last november, i joined mike schneider (aka franklinavenue ) and over a hundred adventure-seekers on his 4th annual great LA walk from the shrine auditorium to the ocean. we walked some 17+ miles along streets and avenues named after US presidents -- jefferson, adams, hoover, and washington.
it was while we were walking along adams boulevard in the west adams district that my walking companion, will campbell (aka wildbell ), pointed out the beautiful christian science church that lay empty and dormant. it was such a large structure that it would require a congregation with generous funding to purchase and maintain it. we wondered what would come of it.
then last february, inspired by mike's presidential theme, will decided to observe the presidents day holiday with a group 32-mile 8 presidents bike ride that took us from lafayette park all the way out to marina del rey and back. we rode along hoover, jefferson, lincoln, washington, adams (and a few small streets in culver city that may or may not have been named after presidents), and once again, we noticed the church sitting idly at the corner of adams and hoover.
would there ever be someone who would step up to the plate and save this amazing edifice from possible ruin?
apparently, someone finally has...
this morning, my friend harvey forwarded to me a link to an LA times article that talked about the new future of the christian science church. he knew it would be of interest me, not because of his or my religious background (after all, he's jewish and i'm catholic), but because a yoga and meditation organization is behind the recent purchase. yes, it's yoga to the rescue! :)
A church in the West Adams district that formerly rang with Christian Science hymns is soon to resonate with such unfamiliar sounds as chanting and the voices of yoga teachers urging students to breathe smoothly.
The Art of Living Foundation plans to rededicate the century-old Second Church of Christ, Scientist and an adjoining reading room in a public ceremony Wednesday. The foundation intends to use the inner-city building for courses in meditation, as a research center and for conferences for "raising social awareness," according to Rajshree Patel, the foundation's executive director in Los Angeles.
Founded nearly 30 years ago by meditation teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not to be confused with the similarly named sitar player), the Art of Living Foundation is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization dedicated to meditation and emotional self-control as the keys to peaceful and cooperative living, Patel said. The organization teaches traditional disciplines including meditation and yoga and holds classes and seminars on issues ranging from world peace to emotional self-control.
Designed by Los Angeles architect Alfred Rosenheim, with Albert C. Martin serving as the structural engineer, the "Italian Renaissance edifice was heralded as the largest and most elaborate of the denomination's branches west of the Mississippi when it was constructed," the nomination stated.
For the moment, the restoration work on the building is mostly cosmetic, Patel said, although the foundation plans to hire an architect and eventually renovate the building completely.
unbeknowst to harvey, the timing of this article couldn't have been more coincidental... just yesterday, i paid a visit to a new yoga studio in redondo beach that shared a location with -- you guessed it -- an art of living center!
it sounds like someone's telling me to share that visit with you, doesn't it? so here goes...
We are a brand new studio conveniently located in south Redondo Beach near PCH and Prospect at the Art of Living Center. We are currently offering a variety of class types and lengths to satisfy our students needs. We encourage our students to request times and classes that they might like to attend, and we will try to accommodate those requests when there is enough interest.
Redondo Beach Yoga is a collective of inspired teachers of different backgrounds and experience, ranging from those with certification in multiple disciplines as well as newer Hatha certified teachers that are creative and full of enthusiasm for teaching and sharing Yoga. All of our teachers bring focus on the setting of intention as well as emphasis to the meditative aspect of yoga and the healing integration of the practice through Svasana.
i first heard about redondo beach yoga earlier this week when a facebook friend became a fan of RBY's facebook page (believe me, i've gotten a lot of yoga information merely by facebook-stalking many of my friends!).
on their fb page, they had posted this event Please join us for this mini Retreat☺ Wear comfortable clothes, be prepared to RELAX & RESTORE yourself. We will practice Gentle Yoga, relax in supported poses, meditate for a short time & restore ourselves & our Chakras while bringing in and balancing Energy. If you have a bolster, please bring it if you can. Call Pam Carpenter for more info or to register for the class...
i've been nursing some tightness in my right hip flexor and my right rotator cuff, so the "relax and restore" immediately started to talk to me. just knowing that it was a brand-new studio and i wouldn't have to do any arm balances or tricky inversions made me run to my calendar, check my schedule, and pencil in the workshop. of course, it didn't matter that i had already committed to taking jo tastula's advanced practice at yogaglo that same day... i would do both! (and i wonder why my body's complaining?)
having worked in the south bay for almost two years, i'd frequented a number of stores and restaurants in redondo beach. and for the most part, they were all located in the northern part of the city near hermosa beach. so i assumed redondo beach yoga was somewhere around there, too. until i entered the address on google maps right before heading out to class. and found out that it was much farther south, practically in palos verdes. which meant that i needed more time than i had given myself to get there. a 9:30am class in santa monica, followed by a 1pm class in redondo beach? yeah, it could work...
sure enough, after jo's class, i found myself chatting with other students who had shown up at the glo, so by the time i had biked back home, it was almost noon. and i'd need a good half hour -- at least -- to drive down to the part of redondo beach that was probably the farthest away from the freeway. with no time left for lunch, i ran to the kitchen and grabbed a box of wheat crackers and a bottle of juice and hopped in my car.
in my attempt to avoid the mall traffic and stoplights on hawthorne (one of the major connector roads linking the 405 freeway with palos verdes), i opted to exit at inglewood instead and take residential streets. and it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. sailing down prospect avenue, i went up and down hills, past schoolgrounds and churches, and admired the well-manicured lawns of the homes i drove past. it took me a while, but i reached my destination just as the class was about to start. whew!
redondo beach yoga is basically an open room in a commercial building. there is no lobby, no office, no retail area. the room is simply furnished with some shelves and a raised stage at the front of the room with a large photograph of sri sri ravi shankar (not to be confused with the musician ravi shankar -- aka anoushka shankar's and norah jones' dad).
the art of living foundation holds classes and kirtans around town (including the monthly kirtan at yoga desa in topanga) and was looking to add yoga classes to its list of offerings at its redondo beach location . a group of south bay based teachers were contacted, and voila... another yoga studio!
as for our class, it was a delicious THREE-hour restorative class with pam carpenter that started with pranayama and ended with chakra balancing. pam isn't one of the teachers who regularly teach at the center; however, she does teach at a number of locations around the south bay.
hatha, yin, and vinyasa flow classes will be offered at the center from monday through friday. most of the teachers on staff have received their training through cloud nine yoga . single drop-in classes are $15 (which sounds like a deal compared to the $22 charged at some other studios!) and class packages are available.
redondo beach yoga will be holding an open house celebration this coming sunday, april 18th from 1 to 4pm. there will be short yoga demo classes as well as snacks and door prizes for all who attend. the regular teaching staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the classes they teach. they're currently running a new student special: buy the 1st class, get the 2nd class FREE, so take advantage of this deal while you can!
parking: free parking in lot bike racks: none closest intersection: PCH and prospect
in the meantime, the new los angeles headquarters of the art of living foundation will be inaugurated this wednesday, april 14th and sri sri ravi shankar will be holding a commentary on the upanishads on the 15th-17th. while tickets are pretty much sold out of all events, some higher-priced tickets to the inauguration are still available - click here to purchase .
By nurturing the spirit and compassion of every individual, the Foundation seeks to help build a global society that is free of stress, violence, and misery - and full of service, wisdom, and celebration. ~ from about the art of living foundation