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Teacher Feature • Interview With Adriana

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Interview With Adriana
from 4/10

How did you get into yoga?

I got a job working at a yoga studio, at the front desk. Before that I had done yoga on and off, though I was mostly in dance. Because I had experience working at a dance studio and for non-profit organizations, I got the job working at the yoga studio even though I didn’t have much experience in yoga.

One of the perks of working there was that I could take yoga classes, and of course I was encouraged to take classes. I was at a point in my life where I really needed the practice, the inward practice. I was really shifting. I was a little bit of a party girl. So I kept doing yoga, and the more I kept practicing the more I was interested in the philosophy behind the practice. There were a lot of books available, so I started reading books and doing more practice and reading and reading.

I was doing that for maybe a year, and then they had a yoga teacher training program at the studio. I told them I wanted to do the course, not necessarily because I wanted to be a teacher, but because I was so interested in the practice. By the end of the training I was asked if I wanted to teach classes, and I did. I was already teaching belly dance classes, so it made sense to do that. But I still never felt like I was ready to teach yoga — I still felt very much like a student myself.

And then one of my teachers, who followed a path called Himalayan Yoga, was going to an ashram in Rishikesh India to do a 40-day silent retreat, and asked me if I wanted to go. So I went to India with her after my teacher training. This was intense, three months of ashram life and the daily practice of yoga.

What do you feel like you got from that experience?

I don’t think you have to go to India, of course, to study yoga, to follow this path, and develop spiritually, but it was really nice to be at the birthplace of yoga and in an eastern part of the world in general. I had been to Thailand, too, and there’s a different quality of being there. Even though there’s so much chaos, there’s more of a sense of peace.

It was nice to be in an environment where you could really focus on your practice. Everyday, we would wake up at 5:00 in the morning and do meditation and yoga practice. And in India, when you say “yoga,” it means the spiritual practice, it doesn’t mean the physical practice. Here when you say “yoga” to someone, they think of the asanas, the postures.

So we would do maybe five to ten poses in a class, but each pose was held a really long time and there was always a relaxation, and the focus was always more meditative and spiritual. That’s the goal, there’s no other goal. The reason why you do practice is to concentrate and to bring yourself into a place where you can sit in meditation for long periods of time, keep this temple healthy and functioning, keep the nadis open and the energy flowing, and that’s it.

Do you feel like that changed your own practice and how you were teaching?

Definitely. Although I already had a sense of that approach even before, from my reading. Before I went to India I read The Autobiography of a Yogi, and I’m really glad I did because it hyped me up to go there, to read about Yogananda’s life, which to me was very inspiring. And when I came back to Toronto, I started going to the Self-Realization Fellowship, the SRF, which Yogananda started when he came to the West. I started reading more of his specific teachings and that was it for me, I knew that I was going to follow his path.

I started looking for an ashram, because SRF didn’t have an ashram. You could go to the headquarters in Los Angeles and become a monk but I didn’t necessarily want to become a monk, but I was looking for a place that was based around Yogananda’s teachings where I could go and immerse myself in them. And I found Ananda, Church of Self-Realization in Northern California, so I went there for three months and studied.

While I was there I took initiation into the Kriya path and was starting to prepare to get Kriya initiation, which I got a year later at Portland Ananda. Kriya is a pranayam technique that’s given to advanced yogis — even though I don’t think of myself as an advanced yogi. But you have to be on the path, you have to be practicing and you have to want to make this part of your life. Pranayam means life-force, and there are certain exercises to control the life force in the spine, so you can dissolve the seeds of karmas and develop spiritually.

How would you describe your yoga classes now?

For me, yoga is a spiritual practice. It’s got great physical benefits to it, and if some people are into doing yoga because they want to feel physically better, that’s great. But I feel like in my class, I want them to leave with that feeling that they’re not just doing a physical practice, that there’s something more to it. That they came to find out that they’re more than just this physical body, and to have more introspection with that.

So I try to bring that into my classes — through how I teach the postures, and that the postures come alive because there’s this life-force moving through your body, and that’s the reason why you’re able to move into these postures. And through the breath, of course, through meditation practices, and through savasana, relaxation techniques.

How did you get into belly dancing?

I was a natural dancer — dancing was something I always loved to do. When I was in my mid-teens I was doing different forms of dance classes, and they were fun but they didn’t capture me. And then I saw this picture of a belly dancer in the Yellow Pages. She was wearing a two-piece costume and it was very exotic-looking, and there was something about the picture that seemed familiar to me and yet new and exciting. I thought, I don’t even know what it is but I want to do it.

