Yoga is for Everyone

by Andrea Snyder

20 years ago I took my first yoga class through the University of Nevada Reno. Although I was just taking it to fulfill credit requirements, I still remember that very first class vividly. While I didn't maintain a regular practice until about 10 years later, I feel that the experience affected what my practice is today. I would love to be able to offer that same gift to someone else. 

I am so excited to have the opportunity to talk to you a bit about my upcoming workshop/series; Yoga Basics, Series 1. This will be the first of a two part series on yoga which will cover everything that encompasses a comfortable and safe yoga practice. Each series section will be 6 weeks. You do not need to take the first one to do the second and vice versa, but it is recommended if you are brand new to yoga.

In Series 1, we will learn the fundamentals of yoga, i.e. basic poses(asanas), breath, modified sun salutations and an introduction to philosophy. You will learn the names of the more common poses in English as well as Sanskrit. Series 1 will start at the very beginning. What is yoga? Where did it come from? Every week we will go over breathing exercises and several different styles of yoga. My goal is that by the end of the series, you should be able to walk into just about any class and feel comfortable with your basic knowledge of poses and modifications. 

Series 2 will expand on what we have already learned, plus dive deeper into sun salutations and pranayama. As I mentioned before, the workshop will focus on yoga philosophy. I want to make this fun and engaging for everyone with plenty of opportunity for questions and lots of open minds and critical thinking. We will hear stories and learn how different poses are linked to different deities and the stories around them. 

Through yoga, I have formed bonds and built friendships that have lasted for years and years. You will always have a connection to the individuals that you attend any workshop with. It's almost as if you all share a special secret about life and the world itself. 

"Yoga takes you into the present moment. The only place where life truly exists" 

andrea2.jpg

Help Vets Heal

SergeantBriannaRenner.jpg

Help Vets Heal by Andrea Snyder

 November is Yoga for Veterans Month. The Tahoe Yoga Shala and I hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of military families. We are thrilled to team up with Yoga JournalRobert Sturman, and yoga studios across the country who are offering free and donation based classes to active and veteran service men and women. This is an amazing opportunity and I am honored to have a skill to offer in support of Help Vets Heal and Warriors at Ease. 

Throughout the month of November with Andrea...

Veterans & Active Military practice FREE on Thursdays (except 11/23) from 7:15-8:15pm.

Donation Based Class to Benefit Warriors at Ease on Saturdays (except 11/11) from 4:00-5:15pm. Memberships will not be debited for attendance in this class. 

My first yoga instructor was a veteran and former pentagon employee. He often spoke of the gifts yoga had brought to him over the years. So deeply had yoga transformed his life that he had quit his pentagon job to become a yoga instructor. He was very involved in The Wounded Warriors Project and worked closely to create opportunities for veterans to access the life changing practices of yoga.

I have seen and experienced first hand how beneficial yoga can be to those who suffer from PTSD. It can make all the difference. There is a strong military influence in my family history. My grandfather was in the army during WWII and spent 3 years in a concentration camp. I watched him struggle to cope with PTSD for years. He never really found an outlet. My uncle, his son, was a pilot in The Vietnam War. While he has not had issues with PTSD, he has battled MS since his early 20's (he just turned 70) and is now succumbing to his fifth fight with cancer. He attributes these debilitating health issues to the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

For these reasons, and many more, supporting the Help Vets Heal campaign to help veterans reclaim their lives is very important to me. I am so glad to be able to give back to the veterans and active duty men and woman who fight for us everyday. 

Thank you to the Tahoe Yoga Shala community for making this possible. 

