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Finding Equilibrium at Gentle Yoga with Nancy

By Marina I. Jokic

In a frenzied world, being able to stay in tune with your inner self can be quite difficult. Leading a balanced life can be even more challenging. The Kripalu and Iyengar yoga traditions are pathways that lead to equilibrium in the mind and body. Gentle Yoga with Nancy is a studio whose classes are rooted in these yogic traditions.

Owner Nancy Gaeden her primary yoga teacher training in 2009 followed by therapeutics training at Duke Integrative Medicine in 2012. At Gentle Yoga, in Sonoma County, she has realized her dream of helping students restore their natural range of movement and alleviate pain.

"When we take the time to be with ourselves with the intention to nurture and to cultivate presence and self-kindness, naturally the deep come[s] to the surface and we have an opportunity to get to know ourselves better," Gaeden said. "As we grow self-awareness physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we allow what is not needed to fall away and come to experience ourselves as more whole and free."

Yoga is an exploration into life's purpose, and as such, pushes us to confront our mindfulness and physical abilities. At Gentle Yoga, students are encouraged to practice with awareness and compassion and not just go through the motions. According to yogic principles, when mindfulness and breathing are at their optimum that enables the flow of energy or prana through the meridians of the body.

"I facilitate this in my classes through intention, conscious breathing, gentle movement, and kind curiosity for the process of personal unfolding," Gaeden said. "My yoga teaching is known to be gentle and empowering, suitable for all levels, but especially beginners looking to establish a meaningful practice."

Gentle Yoga offers private group classes and one-on-one lessons, but currently has no public classes available. One of the most popular classes is Kripalu yoga, a more accessible and contemporized form of the teaching. The practice cultivates mindfulness through asana postures which increase strength and flexibility.

Kripalu postures can also be easily integrated into everyday activities and don't require a trip to the studio every time. The style is especially well suited for those interested in learning the foundations of yoga and enjoying a gentler, more meditative practice.

In addition to her practice, Gaeden likes to work with older students as well as people recovering from chronic or crippling conditions. Her style is gentle and meditative, lending itself well to beginners and those with a physical hindrance. Being able to modify her teaching to accommodate any type of person makes her classes particularly accessible.

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