As one approaches Harmony Yoga, the beach vibe and recreational, laid back atmosphere is invigorating. Inside, founder and yoga teacher Chappell Foote (aka Chappy) strides in to teach a music flow class that quickly takes on the mood of a celebration. Students hustle in with enthusiastic recognition as Chappell makes affectionate greetings to the loyal group that has clearly formed a sense of community and family.
The practice begins with ease, slowly and methodically. Throughout the course of the class, quiet movement progressively builds into a challenging and driving flow sequence. Chappell’s compilation of music is diverse and well organized, encouraging motivation, release and a healthy sense of abandon. The tempo kicks in as the body becomes warm and shifts into rhythm, resonating with an encouraging energy. At times more of an athletic than a meditative experience, the class includes a sweaty cardiovascular aspect that burns calories and increases heart rate. Still, Chappell helps his students to feel at ease with an array of options, offering supportive and positive feedback and making nurturing adjustments that are filled with acknowledgment. His focus is on going deep at one’s own pace, valuing effort more than the shape of the pose, and creating an uplifting and mind-altering atmosphere where students are humbly and joyfully in tune with their limits.
How did Harmony Yoga begin? Chappell responds by quoting the band Grateful Dead: “What a long strange trip it’s been.” Chappell, who has been teaching asana for close to 16 years, founded Harmony Yoga in Redondo Beach at the age of 29 when a private client suggested that he open his own studio. Coming across the perfect space and collaborating with a team of dedicated partners, everything fell into place for his vision to take form. Chappell is grateful that most of Harmony’s teachers have been there from the beginning, making Harmony Yoga a homegrown, brother-sister type of environment that works as one cohesive unit. The studio is defined by an overall vinyasa flow style, offering training in a dynamic system that combines asana, breath and meditation. Integrating alignment, heat, strength and fluidity on the physical level and increasing intuition and wisdom at the subtle level, vinyasa flow is meant to leave one energized rather than tired after practicing. Within these parameters, each teacher has a unique style in which he or she strives to cultivate the best qualities and continue to grow, bringing in his or her own creativity based on unique skills and personality.
In April 2007, Harmony Yoga opened a second location in Manhattan Beach, catering to an entirely new market and clientele that includes more men and a greater surfer population. Now reaching out with two fun and lighthearted studios, Harmony Yoga is an intimate home to friendly students and devoted teachers who contribute to an experience of letting go, expansion and rest.
Manhattan Beach Location”¨3701 Highland Ave.”¨(NW corner of Rosecrans and Highland, garage level)
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