Yoga at the beach class to benefit foster children at Rancho Damacitas

A yoga class at Carlsbad State Beach on June 7 aims to benefit the bodies of its participants as well as the lives of foster children in Temecula.

Yoga instructor Susiana Lechiara of Murrieta is teaching the one-hour morning class for free, but asking participants to make a donation if they wish to Rancho Damacitas Children’s Homes. She’s raising funds for the organization because she loves children and wants to help ones in foster care.

People interested in attending the class can meet Lechiara at 8:30 a.m. in front of 24 Hour Fitness in Temecula and carpool to the beach. She said participants should bring a beach towel, sunglasses, walking shoes, water and sandwiches.

“Yoga at the beach is a fun, fun class for all,” Lechiara said. “It’s open to anybody. It’s a family event.”

She used to offer monthly yoga classes at the beach from May to October, but stopped last year to devote more time to Collective Scents, a handmade soy candle and natural products business that she and her husband launched in 2012.

“Our online business took off and running it requires tremendous energy,” Lechiara explained. She plans on having an annual Yoga at the Beach class starting this year.

Lechiara, originally from Java Island, Indonesia, has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. She developed an interest in it when she met an Indian yoga teacher in 1989. She studied with the teacher for a while, but stopped when she became too busy with work and children to attend classes. In 2004, Lechiara moved from Long Beach to Temecula and then to Murrieta in 2009.

“When my children and I moved to Temecula, I saw the opportunity to learn yoga well enough to teach it,” she said. “I have been a teacher since 2006 and love it.”

She’s certified through Yoga Fit and the Arthritis Foundation and has taught at several fitness organizations, including 24 Hour Fitness, Sweat Cardio & Yoga, Power Pro Fitness and Isvara Yoga. She also taught for the City of Murrieta at its library and is currently teaching free classes at the Sun City Library. She offers private lessons as well.

Lechiara, who only admits to being over 45, has offered classes at the Sun City Library for about a year. She usually has five to 15 students in the classes and teaches them gentle yoga, which is good for beginners. The classes at the library are at 11 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

The most immediate benefit of yoga is stress relief, according to Lechiara. Students tell her that they are calmer after class and sleep better.

“It helps with their sciatica, strengthens them, and they’re more tuned in with their inner being. Some also mentioned that after taking it a few years on a regular basis, certain emotional blocks are opened up,” she said. “Yoga uplifts our emotions and helps a lot with movement, openings, balance and more.”

“The results from students are immense,” she added. “I love to see and experience their growth from inside out.”

Murrieta resident Joan McClafferty, 44, recently took her second yoga class with Lechiara at Isvara Yoga in Murrieta and said that she likes it. She can’t attend the beach class this year due to other commitments but hopes to next year.

Lechiara believes that yoga is her way to give to others in the community.

“It is important to give and keep on giving,” she said.

For more information on Lechiara’s yoga classes, contact her at (310) 401-3433.

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