Thursday, March 12, 2009

by Leah Kim

“My lifestyle changed a lot upon moving halfway across the globe from Santa Monica to Hong Kong. I now live in a very busy city where everyone is constantly on the move, out and about all day long, and usually getting around via public transportation. I no longer have a car trunk to lug around all my belongings and it’s just not feasible to carry my yoga mat with me everywhere.

What I can and always do have with me is my SKIDLESS!

Whether I’m heading out to teach or practice, or hopping on a plane to explore this magnificent continent, I don’t leave home without it. I’ve used SKIDLESS on a sandy beach, a grassy hillside, a carpeted conference room, dusty rooftops, and countless mats. It’s how I create my personal setting (not to mention maintain my personal hygiene!) for my practice no matter w
here I am on this beautiful planet!”

LEAH KIM graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics, but it wasn’t long before she realized her life would be much better spent on the mat than in a cubicl
e. Blessed with Ally Hamilton as her mentor - and greatest inspiration - over the past few years, she has dedicated her life to yoga: to studying, practicing, teaching, living, breathing, surrendering to, and just trying to be yoga. She has also studied and trained with Bryan Kest, Erich Schiffmann, Seane Corn, and Twee Merrigan. After building her teaching foundation in Santa Monica, Leah moved to Hong Kong on an intuitive whim last summer and now teaches at Pure Yoga. She is humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to share her own realizations and discoveries, hoping to help her fellow yogis breathe, move, and flow... open, strengthen, and heal... together enjoying the journey of this ever-brightening path.

by Lisa Walford
"As an Iyengar teacher of over twenty years, I own many different props. Rarely do I find one as versatile as the SHIVA pillow. I use it to support my neck and head when practicing supine supported pranayama, Viparita Karani and Setu-Bandha . The mild Jalandhara bandha in the later quiets my eyes and temples, especially at the end of a long day.

In forward bends, the SHIVA rests easily on my shins, is much more practical then a blanket to support my head, and helps me keep the t
hroat open and relaxced. In any Padmasana oriented posture, including Bharadvajasana 2, the support of the SHIVA pillow beneath the knee helps me keep the pelvis balanced. For students with stiff knees, I place the pillow behind the knee in Virasana. The conforming material in the SHIVA pillow mushes down perfectly to allow for flexion, while maintaining space in the knee.

On a more pedestrian level, the SHIVA pillow fits nicely into my lower back when I travel, in car seats and airplanes. I even use it to prop my head up if I have a window seat.

The SHIVA pillow makes a great gift. It is personal, a
nd encourages friends to practice. Perhaps a pillow is a small iconographic reminder that support comes in many ways. It symbolizes giving up the need to control everything, and it invites me to accept support, an idea that took me a long time to embrace. As I write this, my SHIVA pillow is waiting for my morning Pranayama practice, welcoming me forward on the journey inward."

LISA WALFORD holds a senior Iyengar teaching certificate and has been teaching yoga in Los Angeles since 1982. She continues her studies annually with the Iyengars. She is also the curriculum director for the Teacher Training Program at YogaWorks a
nd was instrumental in its development. She is on the advisory board of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the Yoga Studies program at Loyola Marymount University.

by Krista Cahill
"without it... i would have never experienced the BLISS that is Bakasana to Handstand!”

KRISTA CAHILL fell in love with the practice of yoga in
1999 when she took her first Ashtanga class with Tim Miller. Since that day she has devoted her time and energy to exploring the numerous dimensions of yoga, both
as teacher and student “I look forward each day to the possibility that my practice both on and off the mat can promote a greater awareness in our immediate need for global peace and unification. ALL is ONE.” Krista teaches retreats around the world and has regular classes based in Los Angeles for Home Simply Yoga. Krista teaches a vigorous Vinyasa Flow class filled with challenging arm-balances and inversions.
She believes that our obstacles are our greatest blessings.

