People attending the grand opening will receive a discount card that is good for the month of March at participating local small businesses. There will also be door prizes, food, and, of course, yoga.
At Yoga Divina in Altadena.
Owner Rachel Divine is an E-RYT—an Experience Registered Yoga Teacher, having completed a 500-hour training program. She has been personally doing yoga for twenty years and has been a yoga therapist and teaching for almost ten years.
We had a chance to speak with Rachel about her life, her work, and her new enterprise:
HP: Where in Central America were you for 8 years? What was the impetus for going there/staying there? Where did you grow up?
RD: I grew up in South Pasadena. I moved to New York City in 1994 and I went to Costa Rica for vacation in 2003. I fell in love with the beauty of the beaches; who wouldn’t. I moved there part-time soon after. I started to think about opening up a yoga retreat space—not an expensive yoga retreat, but an affordable yoga retreat for healing. I soon realized that the beach wasn’t the place for me as most people who needed yoga for health reasons lived in the city. So I moved to Escazu, in the foothills of the Central Valley of Costa Rica. In 2008, I visited Panama City, Panama, where I noticed only one yoga studio, so I moved and had a small studio there for almost 5 years.
HP: Why Yoga Divina in Altadena now? What sparked this move?
RD: Well, I had a private studio prior to this, but it wasn’t open to the general public or for walk-ins. I worked with medical doctors of various disciplines (M.D.s and chiropractors), or my clients were referred to me by word of mouth. 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. Then I started to see things through an uninsured person’s point of view. Affordable yoga was almost non-existent, and inaccessible. 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, but what mattered to me was that yoga wasn’t even approachable for a majority of Spanish speakers, period! I was hearing things like, “My doctor told me to try alternative things like yoga, but I don’t know anything about yoga,” and “Where is there yoga in Spanish?” or, “Nah.. I can’t do yoga; I’m not flexible.” I started to think that if they could just try yoga, they might like it. And then they would come back with family!
I have also been teaching yoga to people with a lot of different challenges, from diabetes and cancer to fibromyalgia. I once made this known to a couple of yoga teachers I met here in Pasadena who did not differentiate between yoga as a fitness practice and yoga therapy specifically as therapy for health conditions—the likes of which my work has aided over the years. They said, “Oh, we don’t have that here, maybe on the west side, like Santa Monica.” All I could think was, “Wow, no illness on the East Side?”
HP: How many instructors are there at Yoga Divina?
RD: Currently I am the only yoga teacher at Yoga Divina. The grand opening is on March 1st and we will, of course, grow our team as our reputation grows. My first hire, in the near future, will be a Mommy-and-Me teacher.
HP: Can you articulate how yoga helped you through your fight with cancer? Is it the way the stretching feels, the breathing, the frame of mind/clear headedness one can feel after a yoga session, or what in particular? Could you explain the action taken and the effect of that action, for you.
RD: I never really thought of my cancer that was something to “fight.” I thought more along the lines, “Well now, how am I going to learn and share with others?” I knew I would get through this. No idea how, but I would. Like I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t afford to take yoga classes, and the one place I joined was too far and I never went. It was a total waste of money. I really had to rely on the tricks I had learned in my years of training and teaching yoga. For example: the breathing helped during the biopsy, the grateful heart before surgery, the awareness of my stress and taking time to chill out, usually with legs up the wall. After surgery, stretching was not easy and little by little I did some stretching, some breathing, some relaxing, and when I could finally stretch my armpit, I knew I was doing great!
HP: Could you name some of the other Altadena businesses that will be represented at your opening on March 1st?
RD: So far, these are confirmed: Rhythms of the Village, Photography by Walt, Yellow Tomato Catering, Leanard’s Hair of the Dog, Webster’s Community Pharmacy, and Webster’s Fine Stationers. I’m working on more and hoping many Altadena businesses will join me not only to celebrate the grand opening but also to take part in the Yoga Divina Altadena Community Discount Card offer, where all attendees of the March 1st grand opening are offered discounts—good over the next 1 to 3 months!
Rachel says that the foundation of the yoga she teaches is Tantric-based. “Tantra yoga is actually not sexual, rather the goal of tantra yoga is to awaken and harmonize the male and female aspects within each person. Balance. The word ‘tantra’ in Sanskrit means ‘weaving.’ ‘Yoga’ means ‘union.’
“Yoga Therapy is like studying the Tree of Life itself. Instead of limiting (oneself) to any single branch of the tree, it’s about learning many schools of thought and weaving them all together.
“If you were to ask me, ‘What kind of yoga do you teach?’ I would say, ‘I teach the kind of yoga you need.'”
Yoga Divina Grand Opening
Friday, March 1st, noon-4 p.m.
2235 N. Lake Ave., #111, Altadena 91001
Between E. Calaveras & E. Mendocino
For more info, visit YogaDivina.com or call 626.296.9642
Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the whole world.