About Rachel

I'm a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) with Yoga Alliance. I offer private and group Hatha Yoga lessons in San Diego, CA. I believe that yoga can be a transformational practice, wherever we are in life and whatever we are seeking. It helps us to open to change in our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. I feel deeply privileged to be a yoga teacher and to guide my students into this practice wherever they may be on their personal journeys.

Important schedule change!

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances affecting the studio space, we have had to suspend yoga classes at plan-B-fitness effective immediately. This means my Tuesday and Thursday morning Vinyasa classes and Sunday 11:30 Hatha class will be temporarily cancelled until further notice. I’ll let you know as soon as I’m able to resume! Thank you so much for your understanding.

This doesn’t affect my other classes, so in the meantime, please join me on Sunday at 4:30 at The Little Yoga Studio for Vinyasa and Deep Rest. I also assist Nikole Fortier’s Yoga 2 class on Sunday mornings at 8:45 at Pilgrimage of the Heart Normal Heights. (See my Schedule page for details.)

Don’t forget to check my Facebook page for announcements about class cancellations, as well as extra classes I am subbing. I sub quite frequently at Pilgrimage of the Heart, as well as at The Little Yoga Studio.

Hope to see you in class soon. Namaste.

Summer break

My exciting news for this summer is that I’m getting married on August 4th. I’ll be heading out of town for the wedding and honeymoon, so there will be some schedule changes for my classes July 28- August 17.

plan-B-fitness

My regular yoga classes at plan-B-fitness will all be cancelled from July 28- August 17. Class will resume with the Sunday 11:30 class on August 19. Enjoy your summer, explore your home practice, and join me again in August.

Pilgrimage of the Heart and The Little Yoga Studio

Class will continue as usual at both studios while I am away. Please see the studio websites for details about who will be teaching. I will return to both studios on August 19th.

Thanks for understanding, and I look forward to renewing our practice together in August and sharing some reflections on the journey that is my wedding!

Announcing a new class

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a new class starting on May 20th. I’ll be teaching Vinyasa and Deep Rest from 4:30- 5:45 at The Little Yoga Studio.  This is the perfect way to transition from your weekend into your week! We’ll do a little meditation, a sweet, rhythmic Vinyasa flow, and then some deep relaxation practices including pranayama, yin & restorative yoga practices, yoga nidra, etc. to help you release stress.  I’m very excited about exploring the balance between yin and yang energy in this class! Modifications will be provided for all levels of practice. Please see the TLYS website (link above) for details on pricing.

What’s in a name?

I’ve recently started offering a new Hatha Yoga class at plan-B-fitness in addition to my Vinyasa Flow classes, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what these terms Hatha and Vinyasa mean and how the classes differ. If you have attended yoga classes with different teachers and in different locations, you’ve probably noticed that there are varied interpretations of some types of yoga (although other types are very narrow in their definition). This can be confusing, but it’s important to understand that yoga is a living, evolving art (and science), and that each practitioner (and therefore each teacher) brings his or her own experience and interpretations to the practice. The practice of yoga encourages personal exploration, and as such, it is by nature always changing and evolving as people explore new approaches. Therefore, my approach to Hatha and Vinyasa classes may be different from another teacher’s. In my view, it’s always most important to find a teacher and style that works for you – and also to be open to change in your practice. A teacher or style that is perfect for you at one point in your life may no longer work so well for you in the future. It’s important to remain open to the idea of personal exploration in your practice, including finding another style of practice or teacher if that is the right thing to do!

It may be helpful to understand that what we do in our yoga classes is only a part of the full system of yoga. The practice of yoga as described in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali has eight “limbs” or areas of practice. These are:

    1. Yamas – ethical guidelines, such as nonviolence, truthfulness, and not stealing.
    2. Niyamas – observances or disciplines, such as cleanliness and purification, cultivating contentment, and studying spiritual scriptures.
    3. Asana – physical yoga poses
    4. Pranayama – breathing techniques
    5. Pratyahara – detaching from the senses – beginning to move towards meditation
    6. Dharana – concentration and focus
    7. Dhyana – meditation
    8. Samadhi – a state of spiritual bliss and enlightenment that involves transcending the individual self

Most yoga classes in the US focus on the physical practices of asana and some pranayama, with varying degrees of attention to the other limbs of yoga, and the different styles of yoga have varying ideas about how to approach physical yoga postures.

Hatha is a pretty general term. The Sanskrit word “hatha” can be interpreted as “forceful,” but the individual syllables also have their own meaning. “Ha” represents the sun (heating, motivating, externally-focused energy) and “tha” represents the moon (cooling, calming, internally-focused energy), so Hatha yoga brings these two energies into balance. Hatha yoga is the practice of asana and pranayama as described above, so most of the classes you take would be some form of Hatha. When you see the word “Hatha” on a class description, it usually means that the teacher does not follow any one particular style of yoga in the class. Hatha classes can vary widely. Unfortunately, the term “Hatha” doesn’t tell you much about the class, so if you’re looking for something particular, it’s a good idea to talk to the studio or teacher in advance to find out which classes are most suitable for you. Many studios and teachers provide a description of their Hatha classes and/or level designations to help you choose.


