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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

Kavita Patel

Kavita first discovered yoga in college when she was pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. She used yoga in her movement and vocal training. Kavita found that it grounded and relaxed her for performances. Although, it was not until the birth of her first child that she was deeply drawn to yoga. Kavita needed to reconnect with her body and find a place of peace within herself. Yoga has given Kavita that and so much more. She finds solace in her practice and sense of empowerment for having an understanding of how her body moves through space. Kavita recently completed her 200 hour training at Downtown Yoga with Kate Coughlin. She loves to teach because it allows her to share her practice and passion for yoga as a way of life. At home Kavita has two little yogis in training; a 5 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. They give her lots of opportunities to remember to breath and be in the present!

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, such as blocks, blankets, bolsters, straps, etc., to perform poses (asanas). This practice builds flexibility, and core strength, while calming the mind and helping practitioners to develop a peaceful inner sense. Natascha is currently training to become a Marriage & Family Counselor, after 20 years of working in high-tech marketing. Yoga and meditation have had a profound impact on Natascha's life and she enjoys sharing this passion with others to help each person discover a happier and healthier self.

Laura Volsansky

In 2011, Laura started on her path of yoga at the prompting of a physical therapist while working through a sports injury. She was intrigued that many exercises prescribed to heal sport injuries are actual yoga poses. She began her study at Downtown Yoga in Pleasanton under the guidance of director, Kate Coughlin and Jim Coughlin. In 2015, Laura completed the 200 hour Advanced Yoga Studies Program in accordance with the Yoga Alliance.

Laura had the unique opportunity to study yoga in Bangalore, India in 2012 and 2014 with H.S. Arun of Prashant Yogashraya. On her first trip to India, she was thrilled to see B.K.S. Iyengar in person and his teachings remain her source of inspiration. Laura places a focus on relieving daily stresses, finding ways to calm the mind and renew the spirit. Her Iyengar-based yoga instruction includes props to make the practice of yoga all-inclusive and enjoyed by any person, body type or fitness level.

When Laura is not in the office or in the yoga studio, she enjoys the zen of riding her motorcycle and volunteering with her dog in a children’s reading program.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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:

  • Thu Nov 15 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Shauna Lay
  • Thu Nov 15 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Kavita Patel
  • Thu Nov 15 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm with Natascha Thomson
  • Fri Nov 16 7:00 am - 8:15 am with Laura Volsansky
  • Fri Nov 16 8:45 am - 10:00 am with Radhika Pradhan
  • Fri Nov 16 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm with Kavita Patel
  • Fri Nov 16 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Christine Love
  • Sat Nov 17 8:00 am - 9:15 am with Christine Love
  • Sat Nov 17 9:30 am - 10:45 am with Laura Volsansky
  • Sat Nov 17 10:30 am - 11:45 am with Kate Coughlin
  • Sun Nov 18 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Kathleen Genereux
  • Sun Nov 18 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm with Kavita Patel
  • Mon Nov 19 8:45 am - 10:00 am with Kira Eggers
  • Mon Nov 19 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Jim Coughlin
  • Mon Nov 19 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm with Jim Coughlin
  • Tue Nov 20 9:30 am - 11:00 am with Kira Eggers
  • Tue Nov 20 5:45 pm - 7:00 pm with Kate Coughlin
  • Tue Nov 20 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm with Radhika Pradhan
  • Wed Nov 21 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm with Christine Love
  • Wed Nov 21 7:15 pm - 8:45 pm with Kate Coughlin