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Yogis from Across the Globe gather for Summer Intensive!



Spring is in the air and that, for many of us, marks also the beginning of planning new summer adventures. Something to look forward to, works towards and pin on our visionboard, or simply above various to-do lists on the fridge.  Today many Yoga students combine their love of Yoga and desire to learn more with a Yoga destination training and San Diego is on the top of the list!  Ever since we started offering Prana’s well-established 200hr foundational training as a Summer Intensive, we’ve had Yogis from across the globe join us in our beautiful seaside town of La Jolla (San Diego). And what’s not to love?

Prana Yoga’s Summer Intensive is an ideal destination experience for aspiring teachers and students who want to deepen their knowledge and learn more about all things Yoga – the Yoga postures and philosophy, meditation, anatomy, the business of Yoga, how to structure classes and give verbal and hands-on adjustments, and much more.  With a carefully designed curriculum and a top notch teaching faculty at one of the most beautiful spots on the West Coast, our training is sort of like ‘summer camp for Yogis.’   You do what you love all day long, make new friends, and end up with a network and community of newly-minted Yoga teachers – all, while immersing yourself in SoCal’s laid back lifestyle.

We found that the condensed format works well for out-of-towners and locals alike, and makes for a fun and interesting mix of Yogis from all over world.  While we take the study of Yoga seriously and go deep, there’s be plenty of time and opportunities to connect with each other, unite as a group and enjoy the best of San Diego’s summer with fun ‘field trips,’  like oceanfront Yoga at the La Jolla Cove, Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga on Mission Bay, and a visit to Paramahansa Yogananda’s Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, CA.

Meet some of our PYTT alumni from around the world!


Hannah Sekovski – High School Graduate, Colorado


Hannah graduated high school in 2016 and is currently busy building her Yoga business.   She will begin her college studies this year with a focus on a bachelor’s degree in nutrition.   “I got certified to teach Yoga at Prana Yoga  in June 2016 following my high school graduation. I wanted to increase my skill level and gain a certification so I could lead others. It was important to me to develop higher levels of competency and confidence in order to effectively teach and guide students in class. Currently, I am in rotation at two local health clubs.  In addition I have launched my own business teaching Vinyasa Flow to corporate clients as part of their health and wellness programs.  I also offer in-home sessions for clients who prefer the convenience and privacy of doing their practice at home.  I am forever indebted to my experience at Prana Yoga Center as the foundation upon which I build my Yoga career.  The lessons I learned under the kind and watchful eye of Gerhard were and continue to be invaluable.”



Aisling Hill Connor Yoga & Ballet Instructor, Kansas

Asiling Hill

“Yoga is and will always be a constant adventure of diving within for new knowledge and discovery.  Ballet is my passion, Yoga is my life! 

I started ballet at the age of 6 in Texas. Ballet Austin’s training was great and provided a well-rounded curriculum. As I finished my training at the North Carolina school of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC (now known as UNC School of the Arts), I was offered a company contract with the Kansas City Ballet. Being completely in love with all that was ballet I decided to make it my career. The accomplishments were not without difficulty. In 2005, at the height of my career, I noticed some knee pain. Well, that knee pain turned into four knee surgeries and many years of rehabilitation. During this time, I used many different methods of rehab – traditional physical therapy, Pilates, and Yoga being my main sources. One in particular stood out as the most impactful, and that was Yoga. I had never known how much yoga could help the body not only stretch and relax, but strengthen and balance. Not to mention the psychological benefits. My doctors and physical therapists were saying I may never get fully back to ballet, but I returned and danced a total of 15 years with the Kansas City Ballet. Yoga has become a major part of my life. With all the positive things it has done for me, I am now sharing those benefits with others.

I have practiced many different styles of yoga, but when I was introduced to Vinyasa my eyes were opened. Being the closest form of yoga to dancing, using breath connected with the asana to guide you through a flowing practice, I realized I was hooked. First being drawn to Yoga for its physical benefits, I now live with a deepened understanding of what yoga means in my life as well as many others.’  It is and will always be a constant adventure of diving into new knowledge and discovery. Yoga is and will always be a constant adventure of diving within for new knowledge and discovery. I received my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certification in June of 2013 under the direction of Gerhard Gessner at the Prana Yoga Cente . I am a 200hr RYT with the Yoga Alliance. I use alignment-based training as the basis for all of my classes, and as such, you will enjoy a nurturing yet challenging Vinyasa flow-based class that will cultivate your body and mind.”


