Yoga on Melrose (8500 Melrose Ave.; 800-700-YOGA; www.yogaonmelrose.com) features what founder Stewart Richlin dubbed "power and the flower" yoga, a synthesis of "action style" Hatha and Taoist forms with meditative Tibetan yoga learned from Lama Wangchen Rinpoche. In each class, Richlin leads students through an intense workout that builds toward stillness and meditation.
Yoga Nemo (9045 Nemo St., West Hollywood; 310-275-1794) bills itself as an "oasis in the middle of the city" and offers instruction in "power yoga," Iyengar yoga (smooth, flowing Hatha-based yoga), pre- and post-natal yogas, and a special class for singles who, after the workout, mingle over snacks.
Yoga Works (2215 Main St., and 1426 Montana Ave., Second Floor, Santa Monica; 310-393-5150) provides wide-ranging classes in Hatha yoga and hosts ecstatic â chanting with the David Stringer Collective. Stringer leads the call-and-response chanting, or kirtan, while musicians accompany him on various string and percussion instruments. The mantras, "evolved from ancient India as a means of emptying the mind and experiencing a state of inward bliss," intensify as individual voices and vibrations merge into one. Internal Martial Arts
The generic term for martial arts, kung fu, translates literally as "hard work." The internal martial arts direct that work toward harnessing the power of chi("life energy," or simply "breath") through systems of intricate, flowing movements. Whether you choose chi kung’s healing exercises or t’ai chi’s meditative motions, the internal martial arts will help all comers achieve healthier bodies and calmer, more focused minds.
Jian Mei Internal Martial Arts (1721 Rogers Place, 45E, Burbank; 818-563-1878) brings together the Chinese characters representing "health" and "beauty," symbolizing master Wen Mei Yu’s commitment to using tai ji quan (t’ai chi) and qi gong (chi kung) as healing arts. Master Yu works with students of all levels and needs, including advanced martial-arts competitors, cancer patients and the elderly.
Everywoman’s Village (5650 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys; 818-787-5100)features group classes in the meditative movement of t’ai chi ch’uan and the therapeutic, harmonizing system of chi gong for all levels of experience.
Katabami Ju-Jitsu Dojo (6767 Sunset Blvd., Suite 7; 323-957-1022)offers a wide range of martial arts and meditative practices, including Japanese ju-jitsu ("gentle skill"), Himalayan Hatha yoga and restorative therapy. Sensei Alexey Kunin is one of only two instructors in the U.S. who teaches the Taiwanese form of t’ai chi, chan pan ling. Spirit Dancing
Rhythm is perhaps our most precious, renewable natural resource, fueling celebrations of body and spirit, community and self-knowledge. In the words of George Clinton, "Free your mind, and your ass will follow."
Planet Yoga (518 Pier Ave., Second Floor, Hermosa Beach; 310-376-5354) is a "neo-shamanic healing ritual," designed by Frank Natale, that uses breath, movement and rhythm to fill the blindfolded dancers with "passion, energy and the ecstasy of life." Through rhythm’s propulsive force, even the most rigid and sticklike among us will be transformed into a loose, foot-stamping, hand-smacking shaman.