Welcoming Paul Schafer to the Symmetry Yoga Teaching Team!

We are so excited to welcome Paul Schafer to Symmetry Yoga!

About Paul 

From busy Pastry Chef to chill Yoga Dad, Paul Schafer turned to Yoga before the birth of his son, Emery, as a way of grounding himself for the oncoming change in lifestyle. His guilty on-and-off pleasure for the last several years had been Yoga With Adriene on Youtube from the comfort of his own home but when he finally came out of his private yoga shell, he chose our very own Symmetry Yoga for his first ever public class! Instantly hooked, he’s been a daily practitioner since and furthered his Yogic journey by taking the esteemed teacher training at Laughing Lotus in San Francisco.

In his spare time, you can find him playing with his 17 month old at home in Alameda and practicing his next great flow, with an undoubtedly mouthwatering smell coming from the kitchen.

Paul will be teaching the Sunday Evening Flow from 5:15pm-6:30pm.

If you’re seeking a well-crafted, holistic, vigorous and fluid vinyasa flow filled with encouraging hands-on assists, inspiring music playlists, silly baking metaphors, and a lot of smiles, Paul’s got the recipe for your perfect yoga class. Come say Hi afterwards for some actual recipes too!

New Class Alert!!! Gentle Yoga with Inbal Meron, Wednesday’s 9AM

alameda oakland yoga studioWe are excited to welcome Inbal back to Symmetry Yoga!

Gentle Yoga – Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00AM 

A slow paced practice, with a focus on healthy mobility, mindful movement, alignment and breath in a safe supportive environment.

This class is great for beginners or practitioners who are working with injuries and other limitations. This class is also suitable for advanced practitioners who want to enjoy a slower pace, attention to alignment and deep breathing.

 About Inbal Meron

Inbal has been teaching yoga since 2011, she specializes in restorative and therapeutics and has trained with Judith Hanson Lasater, Harvey Deutch, Darren Main and other great teachers in the therapeutic field.
Her classes offer an opportunity to go deep within your body and breath with the practices of Asana, Pranayama and Meditation. To learn more about Inbal visit her website!

A Journey Through the Chakras: Tapping into Universal Consciousness

Oakland Alameda Oakland Yoga StudioSahasrara Chakra

Other names- 7th Chakra, Crown Chakra, 1000 petaled lotus, Seat/Throne of God

Location-Crown of head

The nervous system, pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus

Mantra- Silence or AUM

Vetiver, Frankincense, Rosewood, Lavender

Detoxing, fasting, vegetarian diet, drinking lots of water

The peace pipe, plant medicine, shamanism- all mind-altering substances

Color- white or violet


“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself” – Carl Sagan


In Sanskrit Sahasrara means thousand petaled, referring to the lotus flower. While it might be hard to imagine a 1000 petaled lotus flower, that’s exactly the point.  


In Eastern traditions, like Hinduism and Buddhism the lotus flower is a powerful symbol of triumph over circumstances because it grows out of murky muddy waters.  It’s beauty is amplified by it’s dark surroundings.


Now envision a lotus flower resting inside the bowl of a human skull, roots extending down the spine and reaching out in the body like the electric network of the nervous system. At first closed tight in a bud, over time and with proper nurturing, the bud begins to bloom. Each petal that falls open touches the perimeter of the skull.  As it blooms, a crown of petals forms. In full bloom, the brain cavity is full of petals, representing mind-full-ness


Each petal representing a lesson that helps relinquish the grip of the mind to the ego, the identity, the physical body, and the intellect. One thousand lessons in full bloom, they are now liberated. White light flows freely through them from their roots out through their crown and up into the infinite expanse of the universe, connecting them to everyone and everything. Lit up and glowing, representing the attainment of enlightenment. God energy, universal energy is released from within and a throne made of a bed of petals has been earned, which is why this chakra is sometimes called the seat or throne of god, the god energy potential in us all. The crown chakra serves as the gateway to the cosmic self, the higher self, the universal self, and the infinite.  


