This post goes out to all my yoga junkies who love to shop for anything yoga! I came across Yoga Rat as I was driving down Pico Blvd in West Los Angeles and made a mental note to check it out. I finally went in today and discovered that Yoga Rat isn't just the next "trendy" active-lifestyle brand; it's also the first yoga product outlet store I've ever seen. What does this mean??? Affordable yoga clothing and accessories made from non-toxic materials! Isn't it every yogi's fantasy to put his or her best "toe" forward while staying on budget and without squandering on the environment? Ahhhh, solace in shopping, Yes please! As the holiday season quickly approaches forget about purchasing yoga gear as gifts at an overpriced yoga studio where a single block can cost up to $20! Compare this with a yoga block from Yoga Rat at $11.99.
Yoga Rat is especially kind to certified yoga instructors! Whether you own a studio and/or teach, whether you practice yoga at a studio or in the privacy of your home take advantage of the 10% discount for ALL first time customers. Prepare for a friendly greeting from Wendell or Dave as you enter the space and don't forget to mention that you are a yoga professional (if you really are one...ASTEYA) and the friendly duo will throw in some free goodies.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Sometimes as a dancer I get tired of wearing leotards and tights all the time.. I am always on the lookout for cool gear I can rehearse in that's comfortable, breathable and flattering of course! ALO is my new favorite brand of yoga/dancewear. I love what the name ALO stands for: Air, Land, Ocean. ALO's minimal impact on the environment gives me piece of mind so I wear it proudly (and I look pretty damn good in it!)
A Few Awesome Pieces In Action...Love the material and fit!
Cross Neck Tank in Magenta/Pink Lady, sold at BeeBliss.
The thumb holes in the hoodie are great for cold weather and just looks really cool. Makes your arms longer & leaner
Studio Contrast Waist Pant (W5007R), sold at Online Shoes.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Every yogi needs a mat to practice on, so why not get a cool one like this one? The Trainer Mat by Trainer Brands is the first yoga mat of its kind with 28 illustrated instructional drawings of yoga poses printed directly on the surface. This is great for a beginner and for those trying to establish a regular home practice.
Other Trainer Brands products include stretch/yoga mats with printed instructional drawings for stretches and excercises for golf, maternity, aquatic sports, stretching, pilates, weight loss, etc... printed right on the mat. Trainer Brands also makes gym balls and foam rollers with printed instructional drawings on how to use these gym toys. Best Idea EVER!!!!
The only drawback I see to the Trainer Mats is its lack of grip. If you practice vinyasa or hot yoga where you sweat profusely, you need to put a towel down or a Yogitoes Skidless Mat Towel down. Trainer Brands might consider tapping into this market and use their creative and informative approach for a Trainer Skidless mat with instructional diagrams drawn on the skidless mat.
Wednesday, 07 September 2011
This past weekend I went to the IDEA Fitness Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center with a couple girlfriends and we had a blast! So many awesome products (and so many bizzare ones also). If you are a fitness professional or even a fitness enthusiast, (and especially if you are single) I highly recommend visiting the next Fitness Expo!
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Lately I've been on a CorePower Yoga® binge. The initial reason I visited the studio was to inquire about teaching positions; however, I enjoyed the class and ambiance enough to accept the studio’s offer for new students for one week of free yoga. After one week, I signed up for a one month unlimited yoga membership for $99.00. If you are a yoga junkie like me, the monthly membership makes great economic sense, especially when you compare this offer with competing studios that charge twice as much for a monthly membership.The calm allure and immaculate conditions of the CorePower Yoga® facilities are irresistible to the contemporary urban yogi or yogini. CorePower Yoga® class style combines the Ashtanga and Vinyasa methods. Classes range from 60 to 95 minutes conducted in a heated studio with humidity. The more advanced classes are a little hotter, but have no fear because it feels incredible when they turn up the heat! This approach is entirely different than Bikram in that the heat never exceeds 100 degrees, humidifiers are also used in the yoga studios and the instructors incorporate philosophical and meditative elements into the class curriculum.
