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When Mountain Yoga opened in Montclair Village in the Oakland Hills, the studio quickly became known as a peaceful oasis in this vibrant community. The area is known for hiking and biking trails in the vast Redwood Regional Park as well as a variety of family-oriented recreation. The only thing missing was a community yoga studio – a haven for people to unwind and delve deeply inside.
Mountain Yoga provides a spacious, sunny practice room, as well as a welcoming lounge area, a compact retail space and a massage room. The studio is at the heart of an informal wellness center – a building filled with tenants that offer various aspects of the mind/body connection such as energy work, chiropractic, acupuncture and natural beauty treatments. Located across from Peet’s Coffee in the midst of Montclair’s full-service retail neighborhood, Mountain Yoga makes it easy for yogis to integrate their yoga practice into the rest of their day. A few blocks away is Highway 13 to whisk you away to anyplace around the Bay.
A family-owned studio, Mountain Yoga is true to its mission of supporting the body, mind and spirit of its community in a holistic way. The studio offers yoga classes seven days a week, plus bodywork and a variety of ongoing workshops supporting all ages and levels of experience.
“Our guiding principle has been to find the best ways that yoga can benefit the students in our community and then offer these – especially yoga that delivers preventive benefits, healing and transformation,” says Megan Armstrong, who owns the studio with her husband, Mark Kenward, and her sister-in-law Sara Kenward.
"The teachers we choose are here because of their primary commitment to the service of teaching others,” she explains. “
Many of our teachers embody a non-dogmatic approach to mindfulness and how to translate one’s practice beyond the mat…they open and/or close class with a brief meditation or chant, and frequently build the philosophy of Krishnamacharya, Iyengar, Jois, Desikachar and others into their classes.”
Currently Mountain Yoga holds more than 25 classes a week, with the most popular being early morning classes, lunchtime and evening – serving the needs of the Montclair community perfectly. Yoga for Everyone on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning was designed to appeal to a wide range of needs and experiences, including the special needs of people recovering from injuries or surgery.
The studio’s Hatha Blend classes integrate the alignment of Iyengar yoga with the flowing dynamics of vinyasa. Also offered are classes that focus specifically on anusara yoga, shadow yoga, Iyengar or vinyasa.
Workshops are always on the schedule at Mountain Yoga. The studio’s Introduction to Yoga four-class series is offered regularly and is always well-subscribed. Currently, the studio is offering a special Healing Series of workshops covering topics such as menopause, sleep, rejuvenation, the spirit and the back body. Each workshop is taught by a different teacher specializing in that particular area.
Extending the mind/body connection at Mountain Yoga is the bodywork of several certified practitioners, offering Thai yoga massage, traditional massage and yoga therapy. In combination with a yoga practice, bodywork can create a relaxing and nurturing exploration of awareness through the body.
As part of the studio owners’ commitment to building community, Mountain Yoga co-founded the East Bay Yoga Collective (EBYC), which hosts quarterly gatherings for East Bay Yoga teachers, in partnership with three other East Bay studios and Yogi Times. In addition, the Mountain Yoga teachers get together monthly to share practice and ideas. After just four years of existence, Mountain Yoga has created a much-appreciated sanctuary above the bustle of downtown Oakland and continues to blossom.