Samadi Yoga in Westlake Village

yoga pose on city corner

Mahnaz Jahangiri uses yoga to help tune out the busy world.

Samadi Yoga is easy to find…if you know where it is. In an office plaza at the corner of Thousand Oaks Blvd. and Via Colinas, Samadi actually faces the road, but if you’re concentrating too intently on the address, you might drive around a bit before you locate this colorful gem hidden among the gray offices.

Mahnaz Jahangiri, owner of Samadi Yoga, has just expanded her business and opened a second location in Koreatown. Both locations offer a variety of classes, many taught by Jahangiri herself. When I asked to come and try a class that seemed suited to my comfort level, she talked me into trying one of her “hot yoga” classes, which are simply referred to by their levels (I, II, and III) and go through different series of postures. Since I often push the boundaries of my comfort level for this site, I accepted.

yoga dancer's pose

This is not what I look like when I attempt this pose.

Obviously, I survived. I had told Jahangiri that I tried hot yoga a few times before and I didn’t like it, but this class was very different. Yes, it was hot, but the flow of Level I, a 90-minute class, was at a pace that I could handle. In fact, it was rather slow, relative to the yoga I’ve been practicing elsewhere lately. We started with pranayama breathing exercises, and I thought “Piece of cake.” There was a woman in the class who was recovering from a recent surgery, and it was clear that Jahangiri would allow her to modify postures and play along.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult! At times I felt my heart beating as hard as if I was running! (To be fair, that wouldn’t take much, since I hate running so I never do it.) The heat in the room made my body loosen up and I felt my stiffness melting away, but at the same time, this made my ability to keep up even at a slow rate of movement more of a challenge. However, the mindful pace allowed me to focus on each pose, correcting when necessary, and going deeper than usual. I found myself reflecting a lot about other things, but able to bring my mind back to my breath, which I could really feel because of the humidity.

Note to self and you: do not bring a metal water bottle to this class. Also, bring a towel. There is much sweating.

samadi yoga poster

Mahnaz Jahangiri poster in Samadi Yoga’s lobby

Jahangiri is a gentle and knowledgeable instructor, and she clearly practices what she preaches. There are posters in the lobby outside the studio of a woman striking the most incredible yoga poses: the woman is Jahangiri herself. “I turned to yoga 20 years ago as a way to quiet the noise, unplug the world, and reconnect with myself to find the person that somehow got buried,” she says.

Other students in the class I attended had been coming to Samadi Yoga regularly for a while, and they seemed very happy there. One was a friend I know from my kids’ school; running into people you sort of know happens a lot in the bubble, and I was glad to see her. She was beside herself about Samadi, giving the practice credit for getting her through a divorce and coping with the craziness in her life. In fact, she was practically in tears with gratitude. I can’t think of a better endorsement, besides, perhaps, that this friend’s body is amazingly in shape and strong, too.

Samadi Yoga classes are offered on a drop-in basis with a per-class fee of $20, or you can sign up for several pre-paid levels of access to classes by the month. There is currently a special called Wind Down Wednesdays, in which all classes after 4:00 PM on Wednesdays are offered at $10 per class.

Samadi Yoga
31300 Via Colinas, Unit 101
Westlake Village, CA 91362
(818) 879-1477

From Thousand Oaks Blvd, turn south on Via Colinas and turn right into the first driveway on the right. At the first opportunity, turn right up the hill, drive to the second building and follow the parking lot around to the left. Samadi is in a unit halfway down the building on your left. There is plenty of free parking.

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(Photos courtesy Samadi Yoga)