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Yoga Classes

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2011 Reviews


Rigorous Vinyasa Yoga in Berkeley or N. Oakland?

Feb 2011

I am looking for a really strenuous vinyasa yoga class in the Berkeley/North Oakland area. I used to live in SF, and I took classes from Stephanie Snyder and Les Leventhal at Yoga Tree - is there anything akin to their style here? Usually a warm room, music pumping, and a very difficult workout. I want to be drenched in sweat by the end of class (but I'm not looking for Bikram). Thanks! Michelle


Oh you will want to go to Laura Camp at Flying Yoga Shala on Telegraph. Suzanne
You want Laura Camp at Flying Yoga Shala in Temescal: http://www.flyingyogashala.com/ She also teaches one class a week at her former studio Monkey Yoga: http://www.monkeyyoga.com/

Laura's class is a very loosely based ashtanga flow with a heated room (mid 80s) and pumping music. I've been going to her almost two years and I leave every class feeling pushed to my edge. It's definitely for adrenaline junkies, which is not everyone's idea of yoga, but whatever this workout is, it will kick your butt and give you results. Think doing one-legged squats while in warrior three and then immediately moving to another very challenging pose in her series. Laura herself is very warm, open and kind, you will be surprised how hard someone so gentle can make you work, but I think that's part of the genius.

Pradeep Teotia also at Flying Yoga offers a heated flow class that will make you sweat profusely.

I also recommend Tim Thompson at Monkey Yoga, though he does not do pumping music. His series is ashtanga-based, but more challenging than a traditional first series ashtanga class, and poses are held much longer than five breaths. It's a bit boot-camp in attitude, so you have to want to be pushed. If that's you, Tim is an absolute gem of an instructor. Laura & Tim devotee


You might like Yoga to the People, on Shattuck, near the downtown Berkeley BART station.
Laura Camp at Flying Yoga Shala at 4308 Telegraph in the Temescal. Come to think of it, the Thursday evening guy's class is quite a workout, too. There are also Zumba classes that look really fun and sweaty. Check it out! Flying Yoga student
I've practiced vinyasa yoga for 9 years, and used to take Rusty Wells' classes. I've also done quite a bit of studio hopping, until I settled on instructors and studios that I liked. I loved Thomas Murphy's classes at Yoga Mandala on Telegraph in Berkeley, but he is currently on sabbatical. In the meantime, Pradeep Teotia, who has trained with and assists Rusty, is subbing for Thomas. Pradeep teaches at Flying Yoga, also on Telegraph, in the Oakland Temescal neighborhood as well. I also love Laura Camp's classes at Flying Yoga and Monkey Yoga (on Lakeshore). My favorite instructor, though, is David Moreno (Yoga Mandala). His classes aren't always super sweaty, but I've definitely learned the most from him. good luck! Fellow Yogi
you should definitely check out Groove Yoga in Berkeley www.grooveyoga.com. Kevin & Jenn Collins are the owners, and both extraordinary teachers. And they have such incredible teachers to boot. From your request, I am pretty certain that you will find the physical and mental challenge (and bucket of sweat!) that you are looking for. Try Kevin's heated classes to start! power yogini

Looking for a challenging yoga class

Feb 2011

Hi BPNers, I am a fit woman in my 30's looking for an advanced yoga class taught by a knowledgeable yoga instructor in Berkeley. I have been practicing for 15 years, am very limber and am looking for ''physical'' yoga rather than meditation. I get bored with sun salutations, I am looking for postures that require core strength. Any recommendations? Namaste. Eager to learn


Vicki Hurd, on the Piedmont/Oakland border, at the top of Harrison near Bayo Vista. You can get her phone number from the phone books under Peter or Vicki Hurd. She is a great teacher, but experienced with rates on the higher side. If you go to Beach Elem., she has many students from that school. anon
Challenging yoga? Try Melanie Green's Astanga classes at the Berkeley Yoga Center. Jonothon Gross, who also teachers there, also has Vinyasa classes that are challenging. They have different styles and personalities so you might like to try both and see which fit your needs. The studio is pleasant, near University and Sacramento on a smaller street. Berkeley Yogi
Try Core Yoga on University and Sixth St. They are offering the first week of classes free. I went on Friday and am still sore. I generally can't stand Yoga (too slow for me), but the beginer class I took was fast enough paced and I'm still sore everywhere. It is new and kind of upscale, but nice.
''Namaste'' yoga studio in Rockridge is probably just what you are looking for. Many of their classes are rigorous/challenging -- particulalry with regard to core work. Classes with Michelle Cordero have been especially helpful to me -- I've been a student of hers for more than 6 years. I also think you may enjoy working with Ava Roy and/or Naushon Kabat-Zinn. Check out the website = http://namasteoakland.com Antoinette
Hi I saw that you are looking for a challenging yoga class and wanted to tell you about Jessie Holland at the Oakland Yoga studio. Jessie is an amazing teacher in Iyengar yoga. She is a certified instructor. Her classes are always challenging and at the same time ever changing. She really knows the physiology of the body and focuses on proper alignment. Check out her website at jessiehollandyoga.com. Devoted student
Allan Nett is a fantastic yoga teacher at Piedmont Yoga Studio on Piedmont Ave. He is the only certified Iyengar Yoga teacher at this studio, and he is one of few actual Iyengar certificated teachers in the area (he holds an advanced certification). His classes are intense because he not only pushes you to your absolute potential (if you're willing to go there), but he provides great insight into the body's alignment through the postures, and he is always introducing new, interesting postures into the practice. He teaches on Tuesday nights from 5:45-7:17 and on Sunday afternoons from 2:00-4:00. His classes are a little more expensive but you get what you pay for. Check out the PYS website for more info on Allan and fees. Good luck and hope to see you in class! Julie
I look forward to seeing your responses because I am in a similar position...

You asked for a class, but I can recommend a video. I have been doing this video from home regularly for a while. It still tires me out and I can't do the ab strength pose at the very end. It is Elise Gulan's ''Yoga Fitness Plus''. It used to be free on www.Exercisetv.tv, but now you have to pay for it (less than the cost of a single yoga class). Her ''Straight to the Core'' workout is also a yoga-based 8-minute core routine that I like to add on to the end of the longer video. I find it basically impossible to do it like she does.

I've never come across another yoga workout that tires me out like this one. I wish I could find a similar class! Always looking for a challenge


Ojas Yoga Center is wonderful new Hatha yoga studio run by Nicole Becker, which recently opened in the El Cerrito Plaza, on the second story above the Trader Joes and GNC stores. I have taken classes from five different teachers and each class has a slightly different approach and all have been incredible! The teachers have diverse backgrounds and most have studied several different types of yoga. What I love about this studio is that every class is different, even when taking from the same teacher, so I never know what to expect, thus keeping me present and never bored. Hatha yoga incorporates a wide range of practice and while some classes may be more physically challenging than others, there is no holding of positions for what seems an eternity. The teachers seem to gage the students and always offer different levels of a pose so one can take care of an injury or push to the next level. An added plus is that parking is plentiful and free! Check out their website. Phone # is 525-1369 Melissa
I have found Elliot Silver to be an extremely challenging yoga instructor for these reasons: 1. if you are advanced( and it sounds like you are), he really makes you work hard on the poses and your alignment in your spine. 2. He deconstructs what super market yoga is today and teaches you to really value the real lessons it is meant to teach us! 3. He is old school . You leave with a real sense of your body AND your mind! highly recommended( in addition to group classes, he does private!) www.ElliotSilver.com 1-415-331-2121 yoga lover
I highly recommend Tahil Gesyuk at 415-606-9268, he is an amazing innovative Yoga teacher. He has been teaching Yoga for over 20 years and is a wealth of knowledge. He teaches a synthesis of many different styles of yoga. It's a blend of Hatha, Energy, Vinyasana, and Therapeutic Yoga. One of his strengths is tailoring each class to the student's needs and ability level. I leave the classes feeling challenged and with a greater sense of vitality and freedom in my body. Tahil teaches both private yoga (In your home, or in his center in Oakland) and a donation based class in a private home in Piedmont. Tahil's email is gesyuk@yahoo.com. Viviana

2010 Reviews


Looking for New Yoga Teacher/Class

April 2010

I'm looking to start doing yoga again but feeling a little overwhelmed by the vast selection of teachers, styles and studios in the East Bay. I really need something that is a good balance of spiritual and active since I've got little kids and have to make the most of my yoga time. Can anyone recomend a teacher or class in Berkeley, Oakland that might be a good fit? Liz


I highly recommend any class that Cybele Tomlinson teaches at Berkeley Yoga Center. Cybele is an amazing teacher. She is very experienced, precise, and attentive. My focus is always on meditation and she really emphasizes that while also helping me find new places to go physically. The studio is great and the classes aren't oversized.

