Posts Tagged ‘Breathe Los Gatos’

Last night my friend Ani and I went to see Girish:Remixed at one of the local yoga studios I like to go to.  I had been on their site looking up a class for my sister when I happened to look at their upcoming events and saw the show.

REMIXED links Sanskrit mantra and chant with modern grooves in a heart-opening, soul-stirring union. This is sensual, funky, yet deeply devotional music that will have your body moving and your heart soaring.

REMIXED joins Girish’s lush, soulful voice and transcendent melodies with a dazzling array of international musical luminaries including Mac Quayle (Sting, Beyonce, Madonna), DJDrez (Black-Eyed Peas, Bombay Dub Orchestra), Herb Graham,Jr(MacyGray), Desert Dwellers, Rara Avis, Shujat Ali Khan and more.

REMIXED is an inspiring blend of musical styles ranging from dubstep to reggae, from dance to electronic – while maintaining the devotional heart and soul of Girish’s music. This is music to put your prayers in motion!”

I love music of all types, and I’m always looking for something out of the ordinary to do, so I figured it was a nice way to spend a Saturday evening.  I asked Ani to join me because she’s always up for new adventures. And I did something really a-typical for me – I didn’t research more about the music online before the event.  I wanted to experience the evening fresh, without any preconceived notions.

This is the Luna room at Breathe, where they hold their aerial yoga classes, among others. It was the beautiful setting of the evening’s music.

While I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew I’d hear some interesting music in a tranquil space, no matter what.  And I did.  We sat on blankets and bolsters on the ground, and most people were wearing loose, easy clothing.  I was a bit overdressed, but very thankful that I’d chosen to forgo my jeans, which would have been much too uncomfortable for sitting on the floor for two hours.

The music was based on chants from sanskrit, many of which are used in yoga practice.  I was actually shocked at how many people in the small group of 30 knew the chants by heart. The Girish website has samples of all the songs we heard last night, and here’s a sample of one of my favorites from last night, Jaya Hanuman. The thing that you don’t hear from the samples is the way that the songs built up in intensity and tempo.  As the description wrote, many of the songs took on a funky, jazzy vibe, courtesy of brilliant bass guitar playing and drumming.  Those were the moments I enjoyed the most, when I could just forget about everything else and FEEL the music.  And I guess that’s really the whole point, to let all of your troubles go and just be in the moment, exactly as you are when you’re practicing yoga. 

The only song I didn’t like was one that was sung in English and sounded more like a Christian revival meeting.  (It was something more impromptu, and not part of the CD or the samples).

Even though I didn’t completely feel like I belonged there (just my own thing, not because anyone was unwelcoming), I still really enjoyed the evening.  I liked the experience so much that I think I may go to the OM Music Festival in Santa Cruz in October.  I think it speaks to the fact that music can bridge all sorts of gaps.

Do you ever go to events that are very out of character for you?

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As you guys can tell if you’ve been reading the blog lately, I’ve been taking full advantage of Breathe‘s 40 days for $40 offer that I bought earlier this month.

Last week I went to my first hot “tapas” yoga class there, and tonight I attended my second, so I thought I’d write about my findings.  The class isn’t called Bikram because in order to be designated a Bikram class, the instructor/style has to follow the method developed by Bikram Choudhury – “a set series of 26 yoga poses, including two pranayama exercises, each of which is performed twice in a single 90 minute class.” ( source: http://yoga.about.com/od/bikramyogahotyoga/a/bikram.htm)

I’ve taken Bikram at YogaSource many times with many different teachers and enjoyed the predictability of the class.  It’s always the same 26 poses, done twice.  The first time held longer than the second.  Bikram is very athletic – you’re striving to hold the pose, reach deeper, or wrap stronger.  I know that if I attended that class on a regular basis, I would get inspired by my progress with each pose.  Since it’s always the same exact ones in the same order, my improvement would be measurable. As it is right now, I can get into some of the poses, but many of them require me to significantly modify the original pose.  Which I’m fine with, because I know I’ve worked to the best of my ability.  Even as a sporadic student, I always leave the class feeling accomplished.

With hot yoga, it’s just that – yoga poses done in a heated room.  The class that I attend on Tuesday nights is very relaxing and therapeutic, just as you’d expect a yoga class to be.  The teacher, Joan, is so supportive, encouraging, and gentle.  She reminds us constantly throughout the class that whatever we can do is where we should take our practice.  Very non-competitive.  I leave feeling better about myself.

