Saturday, October 27, 2012

Home Town Yoga

I fell in love with this time of night as an undergrad. It took my breath away as I biked back to the dorm at the end of the day. This was the view that greeted me as I left Ocean Stretch class at Ocean Yoga, my home town studio. Dark blue sky and black trees still take my breath away.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ketchum Yoga

In Ketchum, Idaho Richard Odum teaches morning classes at the Wood River YMCA. The Y is new and beautiful. The class had a nice flow with Richard's self described "chatter" linking our moves to daily life and animal behavior (ours and other species). It was a a perfect warm up, joint lubrication, and brain wake up for an active day in Sun Valley. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Corn Palace

There is plenty of room in South Dakota for miles of billboards announcing roadside attractions. I am of course leery of the promised joys, "Souvenirs! T-Rex! Gourmet coffee! Reptile Zoo!" Yet we pulled over for the "World's Only Corn Palace!" in Mitchell, South Dakota.

We loved it.
Somehow downtown Mitchell has stayed alive and their exposition center, the Corn Palace is right downtown. It is used for all sorts of things like flu shots, volleyball and the upcoming Pheasant Banquet. Every year at harvest time a committee determines a theme for murals made of corn all around the outside of the building. They are wonderful in a that natural  Rose Parade way. We were greeted by friendly volunteers who explained that corn grows in 12 different colors. All they asked is that we sign the guest book.

George McGovern was born in and returned to Mitchell. I heard him speak when he ran for President in 1972. The local papers are reporting that he is in the last days of his life.  I'm happy the he was able to look forward to these murals every autumn as he approached ninety.
When I showed up in my yellow Corn Palace sweatshirt last night I learned from my nephew that Stephen Colbert did an eight minute piece on it on October 18. It's at 4:48. Tongue in cheek, but a tribute never the less. It has a some nice old photos.

Monday, October 15, 2012

South Dakota Yoga

In Sioux Falls I got a chance to go The Dharma Room for a yoga basics class. 

Just finding the studio in a new town feels like an accomplishment. I was helped out by the fact that Sioux City is a pretty good grid with numbered streets. The little mall has two sets of doors. The extra doors and breezeway must be important in December when the mean temperature is 23 degrees.
I got a friendly reception from Jill Johnson who had us all introduce ourselves, a tradition I've missed in yoga classes.  Every move we made felt good after the drive from Topeka, Kansas. Our route touched Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa. Classmates wished me nice trip out to the "hills". It was fun to pick up a bit of local vernacular as we head to Mount Rushmore. This is the nice sunset that greeted me as I left.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arizona Yoga Two

Sheree suggested we leave Kingman AZ early enough to catch yoga in Flagstaff about two and half hours east. We found the Yoga Experience in an old brick building in downtown Flagstaff.

The waiting crowd was friendly and explained the protocol to me.  I could tell they were regulars and that the session was likely to be more than "Yoga Basics". 

The open window and the view of the San Francisco Peaks was invigorating.

Teacher Laura did get us into some challenging moves I haven't been exposed to, but she talked about "playing around", and made it fun. There were some beautiful grey haired ladies who were very inspiring. 

I left feeling light as a feather.

Arizona Yoga One

I didn't get to do a class at True North Yoga in Kingman AZ, but I had a really nice experience there. When I arrived at the wonderful big old building, I found a gym downstairs-  music pounding, smiles, and endorphins flowing. I was directed up metal outdoor stairs and waited, taking in the blue sky.

It was fun checking out the neighborhood from up high and wondering "could I live here?" It's game I play a lot travelling.

Yoga was cancelled because the teacher had run a triathlon the previous day - something all her regulars knew of course. The woman who was helping me was very nice and was disappointed for me. I've figured out that her name is Anna Shuffler. Anna explained to me that she bought the building, previously an Odd Fellows Hall and is slowly fixing it up. She opened up the yoga studio just so I could see it.

Wonderful floor, light and windows.

 I was struck by her work to bring the past into a useful present  because we have been travelling along a lot of old Route 66. New Highway 40 bypassed the towns on Route 66 and they are mostly gone or going. And there is cool architecture and signs that could be preserved. I am so happy the Odd Fellows Hall in Kingman is getting another chance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yoga Journey

Be quiet so I can listen
Be still so I can feel

I was so happy to find this courtyard in San Luis Obispo.  We are on a road trip and Smiling Dog Yoga was perfect for our first stop.

The studio had beautiful light and the teacher explained some yoga concepts, thoughtfully prepared -  complete with white board.

Yoga is my new enthusiasm. Yoga came into my life when a physician suggested it to M. as part of her rehab from a brain injury. I joined her at our local family gym in Pacifica. There are people who look like me in these classes. I even run into people I know. I loved the temporary replacement teacher who arrived in a bright multicolored beanie, announced that yoga is supposed to be fun, and went on to make it fun. It's a gym so these classes include the clanging of weight machines while we are getting centered. I want to giggle when this happens.

A friend in Truckee recommended a wonderful studio where I found Walter who twinkles with support. It's a pretty professional setting but still an encouraging place. The mountain crowd is fit. I am pretty sure most class members run triathlons between classes. What I like about Bill's classes are his explicit instructions, muscle by muscle. And he laughs.

In addition to the gym in Pacifica I've discovered a studio in town with Dawn's class where we get to chant. And I like to listen to and try to follow Ron's specific directions in stretch class.

All this yoga surprises me because I used to think that yoga was too achievement oriented for me.  I found it overly serious and intimidating.  I got grim satisfaction when I read in the NY Times magazine that yoga injuries were on the rise. In 2012 modifications for ability level are encouraged and humor is allowed. I'm hooked.