In many traditional cultures around the world plant medicine and shamanic ritual is used to help people release the ego and experience this type of mental freedom.  In such cases the medicine opens the portal of the mind and the shaman becomes the grounding force tethering them to earth to prevent them from traveling too far that they lose their way.  Often drumming, singing, chanting, incense, and physical movement are used as tools to root them to earth. In recent western culture some mind-altering substances like MDMA, LSD, DMT, and psychotropic mushrooms are being used to treat trauma, depression, and anxiety with the help of a trained therapist.  These scenarios resemble what traditional cultures have been doing for years, using a trained person to act like an anchor, allowing the person experiencing the substance to soar high above their usual vantage point, creating new neural pathways through directly experiencing the feeling of interconnectedness.


Unfortunately, some people get addicted to the sensations curated through mind-altering substances and end up with an overactive 7th chakra and the additional side effects of neurological mis-regulation and disorder.  Other people with overactive 7th chakras fall in the category of obsessive spiritualists. In both cases, people in these categories seem to live in the clouds, operate on another mental plane entirely, and find it difficult to communicate with people who are not like them or with anyone at all.  Usually people in these categories neglect the earthly tasks required to operate in society.


On the other side of the spectrum, a blocked 7th chakra can cause over analytical thinking, narrow-mindedness, closed-mindedness, selfishness, and spiritual disconnection. The inability to see the bigger picture, consider other points of view, and to pause before reacting emotionally are also tell tale signs.  


The crown chakra requires balance and the rooting earthly energy of the 1st chakra.  A balanced 7th chakra can be experienced during moments of bliss, during profound experiences of connection, during the peace and stillness found in meditation and savasana, and during illuminating life experiences like death and birth.  Moments that spark a deep truth and moments where you experience oneness with other people, animals, nature, and the cosmos. Most 7th chakra alignment is felt in moments, moments that expand the mind and alter the fabric of your spirituality through direct experience.


“When you touch the celestial in your heart, you will realize that the beauty of your soul  is so pure, so vast and so devastating that you have no option but to merge with it.” – Amit Ray



I am an extension of the universe

Everything is happening in divine alignment

I am connected to my highest self

I am the universe embodied

I am in the precise place I need to be

I belong here

I am liberated from my conditions and false identities

I am open and receptive to guidance from the universe

I can see above my individual perspective and see the bigger picture

I am connected to all of existence

I am because you are


Tips to balance the 7th chakra

  • Daily moments of silence
  • Develop the perceiver mind by practicing pausing before reacting
  • Practice taking a step back (or above) and try to see the bigger picture
  • Keep a dream journal (sleeping dreams and daydreams)
  • Reduce screen time
  • Get outside yourself by helping someone in need or a cause you believe in
  • Spend time in nature
  • Plant a tree
  • Adopt a pet
  • Practice inversions


This piece was written by Valerie Tao Marco.

Valerie is co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The last workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, March 31st from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this special offering here.


A Journey Through the Chakras: Connecting to your Inner Vision

alameda oakland yoga studio chakra“A mine of gold lies within you.
Open your eyes and come .
Return to the root of the root
of your own Soul.”


Ajna Chakra is our connection to spirit. To have an open third eye means to understand on an innate level that we are consciousness at out core, and this consciousness is the microcosm to universal consciousness.  We are not separate. The unseen and unheard beautifully and subtly reminding us of the energetic web that connects all life.


There is an underlying trust in the universe that provides a sense of peace within when we connect to and allow ourselves to engage the world with an open and vibrant third eye. This opens up infinite potential for how we choose to steer our lives, creating and manifesting from a deep awareness and flowing with, not against, the natural currents of life.


The pineal gland, governed by this center of energy, is our direct connection to source. It has been suppressed over time in efforts to disconnect us from our truth, our intuitive natures and our ability to see through the veils of Maya ( illusion) .


To detoxify  your body from heavy metals and chemicals, engage in practices that allow you to still your mind, reconnect to Earth, sleep well and consistently, exercise your intuition and eat nourishing foods are ways to clarify your third eye and decalcify your pineal gland.


With a growing awareness of our connection to a whole, we begin to see in  different way. A way which invites in ease and steers us closer to our intuition, a gift which reminds us to honor our truth. Listen to your dreams. Pay attention to when it is time to voyage a new path. Stay open and curious to the wonders as they continue to unravel.  Close your eyes, so that you may see.

This piece was written by Orly Politi.

