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Beginner's Yoga


This class is taught by:

Shauna Lay

Shauna Lay has been studying and teaching yoga for over 13 years. Shauna’s passion for teaching yoga is evident in her classes. Her attentive nature, alignment based teaching, and peaceful approach encourages students to go deep with awareness and confidence. She is particularly interested in how Yoga will prevent back pain.

Shauna has a passion for Personal Development and Spirituality and is interested in how yoga, as a whole, transforms our minds and our connection with the spirit.

Shauna credits her teachers, Nancy Roberts as well as Manuoso Manos and Elise Miller for her in-depth training into the body’s alignment and Yoga as a whole. She credits her ongoing studies in Personal Development and Spirituality to Eckhart Tolle and many other Spiritual teachers. As well as her ongoing work with Vision, Accountability, and Commitment. ShaunaLay.com

Lori Pirri

Lori Pirri has been a student of yoga her whole life, her mom is a Sivananda yoga teacher, but she discovered her own yoga passion in her early 20s while seeking a way to connect to her own breath and stillness. She realized not only her own joy but the joy of practicing with and supporting others. She is always learning from her amazing teachers, and loves to explore new postures on and off the yoga mat finding inspiration is nature, friends, family and other students. She currently teaches at Downtown Yoga, and Tri-City Physical Therapy through the Samasta Wellness program. Lori brings a cheerful and enthusiastic energy to her classes that blend alignment, strength, therapeutics and her own life experiences.

Kathleen Genereux

Kathleen discovered Iyengar Yoga nearly 40 years ago. She was looking for a meaningful practice to bring integrity and aliveness into her daily life. The practice of Yoga gave her this. Gradually, her practice of the postures, breathing and the study of yoga philosophy gave her the strength, balance, flexibility and serenity in her character as well as her physical body and helped her to develop a conscious mindfulness that brought with it a deeper ability to appreciate and be grateful for the truly valuable.

Wanting to share the powerful gift of yoga, she studied in the teacher training at the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco for several years and then at the Yoga Room in Berkeley in their Advanced Studies Program for another three years where she received certification to teach yoga asana and pranayama in the year 2000. From there she moved to the Mendocino coast and opened the Fort Bragg Yoga Studio. She very much enjoyed the studio for three years, still, wanting to be with her family she was drawn back to the East Bay.

Kathleen has been teaching gentle, beginning, all levels, pre-natal, restorative yoga and meditation classes in Walnut Creek and Danville.

Kathleen also practices chi gong and she wears a humble orange belt in Aikido. She has studied Ayurvedics, the life science of yoga and hold certification as a massage therapist and as a Reiki Master.

Kathleen is very happy to be teaching the beginning yoga class at 9:00 on Sunday mornings at Downtown Yoga. There is a very special energy to Sunday morning yoga and she invites all who are interested to come and enjoy the experience with her.

Nancy Larson

Nancy first developed a passion for yoga after becoming a Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator in 1996. She has always had an interest in working in preventative health and when she began teaching childbirth classes, she expanded her prior fitness career to include pregnant and postpartum women. She holds many different prenatal yoga certifications, some of which include Whole Birth® Prenatal Yoga, Doulas of North America Doula Training /Teaching Yoga to Pregnant Women at the The Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, and YogaFit®. She has been teaching prenatal yoga since 2000.

She believes in the importance of pregnant women exploring their body and connecting with their inner wisdom and their unborn child through yoga and integrating this into childbirth and parenting. She designs her classes to help pregnant women alleviate certain discomforts associated with pregnancy and prepare the body and mind for labor through breathing, movement and deep relaxation. Nancy is a certified labor support specialist through both Lamaze and DONA and maintains a HypnoBirthing® Institute Certification.

