I took my first yoga class at the Eagle Rock rec ctr. about 4.5 yrs. ago. I had really bad back problems and some friends told me they got rid of their back problems by doing Yoga.
The first time I did it was so hard to keep up. My body had never moved into some of those positions and the breathing was intense. At the end of it, when we went into meditation, I left my body. When I returned I was totally refreshed and hooked.
I followed that same teacher, Knekoh (pronounced Nico) to the abandoned Merchant's Bank on the corner of 4th and Main St. when she left the Eagle Rock ctr. I saw her go through her pregnancy doing amazing gravity defying positions. She taught up til the day before her son was born and she came back to teaching exactly one week after giving birth doing most all the same amazing positions. She is my hero. I would practive once or twice a week and saw my body change. I felt taller, stronger, more energy and no more back problems.
Eventually Knekoh opened up a proper studio across the street in the San Fernando building where she named it Yoga Circle Downtown. At times I have been dedicated to going two or three times a week and wow, I was unstoppable. My body wouldn't accept crap food. I was never sick or sore. Never tired or in dis-ease. This was about two years ago and I was seriously considering becoming a yoga teacher with Knekho as my master teacher.
I have visited other studios, except a Bikram, and none of them teach like Knekoh. Some are too loopy, some are too laid back, some are too into being perfect, some are just boring. Knekoh is a former dancer, she knows the power of a good physical workout, knows how to help you focus on a muscle, leaves you to explore your personal edge, helps you push yourself when she sees you are kicking back, she goes into the meditation and esoteric elements of yoga, but not to the point where you just want to sit and stare at your navel. You get a physical and meta-physical workout with her.
At other times I would get so busy with work and life that I would miss up to a month, only to return to once or twice a week. During these breaks I would practice at home on my own. I increased my time in a head stand to up to 5 minutes. Knekho told the class one time that Yogis lived so long because they spend so much time upside down. It reverses how the body works with gravity, opens up places and gives organs a chance to re-align, breathe and rest from sitting the same way. Makes sense to me! So I love being upside down.
This last break from serious yoga was about 6 months. I really felt it this past month. My back pains returned. I gained some weight. I am eating crap.
Today, I went back and Knekoh was there with open arms. It was so good. I did the beginner alignment and form class and I surprised myself that I was able to do things I thought I wasn't going to do. I feel great. I haven't gone out of my body since that first time, but other experiences and moments of clarity have presented themselves. I feel aligned. My muscles are tight and I know I will be sore in some places tommorow, but I will love it.