addicted to yoga

The first time I took a yoga class was in high school.  My dance coach wanted us to increase our strength and flexibility, so she encouraged us to take yoga.  She taught one class, and it was the only one I ever took because I felt like it wasn't going to do anything.  It wasn't until I moved to L.A. and took a yoga class with a great instructor who taught me how to do yoga correctly that I really learned to appreciate the art of it.
image via pinterest
Yoga is all about strength and stability.  Here's my problem: I was a dancer most of my life, so my feet and hips naturally turn out.  I had to learn to force my body to remain parallel in all positions.  Since I was a dancer you'd think my balance would be wonderful, but you'd be wrong.  So "finding my center" and trying to stay balanced in certain poses is another component I had to work on when I first began practicing.  Over time as I've gotten better, I've gotten stronger and developed some arm strength for literally the first time in my life.  I also find the practice of yoga to be incredibly calming--I can walk into a class feeling stressed out, and walk out feeling recharged and powerful.  

My friend Lauren, who takes most of my outfit photos for me, recently became a certified yoga instructor so I'm also constantly learning new things from her.  Here are some places around town I love for a yoga fix.

Omkar 108 Ashtanga Yoga- this is my favorite place. You must take a class with Gary; he always takes the time in his classes to ensure every single person is practicing correctly.  Anytime I'm struggling with a pose, he comes to work with me one-on-one until I feel comfortable with it.  He's also a veteran and such an interesting person to talk to.

Equinox-although it's crowded, all the instructors here understand the practice incredibly well. I had a three-month membership there last year so I was going pretty much every day. I learned most of the basics here.

Your Neighborhood Studio- I used to take a class here called Yoga Booty Ballet, which I'll get into another time.  I took a couple early morning yoga classes here as well and loved them. The classes are small and the instructors are very calming and spend a lot of time stretching at the end of the class.

Santa Monica Power Yoga- this is a donation-based class, so it is packed. This place is definitely for the more advanced, but if you're looking for a challenge this is a great place.  The classes I've taken are power yoga, so all movements are very fluid as opposed to holding poses for a long period of time.  Personally, I prefer the morning classes to the evening ones.

Laughing Frog Yoga- another place for smaller classes.  I really loved the space and the way the instructor moved through the poses, although the music selection wasn't my favorite (the instructor I took played popular music which I found odd and it threw my concentration off).  This is a good place for some more concentrated ab work.

If you missed my first health story, check out my SoulCycle feature here.
Have a healthy week, everyone!

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