Restorative Yoga with Hot Stones @ Rise Yoga

I recently took this class twice ~ once with instructor Ann DaPrato (Saturdays at 11am) and another time with Laura Hinsley (Wednesdays at 7:15pm) at Rise Yoga studio in the Greenhaven neighborhood of Sacramento.  

In a word: Delicious.

Restorative yoga includes very passive and supported poses allowing you to just be.  No stress.  No worries.  No straining.  Just sinking in and relaxing.  A couple of the poses include the instructor coming by and placing a hot stone or two either in your palms, on your back, or other places that seem most appropriate for the posture you are in.  I have come in busy and/or hurried from my day and after just a few minutes, I’m part of the relaxed flow of the class and everything else in my world slips away.

As described on the Rise Yoga site: “Classes involve the use of props to sustain supported yoga postures effortlessly for extended periods of time. Classes are held in a nurturing environment and are designed to activate the body’s innate relaxation response while receiving all the wonderful benefits of yoga postures such as backbends, forward bends, twists, and inversions. Hot Stones are used for their deeply radiant heating effects, allowing the body to utilize the energy from the stones to assist in relaxation and healing. Restorative yoga can be practiced by everyone, regardless of age or experience, and can be extremely beneficial as a complement to an active asana practice, during pregnancy, transition, illness, and of balance the stresses of daily life”.

For additional classes on the Rise Yoga schedule, click HERE

Rise Yoga currently offers one week of unlimited classes for just $15! 

Back in Sacramento ~ Yin Yoga

So, I am back in Sac and WOW did it get hot while I was gone!  Nice to be in the comforts of home, though.  On my two week excursion, I took with me only one pair of shoes (which I tossed for a new pair… see the Travel Tip portion of my Portland blog), 3 yoga pants, 3 tops, underthings, toiletries, and a jacket.  I found that I like variety… variety in classes, styles, information, clothes, and shoes.  Simplicity is a beautiful thing and I have definitely found an appreciation for it, though sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit more for fun, creativity, and expression.

Yesterday I took a Yin Yoga class with Robin… one I also took just before leaving for Portland.  Yin includes long held poses that allow your body to really open up as you sink into the asana, breathing as your body loosens. Don’t confuse Yin style with Restorative style; however.  Yin is not an “easy” class.  It pushes you past your self imposed limits, yet it is not an “athletic” yoga class, such as Bikram or most Vinyasa Flows.  One nice “treat” about Robin’s classes is that she gives you a nice mini head massage while Savasana… so delicious! Check it out sometime! Robin teaches Thursdays at 6pm at the Yoga Seed.

You can also visit this page on; scroll down to Yin in the style descriptions for local studios offering Yin Style Yoga:  CLICK HERE.

SacYoga Goes to Seattle

Arrived in Seattle recently… a surprise detour after my visit to Portland, and so far, so awesome! My first day in, it was an amazingly beautiful sunny day with a nice breeze near the waterfront.

Food: Went to Pike’s Place Market and had “the World’s Best Mac & Cheese” at Beechers Handmade Cheese ~ Scrumptous!  Next went to The Honey Hole in the Capitol Hill district. Great service, neighborhood, beer options, and lots of awesome sandwich options (great bread!), including vegetarian choices.  Happened to be wandering looking for a coffee/food place and saw a sign for Healeo. I like the word heal, so figured I’d stumble in.  Good thing I did!  They have amazing latte’s made with coconut milk, hemp, soy, or cow milk ~ love to have lots of options (Tip:  If you get hemp, it seems to need some sweetener as the hemp milk has a little bit of an acquired taste).  They also have a ton of healthy breakfast options, gluten free pizza, soup & stew options, and smoothies ~ lots of whole coconuts used here too!  Just finished listening to Bob Marley sing: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain!” YES!

Yoga Studio: Urban Yoga Spa. Went to a really cool yoga place called Urban Yoga Spa (Seattle’s nearby Lulu Lemon had a free class pass to, so figured I’d give it a try!). They offer hot yoga classes… some power Vinyasa and some hatha.  I loved the hot hatha class I took with the humorous instructor Brett… whenever things got challenging, he’d lighten the mood with something silly.  I was sweating, big time, yet still in the flow of traditional yoga which is focused on presence, joy, and inner groundedness… not on pushing and showing up just to “get a workout”. They do have a one week unlimited trial for $25 if you happen to be in the area (or maybe you can snag a free class pass at Lulu!). *Be prepared and bring an extra outfit, because the one you arrive in will be soaked!