Friday, 12 August 2011
Being a professional ballet dancer means taking class every day to stay in shape. If you are not under contract with a company or if you are in between seasons, it can be very difficult to find an adequate professional level ballet class to take. Living in Los Angeles makes it more difficult since the LA dance scene is more commercially oriented than the classical and theatrical dance scene found in New York City or even San Francisco. Fortunately, there are a few options for the professional/advanced ballet dancer when it comes to taking class in the City of Angels and one of them is Reid Olson's class. Reid Olson, former principal dancer with Los Angeles Ballet and soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet, teaches an amazing advanced level ballet class at Dance Arts Academy in West Los Angeles. Expect to brush elbows with some top-notch professional dancers, but don't be intimidated because many non-professionals also enjoy taking class regularly with Reid. Reid is also a registered yoga instructor and teaches a yoga class on Thursday mornings at 9:30-11:00am before his 11:30am ballet class. Reid often teaches class at City Yoga in Los Angeles. Contact Reid for more information on his yoga schedule.
Monday, 01 August 2011
Yesterday I decided to mix things up a bit. I took a hip-hop class. Don’t laugh! You heard me correctly! Ballerinas can groove too. Instead of trekking all the way across the city, dealing with the pre-carmageddon frenzy on the roads only to cram myself into a room with other sweaty pretentious dancers at a well-established Hollywood dance studio, which shall remain nameless, I decided to check out a new local studio. Moore Dancing Cardio Dance Studio in West Los Angeles offers a variety of classes throughout the day. Classes are basic enough for novices yet have just the right amount of groove and funk to challenge more seasoned dancers. Classes offered include hip-hop, funk, cardio dance, and more. Moore Dancing welcomes all levels of dance and all ages. Located on the second floor the studio gets a ton of natural light overlooking trendy San Vicente Blvd in west Los Angeles. The feng shui is perfect. Classes offered have uniquely funky names describing their individual sass. So if you live on the Westside of Los Angeles, be sure to grab your neon tights, sweatbands and legwarmers for Back to The Future with Matthew where dancers jam out to the funky beats of the 1980's!
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Apparently to be taken seriously as a professional dancer in LA you need to be able to ice skate and/or rollerblade on top of your refined dancing abilities. I came across an audition notice for the LA Opera’s upcoming production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Initially I was thrilled because LA Opera doesn’t post auditions for dancers too often and because the audition wasn’t until tomorrow, I could still make it! My excitement waned quickly though, in fact I couldn't even believe my eyes once I scanned through the rest of the text on the page, which read: “Dancers must be able to ICE SKATE/ROLLERBLADE.” My eyes bled as I finished reading and my heart sank.What’s happening to the performing arts in Los Angeles? No, Really?! What's happening? This is an opera. Eugene Onegin was written by the great Russian author Alexander Pushkin depicting Russian aristocracy during the 19th century. This particular opera is a classical work with excerpts that call for professionally trained dancers, not Disney on Ice. This is a total degradation of the performing arts and classical works like Eugene Onegin. Not to mention, what sane professional dancer would jeopardize his or her livelihood by strapping on a pair of rollerblades?! Requesting professional dancers to bring rollerblades to an audition and skate around the stage for a work by the coveted Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky is utter humiliation. Dancers are dancers, acrobats are acrobats, and skaters are skaters. Interchanging these categories with such ease dismisses the years of training and professional experience accomplished by performing artists. My family and I were planning on attending this production, but not anymore. SHAME on LA OPERA!
ACTUAL AUDITION NOTICE FROM LA OPERA'S WEBSITE (no longer on the site becuase the audition was June 6, 2011)
*** I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.***
Monday, 06 June 2011
Prana-whata? Yea, that was my first thought when I heard the word pranayama for the very first time. Prana is the Sandskrit word for “vital life” and is understood as the life force energy that resides within each and every one of us. Pranic energy is that which sustains all life and does so through breath. Yama, the first limb of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yogic path, relates to our attitudes towards the outside world. Therefore, pranayama is the way in which we exercise control over this life force energy. The benefits of pranayama or breath retention are vast. Studies have shown that a regular pranayama practice has profound effects the nervous system in addition to the physical body. A daily pranayama practice can lower blood pressure, ease tension and stress by eliciting the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the relaxation response.