Orly is co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The next workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, March 24th from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this very special offering here.

A Journey Through the Chakras: Speaking your Truth

symmetry yoga alameda oakland yoga studioVishuddha Chakra

Common Name: Throat Chakra


Color: Blue, light blue, turquoise

Element: Space (akasha)

Sense: Hearing

Mantra: HUM


“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love with have the final word” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


The Vishuddha Chakra Is the energy center that governs communication, our primary tool for relationship building.  Vishuddha means purity in Sanskrit, in other words, clarity of communication. This includes speaking from a place of truth and honesty while holding the intention of non-harming and non-violence. The throat chakra also includes the expressive uses of the voice such as chanting, singing, and recitation.  


Balancing the chakras usually begins from the roots on up, and when doing so the throat chakra is supported by the lower foundations of stability, creativity, confidence, and love derived from the lower energies.   However, with the throat chakra there is a unique function of the voice. It is believed that through expressing the voice creatively you can transcend the limitations of the lower chakras and experience alignment from the roots on up.. This is one of the reasons why mantra, spoken affirmations, kirtan, audible breath work, and chanting is a common tool used in yoga classes and can feel so amazing.


The throat chakra includes the neck, vocal chords, trachea, and mouth but the sense associated with the throat chakra is  hearing. So if we get into the practice of telling ourselves lies internally or externally, we unleash a sound wave of untruth to crash down within us and we end up out of balance. If the lines of communication breakdown between the heart and the outer world you will feel disharmony.  In other words, if the harmony of the outside does not match the inside your harmony will be out of tune. When our mouth speaks what our heart and guts know is not the truth, we get into a practice of breaking our own heart over and over again. Delusion can set in if we habitualized speaking untruths into the world and keep listening to our own lies as though they are true.  


Just as heartbreaking is when we have things to contribute, inner wisdom or perspectives to share, and we bury them in fear and remain silent. This is not to say silence is not a powerful tool, it is, when it is a chosen state, not a petrified one. Our ears want to hear our voice resound in the world.


You may feel the somatic clues of a disturbed throat chakra if you have chronic neck pain, hold tension in the neck and shoulders, grind your teeth at night, tend to slump your posture especially in social situations, have a dry or phlegmatic throat, or suffer from thyroid problems.  


Here are some questions you may ask yourself:

What am I not saying?

What am I swallowing down?

What do I want to express and to whom?

What do I want to cough up?

Am I saying anything that is meant to harm?
Do I use my voice as a weapon?


A few helpful affirmations:


I communicate freely and with ease

I release doubt over what I say and did not say

I am a compassionate listener

I create speech that expresses my loving thoughts

Being honest will free me from my current situation


A few other helpful things to try are drinking lots of room temperature water, singing in the shower, reading to yourself or someone else out loud, or reciting a favorite mantra.  

This piece was written by Valerie Tao Marco.

Valerie will be co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The next workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, March 17th from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this very special offering here.


A Journey Through the Chakras: Leading with your Heart

symmetry yoga alameda yoga studio

Anahata Chakra

“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends”


The heart center is the point of connection for your lower and higher chakras. It is the space where Earth and Spirit meet.

When we interact with others and make decisions from our heart, we are honoring both our Spirit- our higher selves,  as well as our nature, here on Earth.. A vibrant heart chakra expresses gratitude often, takes good care of Self, appreciates the beauty all around, listens and communicates with compassion for self and others and understands the importance of both giving and receiving in order to cultivate healthy relationships of all kinds.

In its fuller expression, a warm and balanced heart center is one in which we learn to direct the love towards ourselves, first. Speaking kindly to ourselves, learning ourselves intimately, enjoying nourishing foods, listening to our deepest needs, trusting in our intuition, all set the tone for how others will meet us, as well as how we choose to share love with another, compassionately, perhaps unconditionally.

The element air rules this center, governing our lungs as well as our heart space. To breathe into our lower abdomen and practice directing that breath into our heart is a beautiful way to find balance for the heart chakra while improving blood circulation. While directing your breath into the back of your heart, focus your energy on receiving love. While directing it towards the front of your heart, embody giving love. As you continue to align with your own heart, you begin to enhance your external relationships, learning to glimpse into another’s heart with your newfound awareness.