Yoga Studio: Yoga to the People. Next day, I went to Yoga to the People and was really excited to check it out, but ended up being disappointed… unfortunately.  I took the “Traditional Hot Hatha” class in a room was extremely hot, with a teacher talking non-stop throughout (and not in a soothing way). Often as she counted out numbers/she would clap along… 1/clap, 2/clap, 3/clap, and so on. At one point, I took a break for just a moment to relax my arms and she said “that’s not what we’re doing right now!”  Ouch.  It felt regimented, uninspiring, and cookie cutter.  Sorry :(  Sometimes felt like a fitness trainer pushing their client to go-go-go… not my idea of yoga.

Thoughts on What Yoga Is (to me): So, what is my experience of traditional yoga? A practice that allows us to trust our own bodies and instincts, ultimately creating a loving union between our mind, body, and spirit. We are our own masters; Our teacher is only a guide, so it’s important to trust ourselves first and foremost. Yes, a great yoga class can be challenging at times, something that pushes us just past our limits (not to the point of potential injury or defeatism), so that we continue to grow and expand, ultimately feeling amazing about ourselves, thus shifting the way we see the world. A great yoga teacher gently nudges us to sink into who we are, which allows us to realize our potential.  In the end we feel united, whole, proud, free, and can sometimes be brought to a state of yummy bliss.

Yoga Studio: Samadhi Yoga. Ahhhh Samadhi Yoga.  This was a treat. Instructor Stephanie taught a basic vinyasa flow class filled with challenging poses and a high priority on proper alignment.  She was very aware of each person in her class and often made adjustments to help you sink right in to the asana. The class was a great mix of traditional yoga filled with a perfect balance of challenge and relaxation (and alternate nostril breathing!).  This is one in Seattle I would for sure check out again.  Aauummmmm.

SacYoga goes to Portland

I’m off to Portland Oregon and will be exploring some yoga there ~ excited to see what I find!

Will add to this post with some options and info about the Portland Yoga scene :)

Getting Lost and Food: So… my first day in Portland, I got lost. Fortunately, Portland has an amazing public transportation system, so I was able to find my help with the help of many strangers… also, went to an amazing restaurant called Habibi that serves Lebanese (Greek like) food… the owner knew that I had been lost and was hungry, so kindly offered me some free hummus and pita ~ WOW! I ordered a gin and tonic and some awesome spinach and lentil soup (came with MORE pita) ~ YUM! Most of the menu is old family recipes… top secret! So definetely one to try when you come to Portland!

I’ve found there are some similarities with Portland and Sacramento… there is much cultural diversity,various ethnicities, sexual orientation, etc.  And for that, it feels like home. I just stumbled into “Public Domain” coffee house (on my way to a restaurant where I left my Visa card on accident!) and saw a friendly face with long dread locks.  We talked for a bit as he was making my Soy Vanilla Latte (no extra charge for the Soy and rice milk also offered as an option!).  It came up that I am from Sacramento and turns out that he is originally from Sacramento, too ~ we remember each other from the coffee houses he used to work at (Tupelo and Naked)…  Out of all the coffee houses I could have stumbled in to ~ How cool is that?  *Update to #2: Looks like all independent coffee shops here offer rice in addition to soy ~ cool!

One thing I have noticed here in Portland is that being a healthy vegetarian here is a breeze!  TONS of veg only restaurants  and food carts.  Even the “meat serving” places have great veg options (lots of vegetables, beans, tofu options, etc.).  Yah!  There is even a mini vegan mall consisting of the following spots: Clothing Company: www.herbivoreclothing.comBakery: www.sweetpeabaking.comGrocery Store: www.foodfightgrocery.comTattoo Shop:

Travel Tip: Lesson learned: Do not buy new shoes for a trip. It’s imperative that they be broken in and/or you are ABSOLUTELY SURE they will be fabulously comfortable and supportive! It’s the worst when your feet hurt (especially if you’ll be walking around, exploring a lot) and the pain takes over the joy of your environment.  I made the mistake of bringing brand new shoes on my trip and my feeties are paying for it ~ Argh!  HAPPILY, I happened to find the most amazing, comfy shoes (bonus: found out they were Vegan after doing a search online for this blog!).  Expensive, but well worth it: Jambu Water Divas (much cuter in person, by the way). I’ve been wearing them for a day and a half now and, surprisingly there has been no “break in” needed… they have been comfy, cushy, and suppportive with long days of walks and uphill climbs :)

Yoga: Took my first yoga class here at a place called “Sprouts“.  They offer all classes on a donation only basis and are VERY warm and friendly on your arrival (and departure).  The class I took was a beginning Vinyasa style. The teacher, Tess, was very experienced and offered great guidance for proper alignment and for getting deeper in to poses. Skylor, the founder, has an obvious enthusiasm for her work and for making each being feel valued.  Sprouts also offers cooking classes and health coaching.

