The Yoga + Coffee Guide to Portland

One of my most favorite pairings in the world is that of yoga + coffee. Caffeine takes on its ultimate effect after that natural buzz of a great yoga class. Portland – the home of Stumptown Roasters – is a city that is definitely known for its coffee culture. With the creation of YogiNation and the gentrification of all neighborhoods into yoga studio pods, Portland is also a haven + hub for the asana practice. One week away from transitioning out of Portland and back into New York City, I am starting to deem it time to finally publish the post that lingered in my mind eleven months ago, when I first moved here and started benefiting from incorporating my favorite pairing into my day to day. So, without further adieu, here is your yoga + coffee guide to this awesome city of roses. Oh, and this list is actually totally geographically based (a rarity for this directionally-challenged blogger), ranging from Southeast to Northwest Portland.

Yoga Union + Good Coffee

image via yelp

Yoga Union

  • Location: 50th + Lincoln
  • Vibe: Hard-Core (The fact that they have Paleo snacks upfront was of no surprise to me when I did my first new student special there last August.)
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chris Calarco + Annie Adamson
  • Asana Style: strength-building + muscle definition
  • Intention: Advancing the practice.

Good Coffee

  • Location: 48th + Division
  • Vibe: Uber Friendly + Young (A barista helps me carry a separate mini carafe of almond milk to my table.)
  • Style: Berlin-esque (The furniture is very un-American; think sloping leather chairs and geometric tables.)
  • Brew: extra strong
  • Intention: Kill ’em Keep them coming back with kindness.

People’s Yoga + Common Grounds

image via citysearch

People’s Yoga

  • Location: 44th + Belmont
  • Vibe: Dedicated + Full
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Jessica Garay + Audra Carmine
  • Asana Style: vinyasa with heart
  • Intention: Feel a sense of complete spiritual flow + fullness while practicing in a room filled to the brim with like-minded people.

Common Grounds

  • Location: 43rd + Hawthorne
  • Vibe: 80s Anonymous Hippie
  • Style: Living Room Cozy / Eclectic
  • Brew: cheap, but decent
  • Intention: Coffee and print media for the masses!

unfold + St. Honore

unfold

  • Location: 33rd + Division
  • Vibe: Slow + Steady
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Leigh Drake + Tony Roberts
  • Asana Style: yoga therapy
  • Intention: Unconditionally welcoming.

St. Honore

  • Location: 33rd + Division
  • Vibe: French Patisserie
  • Style: High-Quality European
  • Brew: strong (to be tempered with a delicate pastry)
  • Intention: Provide a large space for people to do with what they wish, be it mingle with one another, take their kids when they wake up too early on Saturday, have work meetings / first dates, or get work done.

Grinning Yogi + Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters

image via portlandfresh.com

The Grinning Yogi

  • Location: 30th + Division
  • Vibe: Fierce + Kickasana
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chase Connolly + Tori Greising
  • Asana Style: lotus flow
  • Intention: Provide a dance-like flow that allows students to lose themselves in movement + the themes it’s paired with.

Dapper & Wise

  • Location: 31st + Division
  • Vibe: Up-and-Coming Relaxed Freelancer
  • Style: get sh*t done + relax while doing it
  • Brew: strong + chocolatey
  • Intention: Provide high-quality straight-up coffee in this roasting company’s first cafe, in a neighborhood that lacks straight-up artisanal coffee.

Bhaktishop + Little T Bakers

image via chocolate hippos

Bhaktishop

  • Location: 26th + Division
  • Vibe: Ooey Gooey Devotional
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Lisa Mae Osborn + Monicka Koneski
  • Asana Style: lunar vinyasa
  • Intention: From their website – a “celebration of the gifts of this deep, dynamic and divine tradition that is yoga to a wider community through integrated, intelligent practices, grounded and authentic spiritual study, therapeutic principles and in general, a deeper way to go about living life.

Little T Bakers

  • Location: 26th + Division
  • Vibe: Yummy
  • Style: educated + filling
  • Brew: medium roast
  • Intention: Eat delicious food on your way to work in the morning!

Art of Movement + Ford Food + Drink

logo

Art of Movement

  • Location: 12th + Division
  • Vibe: Weird
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Nick Mattos
  • Asana Style: grungey Ashtanga with a twist
  • Intention: Provide something for every counter-culture yogi.

