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When you take your first class at Anasa Yoga, it becomes pretty clear that there’s much more to this yoga studio than learning downward dog and dragonfly, among other common yoga poses. It’s about building a community.

Located in Oakland, California, Anasa Yoga is “the only green certified yoga studio in Alameda Country,” according to its website. In efforts to prevent waste and conserve energy and water, the 2,450-square-feet studio features LED lighting, formaldehyde-free furnishings, as well as low VOC paints.

What’s even cooler is the fact that the “Anasa” in Anasa Yoga has a triple meaning. Anasa means “indestructible” in Sanskrit, the primary sacred language of Hinduism. And get this: Anasa, when spelled backwards is “Asana,” which means “seat” or “pose” in the Sanskrit language.  Anasa also means “a place of comfort and joy” in the Swahili language, and that’s exactly the feeling the co-founders had in mind.

Without further ado, meet Jean Marie and Katrina Lashea, the ladies behind Anasa Yoga. Together, they’ve been practicing yoga for 20+ years.

“We [opened] the studio three years ago, and our main mission was to improve the health and well-being of our students and empower them to live life more fully,” says Anasa Yoga co-founder Katrina Lashea. “We wanted to offer a variety of classes for both new and experienced practitioners in an environment that would be welcoming and inclusive.”

By now, many of us have heard of the many health benefits associated with yoga: better posture, healthier bones, muscles, and joints, increased flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance, reduced risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, stress, and obesity – the list goes on. To receive these benefits, aim to practice at least twice a week.

For Katrina, it was a back injury she suffered while attending college that first introduced her to yoga. Around this time, Katrina was also diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had to be placed on disability. It wasn’t until then that she finally came to realize the power of this ancient practice that’s been a healing force for so many.

You Don’t Have To Be Flexible To Do Yoga (Gasp!): Advice For Newbies From Anasa Yoga Co-Founders  was originally published on

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