Greetings Yogis! It has been a while but I am back in Los Angeles teaching yoga!!!! I am teaching a Summer Solstice Workshop on JUNE 22nd from 1-3pm at Yoga Daya in Culver City. Early Bird rate (before June 8th) is $35, and $45 after June 8th. Space is limited so secure your spot by calling Yoga Daya at (310)-558-YOGA or sign-up online and click the "Workshops" tab at the top of the page.
Friday, 03 May 2013
Don't think for a second that yoga instructors are some ethereal form of human. We are just regular people engaging in regular people behavior. The yoga industry is booming here in the Yoga Mecca we know and love as Los Angeles. Warning: Yoga instructor (Me) is about to get judgemental, but only for a few paragraphs.
A surplus of yoga instructors pervades our tinsel-town, many of which have no business teaching and molding bodies in the first place. If you add up all these variable you get something very "unyogic" : COMPETITION. Competition is good just like Darwin said because it eliminates the weak and the talentless from the strong and talented. We are not all created equal in all respects. Some people are better than others at certain things. A yoga instructor who relies only their yoga teacher-training education program and their passion for could be a good instructor. However, when a lifetime dedicated to training for a career in professional dance, athletics, sportsmedicine, etc... is coupled with a yoga teacher-training education program the end result is a first-class instructor! Any regular Joe can sign up for yoga teacher-training courses, pay the money, and take the classes. It's not rocket science. What is a science is having a solid understanding of how to apply movement principles into action, and who better to teach these principles than people who move FOR A LIVING! I call these people, myself included, Movement Specialists.
Friday, 30 March 2012
With the New Year almost here, we could all use a little more yoga and little less stress... STARTING JANUARY 6th JOIN ME BRIGHT & EARLY FOR MORNING FLOW YOGA OR IN THE EVENING TO RESTORE AND REJUVENATE YOURSELF. Where: RaKsa (10846 Washington Blvd in Culver City) When: Morning Flow from 7am-8:20am /// Restore, Relax, Rejuvenate from 5pm-6:20pm FIRST CLASS IS FREE!!!!!
Thursday, 29 December 2011
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
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
Wednesday, 03 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
It's Friday and you've got major plans for a night out on the town with your friends. Your cell phone blows up with texts and Facebook notifications from friends trying to coordinate logistics. You indulge your ego a bit and think, "Yea, I'm pretty cool." How can you not meet Mr. or Mrs. Right looking this smooth? With the logistics taken care of and that scandalously short dress clinging onto your slim physique for its dear life, your single self is ready to mingle.
Sound familiar? It should if you are one of the many twenty-somethings and even thirty-somethings in this day and age of extended adolescence and delayed marriage. Most people don't realize the irony of "city life." More often than not, the landscape of bustling metropolises like Los Angeles or New York can make one feel irrelevant and disposable. Expectations are to blame. We are taught to aim high. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Subconsciously these clichés do more harm than good. Expectations dictate our careers, our relationships and our self-image. Indeed, expectations shape our perception of reality. It's incredibly difficult to loosen the grip on how attached we become to our expectations.
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Uncertain socioeconomic times leave many struggling to stay afloat. No jobs, no discretionary income and no apparent light at the end of the tunnel. What do you do? Where do you turn? Yoga? Dance? Being outdoors? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s remarkable to see how during such a rigorous economic downturn there are still people out and about everywhere I turn. Cafes bustle with hungry crowds of casually dressed people. I see people walking at a leisurely pace shopping and lunching. Afternoon yoga classes are more crowded and even Runyon Canyon is more packed than usual. Normally I wouldn’t think twice; however this type of suspicious activity caught my attention because it occurs during prime afternoon work hours on a Monday or a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Thursday! What the heck is going on here?