Ford Food + Drink

  • Location: 12th + Division
  • Vibe: Spacious Freelancers
  • Style: passing time + working grind
  • Brew: medium roast
  • Intention: Get stuff done in good + anonymous company.

Yoga Bhoga + Water Avenue Coffee

Yoga Bhoga

  • Location: Water Avenue
  • Vibe: Holistic
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Emily Light + Kris Olson
  • Asana Style: vinyasa meets physical therapy
  • Intention: Care for body + soul with intention and attention to anatomy.

Water Avenue Coffee

  • Location: Water Ave (same building as YogaBhoga)
  • Vibe: Quick Coffee
  • Style: read a good book
  • Brew: Water Avenue Coffee Roasters
  • Intention: Pass the time in a place that smells deliciously of coffee.

Yoga Pearl + Prasad

Yoga Pearl

  • Location: 9th + NW Davis
  • Vibe: Fancy
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chris Calarco + Sarah Lakey
  • Asana Style: power vinyasa
  • Intention: Get a holistic yoga experience with an intense amount of ambition on top!

Prasad

  • Location: inside Yoga Pearl
  • Vibe: up-scale hippie
  • Style: holistic yoga food + drink
  • Brew: unsure (they’re more known for their tea + smoothies, which I can attest to as being ah-mazing)
  • Intention: Do your own thang while having a bowl of sheer deliciousness or cookies made of agave + nut butters that will fuel your yoga practice.

YoYoYogi + Barista

image via endlesslyenraptured.com

 YoYoYogi

  • Location: 13th + NW Hoyt
  • Vibe: Sheer Awesomeness
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Alex + Kristi Cole (yes, they’re a father-daughter pair)
  • Asana Style: joyful flowing cathartic vinyasa flow (yes, I am being redundant on purpose – it’s just that good!)
  • Intention: Move so fast and with such flow that you forget what you’re feeling when you walk in the door and walk out with those feelings processed + feeling good!

Barista

  • Location: Same building as YoYoYogi (the smell of coffee wafts into those classes)
  • Vibe: a bar for coffee
  • Style: chill + efficient
  • Brew: strong
  • Intention: Get your work done or meet up with someone in their outdoor seating; equal measure take-to-go and stay and enjoy.

On Blogging, Portland + Vulnerability

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This morning, I did something that reminded me of why I moved to Portland in the first place. I went to a positively chic and adorable blogger meet up brunch at a publishing headquarters in an industrial district of the city that was only 20 minutes away from my house. At ten past ten, I walked in with my DIY “business cards” (i.e. strips of paper where I wrote the URL to this blog), tinted Burt’s Bees on my lips, wide-rimmed glasses and WordPress pulled up on my iPhone. A fabulous food platter was out with New York bagels (oh, how worlds collide) and Black Rock coffee.

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I filled up my plate, chatted with these fabulous bloggers and got down to the highly enjoyable business of speed networking (i.e. speed dating, but – I assume – way less awkward because there are set questions to help everyone identify and fine-tune their passions). I learned so much from this event in much more of a qualitative way than – and this was what I had initially expected to get out of it – a quantitative way. We didn’t discuss the information you could find online on how to boost numbers or ratings or followers. No, we discussed the heart of why we do what we do and what about what we do makes others’ hearts tick.

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Here are five lessons I learned and realizations I had while in good company:

1. Vulnerability, which was the dharma talk theme of the yoga class I took yesterday, is what makes our messages powerful. One of the networking questions we were asked to answer was on which posts surprised us by being so successful. One woman shared that she didn’t expect her most successful blog post to be about depression yet it was. Another shared on writing about her struggles to find time. My answer was about all those blog posts about me and my broken leg. Vulnerability…it’s the connective tissue between all us humans.

2. Focus your time on where you get the most traffic. This little tip will, I believe, prove to be a large time-saver in the long run.

3. Networking – meeting people in person – is where the online work is done. It is all about that personal connection.

4. Instagram, baby.

5. The beautiful thing about blogging is that it encourages self-expression in an informal yet inspirational way.

This post was written at The Dragonfly Coffee House, an utterly blissful new find in NW Portland that has poems by Rumi on the wall, energy bars made with almond butter and no-sugar goodness and classical music playing in the background.

Yoga Class Practice

At the beginning of the month, I posted about how I am doing at the Living Yoga Yogathon. It recently struck me that my goal, which I am documenting daily on Insta, might seem a bit strange. Why not just do yoga every day for the month of April, you might ask. Why a class every single day and why does it not matter if I’m teaching it or taking it?

