Meditation Is Good For You: YogaWorks

IMG_8984My friend Melanie in a meditative moment at Nicholas Flats

I’m a mother, a writer, a PFA president (that’s the same as a PTA for those of you outside The Bubble), a friend, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a cook, a cleaner, a chauffeur, and I can keep going.

Exhausted yet?

I am. Or at least, I often feel that way. I juggle all of my duties with a meticulous network of to-do lists and calendars, but things fall through the cracks all the time. I am a perfectionist and a control freak, and I have a short temper.

I sound delightful, I know. Wanna be friends?

My point is, the way I keep myself from losing my mind at any given moment is meditation. I don’t do it every day, and it comes in many forms. The universe wants me to tell you about it, so I am starting a series of posts about ways you can meditate. I know the universe is interested because over the last two months I got three separate pitches for meditation products, services, or centers. Plus, at the time, I was participating in a meditation challenge by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra, a 21-week program that Oprah offers several times a year for free.

Meditation Class at YogaWorks

IMG_8981Class photographed with permission

If you are like me, and you have ever said “Oh, I can’t meditate, my mind is too busy,” then taking a class, where you have to go to a place and sit in a room with other people and you can’t just get up and go fold some laundry because you are too fidgety to sit still, might be a good way to start. YogaWorks in Westlake Village has a meditation class every Monday at 4pm. I participated as a guest a few weeks ago when the rest of my family was out of town.

I have never been to YogaWorks because my schedule only allows me to hit a yoga class here and there. My first thought when I entered was “Wow!” It’s huge. The desk clerk offered to show me a map of the classrooms so I could find my destination. Luckily the meditation class was right near the desk, so I wasn’t lost without one.

The class held room for about 30 people and it was packed. On a Monday at 4pm. For meditation. That says a lot. I managed to weasel into a spot right in front and even though the room was full I had enough space around me to twist and stretch out my arms.

IMG_8983Amy’s voice was calm and soothing, yet confident

Amy, an instructor who was sitting in for the regular teacher, led us through an opening series of breathing and stretching, similar to a warmup for any yoga class. Then she announced that she would be guiding us through visualization exercises for each of our seven chakras, or energy centers in the body. We lay on our mats in whatever position was most comfortable, and listened to her voice.

I found it easy enough to concentrate on Amy’s instructions to imagine my chakra as an energy wheel with an expanding number of lotus flower petals the higher up in my body we went. But I certainly found my thoughts wandering: I was composing this blog post, or remembering what I still had on my to-do list, or thinking about what I would eat for dinner that night. Later in the hour, I heard a man snoring nearby. I was startled to realize that I, too, had fallen asleep, because Amy had gotten to the seventh chakra, and I didn’t remember any talk of the 6th or 5th!

It was like an hour-long savasana, or corpse pose, in which you simply lie on the mat on your back and feel the bliss of being done with your yoga practice for the time being. It’s my favorite part, so naturally I loved this class. However, laying in one position that long had gotten uncomfortable for my back. If I hadn’t fallen asleep I would have shifted and raised my knees or put a blanket under me for support.

The end result, for me, was that I felt relaxed and energized at the same time. I worried that I would be too relaxed, like after a deep tissue massage, but even though I had gotten sleepy and zoned out, I was ready to glide through the rest of my day.

I chatted with another woman from the class as we rolled up our mats and put on our shoes. She said the class is usually that popular, and also recommended another yoga class at that location that incorporates meditation into its exercises.

Bottom line: I recommend checking this class out. YogaWorks lets you try classes for free for a week. After that you must become a member.

YogaWorks
2475 Townsgate Road
Westlake Village, CA 91361
(805) 371-3030

You’re Welcome in Laney’s Closet – Upscale Clothing Swap in Agoura Hills

There is a magical place tucked behind Agoura Road that is filled with frocks and trinkets and purses and shoes! It reminds me of the closet in “Heaven on 5th” in the Sex and the City movie.

Except it’s not Sarah Jessica Parker, it’s Laney Vivo, and this is her closet.

laneys closet detail 3

laneys closet wide 3

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Actually, it’s your closet too, if you become a member. Laney’s Closet is a members-only upscale clothing swap club. Laney herself welcomes you into the space by appointment. You bring your gently used fabulous clothing and accessories. She evaluates your pieces and then gives you credit based on their retail value if she thinks that another member would like to wear them.

I met Laney at the Closet’s debut event over the summer, and she invited me to come play dress-up and learn more about her business. It just so happened that I was available on my birthday, so we made it into a special, fun event. I brought my pal Michelle with me, and Michelle brought bags full of clothing and shoes to swap. She signed up for the service, got a bunch of credit, and left that day with one pair of designer jeans and a few other new-to-her pieces.

Michelle and the shoes that allow her to look 50 feet tall.

Michelle and the shoes that allow her to look 50 feet tall.

So essentially, for the price of a monthly membership ($69.95), Michelle walked away with hundreds of dollars worth of designer clothing.

I didn’t do so badly either.

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These are the outtakes. I had a hard time taking myself serious. The above left pose is my "style blogger" pose.

These are the outtakes. I had a hard time taking myself seriously. The above right pose is my “style blogger” pose.

The best part of the club membership is that Laney, who is a fashion consultant and stylist, can take one look and you and pull things out of her inventory (that she knows inside and out) that she thinks would fit and look good on you. Things that you would never even pull off the rack, or dream in a million years would flatter your body type. At all. Right before we wrapped up our visit I said “Okay, give me something crazy that I would never even try on” and she pulled out a hot little red dress.

Who knew?

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It was my birthday present. How perfect! I wore this to the Wendy Bellissimo for JCPenney sneak peek event later that week, where a professional photographer was snapping photos, and some shots wound up on the media database at Getty Images, so I’m really glad I had a lovely dress on!

Laney’s Closet
28351 Agoura Road, Suite B
Agoura Hills CA 91301
laneyscloset.com

805-390-6277