Yoga means “union” or “union with the divine.” It doesn’t mean “contortionism,” “hippie commune” or “Lululemon.”
As the holidays roll around, so, too, do days spent cooped up indoors with kids and relatives, braving rainy weather (or even snow, for those who head East) and moving very little, except perhaps to the dining room table and back.
Most of us have one body part that we’d like to change, be it our double chin, our tuchis or our belly.
Traditionally, the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days are a time of account settling for Jews, marked by personal reflection, repentance and prayer.
In a dimly lit room overlooking Santa Monica’s bustling Third Street Promenade, prayers set to electronic music float between bodies in motion. Barely audible over the melodies are the deep exhales of students.
The Grinberg Method, named for its Israeli founder, Avi Grinberg, is described as “a structured way of teaching through the body.” But a better way to explain it is through an example. Let’s take a universal source of anxiety that most women can relate to: waiting for the guy to call after a date.
When was the last time you stood on your head? If you don't practice yoga, and you're not a 2-year-old, it's probably been quite a while. Noting that my toddler couldn’t get enough of being upside down on his little sister’s infant seat, I understood the allure. Seeing the world in a completely unexpected way is titillating. Subverting the natural order of things is energizing.
If you thought that yoga was all about peace and love, think again. The vitriolic fight that has erupted within the world of this ancient meditation system gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Warrior Pose.” The co-founder of the American Hindu Association, a relatively small organization, has been complaining that people should become more aware of yoga’s Hindu roots. The association has mounted a Take Back Yoga campaign in New York, and has publicly lamented the fact that there weren’t trademark lawyers in place when modern yoga was being developed in India.
"I think I have an interesting activity for us," my sister said. "There's a guy out there who's got this laughter yoga thing going on."
How does anyone say no to a "laughter yoga thing"?
So what is a Julliard-educated conductor doing teaching yoga in Venice Beach?
Not every couple's notion of the ideal honeymoon entails a hedonistic beach resort and lots of fruity drinks garnished with umbrellas. Some want to begin married life with yoga.
Some couples pursue tantric yoga, a form that includes a tranquil sexuality, in hopes of creating a powerful union of mind, body and spirit. The Institute for Ecstatic Living -- (877) 982-6872; www.ecstaticliving.com -- organizes tantric vacations to Costa Rica, Hawaii and cruise getaways.
What, you may be asking yourself, is the next hot trend? The style universe looks to Los Angeles in general, and this column in particular, for those cutting-edge trends that define the culture.
I admit, it doesn't sound pleasant. You enter a room that's been heated to above 100 degrees. The heat isn't as suffocating as the odor, a wall of smell that hits you like a thousand stinky shoes.
The regular practice of yoga can increase energy levels, flexibility, strength, relaxation, and decrease stress.
I've now spent a total of 24 hours in something called "down dog," but I'm still terrible at yoga.
As we enter the new millennium, fitness professionals are becoming more aware of the movement toward spiritual forms of exercise. Programs like Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and body work are common in fitness clubs and community centers. To keep up with today's stressful lifestyles, we must do more than increase our heart rates and pump iron to maintain maximum health. Mind and body fitness can facilitate this by achieving inner balance and harmony in mind, body and spirit.
Ida Unger's Yoga Garden studio in Santa Monica seems a far cry from a synagogue.