Yoga Blend: Making Yoga Accessible to Every Body

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Christy Marsden, owner of Yoga Blend in Burbank, understands what keeps some people away from yoga.

“There are a host of reasons people avoid trying yoga,” Marsden said, citing the media as merely one of several culprits.

Resting comfortably in a restorative pose. Photos: Gabriel Acevedo

“People see a picture of someone with a ‘perfect’ body, in a revealing, name-brand outfit, in a very challenging pose and think that is yoga and there is no way that they can do that,” Marsden said. “Or people think it is a bunch of religious people sitting around and chanting. Or they think it’s just stretching and it’s boring. Or they think they are not flexible enough.”

To combat any and all of the above, Marsden created a supportive ethos for her studio, which recently celebrated its five-year anniversary.

“At Yoga Blend, we try to make yoga accessible to anyone and everyone by encouraging people to start where they are, reminding them that yoga is a practice of reducing suffering and creating more joy—and for that, touching the toes is not required,” Marsden said.

David Adams has been teaching at Yoga Blend for four years.

According to David Adams, who has been teaching at the studio since 2006, there’s no competition or judgment at Yoga Blend.

“There’s a friendliness and acceptance of everyone who walks in the door regardless of whether they’ve ever done yoga or not.”

And clients—such as Gale Ivie, who has been attending classes for four years—definitely notice.

“They’ve built a community of people who come together and practice together,” said Ivie. “They inspire one another and support one another in yoga, and really, in their lives.”

Demonstrating how to properly enter this restorative pose, Claire (in white shirt) twists her torso toward the front before folding over the bolster.

There are also no mirrors at Yoga Blend—helping nourish an environment conducive to transformation on levels other than physical (though that happens too).

“One of the many great things about yoga is that regardless of the reason people come to yoga, they eventually end up getting multiple benefits,” Marsden said. “Perhaps they come in for back pain but find over time that their blood pressure lowers or they are able to focus on their work better. Maybe they want to just get a good workout, but find that they start to feel more relaxed and accepting of themselves and others.”

For Marsden, the journey with yoga began in Tennessee in 1995 as a means to deal with low-back pain.

“I had to drive 30 minutes one way to my yoga studio,” Marsden said. “But it was worth it! After my first class, I noticed an improvement in my back, but there was something more. I felt more relaxed and happy for several days after my first class. I was hooked.”

As she continued her practice with different styles of yoga, she noticed that each had something to offer.

One of two studios.

“Over the years, I began to see the varying styles as somewhat limiting as I felt I needed different things at different times in my life and neither style was able to give me all that I craved in my practice, but if I combined them, I definitely felt I got more of what I needed,” Marsden said.

From that, the studio’s ‘blend’ philosophy was born.

“Yoga Blend is a blend of the traditional or classical styles,” Adams said, including Ashtanga, Iyengar and Kundalini, with some teachers also basing classes in the more-modern Anusara style.

“In my teaching, I utilize the best of what I have learned and encourage students to question and listen to their own instincts, empowering them to find their yoga,” Marsden said. “Yoga should always suit the individual, rather than the individual trying to suit the yoga.”

For local first-time students, the Yoga Blend offers 14 consecutive days of yoga for $40.

The studio accommodates all levels of student, says Adams, featuring gentle and basic classes, to more-advanced levels in which students challenge themselves physically. There’s also meditation, as well as a restorative option.

“Restorative is very slow-moving, with long holds in poses where your body is completely supported with gentle props, which allows realignment through the spine,” Adams said. “By focusing on deep breathing, it’s nourishing on every level.”

From Adams’ vantage point, the effects of classes are obvious.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from watching the personal transformation that yoga brings to people,” Adams said. “Especially watching people build their levels of confidence as they build a healthy and joyous lifestyle.”

YogaBlend is located at 1921 W. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank. For local first-time students, the studio offers 14 consecutive days of yoga for $40. Single classes are $17, though several community classes are offered each week for $9 (there are also early-bird Up’n Asana classes Tuesday-Friday for $5, cash only). Class series are also available (from five to 30), as well as unlimited monthly, biannual, and annual options. For more information, visit or call (818)954-9642. On May 8th, Yoga Blend is offering a free introduction to yoga from 1:30-3:30 pm with Nicole Honnig.

Amanda Traxler is an L.A.-born writer with degrees in journalism from the University of Kansas and creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been rediscovering her roots since she returned to the area three years ago from the wintry Midwest.

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