Monthly Archives: August 2012

sex, science, and self-transformation


August 29, 2012

This week’s topic: Sex, Science, and Self-Transformation

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Lorin Roche, meditation teacher and author of “The Radiance Sutras”
William Broad, science journalist and author of “The Science of Yoga”
Meredith LeBlanc, yoga instructor and co-founder of Twitter Yoga Book Club

Featured Music:
Radha Ramana Haribol, The Kirtaniyas
Shri Ma Goddess Kirtan, Govindas
Jai Sri Radhe, The Mayapuris
Hare Krishna, Temple Bhajan Band

* * * * * * * *

i still can’t over the fact that august is just about over.

and what a busy month it was! — two back-to-back yoga festivals (moksha and the south bay yoga conference), a week-long stint at the KCRW pledge drive, evenings under the stars at the hollywood bowl, kirtans too many to remember, an art-inspired bike tour around santa monica, a backyard wedding attended by the movers and shakers of the westside yoga scene. and that’s not even counting the yoga classes i took. or wished i did.

with an eye to september, which happens to be national yoga month, and the upcoming labor day holiday, an inner voice told me that i needed to focus the show on different aspects of yoga and how it can be practiced at one’s leisure… which then led me to the topic of yoga books. but with all the yoga books currently on the market, which ones would i feature? hmmm…

two of the officiants at the wedding i attended (of the FOUR who married the couple!) were lorin roche and his wife camille. and their contribution to the celebration was a reading of one of the passages from lorin’s book, “the radiance sutras“. it was loving, and sensual, and joyous. who knew that ancient sanskrit texts could still be so relevant? it also happens that lorin will be leading a radiance sutra workshop at bhakti fest next week, so he made my short list of authors to contact.

sometime mid-august, william broad, author of the controversial (at least in the yoga community)  “the science of yoga” and the new york times article “how yoga can wreck your body“, tweeted about the upcoming release of the paperback version of his book. and i realized that i’d wanted to interview him on the show when the book was first released and never got around to it (yes, i tend to procrastinate. a lot). so i tweeted back that i wanted to interview him and he tweeted back that he was happy to; all i needed to do was send him an email request. so i did. and voila! he’s on the show.

there was another author i reached out to who couldn’t make it… and who will remain nameless until he’s available to be on a future show. yup, a cliffhanger.

short one guest, i reached out to meredith leblanc and her cohorts in the yoga book club — via twitter, of course — figuring that this would be the perfect time for a #YOBC update. she was happy to step in at the last minute and fill us in on the virtual group’s latest book, “fierce medicine” by ana forrest.

now for the music.

last week’s musical treats were all new releases from musicians who’ll be at bhakti fest next week. and they were all kirtans with a contemporary twist. so to provide some balance to my coverage of the bhakti fest kirtan offerings, i decided to include the more “traditional” musicians. i found quite a few in my CD collection: arjun baba, gaura vani, prema hara, SRI kirtan, govindas and radha, temple bhajan band, the kirtaniyas, and the mayapuris. while they’re all notably talented and inspirational, i had to limit myself to those with tracks that were short enough for radio play. all i can say is that if you want to hear the longer versions, you have to go to bhakti fest to experience them in their entirety. and yup, that was a plug. 🙂


it’s bhakti fest time again!


August 22, 2012

This week’s topic: It’s Bhakti Fest Time Again!

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Sridhar Silberfein, Executive Producer of Bhakti Fest
Phil Goldberg, author of “American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West”
Parvati, musician

Featured Music:
Hari Om Shiva Om (Cheb I Sabbah Desi Remix), Deva Premal
Gayatri, Benjy Wertheimer & John de Kadt
Sri Ram Jai Ram, Prajna Vieira & Ben Leinbach
Sunlight, MC Yogi
Lokah, Parvati
Unity, Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band

* * * * * * * *

since this was to be my second annual bhakti fest show (it feels special to be able to use the term “annual” since i’ve now been on the air for over a year), i wanted to focus on things that weren’t covered in last year’s show.  in that episode, i had bhakti fest emcee shiva baum in the studio with me; we chatted with musicians ben leinbach, sirgun kaur, and moose ali khan and played their music plus much more from other bhakti fest musicians. my plans were a bit too ambitious — we went way over time and spanned almost two hours!

