Best of Silicon Valley 2001 - Readers' Picks

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[whitespace] Yoga class
Arms Race: Stretching and breathing, yoga lovers find a few moments peace at Club One.

Readers' Choice:
Twisted Logic

Best Yoga

Club One
5434 Thornwood Dr., San Jose; 408.363.1010
400 Saratoga Ave., San Jose; 408.259.1010
801 Martin Ave., Santa Clara; 408.266.1010

INCREDIBLY, for one laborious hour of yoga, my brain turned off. (OK, I may have had one fleeting thought such as why I--sonufa!--forgot to tape the two-hour season-opener of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) That aside, my mind and my body were too busy for Buffy or anything else mundane, as yoga requires copious blends of concentration, inhalations and exhalations. The large aerobic room is perfectly tall and boxy, with one wall of mirrors and a moist climate, thanks to the efforts of the aerobicizers preceding us. Our teacher--a petite blonde appropriately named something like Phoenix--wastes no time warming up the 10 gathered at the 7:30pm class.

Standing on our mats, we perform a "vinyasa" or a sequence of postures the way a runner goes through a core of stretches for the leg, quadriceps, Achilles and so forth. From there we do a series of physical postures called "asanas," doing a basic yoga move like the Downward Facing Dog--which looks like an upside down "V" with all arms and legs--into a lunge, then bringing the feet together, head down and arms touching the ground. We move into postures more commonly affiliated with Hatha Yoga, one of several yoga styles that Westerners embrace.

At one point in the class, my muscles begin twitching the way a weightlifter's triceps and biceps do when he's clean-jerking a few too many kilos. Phoenix, perhaps feeling my overworked aura, comes over and readjusts me during the Triangle pose, which entails feet wide apart, the right hand on the right ankle with the left hand reaching, reaching toward the ceiling. (Secretly, I'm glad she gently and diplomatically does this to everyone, not just me.) One of the most difficult poses of the evening is something called a sitting squat, and it's just like it sounds. With hands behind the rear end to support the weight, I keep my right leg in a squatter position as I extend the left leg. For a challenge, Phoenix tells us to take our right hand and grab our left foot, then--whew!--release. It's strenuous and masochistic, the ying and yang element that's ubiquitous in yoga: tough, but it hurts so good. GR

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From the October 18-24, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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