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As far as I know this is the first of its kind at Prana Power Yoga Newton.  Prana is holding a weekend long juice cleanse, offering 4 different levels of participation.  I have mixed feelings on juice cleanses (I don’t know about you but I like to chew my food) so I am by no means advocating for it but I may in fact try a level myself. Details below:

PRANA CLEANSE Sept 12-14th at Prana Newton
levels 1, 2, 3, and 4

Friday, September 12th from 6-8pm
Saturday, September 13th from 1-4pm
Sunday, September 14th from 1-4pm

level 1: show up with an open mind and prepare to transform. Three days (Friday 2 hours, Saturday 3 hours, Sunday 3 hours): $125

level 2: eat fruit till 12 and then eat as you normally would after 12…Thursday through Sunday (Friday 2 hours, Saturday 3 hours, Sunday 3 hours): $125 (you buy your own fruit/food)

*This entails eating fruit all through the morning…not just an apple when you wake up!! So eat freely and joyfully. Here is a sample morning:

Upon waking: drink a large glass of high quality water with the juice of half of a lemon. Wait 30 minutes before eating any fruit.

after lemon water: Eat your favorite fruit–whatever is in season…for example, a fuji apple, a red pear, an orange, a banana, some pineapple, some raw coconut, an avocado…whatever you love!!

Then wait at least thirty minutes (45 minutes for a banana) and then eat some more fruit.

Please eat one fruit at at time (mono fruit) for optimal digestion and eat a lot of fruit–eating every thirty minutes, perhaps. Do not restrict.

At noon your body has finished cleansing for the morning (our body cleanses every morning so it is optimal to give it only easy to digest foods before noon), and you may eat as you normally would. Remember to chew well!!

level 3: three days (Friday 2 hours, Saturday 3 hours, Sunday 3 hours): $225

On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you receive:

  • 2 green juices
  • 1 almond milk

On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you eat fruit till 12:00 and then you juice fast for the remainder of the day, consuming what we provide.

We provide you with all you need!! 2 green juices and 1 almond milk per day.

level 4: three days (Friday 2 hours, Saturday 3 hours, Sunday 3 hours): $285

On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you juice fast and we provide you with all you need each day:

  • 1 fruit smoothie
  • 1 almond milk
  • 3 green juices

Prana will provide all of the juice for your Juice Cleanse. You may pick it up at Prana Newton each morning in the fridge in the lobby. You will be given enough juice to drink all day long, so all you need to do is drink it, and relax.

-Eliza

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Eliza & Britt

Miss Liza!  In our same visit to Prana Power this weekend, we did notice a permit for 2 showers!  But they still sell water bottles.  Shame shame.

As Liza continues her teacher training, I recommended that she seek out a kirtan (chanting).  My understanding of this, is that by chanting the sanskrit names of gods, you are evoking their presence and perhaps getting closer to them, a vital step to enlightenment.  Mostly chants are call and response, but many times if a mantra is repeated over and over and people know it, they just continue on singing.  I’ve been to several chants, all of which are always a little weird to start out, but end up being a lot of fun.  My first chant was in LA with Krishna Das (if you’ve ever stepped foot in a yoga studio, you’ve heard him- he’s the ultimate yoga rockstar).  There is always an interesting mix of people at these events, hippies, gentrified yogis, people who dance, people who sway, people who do absolutely nothing but observe.  The chants I’ve been to have always had great musicians and personally, I like a lot of the music they play!  Energy builds as the night goes on, and slowly people let go and more and more participate.  There is definitely a sense of freedom and child-like play that you feel when you’re in one of these.  Think about the last time that you sang out loud with a group of people.  Probably in grade school!  So, at least in my experience, its doesn’t matter what I’m chanting, shiva, shanti, krishna, om- its the ability to let go of adult conventions and share with people around you.  I’ve listed some New York kirtans, which you should absolutely try to make!

Yogaworks is doing one Saturday, August 16th from 7:30-9:30pm at their midtown studio.

Integral Yoga Institute does one every Friday at 8.

Jivamukti hold satsangs every Wednesday at 8:30pm, except the first Wednesday of the month, when the program begins at 8:00pm.

The Omega Institute is doing as Esctatic Chant Weekend from August 29-September 1st, which would really be jumping in full force!  Krishna Das with Carioca, Sheila Chandra, Krishna Das, Miten, Deva Premal, Jai Uttal, and Wah! are all expected to be there.

-Britt

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Uh…I feel bad doing this, because I feel that I keep bashing yoga instructors, but- eh, I’m doing it.

This Saturday morning I went up to Some Like It Hot for their 11:45 vinyasa class that I usually go to. Isauro Fernandez, who usually teaches this class, was not there, and his substitute was the studio’s owner, Yola Romeo. I was a little bummed, because I was excited to just sweat and move, which is always guaranteed with Isauro, but went into class with an open mind.

