Friday, July 24, 2015

Yoga and Healing - Fundraiser at NHP

By Krysten Clark

I like to think that I didn’t find Yoga, but rather, Yoga found me. 

I remember feeling very lost, unsure of where I was going, and frankly, a bit broken.  It was 2010 and after going through a painful divorce, following a troubled and dark marriage,  I needed SOMETHING.  My boyfriend at the time, now fiancĂ©, (bless his heart) had bought me a Yoga DVD for Christmas.  I popped it in, and was intrigued but discouraged because I didn’t feel like I was doing the postures right and wasn’t feeling the benefits I heard you were supposed to have.  I disheartedly commented, “Maybe I just need to take a class.”  That was just the beginning of the healthiest relationship I have ever had…my Yoga practice. 

I remember how it was for me when I first started.  First of all, I SUCKED, which surprised me greatly.  Well, this turned out to be very challenging but I kept pressing on day after day.  Physically, I adapted and my body started to change, but really the true change was far more dear and precious-and completely unexpected, a sense of love and self worth. 

I thought I had loved myself before my practice.  But it showed up for me in different destructive ways.  I didn’t really value myself or my body.  I ate and drank what I wanted and didn’t really think of any consequences.  I was very self gratifying but again, not in a nourturing way.   What happened for me during the times that I forced myself to take a Yoga class and push myself through my excuses, is I started to actually show up for MYSELF.  Day by day, moment to moment, I realized so much about who I am and what I have to offer.  I started to feel a true sense of gratitude for life and for whom I chose to fill it with.  I started to truly love myself and care about the choices that I made and demand more for myself.  I can’t even begin to express how Yoga has helped shaped me into the woman that I am proud to be today.

The reason why I tell my story is because we all have a story.  Most of us can identify with some dark or currently dark times.  Many of us can relate to feeling stuck, alone, un-nourtured, broken, unwanted, etc etc.  Yoga to me, was the greatest gift that found its way into my heart.  And I want to share it with some women that may or may not ever have the opportunity to experience. 

I, along with my amazing Team, am putting together a Healing and Yoga Retreat to benefit 20 women from Haven Hills Shelter who are victims of Domestic Violence.  The retreat itself will be a 2 day/1 night stay in beautiful Topanga Canyon in a quiet and scenic B&B.  They will experience guided Yoga and Meditation, healthy organic meals, workshops, group therapy with professionals, connection to nature, hiking, a “Cooking For Nourishment” class, Reiki, and other self care/beautifying activities.

  We are hosting a silent auction/fundraiser at our studio to support this venture on August 8th from 7-10:30PM during Highland Park Art walk.  We will feature live music, a healthy taco food truck, complimentary beverages, awesome goods and services from local businesses and vendors to bid on, and mini reiki, massage, and taro card reading stations.  All donations will be used towards funding the retreat.  Please come out and have fun with us! 

For more information on how to get involved or to make a donation, please visit

Yoga and healthy self care brought me so much joy and closer to myself.  I want to share with those who need a little extra love in this world.  Please join us in this beautiful cause and help support and bring awareness to Domestic Violence.   Your support will make such a difference!  Namaste. 


Monday, July 20, 2015

Saturday Summer Breakfast Series

by Shira Barlas

Saturday, July 11, was the first of our summer breakfast and yoga series! After taking a yoga class, yogis from the community joined together to share a lovely breakfast consisting of steal cut oatmeal, coffee, tea, chia seeds, cacao nibs, mixed berries, and other delicious treats. 

The breakfast series is intended to bring the community together and take our practice beyond the mat.  Most of us are running in and out of the studio and don’t even get to really know the people we are practicing with or the teachers who help us with our practice. The breakfast series creates a space in which we can come together and share our insights, passions, laughter, and appetites. 

Although our asana practice is on our own mats, the space that we practice in and the energy that is cultivated from our fellow practitioners is crucial to our practice.  One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, it reads: “A person experiences life as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.”

During our yoga practice we may feel separated on our own mats, but part of the practice of yoga is to create a sense of interconnectedness with others.  Part of why we begin and end classes with the sound of Om is it is a way for us to connect and align our vibrations together, as well as with all the past yogis who have practiced for thousands of years before us, and to connect with the vibrations of the entire universe.  Eating together and sharing meals is another practice, just like chanting Om, which people have been doing for thousands of years as a way to connect with one another. 

We all need to eat in order to fuel ourselves and give us the energy to practice yoga.  The Saturday morning breakfast series gives us yogis a chance to enjoy a healthy meal and practice mindful eating, in which we eat with intention, with a purpose to fuel ourselves with energy to live a vibrant, healthy, and healing lives; as well as connect deeply with our fellow yogis and teachers. Hope to see you there!

The breakfast is free for those members that attend a class either before the meal or directly after.
Please sign up before hand so we know how much food to prepare!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Teacher's Pet - Flapjack!

This month, our Teacher's Pet is Flapjack! His human is our teacher Bethany. We asked Bethany to tell us some things about this adorable little pup.

Pet name: Flapjack Haywire Eanes
Age: 6-1/2ish
Background: Flapjack is a rescue from the Carson Shelther, which is why we don't really know his age. It is also why his ribs stick out and his legs are crooked.
Likes: Walking, pooping, eating, Sebastian (our gray tabby) & Momma
Dislikes: Rain, hot weather & Jerome (our orange tabby)
Special abilities/tricks: Really good at lumping around and being a snuggle bug; excellent ear-growing skills
Favorite toy: Sebastian
Favorite place to sleep: On Momma's lap
Favorite way to be bad: "When I hungry I bite yo face!"
Favorite words: Hungry, Squirrel
Favorite yoga pose: Mobile Up Dog, which is where he comes to up dog first then drags himself around like a seal while begging for food
Namaste, Flapjack! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Teacher Feature: Matthew Clark!

Name: Matthew Clark
Hometown: Burke, Virginia 

How long have you been practicing/teaching yoga? Practicing since 1997, teaching since 2000.

Why did you start? Because I was uneasy and seeking answers and yoga felt good and helped me put the world into perspective.  I also loved that it was experiential...the movement of prana and such that I could read about I could also feel and experience.

What is your favorite place to practice? At Namaste Highland Park or at the beach.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started teaching? A) To be careful with my body. B) How to do a proper down dog.

How has yoga changed your life? I'm healthier, wiser, more mindful.  More content.

What song or songs are on the ideal class playlist? For me it's exotic sounding jams of the right tempo and energy...often without lyrics in English which I can find distracting or full of connotation.  

What are some of your favorite bands? Neil Young, Black Sabbath, Neu, Popol Vuh, Emmylou Harris, John Coltrane, Ras Michael, The Grateful Dead, William Onyeabor, Terry Riley, Eno and Fripp collabs.  Lots of stuff!

What do you do when you're not on the mat? I work as a private chef and I also do other various freelance labor.  I play drums in a band called Flying Hair.  I hike and camp and swim and adventure as much as I can.  I love to travel.

What are your favorite venues to play music/see shows? I love the Echo and Echoplex, Cafe Nela and The Troubador...all the great theatre venues in LA...The Wiltern, The Shrine, The Orpheum, The Ace Theatre downtown.  And I love house shows and oddball venues too.  

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I'm a climate change denier!  Just kidding....we need to save the planet!  Turn off lights you are not using.  Save water.  Drive less etc.

Any links, websites, social media you'd like to share?
You can find Matthew teaching at NHP on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm, Wednesdays at 10:00 am and 12:30 pm, and Thursdays at 6:30 pm. Be on the lookout for a special themed class by Matthew in September!