Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dhyana Yoga - Tried a new teacher!

Yesterday morning I dragged myself out of bed and down the street to Dhyana Yoga (1737 Chestnut) to go to Jonathan's class.

It was worth the extra effort! His style was very familiar - being a combination of Iyengar and Anusara, his assists were phenomenal, and his transitions were fluid - almost lyrical!

He stopped by an event we had last night and I asked him about his music selection. He told me that he likes to push the envelope in his music selection, because he feels like western music can be just as inspiring during yoga as eastern music.

Rock on Jonathan!

So there was much music that I recognized. And I was psyched after the millionth time we did a vinyasa and ended up in Warrior II to hear Tribe Called Quest! That youthful energy of his combined with an ancient practice was a refreshing change of pace.

Tomorrow I'm going again, as Tuesday he has surgery and will be out for a couple weeks. Saturday I'm going to try his other studio (not his class) called "Practice Yoga" on 4th and Catherine... then I can stop by Fabric Row too.

Namaste and type to you then.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

12th Street Gym - 12th between Walnut and Locust

I've been on a week long 12th Street Gym extravaganza! It's been great. It will end this Tuesday, so I'll write about it all then.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Busy Yoga Week... Wake Up Yoga, Dhyana Yoga, the 12th Street Gym and Svaroopa at the Print Center

You can read about about Wake Up Yoga below, but I wanted to say a bit about this week's classes at Dhyana Yoga and Svaroopa at the Print Center:

I went again to Sara's Vinyasa class and again loved it. The hour goes fast and while I felt it was fairly gentle, I did get a good workout. Dhyana has a great event coming up - go to their website to learn more. It's a donation event that will benefit an AIDS charity. There will be a vinyasa class, followed by a restorative class. Sounds amazing! The suggested donation is $50

I'm still loving Svaroopa at the Print Center. With such a busy week this week, I had trouble just relaxing into the poses and I kept wishing for more activity, but that's kind of the point... to slow your body and mind down. I'll keep going and keep trying!

There is also a great event on Saturday at the 12th Street Gym. It's called Tails on 12th and it will benefit a local animal shelter/rescue place. Those that attend will receive a free week at the 12th Street Gym. I will definitely be there! So expect that next week's blog will be mostly about the classes at the 12th Street Gym!

Wake Up Yoga - West Philly Location

Last night I finally made my way to the great Wake Up Yoga place on Baltimore Ave in West Philly. It was great!

Where: 4916 Baltimore Avenue. On Baltimore between 49th and 50th. The 34 Trolley goes right there. If you get there early, peek in first to see if the class before is still practicing, there is no waiting area. If it is, wander down the block to the cool African shops or go to the co-op - I love that neighborhood! (Although I was a tiny bit nervous walking alone after class.)

What to expect and Type of Yoga: They have lots of different types, but I went for Yin Yoga. The teacher and owner of the studios calls it "lazy girl, painful" yoga. That's an awesome description. Basically every pose is passive and done entirely on the floor. Poses like pigeon and supported bound angle poses, easy forward bends, etc. The trick (and the pain) come in the fact that each pose is held for 5 minutes or so. You really open into it, but it does get alot of sensation rolling around in your joints!

The Best Part: Corina. She's amazing. It's rare that I feel like questions are okay to just shout out in a class - but she is incredibly welcoming and warm - and questions really are okay to just pipe up and ask. She really explains things well and allows each person to be who they are. I can see why she's kind of a big deal in Philadelphia. I'm glad my introduction to her was through this class - it felt very intimate.

The Worst Part: Holding "plow" for an extended period of time. It's never my favorite pose. I have gotten better at it since I've lost weight, but it still compresses everything in a way that makes me feel all fat and squished. I did it though and felt quite proud of myself afterwards.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dhyana Yoga - Sara's Vinyasa class

See the other Dhyana post for all the directions and such, but I went again for a vinyasa class this time.

