Yoga Challenge Day #15: Loving Les

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I took some classes with Les Leventhal in Chicago at the Midwest Yoga Conference. It doesn’t look like they are still having it in Chicago unless I just can’t find it on the internet. I loved going to that conference. I got to practice with national teachers like Seane Corn, the Kest brothers (Jonny and Bryan), Paul Grilley and Les. The conference was usually 3 days long, and, if you were a teacher you could attend some pre-conference sessions that were designed to go in-depth into either certain poses, certain styles or with a specific focus. I remember loving Les’s class, so I was stoked when I saw an entire channel of his classes on Yoga Download.

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Tonight I went to acupuncture, and I came home energized. I was able to take a little nap during my session, so I looked for an invigorating practice. I didn’t want to do too much, though. My hamstrings are still smarting a little from that Monkey Pose practice I did last week. My hamstrings are screaming every time I do forward bends or any pose where I have to use my hamstrings’ strength to lift and move. I knew Les was a power yoga teacher, but I hoped his practice was still as moderate as I remembered it being. I don’t think hard is better when it comes to yoga. It’s great for it to be challenging, but a lot of our Western influence is just serving to make the practice harder not more informed.

Extended Side Angle with the bind.
Extended Side Angle with the bind.

Today, I’ll focus a little on a challenging pose but one that I truly love because it’s a twist, a strengthening pose AND a hip opener. It’s called Extended Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana. I like all variations of this pose. When I’ve not been practicing, I can’t move into the twist as well nor are my legs strong enough to hold very long in the full pose, but tonight I was able to comfortably practice the full pose without the bind. I tried the bind for a a few breaths but decided it was more effort than I wanted to give tonight.

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The version I did tonight. Photo Courtesy of Yoga Journal

This one hour practice was delicious and just what I needed. For one thing, it featured more topless men than women yoga models, so I loved the eye candy complete with muscles and ink. Les was very knowledgeable and had great instructions and modifications for all of the poses. I chose to practice at about 75% tonight, so I held myself back from some of the more advanced stuff. It felt good to do just what felt good with a little bit of challenge here and there. At one point, Ashok came in and mirrored me in Downward-Facing Dog. She was so cute. I may make a yogini out of her yet.

This was a yummy hip stretch at the end of class!
This was a yummy hip stretch at the end of class!

So, I feel really good after practicing. I sauteed some fresh kale, red potatoes and leftover chicken in some olive oil for dinner and did a tiny bit of work. I’m about to settle in for some reading. This past week I have been sleeping so good. I’m dreaming, and I’m sleeping through the night. I believe the yoga is helping. We’ll see if it continues. I’m going to have a busy weekend with some travel. I plan to continue my yoga practice. It’s only for 30 days, so I need to stay dedicated. I’m anxious to see what happens.

2 Comments on “Yoga Challenge Day #15: Loving Les

  1. Yoga has changed my life, Sharon, and it’s actually because of you that I started to get into it in the first place! So thank you!! Now I’m the one doing all of the headstanding, twisting crazy stuff šŸ™‚ I subscribe to GaiamTV and I love that site. There’s something there for everyone and something there for every feeling.
    BTW I love the compass pose; it’s one of my faves. When you free up your hammies you’ll love it too I think. LOL

    • I’m so glad you are still practicing! I don’t know what I would have done these past 15 years without my yoga. It comes and goes in consistency, but my practice is always there waiting for me. I look forward to easing into compass pose one day. I’m en route to St. Joe today. It may be the first day of my next big adventure!

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