Bio and Training
Hi, I'm Sara. I am a Yoga Alliance Certified yoga teacher at the ERYT500 level. I've been practicing Yoga since 1998. I completed the 200 hour teacher certification requirements in 2008 and the 500 hour requirements in 2014 through Yoga North International SomaYoga Institute*.
Between my 200 and 500 hour trainings I expanded my knowledge and deepened my practice through multiple in-depth teacher trainings: Relax & Renew ® with Judith Hanson Lasater; iRest Yoga Nidra ® with Richard Miller; Anatomy and Asana, Restoring and Rebuilding the Inner Core, and Therapeutic Yoga with Susi Hately; Somatics Specialty Classes with Molly McManus, Ann Maxwell, Jodi Christianson, and Teri Sanders of Yoga North; Thai Yoga Bodywork with Margaret Harsted; and the Therapeutic Spinal Strip and Backbender plus some of Yoga's philosophy studies: the Chakras, the Mind Study and the Yamas & Niyamas (Yoga's Ethical Guidelines), also with Yoga North.
Restorative Yoga and other therapeutic practices really speak to me so I developed this website, a
blog, and recently started posting classes on YouTube
to share what I have learned through my personal practice and through teaching so others can also benefit from these
wonderful styles of yoga. I teach Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra and
iRest Yoga Nidra) and Hatha Yoga, incorporating Inner Core work, Somatics, and other methods with therapeutic benefits
into my classes. Generally, my classes are a blend of all of these techniques and taught under the label,
In addition, my partner, David, and I own a small press publishing company called On-Word Bound Books and a wine education and travel company called Savvy Nomad. We like to "take our show on the road," guiding canal boat trips through the south of France, while offering wine education and yoga on board.
I offer seasonal series of open classes - usually about 10 weeks long in fall and winter. I'm also available for private /
on-site classes and workshops. Some of my
Yin Relax yoga classes are offered hybrid style, both in-person and on Zoom through
Yoga North International SomaYoga Institute.
Seasonally in spring and fall I co-guide trips in France on our canal boat.
If you have questions, comments, or insights please contact me directly via email: sara @ dorestorativeyoga (dot) com. Namaste.
* "The yoga therapy components of my instruction and practice are based on my training with Yoga North ~ SomaYoga International Institute and with Susi Hately Aldous, not derived from my status as an ERYT ®with Yoga Alliance Registry."
Reviews from Restorative Yoga ~ Discovery and Practice
Here are excerpts from student evals. When asked, "The best part of the seminar was..."
"Learning about the 50% concept, reinforcing to be more easeful in the poses."
"...excellent instruction through modeling."
"The stucture ~ starting with a demo followed by a full class."
"Focusing on comfort in order to relax."
"Learning how to do this at home."
"I found the suggestion to find or fine tune your own comfort at each turn to be very helpful."
Here is a letter Satyam (my host) received after class:
"Sara is a world class teacher. I will use the knowledge I gained for many years to come. I found much that was new to apply to my practice. I also don't think such a high level workshop would be possible in little ole Galesville without Satyam's already established outstanding leadership and teaching. Every monthly workshop he presents turns out to be so rewarding." ~ Susan Bupp
Reviews from Restoring the Inner Core
Here are excerpts from student evals. When asked, "The best part of the seminar was..."
"The growth of awareness of my inner workings / balance / imbalance."
"The explanations for the movements and the challenging postures."
"I got into the best chair pose ever thanks to the belt and the block."
"Learning to control the muscles."
"The fellowship, the core work - can't pick one thing - it was collectively AWESOME."
"Felt great for my back."
"Losing all the unforgiving tightness from the top of the head to lower waist." "Quiet concentration and awareness of my core."
"The work. Sara, you worked hard to attend to everyone and your compassion was clear. I also appreciate your sense of humor."
"Adductor inner thigh - amazing how painful this small move is."
"A completely new awareness of what core muscles are."
"Sara is so engaging and clearly enthusiastic about this subject. I really enjoyed her great personality and learned so much that will help me stabilize my core and hips and make my practice even better."
Here are 2 letters Satyam (my host) received after the Inner Core class.
