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Center for Vital Living Spawned From Experience

By Jake Levin

Yvette Racines does not promise that yoga will automatically make you happy,but what it does do is allow your mind the quiet to be more mindful of how you make decisions and how you look at your life.

But both she and her husband, Kevin, were inspired to open their very own studio on the belief in the value of yoga. And so in June 2014, Racines opened the Center for Vital Living in Cotati, Calif., a tiny town about 45 miles north of San Francisco.

"Using yoga myself to help deal with injuries, heal old emotional wounds, and stay vibrant, I knew I had to share this treasure with others," Racines said of her personal experiences which shaped the creation of the studio.

A practitioner of yoga has to put in the effort and sometimes that means making necessary changes in order to feel better and live a more harmonious life, according to Racines.

"The yoga poses help to ease discomforts in the body and the breath work helps to quiet the mind," she said of the benefits of the medium which lead to happiness. "When the body is not in pain or discomfort and the mind is calm, we are more available and open to see and witness our true nature, which is happiness."

Racines said she doesn't have a single favorite class to teach at the Center for Vital Living, per se, as she believes each class can benefit students in different ways based on their needs. However, about one year ago, she began teaching a unique class called "Spinal Release Yoga," a practice in which the student is required to relax with the help of breath, gentle poses, blankets and other props so the muscles of the spine can soften and release.

"We are not trying to strengthen the body, not trying to stretch the body, but to 'release' the muscles so that the body can actually relax," Racines said of spinal release.

Using precise angles, alignment, supportive props, and hands-on adjustments, Spinal Release poses release tension along different parts of the spine. These poses are mostly restorative, allowing the nervous system to relax into "rest & digest". This is imperative for those who are always "on the go".

"We simply can not function in a constant frantic/stressed/rushed state, we will eventually crash and our bodies will force us to slow down," Racines said.

Humility remains at the core of Racines, who said that she doesn't believe that her studio is superior to any other studio. If there's one way in which her studio stands out from others, it's the attention to detail each student receives

"I teach what I know and what I practice myself," Racines said. "I'm always studying and continuing my yoga education so I can be better prepared to help people enhance their every day life."

But if there's one way in which her studio stands out from others, it's the attention to detail each student receives.

"One other great benefit to our studio is that it's a small, non-competitive, environment which all of our students appreciate," Racines said.

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