Yoga for Adults

Parent Q&A

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  • Yoga Class with Community?

    (2 replies)

    Hi! Does anyone have a good East Bay yoga class to recommend? I am open to any style, just wanting a sense of community and practice with other people. I used to go to Ojas yoga in El Cerrito. Thanks for sharing any classes that you enjoy. 

    I really love Innerstellar in South Berkeley. I generally go for Pilates, but have done yoga there. While I generally hate yoga, I found their classes to be more enjoyable :) Plus the teachers are AWESOME!

    Keep a look out for upcoming new classes around the East Bay with Rondy Isaac.

  • Gentle AM Yoga Class

    (1 reply)

    I want to get back to taking yoga classes for relaxation and gentle movement. I would like something peaceful and not too intense (hot yoga, for example). Because of my schedule, the class would need to start on a weekday anytime between 9 am and 1 pm. I’d prefer the Albany/El Cerrito/N. Berkeley area, if possible.Thank you so much for any suggestions! 

    Have you tried Square One Yoga in El Cerrito? They offer some gentle/mindful classes. 

  • Slow but challenging Yoga class

    (5 replies)

    I am very middle-aged and would like to find a yoga class in Berkeley that is slow but challenging.  I can't do heated or aerobic-style yoga.  Would also like to find a class that has some people my age.   Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated!  

    Hi there -

    I am also middle-aged and found that Eliana Chinea is the perfect teacher for me. While "young," she structures her Friday evening class at the Berkeley Yoga Center in a way that all folks a little rusty or slow get challenged, but not overwhelmed. Her classes are superbly structured, she is keen on teaching proper alignment and going slow to get into a specific pose, but she adds sufficient flow or other challenges to really make you work.  and Hope to see you there! 

    The Berkeley YMCA has yoga classes that fit the bill.  Though, I can't say I've ever been to a yoga class anywhere that I'd call "aerobic!"  The YMCA has a large range of ages  and the teachers are all supportive.

    You might enjoy the class my husband goes to at Ojas Yoga Center in EC Plaza:  Rhoda's class happens EVERY Thursday from 11:00 a.m. - 12 noon.

    The studio offers a beautiful, healthy environment; the teachers are 1st rate and Rhoda is outstanding.  She designed the class for seniors-- who pay discounted price of $10-- and/or people just getting back into yoga, for beginners and for people recovering from surgery or injuries.  Once you've done a class or more with Rhoda you'll know what other class might be the next step for you.

    Directions: Next to Trader Joe's in the Plaza, take elevator up to 2nd floor. Once you've passed thru the area with elevator doors & stairwell, turn right & go down that hall. Look for # 707.  You can drop in, but since you're a new student, best to get there at least 10 minutes early to get registered.

    Try Adeline Yoga. Iyengar is the way to go.

    Check out classes at adeline yoga- great options

  • My schedule and childcare logistics have shifted dramatically this year, and I find myself with free time only in the wee wee hours of the morning. I would love to find a yoga class once a week that I could go to during this time. It would have to start at 5:00, 5:30, or at latest, 6 AM. I have searched some of the studio's schedules, but have not found any that begin at this time. Am I missing something? Please help! I am not the type who can practice at home: I need a class to motivate me. There must be something out there!

    Thank you in advance!

    Hi, That's a tough time, and I'm not sure of your location needs, but I'm sure that's a factor.

    Check Square One Yoga's schedule - they have locations in San Leandro, Emeryville, and El Cerrito. I know the San Leandro location has a great 6:30-7:30am class on weekdays, and it looks like Emeryville has a few at 6:30am. - I absolutely love this yoga studio. 

    I looked at the Berkeley and Oakland YMCA schedules, but not sure if they fit the bill or not. Do check them out. One other option, not as great for your needs, but possible: at the Y, I used the stretching room to do stretches and some yoga. What worked for me was setting a time and a place to show up and I did the exercise, so maybe if there are days that the class isn't offered at the best time, you can still use a stretching room area for yoga so that you're sticking with what works for your schedule.

    Good luck! 

    Try Bikram Yoga classes. There first session in most of their studio is at 5.30/6.00 am. Good Luck.