This piece was written by Orly Politi.

Orly is co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The fifth workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, March 17th from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this very special offering here.

Journey Through the Chakras: Ignite your Power

Manipura ChakraSymmetry Yoga Alameda Chakras Studio

“When you understand who and what you are, your radiance projects into the universal radiance and everything around you becomes creative and full of opportunity.” – Yogi Bhajan

Manipura, Sanskrit for ‘jewel in the belly’ or ‘city of jewels’, relates to the riches found in the core of who you are.  It beacons you to return to your birthplace, your naval region, where your brilliance sparkles like the sun reflecting from inside a crystalline palace. Manipura Chakra brings you home so you can discover the wealth of the world is actually carried within you.

Manipura, otherwise known as the solar plexus, relates to fire energy like the sun, giving life the transformative power of heat and light.  Like the sun and our earth mother, the perfect balance between them is what helps manifests life on earth. A little too much sun and we burn up in flames, but not enough, and the momentum of life freezes in its tracks.  An imbalanced Manipura chakra will yield similar characteristics. An overactive solar plexus and you experience the fire of anger, a hot temper, excessive controlling, misguided power, manipulation, illusions of grandeur, unwavering opinions, and a cutthroat drive.  Too little and you freeze in indecision, you become confused to what you really want, you find it difficult to motivate, and become anxious, self-conscious and feel worthless.

We tend to wear our emotions like protective armor.  We cultivate fat and muscle to consciously or unconsciously protect ourselves from the hurts of the world.  We adorn ourselves with material possessions to create the illusion of power and identify. As we grow ourselves externally, we lose sight of our innate value until we can no longer access ourselves to achieve our dreams.

The Manipura chakra embodies the liver, kidneys, pancreas, muscles, and digestive system.  Its main function is to turn physical matter into fuel and then to convert this energy into momentum.  When we understand this function and develop the ability to locate this energy center within our bodies we can learn ways to heat things up when we become too cold and cool things down when the fire burns too hot.  With practice, we can memorize the map to our own treasure so that we can return to it easily, even when we get lost. As Yoda said, “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” 


This piece was written by Valerie Tao Marco.

Valeris will be co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The second workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, March 2nd from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this very special offering here.

Journey through the Chakras: Awaken Your Creativity

Svadhisthana Chakra

Pleasure is Medicine; and Love has the Power to Heal.”- Devi Ward

oakland yoga symmetry sacral chakra workshop alamedaSwadisthana, Sanskrit for ‘sweetness’ or ‘ones own abode’, relates to the sweetness of honoring your body, your emotions, your senses, your creativity. This is your sacral center.

Ida and Pingala reunite at your sacral chakra. A unity of the masculine and feminine energies within. An internal dance begins between intuition and logic, the sun and the moon, cooling and warmth, right and left, night and day.

This is where we learn discernment. What feels good?..and what is actually good for us? Learning to express ourselves, without giving ourselves away. A connecting and honoring of our sensitivities and deep feelings.

Sacral chakra is associated with joy and abundance. It is our center for creativity, playfulness, our emotional nature, sensuality, well-being, how we experience the world through our senses.

When we take the journey inwards to learn ourselves intimately, we create space for understanding how to best care for our needs and desires. Doing so in a way that maintains our personal integrity, holds us in our power, and invites healthy connections and forms of expression.

Water is the element associated with this point. Feeling the cooling effect in your body while drinking fresh water, immersing yourself in cool water, dancing, drawing, making music, making love, fluid motions that draw in joy and enliven your being.

Peace and Wisdom are the soul lessons here.  How can we find peace through the wisdom of our body and express our deepest feelings in a safe and loving way?


“I love and enjoy my body.

I have healthy boundaries.

I am open to experiencing the present moment through my senses.

I am passionate.

I feel pleasure and abundance with every breath I take.

I nourish my body with healthy food and clean water.

I know how to take care of my needs.

I value and respect my body.

I am open to touch and closeness.

I allow myself to experience pleasure.

My sexuality is sacred.

Emotions are the language of my soul.

I take good care of my physical body.

I am at peace.”


This piece was written by Orly Politi.

Orly will be co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The second workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, February 24th from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this very special offering here.

