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Savoring Spring, Bruin-Style

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By Bekah Wright, Photos by Dave Lauridsen

Published Apr 1, 2012 8:00 AM


In Los Angeles, the arrival of spring may not be the epic climatic event it is in, say, Caribou, Maine, but Southern Californians certainly share their cold-weather cousins' love of the season. And really, what's not to love? Spring is, after all, the season of awakening (and fertility, but that's another story). Here's a handy guide to cool things to do in Southern California now that spring has sprung. What's even better—there's a UCLA connection to every one of them.

L.A. Yoga: Bend and Breathe Easy

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Lauren Eckstrom '06 in Malibu near Malibu Creek State Park.

For some people, the world is their stage. For former actor Lauren Eckstrom '06, it's a yoga mat. It all started the spring semester of her freshman year at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. "The TFT program is pretty physical with its movement and dance classes," she says. "I knew the breath work and physical connection of yoga would help me, so, being a starving student, I looked into donation-based classes at a yoga studio in Santa Monica."

For years, Eckstrom had what she terms a love-hate relationship with yoga. Eventually, though, the philosophy and practice clicked for her. Hooked, she became a yoga teacher.

Recently, Eckstrom made the decision to step away from acting and embrace yoga full time. Ironically, her career shift coincided with a 2011 gig in a Bulgarian film studio, where she performed in and co-produced The Ultimate Yogi, a 108-day, 12-disc DVD series with famed yoga teacher Travis Eliot.

And of course, spring is an ideal time to take advantage of yoga's aspects of renewal. Catch a class with Eckstrom at Santa Monica's ESP Wellness Center. Or a Travis Eliot workshop at Udaya Retreat Sanctuary in Malibu during the first week of April.

Lauren Eckstrom's class schedule can be found at www.laureneckstrom.com

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