So I went to the class that was advertised and I loved it instantly. I did that for maybe about a year, and then I found a flyer for this other teacher and I was ready to leave the first teacher. I went to Yasmina’s class and from the moment I walked in, I felt that whatever I thought I had learned before was nothing compared to her style of teaching and her knowledge.

She was very much a spiritual person — she was a Buddhist, and had been a Wiccan before that. So her reasons for going into belly dancing were very spiritual and very sacred, and her desire was to have belly dancing seen as a true art form. Before that it was seen as more of a cabaret act done in nightclubs. She wanted to elevate the art. She had a ballet background and she had envisioned this whole dance company with really well-trained dancers and choreography and dance productions and live music.

I came in at the beginning of that, when her small troupe was just doing little shows here and there, so I kind of grew up with Arabesque and with Yasmina’s vision. And she did it — she got the well-trained dancers and live music and we did major productions and toured across Canada and did shows in the U.S.

I danced with Arabesque for about ten years, and by the time I was ready to end my career with Arabesque and move here, I was in a place where I was ready to settle down. I had met Karl and we were loosely thinking about having a family and I was ready to move to the West coast and get into more of an inner life. At that point too I had my own artistic endeavors and wanted to explore being an artistic director and choreographing, which I had done for myself but not for an actual troupe setting.

What about pre-natal belly dance?

By the time I left Toronto, I was doing more workshop-type events at wedding showers and baby showers. I would go to someone’s home, someone who was pregnant or who was going to get married, and do a one-hour workshop and perform. And I thought, from knowing the background of belly dancing, How perfect! Traditionally, it was a fertility dance, and women did these movements to prepare for birth, and also as a celebration and dedication to a goddess. It’s a really feminine dance.

I really enjoyed it, so my intention when I came here was to do more of that rather than a regular type of show at a nightclub. And then I got pregnant, and everything changed again really quickly. We ended up moving to Bend, Oregon, so I stopped the little troupe I had started and stopped teaching classes and went to Bend to have my baby.

Then I got really interested in pre-natal belly dancing. When we came back to Portland I had been looking for a place to teach, and I approached Vittoria and I became her apprentice for pre-natal.

What are the benefits of belly dance for pregnant women?

Many of the movements in belly dancing stem from the navel area and they help to open and strengthen the hips. It conditions all the muscles necessary for pregnancy and birth — the pelvic floor, the thighs, the hips, the belly. And there are a lot of movements that help to move through contractions, these undulating movements. There are certain movements they call the birth dance, actually, and a lot of women will naturally do these while they’re in labor and it’s nice to know, before you go into labor, what these movements are and how to use them through the contractions. And then after you have a baby, it’s perfect, because it’s low-impact exercise to help you get back into shape.

And also there’s a creative element to it, and it’s a beautiful way for women to embrace the fact that their belly is growing bigger. Late in my pregnancy I felt awkward or I felt clumsy, I didn’t feel feminine with my huge belly. So belly dancing is a nice way to feel graceful and feel feminine still, even at your largest point.

Pregnant women could go to a regular belly dance class, but I know for myself that pregnant women like to be among the company of other pregnant women. And in my classes I’m very specific with the movements. I have knowledge of certain movements that aren’t suitable for pregnant women, and I target the movements that are very beneficial and that they can do daily, and for any trimester.

Do you bring yoga and belly dance together?

When I started with belly dancing I was a performer and I loved performing and I loved sharing that with people, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when I started doing yoga, doing more of an inward practice, I started bringing that element more into my dance. I started feeling like, these movements are for me and I’m doing them for my own spiritual practice, and also to share with others, but it’s very intimate as well.

So I try to bring that element into it, when I teach belly dance. To feel like, there’s no goal in mind when you’re belly dancing. It should feel good, and if it doesn’t feel good, you shouldn’t do it. If you have this goal in mind that you want to be a famous belly dancer or something, it could happen, and that’s a great goal to have, but enjoy the process, just like in yoga.

The other way around — even though hatha yoga is meant to balance the masculine and feminine principles, to me yoga could still be very masculine in its presentation, very linear. And with doing belly dancing for so long, I tend to bring more fluidity to the practice.

That’s why I like to call my classes “flow” classes — even though they’re not necessarily vinyasa flow classes, there’s still this flow movement I like to bring into the way I teach yoga. And in the way I practice now too, not to be so strict. Especially in the pre-natal yoga, there’s this totally feminine quality to it, the round movements, undulating and flowing.

