If you haven’t heard, we’re on a road trip! And not any road trip, the Great American YogaDork Road Trip, and we’re posting from the road! (in between driving long hours across the Pacific Northwest, stopping for gas and, uh, necessities, and squeezing in a few hours of sleep). The first update came from the far away lands of Portland and Seattle. Verdict? Awesome! Now we write to you from the vast pastures of Squaw Valley, CA for our mid-trip respite, Wanderlust! But before we get into 4 days of Yoga, Music and Nature, first a recap of the Oregon Coast, HWY 101 adventures in Twilight, our groovy whirlwind through San Francisco, the grapevines of Wente Vineyards and the Biggest Little City in the World.
Oh boy, where to start…
Our time in Seattle and Portland was short, but agave nectar hemp milk sweet. If this road trip were a yoga class it’d be speed dating Ashtanga – getting just about 5 breaths in each pose, just long enough to fall in love with our surroundings before we flow through another vinyasa. Back on the road south we took a detour, breaking away from the relentless I-5, towards the coastal Highway 101 for a scenic spin through the winding roads and hills of Siuslaw National Forest.
Talk about deep breaths, the greenery and rural towns provided a backdrop of expansiveness and cool, clean air, and some rather interesting local radio listening. Mexican polka or Irish folk songs anyone? We were more likely to find yodelers than yogis, but hey who knows! Maybe they’ve got a Hugger Mugger meditation cushion tucked in one of the treehouse branches.
As night set in and fog descended we entered what we’ll refer to as the scariest moment on the trip thus far, completely encased in thick white mist, surrounded by towering redwood trees as we crept at a snails pace into the wee hours of the morning, and literally no one else in sight. (except for maybe vampires and werewolves – we were half ready for Bella and Edward to come flying out in front of the car at any second!)
Surviving the potential Twilight encounter, we safely set our asanas down around 4:30am for a quick snoozer, only to be back on the road again at noon the next day to continue our scenic adventure. *Road trip note for fellow seat of pantsers flight members: When driving through tiny beach towns very late at night, call ahead for lodging reservations or plan to drive til sunrise. Roadside yoga highly recommend, but maybe tie a garland of garlic around your neck first.
SAN FRANCISCO: The yogadorky treat.
Helloooo San Franciscooo! We pulled into the land of insane parking skills just in the nick of time for Pete Guinosso’s class at Yoga Tree Valencia. Felt good to move and get our sweat on again. We really dug the attention to alignment and the devotion to the practice we found in Pete’s class. With an invitation to focus on a particular area of the body needing special attention we took the opportunity to send that energy to our hips and behind, which seemed to have taken on the shape of the seats in our little Chevy that could. Our kombucha bellies got a workout too. Not sure what it is with SF, but they love themselves a good pause for ab work. Stop, drop and crunch!
There’s something about San Francisco yoga that can only be experienced, but we think the fact that when we handed the girl behind the desk our hologrammed credit card to pay for the class, and received a ”whoooa, hey that’s trippy” remark in return pretty much sums it up. We heart SF.
Again, a quick swep through San Fran, but a driving tour of the city was all we needed to soak in some sites and rays, and show our gratitude, at the Mission’s Cafe Gratitude, of course! I AM NOURISHED. Yes you are. Yum.
On to Wine Country! Destination: Livermore, CA for Wente Vineyards and yoga at the local studio, Cosmic Dog.
Karl Wente, a 5th generation winemaker at Wente Vineyards is a regular yoga practioner, musician and all around likeable fella. He also makes some superb fermented nectar of the vine which we have been so fortunate to taste for ourselves along the way. Now, we’re not saying yoga makes better wine or makes it any more titillating to the taste buds…er, actually, yes that’s exactly what we’re saying. And you can quote us!
Now Cosmic Dog yoga has just about one of the coolest studio names, and from our experience, one of the coolest yoga teachers this side of the Mississippi. Suzanna Spring guided us through a sequence that not only got out our road kinks, but allowed us to play a little with arm balances and much needed hip exploration. We could’ve stayed in parivrtta janu for at least 3 more hours. It was a mixed bunch in the class and we were excited to see so many different levels, including a handful of gentlemen, joining together to close a Wednesday workday with yoga.
Back at Wente Vineyards we enjoyed the perfect scene for yet another western sunset. Be sure to check out the gorgeous grounds if you’re over that way. Maybe you can catch free music at Wente Wednesdays or Suzanna, Karl, their yogi pal Joe Kara and the rest of the “The Front Porch” band perform, you guessed it, on the front porch.
YogaDork Tasting Note: Reliz Creek Pinot Noir is where it’s at. We recommend a pairing with crow pose or bird of paradise.
All the Way to Reno.
While we didn’t take a yoga class in Reno, Nevada, we gambled with the thought. ha! No, not much yoga here for us, but you’d be amazed how legs up the headboard helps get you to relax in a casino that never sleeps. As it turns out, the Biggest Little City in the World is also the best little pit stop for savasana.
Next stop: Wanderlust! Stay tuned for recaps and photos.
Shout out to all the YD readers and twitter pals for tips on where to yoga, caffeinate and take in the views. If we didn’t catch you this time around, we hope to see you soon.
Please send suggestions for Las Vegas, Grand Canyon area and CA coast!
Photos above by J.T. Liss. Check out more photos from the trip at J.T. Liss Photography on facebook.