this time, thanks to a fortuitous meeting at krishna das’s workshop at bhakti yoga shala last week, i managed to snag the uber-busy sridhar silberfein, executive producer of the festival. with the promo flyer in hand, we went over the list of teachers, speakers, and musicians who’d be there and the wheels were set in motion.

i decided to focus on the people i knew nothing about. and i was surprised to find out that there were quite a few of them! after a bit of research, i reached out to some and landed two with very interesting stories to tell: phil goldberg, who’d authored a book on the influence of traditional indian spirituality on modern western culture, and parvati, who’d created a yoga/dance/music blend called yoga in the nightclub. if anyone ever thought that a festival focused on bhakti was too woo-woo for them, these guests would quickly change those perceptions!

as for the music, it was clear to me that if i wanted to highlight was new this year, i had to feature music that was new. so i rummaged through my kirtan CD collection and picked out albums that were released this year. among them were:

– deva premal, “deva lounge” (sounds true)

– benjy wertheimer and john de kadt, “one river” (mantralogy)

– prajna vieira and ben leinbach, “amrita” (mantralogy)

– MC yogi, “pilgrimage” (white swan records)

i also found a new song (actually a video) from sean johnson and the wild lotus band that was on their website, so since they had created an indiegogo page to raise the money to produce their next album, i thought it rated a play on the show. here’s that video:

olympic fever!


August 15, 2012

This week’s topic: Olympic Fever!

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Asuka Hisa, Director of Education at Santa Monica Museum of Art
Jessica Hooper, yoga instructor
Shari Goodhartz, yoga instructor

Featured Music:
Hanuman 2, Girish
Hanuman Baba (Dub Farm Remix), Krishna Das
Hanuman Jump, Jai Uttal
Hanuman Chalisa, Bhagavan Das

* * * * * * *  *

the seventeen-or-so days of the 2012 london summer olympics are now history. the US athletes did exceedingly well and came away with more medals than any other country, with the women athletes earning more medals than the men. girls rule!!

thanks to a few slow days at work, i was able to sit at my desk and watch the livestream feed of the cycling, swimming, diving, water polo, beach volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics events. and when i missed those, i’d tune in to the late night replay to catch up on the news so i could keep up with the ongoing conversations on facebook and twitter 🙂

so with a hat tip to the games of the 30th olympiad, i thought it fun to have an olympics-inspired episode. i ran down the list of events that caught my interest… and ended up with cycling and training with balls.  and to add a bit of controversy, i threw in the topic of yoga as an olympic sport.

i rounded up an eclectic group of guests:

– asuka hisa of the santa monica museum of art who talked about this weekend’s cause for creativity: tour da arts bike event at bergamot station

– jessica hooper, a yoga tune up instructor who uses balls (among other props) to help students get more in tune with their bodies while stretching and toning

– shari goodhartz, a yoga teacher who specializes in yoga therapy and philosophy

and while the only exposure i had to the long jump and high jump events was through the nightly news recaps, i thought it would be cute to imagine hanuman in his own olympic event — because, as we know, no one would even come close to achieving the distances he can! the hanuman-centered music selections were from girish, krishna das, jai uttal, and bhagavan das, gold medal wallahs in the kirtan world (if there were such a thing!)

for those new to the bike community in los angeles, these were the organizations asuka  mentioned in her segment:

– LA county bicycle coalition – LACBC works to build a better, more bike-able Los Angeles County. LACBC is the only nonprofit, membership-based organization working exclusively for the millions of bicyclists in Los Angeles County.

– C.I.C.L.E. – We are a Los Angeles based not-for-profit helping riders of all ages and skill levels use bicycles for everyday transportation. We believe that bicycling can improve our health, build community, save us money, and protect our environment …all while being fun!

– santa monica spoke – As a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, (LACBC) we are dedicated to improving biking in the City of Santa Monica. We are a community based group working to make Santa Monica more sustainable, and a better place to live, bike, walk, work and play.