Rhiann Suen –  Yoga Teacher, Hong Kong


I attended Prana’s Summer Intensive in 2014 and loved every minute of it.  Since then, I’ve moved back to Hong Kong where I now teach Yoga. The most important things I learned are to be more aware of my breath and senses, listen to my body mindfully and live in the present moment. I teach Yoga because I want to inspire my students to find their purpose and discover what Yoga means to them and how it can enrich their lies.”

Rhiann currently teaches public classes at Yoga BamBam, Yoga UP, Yoga Refine and Emi Yeung Dance Academy in Hong Kong.




Cola Hart – Chicago

Cola_Hart2“I attended the Prana’s Summer Intensive Training in 2014 so I could learn and be certified with the intention to share my knowledge of and love for Yoga.  Prana is my Yoga home, my original root where I started Yoga. Yoga is now an integral part of my life and its benefits serve me off the mat as much as on.  I am passionate about making a mindful and healthy Yoga practice available in areas where it is scarce.  I currently offer community classes and donation-based classes, volunteer and pay-what-you-can classes in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. For me, Yoga is about connecting with the breath, the root of our being.  It is being conscious, meaningful and learning to balance life in every sense of the word.  It is an individual and universal practice, while it is also great, euphoric workout.”





Registration is now open for the 200-Hour Summer Intensive, June 16 – July 2, 2017.  The Yoga Alliance certified training is taught by Prana founder Gerhard Gessner, E-RYT, visiting senior guest teachers Robert Birnberg, (L.A.) and Manoj Chalam, and some of San Diego’s most sought after teachers and Prana favorites incl. Sara Deakin RYT500, Shauna MacKay E-RYT500, Vicki Abrams E-RYT and Dr. Alison McLean, PT.

The first free Info Session will be held on Sunday, March 19th at 12-1pm at Prana Yoga Center. Call 858 456 2806 or email to alex@prana-yoga.com to RSVP.

Rachel Krentzman publishes her first book!

COVER-Yoga for a Happy Back

YOGA FOR A HAPPY BACK:  A Teacher’s Guide to Spinal Health through Yoga Therapy

We are excited and thrilled to congratulate our senior teacher Rachel Krentzman, E-RYT, PT on the publication on her first book: Yoga for a Happy Back: A Teacher’s Guide to Spinal Health Through Yoga Therapy, which is now available on amazon.

Utilizing her vast experience as a physical therapist and yoga therapist, and the latest advances in the field,  Rachel advises on how to design therapeutic yoga classes for individuals with back pain. Included is information on creating class themes, and never before published sequences from the Purna Yoga tradition for alignment based treatment of specific spinal conditions, along with over 300 photos and illustrations.

Rachel was instrumental in starting Prana’s Yoga Therapy Program, which includes weekly classes, specialty workshops and her Yoga for a Happy Back certification program, offered again this July.

Here’s is an excerpt of the book’s Introduction:

Every Wednesday I swim in the ocean. I created this ritual more than four years ago.  After dropping my son off at school, I head straight to La Jolla Cove and brave the always-chilly entrance to the mile long swim to the buoys.  And every year on my birthday, I swim the two-mile cove route to La Jolla Shores and enjoy a birthday brunch with an ocean view.  I rarely miss a week unless it has been raining or the swell is too big.  I am there, in fog or sunshine, wending my way through the kelp and the unknown.

This cove is a sacred place for me.  I left my wedding band near the quarter mile buoy knowing the ocean would receive it and hold it for me.  I visit it every now and then and use the time out there to pay homage to the dreams I had and the love I was searching for.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes I pray and other times I just swim by and glance back.  When I emerge from the ocean, refreshed and humbled, I shower off and go teach my 10 a.m. Yoga class.  My students are accustomed to me running in with sandy feet and an occasional strand of seaweed in my salty hair.  They know it will be a good class if I swam.  Swimming in the cove gives me the clarity and focus that I have only otherwise found with a regular Yoga practice.  It helps me to be fully present and aware and feeds my soul.

Being out in the ocean is a stark reminder of how vulnerable we truly are.  I usually swim with a partner for safety and to ease some of the fears of the unknown world below.  If my friends cannot make it, I go anyway, but find my mind an interesting beast to tame. I work on constantly redirecting my thoughts away from images from the “Jaws” novel I snuck from my parents’ bookshelf and read when I was a child.  I just keep my eye on the quarter-mile buoy and swim towards it with certainty that once I reach it, I am safe and protected.