    I don't know of a yoga class but I can recommend a 6 am Pilates reformer class at El Cerrito Fitness on Tues and Thurs.

    It isn't an in-person class, but I really enjoy the free, online "Yoga with Adriene" classes.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Yoga class for Plus Sized people

Nov 2015

I'm a very large woman (100 lbs. overweight) just beginning to start my health transformation and would really like to be around many others like myself for my own morale. Are there any places that specialize in classes for larger people? I'm older as well (50+), so a class designed for older, very overweight people would be great!! anonymous

Susam Weiner has a couple of Curvy Yoga classes, & she's a great teacher! Renee

You could try classes at 4th st yoga, such as Large and Graceful, or Yoga for Every Body at Berkeley Yoga Center. Many yoga centers have classes for beginners, as Berkeley Yoga Center does. There are also restorative classes, which help create flexibility and deep relaxation by holding supported poses- those are generally accessible to most people and feel fantastic.

The Berkeley/Albany YMCA has all ages and shapes of people in its classes, in my experience.It is a welcoming place with so much to offer; you could try classes there as well. Plus, there is a women's fitness center and weight room. There are so many great options in east bay- good luck! yoga fan

I don't know how you feel about water exercise but many larger women participate in the water exercise classes at the Berkeley Y, and at the Albany Pool. In general, a very diverse group of people exercise at the Berkeley Y. I'm plus-sized and always feel comfortable at the Y's Women's Fitness Center. The Albany Pool also has a private group of women over 200 pounds that meets on Sundays around 11:30 after the water exercise class. I've never tried it, but the women seem friendly. You pay for it separately from the regular pool fee. anon

Beginning yoga for a 50+ woman

Feb 2015

I have long resisted getting involved in yoga (not into meditation, confused by all the variations, intimidated by visions of people twisting themselves into pretzels while chanting or sweating, etc. etc.) But I am getting older and stiffer, and this past weekend I went to a class in New Mexico with my dear sister, and I loved how it made me feel. The teacher there was non- intimidating, letting people do the poses as well as they were able with gentle corrections. Where is there a good beginning class like that for a 50+ woman in Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, or N. Berkeley?
Many thanks!


The Albany Senior Center has daily yoga classes. anon

Given the description of the class you liked, I encourage you to try Barbara Kaplan's classes at Harmony Yoga in North Berkeley on Shattuck across from Andronicos. She's a terrific teacher, trusts students to know their own bodies and very good-natured. I've gone to a lot of yoga classes with numerous teachers over the years and I am continually impressed by Barbara's ability to describe where and how my body should be in space. I've always been perplexed how people injure themselves doing yoga because studying with Barbara is always about adapting the teaching to my body. Have fun!

Jennifer Meek at Square One studio in Emeryville. She is wonderful in every way and teaches a gentle flow class on Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30. I think she teaches other senior specific classes around town but I'd say a third of the class is 50+ at Square One. It's a hard time for me to fit into my schedule but I keep a membership there pretty much just for that class. gentle yogi

Dear yoga resistant,

I was also resistant, for the same reasons you listed, until my desire to be more flexible overcame my desire to avoid the yoga thing. I have the nearly-perfect class to recommend to you, with the only flaw being its location in S. Berkeley rather than the locations you mentioned. I think it's well worth the drive!

Anneke Faas teaches Fundamentals at Adeline Yoga on Thursday nights, 7:30 - 9:00pm. The style is Iyengar, which means it's not hot or highly cosmic. The focus is on getting into poses, stretching and strengthening, with good instruction about how to get into each pose. Anneke is a wonderful teacher, upbeat and talented at working with all of our bodies in various states of disrepair. The class has a variety of ages including yours and older. The 10-week course just started last Thursday but you can jump in late and you'll be able to catch up. Good luck to you!

