Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sacramento Seva Yoga: Yoga Reclaimed

Photos  by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

What does 'yoga' mean to you?

In my eight years practicing and two years teaching, I've come to discover yoga is about union. Unifying the body, mind, spirit. Uniting the breath with movement. Showing up together as a collective, empowered community.

Yoga means uniting forces with other like-minded, high-vibration, compassionate humans and spreading love and kindness out into the world. Yoga is about learning to love more, feel more, and experience life more fully.

So with those things in mind, I recently launched a project with Respiro Photography and Sac Sierra Yoga where I'll be blogging about seva, or selfless service, and all the local Sacramento yoga studios where you can take free yoga classes.

I want to get out into new spaces, talk to yogis I've never met, learn from the amazing teachers in my local community, and say thank you.


As an added and incredible BONUS, Brynna of Respiro Photography is also giving back to our community by offering one lucky yoga student or teacher a free photo shoot this summer. During our travels around the area and our visits to local classes, we'll be talking to yogis to try and find someone who could benefit from having head shots taken, so if you might be that person, feel free to email me (aliveinthefire at gmail dot com) and I'll send you the application.

Photo  by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

Sacramento Seva Yoga: Yoga Reclaimed

My second stop on the tour was Yoga Reclaimed in Auburn. Full disclosure: in January, I started teaching the Tuesday and Thursday noon classes at you could say my deep love and appreciation of this studio is a somewhat biased perspective on the space :) But let me just say that even though I'm on staff, and therefore not necessarily a 'neutral' point of view, I'd still love to tell you about Reclaimed's free community class and believe it definitely belongs on the Sacramento Seva list.

The Saturday morning community yoga class at Reclaimed is a truly unique and wonderful experience. Studio owner Ryan Bailey teaches an upbeat, inspiring, and challenging 90-minute balance class. To me it feels like a cross between a sacred kirtan gathering and a dance party you'd have with friends-- the music is loud, the energy is intense, and the yogis all around you are working really hard, so you feel motivated and encouraged. 

The space has the energy of transformation. You leave the studio feeling a lot different than when you arrived -- sweatier, more lighthearted, and more connected. 

Vibe of the space: Sacred, grounded, authentic (and during class, fierce)

Favorite moments from class: I loved immediately grounding and joining together as a community with the call-and-response chant to Ganesha. Very powerful mantra, and great drumming :)

I also loved the intensity of the warm up sequence, and all the core work we did to get our bodies ready for twisting and backbending. Ryan teaches the kind of class where you can't run and hide from what's going on -- a lot is being asked of you, physically, and at the same time you have the opportunity to connect inwardly on an emotional and spiritual level. As he described it, it's like being at a buffet... you get to pick and choose what you want to eat, and you don't have to choose everything. And the poses that you do participate in, those are the ones to savor.

My favorite moment was toward the end of class, when Ryan offered a profound reminder to become a witness to our own experiences. Not only on the mat, but also in our lives -- to be willing to step back for a second, see ourselves and our reactions for what they truly are, and to go from there.

Ryan teaches yoga in an incredibly powerful, raw, and authentic way. He meets you right where you are, whether it's your first time rolling out a mat or you've been to his class for years. He acknowledges and sees his students, and he is willing to push you to be the best version of yourself. Thank you, Ryan, for sharing the love and devotion of Bhakti yoga!

Above photo by Adam Perron.

Reasons I can't wait to come back: The community at Reclaimed is vibrant. The yogis here are open-minded and open-hearted, incredibly willing, and committed to their practice. The teachers bring their heart and soul each time they step into the room to teach, and often the classes are blessed by generous, mindful assistants too, meaning that your practice will be enhanced by touch and sometimes even a massage of your temples or feet during shavasana. Most days I leave the studio having hugged someone and/or laughed wholeheartedly, too, and that is a beautiful thing.

Studio location530 Grass Valley Hwy, Auburn, CA 95603

Phone: (530) 305-9408
Seva (free) community class offerings: Saturdays from 9:30am-11 am

Photos  by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

At Yoga Reclaimed, all are welcome. Come kick off your shoes, roll out your mat, and dive right in!


Stay tuned for the next update in the Sacramento Seva Yoga series, and as always feel free to reach out to me with feedback or any questions.

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