I also really like Gretchen Wobrock's Kripalu class (cotaught w/ Kathleen King) at Berkeley Yoga.

I've tried a lot of local classes and Cybele is the best teacher I have found. Debra


I am a mom of 2 young kids and cherish the small amount of time I get to do yoga! I recommend the Kripalu class at Berkeley Yoga Center. Kathleen King has been my teacher for over 2 years and she is a great mix of athletic and spiritual, as you said. She can meet you where you are and take you forward quickly. Kripalu isn't taught much in the Bay area - it is much more common on the east coast - but it is often referred to as 'Meditation in Motion.' Kathleen's class is Tuesdays from 4 to 5:15. If you can't make her class, here are the other classes at Berkeley Yoga Center: http://www.berkeleyyoga.com/schedule.html yoga mama
I have an AMAZING yoga teacher, Jessie Holland. I met her at the Berkeley 'Y', but also go to her classes at private studios. She is a certified Iyangar teacher, very sensitive to the students needs, and extremely detailed in helping people do the yoga postures in the proper way so you don't hurt yourself and so you advance more speedily. She has a great balance of physical and spiritual, is very wise, and usually playful at the same time. Her great following is well-deserved. You can find her schedule on her web site at 'jessieholland.com.' Jessie is also very skilled at addressing students at different levels within one class. Check her out! You won't regret it! Very satisfied student!
Deborah's classes @ Inside Outside Fitness on upper Piedmont Ave. are just what you're looking for. Bill
Hi Liz, You are going to get a lot of responses since the East Bay is the land of more yoga studios per capita than anywhere else. I can see why you might feel overwhelmed!

I recommend trying Anusara yoga, which you can find at YogaKula in Berkeley (lots of community classes, which are more affordable), Namaste in Rockridge, and 7th Heaven. Anusara teachers tend to be the most highly trained (IMHO) and deliver the spiritual/physical mix in a consistent and, most importantly, not hokey, way.

Full disclosure, I am an Anusara Yoga teacher at YogaKula. Also check out a great little studio called Square One in Emeryville Laura


Hi Liz, I understand your challenge! I really can't say enough great things about Barbara Kaplan of Harmony Yoga Studio. I've been going to her yoga classes for over 10 years; she is one of the best yoga teachers I've ever had. She is warm and welcoming of students where ever they are in their practice. Her classes have also been a great respite for me from the day-to-day chaos that comes with parenting of small children. I think you'll find her balance of the spiritual and active to be really good one. She used to have a home studio in El Cerrito but recently opened a studio on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, across from Andronico's. http://www.harmonyyogastudio.net Good luck -- and Namaste! Rachel
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher. I am not currently teaching public classes as I just had a baby, but would love to recommend a couple of great studios in the East Bay. Yoga Kula in Berkeley (yogakula.com) is an all Anusara Yoga studio with very well trained and delightful teachers & classes for all levels. Namaste in Rockridge (namasterockridge.com) is a great neighborhood studio with likewise excellent teachers in a diverse selection of different styles (including Anusara). Anusara (anusara.com) is a method which combines principles of physical alignment with a philosophy of acceptance and exploration of potential - in the body and in life.
You must try Yogamandala on Telegraph Ave. at Stuart Street. The space is beautiful and calm, and the teachers are very experienced, yet friendly. The classes are that wonderful mix of feeling like you have worked your body, yet restored your mind. Amidst the chaos of children, work, and life in general, these classes are a welcome relief! kate
I highly recommend Niroga Yoga on University. I have been going there to various classes at various times since last summer and find peace and physical benefit every time. Niroga Center 1808 University Avenue Berkeley CA 94703 (510) 704-1330 They have morning and evening classes, very knowledgeable teachers and only $10/class. See their website for class schedule: http://www.nirogacenter.org/ Melissa

2009 Reviews


Feb 2009: Yoga class for a man

My husband's doctor instructed him to take a yoga class to help with his back problems. However, he really doesn't like yoga and would be interested only in the exercise. Does anyone know of somewhere he could take a Saturday morning class that would not be too touchy-feely for him. I would really love it if we could take a family yoga class (and bring our 1 year old along), but I don't know if such a thing exists. Thanks! Brenda


This may or may not fit his bill -- I go to the ''hot yoga'' classes, Bikram Yoga, on San Pablo in El Cerrito. I love the studio -- it's calm and quiet, with no boot-camp attitude and great instruction. Pretty much entirely focused on the physical side. This is serious cardio exercise for both women and men, with women predominating, but it's not for wimps. The series consists of 26 postures repeated twice over 90 minutes, and I have found that it really improves flexibility, strength, cardio health, and overall health. Here's the info: 10078 San Pablo Avenue El Cerrito, CA 94530 (510) 525-1441 www.elcerritoyoga.com happy at El Cerrito Bikram
7th Heaven Yoga (West Berkeley) used to offer a very casual class on Wed afternoons led by the in house chiropractor. The chiropractor is great and the class was all about back care. Alan
There are many excellent male yoga teachers in the Bay Area. Perhaps your husband would be more comfortable with a male teacher. My husband and I both take Iyengar yoga classes which are not touchy feely and would be a good place to turn for help with back problems. Iyengar trained teachers know a lot about anatomy and physiology as well as general back care. You might try the Alameda Yoga Station, Berkeley Yoga Room and, Fourth Street Yoga. I don't know if your husband plays sports but Jon Morgan teaches a Yoga for Athletes class at the Alameda Yoga Station www.alamedayogastation.com on Sunday afternoons. my husband does yoga!
I recommend Amanda's Nube's class: Family Yoga Saturdays 10:30 -11:30 For budding & experienced yogis 3 - 93 years of age. A multi-generational practice with attention to the needs of children and adults alike 1808 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703 http://www.niroga.org/center/all classes are donation basedTaught by mother/daughter team Amanda & Maya Catherine Baldi catherine
I highly recommend taking any one of the healing yoga classes at Niroga Center. (A recently opened studio yoga for those that need it most) There are a wide variety of classes on the weekly schedule including Dawn Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Healing Yoga, Healing Yoga for Seniors, 12-Step Restorative Yoga, & Integral Health Fellowships for Minority Yoga Teacher Training. *classes are donation based and broadly accessible 1808 University Ave, Berkeley 94703 510-704-1330 www.niroga.org/center anu

2008 Reviews


Dec 2008: Yoga in the afternoon

Does anyone know of a Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/ yoga studio that offers yoga classes starting anywhere from 12:15, 12:30, 12:45, 1:00, 1:15, or 1:30? I drop my son off at 12:00, and most classes start then. I haven't had any luck finding a yoga studio that offers afternoon classes, whereas they all have morning classes, then resume again at 4:00. If not, can anyone recommend a good yoga dvd, that I don't have to start over each time I use it? Ideally, a good dvd for me would be several sessions on one disk, where I can pick and choose, rather than one continual program. needing yoga