– cicLAvia – CicLAvia makes the streets safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There are activities along the route. Shop owners and restaurants are encouraged to open their doors to people along the CicLAvia. The next event will be on Sunday, October 7th.

here’s the link to the FREE jazz event located right around the corner from bergamot station: jazz on the lawn

this was the article shari and i referred to during her segment: Should Yoga Be An Olympic Sport?

i hope you have as much fun listening to this episode as we had talking with each other!

so you think you can teach, part 2


August 8, 2012

This week’s topic: So You Think You Can Teach, Part 2

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Kelly Larisey, yoga instructor
April Ritchey, yoga instructor
Jackie Kubica-Aronoff, yoga instructor
Brenda Chestnut. yoga instructor
Leah Kim, yoga instructor and author of “From Office Hell To Yoga Heaven: Jumpstart Your Career as a Yoga Instructor”

Featured Music:
Sujit’s Dream, Mahadev
Song of the Sun, Part 2: Gat, Stevin McNamara
Hero’s Return, Jef Stott
Island Pulse, Tim White & Joe Paulino

* * * * * * * *

it’s been said that there are just as many struggling yoga teachers in search of teaching gigs as there are struggling actors in search of acting gigs, especially here in LA.

and it really wouldn’t surprise me, because every time i check my facebook feed, yet another yoga teacher is plugging his/her teacher training (TT) program. which means that when said TT program ends, there’ll be yet another batch of bright-eyed yogis looking for places to teach to recoup their TT tuition expenses. some are lucky enough to land classes with students  not only eager to learn but also able to pay. even better are those students who can afford to pay the additional cost for private sessions and out-of-town retreats.

i put out an open call on my facebook pages for recent TT grads who were willing to tell their stories on the air. soon i received responses from those for whom teaching yoga has been everything they’d dreamed it would be. but how about those who’d gone through the training, just to find out that finding a job in the oversaturated yoga market was much harder than they’d thought it would be? i knew they were out there, but why wasn’t anyone stepping forward?

apparently, the perception is that saying anything negative about TT and its outcome is perceived as damaging, and therefore, non-yogic. so it’s ok to bitch about how finding a teaching job sucks, just as long as you keep that bitching to yourself. or share it with friends who’ve been sworn to secrecy. so be it.

so while i was hoping to feature a two-sided discussion with those whose teaching careers had blossomed into sustainable jobs they loved as well as with those who gave up on the search and returned to their day jobs, i ended up with a foursome with similar, yet different, stories. and yes, they all continue to teach: kelly larisey from boulder and april ritchey, jackie kubica-aronoff, and brenda chestnut from LA.

quite by accident, i found out that leah kim, a yoga teacher from LA who’s since moved to london, had just released an e-book called “from office hell to yoga heaven: jumpstart your career as a yoga instructor”. the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, at least as far as my show was concerned. so i asked her if she’d be available for an interview, and luckily, she was.

five guests in one show when i normally can barely squeeze in three? plus music, too? it would take some diligent time management on my part to fit them all in  a 90-minute show, but then again, i really have two hours at my disposal at the studio before the next DJ walks in and gives me the stink eye 🙂

it seemed about time i played music from albums i’d been saving for a rainy day, even if that so-called rainy day turned out to be the hottest day this summer. well, at least so far. i rifled through my unplayed stack of CDs and came up with some mellow instrumentals from mahadev, stevin mcnamara, jef stott, and tim white & joe paulino.

except for my running over time (no surprise there), the show went smoothly and it seemed like everyone had a word or two of advice to share.

i hope you get as much out of it as i did!

here’s how you can find out more about the guests on the show:

– the yoga studio where kelly larisey teaches: little yoga studio in boulder

– april ritchey’s website: love the world yoga & healing

– jackie kubica-aronoff’s home studio: a radiant life in woodland hills

– the yoga studios where brenda chestnut teaches: hot 8 yoga in santa monica and laughing frog yoga in west LA

– leah kim’s website: leah kim yoga — her e-book can be purchased and downloaded here: from office hell to yoga heaven: jumpstart your career as a yoga instructor

so you think you can teach, part 1


August 1, 2012

This week’s topic: So You Think You Can Teach, Part 1

until i can figure out how to embed the podomatic player, click here to listen to the podcast.