Who has time these days to sit cross-legged on a yoga mat for an hour each day? No one! No problem. It’s not the amount of time you practice pranayama that matters, it’s the quality and the consistency of your practice. How do you practice pranayama if you’ve never done it before? It’s as easy as these three steps:
Monday, 02 May 2011
If you practice vinyasa yoga or any other physically demanding activity it's crucial to find a good bodyworker. At home, I try to do as much as I can on my own to roll out the kinks and muscle adhesions using a foam roller and other toys, but there's no comparison for getting some great bodywork. I found an amazing bodyworker at Yoga Tree in San Francisco and his name is V. Yes, V. Just V. It was quite possibly the best massage I've ever had in that not only was the pressure deep enough but V also incorporated techniques like stretching and working on the back of my body while I was lying face up! I've never experienced bodywork in this way before and it was really incredible because the weight of my own body aided V in getting deep into the bound up muscle tissue in and around my low back, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. On top of V's technical mastery he radiated a healing and spiritual vibe that was very comforting. Being able to "hold space" in an intimate practice like bodywork or yoga is imperative because people can and do feel vulnerable underneath that little cloth separating all of them from the bodyworker and outside world. I was also impressed with how thorough V was in his work. V left no muscle unturned so to speak and because he was so thorough time seemed to slow down, which is great when you’re getting bodywork! I thought the massage was almost done but in actuality we had about another 10-15 minutes to go. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of V informing me that there was only 10 minutes left so if there's anything specific I want worked we still had enough time. Overall, a fantastic experience
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Indeed time does put all things into perspective. The pitta in me can manifest its beastliness to such an extent that I become blinded by what's "out there" instead of focusing on what's right in front of me. Still in the process of assimilation to life in San Francisco, I went to a workshop yesterday on how to Lighten Your Heart. The workshop was called Lighten Your Heart! Change Your Perspective! It's as if the universe knew exactly what I needed at this moment in my life and placed it right there in front of me. The last few days have been going fairly well here in San Francisco and yesterday's workshop solidified my understanding that time is all it takes. The workshop, led by Brenna Geehan was exactly what the doctor ordered for Da Sooz. Lately my yoga practice seems somewhat stale and every time I go to a yoga class it feels like I'm simply going through the motions. I needed to find a new way to connect. The point of this workshop was to remove the darkness, the heaviness, the "dirtiness" and thus the pessimism we come to accept as normal that resides within our hearts. The idea is that after the baggage you consciously or subconsciously carry around with you is eradicated the "channel" between you and the rest of the world is clear. In other words, when we feel dark on the inside we cannot let anything else in... we lose the ability to foster our own needs and passions and relationships. This was exactly the issue I’ve been struggling lately. I was tired of feeling isolated and alienated in a foreign city. I created a wall between myself and everything and everyone else here; no wonder I seem more cynical than usual.
Sunday, 30 January 2011
To follow up on yesterday's rant discussing mediocrity amongst yoga instructors I'm so pleased that the recommendation from my Los Angeles based mentor Annie Carpenter was a fantastic one! I went to the same Yoga Tree in San Francisco located in the Mission District on Valencia Street and was blown away by the dynamic, heartfelt and precise instruction of Les Leventhal. What a difference a day makes... even if you come to the same place. It’s quite possible that the instructor from the all-level vinyasa class from yesterday (who will continue to remain nameless) is the one bad egg from the dozen. I did a bit of chit chatting with Les after class, giving him a big hello from Annie. Les mentioned that I wasn't the only ballet dancer in his class on this particular evening. I didn’t really think anything of it until I went into the ladies room to change when I thought I caught a glimpse of Muriel Maffre standing right in front of me. Indeed it was her! How small the world is! Ms. Maffre taught my professional ballet class at LINES the day before. Ms. Maffre was one of my idols growing up. This woman is incredible to say the least. Ms. Maffre is a talking and walking piece of art. She is tall, long and more refined than Loius XIV at one of his ballet de cours. I approached Ms. Maffre and like a retard asked if it was really her. I expressed my awe and then she left.
