Yoga instructor Betsy Laban is a fixture in Monrovia’s yoga community, but she and her dog Bodhi are also famous for promoting local dog friendly restaurants.
Laban recently created the website DogsDineOut.com, which features restaurant reviews and places to travel with your pet in California.
Bodhi, a large curly-haired golden doodle (cross between a golden retriever and poodle), is the star of the site. Hoping to get the word out on local restaurants that allow dogs, Laban consulted Nita Millstein, the owner of the , as she was making the Dogs Dine Out website.
“We spent hours together. As a restaurant owner and dog lover she gave me incredible tips,” Laban said.
Laban also said that other local establishments, such as , , and , were very helpful. After they visit a restaurant, Laban often sends a thank you note from Bodhi and a sticker that indicates the restaurant is dog-friendly.
In addition to visiting local restaurants, Laban said that she and her husband enjoy taking Bodhi to parks, as well as riding on his Harley and traveling to interesting places in the mountains and by the ocean.
“Nature is the root of everything for me. It helps take you back to what’s important,” she said.
Laban became dedicated to the practice of yoga when she started taking classes at eight years ago. At the time, she was a full-time caregiver for her father-in-law, and she thought the classes would help her handle some of the stress.
“Meditation helped me figure out what I needed to do and how to handle the stresses of everyday life,” she said.
She also began studying with Rupa Subramanyam, who trained Laban as a yoga instructor.
“I was by her side for two years. It’s the true tradition of student to guru training,” Laban said.
Laban taught classes while she was training, and eventually, she inherited one of Subramanyam’s classes.
“For six weeks I had one class. Within two months I was teaching twelve,” Laban said. “It’s one of those things where the opportunity made itself available to me and I threw myself into it big time."
Laban maintains her own yoga website, www.betsyyoga.com. She is Yoga Alliance certified and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has taught yoga at Foothill Gym, , a yoga cooperative in Monrovia, and the Duarte Senior Center. She also teaches training courses at Shanti Acu Yoga, and she just started teaching classes for cancer patients at .
“I really love making people feel better. I come to everything I do with a bizarre sense of humor. I think at least once during the class we should laugh,” Laban said. “This is a really yoga friendly community."