News from OmBase – March 1st Edition

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
Pink Dogwood

Pink Dogwood

Once of the most beautiful things about Portland
are all the blooming trees at this time of year.
It’s the best announcement that Spring is here!

Please read on for some of the changes
coming up this month,
as well as special offerings.

See you in class!


Mom & Toddler OM Yoga Class!
with Rachel & Lauren

WED 3/10 – 11-11:45 am

Cost: $14 drop-in


Mom & Toddler OM Yoga

Rachel Plies and Lauren Clark will be teaching a special mom and toddler OM Yoga  class on Wednesday, March 10th.

This class is already full but you can email or call us at 503.922.3100 to be put on the waiting list.

As we have more moms (or dads!) signing up we will create another day and time for this popular class!


Rachel Plies & Lauren Clark

Rachel Plies & Lauren Clark

Rachel and Lauren believe that yoga is available to everyone, even kids! They work with kids in all environments, from after school programs or classroom visits to family yoga workshops and hula hooping themed parties! They provide a safe and comfortable environment that is tailored to each age group to make sure the kids have a fun and nurturing experience.

Read more about Rachel and Lauren at BoundlessMotion.


Seasons Change

Seasons Change

Class changes/cancellations/updates

· The TUE 7:30 pm class has been canceled at this time. Stasia will be back next month with another time/day!

· Vittoria is now teaching the THU 6 pm class until the end of March, and maybe longer. It will be our $5 drop in this month, so come and check it out! It’s a Hatha Yoga Mix.

· The Yin Yoga in the mornings will be a SERIES again next quarter. You will be able to sign up for 3 weekly classes, for the first 3 weeks of each month.

· Keep your eyes out for Movie Night! Coming soon on a Saturday night!

· Louise Lorente is taking 6 weeks off and will be back April 13th. Todd and Cass are taking turns subbing her classes!


Egyptian Inspired Bellydance!
with Adriana

FRI 7:15-8:15 pm

Cost: $10-$5 sliding scale



Discover the ancient art of bellydance with Adriana, a light-hearted & thoughtful dance artist and instructor with over 15 years experience. Adriana offers a holistic approach that gives freedom to express your own personal flow of creativity from within.

Bellydance is a great form of exercise for women of all ages, shapes & sizes! You can develop body awareness, grace, balance, strength, & fluidity and embrace your Divine Beauty. It’s a natural complement to a woman’s bone and muscle structure with movements coming mainly from the torso. You will learn how to isolate different parts of the body, moving them independently as well as layering movements in fluid patterns and in quick short accents, weaving together the entire feminine essence, and using the movements as a form of creative expression.



This class will have a strong focus on proper technique and foundation movements, as well as learning choreography. This will eventually allow you the freedom to improvise, and we will explore this in class.

We will also delve into other bellydance styles, fusion and the use of props, such as veils & zylls.

Wear loose comfortable clothing and a hip-scarf.

To read more about Adriana,
see her website at:


Spring Equinox Shamanic Sound Healing
with Dagmar

SUN 3/21 – 6:30-8:30 pm

Cost: $25 by 3/14, $30 after

Dagmar Luenser

Dagmar Luenser

In the way of the shamanic tradition, Dagmar will lead you through a sound journey to help release blocks and discordant energies, restore a sense of wholeness and well-being and connect you with your own inner guidance. Through the sound of her voice, shamanic tools and instruments such as drums, rattles and singing bowls, rituals unfold that awaken your heart’s intelligence and serve as a gateway to transformation and awareness.

Dagmar is a sound and energy healer with a private practice in SW Portland. Trained in shamanic work, sound healing, Spiritual Response Therapy and Reiki, she helps individuals come into balance and connect more deeply to their soul’s path.

Contact Dagmar Luenser


Did you miss Todd’s meditation?
You can hear it here!

Todd Williamson

Todd Williamson

New Show: Free Range Meditation
Weekdays at 8AM
PDX.FM Channel Two
Hosted by Todd Williamson

You can now hear Todd’s meditations, recorded during class.

“When I close my eyes, I see my childhood in Africa; wild animals, blankets of stars, clear waters full of fish, and me, lying in the arms of a tree swaying gently in the breeze. Nature caught me in her grip early, and the feeling was unmistakable. In later years, when I found myself in more urban settings, I was always looking for ways to find that same feeling – the vastness, the embrace, the unmistakable feeling of being a part of it. It was yoga and meditation that took me there. With each 30 minute session that we share, I hope that I can help you find your own sanctuary amidst the rapid movement of life. There are stars, wild animals and tall trees in our own everyday world. It is my goal to help you sway in the breeze.” ~ Todd Williamson

Go to for more.