Took another class at a place called “Yoga Union“. Nice place with a little boutique and a locker room and shower (separate areas for men and women).  I took a really cool restorative yoga class with Carisa ~ loved it! The next day I took a “Core” class with Angelina.  This was an amazing, deep class with long held poses and lots of inner focus and breathing.  They have drop in classes for $15 or $25 for a 2 week unlimited class pass (new students to Union).

Lastly, and right before I left for Seattle, I took a meditation class with hypnotherapist Scott Duvall.  Scott is extremely welcoming and it is obvious that he great values each person that walks through his doors.  He goes out of his way to genuinely make people feel special. In addition to all that, he is a gifted meditation leader integrating breath with visualization, chakra focus, as well as time to simply focus on breath.  He offers a free meditation class Sundays from 10-11:30am.

Portland Sites: Had a trip to Multnomah Falls (described as “a 611-foot-tall roaring, awe-inspiring cascade of icy water, lets you experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease” on the website:, which is about a half hour from downtown Portland, today ~ beautiful! You can take a very short walk (hike?) to the bridge and feel amazing “Sprinkles” of water on your skin from the falls or you can hike up about a mile or so (steep, so a nice workout!) and see some gorgeous streams.  The weather has been ideal since I’ve been in Porland… many days of sun (in the seventies), a couple of days of skies filled with dark clouds, and one day of rain.  I like diversity!

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Yoga Seed Collective ~ Nonprofit Yoga Center

I recently checked out The Yoga Seed Collective (located at 1400 E Street, Suite B in Sacramento) and had a great class with one of the founders, Zack.  He is genuine and inspired by this mission. The vibe in the studio was great and everyone seemed really friendly. I even saw two familiar faces from other studios that I’ve practiced at!

Rates for classes are on a donation basis only $7-$15 sliding scale ~ donate what you can within that range.

Their mission statement is: To serve the community by providing financially accessible yoga-related services through donation-based yoga classes, community outreach to underserved and/or vulnerable populations and community support activities for yoga students and teachers.

Mandala Yoga Mat Review


Mandala Yoga Mat “Experience the Freedom of a Round Mat”

As seen in Yoga Journal magazine, the amazing part of this mat, is that you never have limbs or feet or hands spilling over to the floor or carpet! Regardless of the posture you are practicing, your whole body (including extremities) are always “on the mat”.

Please note:  The Mandala Yoga Mat is very large with a diameter of 6 feet, so you will need substantial space in a room to roll out the mat.  It is not appropriate to bring to a yoga class, unless there is a lot of room available; however, great at home or for a one-on-one yoga class.

They also have an awesome knee pad (amazing for lunges or on top of a block, if using for a seated post), made of the same material as a yoga mat, but doubled over for added padding (and just $6, so a great deal!). I really like their Yoga Mat Cleaner (phosphate and chemical free) made of distilled water, Tea Tree, and Lavender Oil available on the site for purchase, too… or you can make one yourself at home :)

Visit the following link for more info on this item: Mandala Yoga MatYoga Mats)

Crystal Hermitage at Ananda


I visited the Crystal Hermitage during their open house recently. Over a week and a half more than 1,100 people came to see The Crystal Hermitage gardens where 7000 tulips are blooming!

TheCrystal Hermitage is a lovely and calming holy place.  The Gardens are beautifully designed and maintained, and overlook the hills of the Sierra Nevadas, the canyon of the Middle Fork of the Yuba River, and the Tahoe National Forest.

If you go, make sure to stand outside on the back deck/patio. There is an AMAZING energy there… so quiet and so alive.  I always get a revelation there when I just “be still”.  The first was “You are the seeker of all, seek Me and I shall show you everything”.  So for me, this meant: I am always going in many directions, absorbing a ton of information…. instead of trying to do all, know all, I only need to seek divine spirit, my higher self, God and everything will be shown to me and realized.
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