Cora Wen, yoga instructor
Annie Carpenter, yoga instructor
Joan Hyman, yoga instructor

Featured Music:
Om Guru, Dave Dale & Nadaji
Om Namah Shivaya (Nataraja Remix by Herb Graham, Jr.), Girish
Shambho, Wah!
Sat Nam Bangara, Dev Suroop Kaur & Liv Singh

* * * * * * * *

the summer olympic games in london have officially begun. which means that if you want to get hold of someone, chances are, you won’t hear from them right away while they’re glued to their TV screens. with so many sports to choose from — from the popular gymnastics, swimming, diving, beach volleyball, and track to the more curious archery, fencing, and even trampoline — the odds of finding something entertaining is fairly high.

which might explain why i couldn’t get hold of any of my intended guests yesterday. with twelve hours to go before show time, i still wasn’t sure if i’d have anyone to talk with. maybe i should just play music and forget all about the chit-chat? i’d be lying if i said it didn’t cross my mind.

of course, it was partially my fault for putting off producing the show until the last minute. i had just returned from a four-day family reunion on the east coast, and while i was gone, i never even bothered to think about what i was going to do. i did manage to meet up with the ever-hilarious yogadawg for a yoga class (and even tried to convince him to guest on a future show), but other than that, i spent the time in sibling- and offspring-bonding activities.

reality hit while we were coming in for our approach at LAX. it was late sunday night and i had a show to do in less than three days. i’d always planned to do a show on teacher training programs and already had tentative “sure, i’ll do your show” from two highly-regarded teacher trainers, cora wen and annie carpenter. but would they be available THIS WEEK? i sent out inquiries and crossed my fingers.

monday. yes, they were interested. what time did i need them? any time between 1 and 2:30pm pacific, i replied.

tuesday afternoon. i was still trying to nail down the times they’d be calling in but all email and phone attempts to reach them failed.

tuesday evening and still no word. while simultaneously watching the olympic TV coverage and checking to see which facebook friends were still online, i started sending out plan B requests, including a last-minute SOS to joan hyman since i still needed one more interview. hoping and assuming that all three teachers would get back to me eventually, i came up with the show title based on one of my daughter’s favorite shows — so you think you can dance — and found mantras set to dance beats from dave dale & nadaji, girish, wah!, and dev suroop kaur & liv singh. with the framework of the show set in place, all that were needed were the actual guests.

once they started recapping the recaps of the day’s events, i called it a night and went to bed.

wednesday morning. the responses came in and we finalized the show line-up. whew! i swore to never put things off until the last minute ever again and rolled back into bed for a much-needed power nap… after setting the alarm to make sure i didn’t oversleep. after all of my late-night worrying, the last thing i wanted to do was miss the show completely!

cora had somehow lost her voice on monday but was slowly regaining it back, so her voice came through a bit low over the phone. i cranked up the volume in the podcast; hopefully, it’s loud enough for you to hear all the stories she had to share. both annie’s and joan’s phone connections dropped right before i brought them on the air, so i ended up having to edit out all the reconnecting that went on.

i was really tired from my lack of sleep the night before (can’t you tell?), so i’m hoping my line of questioning was somewhat intelligent. i’m listening to the resulting podcast and am trying not to cringe 🙂

here’s more information about their teacher training programs:

yoga bloom teacher training with cora wen

smartFLOW yoga teacher training with annie carpenter

yogaworks teacher training with joan hyman


by the way, here are the deals some of the guests on this show are generously providing to listeners:

– tickets to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the archway in downtown LA: tickets are $10 if you say you heard about it on the show. performances on thursdays-saturdays at 8pm, sundays at 2pm. ticket info

– passes to Moksha Festival this weekend in santa monica: use code JYUNG to get 15% off online purchases. ticket info

– win a 5-class pass to next weekend’s South Bay Yoga Conference in redondo beach! go to the yoga chat facebook page for details.