Terranea Resort offers plenty of ways for guests to relax and reconnect to themselves, such as a variety of fitness and wellness classes. After years of competitive golfing caused her to experience chronic back pain, a chance encounter with a yoga class at her gym ultimately led Sun Yu to a position as yoga instructor at the resort. Living and teaching in Rancho Palos Verdes—or a “little slice of heaven,” as she calls it—Sun shares her passion and practice with resort guests.
How did you become involved in the practice of yoga?
Sun Yu: Aside from the immediate physical benefits of improved body conditioning, the yoga mat quickly became my sanctuary. The breathing and focus helped me to develop a calmness and mental “center” that I hadn’t possessed before. These changes in perception subtly and gradually improved the quality of my life, and soon I knew I was hooked.
I’m sure you have a wide array of experience levels in your classes. What would you say to those who may be visiting the resort and haven’t done yoga in a while, or perhaps never done it at all?
SY: I never know who will walk into a yoga class at Terranea … and honestly, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’ve never done yoga, are out of practice or even a teacher of yoga, what’s relevant is your intention. When you come to class you are already devoting your time and energy to cultivate mindful awareness. Hatha yoga is practiced in my classes. With the practice of breathing, holding postures (asanas) or flowing into a sequences of postures, you will experience the process of getting in tune with the sensations of your body and find contentment and joy in being in the moment.
One of the more unique classes you teach is Full Moon Yoga, a monthly offering to guests at Terranea. What makes it special or unique compared to a typical yoga class you teach?
SY: The Full Moon Yoga experience at Terranea is a truly exceptional one because you’ll be doing it under the stars and on the grass, with the full moon rising over the calm ocean and the hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The oneness you feel with the majestic moon and the nocturnal world is a unique feeling … one that’s quite different from any other yoga experience done indoors. Practicing yoga in this natural environment is something you definitely don’t want to miss! This unique yoga class is made more meaningful because your $20 donation will support local charities, such as Cancer Support Communities–Redondo, Rainbow Services, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Special Olympics, Walk with Sally, Habitat for Humanity and Children’s Hospital LA.
It’s clear you truly enjoy your work. Of all the positive aspects, what’s the most rewarding part of your job?
SY: I obviously adore the practice of yoga, and I feel so blessed to be able to share this passion with my students. I’m very grateful that I’m able to assist them in their journey to regain their health and to find joy in their practice of yoga.
SY: I have so many yoga poses that I enjoy immensely, but one that really connects with me right now is Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand). I’ve been practicing it daily for the past two years, and I am still in the process of learning to do it without the support of a wall. Part of its appeal to me is the challenge of it: the sheer physicality of the pose and the fear of falling over are some of the things that keep me continually motivated to master this pose. Accomplishing this will be no easy feat, but I am committed to mastering this pose in the next eight years before I turn 70!
In celebration of National Yoga Month in September, Terranea will host a Seaside Yoga Gathering on September 24. In addition, visitors can perfect their poses at the resort’s monthly Full Moon Yoga practice. For dates and more information, please visit terranea.com.
“The oneness you feel with the majestic moon and the nocturnal world is a unique feeling … one that’s quite different from any other yoga experience done indoors.”