"Sara's classes were a wonderful way to spend the day with Laura - we don't get many chances although we live in the same house! And we learned so much about our bodies and how to get so much more from our yoga practices and restorative positions. And we continued sharing the same "pains" the next day in our pelvis' and thighs. I continued to use the exhale technique Sara taught. I've never been able to isolate my pelvic floor before." ~ Annetta
"Great class on Sunday. Bob and I both thought it was very helpful. Sara has an excellent teaching style and personality, the time flew by. It was amazing how I could feel the work and difference with such small body movements. Bob said the hard part for him was the pelvis stuff and lifting the [pelvic] floor, since that isn't usually a guy thing. Guess having kids gave the women an advantage in that department. Thanks so much for all your hard work in setting the seminars up. That was such a compliment to what you have already taught us and I am sure you are going to work some of these new items into our practice." ~ Coni
Comments from Deep Relaxation / Yoga Nidra
Here are a few comments people shared at the end of the workshop:
"I am grateful for the time to be quiet."
"I felt a great sense of expansion."
"I felt like I went to heaven."
"I was so relaxed that I couldn't keep up with traffic after class. My speedometer kept sliding below 30mph."
Satyam from Renaissance Yoga says,
As much as we appreciated her skills and insights, certainly it was her demeanor, manner and way that we all found so comforting and charming. This was the fist time I had a visiting yoga teacher come in and lead and I personally felt 100% comfortable in all aspects. In this first week since her time here, I have been incorporating certain aspects of subtle core work into our classes. While there is still much to do, there are 3 or 4 elements that have been brought into classes. That has been a nice development. And I look forward to continuing ahead with this.
Beth from R Studio says,
The feedback that we have received has been very positive. I heard from two students last night that they are doing the exercises daily! YES...isn't that fantastic? They loved your authenticity and appreciated hearing how this work has helped you. I have been incorporating small bits into my classes this week and look forward to adding more in the future. Thanks for doing what you do and being who you are.
It was incredible how Sara led us in a total body, mind, spirit, exploration, stretch, relaxation and massage!
Her careful use of Somatic principles and exercises covered my entire SELF - was a healing and rejuvenating meditation.
The tennis ball massage, followed by the 61 point Shavasana was amazing.
Carol K. ~ from Momence feedback on a Yoga North class.
Sara Duke is knowledgeable and passionate about Yoga, especially restorative yoga. I have enjoyed many of her classes
and feel so free and open with much pain relief after each class. Her instructions are gentle and she always makes sure
to give modifications to each student as needed. I also refer many of my own clients to her classes without hesitation.
Thank you Sara! Christiane E. LMT, RYT
Love your blog, especially the detailed descriptions of the poses and pictures. Your blog is the perfect compliment to Judith Lasater's book for people looking to understand Restorative Yoga. Sharon Serre Dawson ~ from the Do Restorative Yoga Facebook page.
I found you :) So far everything I read in your blog is part to my story almost verbatim. I'm very flexible, love yoga but just realized standing poses may not be benefiting me-need to focus on my pelvic floor. So my practice changes again. Looking forward to the journey. So far I like what I found! Thank you for your commitment and sharing your love for yoga. :)!!!!! Ketzal ~ from the Do Restorative Yoga blog.
Thank you so much for this! I'm so interested in learning more about Restorative Yoga. I so appreciate your generosity in sharing knowledge and compassion. With much gratitude, Jan ~ from the Do Restorative Yoga blog.
I think pelvic floor awareness is hugely important in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. The pelvic floor has to be so strong to support the
added weight of the baby during pregnancy and it has to be so incredibly flexible, relaxed and resilient to allow passage of the baby and then
return to its supporting role. Kegel exercises are important, but I have appreciated, and found better results from the subtlety of the core
work of therapeutic yoga, emphasizing both the need for strength and the need to be able to let go.
Also, I learned a great modification of camel pose in a prenatal class. We sat on our heels with our knees spread out wide, leaned back to put hands on the floor and then lifted hips and bellies up to the sky. It was so beautiful to see a room full of pregnant mamas doing this together, and nobody seemed to complain of sacrum or knee pain! Thanks for the review, Amber ~ from the Do Restorative Yoga blog.
Om Shanti, I really love your website. I have a strong interest in teaching restorative yoga. I did take a 4-day restorative training. Each time I visit your website, I learn something new. Thank you, Juneous ~ from the Do Restorative Yoga blog.
Sara - I just had to pop in to tell you how amazing your classes are! It's uncanny how in tune you are when conducting the class. If I have a spot that needs attention it's almost inevitable that we focus on it in class. Yesterday before class I was feeling flustered because I'm at a cross roads in life and I told myself to just relax and the answer would come to me when I needed it most. When you read aloud from the Yamas and Niyams book it perfectly answered my delimma! The yoga poses were also right on for what my body needed for the day. You are such a great instructor! Thank you for everything! Binn ~ from the Do Restorative Yoga blog.
I welcome your thoughts and questions. I look forward to hearing from you. ~ Sara