As I swam out towards my buoy on one particular Wednesday, an uneasy feeling came over me.  I suddenly and unexpectedly became aware of the illusion my mind had created.  I had always seen the buoy as a destination, an island that would save me from anything out there if I could just touch it.  The knowledge that it was there gave me direction and a sense of peace.  However, when I reached the buoy that day, it hit me that the safety I felt was false.  I had created it to feel some sense of control over my environment, but the truth was I was still out at sea and at the mercy of its depths.

We all have our buoys, our illusions that we cling to for safety and security.  We learn this at a young age as we are wired for survival.  For some, that buoy is money and a nice home; for others it is family or a significant other, a career or expertise in a field.  We cling to ideas of who we are or who we need to be to feel all right in this world, for this world is like the ocean, vast, expansive and unpredictable.  It can be beautiful and peaceful and in an instant become turbulent and hostile.

This ‘clinging’ often manifests as physical tension in the muscles, tissues and joints.  When we are gripping in our minds, we will translate that sense of ‘holding on for dear life’ to our bodies as well.  The more we try to control life, the more we tense up.  The more we can let go and trust, the more we unwind.  (…)

And that is why I have written this book—so that other Yoga teachers, physical therapists, medical and health professionals can better help their students and clients to heal themselves.

The lower back and sacrum make up the foundation of our spine.  Our sense of survival is lodged there, and our root chakra, the energy center symbolizing our relationships, home, safety, money and family.  When we feel out of control in our lives, our spinal muscles contract to hold us together. In an attempt to survive, the sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ nervous system fires continually, creating and maintaining tension throughout the body.  In order to heal, it is important to allow ourselves to move from an anxious and high-tension mindset to a more expansive and trusting one.

What I have learned—after building up a lifetime of coping mechanisms to control my unstable surroundings—is that this type of living, of striving and gripping, holding on tight, only creates more tension.  Letting go and trusting is the hardest thing I have ever had to practice.

Yoga is a brilliant and beautiful science designed to create a strong, healthy spine.  But the intention of the practice is to allow us the freedom to sit, be still and get to know our real problem, the mind.  Pain is an opportunity to stop, listen and do something different.  Pain is how our bodies scream out for us to pay attention, to stop forcing and to start feeling.  So, while stretching our bodies in Yoga, we are given the opportunity to discover our true selves, to take each breath as it comes and be present in every moment.

Yoga has not only healed my back, it has healed my life.  It has not only given me tools I can use to relieve pain and discomfort, but it has given me tools to deal with the challenges of being human in an ever changing world.  Yoga builds inside of us a way to trust in the unfolding of life as it is and to see the beauty in each moment, even in our struggles and pain.

Most people tend to go to health professionals expecting them to provide the right “fix.”  What I have seen, as a physical therapist for the last twenty years, is that true healing is a partnership and a process.  It requires commitment, practice, patience and acceptance. 

Yoga offers much more than a set of postures or therapeutic exercises; it can show your students and clients a new way to live in the body.  Instead of trying to mask pain or fight it, we learn to sit with it and let it unwind from the inside out.  To do so takes both persistence and kindness.  And a great deal of courage.

This book is an instructional manual to help you help your students and clients work through their injuries and heal their back pain, but it is also a memoir of healing.  It is the story of the mind-body connection and how paying attention to your big toe mound can, in fact, change your life.

Rachel second book ‘Yoga for Scoliosis” will be published in 2017.  Learn more about Rachel and Happy Back Yoga.

Join Rachel for two specialty workshops on Reversing the Aging of the Spine and Yoga for Scoliosis at Prana in June/July.

Happy Back Yoga Teacher Training, July 7-16, 2016:  Free demo class & Q/A  will be held on June 5th at 3pm. Please rsvp to alex@prana-yoga.com


Summer Intensive Yoga Teacher Training Info Session Tomorrow 4/19 at Prana

Are you considering a yoga teacher training this summer but short on time? Did you know you can earn your 200 hour teacher training certification in less than three weeks?!

Join us for a free class followed by the info session, meet teachers, graduates & have all your questions answered tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19th at 6pm.


Prana Yoga’s 200hr Summer Intensive offers the same curriculum as the highly regarded fall and spring/winter 200hr teacher training programs – in an intensive format of 17 consecutive days.

Whether you are a San Diego local or come from out of town, the quality of instruction, tested curriculum and setting of this summer intensive yoga teacher training promises an truly exceptional experience in beautiful La Jolla, California just steps away from the Pacific Ocean. The Summer Intensive also includes fun events like outdoor Yoga on the beach and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Yoga on Mission Bay.


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