New Class Alert!!! Vinyasa Flow on Thursdays at 6:15PM with Allison Novello

We are excited to introduce a truly inspiring and compassionate teacher, Allison Novello to our community! Allison will be teaching a new class at Symmetry!

Vinyasa Flow – Thursdays, 6:15-7:15PM 

Vinyasa Flow classes weave together the building blocks of a grounded practice focusing on alignment, flexibility strength and play. We invite our students to move like themselves finding the freedom within the exploration of their own practice. We believe that the challenges that show up on the mat can be overcome and translate into how we approach the trials in our daily lives. Allison instructs in a way that invites students of all levels to come and explore their yoga journey while enjoying live music or tailored playlists that compliment the associated teachers style of class. As a beginner, intermediate or advanced student, we look forward to serving you on a mat!

 About Allison Novello

Allison is a Pennsylvania native, who’s lived in various places around the US before settling into the beautiful East Bay. You can find her practicing inversions at a local park or hanging at home with her cat, Marcel. Growing up as a competitive figure skater, choreographer and coach, she brings her love of art, expression, and flow to the mat.

She loves Yoga for its dance-like nature and merging of body and breath. She is enthusiastic and supportive to those with a fear of getting upside down and is excited to share lively and creative sequences to your practice .

Allison appreciates working alongside yogis of every experience level and is 200 hour certified from Laughing Lotus in San Francisco.

A Journey Through the Chakras: Root to Rise

root chakra muladhra workshop symmetry yoga alameda studio Muladhara Chakra

‘‘Our continued nourishment and survival are related to how deeply we tap into our roots.’’

  • Archetype: The Mother
  • Element: Earth
  • Sense: Smell
  • Soul Lesson: Service
  • Shape: Cube
  • Sound: Lam
  • Color: Red

Imagine your root chakra, located at the base of your spine, as the roots of a tree. How high you ascend, directly related to how deep your roots grow. This is your foundation. If it were unstable, ungrounded, you would feel it all the way to the top, an internal imbalance, affecting your other centers of energy. In order to nourish all of you, it is important to re-align and restabilize your roots. From the ground up we center.

Feel your feet on the ground. Is your weight evenly distributed? Do you feel stability, or a sense of uprooting? What is your connection to family? Your upbringing? Your mother? ..is there an experience present of generational trauma?  How do you relate to money? ..to food?..to being in relationship? How easily do you trust?..Do you have back pain?..and how is your circulation? These are Root Chakra concerns, contributing to your sense of security and safety, trust and belonging, in your body and in the world…or a lack thereof.

Our bodies are a metaphor for our internal reality. As shifts take place internally, so does our outer reflection. Staying curious about how your story has settled into your body is the first step in producing a shift. When we acknowledge any pain, any trauma, the reality of our story, we create space for movement, a freedom to release old narratives and stuck patterns.  Although they once served us, they may now be a hindrance to a more fruitful existence. When we are not operating from the limbic system’s fight or flight response, we are allowed a freedom to choose how we move our bodies, giving ourselves the opportunity to navigate the world with a deeper sense of calm and ease.. and a knowing that we are held, fed, supported, seen.

Earthing to draw nourishment in through your feet, breathwork to activate your root lock, intentional movement, journaling, a deeper awareness of your connection to Earth, visualizing a shift in your consciousness…exercises that help us root, so that we may rise.

The roots can exist without the tree. You can cut the tree but the roots will still exist, and another tree will be born. But if you cut the roots there will be no tree and there never will be again. So the essential tree is in the roots  and the roots are in the depth. That which is visible on the ground is not the essential part of it. The foliage and the flowers and the fruits are nonessential parts. The essential part is hidden underneath the ground, underground. It is in the roots. There is the source of life. Yes, when you go deep, great foliage and great flowers and great fruits arise. Your branches rise high into the sky,. You have great height. The roots go into the soil and the branches grow into the sky and there is great balance. You can sway and dance into the sky and you can whisper with the stars. And you can love the wind and the rains. And you can have a dialogue with the sun. — Osho

This piece was written by Orly Politi.

Orly will be co-leading a workshop series called A Journey Through the Chakras. The first workshop of this seven part series will be on Sunday, February 17th from 12:30pm-2:30pm.  Sign up for this very special offering here.