I stopped to think about this one. Luckily, thinking comes easily to me. Either people aren’t working at all or they are working less and at a much slower pace. How European. If less people are working full time, that means they have more time to do other things. This is precisely what is happening. Summer time in LA is always busy, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen it this busy during the workweek. Did I not get the memo or something, because apparently the overworked, overstressed, underpaid and now the underemployed decided to just say “Oh screw it!” The majority opinion changed drastically from “work hard, save your earnings” to “enjoy what you have today, ‘cuz that might be all you get.” I look at this situation as a resting period; it’s hibernation of America’s workforce. People need rest. They need entertainment. They need something positive in their lives amidst all this chaos. Now that there is more time during their day, people are more willing to dip into their savings to enjoy their hobbies. The overworked are stocking up on their well deserved rest. So when we do experience the big economic boom we’ve all been waiting for, we are refreshed and ready. There is something to this philosophy. America is a country where you work hard for what you earn, but these days it doesn’t matter so much how hard you work or how hard you try because ultimately keeping your head above water is for all intents and purposes impossible.
Could these distressful economic times teach us a valuable lesson, a lesson that Europe already learned long ago? When the future is uncertain, what are you left with but the present moment? Yesterday is history. The moment has passed. Tomorrow is a mystery and isn’t promised. The only option available is to make the most of the present situation and that isn’t necessarily such a bad thing after all.
Saturday, 16 July 2011
You may feel like you are independent and thus responsible for yourself and only yourself; however, something greater binds all of us together into one collective planet...respiration. On a molecular level, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs every single moment and ultimately ties us all together, whether we like it or not.
Check out this article and then tell me you aren't in some indirect way connected to the very person you are flicking off on your way to work right now! So take a moment, breathe deeply, create happy molecules within you so that the next unassuming individual who's fortunate enough to inherit your molecules resists the urge to yell or torment all the bad drivers he or she comes into contact with when the imminent Carmageddon strikes Los Angeles’s 405 Freeway during the July 15th and 16th weekend.
Thursday, 07 July 2011
I was half asleep in my cozy bed last night when a story about transcendental meditation a.k.a. TM came on the NBC 4 eleven o'clock news. My ears perked up... I was intrigued.
HERE IS A FUN YOGI FACT: David Lynch, the idiosyncratic Hollywood director known for such films as Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet is himself a devout meditator. "My first meditation blew me away. It curled my hair," says Lynch. Lynch and his wife Emily established the David Lynch Foundation in 2005 with the goal of implementing scientifically verifiable stress-reducing modalities like TM for at-risk populations. With the help of the David Lynch Foundation techniques alleviating stress become accessible and instrumental to changing many at-risk lives through rehabilitation programs like Children of the Night, a shelter for abused and traumatized children and teens.
Wednesday, 08 June 2011
*(Click "Watch on YouTube" if you click on this video and it doesn't start right away)
Whether he was aware of it or not, good ole’ George Costanza from NBC's hit sit-com Seinfeld seeminly understood what it meant to bring things into balance…at least it appears he understood. In episode 22 of the show’s fifth season, it hit me!!!! Geroge Costanza was practicing yoga without even realizing it. During the episode, George proclaims that as of this very moment he will do the exact opposite of every initial instinct he has ever had because these instincts never led George to accomplish his desired goals. Therefore, doing the exact opposite must be the right thing to do. DISCLAIMER*** George Costanza took his “yoga practice” to the extreme in this example. I’m not endorsing stringent adherence to George Costanza’s advice nor do I think that heeding to George’s Hollywood generated recommendation will suddenly usher you into an era of finally becoming that advanced yoga practitioner you always dreamt of becoming nor will it propel you into a state of enlightenment. But it's certainly an interesting modern world comparision (is 1994 still considered modern?) with respect to yoga philosophy. Watch the above clip—it’s hilarious.
Perhaps George Costanza was wiser than we gave him credit for becuase at least in this one episode George apprears to grasp the idea of pratipaksa bhavanam, an idea discussed in Sutra 33, Book II of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Let me try to summerize the idea of pratipaksa bhavanam in the most succinct way I can. Here goes... Because our thoughts give rise to our emotional state, when disturbed by a negative thought one should replace this thought with the opposite thought. Pratipaksa bhavanam is the discipline of first recognizing the negative thought pattern as counterproductive and then replacing that thought with the opposite (positive) thought. Practicing pratipaksa bhavanam allows one to cultivate the opposing attitude and in doing so, brings the psyche and the consciousness into a more balanced state. At the heart of the matter, this balanced and blissful state is precisely what yoga is all about. Mastery of physical asana is totally unnecessary in order to be successful at cultivating the opposing attitude and therefore achieving a balanced emotional state.
