Over the years, I’ve read many articles about the benefits of yoga – strength conditioning, flexibility, stress reduction, physiological and medical benefits. I’ve told myself “you should do yoga, it would be so good for you!” And I’ve tried a number of classes, but found it to be so boring, my mind would wander to “I need to get groceries, take out the trash, call my mom…and take a nap” – you get the picture. I kind of gave up on yoga – instead focusing my exercise (which I do love) on hiking and spinning. But after the election results in November, my back completely went out of whack (side note: my chiropractor said his office was swamped on November 9th, and his business was up 25% that week – I wasn’t surprised). A few visits to his office helped my back, but I decided maybe I should give yoga another shot, for a physical and emotional boost. So, I chose a random yoga class at my gym, Crunch, and settled in for what I thought would mimic my previous yawny yoga experiences. I was wrong. It was the music that changed my mind. It was upbeat – a mix of world music, original classics and remixes, and a smooth flow. I felt rejuvenated emotionally and physically -and I enjoyed it – what an unexpected surprise! The music lover in me was inspired.
After this aha experience I decided to seek yoga studios that would fit my needs (the teacher at Crunch only teaches one class a week, and after trying a few classes with other yoga teachers at my gym I discovered she was an exception). I started by searching “upbeat yoga studios in Los Angeles” on Google and have found a few places I will explore. But I found Electric Soul Yoga (ESY) on Groupon, and after reading the studio profile I thought “this might be the place for me!” And a bonus is that the studio is 5 minutes from my house (if you live in LA – you really understand what a bonus this is). FYI: the Groupon offer right now is amazing – 17 classes for $17 (act now, people!)
I went to ESY today for the first time- the teacher was Eric Paskel, the founder (click here for more on the ESY journey).
About ESY- the staff is warm and inviting and the studio is open, dimly lit (in a good way) with 2 windows that are off-street and back facing. I like that the windows don’t face Ventura Boulevard- it kept me focused on the moves and music, and Eric’s warm, funny, expert and non-judgmental guidance. The flow of poses was great – there were some poses I hadn’t tried before, but I didn’t feel judged even though I struggled with a few of them. And Eric was really kind and helped me with the poses that challenged me.
The other yogis (not sure I can call myself that YET but I’m going with it) were a great mix – all levels of yoga experience, sizes, gender, etc. – a welcoming space for all.
The music – sigh– heaven. An expert playlist mastered by DJ Taz Rashid and Eric Paskel (for a NY Yoga Journal Conference) that flowed smoothly from gentler world music melodies to higher energy remixes (Collective Soul, Stevie Wonder, and a remix of KC and the Sunshine Band’s “I’m your Boogie Man” are a couple of noteworthy mentions – I was having a hard time not breaking out into dance), before the cool down (an orchestral version of Sting’s “Fields of Gold” that was so beautiful). The play list was so good, I felt like I was listening to Garth Trinidad or Raul Campos on KCRW (arguably the best radio station in the country!). You can find the playlist on Soundcloud at DJ Taz Rashid and Eric Paskel NY Yoga Journal Conference.
Thank you ESY- you’ve restored my faith in yoga. I’ll be back soon. With friends.
And I’ll close with this image, because who doesn’t love Will Ferrell (with or without flower cap). Namaste.