Kira Eggers

Kira began practicing prenatal yoga in 2000. In her years of practice, she has found strength, flexibility, mindfulness and joy. Kira is a 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance and has completed the Advanced Studies Program with Kate Coughlin, Director of Downtown Yoga, in Pleasanton, California. Kira has a sincere passion for Iyengar Yoga which focuses on classic postures with a deep awareness of correct alignment and precise actions in the body. Her personal experiences with back and joint pain have added a keen awareness of how integral each part of the body is in relation to another. Kira uses imagery well which adds quality and depth to her classes. She offers clear and detailed instruction in a strong and peaceful manner. Outside of the studio, she is a licensed interior design consultant, and enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys - especially skiing, swimming and scuba diving .

Natascha Thomson

Natascha is a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher and graduate of Downtown Yoga's 200-hour Advanced Yoga Studies Program, with a focus on Iyengar-style yoga. Iyengar yoga is a form of hatha yoga that emphasizes alignment by using props like blocks and bolsters to perform poses (asanas). It builds flexibility, and core strength, while calming the mind and helping practitioners to develop a peaceful inner sense.

Yoga and meditation have had a profound impact on Natascha's life and provide the perfect balance to her high-tech career. She'd like to share this passion with you to help you discover a happier and healthier self.

Kate Coughlin

Kate is a passionate and dedicated explorer of movement, meditation and yoga which spans 40 years.

She is an inspired practitioner who loves the precision of alignment, and teaches with a creative joyful approach.

Kate has been an inspiration to thousands of students during her 30 years of teaching. She has developed two Advanced Studies Programs with over 100 graduates who now teach throughout the U.S.

She has studied intensively with such wonderful teachers as: Donald Moyer, Erich Schiffmann, and Arunji of Bangalore, as well as teachers all over the Bay Area. Kate is also a world traveler including trips to India to study yoga.

Kate created and taught the yoga program at Stanford University from 1989-2001. She is the Founder and Director of Downtown Yoga in Pleasanton California. She is an international teacher offering retreats for inspiration and restoration.

Her students describe her as warm hearted, inspiring and caring. She is a radiant, beautiful soul who honors the beauty and presence of each and every moment.

Jana Cole

Jana walked into her first yoga class with a friend in 2003 and was quickly drawn into a regular yoga practice. She initially appreciated yoga for its physical benefits, and as time passed she became more intrigued by the connection between mind, body, and spirit that yoga helps create. The increased sense of inner peace and mental clarity that her practice fostered helped Jana respond to the stresses of her career, and later, raising young children. Jana has a background in dance, and although she has studied many forms of yoga, she identifies strongly with the Iyengar-inspired practice, with its emphasis on precision and focus on alignment. She loves teaching and witnessing students create more ease in their own bodies.

Jana earned her 200 hour RYT studying with Kate Coughlin at Downtown Yoga in 2013, and is currently pursuing her 500 hour RYT. She loves to learn and continues her studies through workshops with Carrie Owerko, H.S. Arun, Jason Crandell, and others. When she's not on her mat, Jana enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, gardening, hiking, and chasing her two kids.

Jim Coughlin

Jim was introduced to yoga in 1967 at the age of 10. He began practicing yoga in earnest in 1993. Jim has traveled to India extensively to expand his knowledge of yoga with his teacher H.S. Arun. Jim teaches yoga with a sense of humor and grounded in the fundamentals of the Yoga Sutra's of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar.

Jim was born in Buffalo, New York in 1957, and has lived in California since 1964. Jim's "other" career has been as an executive recruiter. He has managed and owned several staffing companies since 1989. He also has worked as a career counselor and outplacement consultant.

In 2005 Jim had the privilege of traveling to India several times over the next three years. It was during this time that he met his beloved teacher and friend Yoga Praveena H.S. Arun from Bangalore, India.

You will find Jim practicing at the studio at 6:00 a.m. every day except Sundays when he sleeps in and teaches the 8:30 a.m. class.

In addition to the above, Jim manages the business of the yoga studio, including building our online presence and community. If you have comments or suggestions as to how we could make this site better, please let Jim know.

Check out Jim's Yoga Blahgasana.