Vinyasa
 generally refers to a style of yoga that has derived from Ashtanga yoga. “Ashtanga” refers to a dynamic style of practice where poses are practiced in set sequences in a vigorous flow. Poses are practiced in one of several prescribed sequences, so true Ashtanga classes will be similar to each other. Ashtanga off-shoots such as Power yoga and Vinyasa yoga usually do not follow the Ashtanga sequences and therefore display more variation. A class labeled “Vinyasa yoga” uses a flow of poses where the practitioner moves from one pose to another without pausing, and movements are linked to the breath. Classes are usually built around Surya Namakar, or Sun Salutations. The “glue” that holds the class together is a series of poses from Surya Namaskar that is known as a vinyasa – usually starting in High Plank, and with the breath, flowing through Chaturanga Dandasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog), then Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). Variations on this sequence have been developed, such as using Bhujangasana (Cobra) instead of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. The sequence is usually repeated in between each set of poses and is done many times during a class. Depending on the teacher and level of the class, Vinyasa Flow classes can vary quite a lot in difficulty, including variations in the types of poses included in the flow, the speed at which students move through the poses, the number of vinyasas done, and the number of pauses in the class. Note that a Vinyasa Flow class practices yoga postures and breathing, and therefore is really a subcategory of Hatha.

All this might leave you feeling even more confused, so here’s a summary of what my Hatha and Vinyasa classes are like.

  • In Vinyasa Flow Yoga, I always do Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) and link other pose sequences with a vinyasa. I offer variations on the vinyasa to make it safer if you have injuries, are new to the practice, or just aren’t feeling it today. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the variations or ask me to explain them in more detail you aren’t sure how to practice for your body. This is a more vigorous practice, so take care of yourself and practice safely! In the world of Vinyasa Flow, I tend to teach a slower paced, more internally focused and meditative flow, and I am probably more alignment focused than many Vinyasa teachers, so I do take the time to talk about how to do the poses.
  • In Hatha Yoga, I will adapt the class depending on the students who attend and on what my theme or teaching point is for the day. Every class will be different! Some of my Hatha classes include Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), and I sometimes offer the option of taking a vinyasa for students who enjoy this practice. Generally speaking, we spend more time in each pose than we do in a Vinyasa Flow class, and we may use more props to explore different variations of the poses. There will be a variety of ways to transition from one pose to another beyond just the vinyasa, and we may even pause completely between poses instead of following a continuous flow.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re brand new to the practice of yoga, have lots of questions about the poses, are recovering from injury or a hard workout, or are feeling very fatigued, Hatha might be a better choice.
  • My Vinyasa classes are slower paced and focused on alignment, so they are OK for relative beginners as long as you are fairly fit and injury-free.
  • Always, always listen to your body and don’t do anything in yoga class that hurts or feels wrong. You can always rest in Balasana (Child’s Pose) or any other pose, and you can always ask me for alternatives to the sequence we are doing. Anything I say is simply a suggestion, and you are in charge of your own practice. Remember: there is no destination or final pose to get to, and you should never try to push yourself beyond your limits in the practice. Everything we do in yoga is just an exploration.
  • Please let me know before class if you have any injuries or other physical conditions that might affect your practice, including if you are pregnant. If you need to speak in private, just let me know.
  • I also welcome questions, feedback, and requests! Please come a few minutes early and let me know what poses you want to do today and whether you want a more or less vigorous practice.

New Sunday class!

Please see my schedule for details of my new Sunday Hatha Yoga class, starting March 11th at plan-B-fitness (1815 5th Avenue). The class will be 11:30- 12:30. In Hatha Yoga, we may flow through Sun Salutations or move more slowly through poses, taking time to relax and deepen each posture, developing strength, flexibility, balance, and peace of mind. Classes will be adapted to suit the needs of the students in class each day (I take requests!) and modifications will be provided for all levels of practice. This is a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of yoga poses. And of course there will be music and poetry and words of wisdom!

The first class is free for students new to plan-B-fitness. Please come and check out the beautifully painted studio space. I hope to see you in class.

Schedule changes

Monday, February 27th will be the last classes at the South Park location (6 and 7:30pm).  I am closing this class in March. There will be no changes to the rest of my schedule:

  • Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7 at plan-B-fitness (1815 5th Avenue)
  • Sunday mornings at 9 at Pilgrimage of the Heart (assisting my teacher, Nikole Fortier)

I’m also teaching the Friday morning community class at The Little Yoga Studio again on March 2. I would love to see you there. It’s just a $5 suggested donation for this class.

I hope to be adding a new class and some special events as we get ready for spring in San Diego. Stay tuned for details!

Full moon classes

The moon is full again. Remember to take time to slow down and get grounded this week. Go outside, take a few deep belly breaths, and bask in the moonlight!

Photo Credit: Sebastian Anthony on Flickr Creative Commons

I’m offering the following full moon classes:

  • Gentle yoga – 6pm on Monday at 1934 30th St – This class is perfect for beginners, those with injuries, or anyone looking for a slower, more relaxing and meditative practice.
  • Chandra Namaskar – This Moon Salutation flow is a somewhat more active full moon practice. I’m offering it Monday at 7:30pm at 1934 30th Street, and again on Tuesday morning at 7am at plan-B-fitness (Gallery of Fitness: 1815 5th Avenue)