My answer is both simple and complicated.

Yoga classes were my gateway into the practice. They were how I first got to know the poses and they were when I was first told to breathe deep. In more ways than one this year has been like learning to walk again. We were lucky when we were little and walking for the first time. We did not know what it was like to walk once and we do not know the pain of not being able to do what we were so used to doing. From leaving the complicated and frenetic nest of New York to breaking my leg and quite literally not being able to walk, I know the pain that makes for great breakthroughs and the necessity to return to the beginner’s mind.

Here are some of the many reasons why I made yoga classes in particular my goal for this month:

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1. Listening. I will never forget one afternoon class I took with Ali Cramer, a dear teacher of mine, where she shared a dharma talk on the power of just surrendering to listening. At the ends of long days, we are all exhausted and sometimes, we need to just have someone else tell us what the f*ck to do. A yoga class, versus a home practice, can provide us with that kind of decision-making surrender. When this month feels like a series of long days (in a good way!), yoga classes become just what I need to have someone else make the decisions for me when I spend my whole day making them at work.

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2. Well-Rounded. There is a lot of power in a complete practice. Complete practices, for me, move through all seven chakras, include a robust playlist that matches the mood of the class and provide the surrender of savasana. I have yet to see a class that is not a complete practice because classes set sacred boundaries around the practice in ways that only very premeditated and prepared home practices do.

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3. Any and Everywhere. I want to prove this month that you don’t need a spare two hours to take a yoga class. You don’t even need to go to a yoga studio. There are a plethora of resources online and in podcast form that can help us take our practices to the class level. Yoga is accessible and it’s basically my life-long mission to prove that in whatever ways I can.

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4. Newness. Taking a yoga class a day has enabled me to return to the yoga studio life of Portland, which is, to say the least, positively fantastic. So far in this yoga challenge, I’ve taken classes at Yoga Union, Unfold and The Grinning Yogi. What I am about to say blows my mind: they are all in walking distance of my house. Coming out of college where I basically started an organization to provide walking distance yoga to students, this is such a huge relief for me. It aids in feeling like Portland is and can be hOMe.

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5. Because I Can! Every time I do a warrior pose or an arm balance, I feel like I could cry out of gratitude. I had a gigantic injury this year and while returning to the practice isn’t easy, it is a tremendous relief. Sometimes, I stand in tadasana while others are doing standing balances in the class. I am not used to child’s pose – what used to be my resting pose – being painful, which it still is (oh, hay, flexion). But it feels like a gift to be able to show up, to have working legs that can take me to a class, to be able to see my imbalances on the mat and work on balancing them…through yoga. I am hyper-aware that yoga is not all about the asana and my feeling of can-do is only metaphorically expressed through my asana practice. More than anything, crazy arm balance or not, it’s about coming hOMe to my body, in all its trauma, ups and downs and abilities.

written from my breathtakingly gorgeous porch this sunday morning  – sunshine, trees and all!

Dating Yoga Studios

written from the albina press café on 50th & hawthorne

As a person, I don’t really date…I tend to just fall into relationships with best friends. Me and the dude get to know each other really REALLY well, have a ton of friends in common and then add other stuff into the mix and poof: love.

Well, nothing is ever just “poof,” is it?

But remember this is all ONLY an analogy (does it have basis in reality? depends on how well you know me). 😉

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Since the fetal years, I’ve been in a relationship with the 92nd St Y, the community center my mom is a director at. This was also the first place I found and fell in love with you. At the Teen Ashtanga class when I was a junior in high school (preparing my first romantic relationship) and then at Sandi Boerum’s Sunday evening flows. The relationship got serious and changed conditions until I was ready to soar, full-fledged, into the next one: Pure Yoga. Pure and I never dated. Going to five-plus classes a week from the start, we straight-up COMMITTED. Then came Three Sisters. Then my highly uncomfortable noncommittal fling with the yoga passbook (the first time I yoga-dated) and then Laughing Lotus (again, a VERY close and intimate relationship).

