Hello, dear friends.

Two bits of news today:

1. I have launched my new web site, www.tanjahesteryoga.com. It's a work in progress, but that is where I will post all of my planned absences and subs from now on.

2. The hatha yoga beginners' series described in the last post has been renewed! If you missed the first series, you have another chance to catch it: January 5 - 26, 2008. Same day and time (Saturdays 12:30-2), and same great deal of 2 free additional classes over the life of the series.

Lots of love,


Upcoming Beginner Series at Golden Bridge

Hi all --

I'm going to be teaching a series for beginners at Golden Bridge running for four weeks, starting October 20, 12:30-2. Please email me at tanjahester@gmail.com if you'd like to sign up or want more info. You can also register through the studio.

Lots of love,

Ready to start a hatha yoga practice? Designed for both total newbies and experienced yogis from other traditions, the Hatha Yoga Introductory Series will set you down the path on the right foot.

Over the course of four weeks, you’ll learn all the basic yoga poses (asana), how to “flow” between poses (vinyasa), the most common breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga meditation (dhyana) and relaxation (savasana), a little about the Sanskrit we use in yoga, and some of the philosophies that might guide your practice. Whether you want to go on to practice Ashtanga, Anusara, Jivamukti, Iyengar, Vinyasa (“Power”) and any of the other numerous hatha yoga disciplines that abound, you’ll leave this series with the courage to face your next class fearlessly. And if you’ve wondered what all those different styles are all about, this series will clear up the mystery!

Because this is offered as a package, you’ll receive lots of personal attention in a supportive environment of fellow newbies who will be with you through the series. Golden Bridge hatha teacher Tanja will lead the series. She’s been teaching beginners and intermediates for years… in the studio, at the gym, in schools, at offices, at a homeless shelter. She’s seen it all and will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.

Come experience the life-changing power of hatha yoga!


An eventful time of year

This is truly an eventful time of year -- the changing of seasons, the passing of the Summer Solstice, and, yesterday, the U.S.'s Independence Day. For a lot of us, this is a time of slower work flow and relaxing vacations, but in yoga class, there's a lot to do!

For the past week in classes, I talked about the (then) upcoming July 4th Independence Day holiday. Independence, of course, also means "freedom," and I think this is the best time of year to work to expand our own freedom. For most of us, new freedom becomes accessible most easily when we let go of fear.

It sounds so simple, letting go of fear. In reality, however, it can be a tough proposition. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps to protect us from making bad decisions that might endanger our safety. If we did not have a healthy fear of moving traffic, we might see no problem with taking a little stroll across a busy freeway. If we didn't fear getting sick, we might decide to drink the old milk in the fridge instead of pouring it out.

But each of us holds onto a lot of small fears that no longer serve any useful purpose for us. Or, in some cases, our grown-up ability to read a situation makes that fear less useful than it once was. Think, for example, about what your parents certainly told you as a kid: don't talk to strangers. They told you this for good reason. Kids can't read a situation as well as mindful adults can, and might approach someone who is obviously out to hurt them, without thinking twice. So that parental directive served us well then.

But think about how you go about your day now. Are there people you see or run into whom you don't know, and therefore never speak to? Could that be a lingering result of that long-ago lesson from your parents? Is it still useful to you? Or might you gain something by talking to people you normally don't talk to -- or might they gain something by you approaching them?

It's a simple example, but one worth thinking about. We all fall into habits, we let ingrained behaviors drive our decisions a lot of the time -- this is part of being human, and there's nothing wrong with it.

But we can gain so much when we look beyond those ingrained thoughts and behaviors and ask ourselves, "Am I now able to tell the difference between people who might mean me harm and people who certainly mean me no harm, and might even benefit from a conversation?" If you answered a resolute "Yes," go out of your way this week to talk to someone you wouldn't normally talk to. Maybe someone you see in the elevator at work most days. Maybe the clerk behind the counter at a store you frequent. Maybe even a homeless person asking for change who you pass every day.

Is a conversation too much? A little too scary? Start with simple eye contact! Work up to eye contact and a smile. Then eye contact, a smile, and a simple "Hello!" or "Good morning." The rest will flow from there.

Taking these few simples steps provide an easy way to pay it forward a little, and even better, they break us out of our old fearful patterns that we no longer need, helping us find some new freedom along the way.

There's no better way to celebrate the summer than that!

In gratitude,


Save the date!

Greetings all teachers, soon-to-be-teachers, and bodyworkers!

