Posts Tagged ‘Vinyasa’

Day 51 SF-Yoga Tree-Les Leventhal

Les Leventhal

Les Leventhal

As the saying goes…Sometimes Les(s) is More!

…and never was that truer than tonight when the YoYo’s ventured back to Yoga Tree-Castro, a San Francisco nucleus for many of the most sought after teachers in the nation. This time, we were anxious and a tad terrified to take class from the reputed butt kicker of a yoga teacher… Les Leventhal, especially since we dim-wittedly put it in our crazy minds that at this late evening hour, on our 51st day we were to be pounded with an outrageous soundtrack and put through our paces with a faster than lightnin’ flow.

Then… of all things, Les opened calmly and quietly in a candle lit room by gently askin’ this serene group of yogis to take away all expectations; to not make any preconceived ideas about what scary asanas we may or may not do, how we might react over the next 1 ½ hours or anything else for that matter. He simply asked us to be in this moment and always be in our breath. Then, this trickster announced that there would be… no music. Seems Les wanted us to tune in…to our own unique sound. At this point, the YoYo’s were pretty sure that clairvoyant Les had been reading our “hyped out for no reason” YoYo minds.

Les is often more

Les is often more

No expectations…No tunes…No worries…the YoYo’s soon understood this was to be a class of just feelin’ it and breathin’ it… and we couldn’t think of a better guide to take us there.

After class, the YoYos thought Les should rename his “all levels yoga” to long, slow, deep and damn near perfect. This second to none strength-buildin’ sequence focused on using the breath to stay calm in difficult situations…which there were many of as this skillful teacher worked every muscle in our YoYo bodies. Les’s flawless explanations and unbridled encouragement to try something new, take a chance, take it deeper, higher, or more anti-gravity defyin’ than ever before was the backbone of this all encompassing tip to toe and top to bottom practice.

O.K….so maybe the YoYo’s were right about one thing…this was butt kicker…just not at all in the way they expected… Lesson Learned… Don’t anticipate…just breathe!


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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 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 59 SF-Yogaworks-Karyn Holland

Road over Mt Tam

Road over Mt Tam

Today, we travel through hill and dale, forest and freeway; twistin’ and turnin’ our way back to The Bay to arrive at Yoga Works-Larkspur for our anxiously awaited Vinyasa 2-3 class with Karyn Holland.

Karyn Holland

Karyn Holland

Entering the stunning spa-like space, we were greeted with a high-spirited welcome from this tight-knit yogi family.   Our YoYo eye’s were  poppin’ as  bhakti-flowin’ manager, June Katzen, led the grand tour of all three delicious yoga rooms and unsurpassed everything yogi space filled with chic attire, library of inspirin’ books, and cool yogi side dishes. Hangin’ in bliss on the luscious couches enjoyin’ the extensive tea bar, the comfy YoYo’s toyed, for just a second, with the idea of pracitin’ savasana for a hour or three in this dazzlin’ lap of luxury; but time had come for the unsuspecting YoYo’s to enter their “velvet hammer” of a class.

Karyn opened this “good vibe” flow with a message of, “YES” to opportunity in our lives, “yes” in our hearts and most definitely “yes” in our practice. The unhurried steady pace and composed demeanor of our trickster teacher ensured the YoYo’s remain unaware that every muscle was being worked to its absolute max. Her precise, easy-to-follow coaching guaranteed these committed yogis used every hidden sinew correctly and kept strength of heart and mind to tackle even unfamiliar asanas.  It was easy to see that this fortunate class was being expertly guided by this caring teacher that loves to spread the positive message of “YES”.

The RU at Stinson Beach

The RU at Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach

Takin’ our cue from our optimistic guide, we said “Yes” to the Ru, the wise, kind, ol’, wantin’ to romp, grandfather cocker spaniel, who thought Stinson Beach would be a perfect spot to fill every crevasse with powdery sand, and check out the herd of seals playfully jumpin’ in the sea.  While the YoYo’s walked out our worked out bodies, we inhaled the serene sounds and exhaled the ginormous amounts of sand that The Ru felt compelled to shake in our smilin’ faces while blithely testin’ our new found yoga poses… compliments of our “most positive” class at Yoga Works- Larkspur.

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Day 61 SLO-Smiling Dog-Jeff Porter

The Gardens of Cambria Pines Lodge

The Gardens of Cambria Pines Lodge

Hightailin’ it south to the cool college town of San Luis Obispo, we traveled through the kicked-back beach communities bordering the Pacific to our late afternoon class, after spendin’ the night in the chocolate box village of Cambria.   Here, in this artsy area, we scored a perfect pet lovin’ cottage at the Cambria Pines Lodge where The Ru romped in the forest while the roadtrippin’ YoYo’s inhaled the beautiful gardens and vast organic food.

