Strong Vinyasa


This class is taught by:

Chandra Hardester

Chandra is Studio Director at Smiling Dog Yoga. The daughter of a nationally ranked cheerleading coach mother and a state wrestling champion father, one of Chandra’s earliest memories is of stretching and exercising. She spent time in gymnastics, figure skating, and track and field, before ultimately falling in love with ballet for it’s unique combination of athleticism and art.
 
After an early career as a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer with the San Francisco Ballet and other Bay Area based companies, an injury led Chandra down a different path. She studied Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communications at San Diego State University before falling in love with the beauty and kindness of the Central Coast, and moving to attend Cal Poly SLO. Following a second career in corporate multi-store retail leadership, a loss in the family caused her to follow her true passion for coaching and motivating people, with her immense drive to inspire others thru the science and art of health and fitness.
 
Chandra found yoga as an effective tool for healing old injuries & restoring full functionality back to her body. After having experienced the immense benefits of yoga first hand, she was inspired to attain her 200-RYT at Smiling Dog Yoga under Valentina Petrova. Chandra holds additional certifications in Primary Group Fitness and Practical Pilates thru AFAA, YOBarre thru SDY, American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED, and is currently completing an additional 200-RYT in Core Strength Vinyasa with Sadie Nardini, as well as a certification in Jillian Michael's BodyShred. When not at the studio, Chandra can be found reading fitness, barre, and yoga anatomy books on the beach, binge watching mindless Bravo TV shows while working out, DIYing various arts & crafts, or feeding her retail addiction. She looks forward to welcoming you to The Dog, and can't wait to show you all our amazing community has to offer!
 

Alexis King

Alexis is an Oklahoma native who travelled to California in search of art, nature, and adventure. She graduated from Cal Poly in 2012 with a degree in Art and Design. Her love of art guided her towards the practice of yoga as a means of personal expression, stress relief and inner peace. Alexis studied under Roxy Borger and Jonathan Gabriel in the Smiling Dog Yoga teacher training class of 2015/2016, earning her RYC 200 hour certification. Her teaching style combines fluid movement, connection with breath, mindfulness, and acceptance of self. Alexis believes that yoga is a means for deepening respect and love of the body, mind and spirit by embracing and celebrating all shapes, sizes, and abilities in her classes. Aside from yoga, Alexis works in social services at a non-profit organization and as a tattoo artist specializing in custom, hand-poked designs.

Leslie St. John

An Arkansas native, Leslie came to yoga through competitive figure skating and modern dance. Before attending graduate school at Purdue, where she earned an MFA in creative writing, she immersed herself in the practice of dynamic yoga with Matthew Kreps. She continued her training with Tias Little, whose methods synthesize the safety and stability of Iyengar with the strength and mobility of ashtanga. Leslie currently dances with Variable Velocity and teaches English at Cuesta and Cal Poly. Her yoga classes emphasize practicing “right effort”—finding the balance between exertion and surrender.

Marissa Bloom

Marissa Bloom attended her first yoga class in 2006 while completing her undergraduate degree in vocal arts at USC. As a native of San Luis Obispo County, this first foray into the big city of Los Angeles and the overly-competitive life of a performing artist left her completely overwhelmed and searching for something more. Her weekly yoga classes became her safe-haven and grounding support. Since that first class, Marissa has used yoga postures, breathing techniques, and philosophies in her performing life and voice teaching; but, it wasn’t until Marissa returned to the beautiful Central Coast after completing her Master’s degree last year that she became utterly addicted to yoga. In the summer of 2011, Marissa fulfilled her yogic dream by attending Frog Lotus Yoga Immersion Teacher Training in the Berkshires of Massachusetts with an emphasis on Thai Yoga massage and Kirtan chanting. Her teaching style combines a creative and playful flair with strong emphasis on alignment and assists. In addition to teaching yoga classes, Marissa is an opera singer, florist, and voice teacher. You might just hear her soft singing during savasana.
 
Read more about her singing and yoga on her blog, Ain’t over till the thin lady sings:  http://www.marissabloom.wordpress.com. 
 
You can also visit her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/MarissaBloomYoga. 

