Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bikram Yoga Philadelphia & Bikram Yoga Chelsea: The Traveling Yogi

So earlier this month Mission Yoga decided to throw their first Fall 30-Day Challenge, in which one must complete 30 classes in 30 days, typically conducted in the Spring.  One is allowed to do two classes in one day if they skip a day.  Despite the fact that it was a busy month and I’d be out of town for five days when my little brother was getting’ hitched, I still decided to do it…because I am crazy, and because without the triathlon to train for (San Diego’s been cancelled, can you believe it?) I was in need of a new challenge.  And what a challenge it’s been!  I've done at least eight doubles this time around...crazy.  Thankfully, Steve23 and Juicy had said it was all right to take a few classes back East and count them towards my challenge...so when scheduling my visit to NJ - NYC - Philly - NJ and back home over the course of a mere five days, I made sure to squeeze two yoga classes in.  Thus begins the tale of the traveling Bikram yogi...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Yoga With a Triathlon Tale

Since most of my recent training time has been spent on triathlon training, not yoga training, I thought my loyal six person readership might be interested in reading (or skimming, it's LONG) my official "race report," which we're encouraged to put together by our coaches so that we can compare past experiences to future ones. We'll return to yoga next week, I promise!

Race Report: See Jane Run Triathlon 9/25/2010
This was my very first triathlon, and I’m so glad that I decided to take the leap, spend the time and money, and join the San Francisco SJR training team.  Noel and Kyle were phenomenal coaches and the mentors were warm, helpful, and lovely people.  Also, my team was full of rockstars, so that helps.  My race goal was “Don’t Drown.” Here goes!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bikram Yoga Seacliff (and running and biking and trying to swim...and smartfood popcorn)

So upon reading the title of this blog post, you are probably thinking the following:

1) As a dedicated member of your five person readership, I am appalled by the length of time (a full month and a half!) that has passed since your last post.  APPALLED.

2) Also, are you seriously going to write about Bikram again? I thought the whole point was to try other types of yoga.  I am bored with you.  I may not even "click to read more." HARRUMPH.

But I can explain!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fluid Yoga: One Less Human To Worry About

I'm always delighted to discover ways studios are making their services more accessible ("recession buster" classes, special offers for new students), and when yoga friend Daisy mentioned the $5 community classes at Fluid Yoga in the Inner Sunset, I had to check it out (and a post-bikram free outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing was just the icing on the cake).  Daisy had never been to a hot yoga class and wanted to give it a shot, and at $5, I wasn't complaining!

Alas, a full week had elapsed between my most recent Mission Bikram yoga class and joining Daisy for Fluid, during which time I drank like a fish in Tahoe over Fourth of July weekend, caught a sickness that put me out for a few days, and got utterly slammed with work.  I don't know about you, but when I get really busy, I tend to eat crapola (because I "deserve" that Take 5 candy bar or toaster oven pizza, dammit!).  So given I had a belly full of cheese and chocolate, lingering illness, and a week's worth of no yoga at all, I rode the bus to Fluid with a certain amount of trepidation....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Satori: The Return of Guest Blogger Stephanie!

Today's post is written by Stephanie, and tells the tale of a yoga newbie.

After living in San Francisco for a year, I realized that not leading an active lifestyle is just unacceptable.  People around me are biking and hiking and climbing rocks! So I decided to step up to the plate – I gave the half marathon a shot, and bought my first ever gym membership at the local YMCA (after all, even if I didn’t make it to the gym regularly, I was at least making a contribution to a great non-profit, right?)  To my surprise, I didn’t really take much advantage of the amenities that most appealed to me, like swimming (I used to be fish in a former life) or elliptical machines.  Instead, I started Pilates and Yoga classes…but strongly suspected that what I was given was not a complete “yoga experience.”  Enormous crowds left no room for a proper Warrior pose, and I soon realized that I needed more personal attention and a connection with what I was doing if I was ever going to stay committed to this “yoga” thing.

So when Groupon sent out a Satori Yoga Studio coupon, I gave myself a mini-challenge.  Danielle was in the midst of completing her second 30 day challenge in Bikram yoga (ed note: did you know I won a free cut and color at Fringe salon for completing the challenge? And now my hair is streaky and curly and awesome?  Best challenge ever!), after all, and I thought…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! (That’s for you Barney Stinson).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hiking Yoga: Don't interrupt the social hour!

