Thursday, January 10, 2013

Portland: Go west, near east

It's no secret that one of the many great things about Mysore-Style Ashtanga Yoga is the global tribe of Ashtanga practitioners. Visit nearly any place in the world and you can likely scare up at least a couple Ashtangis with whom to share practice. I've found practice groups everywhere from living rooms in Santa Cruz found by word-of-mouth to the most bustling urban capitals. Portland is no different, with at least two established Mysore groups. When I visit Portland, I call up a local I met in India in 2008 to set me in the right direction. This go Karen graciously shepherded me to Near East Yoga, a Northeast Portland studio led by Casey Palmer, which has been going strong for a good number of years. On-point instruction, good vibe, friendly community...what else does an Ashtangi need?
Well... food. We found post practice eats at Bijou Cafe which knows how to make a kick-ass, authentically French omelet. Plus they'll serve with a salad.  Très bon. (Yogis know better than to enter the Voodoo Donuts outpost up the street from Bijou, but I can't tell you how many Portland residents told me about Voodo so I'd be remiss not to mention it. Voodoo is renowned both for wacky flavor combinations as well as anatomically correct donuts. The actual Voodo donut features a pretzel stick stake through it's doughy heart.) Back to Bijou, the cafe not only serves great food but hosts a weekly Supper Jazz series on Friday's. Next time...Visiting on the front end of a week, we missed a whole slew of Portland's musical scene (other than the visiting guitar in the hotel room). Fortunately, Jimmy Mak's Jazz Club, in the Pearl District, hosts an interesting program of resident and touring artists nearly every night of the week. We enjoyed an early show by a young Portland ensemble on Tuesday in its cozy dinner club listening room. Yes, life is good in Portland.

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