You’d never suspect that at the busy intersection of Ingraham and Garnet sits a down-to-earth, authentic yoga studio where you can so easily escape the chaos that exists just outside its doors. Spirit Yoga is a breath of fresh air for both the novice and experienced yogi. The space is calming, the instructors are knowledgeable and there is an overall inviting energy about the studio that makes you feel as if you’ve been friends for a long time. With diverse class offerings and a wide range of teaching styles, there’s something for everyone at Spirit Yoga, whether you’re just beginning to explore yoga or are looking to deepen your yoga and spiritual practices.
We attended a 60-minute all levels flow led by Daniela Kent in the early afternoon – a random time after lunch but before the work day ends, which makes you ponder who has the flexibility in their schedule to attend a class at that time – and were surprised to see how full her class was. For the month of October, Daniela had decided to use a “grounding” theme for her classes, with each class building upon the ones prior. Being that this was the last Wednesday in October, we would be exploring grounding in the postures, breath, mind and now, finally, the heart. We loved how Daniela took a few moments prior to the start of class to talk through the theme and to really connect with her students, making eye contact with everyone in the room.
To begin, she guided us to start in whichever position we felt we would like to open our practice with, whether it be child’s pose, a seated position, laying on our backs or anything else that was calling out to us. She carried this flexibility and freedom of choice throughout her sequence, really encouraging us to explore movements and variations that felt best in our own bodies.
Her sequence and pace were just creative and challenging enough that a newcomer to yoga would not be intimidated, and so that an experienced yogi wouldn’t be bored. Truthfully, having practiced yoga ourselves for many years, we do prefer a more challenging sequence with advanced postures and transition, but felt that her class was definitely appropriate for an all levels flow. She made sure to move us through many different planes of movement so we were able to work into every nook and cranny of the body. We left felt feeling refreshed and satisfied with moving our bodies, but if you’re looking for a more rigorous workout, we would suggest attending a Level 2 class at the studio.
It’s obvious that Daniela is a very experienced and knowledgeable yoga instructor. She has an understanding of human anatomy and gave plenty of cues to help her students avoid strain and pain in postures. She follows a breath to movement style of cueing, which we love and seek out in instructors, and she used new and unique language for many of her cues and refinements. We suspect that she has training in a more tantric style of cueing, which means that as an instructor, she doesn’t guide all bodies to form into a perfect shape or alignment, but rather provides instruction that allows for the uniqueness of all bodies.
We loved how much she encouraged us to explore movements for ourselves and to take our own variations of postures, but wondered if this space for freedom may be a bit overwhelming to less experienced students. Her teaching style is very conversational and approachable, which at first we loved. We can greatly appreciate when a yoga instructor lets us know that she/he is human too and can bring a bit of humor and realness to a practice. But, as the hour went on, there were times when we wished it was pulled back a bit so we could drop out of the moment and into our mats and bodies. Often times, so many of us attend yoga to allow the outside world and what’s going on in our minds to fade away for just one hour, and we found that the conversational tone throughout the entire class slightly prohibited us from doing so.
After class, Daniela made sure to stick around in the lobby, giving a warm, heartfelt goodbye to her students and making herself available for questions or conversations. We think many students would find Daniela and her teaching style appealing and certainly think it’s worth flowing with her.
Having visited many yoga studios in Pacific Beach, Spirit Yoga always ranks among our favorite studios. This simple, small studio stands out because of its staff and community and the positive, inviting energy all of these people bring – a quality we think is extremely important in a yoga studio. At Spirit Yoga, you’re guaranteed a friendly smile and hello upon arrival by the front desk team and a class full of genuine, non-competitive and non-cliquey students.
The front of the studio has a small lobby with a big window that fills the space with light and benches with baskets underneath where students may leave their belongings. There are no lockers, but we are never too concerned leaving our possessions so out in the open as the studio door is always locked once class begins or there is always someone sitting at the front desk. The yoga studio itself is a beautiful yet uncomplicated space, with floor to ceiling mirrors running along one wall, new hardwood floors and high ceilings with rustic, exposed beams and a skylight that pours natural light into the room. The back room has various yoga props such as straps and blocks, a bathroom and a water bubbler. There’s not much more to the space than that. It’s a no frills, authentic space where students can feel at ease to explore their personal yoga practice.
Parking can be tough as it’s in a highly trafficked area, but we recommend searching on the neighborhood streets behind Garnet or riding your bike, skateboard, taking a bird, etc.
1559 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109 Pacific Beach Yoga $$
Pacific Beach Yoga, $$
1559 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
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