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New Student or New to the Studio?

Welcome to Castro Valley Yoga

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New to Yoga

If you are new to yoga, we recommend one of the following entry-level classes to get started:

Intro Class

Intro to Yoga is the perfect place to start if you’ve never taken a yoga class or haven’t practiced in a while. Practitioners are introduced to the fundamentals of Hatha Yoga with an emphasis on proper alignment. This class helps to establish a solid foundation for a safe and healthy practice.

Gentle Hatha Classes

Gentle Yoga is a perfect option if you prefer to move at a slower pace and want more detailed instruction.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with poses that are held for longer periods of time and focus on the deeper tissues of the body.

Beginner/Intermediate Classes

Beginner/Intermediate indicates the class is a mixed-level class. You are welcome to attend a mixed-level class with the understanding that you will likely be challenged. You may enjoy practicing with students who are more experienced. These classes offer expert instruction in a variety of standing, seated, and reclining postures. Teachers are skilled at modifying poses for new students and those with special needs.

Core: Pilates & Yoga

Our Core class is an all-levels class that offers step-by-step instruction for learning a full complement of Pilates mat exercises. Each exercise maintains respect for the level and needs of the individual student.

Frequently Asked Questions

(click questions to reveal answer)

What is yoga?

The best way to describe yoga is that it is a way of life. The yoga we are most familiar with in the West is called “Hatha Yoga,” or the “yoga of movement.” However, there are seven other yogic pathways, all of which deal primarily with the spiritual, emotional, and mental realms. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago (a lot longer than any fitness trend!). The word “yoga” means “union,” or, simply put, the union of mind, body, and spirit. All of the eight yogic paths have this union as their goal.


What is Pilates?

Pilates is an innovative and safe system of mind-body exercise using a mat or a variety of equipment. It evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates and can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels, and performs. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty, from beginner to advanced or to any other level. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to more challenging exercises.


Do I have to be fit or flexible to practice yoga?

No. Castro Valley Yoga offers classes for all ages and for all levels of fitness and flexibility. Secondly, yoga is NOT a competitive sport! Instead, yoga helps us to look at our bodies and ourselves from the inside out. Our studio has no mirrors. We encourage you to avoid comparing yourself to the student next to you. Yoga is experiential—it is not a performance art. So, whoever you are, however old you are, however long it has been since you stretched or moved, yoga is for YOU!


Do I need any yoga experience to attend class?

No. Prior experience is not needed. You can try any class on our schedule listed as Intro to Yoga or Level 1. If you have injuries, we strongly encourage you tell the instructor before class so that he or she can provide you with the best and safest instruction.


Can I eat before I come to class?

It is best to avoid eating for about an hour before class, though a very light snack may be fine if you are hungry or on a special diet.


I have a previous injury, can I still practice yoga/Pilates?

Yes! If you experience back or neck pain, repetitive stress injuries (for example, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), arthritis, bursitis, you may find benefit in a regular yoga practice. We encourage your to tell the instructor at the beginning of class about your unique health circumstances, so you receive individualized modifications where needed.


Should I consult a health care provider before starting a new exercise program?

If you suffer from any severe or unusual medical conditions (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, a previous head/neurological injury, a high-risk pregnancy, etc.), it is your responsibility to get permission from your health care provider / physician before embarking on any new exercise program. Again, please inform your instructor of any and all individual health concerns before class.


What should I wear/bring to class?

We recommend everyone be prepared to practice in bare feet. This is the traditional (and safest) way to practice. We recommend bringing your own yoga mat (we have mats for use at the studio as well). The mats are designed to minimize slipping or sliding in the various poses. You do not need to buy expensive or fancy yoga outfits to enjoy the benefits of a regular yoga practice. You will be most comfortable in stretchy clothing. You may wish to dress in layers, so you can modify your level of warmth/coolness easily.


Is yoga a religion?

Yes and No. Yoga emerged from the Hindu tradition; however, practicing Hatha Yoga does not require any religious affiliation. Yoga promotes healthy and mindful living, including movement, diet, meditation, breath work, and a set of ethical principles (such as non-violence, and self-restraint, for example).

Studio Etiquette


  • Arrive early: Plan on arriving at least 10 minutes before class starts to allow enough time to check-in, make a payment if necessary, and get yourself setup. If you arrive late and the class is sitting in silence, wait to enter the studio until the silent period is over.
  • Checking in: Please be sure to check in at the front desk with one of our staff members.
  • Remove shoes prior to entering the studio: Please remove your shoes and place them in one of the cubbies in the reception area.
  • Turn off your phone: None of us ever intend to leave our cell phone on during class, but sometimes we just forget. As a courtesy to the instructor and other students in the class, please silence your phones prior to class and leave them in your cubby with your other valuables (please no cell phones near your mat).
  • Be aware of other classes in session. Please be aware that there may be another class in session when you arrive or leave the studio. In such cases, please keep conversation to a whisper and quietly gather or return your props before and after class.
  • Conversation: Please keep talking to a minimum during class.
  • Water: There is a water fountain in the hallway by the bathrooms. You are also welcome to bring plastic or metal water bottles (no glass) into the studio as long as spills are immediately wiped up. Please refrain from brining other beverages or food into the studio.
  • Scent-free atmosphere: Please refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, or scented lotions to class. In yoga, we are breathing deeply while in close proximity to one another. Even mild scents can seem very strong, especially to those with sensitivities or allergies.
  • Return props neatly at the end of class: Please be courteous to the next class and your instructor by returning all props as you found them.
  • Do not leave during Savasana (final resting pose): If you roll up your mat and dash out the door during this quiet time, you’re not only disturbing your fellow students, you’re missing the most essential and enjoyable part of class. We strongly recommend that you avoid skipping this period, which is designed to bring your body into its healthiest alignment, help your body/mind integrate what you have learned in the class, and calm the nervous system for maximum health benefits. If on occasion you must leave a few minutes early, inform your instructor before class, set up your mat near the door, and exit the studio before the start of Savasana (you may leave your props to avoid further disruption).