by Nadine Lollino, E-RYT


I started an early morning class at the yoga studio not because I’m an early bird, but because there was something I wanted to share. I used to enjoy going to Mysore classes from 7-9am, when I was practicing Ashtanga. At that time the class was also a self-guided class, which meant it didn’t have to be the Ashtanga series. It was just a dedicated place that I (and all the students) could come to work on my practice, with the eyes of a teacher nearby to ask questions of, receive feedback, and if desired, hands-on assisting.


Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching in the group setting, but I also am devoted to helping each student where they are at, and creating an atmosphere that is more experimental, workshop-like, interactive, and where the exchange between student and teacher can be more fluid. I’ve been teaching monthly workshops for the past 13 years which are geared towards a more experienced student, one who can sit still for 25 minutes, and who has an understanding of where they are at in their practice, so they can personalize it for their needs.


I wish all classes (like these early morning practices) could be three hours long!


But alas, the time and resources are rarely there for such commitment, and so in remembering how much I benefited from the weekly self-guided classes, I decided to give it a try. I call this class The Art of Practice. No Ashtanga required.


The “class” starts at 7am on Fridays at Luma Yoga in Downtown Santa Cruz, but you can show up anytime between 7-7:30am. Our time together goes til 8:20 am but you can leave whenever you need to, to get to work, or if you just want a shorter practice. I’ve made some highly artistic stick figure drawings of poses and sequences that you can follow if you are not sure where to start. I’ve made one for low back health, one for a focus on twists, arms, and I’ll keep making more. I’ve got yoga flashcards (also fantastic handmade drawings) and a book of poses at your disposal.


Why is this an important class to consider attending?


For me, it’s because this world is moving too fast. We want classes to be shorter, and the resulting effect is that yoga teaching lacks personalized attention. It’s because although we all have a humerus bone and a bicep tendon, we have vastly different stories, different tightness, different injuries, different vulnerabilities. Yoga can be a beautiful path to learning about ourselves and growing stronger, healthier and more grounded. But we need time. There is an art to the practice. It’s deep and personal and I’d love to participate in getting you there.


It’s okay if you don’t know how to sequence poses (good news, I’ll be there to help). Your practice doesn’t have to be clever or flowy, you can just do the poses (or breath or sit or rest). It’s okay if you’re scared because that is part of trying something new and unknown. But, the benefits are great.


Not to be discounted, the others in attendance are also all there with the cohesive intention of being in their practice, working on their world, and are supportive of the group impulse to get up early in the morning together, to work on their art.


You don’t have to do it alone. This is the Art of Practice. Join us.




The Art of Practice is held at Luma Yoga on Fridays, from 7:00 – 8:20 am.
Nadine is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, dancer and artist living in Santa Cruz, California. She teaches The Art of Practice, as well as All Levels Vinyasa (Mon/Wed at 5:30 PM) at Luma Yoga. Learn more about Nadine’s work locally and beyond at MovementLab.Dance