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FREE Class 18 – Intermediate Vinyasa [Full Length Premium Version]

30 minutes of fun filled sweaty vinyasa with lots of creative variations.

Free Wanderlust 2009 Hips and Twists

A Free all levels 100 minute class to move stuck and stagnant energy.

Wanderlust 2009, Schuyler Grant Interviewed by Les Leventhal

Les Leventhal Interviews Schuyler Grant, Co-Producer / Co-Creator of Wanderlust’s 2009 (Squaw Valley) Successful Debut Yoga/Music Festival

The New Samovar – Zen Valley (Hayes Valley)

teaIt was Monday night, February 23rd. I had the luxury of not teaching that evening but rather had just come from being a student in a yoga class. For weeks, I’d been telling myself I needed to get back to the Zen Center on Monday nights and for weeks I’d been telling myself I would go take this yoga class and go to the new Samovar in “Zen Valley” (aka Hayes Valley) and then drop into the meditation. Why did so much luxury appear to be such a struggle for something my spirit needs on a very regular basis to replenish and re-nourish?

So, I got out of yoga and it was raining – ok pouring, first sign that I might not take the next step and might return home to my isolated intimacy (Facebook). Then suddenly, I found myself sitting at the community table at the new Samovar, Zen Valley and although I wanted to be alone, there were a few staff members at the other end but they were heavily engaged in some running the business matters. So, I had the end of the table all to myself and after a while of reading and enjoying a pot of Wei Chi Cha tea (which should be made into popsicles), I realized that a meditation had already begun. That just being in an environment that took care of me allowed me drift off and let go of thoughts that had nothing to do with the present moment. All my concerns at that moment were if I needed more water and someone else would get that for me.

Then, as the universe always does, community begins to sprout and the front door opened and in walked a few folks I knew that were coming for some tea and then heading over to the Zen Center for the meditation and then a few minutes later, a few more folks came in and then more and more. All of a sudden, there were 10 people at Samovar who were stopping in to begin creating a peaceful transition from their day into their spiritual practice and that practice began with sharing a pot of tea. I knew I was in the right place but to secure and cement the foundation, the door opened one more time and a very important mentor and guide of my own spiritual practice walked in and asked me if I was headed to the meditation. I thought the answer was obvious but that I needed to be asked was a good reminder that maybe my actions haven’t been speaking as loudly as my thoughts lately.

It took tea and some moments alone to reflect on a practice that has served thousands of people for thousands of years. It took a great teacher to be mindful enough to ask the question are you going and I realized that a life with purpose always has the answer of yes I am going so that others may also go. The community is already there on every side of the street in Zen Valley but take a few extra moments to stop in at the new Samovar and give your self the gift of being still and enjoy some moments of meditation and some tea. You will be well taken care of by the staff and the surroundings.

If you’d like some more information on Les and his practices, visit www.yogawithles.com

Hari Om Tat Sat – Les

Swan Lake – San Francisco Ballet – Yamas/Niyamas

Swan Lake – San Francisco Ballet Premiere February 21, 2009

(as redesigned and reworked by Helgi Tomasson)

yuanyuan

Last night was magical and mystical. I’ve been attending the San Francisco Ballet since I moved to the Bay Area in 1992. I’ve seen many amazing performances, lightness and brilliance that have taken my breath away in the likes of Joanna Berman and Muriel Maffre, as well as strength and agility in the forms of Gonzalo Garcia and Pascal Molat. But last night, Yuan Yuan Tan in Helgi Tomasson’s recreation of Swan Lake brought me to tears. I know the ending by now after seeing Swan Lake numerous times but I was reminded of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, the first 2 in particular, the Yamas (moral restraints/abstinences) and the Niyamas (observances). Sometimes, I am aware that I watch the ballet and pass time in anticipation of returning to my mat to try something that I witnessed on the stage – not last night. I was most certainly practicing Aparigraha, the 5th Yama – non-coveting or non-stealing. Practicing Aparigraha can also mean that which we see through our eyes is merely a reflection of some part of our own hearts and souls, no matter what another’s outside physical body might be portraying or displaying. This was Yuan Yuan’s moment to shine and present her artistry and gifts inside her that have blossomed into an actress as well as a dancer. The emotion she conveyed was palpable, powerful and blissful. I spent considerable time noticing her acuity with her drishti (gazing points) and how precise she was in always knowing exactly where she was with her breath and gaze in harmony with one another. By the end of the night, upon returning home and prior to sleeping, I reflected on Yuan Yuan’s devotion to her craft. Her art and skill is seemingly not even of her own desire, but rather a gift from beyond that she has been called upon to relate and express to others. This for me is the 5th Niyama, Isvara Pranidhana – devotion to the lord or universal power, that which is beyond all of this. Even with all my years of breath awareness, there are still times that certain experiences take my breath away. I noticed, upon several occasions last evening, that I had stopped breathing and my drishti was on fire but I also understand that I was witnessing greatness in another willing to freely express her inner most self to all of us. This is to me is true expression of humanity, sharing our spirit and our love with all as one.

Om Shanti – Les

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