Bridget Galli

Bridget began practicing yoga in 2009 as a path to greater strength, balance, flexibility, and serenity. She tried many styles of yoga, but found a deep connection to Iyengar inspired instruction with its focus on connecting mind, body, and spirit through awareness, alignment, and breathing. Over the years, her practice has grown from one to two days a week to a daily asana and meditation practice. After years of encouragement by her wonderful teachers Nancy Leigh-Smith and Eva Kastel, Bridget earned her 200 hour RYT at Downtown Yoga last year and began teaching soon after. The experience has been so profound and rewarding that she is currently pursuing her 500 hour RYT at Downtown Yoga as well. Bridget credits the transformative power of yoga and meditation for deepening and enriching her pursuit of balance emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She brings all of this into her experience on and off the mat as a seeker, student, teacher, wife, and mother of four sons. She hopes to share the light and joy of yoga in a welcoming and supportive environment in her classes.

Michelle Metro

Michelle is a 2012 graduate of Downtown Yoga’s 200-hour teacher training program and is a registered yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance. She has practiced yoga since 1997 and has tried many styles but prefers Iyengar instruction due to its emphasis on alignment and precision. She is also quite fond of Vinyasa Flow yoga because of the smooth way the poses link together and become like a dance. Michelle began practicing when a friend told her she thought she would like yoga. Over the years her practice has grown from one to two days a week to a deep passion for yoga and an asana practice nearly every day. Michelle believes every yogi has his/her individual path and relationship with yoga and is sure hers will continue to evolve.

Michelle resides in Pleasanton and is a regular studio practitioner as well as a teacher at the studio.

Any and all new students to Yoga are welcome to attend. Classes focus on basic poses and conscious breathing techniques. Specific instruction is given on alignment and safety.The syllabus for the Beginner’s Yoga classes refines and perfects all of the basic 30 poses that are covered in the Introduction to Yoga series. In addition, we begin to explore 20 new poses and combinations of poses. Learn more about our Pose Syllabus here. How long should I continue to go to just the Beginner’s Yoga classes?Some people stay in the beginner’s yoga classes for years. Moving onto a Beginner/Intermediate class isn’t necessary or mandatory. The 50 poses and sequences covered in the Beginning Yoga program will set the foundation for a balanced and integrated life-long yoga practice for any student at any age. These 50 poses stretch, strengthen and tone all the muscles and joints in the body. They create balance and fine integration throughout the entire human being.What if I feel like I want to learn more or do more – is it safe to go into a Beginner/Intermediate class?If you have been practicing in our Beginner’s Yoga classes 2-3 times a week, and you feel comfortable in 85% of the poses listed above (45 of 50 poses), then you are in a safe place to continue to the Beginner/Intermediate classes.

Upcoming classes:

  • Sat Jun 24 8:00 am - 9:15 am with Shauna Lay
  • Sat Jun 24 10:30 am - 11:45 am with Lori Pirri
  • Sun Jun 25 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Kathleen Genereux
  • Sun Jun 25 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm with Nancy Larson
  • Mon Jun 26 8:45 am - 10:00 am with Kira Eggers
  • Mon Jun 26 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Natascha Thomson
  • Mon Jun 26 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm with Natascha Thomson
  • Tue Jun 27 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Kira Eggers
  • Tue Jun 27 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Kate Coughlin
  • Tue Jun 27 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm with Jana Cole
  • Wed Jun 28 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm with Jim Coughlin
  • Thu Jun 29 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Kate Coughlin
  • Thu Jun 29 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Jim Coughlin
  • Thu Jun 29 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm with Jim Coughlin
  • Fri Jun 30 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm with Bridget Galli
  • Fri Jun 30 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Michelle Metro
  • Sat Jul 01 8:00 am - 9:15 am with Shauna Lay
  • Sat Jul 01 10:30 am - 11:45 am with Kate Coughlin
  • Sun Jul 02 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Kathleen Genereux
  • Sun Jul 02 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm with Jana Cole