another yoga-avoider

I highly recommend The Green Yogi on MLK between Francisco and Virginia. I just started going and am in love with it! It is a lovely and sweet yoga studio, the setting is so comforting and sanctuary-like, the instructors are supportive and have such positive attitudes and easygoing demeanor, and the staff super welcoming. The classes are all mixed, so there are beginners as well as advanced individuals, but talk to the instructor ahead of time and give your background, be honest and ask for the level of support you are looking for. There are two general types of practice at Green Yogi and one is vinyasa flow, which is fast paced and a great workout, and the other is Yin Yoga, in which you spend more time in each pose to loosen your joints and release tension. I went to a Yin class by mistake and had never even knew about this type of practice, but guess what, I loved it. It challenged in its own way, gave more time for reflection, and was healing on so many levels. They are fairly new (opened about a year ago) and have some great intro packages...totally worth it! Hope you give it a try! Wendy Y

Hi There yoga-resistant,
I just started yoga at Adeline Yoga They have a fundamentals class series that is the begging of begging using props. The teachers stops and shows each pose before you try then. You also take home a ''homework Sheet'' to practice adding a pose a week. Happy with yoga

Check out Deborah Saliby. She has been teaching Iyengar yoga for thirty years or so and is deeply grounded in the work. I like Iyengar because it uses props and very specific instruction to help you get the most out of a pose no matter what level you're at. Deborah makes yoga very accessible to the beginner and advanced students alike. She teaches at The Yoga Room in Berkeley, right next to the Ecology Center. Her website is A beginner myself

Yoga therapist to help with injury

Feb 2015

looking for someone to help me with an injury I think I sustained from my yoga practice. It's been about 6-12 months and I'm probably making things worse with my current practice.a good PT, or maybe yoga therapist who could help me develop a regular yoga practice for my aging body would be great. Please email me directly. Thanks in advance. chris

Check out Julie Rappaport julie [at] Julie is a yoga therapist who specializes in both chronic pain (works at a clinic for chronic pain patients) and develops home practices for yogis of all levels. (She’s also a somatic psychotherapist but this is a separate practice). She’s located in Berkeley and is one of the few true yoga therapists working here, in the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar. Julie is very well trained, incredibly intuitive and has helped me tremendously with my own injury. I highly recommend her!

good luck! Stephanie

6 AM Yoga in Berkeley?

Aug 2014

Is there a yoga studio in Berkeley that has a 6 AM week day yoga class? I can't seem to get to a work out unless it is FIRST thing in the morning before work, kids, meals, and the rest of my life kicks in. I would LOVE to incorporate yoga into my week on a regular basis, but have yet to find a sunrise class. Yoga mama maybe?

I'm not awake at 6am but if I was I'd go to a Dailey Method class in Berkeley or on Piedmont Avenue. In particular I'd go to one of Cat's classes (cheerful, helpful and super encouraging!). She teaches a 6am class on Mon and Fri on Piedmont Avenue. The Dailey Method includes some yoga and is a really satisfying way to get exercise. They offer suggestions for how to make it more or less challenging. Fan of Dailey Method (and especially Cat!) Berkeley Mom

I'm sure there are quite a few options. Pam M. at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA teaches at 6:30 a.m. a couple days a week. I really like her teaching style. I think the Y is a great deal, especially compared to yoga studios and it's friendly and relaxed. ($70ish/month for indiv. and family rate is an even better deal). Depending on your kids' ages, you can take the Sat. 9-10:15 yoga class (Jesse is great) and the kids can go to ChildWatch (well-loved childcare up to age 6, for a fee) or Fit Kids for kids over 6 (free$ and fun!) Worth it! (Otherwise, check out Namaste, Yoga Tree, Piedmont Yoga...)

CorePower Yoga Berkeley offers early morning yoga classes. They are at 6th Street and University (above the Blick Art Supply Store). Depending on the day of the week they have 6:00am and 6:30am classes that are Ryde & Sculpt (half bikes and half yoga with weights), C2 (level 2+ yoga class with heat), and sculpt (yoga with weights, heated). I adore the CorePower classes, so much so that I became a teacher there, but I teach in the middle of the day. Kerstin

Yoga coed - really coed! in Lamorinda

March 2014

My husband and I live in Moraga. After insisting a lot, he has agreed to take a yoga class with me. I've seen a couple of places where they claim to have coed classes but when I went to look, they were all ladies. My guy will drop his promise in a second and will never agree to try again if he shows up and he’s the only guy in a group of women. Does anyone know of a nice yoga class with males participants in the Lamorinda area? Anon I'm not sure what type yoga you refer to. I take bikram yoga classes at Funky door yoga in Berkeley. I LOVE it. It's coed. Almost half of the class are men. I always see couples taking the class together. Here's the website: Good luck