Sara is a lovely teacher. She was very supportive and I liked her approach. She feels like the kind of person that would offer you a bite of her organic, homemade granola bar if you looked hungry on the train, but that makes her a wonderful yoga teacher.

She had a very clear and concise way of explaining things. She read some things that were nice, but also explained things clearly and used good analogies. She definitely let you be wherever you are in your practice. (That was good because I'm a bit sore from this crazy week... and it's only Wednesday!)

I wanted to try Wake Up Yoga in West Philly... maybe next week. This week I needed something closer and less scary. This class was perfect. I felt great afterwards and Sara was extremely sweet and welcoming. I really like everyone at Dhyana... good vibes everywhere.

Power Yoga is scheduled for Friday. I'm intimidated, but ready. Type to you then.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yoga Squared (Yoga)2 - Rittenhouse area

Where:1923 Chestnut Street, 3rd Floor (above the bike shop)
What kind of yoga: Ashtanga yoga

What to expect: Ashtanga yoga, or in this case myesore, takes you through a series of movements in a particular order. It's similar to a vinyasa class, but some of the movements are different.

The best part: The owner, Karen, is awesome. I felt like she would really help you get into the class, learn the yoga, and would be open to as many modifications as you need. She's had injuries before, so she's sympathetic and open to lots of individual attention and questions.

The worst part: I had to be there at 6am for a promotional event... the alarm clock was rude and annoying at 5am. I suggest joining one of their afternoon or evening classes so you aren't caffeine-dependant like me for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bliss Yoga at the Print Center

For the last two Mondays I've been attending a restorative class at the Print Center. It's like the best night's sleep you've ever had. I've rarely gone to restorative classes before, and now I wish there were more of them around the city.

Where: The Print Center (may be private - by special invitation only)

What type of yoga: Svaroopa or Bliss yoga

What to expect: The basic idea is that your body opens into support more than it does while working. So all the poses are held for a long time, but the body is fully supported in each pose. I felt like I was in shavasana (or corpse pose) even when doing a lunge - how often does that happen? The teacher, Liz, is a master at alignment and adjustments - every time she adjusts your position, you feel like a new person: taller, stronger, faster and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

The worst part: Can't think of a bad part of this class. Very nurturing.

The best part: You leave with that feeling that you've had a full-body massage. I want to learn how to do this style of yoga on my own... and for other people. Everyone needs this in their lives.

Dhyana Yoga - Rittenhouse area

Last Sunday I went to Dhyana Yoga for a Kundalini class. Here's the breakdown of what it was like:

Where: 1737 Chestnut Street

What kind of yoga: Kundalini (but they also have Vinyasa classes)

What to expect: The Kundalini practice is done with your eyes closed. The teacher, Dhyana, likened it to swimming - which was a helpful analogy for me. There were times I needed to open my eyes to orient myself, but it did help me stay inwardly focused. The emphasis was strongly on breathing, especially "breath of fire" which my abs weren't accustomed to. The movements are different than Hatha yoga practices, but felt very energizing. While I didn't feel like it was a tremendous workout during the class, I did feel my hamstrings the next day.

The best part: The focus on your chakras. If you're not used to this kind of practice, it might seem like hocus pocus, but I enjoyed the chanting and the emphasis on moving energy through your body.

The worst part: This is a style of yoga that might offend fitness buffs. Living on sunlight for 411 days is okay by me, but I know there are some that would go running for the hills at the very thought.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Welcome to my blog about yoga in Philly.

To give you a little background on myself, I've been doing yoga for over 15 years. I started as a teenager going to Hatha classes with my father. It was a great way for me to spend time with him - even at a time in my life when my dad seemed not-so-cool.

Now I'm living in the city and spending alot of time doing yoga at different places. I thought I should share my findings with you.

I just did two new classes, so reports on those will be my first posts!

Be sure to leave me comments, if you have any questions or if you want me to try something out for you!