This month we welcomed a new teacher to the Yoga Garden SF team: Daniela Rizza! She teaches Power Flow on Tuesdays at 8:00 am PT. Get to know her below, and sign up for her class here!
When I’m not teaching, practicing, or thinking about yoga, I spend the rest of my time in the pottery studio as a small batch ceramicist; it’s the perfect way to zone out, quiet my thoughts, and get my creativity on. I also spend one day a week volunteering at Family Dog Rescue; I easily become obsessed and fall in love with every dog there. I’m not really sure how to put my volunteering experience into words, but I do know it has been a unique one to love and care for a being, knowing (hoping) you never see them at the shelter again. It’s shown me how resilient our hearts can actually be if you just let those barriers down.
How did you become interested in yoga?
It all started in a small town right outside of Boston, called Watertown. I spent most of my life studying the performing arts in the form of classical ballet and oboe. I was somewhat shy and reserved and the arts provided me with an outlet for self-expression. When I left Watertown to study nutrition I lost my connection with that outlet. I quickly realized my body and mind needed movement in order to deal with everything life threw my way – that’s when I found yoga in the form of a tiny heated power vinyasa studio. I instantly fell in love; I became addicted to the heat, sweat, and post-savasana “yoga brain” and haven’t looked back since. Yoga has taught me that no matter what you come to your mat with (anxiety, stress, tightness…the list goes on), it never asks anything more from you than what you have to offer in that present moment.
It started with power vinyasa, mostly because I wanted a teacher to lead me to my most toned and powerful self. After at least a year of practicing yoga I realized it’s more than just movement; it’s a way to soothe and comfort the mind, body, and soul. I’ve always been attracted to “proper alignment” (I think that’s my inner ballerina talking), but after I spent some time teaching, I realized that proper alignment looks different in every body. I want yoga to be a sustainable, life-long practice, so I have implemented an ongoing study of anatomy and various functional mobility methods. My classes now are a mix of refining the fundamentals to find deeper engagement in the body, strength training to increase functional mobility, plus some flow and sweat.
I really enjoy breaking down foundation poses – I believe that if we can build up strength and full-body awareness in those poses, then we are setting up ourselves for success in more advanced postures. I often invite you to explore your own movements in connection with your most intuitive selves – teachers are here to teach and challenge, but you ultimately know what’s best for you! Connection with breath is big; I believe that it’s the single most important tool for self-regulation in our mindfulness practice. Honestly though, how cool is the breath? It happens every day, automatically, and when we take control of it, we can do things like quiet the mind, relax our central nervous system, and connect with our true self.
I am in the process of becoming a 500hr certified teacher with Jason Crandell – so that’s where all my focus has been lately. Once that’s over and done with, I plan on refocusing my energy toward developing month-long specialty classes and workshops that are more than your typical yoga practice.