Ever since Descartes' fear of secret conspiracies among the toes led him to posit a strict mind/body divide, it's fallen to aikido and yoga to reunite them. Harmonize your dual nature with today's Groupon: for $20, you get 20 yoga and aikido classes at North Valley Aikikai in Granada Hills (up to a $240 value).
The specialized instructors at North Valley Aikikai teach students of all skill levels the poses and concentration-honing techniques of Vinyasa-style yoga classes or challenging and noncompetitive aikido. The studio’s schedule offers ample opportunities for students to explore one or both modalities throughout the week. Yoga classes help keep desk-job workers, athletes, and aikido foe flippers in optimum physical and mental shape. Vinyasa Flow yoga leads pupils through a series of difficult, but accessible, poses. Students transition from one position to the next with smooth, balance-testing movements that rival the majestic grace of a Mount Rushmore–shaped jello mold. Inside the soothing yoga studio, students’ bodies fill with calm as they soak in the japanese mat floors, natural wood accents, calligraphic artwork, and scattered bamboo carvings of ballerina swans.
Aikido blends martial arts and pacifist philosophy, imparting defensive skills in a noncompetitive, beginner-friendly environment. Instructors teach students both self-defense basics and techniques for redirecting others’ aggressive advances to prevent injury to both parties, not unlike shooting a bear with a honey splat gun. Aikido also promotes a holistic approach to fitness and peaceful conflict resolution for students from ages 5 to adult by concentrating on throws and arresting joint locks.
North Valley Aikikai
Lee Lavi Ramirez, North Valley Aikikai’s chief instructor, sees martial arts as a mode of self-discovery, rather than a stylized battle between competitors. This philosophy shines in her studio’s Iaido class, which centers on sword-drawing as practiced by feudal Japan’s samurai; students practice the art alone with an instructor. The philosophy also prevails during aikido body art classes, which emphasize introspection and observation. Although the practice of aikido is noncompetitive, advanced sessions incorporate weapons such as the wooden knife and plastic spork. North Valley Aikikai further supports the pursuit of focus and grace through yoga classes. Vinyasa sessions knit breath and movement into a fluid discipline.