw-droppin’ beauty of this innovative studio.  Photos on the wall of Lisa and husband, Peter Avolio, remind the YoYo’s that the owners/directors of Shakti Vinyasa Yoga are renown throughout the yogi community. The gorgeous palettes of colors throughout the studio are so delicious it made us want to eat the walls. Gi-normous windows flooded the room with light….but the killer interior was just the openin’ act… Lisa’s Shakti 3 class was the headliner!

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Lisa Black Assisted Backbend

The encouraging, evenly-paced voice of this talented teacher effortlessly moved the class through ultra-creative, fluid movements. An hour of the sweetest flow seemed like mere minutes as the YoYo’s totally peaced-out. Lisa guided the class through practice expandin’ arm balances, backbends and inversions while she gave her heart n’ soul to everyone who wanted to ‘give it a go”.

Perfectly placed, her rockin’ tunes and good humor gave Lisa’s signature Shakti 3 class, life, FUN and energy.

Shakti 3=SO SUH-WEET!!!


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Day 18 Portland-CPY NW-James Grant

Studious RU

Studious RU

Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts District

Today was the day The Ru; the wise, kind, old, “soon to be published” grandfather cocker spaniel had been waitin’ for since bein’ stuffed in the YoYo mobile and forced to explore parts unknown to begin this epic adventure. So happy was author Ru, that “Down Dogisms” was to be made available in “About Us” in the YoYoYogi blog that we celebrated by goin’ to that ‘hood great writers had gone before…The Alberta Arts District. Here, he could gather fodder for his plagiarized reflections. Swaggering Ru, felt at “one” with this avant-garde community of coffee houses, old-school barber shops, toy stores, head shops, rib pits, stores made out of tin and wine stores sellin’ zin. A day of relaxin’, was just what the 3 of needed… knowin’ a most welcome treat and thorough butt-kickin’ was waitin’ for us on the other side of town.

James Grant

James Grant

Now, Every roadtrippin’ yogi needs a place to call h“OM”e and when the YoYo’s feel the need for speed, it’s all about Portland’s, “turn up the volume” yoga…CorePower Yoga-NW! Vigorous and humblin’, these “power-worshippin’” yogis love this potent, super-sweaty, swarmin’ room with killer music, monster humidifiers, and ever-changin’ inspired flows. It was here, in this addicted yoga community that the YoYos first laid eyes on James Grant… doin’ some kinda something while standin’ on what appeared to be one finger with legs flyin’ ever which way. Now, we’d had been hangin’ with yoga for years, but never had we seen anything like this… and to think, today, the courageous YoYos were to challenge themselves beyond previous capacity at this accomplished teacher’s, 90 minute- 100 degree Core 3 class.

Startin’ slowly and quickly pickin’ up the dramatic pace, this artistic guide kept our minds busy while leadin’ our bodies in hot pursuit of that continually expandin’ edge throughout this inspired, inventive and super-original flow. Blarin’ tunes that rocked our world and messages that melted our hearts, this innovative leader reiterated our unwaverin’ belief that there IS… No Place like h”om”e.

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Day 38 Santa Cruz-One Yoga-Mark Stephens

Veterans Memorial Santa Cruz

Veterans Memorial Santa Cruz

Now, that’s what these power-cravin’, sweat lovin’, YoYo’s are talkin’ about!  Tonight, on our last HOO-RAH, in this wacky beach town of Santa Cruz, we followed the zillion yoga mats runnin’ to  One Yoga, vibrantly living in the 1932 Veterans Memorial Building smack in the middle of fun & funky downtown.  Beautiful, white and old… the YoYo’s ran up the antique steps to find a ginormous space with massive beamed ceiling, gorgeous antique casement windows and expansive fir floors.  The activity level was “off the charts” as yogis of every age, size, and level of ability gathered with pre-rock concert noise and enthusiasm.

Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens

The YoYo’s scrambled to find an elusive 6’X 2’ space in the midst of 60+ yogis who came to challenge every inch of their mind and body as master teacher, Mark Stephens, recipient of the 1st Karma Yoga Award from Yoga Journal and soon to be published author of “The Art and Science of Teaching Yoga”, opened the class with an earth shakin’ “OM”.  Failin’ to stay in the yogi moment, the YoYo’s couldn’t help but imagine every yogi in this high energy class wearing a super-cool “Om BIG” Tee,  from Seattle based company “Be Truly You.”

One Yoga Santa Cruz

One Yoga Santa Cruz

Sweatin’, and workin’ every inch of our cravin’ to be tested YoYo bodies, we got just what we came for … and more, in this nearly 2 hour vinyasa flow class.  The YoYo’s loved the skilled adjustments, helpful assistants, awesome music and the magical way this experienced teacher masterfully taught to every level in this joyus, high energy class.

San Gregorio Beach

San Gregorio Beach

Powered up and ready to rumble, the yoyoy-in’, YoYo’s knew their next stop was 3 hours UP the coast to Marin County.   Jumpin’ in the YoYo mobile,  we oooohhhh’d and ahhhhhh’d all the way up to San Francisco wonderin’ why these jaw-droppin’ beaches on the Central California Coast were completely void of humanity.  Quiet, serene and beautiful…if we hadn’t just had our YoYo butts kicked, we would have thrown down the Manduka and had one heck of a… practice in paradise!


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Day 40 SF-Power of Yoga-Sherri Baptiste

Walt & Magana Baptiste

Walt & Magana Baptiste

When the YoYos got the invite from Sherri Baptiste to visit her class in the Bay Area, we were ecstatic at the improbable thought of being up close and personal with Sherri, daughter of the late Walt and still teaching, Magana, the legendary pioneers of Yoga in America. The YoYo’s can only imagine the changes that have taken place since this ground breakin’ couple opened their first yoga studio in San Francisco in the 1950’s.  We wonder what it must be like for the next generation of these trailblazers who masterfully carry on the family legacy, as they see a ba-zillion yogis walkin’ down city streets with mat on back; knowin’ it was their family who was momentous to the explosion of yoga in the U.S.!

Sherri Baptiste

Sherri Baptiste

We entered the state-of-the art, Jewish Community Center in San Rafael, one of the many Bay Area spaces where Sherri teaches over 300 students each week when not leading her international retreats.   Welcomed by “full of life”, “ball of energy” Sherri, the YoYo’s were immediately made to feel as if we were a vital part of this committed group of yogis who meet regularly to inhale the distinctive Baptiste style.

The YoYo’s valued today’s precise lesson in pranayama as Sherri continually used counted breath as a way to bring awareness to focused breathing, the fundamental premise of this energizing, one hour vinyasa flow. Persisting, we observed deep rhythmic, flowing oxygen as we practiced effortless transitions; learning that smoothly shifting from one pose to the next was vital to this signature practice.   And, there was more… as this “wealth of information” teacher guided this class through postures using blocks in unfamiliar ways, creating subtle shifts of alignment generating strong energy paths that opened the body while her graceful use of impactful words brought clarity to the heart.

Three Year-old Sherri

Three Year-old Sherri

Sayulito Retreat

Sayulito Retreat

There was so much to learn from Sherri who was introduced to yoga in the womb.  Don’t be surprised if you happen to see a YoYo or two hangin’ at some of her international retreats – after… this most excellent adventure!


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Day 42 SF-Red Dragon-Tim Floreen

Tim Floreen

Tim Floreen

When in Portland, that crazy, wild ride of yoga bliss, there was a strong undercurrent of love for some “Tim guy” that taught in the “Bay”.  Seems this famous “Tim” has devoted fans scattered throughout the Pacific Northwest that branded him an absolute “not to miss” teacher when the YoYo’s headed south.  The “always listenin’ to yogis in the know”, YoYo’s,  were pretty excited when they discovered Tim Floreen gave some of his illustrious Power Yoga classes at Red Dragon, a HOT… Mill Valley studio already on the YoYo’s hit list.

