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Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Garden SF

Molly TobinArticles


Hi! Welcome to the studio!

Before COVID, we (the staff at Yoga Garden) loved welcoming new folks into the studio. Our location at the corner of Divisadero and Haight ensured a high amount of foot traffic which made our quirky building quite the hub for San Francisco’s yoga community. 

If you haven’t yet – sign up for your FREE 2 Week Livestream Membership Trial! You’ll get unlimited access to 40+ Livestream classes each week and tons of Replay videos.

Now, lots of new folks are joining our virtual studio for the first time. Since we can’t answer your questions in person, we hope this blog will give you a better sense of what we offer and some suggestions for how you can find your practice. From time to time, we change the exact name of our classes, but the general characteristics of each category remain the same. 

When in doubt, the best way to determine if a class is right for you is to simply try it out! And with our digital offerings, it’s easier than ever: Get a Single Replay for just $5.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 


What makes Yoga Garden SF unique?

What types of classes does Yoga Garden SF offer?

How do I know what class is right for me?

What are the benefits of being a member?

Where can I get more information? 

WHAT MAKES YOGA GARDEN SF UNIQUE? 


1. One of the hallmarks of Yoga Garden SF is variety. Our hope is that with a membership here, you’ll have no problem creating (and sustaining) a well rounded mind-body practice. Initially, we were an Iyengar studio. The roots of that history are still visible today in our public classes as well as our teacher training. We like to call our style “alignment based vinyasa.” Whether you take a Power Flow or Restorative class, you can count on your teachers to provide detailed cues to help you discover new elements of your practice.

2. Overwhelmingly, what our clients and teachers say they love most about Yoga Garden is the sense of community. In a survey of 182 YGSF students and 17 YGSF teachers, both parties said they felt a special connection with the other. In other words, teachers said the students at Yoga Garden were “more dedicated” and “eager to learn” than at other studios. Similarly, students said their favorite thing about Yoga Garden was their teachers. It might be because our building was once a home (owner David Nelson’s daughter was even born in Air Studio)…but for whatever reason, Yoga Garden just feels like family.

“Great teachers being authentically themselves. Feels like a collection of excellent practitioner-teachers, not a brand/cult/style. I love that there are excellent Yin classes AND great Vinyasa, both high active and more chill. I can get the breadth of yoga I want in one membership.”

3. More than a yoga studio, Yoga Garden is a yoga school. In addition to our daily schedule of public classes, we offer advanced studies workshops and Yoga Alliance-certified training programs in Prenatal Yoga, Kids & Teens Yoga, Trauma-Informed Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Ayurveda, and more. Our internationally-recognized 200 Hour and 300 Hour Teacher Training have helped yoga professionals launch their teaching career as well as start their own studios and businesses. So no matter where you’re starting from, you’ll be able to deepen your practice here in profound ways.

WHAT TYPE OF CLASSES DOES YOGA GARDEN SF OFFER? 

Vinyasa

Vinyasa is the most common style of yoga offered in American studios today, and Yoga Garden is no exception. A vinyasa class is defined by flowing movement from one pose (or asana) to the next, with a strong emphasis on the breath. Each teacher will teach their own signature style of Vinyasa – so make sure to sample a few classes from different teachers to find one that resonates with you. 

The term “Flow” is essentially synonymous with vinyasa, as in Mindful Flow, Power Flow, and Candlelight Flow. These classes use the basic elements of Vinyasa, but focus on a particular theme as the name implies. You can read more specifics by clicking in to the class descriptions on our class schedule

Align

Both Hatha Align and Vinyasa Align are classes that focus less on the seamless flowing between poses and more on the experience within each pose. You can expect a slower pace and more detailed instructions for each pose that will help you find subtle yet profound areas of expansion. If you’re curious about the anatomy behind a pose, or have a hard time slowing down in your practice, Align is for you!

Yin 

In order to understand the philosophy behind Yin Yoga, it’s helpful to know the origin of the term. You might be familiar with “yin and yang” – these are Taoist principles that refer to the two halves of all life force energy: yang is active, while yin is calming. Together, they create a balance of energy. In yoga, we can think of Vinyasa or Power Flow as “yang” styles, with lots of active movement and high energy. Yin is essentially the opposite: through longer holds (and breathwork), we explore the quieter, still space within in order to passively open our connective tissues. We highly recommend this practice to all levels of yoga students! Maintaining a balanced practice is one of the best things we can do for our bodies and minds. 