Wednesday, 01 June 2011
Almost everyone I talk to is facing what seems to be unprecedented levels of stress, whether it pertains to a career, a wavering relationship or even beliefs and ideals that once appeared unvarnished. It’s frightful when what we know begins to crumble because we cannot know what will happen in place of the familiar; nor should we know. With the jarring uncertainty we face in today’s world, no matter where you are or who you are, empower yourself with the only thing that we can control: our reaction. It’s difficult to control your immediate reactions when you constantly gauge them by how the world affects you.
One of the most invaluable benefits of being a yogi is learning how to use your breath to calm the mind. It can be done anytime and anywhere. You don’t need to go off to some ashram in India and sit under a tree for five hours to become enlightened. Becoming aware of your breathing and doing some basic pranayama (breath retention) exercises while sitting in Los Angeles traffic can have profound effects on your nervous system and your mood by the time you arrive at your destination (whenever you get off that damn 405!)
Related Post: Breathe Yourself Into Peace
9 WAYS TO BREATHE YOURSELF TO A LESS AGITATED YOU:
1.) Counting your breath. Inhale 1, Exhale 2… Exhale 10. Start over when you reach 10. If your mind wanders, start over without cursing yourself or anyone else.
2.) Mantra. Assign a mantra or positive affirmation to each cycle of breath. 1 cycle=1 inhale and 1 exhale. For example the mystical symbol “OM,” or “May I be well.”
3.) Location. Notice where you feel the breath as it moves in and out of your body. Where can you use more breath? Do the back lungs fill up as easily as the front? Do both nostrils admit and expel the breath equally or is one more restricted than the other?
4.) Pranayama/Retention of the breath. Try inhaling until you are halfway full and pause. Complete your inhale until the lungs are full and pause. Exhale completely and pause. Take a recovery breath or two in between sets. Do 10 sets.
5.) Link movement with breath. It’s as simple as lifting your arm upon inhalation and lowering your arm on upon exhalation. Any movement works as long as you remember to assign either an inhalation or an exhalation to each movement.
6.) Taste of your breath. Become aware of the taste and the sensation of the breath in your mouth or your nose. Is it sweet, dry, bitter?
7.) Temperature. Is the breath cool on the inhalation and slightly warmer on exhalation? How slight is the temperature difference on the way in than on the way out? Play with altering the temperature of your breath by breathing with the nose only, then the mouth only, and then try alternating.
8.) Quality of breath. Notice if your breath is short and choppy or if it’s smooth and complete. Short and jagged breath is a symptom of an agitated mind.
9.) Duration of breath. How long are your inhales compared to the exhales? Can you smooth out both parts of the breath so they are equal in length? Try inhaling for four counts and then exhale for four counts.
Monday, 16 May 2011
Public transportation issues aside, I made my way to Les Levanthal's 9am vinyasa class in the Castro. Nice! I mentally high-fived myself as I secured a spot in the front row of the studio. (duh, where else would I be) As the class begins Les implores us to say hello and "make friends" with our neighbor. Ok, no biggie, after all it’s yoga and we are all here to practice in a community. Makes sense to get to know your neighbor. But then, Les asked us to do the unthinkable...to pick up our mats and MOVE three spots so we are in a different area altogether! This experience was very confronting. I go out of my way to secure a spot that I feel comfortable in only to have to pick up all my crap and move it to another part of the room?! Unfathomable! My higher rational sensibility kicked in reminding me that this confronting experience was merely a metaphor for life, as all of yoga is; yet my immediate and intuitive reaction was unkind and spiteful. Why should I move my stuff? Why can't they move theirs? You see where I'm going with this...but when the guru speaks, the pupil obeys. If picking up my mat and a handful of other belongings was so distressful, no wonder I'm having such a hard time adjusting to life in a new city. A mini-revelation occurred. What happened to the openness I used to bring with me into yoga classes? Perhaps the openness that once used to ebb and flow got stuck. To quote Rumi: "Spirit is the art of getting what's stuck unstuck."