Many months ago a friend and I had purchased half off tickets to Hiking Yoga via Groupon, but weren't able to get our weekend morning schedules to sync up (bridesmaid responsibilities and debaucherous trips to Tahoe got in the way) until this past Saturday.  I woke up wicked early, threw on some yoga pants and sneakers (and my giant fuzzy hooded sleeveless parka; I loved this so much when I bought it, but when on earth is it ever appropriate to wear a giant fuzzy hooded sleeveless parka?  My caffeine-starved brain early Saturday thought "it's warm out, sleeveless sounds good" whereas the first thing Hiking Yoga leader Eric said to me was "are you going on an arctic expedition?") and headed off to the Ferry Building.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yoga on the Bay: Loosen Up Already!

I forget how I heard about this particular free class, but knowing that the weather this weekend was going to be gorgeous, and that if I don't have something specific to be out of bed for on Saturdays I'll sleep till 1pm and waste the day, I decided to give it a shot.  After all, free yoga!  Sunshine!  Next door to a farmers market!  All of my favorite things.  Which is how I found myself slathering on the 30 SPF and hopping in my car to head off to Berkeley for Yoga on the Bay free yoga classes.

I got to class ten or fifteen minutes late (mostly because I needed my weekend Philz coffee, and the line was hella long...what's that you say, I can't use "hella" unless I'm from CA?) and thought that maybe I'd missed it.  Finally I found our teacher Star sitting in the field doing a seated twist.  And by "our" I mean "my" because I was the only person there.  Apparently this is a new program and they're still spreading the word.  But Star was very sweet and told me that I was lucky - that I'd be getting a personal yoga class.

And no joke, that's what happened.  I got an hour-long personal yoga session!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Bar Method: It's your BUTT, ladies!

Before I begin this post, I had to tell this story: this (early) morning I walked to Bikram class through the cold, wet rain, for once very much looking forward to 105 degree heat.  It was the first class of the day, and it was unusually damp and dreary outside, but I tell you what folks – for the first time I can remember I was COLD in class.  I wanted to wrap that clammy towel around me and huddle with the other people in class for warmth, it was that cold (how is it possible to sweat and freeze at the same time?).  So if anyone is fearful of the Bikram heat, here's a tip - go to the first class of the day, usually around 6 AM - it’s a little more manageable.

Anyway…so my friend & coworker has been encouraging me to try the Bar Method – a new exercise trend that includes elements of pilates, ballet, and yoga.  The celebrities love it, like Kelly Osborne, and it's been getting a lot of attention, which is why the classes are crazy expensive (and I thought yoga was pricey!).  There are two SF studios, one downtown and one in the Marina, and you can send yourself a complimentary first class.  Just make sure you call ahead to reserve your spot, because classes fill up fast.  So that’s how I found myself driving all the way back to the Marina on a Saturday morning.  (side note: did you know you can get a $50 ticket for parking too far from the curb?  I sure didn’t.  I really need to learn how to park.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Passport to Prana: How to Get Your Yoga On (On the Cheap)

Yeah, so I haven't written a new post in a while...this year's 30 day challenge has been unusually difficult, and my life has become particularly busy, so going to extra yoga classes in order to keep up my poor little blog has fallen to the bottom of the priority list.  Sorry, y'all.

But there's a cool deal going on that I had to share ASAP: it's called Passport to Prana, and basically you pay just $30 (plus fees & shipping) for 6 classes (one each) at 6 of 33 studios throughout the Bay Area. The goal is to encourage us to try a range of classes and styles - so basically, a mini version of this blog, but they've done all the work.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Candlelit Yoga at Yoga to the People: I Am a Human, Being


Thanks to a bout of flu and the beginning of my 30 day bikram challenge, it’s been a little while since last I wrote, but I know my many loyal followers have been waiting with bated breath for my next entry...so yesterday I decided to follow up a 4:30pm bikram class with a 7pm "candlelit yoga" session at Yoga to the People, a donation-based yoga form that apparently began in New York (there's a YTTP in Berkeley as well).  Their website is unique and their mantra is really refreshing, so I've copied it below, in it's entirety:


A little crunchy-granola California-rific for you East Coasters, I know, but I for one was very excited for this particular class.  

The preceding bikram class was taught by a big brawny guest teacher named Bruno.  He had a great style of teaching and pushing us past what we thought were our limits, and I was so focused and engaged that the hour and a half flew by.  Of course, when I peeled my soggy self off my yoga mat after final savasana, my thighs and middle back felt like they'd been steamrollered.  So it was that I walked the four blocks from studio to studio (passing by that Anusara place I've been meaning to try on the way...the Starbucks comparison is no joke!) with a certain amount of trepidation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bikram at Funky Door, Haight Ashbury: Babar and Bill Clinton Do Yoga, And I Nearly Die

So my yoga studio, Mission Yoga, will be running their annual 30 day challenge in March, and I'm looking forward to signing up.  I did this last year, and it was rough, but fun: you do yoga every day for 30 days, and if you miss a class you can take two in a single day.  They have a big piece of posterboard up and for every class you take, you get a shiny little sticker to put up next to your name.  At the end of the month, you get a bunch of raffle tickets and can win a prize (my prize last year was lame…a “custom bra fitting,” except that the woman who donated the prize only does fittings for "larger" women  “Do you have a friend who could use it?” she said.  Boo.)  It creates this nice sense of community, even more so than usual - we're all gonna get through this together!

