November 16, 2018

Wanderlust —Downward Dog Days In The City

 

If you’d have told me a couple of weeks ago that I would be doing a yoga class on the pavement in the middle of the third Street Promenade and enjoying every second of it to boot, I would have said you were crazy!

PHOTO BY CATHERINE MCCLENAHAN

Wanderlust —Downward Dog Days In The City

Wanderlust Yoga in the City featured three yoga classes led by renowned yoga teachers Kia Miller and Tommy Rosen of Yogaworks in Santa Monica, and Shiva Rea and Hala Khouri from Exhale Center.

Yet there I was on Sunday, July 24 doing just that with several dozen other enlightened yogis. What a trip.

The event was billed as Wanderlust Yoga In The City, a celebration of yoga, music and local community. It was sponsored by Smartwater and has been taking place across the country for the last few months. The emphasis is on living the “smart life” to benefit one's health, the environment, the surrounding community and supporting Smartwater’s official charity partner, Off The Mat And Into The World. The goals are to drink more water, drink less alcohol, help a charity and to take part in the Wanderlust Yoga In The City event.

According to their website, Off the Mat uses the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and to ignite grass roots social change. They are committed to building and sustaining a community of yogis and conscious activists.

I was more than happy to participate.

The three yoga classes offered that day were led by renowned yoga teachers Kia Miller and Tommy Rosen of Yogaworks in Santa Monica, and Shiva Rea and Hala Khouri from Exhale Center For Sacred Movement in Venice. C9 Champion for Target, which had a booth and provided a changing area for participants, outfitted the teachers with the latest yoga attire.

PHOTO BY CATHERINE MCCLENAHAN

Wanderlust —Downward Dog Days In The City

Wanderlust Yoga in the City participant demonstrates the original "Downward Dog" position. Only in L.A.!

I have loved Kia and Tommy ever since I went to their yoga retreat in Ojai a couple of years ago and it was wonderful to take their class on the Promenade in the great outdoors on my new complimentary yoga mat from Gaiam, no less. The weather was perfect; cool with just the right amount of cloud cover which lasted until our final “om.”

Special guest DJ Matthius Heilbronn warmed up the crowd and Dan Wilf of Yoganonymous acted as emcee.

Shiva Rea’s inspiring flow class was enhanced by music from Steve Gold and his wonderful band.

I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to get into a zen state in such a public setting. It was slightly awkward at first to be exposed to the public while bending and twisting into the various poses, especially the ones that had us completely bent over with our backsides in the air. But the awkwardness didn’t last long and soon we were all in a unified state of bliss. Such is the power of yoga and the excellent teachers we were blessed with.

The passersby were curious and respectful, occasionally joining us by mimicking our hand and arm movements. Of course, a few teenagers walked by in complete oblivion as to what was going on but, for the most part, people were fascinated by this unique display of public yoga.

Usually these Wanderlust events are held in more pastoral settings, but I have to give the organizers credit for having this one in the middle of a Santa Monica street.

I’m hopeful that some of the hundreds of people who passed by us were inspired enough by what they saw to grab a mat and do a downward dog or 12.