We started in frog pose (for those of you who have been wondering, I nixed the 30 day frog pose challenge- I decided pain sucks). I must mention 2 things a) I’m a runner and b) I have this mysterious hip/back injury that acts up from time to time and makes me writhe in excruciating pain. To start a class in frog is my hell and to hold it for 5+ minutes is essentially the worse layer of Dante’s Inferno multiplied by 347 gajillion. But- open mind, I threw my ass up in the air and sank into my iron-clad, locked hips. Yola, noticing my hips were no where near touching the ground, came over to me and told me to move my hips wider. “They don’t go wider,” I gasped through my tears of pain. “I’m looking at your body and they do go wider, ” she told me. Oh sage and all-knowing Yola…thank you for your words or wisdom. Believe me, they didn’t go wider. She brought us through a series of poses (no flow) and corrected us, which was actually nice. I don’t love pain-stakingly long explanation of poses, but every once in a while (even if it isn’t by choice), its a good thing to do. And don’t get me wrong- this was hard and I felt it the next day. As much as I like to move in yoga, I realize that holding postures longer can be great and strength building. So all was well. Until lizard pose.

As you can see, this is a difficult pose for people with tight hips. I for one, cannot put my arms down flat like this nice lady above- my arms are straight in this pose. Yola would not have this. I told her I had a hip injury. My injury is somewhat complicated, no one really knows what it is and I’ve had the problem for years. But I didn’t feel the need to explain the logistics in front of the entire class- I know what is right for my body. But she continued to press me about it and came to her own conclusion about what my problem was in 20 seconds after years of doctors checking me out. For the rest of class, she kept on me constantly, telling me to lift my shirt in front of the mirror, that I was doing postures incorrectly, etc, etc. And with this majorly, self-righteous attitutude. Just what I wanted on a hot Saturday morning.

There was 1 guy in class, who Yola yoga-molested for the entire hour and a half. She laid on top of him, held his pelvis, and caressed his legs non-stop. At one point, while she was “adjusting” him, a woman in the back of class yelled out, “can we switch poses yet?” Yola had left us in some pose for an inordinate amount of time while she got her freak on.

Her speech at the end of class bordered on insanity…she talked about one thing, then another, none of which had any relation about it each other. She even mentioned at one point that there were a lot of people who came to her studio that had a lot of money and they were certainly not happy people. As if that is necessarily related… Though my mind may have not been all that open, hers was most definitely not and made for a VERY unpleasant class.

-Britt

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After a full 5 days of classes at the Center for Yoga, one post just isn’t enough to explain the insanity that goes on within the walls of “serenity” and “peace”. By the way, the no-named, Johnny wannabe teacher I previously referred to is Aaron Fenton. I ended up practicing with him 3 days in a row- impressively he had a different sequence each day, which is rare. Especially in New York I feel that many instructors create a series and tend to not stray from it for a week or two, which can get quite boring for regular practitioners. The highlight of Aaron’s classes was when he put on “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne to pump up the class for a round of intense abs. Although I admit the impeccably toned and polished suburban housewives that attend Center for Yoga at 9:45 each day are quite hip for the Midwest late 30s, early 40s set, I couldn’t help but be entertained by the ridiculousness of this song in this particular situation. Though frankly, Aaron can get away with pretty much anything in my book- I have a weakness for cute, well-dressed boys.

Fortunately for me, Johnny returned from his trip (Ojai, CA I believe?) for my last class on Friday morning before I came back to New York. Before I go any farther, I must say, I know that non-judgement is a goal that yoga is supposed to help facilitate. I realize this and am working on it, but let’s just say I’m not quite there yet 🙂

Truth be told, Johnny teaches a great class. As I mentioned before, the Center for Yoga doesn’t separate standing sequences from the floor portion, instead they integrate everything into a sequence that is built upon from a simple sun salutation. On this particular day everything from half moon, to boat pose, to tripod headstand was a part of the same series. It’s hard, but great because the really allow you to pick and choose what you want to do. Why does no one in New York do this??? Michigan yoga is kicking New York yoga’s ass! In a totally friendly, cosmic karmic way of course.

