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Sunday Blog: My Odyssey Of Inspiration

This was exactly what I needed: fresh inspiration to remind me of what yoga is really all about. Summer was a time to boost my perspective and learn new things because running my own small business single-handedly has its challenges, and I was beat.

I took a long break—seven weeks!—and traveled from southern California to Santa Monica, then San Francisco to Portland, OR.

Somehow, even though I hate being told what to do, I opened my heart and mind to learn from many generous new teachers. Hot yoga, yoga with weights, TRX, pilates, and dance were all good medicine. I found great teaching and deep experiences in almost every class I took. For me, it’s true that you can learn something useful from everyone.

One morning, I walked into a studio in Portland. By the end of the class, I had found a sense of family in that sweet space. Now I know that wherever I go, I’ll always be able to find my people.

Here are some of the highlights:

Silent Dayton Method Hot Yoga, with live music by Jason Wilkerson and Jeff Smith, guitarist and singer.

Where?: Huntington Beach, CA

This class was simple and clear with no instructions at all. Nobody harping on me (‘cept me). Yes, hotter than hell! I loved being serenaded by a sweet voice and steady rhythm to the music of Neil Young, Bob Marley, and John Lennon.

Where?: Los Angeles, CA

For me, this class was a profound, creative, and revealing experience. Erich talked about how our alignment practices—my focus for years—lead us to experience our intuitions. His luscious hip-opening warm-up led into three fabulous songs for our improvised practice. Totally fun on every level!

Where?: Portland, OR

I adored this class. My mind was changed about so much relating to sukhasana, the cross-legged position at the beginning of many classes. I am re-thinking the crossing of the legs and the positioning of the lumbar spine. And imagine an adjustment so sweet, like a light kiss on the back of your neck, so subtle that you weren’t even sure if it really happened or not. This was love at first class.

Where?: Brooklyn, NY

After all the classes I’ve sampled this summer, I thought there’s no way this one is going to change my life. Oops, wrong again. We started by using the sole of the foot to sensitively caress the floor. From there, we moved to other parts of our bodies until each sinew was felt. We responded to Ron’s creative guidance: follow your own pleasure. Freedom from shape-making and relaxed more than ever—this is pure dance.

Go find your people. Take a tour of classes. There is so much richness in our world.

Jennifer, who has 30 years of experience teaching movement, has her own yoga studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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