All Posts from December, 2009

A gorgeous reminder

December 13th, 2009 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Today, after a rainy weekend, the sun was just perching its head above the San Francisco hills and in the welcoming walls of Bernal Yoga, co-fouder Savonn Wyland was teaching a two-hour extended vinyasa class called Dive-In. I had never taken a class by Savonn but had heard such brilliant things about her, and now I know why. She, much like the studio, presents a warm, safe, clear and peaceful environment within which to practice this ancient tradition. The group of over a dozen students were focused, breathing, dedicated and in the flow of yoga. It was magical.

We started the class with a heart opener which in some ways set the theme for the two hours. Yoga is a way to open yourself up, enter the boundaries you have and extend them, understand your breath and your body and thus yourself. Much like Bill, Savonn’s brother and co-founder of Bernal Yoga, Savonn stuck to the poses, walking around different parts of the room, getting into asanas as she invited to do the same. There weren’t reminders to breathe, the rhythm of the class made it inevitable to do so, and we moved from one pose to another almost seamlessly. It was as if we could guess what would come next, our bodies almost seemed to know, but we couldn’t. Savonn likes to surprise, she likes to make each class different and unique, and this class certainly was that.

There were poses I had never done before, like Dragonfly, or another pose that I had never done quite correctly which was one where we lie on our back, grab our knees, straighten our arms and make circles. This offers a wonderful lower back rub. When standing, Savonn said something very helpful which was locate the center of the heel and bend it straight down and back. I suddenly could do that and I somehow felt more balanced and upright.

Another reminder was that breathing into a part of the body isn’t actually possible, it’s just about directing energy there and replenishing that. We can do that any time, it doesn’t have to happen on the mat. I loved that.

Through all of these, the class was beautifully focused and were there for one reason only: to do yoga, to find union in their minds and bodies.

Savonn lives in Portland now and Bernal Yoga has opened another studio there called Sellwood where Savonn, Bill and Rosie (Bill’s wife) teach. But Savonn promised that one of them would be back here for a workshop every month. I will try and make it to each of these: Savonn offered a warmth, confidence, strength and creative class that I will not forget for a long time.