Check out the Downtown Berkeley YMCA's 1 p.m. Yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
YogaKula is a wonderful studio on the 2nd floor of 1700 Shattuck (at Virginia) in Berkeley. Their Monday midday class begins at 12:15pm and the Wednesday midday class begins at 12:30pm. Both teachers are great and the classes are suitable for all levels, since modifications are given for both beginning and intermediate level students. a YogaKula addict!
Esther Schmidt of Breathe Yoga in the North Berkeley hills is a talented yoga teacher for those with a wide range of abilities. She's calm, collected, and committed to the craft of guiding others in their yoga practice. I've been going to her classes since she first started. She has a beginners class in her home that starts at 12, if your schedule ever changes, and at several other times on Tuesdays. More information is at: http://www.breathe-esther.org/yoga_home.html Mickey
Nov 2008: Bad neck and back pain - need yoga class

I have been having cervical and lower back pain for a year now and I keep becoming stiffer, although I am in my thirties. Does anybody have any good experiences with a yoga class that focuses on back care specifically? Or any other exercises that have proved useful to bring back flexibility and strenght? Thank you very much! Stiff neck all day


I had a lot of success with the same kind of pain at Vara Yoga. The classes at 6am with Jennifer are and continue to be amazing. Her knowledge of injury and healing is excellent. I highly recommend her and VARA on Talbot in Albany (right off Solano) ~Someone who has to do yoga or I feel like I'm dying
Oct 2008: Yoga studio near North Berkeley?

I'm looking for a yoga studio with a sense of warmth and community, welcoming to midlife women (I'm a beginner), that is near Albany/North Berkeley. I would prefer classes on weekday mornings, and like a philosophical and/or spiritual approach, too, if possible. There are so many yoga studios now--I would really appreciate thoughts, insights, and recommendations. ready for yoga


I have been studying with Barbara Kaplan Herring for nearly 8 or 9 years now and recommend her. She has a yoga studio in her home in the El Cerrito hills, close to N. Berkeley and Kensington. You can learn more about her and her schedule at www.harmonyyogastudio.net . I think she is a terrific teacher and can't recommend her highly enough. Rachel
I've taken various yoga classes in Albany and N. Berkeley, and have found that the teacher is everything. My favorite teacher has been Herdis at the Berkeley Yoga Center on Addison http://www.berkeleyyoga.com/ She started the yoga center years ago, and is deeply spiritual. I just love her. 4th street yoga also has some great teachers. Both those yoga studios have been around a long time-i don't know much about the newer ones.
Try Yogakula at Shattuck and Virginia. Classes all day long. I esp like teacher Carrie Adams. The class schedule is on-line. heidi
Try 7th Heaven yoga studio - not in north Berkeley (actually on the Berkeley/Emeryville border) but definitely worth it. I have found it to have a great mix of physical/spiritual balance in classes and in the beginning level classes they are very welcoming of newcomers. Here is their web site: http://www.7thheavenyoga.com/ a Berkeley yogini
May 2008: Yoga Class in Berkeley/El Cerrito/Albany

I have read the old posts, but would like more recent Yoga class recommendations. It can be any form of yoga, but needs to be geographically close to Berkeley, Albany or El Cerrito. Has anyone tried the free classes at Elephant Pharmacy?


Yoga Room in Berkeley is very good. I have been taking classes there for more than 3 years. It is on College ave. You can find them online http://www.yogaroomberkeley.com/ katrin
try the Berkeley Yoga Center. There are fabulous teachers and classes. www.BerkeleyYoga.com Esther
I just started taking classes at a new studio in downtown Berkeley that I like alot. Yoga for the People (http://www.yogatothepeople.com/berkeley/) is on Shattuck between Addison and University across from Half Price Books. The teachers are great and it is low key but still challenging with all levels of students. $10 is the suggested donation. Karin
Check out www.harmonyyogastudio.net . Barbara Kaplan Herring teaches in El Cerrito at her home studio. I have studied with her for 6 years or so now and I am a big fan of her classes. I didn't see your original post so don't know if you are looking for specific days/times (she is a solo practice so there aren't lots of classes). Good luck, Rachel
Jan 2008: Stress relief yoga or what?

Hi. I'm a hard-working single mom and I've noticed that no matter what positive thoughts I try to have I am very stressed. As a single mom paying a mortgage in the Bay Area I feel as if everything were always hanging from a thread (financially speaking). I have several good friends, I date (when I can) and do what the little time I have allows me to enjoy my life outside my work and, of course, my mom duties. I have people over often, I have some hobbies, etc, etc. I love my son more than anything in the world and spend lots of time with him. I am not depressed; I'm just stressed bc. no matter how many friends you have, when you are a single mom, you are financially on your own and this area is very expensive. Moving, for many reasons, is out of the question. So, basically, what I'm asking is if you know of any AFFORDABLE yoga classes in the area (Lamorinda). Do you know of any really good yoga DVDs that I won't be bored with fairly quickly? Any other suggestions? My life is pretty good: it makes me upset that money puts such a big cloud on it. If only stress weren't a problem...


I do a yoga vhs tape occ but use my free weights and treadmill at home when it is too cold or inconvenient to walk. Exercise does help, as I am a divorced parent of two children in Berkeley and am struggling financially also. I have a great therapist and friends, do date a bit but when I eat well and take care of myself, everyone benefits. I can't move away for another 8 years but will gladly leave when I can. Good luck and take care of yourself. Recommend the book, The Power of Now. Single Mom in Berkeley
Hello, I have been going to In Forma in Orinda (on Orinda Way across from the library) for several months and really like the people there. They have a variety of yoga classes and the price seems pretty reasonable to me: 10 classes for $120. The gym is small, but expanding this month. Everyone there is very nice and makes me feel at home, even tho I hadn't worked out for 20 years before coming in there. robin
The Orinda Community Center offers some yoga classes that I've enjoyed. Jeanne Dowell is the teacher I suggest. Namaste. no longer stressed

2007 Reviews


Dec 2007: Yoga Class Downtown Oakland

I work in downtown Oakland near Civic Center. I would love to take a basic or restorative yoga class sometime in the middle of the workday--maybe around lunch time. I am not interested in Club One as I only want a yoga class---I otherwise belong to the Berkeley Y. If you know of any yoga offerings in the area I would greatly appreciate it. (The Oakland 'Y' is too far away) Thanks!!


There is a one-hour yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at City Hall in downtown Oakland. The teacher is Patty Hirota-Cohen and she is wonderful. The Thursday class is at noon, the Tuesday class is at 12:15. You should contact Patty to get details and location - phirota@comcast.net. Rebecca
Patty Hirota-Cohen teaches an excellent Iyengar yoga class lunch hour on Tuesdays & Thursdays in downtown Oakland at 14th & Broadway. I've attended it for a couple of years. She gives detailed instructions and is a very skilled teacher. Cost is $8 per class for prepaid (about 8-week series), $10/class for drop-ins. It's a beginner/intermediate class. Patty may be reached at phirota@comcast.net or call 510 382 9930. Karen
Sept 2007: TM meditation & gentle yoga in Alameda

I need to learn how to relax... and wondered if there are any classes in beginning yoga (I am not flexible or coordinated and have a bad back)and transcendental meditation (I used to practice it about 12 years ago) in Alameda. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks! Jessica


Stephanie Shelburne, CMT and PhD(c) teaches gentle yoga and meditation, as well as all round breath work in Alameda. I meet with her weekly and can highly recommend her. She has a very grounded, gentle and compassionate approach. Her office is right above Julie's Coffee and Tea Cafe on Park Street. Web site is www.bodecology.com Phone number is 510-864-0149 Email is Stephanie@bodecology.com Much improved
May 2007: Summer Yoga Retreat

