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Yoga on par 

Over an old, weathered bridge sits a studio enveloped by rich, green trees. A small stream trickles by, parting the sounds of a busy town from the quiet of nature. Tony Criscuolo has lived here for eight months and acknowledges that it's the perfect place for a yoga studio.

Criscuolo, a former clinical psychologist, has been teaching yoga for 30 years.

"As I studied for my Ph.D. it was all about the mind and emotions, but having been an athlete, I wondered why there was not something for the body as well," Criscuolo said. "I knew that if I was stressed, sad, or angry I could just exercise and I would feel better."

Criscuolo has started some interesting programs that combine the practice of yoga with athletics.

"I teach athletes how to be well-tuned, flexible, aligned, and balanced. And through breathing in a deep and controlled way, they're able to focus on the here and now without being distracted by the mind's internal dialogue."

Before settling in SLO, Criscuolo worked in the world of professional tour golf. Now he's started a program with the Avila Beach Golf Resort that offers classes that combine golf with yoga. It sounded bizarre to me too, but Criscuolo makes an interesting point.

"Golf and yoga are similar. The skills get more subtle as you get better, and both practices are in a constant state of refining." Also, while you only spend about three to four minutes swinging the golf club, you have two to three hours of game on 18 holes. This leaves plenty of time for the mind to wander, and yoga helps to eliminate these distractions.

Criscuolo has also worked with college students all over the country teaching mental readiness and yoga stretches.

"When I taught at the University of Florida, three teams won national titles," said Criscuolo. Now Criscuolo has contracts with several teams at Cal Poly: women's basketball, soccer, golf, and football.

It's not only athletes that benefit from Criscuolo's yoga; he's also the director of the Healing Arts Institute at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and teaches five days a week in the "yoga dome," a space that reverberates peace and calm.

For private and small group consultations in his SLO studio, or for any other info, call 542-0137.



Vieni Vai in downtown San Luis Obispo is undergoing minor construction. Ten-year owner Joseph Silvestri is extending his restaurant by about five feet and adding sliding doors that open, giving the trattoria a more authentic feel. Along with the new look, Silvestri will add a big-screen TV to his full bar. The restaurant is open regular business hours through the construction, but plans to be completed in mid-August. In the future, Silvestri wants to add awnings that will cover the back patio, heating to keep patrons warm, and relaxed lighting to set a romantic mood. Call Vieni Vai at 544-5282 for more info. ...

... Tim Rich, local San Luis Obispo resident, has started a new and unique way for anyone to get their hands on vintage surfboards and supplies. LastWave Originals, a web site and online store, features a collection of logo wear bearing the names of memorable surfboard builders from the '50s, '60s, and early '70s. The site also provides interesting historical information, photos of vintage surfboards, and more. "We want to give something back to surfing by including information and products tied to those early days," said Rich. Check out for more info. ...

... Jim Haack, investment representative for international investment firm Edward Jones, will host a free one-hour satellite broadcast titled "Paying for College" at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 at 1335 Broad St. The broadcast discusses the benefits of a 529 plan, the different types of financial aid available, and strategies to combine public and private financing. To reserve a seat for the broadcast, or for more info, call Jim Haack at 805-543-1733.


New Times intern Jesse Over compiled this week's Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at

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