Posts Tagged ‘Vinyasa Yoga’

Day 23 Portland-CPY SE-Jill Allen

CorePower Yoga SE Portland

CorePower Yoga SE Portland

Havin’ experienced a most outrageous butt-kickin’ at CorePowerYoga NW, the masochistic YoYos decided to travel across P-town to check out the latest, greatest creation of this national powerhouse. Enterin’ CorePowerYoga’s SE location, we found CPY’s  signature urban hip space; filled with friendly yogis chattin’, comfy couches for hangin’, spa-like dressin’ rooms for chillin’ and outrageous yogi wear for stylin’ while takin’ some of the most rockin’ yoga classes on the planet.

Jill Allen

Jill Allen

Findin’ our way inside the sparklin’, sun drenched space; we found our 2×6 next to the dazzlin’ wall of windows and breathed deeply while waitin’ for this innovative studio’s premiere teacher, Jill (ie) Allen, a sweet, killer red-head with a gentle demeanor – at least for the first few minutes. Her filled to capacity class of faithful followin’ “love to power it up” yogis began with a “come onto your mat- and into your body warm-up” that soon lead to a, “you gotta be kiddin’ me- this is kickin’ our butt”, unique flow that made the YoYos wonder how they could be totally wrung out, and beggin’ for more. This girl mixed it up and kept the YoYos on their toes… feet, heads and hands as we envisioned Jill spending days, hours and weeks in creation of those perfectly sequenced asanas. Consistently, she tested the commitment, strength and balance of her super – experienced students, as she guided those “up for a challenge newbie’s” right along with the pros. Her precise adjustments and spine-tingling foot massage in savasana clued the YoYos that Jill was a supreme massage therapist… You can be sure to find the YoYos blissin’ at Jill’s place, Just Breathe Oregon.

Wrung out, calmed down and lovin’ the world as we oozed out the door , we decided to do some YoYo roadtrippin’ research and check out not one, but many of the zillion happy hours that help make this electric city a YoYo fave!

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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 28 Portland-Yoga Bhoga-Lila Donnolo

Yoga Bhoga

Yoga Bhoga

We knew we were in for a most excellent night as we headed over to Yoga Bhoga, the original studio of Denise Payne who, “for those blog followin’ yogis” know, has expanded this super impressive studio to a second location, the “ One Song” yoga studio. As we entered, we felt the signature surroundings of this guru yogi.  A sky-high curved wood ceiling, deep northwest colors, mood music playin’ and a community of yogis gently swayin’.

Lila Donnolo

Lila Donnolo

The “lucky Yoyo’s” teacher tonight was Lila Donnolo who invited the all levels, filled to capacity class to ask for what they needed from their yoga practice.  The YoYos were pretty sure the yogis in this studio had been sitting’ a bit too long behind their MAC’s, as the YoYos identified with the beggin’ for shoulder and hip poses, which Lila promised to concentrate on.   Lila’s soothing voice alone could have taken all tension away, but her beautiful tone and perfect diction were just the beginning, as she brought unusual imagination to her artistic flow.  The gentle guidance, soft music, dim lighting, and even pace added to the soothing atmosphere the Yoga Bhoga yogis needed to release before going deeper as Lila encouraged everyone to create their own unique practice.  Savasana was never sweeter as Lila, with her rich vocal instrument actually sang the YoYos to sleep…aaaaahhhhhh……

James Pintado & Lila Donnolo

James Pintado & Lila Donnolo

On the way out of class, the YoYos got a peek at the “hot off the press” photo gallery of Lila and her amazin’ partner doin’ the most inspired, unimaginable AcroYoga poses ever witnessed!  Was that really James Pintado, the James part of James and Sarah, the YoYos cherished teachers, the instigators of their “lovin’” yoga life, in those amazin’ photos?  We knew our “even the YoYo’s don’t have words for” Yoga teacher was not of this planet.  What we didn’t know was that Lila was his “out of this world” partner… How Serendipitous!

We also didn’t know that Lila was the premiere AcroYoga teacher in Portland.  How sad the YoYos were to have to leave before Sunday’s AcroYoga class to learn those anti-gravity, hangin’ every which way, flyin’ through space moves.  Next time in Portland… fallin’ on our butt, or fallin’ for AcroYoga, we will definitely give this a go!

Photo’s of Lila and James by BMAC Studio.