Smiling Dog Yoga

Smiling Dog Yoga

Arrivin’ in SLO to unusual 3-digit heat, we found the “too cool”, kinda old western façade, one-of-a kind Smiling Dog Yoga compound. The mesmerized YoYos were captivated at the sight of tree shaded outdoor tables, pillowed sitting areas, and hip organic café.  Entering the dazzlin’, multi-colored, happy space, we were ecstatic to feel the “don’t take yourself too seriously” vibe and experience this vibrant, eye-poppin’, studio.

Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter

Now originally, the excited YoYo’s had a big “can’t wait” mark on the calendar to take class  with Peter Sterios, founder of our beloved Mandukas , but as fate would have it , a late call explained a delayed ferry would keep our eco-mat hero in the beautiful Northwest an extra night . Serendipitously, we were guided to moped ridin’, super-smilin’ yoga teacher extraordinaire, Jeff Porter, ex-gym rat turned yogi who finds  his outgoing, energetic, knowledgeable, “tell it like it is “, self to be a big hit with this young and young at heart yoga community.

California Coast

California Coast

Startin’ with conversation, our vibrant guide opened class with humor that made the yogis in this all levels class understand that their practice was personal, and ego-in’ it by musclein’ poses wasn’t goin’ to fly in this “random music” Vinyasa Flow.  Workin’ into a vast array of backbendin’ asanas, Jeff used the heat of the day as a precursor to his heart-opening series where teamin’ up for a super helpful workshop found us explorin’ a deeper, safer and super-fun practice.

The YoYo’s loved this guy, his energy, his class and this studio… If headin’ up or down this magnificent California coast, you just might be a regrettin’ yogi to miss this unique place and spirited energy of the smilin’ yogis at “Smilin’ Dog Yoga”.


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Day 62 Santa Barbara-Yoga Center-Denise Zaverdas

We’re havin’ a heat wave…not only in our hearts as we headed to Santa Barbara, the idyllic beach city where the YoYo’s tied the knot, but, on our skin as the temperature exceeded 3 digits.   Hot or not, we couldn’t wait to get to this incomparable nirvana where so many memories were made.

State Street - Santa Barbara

State Street

It hasn’t changed a bit. The meandering’ path through the lush, emerald park bordering the dazzlin’ ocean is still there.  State Street, the main street remains with all its magnificent Spanish architecture, unique boutiques, jam -packed outdoor cafes and deceivin’ “big box” stores that hide in their substantial, stucco, arched windowed homes.  The YoYo’s love the quintessential California palm trees lining the streets , electric college town energy and the gorgeous Santa Barbara Yoga Center where our  Level 2-3 class was to be held with co-director Denise Zaverdas

Santa Barbara Yoga Center

Santa Barbara Yoga Center

Enterin’ this thick walled, stunning structure, the YoYos discovered flyers for a ton of super-interesting workshops that’d be makin’ their way through this magnificent space and a perfect spot  to practice in one of the three, character rich yoga rooms that host 100 classes per week.  Thinkin’, for a fleeting moment we might be distracted by the beauty that surrounded, that naïve notion quickly disappeared when Denise opened her challenging, continual moving class.

Denise Zaverdas and Cooper

Denise Zaverdas and Cooper

While the Yoyo’s got the distinct impression, that every class from this experienced teacher was a unique adventure, tonight’s class focused on a captivating flow set to soothing music that began simple and built to a “one movement to one breath” complex handstand crescendo.  The flow kept our YoYo minds hoppin’ and  bodies workin’ as this fascinating sequence lead to YoYo Yogini’s  first ever, sorta,  kinda nailin’ it (albeit on the wall) inversion.   After a whole lotta years, 74 consecutive days and a buncha un-yogi like frustration of not getting’ that butt in the air, today, in this beautiful space under the eagle eye of our gifted guide, that inversion was sorta hers.

Ending with a deep savasana complete with relaxing oils, the YoYo’s knew this amazing class in this beautiful space was a gift…now it was time to paint this vibrant town… and celebrate!


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Day 67 LA-Exhale-Seane Corn

Seane Corn

Seane Corn

All amped up with anticipation, we entered the illustrious Santa Monica studio, EXHALE, where dramatic artwork of the “Superstars of Yoga” that teach in this celebrated space, are lined along its famous walls. Immediately, we recognized the stunning, poster sized photo of Seane Corn, who inspired the YoYos in our “worn out and replaced 3 times” beloved collection of Bryan Kest Power Yoga Series as the super-strong, “white leotard-ed”, beautiful bendy student.  Excited were we, that tonight, live and in person, we were to take class from that “front and center” yogini, turned world renowned instructor/activist, in this vibrant L.A. studio.

Seane serves up individual attention

Seane serves up individual attention

Tryin’ to be chill when Seane entered, lookin’ absolutely identical to the way she did in those mid 90’s tapes (sans the white leotard); the YoYo’s somehow easily relaxed during the commencing total body integration.  We couldn’t help but once again be inspired by this skilled, eagle-eyed teacher who immediately scoped out the packed class and built our amazing practice based on the needs of this individual clan.  Seems tonight’s band of yogis started with tight little “hammies” that Seane wasn’t goin’ to let us leave with. As she worked us through every spiral imaginable in those stretched to capacity legs, the YoYo’s were pretty sure; we might walk out of this class, 2” taller with hanumanasana (crotch on floor splits) as part of our daily practice.  Seane beautifully built this sequence, step by step, preppin’ each muscle for the next more advanced move, making the surprising abilities of our own YoYo legs, unrecognizable.   The YoYo’s loved the way this giving teacher freely offered her endless experienced mental and physical adjustments to every well cared for yogi in this supported space.

