This is our very first “People of West County” post. Within 20 Miles of our little hamlet there are thousands of people doing amazing things. We are so proud to feature our friend and member of the Big Bottom family Deneene Bell of Wild Sage Yoga.

In addition to Deneene being one of West County’s talented yogis her son is working at Big Bottom Market this summer. Join us on Wednesday nights through August 15th for Wilder’s Wing Wednesdays.

We are so proud of Wilder and absolutely excited to share the interview we conducted with Deneene about her yoga practice and what it means to her.

More detail on where you can participate in a Wild Sage Yogini session is below and please enjoy this interview as much as we did conducting it with our amazing friend who is also a peaceful and loving spirit.

Wild Sage Yoga
Deneene Bell, Wild Sage Yogini
Certified Yoga Teacher, RYT®200
“There is peaceful. There is wild. I am both at the same time.” – sum

Why did you decide to become a Yogi?
I started doing yoga 20 years ago as an antidote to grad school, in a sweaty Bikram studio in Berkeley, CA. I have carried this body-mind consciousness with me ever since, developing and integrating it alongside my curiosities about Buddhism and dedication to the divine feminine. What started as a disciplined and cathartic experience has evolved over the years into a greater manifestation of self-exploration, joy, and reverence. Throughout my life as a writer, mom, teacher, traveler, and creative, the one true constant has been my practice. I dive deeper every day. The positive effects that yoga cultivates in my life both on and off the mat are what I hope to inspire others to find.

My yogic philosophy: I believe that yoga is a great gift of self-wisdom, a creative communion with all parts of ourselves. I believe that humans are unique and complex and so are their their yoga practices. I believe that yoga is a mutual exchange between teacher and student, providing both with the potential to grow and learn from the moment and each other. As yogis, as human beings, in every moment, every movement, and every breath, we are all constantly learning.

Where did you do your training?
I received my YTT-200 certification in Shri Yoga at Yoga Mountain Studio in Fairfax, CA, with Sienna Smith. I have also workshopped with Shiva Rea, Sally Kempton, Seane Corn, Sadie Nardini, Stephanie Snyder, Amy Ippoliti, Christina Sell, Chinnamasta Stiles + Mirka Kraftsow. I am humbly inspired by each of them on this journey, as well as my near and dear teachers and friends who unfailingly teach me grit and grace on the daily. For this practice, these people, and this life, I am grateful.

Why is yoga a good thing? 
My modest knowledge and personal experience cannot compete with thousands of years of ancient Indian wisdom and practice, but I’m inclined to say that yoga is a good thing because it is all things. It is at once a physical practice, a meditative practice, and a spiritual practice—a union of mind, body, and spirit that over time has deeply transformative personal effects. The essence of its success is mindfulness, simply being conscious, for instance, of the breath. By witnessing and channeling the breath, we calm the mind and engage the body, cultivating an awareness, which both literally and figuratively helps us to accomplish great feats of humanness: focus, flexibility, strength, peace, balance, connection, vibrancy. Yoga is not only good self-care and exercise, it is also a metaphorical expression of how we each live our lives. Each component of practice provides challenges, choices, in sights, and rewards for our entire being, both inside and out. The best part about it is there’s something accessible in it for everyone; if you can breathe, you can do yoga. I do my best to align the elements of my growing knowledge and practice with my own truth and share them genuinely with others also seeking to root, grow, and thrive.

What’s your favorite pose?
I believe everyone has a Mother Pose, that single pose which you are always drawn to, that your body craves and responds to with great need, curiosity and relief. It leads to other self discoveries, other nuances of movement and shifts in self-discovery. It is from this pose which all else grows and to which we return again and again rather independently of our will and more at our body’s natural direction. That pose for me is Pigeon, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (I love just to say the words!). I am forever opening my hips, finding new ways into this pose and out of myself, releasing all of the physical and emotional tension that has built up in my hip flexors, rotators, and sciatic nerve while also enjoying the opportunity for an introspective forward fold. It’s a delicious release.

Why the name Wild Sage Yoga?
In addition to the obvious connotations of badassery and wisdom, it is a combination of my kids’ names, Wilder & Sage. I dedicate my life and practice to them, along with the final leaf of our unruly branch, my husband Chris.

Where can people take classes from you and what is the cost?

Wednesdays, 9:30-10:45am | Ongoing weekly | $17 drop-in + class packages
ALL LEVELS FLOW | Strengthen and tone as you improve balance and flexibility. This flow style class will keep you moving in fun, creative ways.
@Riverbed Yoga Studio | 14014 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville |

Fridays, 5-7:30pm | Fridays as announced through the summer. Next session: July 13 | $30 HEALTHY HAPPY HOUR | 5-6pm: Backyard Yoga w/Deneene: Stretch and flow out of the week and into the weekend. ($15) + 6-7:30pm: Happy Hour: lighter style wine paired with healthy bites by Wesley of Nutrition Kitchen. ($15)
@Paul Mathew Tasting Room | 9060 Graton Road, Graton | | 707.861.9729

Saturdays, 9:15-10:15am | Weekly through the summer, June 1-August 25 | $10 – No class August 18 and September 1
POOLSIDE YOGA | Yoga in an oasis! Come stretch and flow into your weekend surrounded by sparkling water, fluttering palms, and birdsong.
@boon hotel + spa | 14711 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville | *

Private Lessons | Groups | Events
Contact Deneene to learn more about bringing yoga directly to you!
Instagram: @wildsageyoga | FB: @wildsageyogini