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Finding a center for vital living

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 | Posted by

By Nick Walden / Towns Correspondent

Yoga 1a

Just over a month ago, Yvette Racines opened the Center for Vital Living in downtown Cotati as a way to blend her vocation and avocation.

After nearly a decade of practicing yoga and two years of teaching it, the mother of three felt it was time to branch out to her own studio.  There she teaches  her own style of yoga, which focuses on therapy.

Her own journey to yoga involved an early career as an operations manager for a company in Marin.

“I quit about three years after starting to practice yoga, realizing that the job was both toxic to my mind and my physical body,” she said.

Two months later she started her first training program in Hatha Yoga, followed by 300 hours of training in Yoga Therapy with the Stress Management Center of Marin, which provides yoga instruction for Kaiser in Marin and the Marin County Wellness Program. Racines still teaches with the Wellness Program and the Stress Management Center, in addition to running her own studio.

The 39-year-old Petaluma resident fills in the details about herself, the studio and what she has to offer her students.

What made you want to become a teacher?

I wanted to know more about yoga for myself which is why I started the teacher certification process. After starting I realized that this was information that I needed to share and that I had to pass it on.

What types of yoga do you offer?

We teach ‘Conscious Body’ which is yoga therapy based class that takes place mostly on the floor. It is very individual based perfect for people recovering from injuries and such. I check in with each person at the start of class and we look to tailor the class to each person and their needs that day. The class title is one I was given to use by SMC. While the content in classes are yoga postures that have been around for centuries, the way I sequence them is my creation and is based off the students individual needs.

There is a ‘Vinyasa’ class which is generally heated, but not to the extreme of Bikram. This class focuses on strength and moves from one pose to the next. It can be done by any level of practitioner because you can stop for a break if needed, but it is not recommended for people recovering from injuries or recent surgery. It is very vigorous.

We also offer ‘Prenatal yoga’ which is similar to conscious body but focuses on alleviating general discomfort from pregnancy, breathing techniques and targeting trouble areas.

Yoga 2aDid your own experiences with yoga help with the pregnancy and birth of your son two years ago?

Oh yes. It really helped my strength and was huge mentally and emotionally. I felt very present during the birth. Also when I had my first two children I was much younger so my body had an easier time rebounding. At 37 it was very different but I was physically and mentally stronger than before and I was able to recover faster. Your body goes through a lot of strain, even after birth where you are bent over and in these odd positions a lot and the extra strength has really helped.

Why Cotati?

This was just a perfect location. It is a little hidden so it feels intimate and has enough foot traffic for people to easily see it. The studio is just the right size.

Cotati is a fantastic town and close to home in Petaluma. Plus there were already a lot of studios in Petaluma and I felt I could offer services to this community.

What is something everyone should know about your center?

Really it is about letting people understand how yoga can help each person become physically and mentally balanced. The first class is free so people can try and out to experience the benefits.

I also offer private yoga therapy sessions. They are perfect for people who need more one-on-one care, recovering from injuries, preparing for surgery, or are not interested in practicing in a classroom setting.

The Center for Vital Living is located at 1818 La Plaza #106 in Cotati. For a current list of classes or contact information, visit thecenterforvitalliving.com.

Writer Spotlight

Nick Walden is our Rohnert Park + Cotati correspondent.
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