Does anyone know of any yoga retreats this summer that's drivable from the Bay Area. I'd like to do a short get-a-way, sans kid and husband, to renew and fresh, but most of the retreats that I've seen are big production numbers, cost a lot, and are too long to fit into my work/family committments. mom who needs centering


Try Mount Madonna near Watsonville. Anon
On July 29 there will be an all day yoga and meditation retreat at the Freestone Retreat Center near Sebastopol. You can learn more at the website www.freestoneretreat.com. I have not had a class with this particular yoga teacher before, but the woman who runs the center (Laura Duggan) is really wonderful and inspiring. paula
I'm sure you'll get multiple versions of my answer: the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Grass Valley is not too far and its prices are reasonable. I have never been but I am dying to check it out. http://www.yogafarm.org/ Lisa
Looking for a summer yoga retreat. Try Esalen ( 45 minute drive south of Carmel), they offer 3 and 5 day retreats throughout the summer. You might also, take a jaunt to a few of your local yoga studios as there are often postings on the yoga studios community boards. lunayogini
April 2007: East Bay Yoga Studio?

My friend just moved back to the area from LA, where she took yoga classes at Yoga House and was a huge devotee of a teacher naned Krista. She has been to Namaste on College in Rockridge and Mountain Yoga in Monclair and is still looking for that perfect studio. Any recommendations?


There is a lovely yoga studio in Alameda - Alameda Yoga Station - which offers classes at different levels and different times of the day. The teachers are excellent, classes relatively small and, there is a parking lot. Check out www.alamedayogastation.com. Another East Bay Yogi
Your friend has a Google's worth of choices here in the E. Bay, for Ashtanga classes I like Jonothon Gross (how he spells Jonathon) at 4th Street Yoga and Berkeley Yoga, and for wacky fun go to Laura Camp at Monkey Yoga on Lakeshore. Ashtanga fan
Mountain Yoga in Montclair is really friendly, and the facility is very nice. I like the teachers. Linda
have you tried hot box yoga in hayward? www.haywardyoga.com - awesome place, small & not crowded - and no attitudes. TS
Try Piedmont Yoga Studio or Oakland Yoga Studio, both on or right off of Piedmont Ave in Oakland. Hot Box Yoga specializes in Bikram Yoga, with a heated room and a rigid series of poses that never alter. I've taken hundreds of yoga classes from dozens of teachers over the last 10 years, and was not impressed by the teacher there. Nice, but pretty average. Lauren
My experience at Hot Box Yoga in Hayward has been outstanding and far above average. I currently attend classes there with four different instructors. Of these instructors, I would say that only one did Bikram yoga during one of his many classes. Otherwise, the classes I've taken there have been a far cry from the same poses done every time as seen in the Bikram-style. In fact, I'm amazed at how the instructors really try to change it up. One big plus for me is that the room is not nearly as hot as in Bikram. I think most studios have a low introductory rate to try out classes for a month. That way, you can see what studio is a good fit for you. Judy W
funky door yoga is wonderful. Karima is the owner and she is great. this style of yoga, (which is Bikram, in a hot room) is not for everyone but me and my kids love it. funky door is on shattuck. michelle
March 2007: Laughter yoga

Does anyone know if there is a yoga class that focuses on laughter? Annie


I took a great laughter yoga workshop at Open Door Yoga in San Francisco several years ago and was going to recommend that, but discovered that the studio closed. However, in doing an internet search, the following site is devoted to laughter yoga and you can search for local teachers: http://www.laughteryoga.org/services-filter.php Good luck, I had a great experience the time I did it. It was so cathartic, freeing and fun. Laughing Sal

2006 Reviews


Nov 2006: Chair Yoga in San Leandro or nearby

I have fibromyalgia and live in San Leandro. I need a gentle movement class that is accessible by public transit, evenings or weekends, as I work at UCSF. Chair yoga would fill the bill, but I cannot seem to find one via a web search. Any ideas? I have checked Kaiser Oakland, as I am a Kaiser member. dianao


Hi, I am one of the co-owners of the Alameda Yoga Station www.alamedayogastation.com. I am not sure about public transportation to our studio or the other locations I will list here but I want to let you know of several local options. At Alameda Yoga Station Nancy Leigh Smith teaches a Gentle Yoga class on Tuesday evenings 5:45 - 7:00 pm. Nancy also teaches Gentle yoga at San Lorenzo Adult School. Her website is www.Yogainthemiddle.com. I teach a restorative yoga class on the last Thursday of every month. There are also special classes at the Alameda Hospital. You may find other possibilities by checking www.restorativeyogateachers.com. Betsy
Oct 2006: Yoga for beginner

Hi, I am looking for a yoga studio/teacher. I am new to yoga and as a beginnner, I would like to find a good studio that offers a variety of classes and is not too expensive. diane


Alameda Yoga Station offers a nice variety of classes for different levels including a six week Introduction to Yoga Basics. All of the instructors are well trained and it's a nice, quiet studio yogamama
Diane, Please try the Yoga Kula or Rasa. My wife, Carrie Adams, teaches at both studios and does private sessions as well. I believe that The Kula has an introductory price. Not sure about Rasa. anon
Please do check out ''Namaste Rockridge'' yoga studio on College Ave. They have a number of super teachers, a great community of yoginis, and I'm sure you'll find a class that fits your level. Teachers I'm particularly fond us who will give you a strong foundation (alignment, variety of poses, etc.) include Michelle Cordero, Johanna Lafferty, Kimber Simpkins, Jessica Medros. Have fun! anon
June 2006: Yoga in Walnut Creek

I'm looking for a beginning yoga class for my hyperactive and stressed out 65 year old mom ;-) She's finally agreed to try it but I'm not familiar with the area and have no idea where to send her. Please help before she changes her mind! lp


I've heard great things about the Yoga Movement Center in Walnut Creek, on Locust street. I've sent many patients there over the years, including several women in their 50s and 60s. One of my 65 year old woman patients is now doing their teacher training program! Diane Valentine, the owner and one of the teachers there, is supposed to be fantastic. Tara

2005 Reviews


Nov 2005: Yoga for arthritis

I am a 41 year old with rheumatism. I am looking for a yoga class that is gentle and restorative, but not necessarily one for senior citizens! I am a longtime yogini, but find most classes too vigorous/painful these days.(yes, it's discouraging!) Thanks! gail


Raleigh Wills at Piedmont Yoga Studio is your man. He started doing yoga when he was 54 and nearly crippled by arthritis; he is now symptom free. He has a special understanding of people who are limited by injury, muscle tightness or whatever else, and his classes are known for being a safe, fun place. Sunday mornings at 9 I believe -- check the PYS calendar. nelly
There is a great yoga class at the Alameda Yoga Station which is exactly what you describe - Gentle Yoga with Nancy Leigh Smith on Tuesdays 5:45 to 7:00 pm. Nancy is a fantastic teacher. You can check out their schedule www.alamedayogastation.com Gentle Yoga Fan
Nov 2005: Yoga near Alameda