Teacher Spotlight: Andrea Snyder

Tahoe Yoga Shala Teacher Spotlight

A0100_3.24.17.Shala.jpg

Teacher Name: Andrea Snyder


Practicing Yoga Since: 1999 


1). Tell us about the first yoga class you took? My very first yoga class was through the University. The instructor was young and I think overwhelmed. We didn’t do much, but I remember the first class she had us sit back to back and do breathing exercises where we had to sink our breath and concentrate on drawing our navels towards each other. I remember being so sore the next day. I haven’t done anything like it in a class since. Unfortunately, the college class didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me and my experience with yoga for the next 10 years was spotty and inconsistent. I “refound” yoga in my early 30's and then I fell in love with it. I was looking for something to help replace the feeling of peace that I got from running. Yoga allowed me to shut off my “monkey mind” and allow my body and mind to completely connect in a way that was magical and powerful. Through my new found practice, I felt strong for the first time in my life. Both mentally and physically. I took that first class, and have been practicing almost daily since. Every time I get on my mat, I learn something new about myself and my body.

Teaching Yoga Since: 2013


2). What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? I taught my first class to my boyfriend. He had done yoga regularly for years before we’d met and had decided eventually that it wasn’t for him. I knew this going into it. The class I attempted to teach him was way too advanced and the experience was awful. I could tell he was miserable and I asked several times if he wanted to stop. His response was “if you want to quit and give up, that’s up to you”. I kept going and got through the entire sequence and have pretty much considered him as my most difficult student.

3). Who/what are your teachers? Why? Every person who I have ever taken a class from has been my teacher. I love taking yoga to this day and I look at it as a constant opportunity to be a sponge and absorb everything that they have to teach me. My students are also very much my teachers. Because I teach so many level 1 classes, I am constantly faced with new faces and bodies who are trying this moving thing out for the first time. Every new body is a challenge for me. Every question they ask is an opportunity to look at movement in a whole new way.

4). In what ways has yoga supported or impacted your life? I have a degree in Archaeology. At the time that I made the choice to go to teacher training, I was in the process of getting my Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology and I was miserable. I was managing a yoga studio at the time and found myself wanting to be there and be on my mat all the time. School had always been fun to me, but it had become a duty. I was lying in bed one day feeling sorry for myself because I had a 25 page paper to write and the thought, “what if I could do yoga all day” popped into my head. It stuck there. I turned the idea over and over for weeks. I finally brought up the idea of teacher training with my boyfriend and his response was “I was wondering when you would finally do it”. I dropped out of school two days later and started teacher training within 2 weeks. I haven’t regretted my decision a day since. I am in love with teaching and my new life.

5). What does your current yoga practice include? Why? My current practice is a mixture of taking classes when I can, doing my own set sequence, and working through my classes for the week. I try to never teach anything that I haven’t done myself. Sometimes that means doing the class that I am teaching you five times in a row until I feel I’ve worked out what I need.

6). What currently inspires you? People who have passion. Passion for anything whether it’s yoga, or dance, or music. I love watching and being around people who are doing what they love.

7). What is your favorite season? Why? I’m weird. I like all seasons, but Spring. I love Summer because I like to hike, swim, canoe and just be outside in the sun. I love the Fall for the colors, for boots and comfy sweaters, and for the smell of fall. I love Winter because I love, love, love the snow. I learned to downhill ski for the first time this year and now I love winter even more!


8). What secret helps you to maintain balance and stay healthy? Yoga! Yoga keeps me balanced. I definitely can feel a change both mentally and physically when I don’t get to practice regularly. My dog also keeps me balanced. He keeps me in the present.

9). A fun fact most people don’t know about you? I was a line tech for the cable company for 10 years. I climbed telephone poles with nothing more than 2 inch spikes on my feet. I also lived in Peru off and on through my undergrad degree. That’s much more fun to talk about. It’s my favorite place on earth, other than Fallen Leaf Lake!


10). What do you want to share with the Shala community? I think that what I’d like to share is something that nobody ever told me when I first started yoga. At some point you might fall deeply in love with yoga. It might be what gets you through the day or helps you overcome a break-up or hardship. Like everything else, you might wake up one day and feel like yoga is no longer there for you. Like this thing that was there is no longer working. Just know, that the feelings will come back. It might mean that you take a break for a week or so. It might mean that you need to try a different teacher or style. Know that this practice of yours, wherever it’s at, will always be there for you waiting right where you left it.