Vengan, Todos, A La Fiesta De Yoga Divina En Altadena A Ganar!

EVEN YOU can do yoga! Come to the Yoga Divina grand opening/open house on March 1, 12p-4p

By Rachel Divine
Published on LatinoLA: February 25, 2014

Vengan, Todos, A La Fiesta De Yoga Divina En Altadena A Ganar!

What is yoga? No, really, what is yoga? So much for different people, but what it is for me is probably best explained in this video:

My first memory of yoga was when I was 18. I already had a routine of breathing-stretching, but I had no idea it was yoga, until I moved to New York and found Yoga Zone on TV in 1999. Now I was really hooked!

The year 2001 was intense. The one thing that kept me sane during an insane time of getting divorced and of losing lots of friends on 9/11 was my laughter, meditation and yoga. Yoga kept me relaxed and as calm as I could be during such life changing events. It kept me grounded in an un-grounding time. I knew yoga was here to stay.

I left New York for a brief time, but my heart was calling me back to New York and back to yoga, so I returned and became a yoga teacher. With the political, economic, and environmental situations being what they were, I felt that in a few years, things could be out of control for a lot of people. I was happy to know I had a few tricks up my sleeve to help just about anyone I came into contact with.

Growing up in California, I didn't speak much Spanish and when I did, my cousins would tease me for saying things like, "Vamos al store?" and "I want pollo." I also had my father's words ground into my head, "This is America, speak English." So at an early age, I decided to ONLY speak English. I wasn't like the rest of my family on my mom's Puerto Rican side; I was the little hippie, flowers in my hair, dancing all the time and speaking English.

As I grew older, that pull to connect with my Latina side grew as well. I went out of my way to speak better Spanish, or at least try. I'm a talker so I spoke to EVERYONE I could in Spanish. Most just smiledso I realized I needed to immerse myself in Spanish, and I went to Costa Rica. I fell in love with the beauty of the beaches and started to teach yoga in Spanglish with hopes of opening a yoga retreat. Instead, a few years later, I got my move on and went to Panama City, Panama, It was perfect since there was only one yoga studio there.

As it turns, out, Panama was not so interested in yoga. Once at a conference for cancer, I was speaking to a doctor about the health benefits of yoga, and he replied, "I am a doctor and I am Catholic, and we do not do yoga here."

What could I say to counter that? Nothing. So I just moved on to another doctor and another chiropractor, and eventually, word of mouth spread about Yoga Divina and its potential for those who needed it the most.

I learned how to teach yoga in perfect Spanglish, and my clients learned that yoga doesn't have to be scary or for someone thinner or more flexible; that if you kept moving and breathing and slowing down, you just might get rid of that backache and feel less stressed. Boy, do we need that!

In 2012 I was about to open a larger yoga studio when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Say what? I worked with breast cancer survivors and now me?

So I returned home to Southern California for a second opinion, and back home to mam?í. The idea of opening a larger yoga studio after I was diagnosed with breast cancer wasn't originally on my mind; healing, hugs, love and support was. I started treatment and was doing the things doctors told me to do: relax, don't get stressed, yoga, and eat well. I started to notice things through an uninsured person's point of view: Affordable, accessible yoga was almost non-existent. I couldn't afford yoga at $18-20 a class and I realized that this really left out a lot of people who should have access to yoga they could afford.

I also noticed the lack of yoga in Spanish.

Now my Spanish isn't the best, pero manoÔǪcome was better than NO yoga in Spanish! Plus what mattered to me was that yoga wasn't even approachable for a majority of Spanish speakers, period! I was hearing things like, "Mi doctor me dijo que tratara de diferentes alternativas, pero yo no s?® nada de yoga" and "??D??nde hay yoga en espa??ol?" I started to think that if they could just try yoga, they might like it, and then they would come back con familia! I had also been teaching yoga to people with a lot of different challenges, from diabetes, obesity, cancer to fibromyalgia, MS, prenatal issues, and more. There are so many people to help, and I could help them!

Then things really started falling into place. I found the new location for my yoga studio, and now Yoga Divina opens in Altadena. We are an approachable, accessible, and affordable yoga studio where EVEN YOU can do yoga.

A friend and cancer survivor told me, "There's a silver lining to cancer." Well, I say, forget silver, my lining is platinum and diamond-laced! Sparkles everywhere! I believe everything happens for a reason. This was God's way of getting me back home. I knew there was life after cancer and was brought back home to help and teach others that we can have cancer or any physical or emotional challenge, and we can thrive, and help others get through it, too, at whatever level they can. Most important is just to have a good time stretching, breathing and moving!

Yoga Divina is having its open house on March 1, 12p-4p. There will be raffles, prizes, free yoga, and a discount card for local small businesses here in Altadena to those who come to the event.

If you have never tried yoga, are dealing with health concerns, or are intimidated by the images you see of mainstream yoga, come to Yoga Divina; I'll make sure EVEN YOU can do yoga.

For more information, go to, email, call +1-626-296-YOGA (9642) or just drop by! We're at 2235 N Lake Ave, # 111, Altadena, between E Calaveras St and E Mendocino St.

About Rachel Divine:
Yoga Divina Founder Rachel Divine is a member of El Concilio at City of Hope, and presents on behalf of El A??o M?ís All?í, a Susan G. Komen for the Cure program. Rachel is a member of Yoga Alliance, and teaches yoga as therapy for clients in recovery.
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