We just moved to Alameda and I'm looking for a place that has Yoga classes either in Alameda or the near vicinity. It does not need to be a yoga studio necessarily. I'm not very advanced in my yoga skills. Thanks. Need Yoga soon


alameda yoga station is a great studio downtown on park street, next door to tuckers ice cream. i have tried several classes there. ada shedlock teachers there and she is the very best yoga teacher i have ever had (and i have had at least two dozen in my time). her classes are on friday eves and saturday mornings. jennifer
The Yoga Station is in Alameda off Park St. next to Tucker's Ice Cream. A couple of health clubs offer classes: Harbor Bay Club on Bay Farm and Mariner Square Athletic Club next to the tube. adaking
There is the Yoga Station on Park Street, above Tuckers Ice Cream. Entrance is on the back side of the building. they have all sorts of yoga classes from beginner on up. alameda mom
Yoga Station on Park Street is a good place to do yoga. Different classes for different levels. Plus, when you are done you can go to Tucker's Ice Cream Parlor for a reward! The best ice cream! loretta
you'll probably get a number of folks telling you this, but check out the Alameda Yoga Station at http://www.alamedayogastation.com/ Classes for all levels. I've taken Ada Shedlock's class and I like her a lot. I, too, am not very experienced in yoga. Kimberly
There is a delightful yoga studio on Park Street next to Tucker's Ice Cream. You have to enter from the rear parking lot. The website is www.alamedayogastation.com. The studio is clean and quiet. They have excellent instructors and the classes are small. Fellow Alameda Yogi
For yoga in Alameda, I'd like to recomend The Alameda Yoga Station. I'm a yoga teacher in Berkeley, and have known the women who run this studio for a decade. I'd recommend trying Sandy, Betsy or Ada's classes. See who you connect with . . . All are experienced instructors. The website is http://www.alamedayogastation.com/ schedule.php. If you have specific questions, call and talk to Sandy Blaine. They offer an Intro to yoga class for newcomers as well. Lisa
Try the Alameda Yoga Station right off Park Street... http://www.alamedayogastation.com/ anon
Sept 2005: Yoga class for someone with injuries

I have an umbilical hernia from my most recent pregnancy and a lower back that can spasm at times. I am looking for recommendations for a Yoga class or instructor who is good at working with people who have these sorts of problems. In particular I'd like a class where the instructor has the space an/or time to focus on each person. (My back injury is from a - very full - old Yoga class where the instructor couldn't pay attention to each individual.) I've tried Bikram and Ashtanga and both were great - really it's just about getting back into the practice and moving my body around. wanting to flex again


I would recommend taking a resorative yoga class. They are designed for people who may be recovering from injuries or have some physical limitations. The studio that I go to, Yoga Mandala on Telegraph, has at least one on the schedule.

At Yoga Mandala in general the classes are designated as Hatha or Vinyassa. I came to the studio injured and found particularly the Hatha classes provide much more room for individual attention and are much more focused on good form than Ashtanga classes I had attended. The instructors are excellent and almost always enquire about injuries before class and remain mindful of them and give modifications throughout.

I have added Vinyassa (a more vigorous practice) to my own practice and have found the same to be true (attention and mindfulness of students' injuries) even in those classes. I particularly recommend Jessica's vinyassa classes. They are sometimes small (but growing, unfortunately for me and others who have discovered this gem of a teacher!), and she gives GREAT modifications and personal attention, she has a tremendous knowledge of the body and is generous with her knowledge. The studio is a wonderful spiritual place and a great place for healing. Check it out! Leigh


Katchie at 7th Heaven in Berkely is absolutely fantastic. I was unsure if I could do yoga, as I knew I would need some TLC after having 2 ACL knee surgeries, 45 yrs. old, baby body after 40(2 kids now) and never had taken yoga or dance before. But Katchie has 20 years teaching experience, has injuries herself so she gets it, pushes you with respect to your mood that day and ability. She also gives lots of individual attention. I think the best testimony to Katchie is that there are men and women off all ages and abilities and she considers us all in her teaching. From the very experience yogi with dance backgrounds, to me, she's great. a fan of Katchie
Nancy Leigh Smith teaches a great gentle yoga class for people recovering from injuries or physical limitations at the Alameda Yoga Station (www.alamedayogastation.com). They also offer a variety of other levels/types of yoga classes. fellow yogi
This is not a particular recommendation, but maybe you should try Iyengar yoga. You learn the poses well and emphasis is on form, thereby reducing the likelihood of injury. Due to the nature of Bikram (heat), it's easy to overstretch and hurt yourself, I know several people who have done so. And Ashtanga is flowing so it's easy to not do the poses correctly as you try to keep up the pace, and compromise the joints as a result. Also, any good yoga instructor worth their salt should instruct students who are new or just getting back to yoga to go into a rest pose if you are too tired during class to hold a pose properly. This also reduces the likelihood of injury. **long time yoga student
raleigh wills at piedmont yoga on sunday mornings. his classes are at 9 and 11:30. raleigh, and many of his students, have injuries and he is quite thoughtful and caring around them. he will assist with streches and poses, and give advice on how to accomodate the owie. he is currently out of town through the end of september. anon
June 2005: night-time yoga classes?

My exercise gym is closing for at least 2 months to repair the floors. Is there any place that offers yoga, pilates and a cardio step class in Oakland or San Leandro during the week and weekends (esp weekly night classes)? Please help! I love my exercise! gym-less soon


The Alameda Yoga Station has great nighly yoga classes. For a schedule of classes you can go to www.alamedayogastation.com yoga fan
March 2005: Yoga for a novice

Searching the archives for ''yoga'' produces many results, but all specific to conditions which don't apply to me. I think I want to give it a try as I constantly find myself making toddler-time, boss-time, husband-time, cleaningthehouse-time, groceryshopping-time, blah blah blah-time but never ireallyneedtounwind-time. And since I could use more exercise in my life, it seems, in theory, a good thing to pursue. I don't know the difference between any of the ''styles''....bikram, hatha....not sure what any of it means. I did a tape at home while pregnant per recommendation of my RN...I enjoyed it, but didn't do it often because I didn't know if I was doing it right. So I need to know where a VERY novice should start? My main goals are both to unfrazzle, if even for a moment, and to get some excercise. I've had a few gym memberships in my life and I've spent enough money now to realize that I'm not a gym-person. I don't like to exercise. I don't like to jump around, I don't like the weight machines, I don't like the treadmill, I don't like the bike, I don't like the elliptical. I DO need to shed some weight though, but I have to find something that I will enjoy so I'll continue. I don't have alot of time either, I could spare an evening once a week. I need a way to clear my mind for a moment to recharge and I need some instruction to be sure I'm doing it properly and I don't have any alone time while I'm at home, otherwise I would do a tape again. Or...is there something else which might meet my needs that I haven't even considered? -frazzled and pudgy


Hi - I am a mom too as well as a yoga instructor. There are a lot of moms that come to my yoga classes. I find yoga a perfect antidote to parenting. Ofcourse, you wil have to try it to see if it's right for you. Depending on where you live, many yoga studios have introductory sessions. I will be teaching a six week introduction to yoga at the Alameda Yoga Station beginning Wednesday, April 13th, 7:30 p.m. The Berkeley Yoga Room, Berkeley Yoga Center and Fourth Street Yoga offer similar classes. All of these studios have web sites and phone numbers you can call for more information. These studios offer Iyengar based yoga which emphasizes good alignment, body awareness, flexibility, strength, coordination and a general sense of well being. I also offer a restorative or relaxation/stress reduction class at the end of each month. As you mentioned there are many types of yoga. Based on your general dislike of gyms I don't think you would Astanga or power yoga. Betsy
I very highly recommend the yoga instructors at Namaste Rockridge -- particularly Michelle Cordero. All are well- trained, and Michelle will spend a good amount of time adjusting your alignment so that you avoid injuries and feel great. Yoga is an excellent work out: you'll definitely lose a few pounds and not only because some classes can be vigorous, but because of the psychological/meditative component: all things can be accomplished from a place of peace!