Restorative

While sometimes confused with Yin due to its use of long holds and slower pace, Restorative is a style specifically designed for relaxation. Class will start with some gentle opening movement and finish with restorative poses. Restorative poses are often supported with several props (yoga blocks, blankets, straps, etc.) and held for at least 5 minutes. This is a great class to balance out higher-energy workouts, or just to simply give yourself some rest. 

Yoga Sculpt / Garden Barre

Variety is not only important – but it’s also fun! We created these classes to add a little twist on the standard yoga class. They utilize different modalities from strength training, pilates, ballet, HIIT, and more. We recommend getting a few yoga classes under your belt before signing up for these, since some asana postures will not be instructed in great detail. 

Prenatal 

Prenatal yoga can improve your quality of life while you’re pregnant and improve your labor and birth outcome. Your prenatal class is led by Registered Prenatal Yoga Teachers (RPYT) who have been trained on appropriate variations and sequences for pregnancy. It’s also a great way to meet some other expecting parents! Postpartum mothers are also encouraged to attend.

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT CLASS IS RIGHT FOR ME? 

When in doubt, the best way to determine if a class is right for you is to simply try it out! With our digital offerings, it’s easier than ever: Get a Single Replay for just $5 or sign up for a FREE 2 Week Livestream Membership Trial! For more suggestions on how to get started, keep reading! 

If you’re brand new to yoga…

Search for our Beginner Series in the Replay Library. In these classes, your teacher will introduce you to key concepts and break down the basics of vinyasa yoga in order to help you prepare for faster-paced classes. You’ll also learn how to modify common poses to meet your body’s needs. After a few beginner classes, try out Candlelight Flow or regular Vinyasa. 

If you’ve done some yoga, but it’s been a while…

Start with a standard Vinyasa. All of our classes are taught by experienced teachers who will provide multiple variations that meet the needs of a wide range of students. We recommend sampling a class from a few different teachers to find the style that works best for you. 

If you’re an athlete looking for recovery activities…

Restorative might be your jam! If spending an hour mostly on your back feels a little too relaxed, Yin will also provide a deep stretch for your entire body without tiring you out. If you’re short on time, you can also check out our Replay Library for on-demand classes available 24/7, including shorter practices like Qi Gong and Guided Savasana. 

If you’re feeling extra motivated…

Dive in with Power Flow! This fast-paced class will provide a challenge and leave you satisfyingly-sweaty. Class always wraps up with a relaxing savasana for a well-balanced practice. You’ll also be sure to feel the burn with Yoga Sculpt. Make sure to have some water handy!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MEMBER? 

Besides getting an unlimited access to daily yoga and fitness classes – when you become a member at Yoga Garden SF, you: 

Join a vibrant community of yogis who are committed to their practice. You’ll make new friends and find newfound motivation from your fellow yogis. If you continue on to teacher training, you’ll have access to our vast network of alumni all over the world. 

Support an independent studio that has been serving its community for 22 years. We believe that local merchants, not corporations, are what make neighborhoods great. We employ local teachers and staff at a living wage and are committed to serving the people of San Francisco. 

Invest in your own self-transformation! Yoga is more than a workout. Yoga Garden teachers honor the history and lineage of yoga as a spiritual practice, and their teachings will impact more than just your physical body. 

Get 10% off workshops, advanced studies, and retail (when the studio is open). We work with the best teachers in the Bay Area to create informative, life-changing workshops to help you explore new areas of mindful practice. 

Connect to the Bay Area’s best yoga teachers. The Bay Area has been a hub for yoga since the early 1970s. This tradition of rigorous study is one that we are honored to be a part of and share with you through our incredible teaching staff.

Where can I get more information?

For any questions related to accessing classes on Union, the fastest way to get help is to use the chat function at union.fit.

To learn more about our advanced studies programs (200 Hour / 300 Hour Teacher Training / Specialty Trainings)

Please contact [email protected]

If you’d like to speak with a member of our team about anything else

Please email [email protected].  

Last but not least, make sure to allow email communication from Yoga Garden SF to stay updated on the latest news,

offerings and special announcements from our team!

In service of yoga,
The Yoga Garden SF team