LA Class schedule:
MON/WED 12:30-1:30 Vinyasa Flow with Core Work Level 2
TUE/THUR 6:20-7:40 Vinyasa Flow Level 3/4
SUNDAY 10:15-11:45 Vinyasa Flow Level 3/4

Krista and her husband Brock Cahill live their Yoga together in Venice Beach, California.
Email krista at:

by Kathryn Budig
"my SKIDLESS magic carpet holds on so I am free to FLY!"
KATHRYN BUDIG has been featured in publications such as Yoga Journal, Yogi Times, LA Metro, E! Entertainment, The Elephant, LA2DAY Magazine, ’Y Yoga’ a documentary film, numerous print ads and is a staff writer for as well as a Yogamates teacher/writer for Gaiam’s and a Southern California Ambassador for Nike’s 2008/2009 yoga line. She is the co-founder with Jesse Schein of ‘Poses for Paws’, an organization dedicated to raising money for animal
shelters through yoga. You can experience one of Kathryn’s classes at Yogaworks in Santa Monica or online at and soon from and Yoga Journal’s new DVD “Yoga Therapeutics”.

by Nora Mangiamele
"I love the ySTRAP!! This is a small prop with a big benefit. Conventional straps are very binding and restricting to me. They also have the long tail at the end after you buckle them up, (which you need a tutorial on how to assemble all the different buckle types)!! The ySTRAP has no “putting together” issues and it has just the right amount of give, so you can strengthen a pose without suffocating a pose. Every time I bring out my ySTRAP while teaching, to demonstrate it’s use in a pose, students always ask me where they can get it and if they can try it. Whoever tries it, buys it. It can be easily tightened or loosened and is also great for beginners as well as advanced practitioners. Here are some of the ways I use and teach with the ySTRAP: The Y strap works great around the triceps, and upper, outer arm, in Tripod headstand and in Pincha Mayurasana, forearm balance. These poses can be very “anxiety provoking” for beginners, but by using the ySTRAP it gives the student a firm guide for keeping the elbows and upper arms from bowing out, while strengthening the upper arm and shoulder girdle. In advanced practitioners, it is a constant reminder of uninterrupted power needed in the upper body while adding on advanced variations such as, Karandavasana, and Hanumanasana. For beginners and advanced practitioners the ySTRAP can be used around the quadriceps and ham strings for Urdhva Dhanurasana and Ustrasana. This is a really great tool to remind us that 75% of all back bends are grounded from the legs!!! You will realize how much you are not engaging your legs after doing Urdhva Dhanurasana and Ustrasana regularly with your ySTRAP. Trust me, you will be reminded the next day!!! One of my favorite poses to introduce the ySTRAP with is Natarajasana, dancer’s pose. I have not had a student yet, who has not gotten this pose by using the ySTRAP. That tiny bit of give in the ySTRAP is that tiny bit that takes students to the next level to get the full shoulder rotation and to feel what it is like to be in this auspicious pose!!! It is quite magnificent to watch first timers get in this pose they never thought possible. The ySTRAP is durable, has the cool orange color and it is small enough it can fit in your pocket. It is a great overall prop to take with you to every class. So, no excuses!! Use this hip little prop to enhance and bring out the beauty of your yoga practice.

NORA MANGIAMELE RYT is a one of a kind yoga instructor. Her love and passion for the art of yoga, shines through in every class she teaches. Her humor and eclectic music encourages everyone to strive further than they ever thought possible. Nora’s classes are truly an experience that
will leave you confident, humbled and inspired. Each experience with Nora is physically challenging, musically freeing and spiritually honest. Whether you take a class, a workshop or go on a retreat with Nora, you put yourself in a place experiencing your greatest potential. Her current influences are Dharma Mittra, David Williams and Shiva Rea.
by Bryan Kest

“Besides desire and effort, the only two essentials for asana are a steady ground and a SKIDLESS surface.”

-Bryan Kest

Now 41, Bryan Kest has been practicing
yoga for more than 26 years. He initially studied in Hawaii with David Williams, the first person to bring Ashtanga yoga to America. He then studied in India with K. Patthabi Jois, the main proponent of Ashtanga yoga. Kest has been teaching yoga for 21 years. “my primary objective, “ says Kest, “besides turning more and more people on to a healthier, more peaceful lifestyle that continually challenges them to grow, is to teach them a system of exercise that fully integrates the body, mind and spirit.”

The new trend towards yoga is not surprising, given that the body is limited and the mind is limitless. The combination of body and mind creates an incredibly broad range of fulfillment, including top physical condition and a calm, peaceful, clear mind.”