Try the Coed Yoga at the Lafayette Community Center on Sunday am, Tuesday am and pm, and Friday am with Howard Van Es. Several couples attend the Sunday morning class in particular. Registration is through and you can choose register for several weeks of yoga or pay when you drop in..Namaste yoga fan

I have been going to yoga classes at the Moraga Barn in Moraga. It is on Country Club near the closed post office and SiSi's Cafe. They offer four classes: Sunday morning (9 am, I think?) and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 6:30. Monday is a gentle flow class, Thursday is restorative, and Sunday and Wednesday is yoga level 1/2, leaning a little more toward level 2. There have been men at every class I've gone to. Sometimes only one, but the classes are pretty small, so that's still a good percentage Also, the classes are in the open space of Canyon Construction, so some of the male employees come to class from time to time. The owner and his wife are usually there.

It is a very chill environment. Both teachers are great about showing how to modify moves to accommodate any body issues or to make them a little more challenging if you're more advanced. They often hand out cards at the Moraga Farmer's Market. If you go there, you could chat with them about the classes. The first class is free if you and your husband want to check it out.

I don't have the contact info handy, but they do have a Facebook page. Here is a link to that: Mary

Beginning yoga for dad

Jan 2014

Would anyone recommend a good yoga/pilates/other class for a fit but stiff guy in his middle years? Berkeley-albany- el cerrito range is ideal. Evening or weekend schedule needed. Happy Back in 2014

I know of the perfect yoga class for you! Scotty McAuley is male-friendly and great for people without a lot of physical flexibility. 5:30-7:00pm Beginning Yoga in Studio C on Tuesdays through the Berkeley Yoga Center (2121 Bonar Street, Berkeley CA): It's $16 drop in, but there's also class passes if you decide you like it. See the website for the passcode to get into the building. He does Sundays from 10:30am-12:00pm, too. Since other people look at these reviews, I'll say that even though it's technically ''Beginning Yoga'' and absolutely accessible to beginners, he does say with each pose how to push yourself more, so it's appropriate for more advanced yoga students as well. - Big fan of Scotty

Innerstellar Yoga! I can't say enough great things about them. The classes are warm (studio is comfortably heated) and nourishing. The teachers ar amazing! There are often great Groupons out there for them but they also have a new client package, so you can try them out. They're across from the old Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley and have classes day and evening. Hope to see you there! Julie

Check out Niroga Yoga, 1808 University Avenue in Berkeley. The Family Yoga there is also excellent. This is serious yoga which is also approachable, and you will be connecting to positive social activism globally as well. They are bravely walking the yogic path as far as addressing the big issues. Yogini

YogaClass focusing on technique+strength+mediation

Sept 2013

I recently moved to Berkeley from Carlsbad, San Diego and want to hit my yoga mat. Ideally want a clone of my teacher, Josh Vincent - who did a combination of Ashtanga (flow) & Iyengar (alignment) & mediation/chants. So looking for a teacher who believes asanas are practiced as a series of sequential learning blocks built on correct technique(alignment) and strength, and whose class has a calm & mediative ambience. Would prefer classes in Berkeley and during the day. Thank you. Yoga fan

I really like Innerstellar Yoga, across from Berkeley Bowl, especially the classes with Kiki and Michelle. Kiki's classes focus more on alignment (she's also a Pilates teacher), Michelle's on flow, both include meditation and pranayama. There was recently a Groupon for Innerstellar. Yoga Fan of 13 years

Yoga teacher, Aya, offers classes, private sessions and semi-private classes in flow, but with an emphasis on alignment. She currently teaches at Flying Yogashala in Temescal and Emeryville Yoga. From her bio '' By giving detailed cues and focusing on proper alignment, Aya helps to make each pose accessible to each body in itÂ’s own way.'' You can see her bio and schedule on the flying yoga Shala website but not on Emeryville yoga website (my studio) because she currently teaches privately there. Good yoga teachers are hard to find. Aya really pays attention to alignment and works with new and experienced people to increase depth. Emeryville yoga supports a more meditative environment than flying yoga , but either way I would look into classes with Aya. She values the spiritual aspect of yoga more than many flow teachers. Her phone is (312) 375-7445. There is a YouTube video v=qdtyDixPvfk&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DqdtyDixPvfk she's new to the area so you won't find much about her. Kaya Yogawithkaya [at]