Michelle Cordero also works at ''7th Heaven Yoga'' -- another studio you might consider with well-trained instructors and a wholistic approach to yoga practice. Antoinette


I loved the yoga classes at the Albany Community Center (on Marin, at Masonic). I believe the teacher there now is named Jennifer, and her classes are very gentle and relaxing, focused on asanas (poses) and breathing. There are beginning and intermediate levels--you might try the beginning class once a week, to see if it's for you. Good Luck Donna

2004 Reviews


Aug 2004

Hi. I've been on the BPN site looking for suggestions for Yoga classes in Oakland. I'm not into Astanga or Bikum. I'd like to go the more traditional route, like Hatha or Iyingar(sp?) I live close to 580, so Dimond Heights or Laurel Heights would be good, but I'm open to Grand/Lake, or Downtowon Oakland despite the parking issues. I'd also like to find a place where you can pay as you go, or buy a ticket that can be used over a 2 month period of time. Any suggestions out there?


Robert Gray at Park Boulevard Yoga is one of the best. He has extensive knowledge of body mechanics and he's great at adapting asanas for individual needs. A fun, safe, centering class.

There's also a newer yoga studio in Montclair, Mountain Yoga. I've taken a some classes there with a few different instructors and have had good enough, but not great instruction.

Monkey Shala Yoga on Lakshore near 580 is a little more of a 'happening' studio. The owner is a definite guru type. Classes are more show-offy, and in my oppinion, people are challenged to do poses that might do more harm than good in their bodies.

And then of course there's Piedmont Yoga Studio, of Rodney Yee fame. I've heard good things about the instructors there, but haven't taken any classes, mostly because parking isn't the easiest. Helene Byrne author, ''Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best''


May 2004: Yoga for 40 year old man

Hi folks, I saw lots of pre- and post-natal yoga recommendations on the site but no non-natal recommendations. I'm a 40 year old man, not very limber or flexible, but thinking seriously about taking a yoga class, both to increase my flexibility and for peace of mind. Can anyone recommend any specific styles/studios/teachers. I'm prone to feeling self-conscious, so anything where that would be minimized would be great. Thanks!


The Alameda Yoga Station will be starting a new class in July on Tuesday evenings, 5:30-6:45 p.m. called Gentle Yoga. You can visit the website www.alamedayogastation.com or call 523-YOGA for more information. Betsy
Lisa Taylor teaches a gentle and restorative yoga class at 4th Street Yoga (West Berkeley, 4th Street between Delaware and Hearst) on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 p.m. This might be a great first or re-entry class for you. There is enough emphasis on balance and stretching to make one's whole body feel good, plus a peaceful and meditative environment. Lisa is also very good at giving individual attention to people with particular limitations or injuries. Deborah
May 2004: Yoga Class in El Cerrito area

I've reviewed the website and can find only one yoga class recommended for the El Cerrito area. It doesn't appear that the class is currently being offered. So, the hope is that there are others out there that know of a yoga class in the El Cerrito area that they would like to recommend.Thanks,-Susan


A very casual, small and inclusive group of multi-level folk go to the Acupressure Institute classes MWF from 7:30 am-8:45 am. The first class is $9 and the second is free, so it is cheap to find out if this is the right class for you. Bring your own mat. It's important to know your limits and listen to your body wherever you end up. Nori

Other Recommendations received:

  • Berkeley YMCA
  • Bikram Yoga (3) San Pablo and Central
  • Fourth Street Yoga (3) Berkeley
  • Park Blvd Yoga Center (3) Glenview
  • Piedmont Yoga Studio (2)

    Other advice:
    I didn't read your original post, but I assume by the title of your post that you must live in El Cerrito and are looking for yoga classes near by. I live in El Cerrito and I have tried lots of different yoga studios near by, but not in El Cerrito. The closest studio I can actually recommend from experience is Yoga for Life in Albany on Solano Ave. It is right next to Sweet Potatoes, Wee Play and a toy store. Sorry I don't have the phone number on me. There are other possibilities that I've never tried. The Albany Y, also on Solano ave, has yoga classes. At the top of Solano Ave in N. Berkeley there is a dance studio right next to the post office and Peets Coffee. I think it is called World Dance Center. They have yoga classes. Also, check out the El Cerrito community center and ask them if they have any yoga classes or if they know of any in the area. I recall there being some in the past. There is also Bikram Yoga studio on San Pablo Ave right near the corner of Central Ave, but if you are new to yoga I would avoid it. It is a very specific style that involves doing poses in a hot room where you get all sweaty and have to drink lots of water. It is certainly not your ordinary yoga class and I think it is quite trendy and silly myself. There is also a bellydance studio right next to Bikram yoga called Suhailas (sp?) school of dance. They might offer yoga. Laurey


    2003 & Earlier


    Nov 2003: Yoga studio with sense of community

    Before I moved here, I practiced yoga at a small studio with great sense of community. The center's director infused her vinyasa-style classes with meditation, chanting, and teachings from various traditions and cultures (similar to Jivamukti in NYC, without the models and actors). There were satsangs, kirtans (with Krishna Das sometimes), yoga retreats, etc. It was wonderful and I really really miss it. I have been hoping to find somewhere in the East Bay that will feel like home for me but there are so many choices, I am overwhelmed. Can someone recommend a studio or teacher that I should check out? I've looked at the previous recommendations in the archives but nothing seems to address what I am looking for. Om shanti.

    Recommendations received:

  • Fourth Street Yoga
  • Yoga Mandala (2)
  • Yogalayam
    Oct 2003: Yoga for back problems

    I am having some back problems which my doctor says will be helped by stretching and walking. I have a book called ''Stretching'' that I pulled out and will follow that at home, but am wondering if there might be a yoga class that I could take as well. I'm specifically looking for Fridays, when I'm off from work, and I live in Walnut Creek, so anything there or environs would be best for me. I know there are different types of yoga, but am not familiar with them and which would be the most gentle and would focus on stretching. Thanks for any recommendations! Lori


    I know you asked about Yoga but, most back problems are not caused by a simple lack of flexibity. Lack of flexibiity is one sympton of functional imbalances in the body. Pilates has been shown to be a valuable rehabilitation system that is used extensively by dancers, and athletes, and can work wonders for the 'average Jane' body too. Saint Francis Hospital has a satilite office in Walnut Creek and there are several other independent studios in the area as well. Yoga, while valuable, does not have a theraputic perspective, and many traditional poses might very well be contraindicated for those with back problems. In addition, most yoga teachers do not have enough knowledge about exercise physiology or theraputic exercise to safely guide those with back problems. Helene
    2001: Yoga Classes in Pt. Richmond

    I am wondering if any has tried to the new Yoga place in Pt. Richmond? I am pondering taking yoga classes as a way to tone up my body and mind. It seems that is the goal of yoga, although I am a beginnner. I am interested in any great spots that anyone has been going to recently, near El Cerrito. I am not looking for pre-natal, but would like a little toning help in losing the baby spare tire/mental overload that seems to come with motherhood and yoga seems to be it. Kerri


    Deborah Saliby teaches in Pt . Richmond now, and she's an excellent teacher. I did pre-natal, post-natal, and now regular yoga with her. She's good at describing poses and talented at guiding relaxation!! Kristine
    also recommended: Pt. Richmond Community Center
    2001: Yoga classes for gift

    hi - i am hoping for some recommendations regarding yoga classes. A friend who used to be a yoga instructor recommended 2 studios that are not in the archives: 7th heaven and the el cerrito community center. Does anyone have any experience with either of these? I know 7th heaven has lots of teachers and classtimes - what about the EC community center? good experiences? bad ones? nice facilities? Other studios in the El Cerrito, Albany, North Berkeley area? I am interested in giving the classes as a gift to a relative, so i need to find out a lot about the options before purchasing. Thanks in advance. Lyla

    Recommendations received:

  • Berkeley Yoga Center
  • Fourth Street Yoga
    Other recommendations:

    My advice would depend on who you are buying the yoga classes for. If your recipient is young and hip, 7th Heaven might be the place for them. If they are mid-30s or older, they might prefer 4th Street. Barbara Voinar is a very popular Iyengar teacher there. Her classes are crowded but very satisfying. I really like Priya at No Sweat (on Solano), who teaches a Hatha class that focuses on strength and stretching. She does a wonderful guided relaxation for 15 minutes at the end. However, the studio is not ideal for yoga--I go there for the teacher and the location. The Berkeley Yoga studio offers a really nice environment, and the classes aren't as crowded. However, I've not found a class time and teacher combo that works for me there. The choices are endless, and in my experience it's important to find the right teacher for your personal style. If you want the recipient to have lots of choices of teachers and times, either Seventh Heaven or Fourth Street would be good.