Welp, New York and I are on a break. Seeing as I’m unsure of when or if we’ll get back together, I have started dating yoga studios here in Portland. Since arriving here, I have been to four different yoga studios (more detailed post with reviews on those to come) on a casual basis. “New Student Specials,” it turns out, are the first dates of the yoga world. I take a few classes, see what I like and don’t like, and then move on to the next one. There isn’t one that I’m fully ready to commit to quite yet, but I am testing the waters, keeping an open mind and learning so much about myself and what I value in my own practice in the process. In a way, it is like I am learning what dating is all about: dating oneself, understanding what I value and the compromises I am and am not willing to make.

image from my "first date" with the bhaktishop in pdx

image from my “first date” with the bhaktishop in pdx

And at the same time, I find security in the knowledge that one day, I will find true love in a yoga studio that I can call hOMe.

What to Pack: 10 Suggestions for Yogic Travel

As you can probably already tell, I have done a lot of traveling this summer (and there’s more to come – it’s only July!). I am preparing to stay put for a whole year (something entirely new!) when I settle in Portland, OR to do AmeriCorps (though I might travel to LA to finish up my Laughing Lotus trainings…I can’t help myself!). Anyways,

In June, I traveled to:

Chicago

Rome

Florence

Venice

Nantucket

In July and August, I will go to:

Brunswick, Maine

Washington, D.C.

San Francisco

Portland, Oregon


Some of these trips (D.C., SF, and PDX) are what I am privileged to refer to as professional trips, or yogi travel – I am going to D.C. to chill with my WesBAM! co-founder and finally meet in person a writer and yoga teacher I have been following virtually for years. SF is for this Laughing Lotus teacher training I couldn’t be looking forward to more (!!!). And Portland, well, there’s are many a yoga reason why I chose that city in particular to live for a year (cue Portlandia theme song).

But I digress. This summer and throughout the past five years, to be honest, I have learned a lot about what it means to prepare for travel and to pack a bag with the specific purpose of having a calm, cool, collected and yogic travel experience.

via Lululemon.com

via Lululemon.com

1. BackpackI call this Lululemon backpack, which I’ve been using relentlessly for years my “stupid bag” because the labels on the interiors of the pockets actually assume that I am an idiot. There are labels and pockets for: my yoga mat, keys, wallet, passport, wet/dry clothes from hot yoga (literally; this part is mesh), pens, iPad, laptop, and three spaces in total so it’s like 3+ carriers in one. It’s a bag and a detailed packing list all in one!

via ThisNext.com

via ThisNext.com

2. SuitcaseThis carry-on Athleta colorful bag also has a yoga mat holder, extra pockets, and a toiletry case inside. It’s super cute and durable and perfect for packing all clothing in (all non-clothing items then go in the Lulu backpack).

via Switched.com

via Switched.com

3. iPhone w/ AppsMantraMinder, MindBody, Kindle for iPhone, Ashtanga Yoga Journal (a checklist for your daily practice), and Moon Free are all great apps to have on hand for serene traveling.

via KimberlyWilson.com

via KimberlyWilson.com

4. PodcastsNothing says torture like waiting on a huge line at customs, baggage claim, or security. Also, flight delays. It’s times like those, which require some kind of external mental stimulation. Podcasts can do the trick and my favorite are Tranquility du Jour podcasts. During them, Kimberly Wilson, yoga teacher and writer from D.C. who I’m workshopping with, interviews yoga teachers and yoga experts from around the world.

bitch_41_web1 url Bust

5. MagazinesThey’re what airports are famous for, but I prefer to buy mine ahead of time at Whole Foods because airports don’t tend to carry yoga magazines beside Yoga Journal. My favorites are BUST, Bitch, and Mantra Mag.

6. Yoga OutfitPack your favorite yoga outfit (the Sweaty Betty above is a brand from the UK that opened up a store in SoHo. Though the photos might not show it, I swear that their clothes are AMAZING for yoga ladies with hips and an ass; there, complete outfits are not at all hard to find!). One that you won’t mind wearing, getting dirty, and then wearing again (if you have sweat-absorbing items, pack those!).

7. Lightweight Yoga MatI could not recommend the Manduka EkoLite more; I’ve been using it for a daily practice for years now.

8. AccessoriesPack that headband, hair ties, Satya jewelery

image via notebookstories.com

9. JournalA necessity. My favorite are the regular-sized Moleskines with graph paper because they’re good for sketching on the go as well. Also, the best time to journal tends to be immediately after a yoga class when all those Shakti Second Chakra juices are already flowing.

10. Travel-Sized ToiletriesLike a journal, these are a necessity and include travel-sized versions of your fave hair products and deodorant. No further explanation needed.