I’m planning on taking the Thursday night hot yoga class this week, which has an entirely different teacher, and it will be interesting to see if/how that experience compares.

Both classes help the body release built-up toxins, though sweating.  I walk out of each studio feeling as if I’m floating – like I’ve just risen from a sauna or steam room.  The benefits of both Bikram and hot yoga are clear:

Practiced regularly, this deep body cleansing practice will give you better circulation, a stronger immune system and higher energy levels.”

At this point, I can’t really say that I like one practice over the other.  Each has their place in my heart for different reasons.  My competitive side likes the challenge of Bikram, while the side of me that needs encouragement and soothing loves the hot tapas yoga.  In both, I love the feeling I have as I’m driving home – one of complete contentment, relaxation, and calm.

Plus, you really can’t beat the calorie burn with heated yoga – look it up on any calorie calculator and you’ll be amazed.  I burn well over 1000 calories (1156 in a 75 minute class, 1387 in a 90 minute class) each time.  Of course individual results vary, depending on how much you weigh, but no matter what, the burn you can achieve doing something this good for your body and mind is remarkable.

I highly recommend trying some form of hot yoga – if I can attempt it, you can, and should, too.

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Since I had today off and I wanted to take advantage of my 40 days for $40 deal that I got at Breathe, I decided to head to a noon Anusara-Inspired yoga class.  I’d never heard of Anusara before, but when I read the description, it sounded interesting.

Anusara, a system of Hatha Yoga developed and founded by John Friend, masterfully blends Universal Principles of Alignment with heart-opening, creative expression making the practice a beautiful and delightful synergy of precision and grace. Detailed verbal cues,  hands-on adjustments, and demonstrations of poses with detailed explanations will be given. Each class will be infused with a heart-oriented theme, woven into the asana practice giving more potency and meaning to each pose.

Little did I realize that the class was a lot less hatha and a lot more vinyasa.  Meaning lots of flowing from one pose to the next.  Downward dog to Staff to Cobra to Plank to Warrior to…you get the idea.  I don’t like moving from one pose to the next too quickly, which is why I love Bikram, because you hold the poses for longer periods of time.

But I was there and I decided to fight back the inner fat girl in my head who told me to leave as soon as we started all the moving from pose to pose.  I got into every single pose for the first 40 minutes.  Granted, I wasn’t nearly as graceful for effortless as others, and I may have modified the poses a bit, but I got into them.  And then Daniella,the teacher whom I absolutely loved, told us to move toward the wall.  And my intuition told me that this wasn’t going to be good.

Why oh why didn’t I listen to that feeling?

Daniella demonstrated how to get into a headstand.  Yes, a HEADSTAND!  WTF?!  I don’t think so.

No matter how many steps she was able to take us through, from being on all fours and lengthening the body and using the four corners of our body to propel us forward, there was simply no way that I was going to be able to get my body up and put all that weight onto my poor hands.

Just not going to happen.

And as I watched people attempting the handstand, I made the decision that I’d had enough yoga for one day, and I thanked Daniella for the class and I hit the bricks.

I mean, c’mon! A handstand?  Seriously?!  Don’t you think they should have mentioned that as one of the “heart-opening poses” in the description?

But I am glad I stayed for the first 40 minutes.  My heart rate was up and I can already feel the muscles in my thighs.  MyFitnessPal says I burned 768 calories, and while I know their estimates are higher than what a HRM might read, I’m ok with the inaccuracy, at least for now.  (Eventually I might want to buy a Polar F4 HRM, but that seems like a great reward item for making weight loss goals).  But, I digress…

I went on Breathe’s online class signup and decided on classes for the rest of my 39 days.  I’m not taking a  class every single day, but I am going to get my money’s worth.  Here’s what I’ve signed up for:

  • Sundays: Candle Light Yin
  • Tuesdays: Hot “Tapas” Yoga (“tapas” means “the discipline of steady practice which will lead to immediate internal and external benefits.”  Basically, Bikram yoga).
  • Thursdays: Hot Tapas Yoga
  • Fridays: Restorative
  • Saturday: Yoga Basics

I even signed up for Taiji and Qigong class on the last day of my 40 – Tuesday, February 21st – when I’ll be on February Break and able to take a morning class.