The teacher skill trading workshop has been scheduled:
Sunday, August 12, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Golden Bridge Yoga Hollywood

More detail to follow soon, but mark your calendars!

Lots of love,


Heads-Up for Teachers

Not quite a save-the-date yet, since the date hasn't been set, but I've got something in the works that will be GREAT for LA-area yoga teachers, new and old alike.

Working with the amazing team at Golden Bridge Yoga, I'm organizing a skills exchange focused on hands-on adjustments... we'll all give some adjustments and have ample time to practice them on one another, learning lots in the process. We'll do a little asana and chanting together, too, and spend a little time networking.

And there will definitely be some yummy vegan (and certainly organic) treats on hand to keep us energized.

Stay tuned for more news!


Prenatal Yoga

There is definitely something in the water... record numbers of my regular students are expecting right now, so I thought I'd post some prenatal yoga resources, since I'm not currently teaching any classes focused specifically on pre- or postnatal.

Of course, if you're already engaged in an active yoga practice when you become pregnant, there is absolutely nothing wrong with continuing the practice as long as you feel able. And I can offer lots of modifications to accommodate the growing belly. The key is to listen to your body and to the baby and decide for yourself when it's time to go a bit easier.

Here are some recommendations for good prenatal classes in town:

Hollywood area:
  • City Yoga, one of my favorite studios, offers a variety of classes
  • Larchmont Center for Yoga, now part of the YogaWorks monopoly, has perhaps the biggest variety of times, including evening classes
  • Liberation Yoga is adding a new pre- and postnatal mixed class in May
  • Golden Bridge is always a great place for Kundalini yogis to nurture themselves through all stages of pre- and postnatal development, and there's even a lot of kids yoga for when the baby gets older

West Side:


Observation vs. transformation

I don't consider Yoga Journal to be the end-all-be-all of yoga discourse, but occasionally they offer thought-provoking tidbits of insight that I feel better off for reading. Like this one, from their last e-newsletter:
YJ teacher and Bay Club yoga director Jason Crandell regularly receives job applications from teachers of all traditions. The common thread? Nearly all applicants dangle the promise of transformation through their teaching methods. Crandell holds that teachers should instead encourage self-observation, and transformation will occur naturally as a by-product.

In a culture obsessed with self-improvement, yoga is widely seen as a vehicle of change. Might we be better served, however, to seek something more mundane?

“Yoga is not just another self-improvement craze…. It is a practice of self-acceptance, which is a very different thing. You don’t need to be fixed; you simply need to … remember who you truly are,” says Gurmukh.
I couldn't agree more.

And p.s....

No planned absences from class for the foreseeable future! Yay!!

(I will of course be climbing over Memorial Day, but I have no other plans that will keep me from teaching.)

Current Schedule

Hello there, any remaining readers... I have been a bad, bad blogger for several months now. It's awfully daunting to think about something truly profound to write, especially after it's been a week, a month, many months since last posting.... so I've let myself get trapped in that cycle.

New rule: short entries ok. Profound thoughts not necessary.

So here's something easy... current class schedule. Unchanged from last update.

Wednesday -- 8 p.m. 24 Hour Fitness West Hollywood
Thursday -- 7:30 p.m. 24 Hour Fitness West Hollywood
Saturday -- 10:00 a.m. (90 minutes) Gold's Gym Downtown
Sunday -- 9:30 a.m. (90 minutes) Golden Bridge Yoga Hollywood

More soon... lots of love...


Updated Class Schedule

Dear friends --

Here is my updated and current class schedule, effective as of 10/30. I've had to cut my schedule back a bit and introduce a little more balance into my own life... it's tough to take my own advice sometimes, but I've finally done it!

Note: all classes are members only except for the Golden Bridge Yoga class on Sunday.

Mondays, 6:00-7:00 a.m., 24Hour Fitness Hollywood
Wednesdays, 8:00-9:00 p.m., 24Hour Fitness West Hollywood
Thursdays, 8:00-9:00 p.m., 24Hour Fitness West Hollywood
Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m., Gold's Gym Downtown LA
Sundays, 9:30-11:00 a.m., Golden Bridge Yoga

Tuesdays, 6:00-7:00 a.m., 24Hour Fitness La Cienega
Wednesdays, 6:00-7:00 a.m., 24Hour Fitness Hollywood
Wednesdays, 7:00-8:00 p.m., 24Hour Fitness West Hollywood
Thursdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m., 24Hour Fitness West Hollywood
Saturdays, 8:00-9:00 a.m., 24Hour Fitness La Cienega

See you in class!