    July 2001: Ashtanga Yoga

    I'm wondering if anyone could recommend a good Astanga Yoga class in Berkeley, preferably south of campus?. I did browse the yoga website, but didn't see anything about Astanga classes -also, I have to work around 2 little kids (evening classes? on-site childcare?). I'll be moving to Berkeley from Boston next month, so am not yet familiar with the area. We'll be living near College Ave. Thanks for your help! Jack

    Recommendations received:

  • Berkeley Yoga Center
  • Fourth Street Yoga
    Nov 2001

    I saw a flyer for yoga classes at the El Cerrito Community Center (city recreation... look up in the green government pages of your phone book).


    The Y in Albany usually has Yoga classes. Dawn

    Advice about Yoga


    Yoga Teacher Training Programs

    Aug 2010

    I'm interested in finding a Yoga Teacher Training Program for the Fall. Ideally something I could do while my kids are in preschool or on weekends. Andrea R


    If you're looking for a kids yoga teacher training...then yes!!! Full of Joy Yoga offers a weekend training for kids yoga. Formerly out of the Bay Area and now on the East Coast, founder Lani, will be doing a training with a Berkeley kids yoga teacher named Amber. The training is Sept. 25th and 26th in Berkeley. Check out their websites if your interested: www.fullofjoyyoga.com and www.ambersyoga.com. Not only do I love yoga, but I am also a mom and a preschool teacher and will be attending this training to further my practice. Hope you come!! Aisha
    Andrea, I just completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program that is Yoga Alliance certified with Leah Gillman of Barefoot Movement, located in downtown Oakland. She has a new Teacher Training program starting up in the fall, Sept- Dec, evenings and weekends OR Mon-Fri mornings from 9-11. http://www.flowyogateachertraining.com/upcoming- programs/the-200-hour-certification/

    It's a great schedule for a parent to work with, it's affordable, plus, it's a GREAT program. I can't say enough about Leah. I'm already teaching 3 classes currently and feel confident with my abilities. If you want to know more in depth, email me: leonorawillis@yahoo.com Leonora


    Which type of yoga for a beginner?

    Oct 2008

    Hi - I'd like to return to yoga which I last did in high school, but none of those memory cells are left, so my specific questions: could someone in this wise community please describe the differences in different yoga practices, and perhaps make a recommendation as to which one might be best for a mom of two teens approaching 50 who hasn't really exercised in a long time, which practice might be more likely to cause injury (if it is possible to compare injury rates)- and finally, I'd love to really immerse myself in a yoga retreat to get this whole new thing off the ground, and would love to hear ideas about where to find such a thing - perhaps Esalen? I'd really love a week-long program, close to the Bay Area if possible, for dedicated beginners. Thanks so much, Yoga wannabe


    Based on your description, I think you would prefer an Iyengar based Introduction to or beginner's yoga class. Depending on where you live/work, there are several nice studios and well trained teachers in the East Bay - Alameda Yoga Station, Berkeley Yoga Room, Fourth Street Yoga, Berkeley Yoga Center. They all have websites and a variety of yoga classes including gentle, beginning, introductory, 50+, etc. classes. As for retreats, I think you should find a studio and teacher you like first. All of the afore mentioned studios have teachers that lead retreats. I am going on a retreat next month with two well known and respected Iyengar teachers (Judith Lasater and Elise Miller). The workshop specifically said there will be separate classes for beginners and more experienced students. Yoga helps me be a better mama!
    Welcome back to your Yoga practice! I would suggest any practice that supports you in taking the time to get back into the practice with good alignment and room for modifications. In short, I would suggest staying away from any class that is ''hot'' ''power'' or ''vinyasa'' for the time being and choose ''hatha'' ''Iyengar'' ''yin'' ''restorative'' or ''anusara'' classes. 7th Heaven yoga studio (Berkeley) has an excellent beginner yoga series (I think it's 4 weeks long) which you might enjoy to bring you back in. Also, restorative yoga is a wonderful re-entry point. I teach a restorative class on Friday evenings at YogaKula. You can view my teaching schedule at www.anamiyoga.com. Have fun! Maybe I'll see you on the mat. Nicole
    I am in my late 30s and have been doing yoga, as a total beginner, for a year now with a great teacher, Laura Peck, at 4th Street Yoga in Berkeley. It is Iyengar style, which I really love because it helps me learn about alignment and prevent injury. I completely understand the issue of being out of shape! I have had knee surgery and Laura has always been adapting some exercises for me as well as for some of the other students. If you want to try a class, aside from going somewhere for a retreat, I think you will love the class too! Cecilia
    Ada Shedlock is an outstanding yoga teacher. She is great with all levels and has an older following due to her gentile style and understanding of issues related to aging. She keeps our hips in really good shape for example. She paces her classes and retreats well. She can have you doing yoga for long stretches and it is very manageable. She teaches in Berkeley and Alameda and has a website. Anon
    About once a month, Namaste Yoga in Rockridge has an Intro to Yoga, especially for beginners. Though I haven't been to that class specifically, I really like and respect the teachers at Namaste, esp. Michelle Cordero, who teaches Tues. night and Sat. morning 'all levels' courses. I suspect that after an Intro course, you'd be ready for the all levels course. Most teachers will check in with the students at the beginning of the class about any injuries/ issues, and recommend appropriate modifications as necessary. Michelle's classes tend to be pretty high energy. If you're more interested in alignment and a slower pace, you might like Richard Rosen's classes on M-T-W nights at Piedmont Yoga Studio. He is a master teacher - one of the original Western teachers, and gives great instructions on alignment. My suggestion would be to ease back into yoga with classes two or three times a week, for a bit. You may find a bit of soreness as you limber up sleeping muscles. Then after a few weeks/ months of practice, a retreat might be more beneficial. Yoga saves my sanity!

    Can I do yoga with spinal fusion?