Learn how to maintain and increase your own vitality with this simple but profound class.  Each class will integrate gentle movements that stretch and strengthen your entire body with techniques that expand your breath and balance your mind.  Each morning you will have a chance to learn simple and effective routines Taiji and Qigong that energize, cleanse, and harmonize your body’s internal organs and energetic systems.  Sometimes called “Chinese yoga,” Taiji and Qigong healing exercises were developed in the earliest dynasties of China and have now spread throughout the globe.  This unique opportunity to practice these ancient Chinese energizing techniques is not to be missed!

I’m going to get my inner yogini on from now until February 21st, when  the 40 days run out! And I decided today that if I like these classes and the teachers as much as I think I’m going to, I’ll purchase a one-month unlimited package in July, when I can go every day if I’d like.  It’s $115, but there’s no commitment, and since I have so much time throughout that month to practice yoga, it will be worth it.


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They say that the way that you spend New Year’s Day is the way that you’ll spend they year. Well, if that’s true, 2012 is going to be the year that I learn to breathe with yoga!

  This morning (ok, it was noon, but on New Year’s Day, noon is still morning, right?) I went with Kim, her husband, and my sister to Kim’s yoga studio, aptly named Breathe. They were having a New Year’s Day/1st Anniversary special – free yoga all day. I hadn’t been to the studio before, and I have to say, I really loved it there. It’s not as large as the studio I normally go to, but there’s something very comforting and peaceful about this space.


The front desk area - very warm & welcoming


A blurry photo of the tea house sign. I love that they have this option for a pre or post session cup of tea.


A shot of the store and decor. If you look to the left, you can see a class.


The wall of buddhas.


My favorite thing - by far - was this waterfall wall with the word "breathe" in all the different languages of the world. From Sanskrit to Italian and everything in between.

The best part of the day, though, was the Yoga Basics class taught by Su Wong.  Su was an amazing teacher – very knowledgeable, but also very lighthearted and playful in her teaching style. She was excellent about demonstrating the poses and then walking around and slightly adjusting the students as she saw we needed it.  She kept reminding us to be grateful for the way that our bodies  could move, and she kept reminding us not to take it all so seriously.  She repeated “let go” throughout the class, which was an excellent way for me to begin the new year living my mantra of releaseSometimes things work out so perfectly that you know they just can’t be an accident – they’re absolutely meant to be. 

I left the class feeling uplifted, refreshed, and so energetic.  All the little kinks from the week’s workouts had been worked out, and I was ready to tackle the rest of the day, which consisted of a light lunch, a long walk with Sofi, and now some quiet time writing and listening to Buddha Bar Rebirth & Rejoice.  I bought these CDs back in 2004 and used to listen to them all the time, and then sort of forgot about them, so it’s been nice to rediscover them today.  They definitely have the calm, world music, electronic vibe.  Later tonight I plan on taking a long, luxurious bath, because I want to make that a weekly habit on Sunday evenings as a way of ending the weekend and beginning the new week.

To continue this yoga practice, one of my friends saw my post about going to Breathe today and let me know that next weekend my favorite studio, YogaSource, is offering free classes both days.  The studio is moving to new, 10,000 square foot space, and I can’t wait to check it out.  I’ve signed up for yin yoga on Saturday (after Zumba, I figured a little peace and spirtuality would be nice) and then Bikram on Sunday. I’m so glad I’m able to take advantage of another weekend of free yoga classes.


I also plan to take advantage of the fact that my local Lululemon store offers free yoga on Sunday mornings at 9:30am.  I think that sounds like a great new habit for 2012.  In the summer they take the yoga outside, which sounds fantastic.

I wish yoga wasn’t so expensive. In my area, a monthly membership is well over $80 (limited sessions) and closer to $115/mo for unlimited. That’s just not in my budget. But with as many yoga studios as I have in my vicinity, I could probably spend the next year paying very little by just taking part in these intro deals every month or so. That way, I can check out all of the studios I’m likely to go to and figure out which one I like the best.  Once I do that, I plan to buy some class packages, which helps me save a bit on the drop-in cost, and allows me to take my favorite class – Bikram – more often.

I think that 2012 is going to be the year that I explore my inner yogini even more! And by doing so, it will also be the year that I’m finally able to fit into some Lululemon yoga clothes.  Namaste!!

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