Yoga center brings back Happy Back
by Hillary Schuler-Jones
Published - 03/31/10 - 04:15 PM | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students maintain a yoga position as they are supported by straps attached to a wall during a Happy Back session at Prana Yoga Center, 1041 Silverado St. Courtesy photo
Students maintain a yoga position as they are supported by straps attached to a wall during a Happy Back session at Prana Yoga Center, 1041 Silverado St. Courtesy photo
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When Rachel Krentzman closed her Embody Yoga Therapy studio in Bird Rock this February, she knew that loyal followers would miss the unique Happy Back class she created, which incorporated movements and traction exercises that at times had students hanging upside down on a yoga wall. So, Krentzman teamed with Gerhard Gessner, owner of Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, to continue offering the class to students.

Krentzman specializes in a form of yoga called Purna, which encompasses a wide range of yoga postures, as well as focusing on philosophy, nutrition and meditation, Krentzman said. The Happy Back class uses Purna yoga sequences that are designed to open the hips and lengthen the spine, and students use props like the yoga wall for better alignment and traction.

Krentzman started her career in physical therapy in 1996, and she was introduced to yoga by her sister several years ago. Yoga helped her relieve the pain she experienced as a result of scoliosis, she said. As she learned more about her yoga practice, she began to understand the benefits of combining yoga with physical therapy movements to not only alleviate back problems but also promote overall body health.

“We can all benefit from being upside down, ‘unweighting’ the spine and taking pressure off the disks,” Krentzman said. “You don’t have to have back problems at all. Everyone benefits, especially people who are active and tend to be tight; the people who tend to push themselves. It is a safe yoga for people with back problems and it’s also a really good class for overall body health.”

Gerhard Gessner, who owns Prana Yoga and has been teaching yoga in La Jolla for more than 20 years, said Krentzman’s experience has been a valuable addition to his studio.

“So far [our studio] has focused on other aspects of yoga, and we want to offer as wide a spectrum to our students as possible.” Gessner said. “I’ve realized that as we all mature and age, we have different needs, and her approach is very individualized and very focused on people who have problems with the body. A lot of people come to yoga for that — to feel better, to solve some physical problems and also to find peace of mind. Her skills and her specialty were a great addition to the studio.

Happy Back classes are now offered at Prana Yoga Center, located at 1041 Silverado St., on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 to 11:15 a.m. Evening and weekday classes will be added soon, according to a press release from Prana Yoga.

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