This whole experience left me with a deep sense of gratitude and an understanding that we are all connected in this world. Despite what city you live in, what yoga studio you frequent, there’s a ripple effect that results from all of our conscious and unconscious actions. This experience serves as a reminder that there is indeed something much larger than our human minds are equipped to comprehend...something vibrational if you will…something that joins all us eggs into one cardboard container.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Hello All and Happy New Year! My deepest apologies for the extended interlude between posts recently. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. For starters I relocated to a new city. I'll now spew my thoughts and experiences on anything and everything related to the movement arts from the heady metropolis we all know and love: San Francisco. Now that I'm settled I can say that I’ve never seen a more eclectic population so densely packed into a single metro area. People are nice here! Unlike Los Angeles, people actually make eye contact with you on the street and some even go so far as saying "hello!" The vibe is charming and inviting. Needless to say, the yoga scene here is off the hook! I went to my first yoga class at Yoga Tree yesterday. I was excited to practice in my new city. I randomly selected a mixed-level vinyasa class that worked with my schedule and arrived just in the nick of time. AHHHHHHH the ambiance of revered space! This sacred space creates a safe and nurturing environment spanning across the board to 99.9% of yoga studios. This sacred space is what determines my bias towards a community practice in a studio versus a home practice.
Friday, 14 January 2011
This past Monday I went to see Jesse Rice, a neuromuscular healer at a local Gyrotonics® studio. Mr. Rice developed and coined his technique the Rice Release Technique.™ This technique is a form of active release technique or ART. Mr. Rice finds the line of fascia along an injured limb or trunk and finds the area where there's excess tension...i.e. where there's locked energy or tension. Then he will manually enter the area... and let me tell you it hurts...at first, but after a few seconds the pain subsides and Mr. Rice moves up along the line of fascia to find the next tension point and employs the same technique. Mr. Rice explained it to me this way...let's say you get into a car accident and you lose a limb. You may not even realize it until you are already in the ambulance because you are in shock. The brain shuts off the pain signals to that limb. The Rice Release Technique™ works with the same part of the brain that interrupts pain signals to the injured area by manually locating them and what Mr. Rice calls "turning them off." The relief as experienced by the client is longer lasting as opposed to the temporary relief after a deep tissue massage, which could irritate the surrounding tissues more and cause more inflammation. This experience really made me think a lot about how closely related the mind and the body are. The body and mind are interdependent for their optimal functionality.
To learn more about Rice Release Technique™ and Jesse Rice CLICK HERE and scroll down to Jesse Rice's bio.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
FEEL CENTERED AND POWERFUL!!!!!
A couple weeks ago I was watching a Boston Celtics game with one of my friends who is a die-hard Celtics fan. As the camera panned in on the benched players I saw good ole Shaquille O'Neal sitting on the bench amongst his fellow Bostonians basketball bros and I noticed a tiny bracelet around his huge wrist. Was he trying to make a fashion statement? As I poked fun of at the failed fashion attempt, my friend Mariah pointed out that the bracelet around Shaq's wrist was one of those magnetic bracelets that's suppose to help regulate your balance, strength and power. Being the skeptic that I am, I scoffed but my other friend and my boyfriend chimed in. Mike admits that high intensity athletics aren't exactly his forte; but even he tried one of those bracelets and noticed an immediate difference when golfing or exercising. Mike continued to explain that many athletes wear this bracelet. Frankly, Mike and Mariah were both surprised that I was totally unaware of this approach to better balance and power. Curiosity sparked, my insatiable desire to better my craft led me to investigate further the next day. I went to my local physical therapy store and purchased one. I have worn the bracelet for about a week and a half and definitely noticed a difference. I can tell my balance is better and my overall body awareness is much better also. It’s almost as if a Divine hand comes out of no where and nudges me back onto my leg when I should’ve fallen off of pointe during a balance or a pirouette. My movement patterns are more efficient and I fatigue less. I am more physically and mentally centered when I wear it. I am "with it." I even notice a difference in my yoga practice when I wear the bracelet. I only wear it when I work. On the days I tried not wearing it to work I just felt regular. (yawn)
Check out the Power Balance bracelet I bought (see image above) isn't metallic. The way it works is the hologram on it resonates with and reacts with my own field of energy. The bracelet doesn't have to actually be touching your body to work, but it does need to be no more than three inches away from your body in order for you to soak in its benefits. They come in all different colors and sizes from XS to I'm assuming XXXL for someone like Shaq! No, this is not a paid endorsement of any given product. It is my own personal experience with this product that I believe is worth sharing. So maybe the awkwardly tall and brutish Shaq and the delicate little ballerina do have one thing in common: better balance, strength and power derived from what we perceive as a thin plastic bracelet with a hologram.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010