Red Dragon Yoga - Mill Valley

Red Dragon Yoga - Mill Valley

Formerly, all Bikram all the time, Red Dragon, led by the can’t miss team of owners Stephaine Schreiber, revered Bikram Yoga teacher, and Craig Fruchter, yogi and transplanted NY clothes designer, made a decision to bring in a little hot power yoga and mix things up.  What started as a idea from the community suggestion box grew into adding back to back power classes to their already full Bikram schedule, grabbing this popular studio recognition for Best Yoga  and  Editors Choice for Tim Floreen as Best Power Instructor by Marin Magazine.

Heart Openin' Tim

Heart Openin' Tim

The sweat lovin’ YoYo’s loved every minute of affectionately known, “YogaTim’s”,  steamy, powerful, mat- touchin,’ one hour,  lunch- time workout and the super sizzlin’, listed on his website soundtrack that pounded through this energetic space. The YoYo’s were pretty sure they understood why this power hour had to  duplicate itself to accommodate the community that didn’t require a trip to the Northwest, to hear about the energy explosion happenin’ at this yoga hot spot.

Wound up from our power yoga adventure, the YoYo’s bounced into the famous Red Dragon retail haven to check out the coolest of cool yoga wear; lunch, dinner, hangin’ out or whatever wear put together by the keen eye of fashion guru, Craig. So jealous were we of all the Marin-ites happily buying away while the YoYo’s still committed to being walkin’ billboards, were logo’d from our head to our yogi toes.

Talented teachers, killer boutique, Hot -Hot-Hot Yoga… RED Dragon is a truly a “breath of fire” in Marin County!


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Day 44 SF-Yogaworks-James Higgins

The YoYo’s are pretty sure that the people who say “Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth”, haven’t spent a single minute at the Yoga Works in Mill Valley, the super-popular Marin County studio that lives as a testament to the joy of yoga.

The exuberance and charm of manager, Cia Bernardi; comical front desk engineer, Charlene, who was sure the clairvoyant YoYo’s must have gotten her name off the bathroom wall, and the beautiful sculptured creatures of Marin County cheerfully greeted the YoYo’s into their world of electric energy.

James Higgins

James Higgins

Finding our corner in this mat touchin,’ unpretentious, vitality -filled space “rock star” yoga instructor, James Higgins, began his Vinyasa 2-3 class with a powerful pranayama series that opened us from front to back, side to side, upwards and downwards and everywhere in between to ensure that this willing class was ready to give a, “hear it on the Golden Gate” OM.

One Amazing Yogi

One Amazing Yogi

From there, this master teacher lead the yogis into a cookin’ from the inside out, “microwave” of a flow and continued a unique series of body-heatin’, sinew expandin’, peace providin’ postures throughout the unique 1 ½ hours of intense challenge interspersed with complete relaxation.  The YoYo’s loved the way this gifted guide, a student of Vipassana meditation, masterfully wove teachings of yoga as a catalyst of compassion for others and yourself into this spiritually rich, physically powerful practice.

Sailboats on SF Bay

Sailboats on SF Bay

Leavin’ this “family feelin’” studio with the strength of a lion and the warm fuzzies, we decided to stop at a quintessential Marin, “take out 2nd mortgage on the house”, organic food store to buy a picnic and scoot over to the quaint tourist town of Sausalito to watch the zillion sailboats puff up as they floated on the blissful bay.  Here, on a grassy stretch, we threw around our cool new Yoga Works Frisbees,  took cover from the cracker stealin’, stars of the Hitchcock film, “The Birds”, listened to the languages of the world, and counted our blessings to meet yogis like those who call, Yoga Works- Mill Valley… h “OM”e.

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Day 49 SF-International Orange- Andrea Maltzer

International Orange Spa Yoga Lounge

IO Spa Yoga Lounge

What’s a YoYo Yogiman to do when the throbbin’ from a past crash of a super-sweaty, “too much momentum” handstand, keeps rearin’ its ugly head?… Runnin’ over to International Orange, a super hip, super-spa and yoga studio for a little “fix the yogi,” comes to mind.