    Jan 2008

    I know there are a lot of yoga instructors out there -- here's a question for you: I'm in my early 40's, and am interested in beginning yoga, something I have never done. When I was a young teenager, I had a spinal fusion (for scoliosis)and I have two Herrington steel rods in my back. Do you thing I could do yoga? or would it be too difficult with my stiff back? I can really only bend at my waist. Thanks for any info you can provide! stiff spine


    I have the same thing as you - two rods and a spinal fusion. I'd say try the yoga - it's not going to kill you and it's virtually impossible to ''wreck'' your back. But you'll probably find there's a lot you can't do. I've tried some yoga, and it's just created more backaches for me...but it all depends on where you're fused and how much of your back is fused. I have a full spinal fusion with 1 vertabra free. I get a whole lot more out of aerobic exercise, and I'm not limited in that way. --Yoga not the answer for me
    As a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher, I would highly caution you from doing any yoga except with a truly qualified teacher who is TRAINED and EXPERIENCED with your kind of spine, and preferably one of the local specialists in this area. I would recommend someone who is certified in the Iyengar method -- these teachers must pass rigorous tests to become Iyengar teachers (unlike most yoga teachers) and the Iyengar method emphasizes medical treatment and in particular back care. In Berkeley, Todd Semo (who is a very skilled teacher and student of Manouso Manos, one of the most senior American Iyengar teachers and back care specialist) teaches at 7th Heaven Yoga (http://www.7thheavenyoga.com/). In San Francisco, one of the top back care specialists is Anne Saliou, who teaches at the Yoga Loft. Also Octavia Morgan, while not as experienced as Anne, is an excellent back care specialist in SF (also a student of Manouso Manos')(http://www.octaviayoga.com/). Please be very conscious of whom you pick, and talk to them about your condition before you attend their class. If you study with one of these teachers or their ilk, I think you will have a safe, enhancing experience. Good luck!
    You need Chris Hoskins! He has a ton of experience teaching yoga to people who have disabilities of one kind or another. I studied with him for about three years and witnessed him help many people and I know he had many private clients-one of whom was paralyzed from the neck down. He has a website studioyoga6.com. Another great teacher in the area with heaps of experience is Barbara Kaplan. She can be found on the web at harmonyyogastudio.net. Best of luck to you! yoga is for everyone!
    Hi I am not a yoga teacher but I do my own form of yoga. I have a herniated disc, which is different than a fused spine (They wanted to fuse my spine but I wouldn't let them) The long/short story is: they told me I could never do any vigorous exercise or twist my spinal column ever again. I DID give up horse-back riding (I used to do dressage and jump) but I took up snowboarding and definitely twist my spine when I do my yoga moves. I would try it and do only what you are capable. I think it's really good for you and your body. You'll build up and become like you were before. It's been 24 years since I've herniated my disc and I am still feeling strong. Good luck! burkenli
    YES! most definitely! It may facilitate new movement that you never thought possible. However, it's extremely important to find a teacher who is right for you, has classes small enough to give you personal attention (don't go to those popular classes that have 30 people in them!), and is confident in modifying poses that are right for you. Shop around for a teacher. You might consider having a couple personal classes first, just to spend time learning the poses and how you can modify them for yourself, and then entering a public class. You might consider ''gentle'' yoga. good luck. Esther
    Yes, you can do many yoga positions with spinal fusion. Tell the instructor before class that you cannot bend your back above the waist due to the rods in your back. And, take a class with lots of old, out-of-shape people in it. That's what I do. Try the ''downward dog'' exercise at home, and you'll see that you'll have no problem at all. It's a great pose to strengthen your arms and shoulders plus a great stretch for the backs of your legs. Easy yoga fan

    Post-natal embarassment doing upside-down positions

    June 2003

    Hello there, I just started to take yoga again, which I enjoy very much. However, now I remember what used to embarass me about it because it happened this morning in a class...whenever I do upside-down type positions, like legs in the air, etc., for some reason air gets sucked into my vagina. So when I am upright again, it sounds as though I am ''breaking wind'' as the air escapes. It is very embarassing for me! I should ask my doctor about this, but I just thought I'd see if this ever happens to anyone else. Perhaps I need to do Kegel exercises? Or just live with it and not worry! thanks for any advice! -anon


    I experienced the same thing when I started doing yoga -- it is terribly embarrassing. I've started wearing a tampon before class which seems to do the trick. I'm curious to find out if anything else works. anon Embarassed in yoga
    I laughed out loud when I read your posting because the same thing began happening to me when I returned to yoga after giving birth to my first child! I found that if I do kegels on my way up as well as on my way down from inversions, the problem desists. Also, coming down very slowly so as to release the air in a slower fashion can be helpful. You are not alone! anon
    you're not alone. same thing happened to me. i try to be very cautious with some of the positions, not doing them as rigorously. i imagine kegels would eventually solve the problem. not sure. curious to read other responses! anon
    I've had the same problem of ''air intake'' in inverted yoga positions ever since I started many years ago, pre-baby. I haven't been taking yoga for several years but I am ready to start again and wondered about how to deal with the inevitable noises that escape upon coming out of position. I've tried holding my vagina ''closed'' when inverted, kind of like a sustained Kegel but I it really compromises my concentration in the pose. I am anxious to get feedback on possible solutions- embarrassed too.
    Pulling air in the vagina during inverted poses is not all that uncommon. It happens when the diaphram is pulled up into the rib cage, with a relaxed pelvic floor. This causes air to be sucked into the vagina, which then ''farts'' out again when you resume an upright position. It is more common after childbirth, because the pelvic floor is more flexible.

    However, it is not a desirable physical action. Many of us, when trying to activate the deep postural muscles of the torso, (transverse abdominus, mutifidus) accidentially suck the diaphram up- hollowing out the area right below the ribs, the solar plexus. Instead of ''sucking'' the belly in, the action you want to develop is compression of the abdominal wall. A kind of lacing of your internal girdling muscles. Contracting the deep abdominals with a co-contraction of the pelvic floor is a very powerful technique to help the body develop core strength- especially after pregnancy and childbirth. Sucking air into the vagina directly after childbirth, when the cervix is still open can cause an air embollism, a serious life threating condition. Many inverted poses--down dog, mountain pose, and even child's pose are contraindicated in the first few weeks postpartum because of this small but inherant risk. Helene


    I will probably be one of several to know no useful advice except to offer 2 terms used for this the queef and the vart (as in vaginal fart). A web search offers interesting vignettes of its universality, often during intercourse. I have certainly experienced it in a shoulder-stand and agree it is rather embarrassing! I'm afraid it is one more argument in favor of the dreaded Kegel. Anon
    It's funny you should mention this, because I had never experienced it until today, and it was quite a shock, not to mention rather blush-inducing. I've been doing yoga pretty regularly for five or six years, too. Anyway, what I found seemed to work in preventing it from happening again was being very conscious of creating a ''lock'' in the root chakra, or as I think it's called in yoga, the mulabanda. Basically this is similar to doing a kegel as you inhale into the inverted position and then maintaining a slight contraction of those muscles as you hold the pose and move out into the upright poses. If you haven't done some pranayama, this might be foreign to you, but any good yoga instructor can teach you about the bandas, and they make a huge difference in your practice, I find. So I'm taking my awkward little vaginal fart as a not-so-kind reminder from my body to be more mindful of my breathing technique and internal support during yoga. It's easy to get lazy, but now I have a good reason to keep my head in the game, so to speak! anon
    I have experienced this too and know how you feel. Though I have never done this, one woman I met puts a tampon in before yoga class and she says this prevents the problem. I am trying to simply go with it and rise above the embarrassment. It's a challenge. ) Keep up the yoga!! anon

    Yoga vs. aerobics for swimsuit this summer

    April 2003

    I was just wondering if yoga works better and faster than regular weight lifting/aerobic workouts. What I'm doing now is running 30 minutes one day, and yoga the next day. It's just a beginner yoga practice but it seems too easy. For yoga to work, do I need to do it everyday? Before I started yoga,I'd been doing a video workout that was challenging for my arms, but not for my legs(which is my problem area, along with my bottom). I guess all this to say that I'm not sure if yoga is going to work fast enough for me...I really want to look good in a swim suit this summer. Any advice? R.


    Do Bikram yoga every day for a month and your legs will look FABULOUS! Bikram (hot) yoga is definitely not ''too easy''! Sweating but happy
    For firming up and having a leaner body, a combination of aerobic exercise (that burns fat as fuel) and strength training (that adds lean tissue) with a healthy diet: lots of whole grains, a moderate amount (25% - 30%) of the good fats, lots of fruits and veggies, and caloric balance, not too little and not too much, has proven to provide the greatest long term benefits. Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise, to center the mind/body/spirit and provides numerous health benefits, but if you want to change how your body looks, especially in a limited time frame, other forms of exercise are more effective. Helene
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