Raga, one of the five kleshas, is a concept in yoga philosophy that pertains to attachment. According to the Yoga Sutras, kleshas are the root of all suffering. We are all attached to certain possessions, people, beliefs and the like, even if they aren't necessarily healthy attachments; therefore, when we are forced to part with these things we suffer. No one likes change...at least initially. Why? Because it means you have to divorce yourself from the familiar. It's confrontations like the one I experienced in Les's class this morning that cause you to wake up and smell the neighbor next to you. If you successfully maintain your composure while doing so in a sweaty yoga class then I salute you.
Sunday, 23 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
LEGS IN A TUTU... a.k.a. TWINKLE TOES
Tuesday, 07 December 2010
I was so stoked to get away from LA this past week to visit a more “cultured” city like New York, according to…well, me. Boy was I wrong…it was a never-ending series of open mouth insert foot experiences in NYC that forced me to reevaluate my relationship with my home city of Los Angeles. I had all these ideas in my brain about how NYC, the Big Apple, the dance capital of the world was supposed to be. Why should it be this way rather than that way? Ok, I'll save that philisophical discussion for another post. I’d been to NYC several other times. Granted the last time I was there it was only for a few days back in 2007 and one other time many years ago. NYC in reality wasn’t as rosy as my memory painted it to be. My body was sore from all the walking all the time, my body clock was off from the jet lag, my appitite was off, (and that really sucks when you’re in the culinary Mecca of the United States!) and oh yea, my wallet was bleeding cash literally… did I forgot to mention that I had to walk everywhere! One of my boyfriend’s childhood buddy’s was getting married that weekend. So we decided to make a trip of it and extended our jaunt to include Tuesday through Friday in Manhattan before taking the train to Long Island for the wedding that weekend. Only by that Friday, essentially our last day in the city did I start feeling like myself again. And then once we got back into the city we still had Sunday and Monday by which point I felt great! Sadly Monday ended and our whole trip was over in the blink of acclimatization. So... Murphy’s Law manifest through yours truly? Sigh You decide.
Every time I commented complained about something in NYC my boyfriend would delightfully remind me about my initial excitement about the very thing I’m complaining about. Waaaa. Ok Mike, I’ll give you this one; but I’m not necessarily a karmic loser just yet. After the trip to NYC the universe reminded me about the importance of gratitude. Perhaps lately the arrow on my gratitude meter was pointing to the low/middle reading. What a perfect time of year to be reminded of such a thing…gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. I am so lucky to be where I am doing what I do and being with the people I’m with. Despite how much I dislike certain things about Los Angeles it is my hometown and there is a familiarity and an affinity for my environment, friends and family…and let me just say after walking what seemed like the diameter of Manhattan I even share this affinity for the lost soul who cut me off today on the 405.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Allergy sufferers, I empathize with you! How can we comfortably slip into ujjai amidst the congestion and perpetual sneezing? Los Angeles sizzles under the arid and gusty spell of the Santa Ana winds this fall season and allergy sufferer or not everyone I talk to notices some effect on their bodies from our crazy climate. Slathering on extra layers of moisturizer becomes a necessary extra step in my daily routine. Hydrating well is also another important thing to consider especially physically active people. Not only does the dry heat whip you across the face, but it also depletes essential fluids and nutrients from your body. I am always sipping on coconut water during ballet class or rehearsals because it hydrates better than water. For those of you who do suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergies I discovered something that helped me tremendously: the neti pot! Neti potting is an ancient form of nasal irrigation used in the Ayurvedic tradition. Neti potting is becoming much more main stream in the western culture these days. The neti pot is a little glass teapot that you fill with 8oz of warm water and then dilute ¼ tablespoon of natural sea salt in the water. The water shouldn’t be too hot, but pleasant. Standing over a sink take the tea pot holding the spout up to one nostril and tilt your head away from that nostril and slowly let the water pour out the teapot and into your nose. You control the intensity by leaning your head more or less to the side. As the water flows in it swishes and rinses out your sinuses before it exits out the other nostril. Repeat for both nostrils. Using your neti pot can be a little messy the first time and takes a little getting used to but after several attempts it becomes easy as pie. Bye Bye allergies, hello clean crisp air...who am I kidding, I live in LA.
Thursday, 04 November 2010