I'm not sure if this exactly matches your needs since you are looking to replace an Ashtanga and Iyengar teacher but I frequent a teacher's class (not in Berkeley but in Emeryville) at Square One Yoga Collective, which is a wonderful, unpretentious studio with excellent teachers. One of them is Tara Sullivan. She teaches Vinyasa (also flow), which I find way more interesting than Ashtanga. She is very thorough when it comes to alignment and encourages props (like Iyengar) unlike many other teachers. She is very clued up on this as she is also an Alexander Technique practitioner. Her presence is calm and her temperament is gentle although she does incorporate music (which I love but may not be for everyone.) She is refreshingly insightful and the things she says often resonate with me. And she's funny. I'd be hesitant to recommend her as a ''replacement'' to your previous instructor because we are each absolutely individual and I know from past mistakes how disappointing it is to try to ''replicate'' someone else's style. Maybe see it as an opportunity to expand your learning with someone new. Give it a shot. I love Tara's classes! -- Yogi who has had MANY different teachers over 17 years Shani

Yoga class recommendation for older women

Aug 2013

Does anyone have recommendations for gentle exercise classes/facilities for older/senior women? I'm trying to find a place where I can take my 78 y.o. mother. It'd be great if we could exercise together! I used to go to Linda Evans in Moraga years ago. They had a wonderful yoga instructor that moved away to Sacramento. It was restorative and gentle. Helen

Try yoga for seniors taught Friday mornings at Niroga Yoga in Berkeley. This is a serious yoga studio that is also very warm, approachable, and light. The community of seniors (and others) is delightful. Yogini

Need a Wednesday night yoga class

March 2013

I'm looking for a Wednesday night yoga class. With our schedules of work, school, kids, everything - it's the only time I have open. Before I was pregnant I was always very flexible with little to no effort. Now it is quite the opposite. I'd love to get my flexibility back and build more strength. In the past I have really enjoyed hatha flow classes but I am open to pretty much anything but bikram, I don't do well with heat. I am also looking for a reasonable rate - $10-15/class? I'm in Oakland but would be open to driving to Berkeley or up to El Cerrito for the right class. Sabina

Yoga to the People in Berkeley! Class schedule can be found here: Vinyasa yoga, $10 suggested donation per class drop-in, great vibe. Read the reviews on Yelp. It's not for everyone, but I personally like the community there.

Yoga for the out of shape, self-conscious in Oak

Sept 2012

I'm looking for a yoga class in Oakland where I won't feel totally inadequate & horrible about myself while attempting to do triangle pose in between 2 hard- bodied contortionists. I did a fair amount of yoga in my 20s and really enjoyed it, but now after gaining weight from pregnancy, miscarriages, medications, depression, and back problems, even the thought of walking into a yoga studio amongst the skinny yoginis makes me feel so crappy, that I just don't do it. I do have back problems, so that is an issue as well. Thank you! anon

plus size yoga classes at Alameda Yoga Station. This location is about equidistant between the Webster St. Tube and the 23rd Avenue/ Park Street exit. ... keep breathing and love yourself!

Loka Yoga on MacArthur between the Dimond and Laurel districts is the place you are looking for. It is a lovely space serving all sizes and shapes and levels of fitness. I have taken classes between folks balancing on their hands and people who can barely bend at the waist. I love Loka and so do all of the regulars. Alice Joanou is the patient, skilled, and very funny owner. Her classes are great but so are the classes taught by other teachers. Just avoid the advanced classes and you will be fine. Loka is one of those local businesses that truly has a community feel. You should check it out!
Loka Fan

I take a once-a-week yoga class in downtown Oakland at 12:15 pm on Tuesdays. It's held in a meeting room at City Hall and lasts one hour. The teacher is Patty Hirota Cohen and she is wonderful. Students mostly work in downtown Oakland, it includes individuals of all levels, both men and women. I've been in the class for over 7 years and it's an essential part of my week. Patty Hirota Cohen phirota [at]

You could try Baxter Bell's classes. He teaches at Namaste in Rockridge and Grand Lake. He also teaches a Back Care class at Piedmont Yoga Studio. He's very knowledgeable. He makes everyone feel comfortable.