Deborah Light-Pacheco

Deborah has always been a fan of movement. She began ballet and tap dancing as a child, and continued her interest in dance with course work in modern dance while attending California State University at Northridge where she received a degree in psychology. She briefly considered becoming a dance and movement therapist, but once she completed her psychology degree, shifted her interests to politics and attended law school. Recognizing early on that this shift in interest was not her true dharma, she re-entered the fitness field managing a health and fitness center in Los Angeles and becoming an ACE certified personal trainer. Shortly after certifying as a trainer, she found Yoga and found her home. Yoga has transformed Deborah’s life in so many ways, bringing a peace and tranquility to her that she loves to share with her students. She loves to share her story of “trying” a class one day and walking out feeling as though she were a completely different and whole person for the first time in years. The ability of a practice to bring such contentment and peace was just short of a miracle for Deborah who is a single parent of two special needs children. Deborah loves to share her Yoga experience with others as they journey on their own quest for calm, peace and fulfillment. She also loves to work with “mama’s to be” on their journey through the pregnancy process…a very special time in a woman’s life, by bringing a sense of community and love to women as their bodies change in the creation of a new life and spirit. To that end, she received her prenatal/postnatal yoga certification through the Yoga Alliance. Deborah has studied Yoga with many of today’s well-known and sought after yogi’s including James Brown, Alexandria Crow, Kathryn Budig and Chrissy Canning. She studied pranayama with Peter Sterios and mediation with Rolf Gates. She is certified as an E-RYT200 and RPYT with the Yoga Alliance. She also has earned a B.A. in psychology (emphasis on special needs children and personality disorders).

Sera Melini

Sera has been a grateful student of Yoga and Ayurveda for many years. She has been blessed with teachers who have searched classically for the patterns of the Universe and Spirit. Her studies and experiences in the realms of Yoga, Mantra, and Ayurveda all serve to assist in increasing depth, sensitivity, and simplicity in ways that both utilize and increase grace and observation.

Some of her teachers include, Andrey Lappa of Universal Yoga, Kula Yoga Project, Sankalpah College of Yoga (Yoga), Sadhvi Abha Saraswatiji and Raghunath Cappo (Mantra), Vaidya Ravi of Poonthottam Ayurvedasram, the California College of Ayurveda, and BCD (Ayurveda). Her teachers of touch include those at Sunshine School (Chiang Mai, Thailand) and Ohm (Omsala Chiang Mai, Thailand) for the wisdom of Thai Massage and Chi Nei Tsang.

Each of her teachers has forever moved her to be more observant, respectful, humble, and sincere - qualities ever present in yoga and its teachings.

In classes we will focus on the science behind the relationships between the body, the mind, and their bridges . We are concerned with the flow of prana, how and where it moves and does not move in posture, in nadi, with consciousness. Using the paradigms of Ha-tha Yoga and Ayurveda we will explore our capacity to be both strong and flexible, moving and still, Ha and Tha, and of course, migrating in the direction of steady appreciation and awareness.

These more advanced and active classes will energize, challenge, and inspire you. For those who like more of a workout, these classes turn on the internal fire and focus on building strength, stamina, and flexibility with lots of standing poses and some inversions. These classes are faster paced and connect movement with breath. Good for those with at least 3-6 months of (sweet) vinyasa yoga experience. Not suitable for beginners.

Upcoming classes:

  • Fri Sep 22 7:00 am - 8:00 am with Chandra Hardester
  • Sat Sep 23 11:00 am - 12:15 pm with Alexis King
  • Mon Sep 25 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Leslie St. John
  • Wed Sep 27 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm with Marissa Bloom
  • Thu Sep 28 10:30 am - 11:45 am with Deborah Light-Pacheco
  • Fri Sep 29 7:00 am - 8:00 am with Sera Melini
  • Sat Sep 30 11:00 am - 12:15 pm with Sera Melini
  • Mon Oct 02 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Leslie St. John
  • Wed Oct 04 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm with Marissa Bloom
  • Thu Oct 05 10:30 am - 11:45 am with Deborah Light-Pacheco
  • Fri Oct 06 7:00 am - 8:00 am with Sera Melini
  • Sat Oct 07 11:00 am - 12:15 pm with Sera Melini
  • Mon Oct 09 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Leslie St. John
  • Wed Oct 11 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm with Marissa Bloom
  • Thu Oct 12 10:30 am - 11:45 am with Deborah Light-Pacheco
  • Fri Oct 13 7:00 am - 8:00 am with Sera Melini