Need a wedding photographer?
Call Josh!

Joshua Seaman Wedding Photography

Joshua Seaman Wedding Photography

Josh Seaman created our website as well as has taken most of the photos on it. He’s passionate about photography and people. If you are planning on an event, or a wedding, or want to capture any other meaningful time in your life, he’s the man you want to call!

Joshua Seaman photography is at your service for wedding photography, engagement session photos, bridal photos, artistic wedding photography for your Portland or destination wedding.

The photographic memories of your wedding day are eternal, so let Joshua’s eye for artistic wedding photography capture it all as your wedding photographer. Whether for  local Portland wedding, rural Oregon wedding, Seattle wedding, or destination wedding photography, Joshua Seaman is always willing to travel to be there as a dependable wedding photographer. He enjoys everything from the grand wedding, to the intimate  wedding ceremony, he is always happy to help you find a compatible wedding photography package to suit your needs.

See a gallery of wedding photos HERE!


News from OmBase – September 29th Edition

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

sepOctober News

Om Kitty

Om Kitty

Last October at this time we were rushing to finish painting and adding the last minute touches to our OmBase studio! It’s been a whole year!

We’d like to invite you all to our

Om Cake

Om Cake

First Year Anniversary Party

Sunday, October 18th
12-4 pm

We’ll be giving away prizes, have fabulous food (an amazing cake from Baker & Spice), and much more! Feel free to bring something to share . . .

We also have several additions, changes and updates to let you know about, so please read on!


Stress Relief Fun Drive is ON!
Spread the Joy, Make a Difference!

Have you heard about our fun(d) drive? We would love for you to participate! The drawing for the prizes will be at our First Year Anniversary Party Sunday, October 18th from 12-4 pm. It’s a way for you to help OmBase become stronger in its foundation and be able to spread more light all around. At this time we don’t need any more donations, but we’d love to sell more tickets! So all those fabulous people that donated can actually give their gifts to you. Please see our blog page here for more and consider buying a ticket!

You can buy a ticket…help OmBase & win a prize!

The number of tickets sold will match the number of gifts donated- the total number not to exceed 200 sold. Odds for winning a prize are 100% while the odds for a specific prize will depend on the total number of tickets sold, but will be no greater then 1 in 200 (good odds :) )

How to buy a ticket: (4 ways you can do that!)

1. Come into the studio and pay with cash, credit card or check

2. Call us at OmBase with your credit card

3. Send a check to OmBase

4. Use our online store
Cash or check is preferred – as it costs us nothing – Credit card at the studio is preferred over online purchases, but please use what is most convenient for you.


Belly Dancing is coming to OmBase!
Shakti Flow! Egyptian Inspired Bellydance
with Adriana

SAT 10/24 :: 2-4 pm workshop
Saturdays  10/31-12/5 :: 12-1:15 pm class series

Cost: $25 before 10/17, $30 after for workshop
:::::: $66 for 6-week class series to follow



Discover the ancient art of Egyptian inspired bellydance with Adriana, a light-hearted & thoughtful dance artist and instructor with over 15 years experience.

Adriana offers a holistic approach founded in effective technique that gives freedom to express your own personal flow of creativity from within, a kind of moving meditation.

Bellydance is a great form of exercise for women of all ages, shapes & sizes!

Develop body awareness, grace, balance, strength & fluidity and embrace your Divine Beauty.

We will explore classic bellydance movements in a free-form style within a sacred dance circle. Learn proper technique of the foundation movements including isolations, shimmies, figure 8s, hip circles & more.

Express yourself in a safe, non-judgmental environment where you can release tnesion, love your body, free your inhibitions and feel you own sacredness.  No experience required.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and feel free to wear hip-scarves, veils & skirts.

There is a workshop and a beginner belly dancing class series to follow.




Adriana is a compassionate and experienced instructor committed to sharing her knowledge of bellydance & yoga with those who seek not only to improve their body but also to enrich their life.

Her dance and yoga training serve as interchangeable components in her teaching where she continues to share her life pursuit- connecting with others through Body, Mind and Spirit.

Adriana is an accomplished Middle Eastern dancer with an extensive background in creative movement.

She has studied yoga in North America and in India since 1999 and in 2002 became a Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor.

For more info, see our Teachers page or visit Adriana’s website


New Teacher! New Class!
The Alchemy Of Yoga
Stasia Bliss
Monday 9:30-11 am
starting 10/5

Stasia Bliss

Stasia Bliss

Stasia comes to OmBase to teach The Alchemy Of Yoga.

