Posts Tagged ‘Yoga Tree Castro’

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 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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