How can you not love a class that starts out with the Cheers theme song??? Apparently Johnny’s time away sparked a need to come back to a place “where everybody knows your name”. Johnny definitely puts on a bit of a show during class- back in the day there was no bouncing around or random rants during class, he was always a bit subdued and sort of floated around the room making corrections or giving massages here or there. He emits a huge amount of energy, which is great, but makes him the center of attention to an entirely different degree. At some point Johnny tried to quote “either Churchill or Krishna” by citing “war will only end when there are no more slaughterhouses”. I’ve googled and googled and can’t find any such quote- the only think I can think of is maybe some sort of Vonnegut reference. Later he class he went on to say that “the people that work in slaughterhouses need to realize what they are contributing to”, which if you know ANYTHING about the slaughterhouse workforce, is a totally ludicrous thing to say- but I’ll keep my politics on that to myself for today. He also discussed the beauty of how woman can start to be on the same “moon cycle”, which bleeeechhh, some things men just don’t need to comment on. Of course we ended class with another round of the Cheers theme song, however this time we were asked to sing along while holding hands with our neighbor. Nothing like a little bit of crazy before 11am in southeastern Michigan 😉

-Britt

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Saw this for the very first time in the Soho LeSportsac store on Spring Street over the weekend. The “Lotus” is 8″ x 28″ x 6.25″ with a zipped main closure, four exterior zipped pockets, a ventilated main compartment and a detachable shoulder strap. Comes in 7 funky prints and in solid black. Retails for $80.

It looked a bit bulky but I believe it can hold more than just your mat. Personally, I’m satisfied carrying my mat in an $8 bag you can find on the Yoga Accessories website, but if you’re looking for something with a little more room and a little more style this one’s not half bad.

-Eliza

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I’m in Michigan visiting some family this week and have the treat of taking yoga at the Center for Yoga.  I started taking class at this studio when I was 13 years old and have watched the studio evolve over the last 10 years.  Michigan wasn’t exactly a hot spot for yoga a decade ago and when this studio first opened it didn’t draw a huge crowd.  But once the trend started to spread from New York and Los Angeles, more and more people started to attend.  Johnny Kest owns the Center for Yoga, which now has several locations in southeastern Michigan.  Johnny has always been a great instructor- but his style and studios have drastically changed throughout the years.  Hands down, Johnny teaches the best yoga classes I have ever been to in any city, in any country.

Thus far, I’ve been to 2 classes, one with Jane James who is great and another similar class with a teacher who’s name I don’t know.  Johnny’s name was the schedule for both classes, but he didn’t teach- maybe he’s out of town?  Regardless of the time of day, vinyasa classes are always packed.  They play great music and bring entirely different meaning to “flow”.  As the teachers go through basic sun salutations they build on each sequence with several postures until you are left with a long series of asanas.  And by long, I mean long- its actually difficult to remember the entire series, which I’m sure is sort of the point.  After the instructor leads the class through the series once or twice, they crank the music and let you flow on your own.  No one is ever doing the same thing, but it doesn’t matter, this is the beauty of these classes.  No consistent practitioner needs to be walked through a pose every class- its often nice to sort of be left alone with your practice.  Beginners should start elsewhere- I would imagine that the lack of instruction in these vinyasa classes would be very frustrating.  The majority of the hour and a half is spent moving and abs, back bends and inversions all are incorporated in the sequence.  It makes the time pass quickly and feels less rigid than a class that breaks down into categories.

However, without going into all of the odd cultural nuances that go on in the suburbs of Detroit, I cannot help but comment on the total INSANITY of the people that go to this studio.  The women in these classes have the sickest bodies I have ever seen, anywhere, literally every single person in the class looks amazing.  But there is this total weird cult-ish vibe that completely skeeves me out!  Johnny Kest has a style- every teacher does.  But the teachers at this studio seem to take on the essence of Johnny Kest- they talk like him, use his catch phrases, take on his intonation, dress like him, move like him, crouch like him!!!!  It is so bizarre!  The majority of people in his classes are well-to-do housewives, but maintain this combination Stepford/hare krishna mentality.  The last time I was in Michigan, I managed to squeeze in one of Johnny’s classes where they actually had to fill 2 studios to accommodate everyone who showed up.  I have no problem with that, but this guy’s ego was hard to not be hit by- he whoops loud noises for no reason, talks crazy talk… dude, it was an experience.  I only hope that he will be in to teach tomorrow morning!

-Britt

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I discovered April Martucci at YogaWorks Westside a few years back and while I do not take her class anymore, to this day she is still one of my favorite yoga instructors.

There’s something I can’t quite put my finger on about April’s manner that makes her feel very authentic to me – and I think we can all agree that authenticity is certainly a welcome surprise here in New York.

As I remember, she began each class with a lighthearted chant and then moved us right into a flowing vinyasa sequence to music (everything from conventional yoga tunes to the Beatles!) She encouraged us to maintain the pace of our practice and ignore our desire to disrupt it by wiping sweat from our face or drinking water.   All in all it was always a focused class that went by very quickly! Towards the end, she usually gave an insightful monologue as we were cooling down but somehow they were never banal, preachy or overly sentimental.

She has since moved studios and teaches at Reebok Sports Club (UWS) and Life in Motion (Brooklyn).

-Eliza

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