Off The Mat Into The World

Off The Mat Into The World

Seems the studio is only the beginning to Seane’s generosity as she has taken her yoga “off the mat” to work with Annie Lennox’s SING Project to bring awareness to AIDS in Africa, Ashley Judd to fight YouthAIDS in India and most recently, teemed with Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling to start a remarkable organization.  Recently launched, “Off the Mat Into the World” offers in-depth workshops for searchin’ yogis to help them discover their unique purpose and inspire them to use their special gifts to give back to their local or global communities.  What a stellar concept from this… most inspirin’ teacher!

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Day 68 LA-Exhale-Saul David Raye

Saul David Reye

Saul David Raye

After experiencin’ our spirited, “Welcome to L.A”, yoga over the past few days, the achin’ YoYos were euphorically visualizin’ the magical healin’ energy of tonight’s class with, Saul David Raye, one of the Western hemisphere’s leading forces in yoga instruction and Thai massage.  Meeting this captivating yogi at the high-flyin’ EXHALE studio in Santa Monica before class, the YoYo’s felt a genuine peaceful vibe just radiatin’ off this spiritual teacher who began meditating as a teen, spent a year in a Buddhist Monastery and years training in both Asia and India.

Our grateful YoYo bodies couldn’t believe our God given destiny as this intuitive teacher had us begin this insightful class by lying on our back, reconnecting to the earth… the source.   In all the world, there was no place the YoYos would rather have been than stretched out on that comfy bolster listenin’ to Saul’s soothing voice guide us into bliss…  lettin’ our “super-fried” muscles take a much needed rest.

Reconnecting to the Source

Reconnecting to the Source

Set to the inspiring’ “So much Magnificence” soundtrack of Steve Gold, Saul began just lettin’ us go, lettin’ us melt, and flow and feel and live every free movement that he loosely led allowin’ us liberated yogis to go with what the body needed, creatin’ the energy we wanted, and find the relaxation we were cravin’.  Freedom to feel the movement, without stress or strain, Saul encouraged us to back away from that critical point of forcin’; but rather allow ourselves to just melt into our bones, lettin’ the poses find their unique fit in our body. Feelin’ boundless and released from this uninhibited practice, Saul introduced the power of joy through, “a YoYo first,” yogi laughter meditation, followed by the sweetest savasana on planet earth.

Soaring after this spiritual, reflective, joyous, centered, connected class, the YoYos floated back to the sailboat where they were spendin’ most every minute when not in our “most excellent” L.A. yoga classes; watched the full moon, drank the fruit of the vine, felt the breeze and once again… connected with Mother Earth.

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Day 69 LA-Yogaworks-Annie Carpenter

Annie Carpenter

Annie Carpenter

In yoga studios from Settle to Santa Monica, some of our most excellent teachers have raved “big time” about international trainer, Annie Carpenter.  Seems yoga instructors near and far just can’t get enough of this “teacher to the teacher”, that amps up their juice.  After takin’ class from some of these talented yogis, we weren’t sure what they’d do with more “juice”, but we were excited to take class with this highly respected leader.

Amazing Yogini and Teacher

Amazing Yogini and Teacher

Our third trip to Santa Monica Yoga Works-Main; the comfortable surroundings, cool yogi stuff, big casual hang out space, tall wood ceilings, yogis everywhere; all felt  familiar and relaxed as we waited for the doors to open to the unpretentious studio.  Mat to mat with our friendly neighbors in this mid-mornin’ class; smilin’ Annie entered and illuminated this space with her easy glow and welcoming way.  Continuing with her comical and “oh so thorough” asana explanations, Annie helped these challenged YoYos, and  Annie’s class of loyal students through some seemingly forever “leg-shakin’” moments in this “class” of a class.

Annie opened a whole new view of familiar poses;  reachin’ and rotatin’ things here, there and everywhere; makin’ unfamiliar spaces come to life.… all the while… holdin’ that illustrious edge.  Grateful YoYo’s were we to experience that “juice” that lucky teachers/ yogis at this studio and at

Annie’s world-wide workshops get from this “Professor of Yoga”.

Catalyst

Headin' back to dock

Late afternoon, the wind came up and YoYoYogiman turned into “bad mood” man, because he loves sailboats as much as he loves yoga and we’ve not been able to take our swapped “home away  from home” out to sea.  Today is the day we take our temporary floating space out on the ocean for the first time ever. Out to sea we go… and the waves were ginormous… so, we just breathed deep and rode the big waves.  And the big huge waves that at one time looked scary- didn’t look so big…

Lots of lessons for one little day.

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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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