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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 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 46 SF-Yoga Tree-Janet Stone

Castro Theatre

Castro Theatre

Castro 2 large

The Castro

In the midst of this pulsating city, San Francisco, lives an area known as, “The Castro”; an avant-garde neighborhood that invites even unadventurous Bank of America to welcome emerging rock bands to crank up the volume on its lively steps.  Crowded with non-stop, attention-grabbin’ energy, the street flags wave with rainbows as the electricity seems to jump off the sidewalks.  Here, in this community lives one of this city’s most vibrant studios, Yoga Tree – Castro.

Janet Stone

Janet Stone

Excited YoYo’s are we, as we finally are to uncover the long awaited “Mellow Flow” of celebrated teacher, Janet Stone.  Walkin’ up a flight of stairs in an unassuming building, we gathered in the jam-packed lobby, shoulder to shoulder with other wound- up yogis as the prior class exited lookin’ like they had just taken a group shower.  Glad we had just enough coverin’ our YoYo bodies to be considered legal, we entered the massive room with sweat streaked floors and awaited this most celebrated teacher.

Openin' the Heart

Openin' the Heart

Janet began by encouraging the gigantic group of devotees to spiral mats in a unique contiguous circle around dozens of candles that were centered in the dimly lit room.  Creating this distinctive Yoga Tree, “Burning Man” we set our intention to leave “extra baggage” in this flashin’ ring of fire.  The sphere of yogi energy was both transporting and inspiring as Janet worked her legendary magic through a powerfully soothing sequence set to a rockin’ backdrop of outrageous world music, compliments of DJ Urn.   Openin’ our hearts and hips…up, down and every which way, Janet’s beautifully guided instructions gave way to some creative free- stylin’ movement ensuring this wild crowd was tappin’ into their internal power.  Janet encouraged the room to move like no one was watchin’…and they weren’t…as everyone contributed freely to the mass of energy that was created in this exuberant space.

Hanumanasana

Hanumanasana

Closing with a most wonderful thunderous chant, the YoYo’s wondered if “Janet Stone and Friends- Unplugged” might be available to download anytime soon.  Leavin’ our drippin’ sweat where others had gone before, we were joyfully stopped by a fellow yogi with a smile that went from SF to NY… as he exuberantly roared….  “That was so much fun!”

Well Said!


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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 60 SF-Laughing Lotus-Jasmine Tarkeshi

Laughing Lotus

Laughing Lotus

Meanderin’ down the grey concrete streets in the Mission District, the surprised YoYo’s gasped at the unexpected splash of brilliant color, storybook architecture and jubilant patterns on the vibrant walls of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center; the vivacious yoga studio with the seemingly perfect name.  Entering this “feel-good” space; the vivid pigment and dramatic design continued throughout the dynamic lobby, vibrant changing rooms and most definitely, the joyous playroom.

Jasmine Tarkeshi

Jasmine Tarkeshi

The ‘cut out and save,” 2 page spread of today’s teacher, Jasmine Tarkeshi,  inside the latest edition of Yoga Journal featured on these multihued walls, reminded us that our enchanting leader was a regular super-star throughout the yogi community.   Along with esteemed partner, Dana Flynn, Jasmine opened this San Francisco studio 2 years ago while this dynamic duo continues to run their super-successful, 10 year strong, New York City studio with the same name.

Jasmine Turned our World Upside Down

Jasmine Turned our World Upside Down

Jasmine opened her heart and her Lotus Flow 2 class with the message of gratitude.  Sharing stories from one of the many retreats she lead to India, she spoke of whole families startin’ before dawn to offer words and gestures of appreciation for all blessings; sun, water, family and whatever processions they may have.  This enlightened teacher kept this central theme of thankfulness throughout her thunderous chants, enthusiast Om’s, and dynamic full body flow. Every asana fully alive, every move free-spirited and every word from this dynamic  teacher deeply appreciated  by these grateful YoYo’s who found this magical studio and lively practice an amazing gift on our last day in this yoga-rich city.

Central Coast Vineyards

Central Coast Vineyards

Makin’ our way out of San Francisco, we head down to the tranquil Central Coast.  Who knew we’d be passin’ gargantuan outlet malls, a bounty of farms, minuscule towns, enough garlic to make smilin’ YoYoYogini happy into eternity and 225 jaw-droppin’ wineries?  The “when in Rome” YoYo’s, had to stop and taste the nectar of the fruit, revel in those purple mountain majesty above the fruited plains and take every word Jasmine said to heart…Thank you Jasmine, for a “most excellent” practice and San Francisco for our most mind-expandin’ 3 weeks!

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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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