Kimber Simpkins also teaches at Namaste. She's wonderful. sarah theresourcediva [at]

Restorative Yoga Class for Beginner

Aug 2012

Hi - I'd love to find a gentle Yoga class, one suitable for beginners that is more Yoga and less strenuous exercise. I just spoke with my learned chiropractor and he cautioned me against many of the yoga classes being offered these days, saying many many folks are coming to him with Yoga-related injuries because they are over-doing it, or combining Yoga with exercise that they're not ready for. He said to look for ''restorative'' Yoga, so I thought I'd start here with a search for recommendations for Yoga that will heal, and make stronger, and not cause me to overdue it right out of the gate. We're at the top of Solano, so anywhere from 4th Street to Piedmont Avenue to El Cerrito will work, but North Berkeley would be best. Thank you

I haven't tried it yet, but I saw a small yoga studio on Shattuck -just up from Chez Panisse, I think. I feel like it was across the street from The Cheeseboard. It looked tiny, just a few classes. I emailed back-n-forth with the teacher there and she seemed great. Her contact info is posted, even when her studio is closed.

I recommend that you focus on finding ''Iyengar'' style yoga. I agree, start with some restorative classes and then build from there. Currently the ''flow'' style is all the rage. People seem to want to make their yoga a hard-core, cardio experience. I don't get it, personally. Iyengar Yoga Mama

Oja's Yoga Center in El Cerrito Plaza has a great restorative class...with Nicole Becker. That's the only class I've taken there. I'm sure the others are probably also good. Em

Cybele at Berkeley Yoga Center does an amazing yin yoga class twice a week. Can't recommend it enough. Deep, slow, peaceful stretching with great support and some meditative practice too. Lindsey

I have a friend who goes to Ojas Yoga Center at El Cerrito Plaza, close to Trader Joe's, upstairs. They offer restorative classes three times a week. She's been to Michelle's and Nicole's class and says both are wonderful -- very approachable and willing to work with an individuals physical issues. They always ask about injuries and special needs. lori

I don't have a particular class to recommend but from many years of yoga experience, there are two things that I think are important, maybe more important than the class being a ''restorative'' one (although that's great too):

1. The teacher. Pay attention to the messages the teacher communicates - do you feel like you are being invited to do poses, or ordered? Does the teacher remind people frequently to take care of their bodies, or does s/he suggest that you should push yourself even if you feel discomfort? A teacher may want you to feel challenged in the class, but the emphasis should remain on listening to your body's needs. If you don't get this message loud and clear, find another teacher.

2. Your own attitude in class. Mine has changed a lot over the years and I've come to embrace the fact that my body and my pace may not match what the teacher or the rest of the class is doing. It's not a competition, you don't have to prove anything to anyone, and no one will judge you for your practice (and if they do, that's their problem!) Practice listening to your body and rest when you need it - even if everyone else is still going strong. Of course yoga carries a risk of physical injury, just like any other physical activity (say, running), but I think you can decrease your risk by not being stupid and not pushing yourself past the point of discomfort. Mellow yogini

Someone mentioned the yoga studio on Shattuck near Chez Panisse for restorative yoga. The person didn't have much info. This is the studio I've been going to for 2-1/2 years and it has changed my life! The teacher, Barbara Kaplan, is really quite amazing. She exudes compassion and acceptance and welcomes new students with great warmth. There is a very sweet feeling to the group of students who show up at her classes. I highly recommend Harmony Yoga Studio 647-8147 or howdink

Kirtan Recommendations

March 2012

I have discovered that one very healing activity for me is kirtan--traditional Indian chanting in Sanskrit with great music. It gives me a release and boosts my life immensely. However, I have also discovered that driving a lot saps my vitality (I am an exhausted often-driving mother of three). With that in mind can you recommend a regular or occasional kirtan that takes place not-too-far from El Cerrito? Thank you.
Jai Ma!