Combining various styles; this class emphasizes finding harmony with the elements in both our bodies and our lives as we play with strong breathing, gentle rhythm, strength in body, vigilance of mind and surrender of spirit.

Join us where tantra & alchemy unite…


Stasia Bliss & Heritage

Stasia Bliss & Heritage

Stasia Bliss started on her journey of awakening in 1997 as a student of meditation. She began teaching yoga in 2003 and has found that adding the element of teaching to her practice brings increasing joy into her person and life.

Stasia’s spiritual odyssey has taken her through many exciting landscapes both within and without, and she draws inspiration for her classes from her romance with gemstones and therapeutic oils, her memories of her time in India and Southeast Asia, her experience with raw & superfoods, her formal study of herbs, alchemy, and kundalini yoga, and from the natural world and her own personal transformation process, which includes authoring a book and raising a child.

Stasia received yoga training at the Bihar Yoga Bharati in Northern India, as well as personal instruction with Masters of the Art like Yogi Raj and Satyananda Saraswati.

She is a certified Kriya yoga instructor, Nutritional Herbologist and Master of G-jo Acupressure. Stasia is also a Reiki practitioner and Life-Path-Initiation Transformation Guide.

She enjoys making raw chocolate, and is co-proprietor of Raw Bliss Transformational foods as well as co-founder of The Human Tribe – “Supporting people in living their life’s passion!”  For more information, go to


Other events and classes in October!

Find more info on our Om page or in the class/events schedule. Some require pre-registration! Sign up early to ensure you have a spot and that the event is happening!

Relaxation 101
with Vittoria & Louise

10 week series
Sundays 5-6 pm

Cost: This class can be taken a series of 5 ($60)
9/20-10/18 and/or 10/25-11/22
or as a drop in :: ($14) or use your class card

Relaxation 101

Relaxation 101

Join Louise and Vittoria for this new venture they are embarking upon!  Class will be shared and both teachers will attend some classes, alternating as teachers, assistants and facilitators. Some classes will be taught by either Louise or Vittoria individually.

Stress management is a key to  wellness that has been proven to prevent a wide range of illnesses and a way to obtain better mental and physical health.

We will practice deep belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and proceed to guided imagery and meditation, as well as use Tibetan bowls and crystal bowls to enhance the experience of relaxation.

No yoga experience necessary.


Yin Yoga + Sound Healing
FRI 10/23 7:15-9:45 pm

Cost: $25 before 10/16, $30 after

Yin Yoga + Sound Healing

Yin Yoga + Sound Healing

A lovely way to come home into your body

and get cozy in the healing vibrations . . .

spend some time in supported poses to let your body unwind.


R & R (Restore & Renew)
with Louise

Fri 12:30-2 pm

Cost: $14 drop in or use your class card

Louise Lorente

Louise Lorente

A restorative yoga class offered weekly now by popular demand!

Students learn how nurturing, physical postures help ease the effects of chronic stress by allowing the body and mind to rest deeply.

We use props such as blankets and bolsters, breath work, guided meditation and a series of 3-4 poses which allow for complete relaxation.

Restorative poses help the body to tap into the body’s innate wisdom, and the body’s capacity to heal itself. Appropriate for anyone at anytime in their life.

Students learn how nurturing, physical postures help ease the effects of chronic stress by allowing the body and mind to rest deeply.


Practice Time
starts 10/22

Cost: small donation to cover heat costs

Jay Fields - free-range

Jay Fields - free-range

A time for you to come and do your own practice at OmBase.

No teacher on staff, just an open room
with others doing their own practice.

Some teachers will be there doing their own….


Save your old calendars!

Megan Hooker

Megan Hooker

Have you seen Megan’s work at OmBase? She creates beautiful cards out of old calendars!

What better way to recycle your calendar? Knowing that somebody, somewhere, is receiving the image you’ve looked at for months….

Please bring your old calendars in at the beginning of the year and we’ll make sure Megan gets them!

Favorites are nature, pets, scenery of any kind.

You can also purchase her cards at OmBase.

Our bags are here!
Pick up at at the studio . . .

Cost: $10-$15 sliding scale

OmBase Bags

OmBase Bags

Last but not least, our fabulous bags are here, and we’d love for you to purchase one!

We kept the price as low as possible so you might even get two!

Spread the word, use the bag(s) for groceries, shopping, and save a paper or plastic bag.

Let others know about OmBase wherever you go!

Thank you!