Tag Archives: san luis obispo

Yoga that Starts with a Hug

Prior to planning our trip to California I decided we had to visit San Luis Obispo (SLO) – it had been featured on an Oprah episode as the Happiest Place on Earth.  I expected a small town with a farmer’s market, local food, organic food and genuinely nice people.  We found all of those things and more.

The week before we left for California I learned that our favorite yogi and blissologist*, Eoin Finn, would be offering a workshop in San Luis Obispo.   Knowing that this was a road trip, we signed up for the Friday evening class with the plan to roll out on Saturday morning.  By the end of Friday’s class we were hooked and also signed up for the two classes on Saturday.

Me, Eoin and Mark - ready for blissology

This past year we, but Mark especially, really moved forward in the practice of yoga.  At a time when our lives were experiencing a lot of transition; new work, new house, new challenges and triumphs it became abundantly important to find a center ground.  We found that in the practice of yoga.  We typically practice in our living room and always with a Blissology disc led by Eoin and featuring his wife, Insiya.

The workshop took place at m.Body a yoga studio in SLO.  The studio was fantastic, free of mirrors, filled with light and energized by the positive intention of their owners Peter and Tawny Sterios.  If you’re able to “zen-out”  you can do it just about anywhere, but doing it in this space with their garden in view and with some very genuinely awesome people elevated the experience to something really special.

Studio at m.Body in SLO

It is very difficult to explain, even for me, the magnitude of those two days of yoga.  It is very much a you had to have been there to understand it. But I will try…

Yoga started with a hug.

In a room of mostly strangers we hugged each other.  I will admit it was sort of that half-hearted, one armed hug, where you’re not totally comfortable but you do it anyway.

Then for the next two days we bent forward and back, leaned on each other, stumbled, fell, helped each other back up, literally practiced the idea of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”.

We talked about philosophy and diet,  our physical, mental and emotional limitations.  We talked about family, and love and priorities.  And then it ended.

And then we hugged again.  But this time, with real warmth, two arms wrapped tightly around friends who were strangers.  With wishes of support, for their progress, their ability to accomplish their goals.


* Blissology (TM) (blis-ol-uh-jee) – noun; the art of consciously finding the balance between one’s personal desires and our impact on the web of life.  It is not just a brand but a way of being.  It is a path of interconnectedness and love.

[Origin: 1990 a.d. ; Various conversations with Eoin and his good friends over tasty merlot]

Many, many thanks to Peter and Tawny and Eoin, Insiya and Ananda for being so welcoming and illustrating why even tourists find SLO to be the happiest place on Earth.

A Sweet Drive through Ojai

We left Beverly Hills and headed off to our next stop, San Luis Obispo (*yes, the happiest place on Earth).  As we did the long drive we stopped a long the way, mostly for meals, but also to enjoy some gorgeous scenery.

First stop outside of Beverly Hills: Malibu.  We went to Marmalade Cafe, in Malibu.  We ate there on a previous trip, after I had heard it was a favored spot of Jennifer Garner, and so on this trip it was an easy to choose spot to return for a large and filling breakfast.  Marmalade (in Malibu) is decorated in country kitsch, features large breakfasts and is the kind of place where young girls at the table to our left debate the latest tanning treatment and to the right two men discuss who’s hot enough to be cast in their one day film…

For Breakfast: Egg White Frittata for me, Multi-grain pancakes for Mark

On the road again… Toward Ojai and Ventura. Per the recommendation of a friend we veered away from the Pacific Highway towards the smaller towns of Ojai and Ventura. If you, like me, are a fan of ABC’s Sunday night TV, then you may know of Ojai from the Walker Family. When we determined to go that way I became determined to find a place to get the Walker’s favorite snack: a date shake. A conveniently timed bathroom break brought us to Blender’s in the Grass and wouldn’t you know it, they had a date shake. We made our own creation, a banana date shake – and it was to die for and perfect to share on the road.

If you wanted to make a similar creation on your own here is a health-conscious version of this already healthy shake:
* ½ C. skim milk
* 4-6 pitted dates
* 2 C. frozen banana chunks

Our smoothie powered us all the way to what is my favorite spot in California, Santa Barbara.

We have been to Santa Barbara on a previous trip and at that time we really explored the city’s wine culture with multiple stops and taste at wineries. On this trip I feel like we explored and experienced Santa Barbara like locals, and not tourists. We found cute parks when the Ocean meets the real estate, libraries and sweet stores, and art galleries with cafes tucked inside of courtyards.

Next stop, the happiest place on Earth, SLO!

California Dreaming

A few weeks ago Mark and I headed out west to California; the land of movie stars and swimming pools.  We went to escape the allergies of the Mid-Atlantic, to get some sun on our faces and really good food in our bellies.

Travel has a funny way of revitalizing of every sense.  This trip sharpened our sense of smell as we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, delighted our sense of taste as we enjoyed food and drink along our journey, brightened our sense of sight as we stopped to take mental photographs of the idyllic and strengthened our sense of touch during a two-day yoga workshop.

In a week we visited: Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Ojai, Ventura,  Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Carmel/Monterey, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Oakland.

Over the next few posts I’ll share the hotel, food and activity highlights from an amazing vacation!  This trip was truly a California dream come true.