Dino's on Filmore

Dino's on Filmore

Entering entertaining Fillmore street, home to “IO”; distracted YoYo Yogini started to get a little sidetracked… maybe we should just wander into Dino’s for a carafe of “real cheap, real good” Chianti; hit one of the dozen consignment shops, check out the new stuff at the “old school’ hardware store, hang out at one of the swarmin’ outdoor cafes or maybe venture into one of the zillion unique boutiques.   But, broken YoYoYogiman led with uncharacteristic focus straight to IO’s illustrious place of healing, that was to put him back together before our later that day’s class in IO’s yoga space.

IO Yoga Room

IO Yoga Room

Entering the hidden doorway on this “all out action” Street, we were transported to the cool, white  stylish 2nd floor healing sanctuary. The crisp, soothing ambiance foreshadowed the amazing body work from Karl Reed that released YoYoYogiman’s handstand fallin’ tension and got him primed for our vinyasa flow class located in the light filled yoga studio.

Andrea Maltzer

Andrea Maltzer

Findin’ our 2×6 in this packed room of yogis who looked like they enjoyed a beauty day at IO, we were greeted by the upbeat energy of outgoing Andrea Maltzer who unleashed an artistic even paced flow set to a killer soundtrack.   This unique, fluid sequence started small and grew…and grew… and grew into an irrestible dance that this clever teacher kept revisiting and intermixing with challenging asanas.  Ashtanga trained Andrea, used her strong background of alignment as she masterfully interwove that form into a fun, flowin’, playful class that she beautifully guided while giving perfect modifications for newer yogis and takin’ the more experienced to their edge.

Feelin’ strong from head to toe, without a trace of memory from handstand divin’ after a most magical day at International Orange, the YoYo’s headed to Dino’s for a little celebration. What a day!


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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 74 LA-Yogaworks-Kathryn Budig

On Day 25 when salutin’ the sun in Portland, we had the most embarrassing pleasure of attemptin’ a class given by yogi inverter extraordinaire, Tiffany Cruikshank.  Jam-packed with arm balances and culminating with the “omygodasana”, Tick-Tock, we gained eye-openin’ insight into the world of “super-teachers” who cleverly break down seemingly impossible poses into everyday, YoYo speak.   Learnin’ that our “most excellent” adventure was headin’ south, Tiffany made us pinky swear that we’d experience the “off the charts” upside-down asana educator, Kathryn Budig, at Yoga Works Main while in Santa Monica.

Kathryn Budig

Kathryn Budig

Now, considerin’ the source of Kathryn’s glowin’ referral, and hearin’ nothin’ but super-shinin’ reviews about this “arm stand queen” from Yoga Works Marketing Guru, Terri Seiden, we knew this Flow 2-3 class was going to challenge us eager yet angst-ridden YoYos, to find a  spankin’ new, “edge”.

Igniting the room with her drop-dead gorgeous smile and playful vibes, we knew from previous encounters of the most scary kind, that while in the hands of this December ’08, cover model for Yoga Journal magazine, we would live to blog, if only we intently listened to our nationally celebrated teacher, gave our YoYo best effort and …remembered to breathe .

Kathryn in Sayansana

Kathryn chillin' in Sayansana

Startin’ “simple” by teachin’ us to catch air while jumpin’ into uttasana, we were soon addin’ crow to our Sun Salutations, or at least the yogi next to us was.  Kathryn proceeded through no shortage of   killer core, shoulder, arm, strength poses that clued us to the muscles that would be firin’ during the “feet over head” asanas to come.  Patiently, with total lack of demands, this gifted guide generously shared the “secrets” of taxin’ poses and gave us ample space to find our way through every “anti-gravity” asana.   Unknown years and 74 days of practice combined with 90 minutes with this master teacher, proved powerful as the YoYos actually held the “at the wall” hand, arm , head and whatever stand,  if only for  an “omg” second.  Playful and fun with total encouragement, this stellar teacher brought nothing’ but joy to her “Honey, we’re movin’ to Santa Monica” class.

HMMMM…. seems the only pressure these Roadtrippin’ YoYos ever feel while in the hands of these “super-teachers” is from inside…and that… we’re learnin’ to just breathe away.


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