Please try Yoga Kula on Virginia/Shattuck in Berkeley for kirtan. They have kirtan at least one each month. I have not tried it but know kirtan is in my future. anon

I strongly recommend checking out Curry Kirtan in El Cerrito right in your backyard on the 1st and 3rd Friday nights. Check it out at or more generally at

Jai Ma

Yoga for someone who is REALLY out of shape

March 2012

I'm interested in trying yoga. I'm over 40, VERY overweight, and have virtually no core muscle support due to past abdominal surgeries with no physical therapy or rehab afterwards. Is yoga even an option for me? Iyengar looks like it would be the most likely, but I really don't know. I just know that I'd like to increase my flexibility and engage in something mindful. Are there any studios/teachers who specialize in people like me?
Gone to seed but hoping to re-bloom

You do not need to be slim or physically fit to benefit from yoga. I can highly recommend the Yogakula studio at the corner of Shattuck and Virginia in North Berkeley. I think you will find more middleaged women in the early morning classes there. You can view the class schedule on their website and I would also recommend the restorative yoga classes (there's an excellent teacher on Sunday mornings) since they are less vigorous but will get you going in a great direction. If you are not ready for the group setting, there is also Yogaglo online---only $18/month for unlimited classes in your own home with many choices of teachers, but then you wouldn't have the benefit of the small corrections and encouragement of taking a class in person. Yoga has really changed my life in a good way and I hope to see you in a class SOON. yoga glow Alameda Yoga station has ''Yoga for larger bodies'' you could try. Try a couple of different teachers, then get some private lessons for six months if you can afford to, to rebuild some muscle. You may qualify for physical therapy because of your surgeries, or may like to work with a physical therapist first. Good [email protected] My mom went through that

Dear future yogi: YES, you can find a yoga class. It would be helpful to know where you are in the bay to give specific studio recommendations, but you are correct that Iyengar classes are a good place to start because of how props are used and because a teacher of that style tends to have more training than many other styles. A look at the Yoga Room in Berkeley's schedule shows that they have a Level 1 class on their schedule (though it's certainly possible that any of the level 1-3 classes could work just fine; experienced yoga teachers are adept at giving modifications and other options when the planned pose is not appropriate for someone). A look at the Piedmont Yoga in Oakland's schedule shows some Hatha 1-2 classes, ''Gentle Yoga,'' ''Gentle Basics,'' ''Gentle Assisted Yoga.'' That's a whole bunch of possibilities. Feel free to email me if you want any explanation of styles or suggestions to your locale, but it sounds like you're on the right track. Further, you should not at all be shy about contacting the studio or the individual teacher prior to going to a class to let them know where you're at, and when you go you should make sure they understand that you've had surgeries with no physical therapy. Yoga is a wonderful and dynamic practice and I think you're going to love it. Grey

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: She also teaches one class a week at her former studio Monkey Yoga:

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 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 = 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 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, 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!) 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 [at] Viviana

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: 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 '' 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. 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 ( is an all Anusara Yoga studio with very well trained and delightful teachers & classes for all levels. Namaste in Rockridge ( is a great neighborhood studio with likewise excellent teachers in a diverse selection of different styles (including Anusara). Anusara ( 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: Melissa

Yoga class for a man, not too touchy-feely

Feb 2009

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 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 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 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 anu

Yoga in the afternoon

Dec 2008

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: Mickey

Bad neck and back pain - need yoga class

Nov 2008

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

Yoga studio for midlife woman near North Berkeley?

Oct 2008

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 . 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 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: a Berkeley yogini

Yoga Class in Berkeley/El Cerrito/Albany

May 2008

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 katrin

try the Berkeley Yoga Center. There are fabulous teachers and classes. Esther

I just started taking classes at a new studio in downtown Berkeley that I like alot. Yoga for the People ( 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 . 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

Yoga for stressed-out single mom

Jan 2008

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

Earlier 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 [at] 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 [at] 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 Phone number is 510-864-0149 Email is Stephanie [at] 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 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. 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 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? - 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: 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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... 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 ( 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 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. 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 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:

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:

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:

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:

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