IN A COUNTY KNOWN FOR FITNESS, it’s not surprising that the
ancient practice of yoga has found its way into our daily lives. With
more than 30 local studios and approximately 90 classes happening
on any given day, one could easily say that at this moment somewhere,
someone in the county is doing a downward dog. Now that the New
Year is here and the associated resolutions are due, we asked some
local yogis from a handful of studios to share their knowledge of the
multiple benefits yoga brings — from strength and cardio to mindfulness and balance, the practice can help make 2017 your best year ever.
But first, a little background. Yoga originated
in northern India with the Indus-Sarasvati
civilization more than 5,000 years ago and
has gone through many development phases.
Merriam-Webster defines it as “a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and
well-being.” You’ll notice this definition has no
mention of Lululemon or a music playlist; it’s about what yoga does for
you on the inside. The modern phase of yoga’s development, which is
primarily how we now think of yoga in the West, is referred to as hatha
yoga, which was developed as a vehicle for meditation. Mix that with
hardwood-floor studios, sound systems and sweat-wicking Lycra,
and you have a scenario where Swami Sivananda (one of the original
founders of the practice) would most likely be impressed but scratching his head. Still, the poses now being taught usually adhere to the
fundamental principles. Today’s studios offer many variations of yoga
practice, including vinyasa flow, ashtanga yoga, Iyengar yoga, yin yoga
— in plain English, that’s truly something for everyone.
For the story in the following pages, we ventured up coastal bluffs
and into redwood groves to find Marin instructors practicing in their
habitat, hoping to remind readers that yoga poses can be done anywhere, anytime. Enjoy the scenery and experts’ pointers. Here they
will pinpoint the benefits and fundamentals of yoga.
Beautiful poses in stunning locations to
inspire a healthy take on the New Year.
BY LAURIEANNE LASSIK, MIMI TOWLE
AND KASIA PAWLOWSKA
PHOTOS BY JACK WOLFORD