But knowing that I certainly wouldn’t want to be experimenting with new bikram studios during that time, I decided to try out Funky Door in Haight Ashbury ASAP.  Also, a yoga teacher buddy had told me that if I was considering teacher training, I should try a few classes at Funky Door, since they’re closer to what I’d be doing at training (read: harder and hotter).  So I hopped on the 71L after work and off I went!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Power Yoga at The Pad Studio: Yoga Goddesses and Free Parking

So it seemed only fair to give the Marina another shot, this time at Pad Studios on Union Street.  My free-class-at-Lululemon friend suggested we take advantage of Pad’s 3 classes for $20 new student deal (whereas a drop-in is $17), and I wanted to try this Power Yoga thing, so off I went on a sunny Sunday morning.  I decided to drive because I was running late (and I’m lazy), and knew things would go well when, as I waited at a stoplight a block from my destination, a giant van pulled out of their parking space.  This meant that a) I now had practically door-to-door parking, and b) I was going to have plenty of van-space to park my little Yaris (me parking is always reminiscent of these videos - I kid you not that a passerby actually stopped to watch me as I went over the curb to my right, inched forward and back about eight times, bumped the car bumper in front, went BACK over the curb…this with at least eight or nine feet of parking space to move around in.  Hey, this “driving” thing is new to me, okay?)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Free Flow Yoga at Lululemon: Judgey McJudgerson Rears Her Ugly Head

Ah, the Marina.  Much like Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, just saying the neighborhood's name conjures up images of tools in striped collared shirts skeezing on drunk girls in designer knee high boots.  Crowds of them.  Unlike Rittenhouse Square, however, the Marina is situated way up in the north of the city and is very easy to avoid, which is why I’ve lived in San Francisco over a year but have been to the Marina exactly twice. 

But a friend who works there sent me an email about a free flow yoga class taking place at a Lululemon store, and suggested we try it.  Keeping an open mind, I hopped on the 45 bus and cautiously made my way north.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mission Yoga Take Two: Where are the Cowboy Hats? (Guest Post)

Today's post is a contrasting opinion from a Bikram newbie, Ms. Stephanie, Guest Poster and Birthday Princess (pictured above).

So, I lost a bet.  That was how I found my way into a sweaty, humid, sauna smelling, 105 degree Bikram yoga studio.  Danielle has been preaching to me and fellow naysayers for over a year about the wonderful world of Bikram, her new flexibility, how she almost locked her knees yesterday, her discovery of a whole new spiritual awakening. The cynic in me rolled my eyes, but I was happy for her.

My yoga history included just a few weird yoga stretches with straps and some ill formed downward facing dogs at my local Y yoga classes. But one fateful day I promised Danielle that if she succeeded at being my Cyrano de Bergerac, and her carefully worded ghostwritten email got me a date with a certain young man, then I WOULD go to a Bikram class with her.  Ultimately, she worked her magic and I had a bet to own up to. We finally synched up our busy schedules to fit a Jessica class in because Danielle said she’s perfect for the first time Bikram yoga going person such as myself (as well as Danielle’s favorite teacher).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Restorative Yoga at Yoga Garden SF: Not Restored So Much As Humbled

I'd taken a 6:15am bikram class (followed by a post-bikram, post-shower nap, which is the most glorious experience but always makes me late to work) and had had a long work day, so an 8pm Restorative Yoga class at The Yoga Garden (described as "deep relaxation," "guided breath awareness," and "active enough for our restless minds and relaxed enough for our tired bodies.") for only $5 seemed like a great idea.

Did you ever read The Secret Garden?  The Yoga Garden is a bit like that - an unassuming building in the middle of a busy, boring street, but you walk through the gate and there's flowing water, bright green moss lit by blue light, plants & flowers and soothing sounds and bamboo and it's just gorgeous!  You follow this little oasis path around the building to the back, where the studio is located - very tiny, with only two unisex changing rooms and two bathrooms, but peaceful and...quiet.  Very quiet.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bay Area Yoga Studios...A (not quite) Exhaustive List

Some options I'll be considering over the coming year (in alphabetical order).  I've included name, style, location, website, and whatever special first-timer deals they might have (cause I'm cheap).  As time passes, I'll update this list, link to reviews, and/or figure out how to make this an actually useful compendium.