The Studio – Yoga Den
Our calling is to engage people. We want them to embrace and understand the Art of Yoga and how to naturally improve their health and quality of life through the integration of mind, spirit and body. We provide the environment to awaken the love for our body, nurturing the potential of our mind and embrace our spiritual potential and growth with the universal source. We do this with love, compassion, a sense of humor, and with respect for what each individual can accomplish through Yoga and throughout their lives.
About the Yoga Den Health Spa
Our healing center, yoga classes and teacher trainings are well-rounded and holistic. We teach various meditation and yoga styles. Our philosophy is that yoga is for EVERY body. With this in mind, our curriculum encompasses a multitude of styles and disciplines, such as vinyasa flow, free movement, Power Yoga, Iyengar, Anusara, Ashtanga, restorative, asana sequencing and adjustment. We also focus on life-building practices such as kriya (cleansing), pranayama (breath work), raw food preparation. We incorporate healing modalities from Native American and South American Indians, Hindus and Hawaiians. Our Healing Center offers Esthetics and Energy Healing. Services and private yoga and corporate yoga sessions by appointment.
The Creator – Leeza Villagomez
THE WOMAN THAT PUTS THE “YO” IN YOGA DEN
MOTHER, WIFE, FRIEND AND TEACHER.
YOGA DEN IS A FITTING NAME for the family-style hub Leeza Villagomez has created in the Inland Empire, as it has the comfortable vibe of a family room where everyone looks forward to lounging, eating and playing. And, lounge, eat and play they do. Leeza is known for bringing in pitchers of her famous energy tonic for students to sip after a session of soul flow classes and, with a ready smile she demonstrates the art of creating a green vegetable drink or pot of Ayurvedic kitcheree to her students & teacher trainees.
While Leeza seems like a natural as the owner of a Yoga studio and den mother for a vibrant community, she didn’t necessarily plan on having this be part of her path. Even though she’s a native of Corona who grew up on a three-acre farm with everything from fruit trees, peacocks, horses and chickens, she traveled the world, working as an international Ford model and lived in sixteen different countries before returning home to Southern California. Her extended family still lives in the Inland Empire, including her parents and four siblings. When she was still pursuing her wanderlust, Leeza’s mother said in a prescient moment, “You can gallivant all you want, but the love of your life will be here.” And sure enough, Leeza met her husband Humberto in a Yoga class in the Radiant IE. Together since 1998 and married since 2000, Leeza describes him both as her soulmate and a stalwart support for the studio. The two share an open-minded Christian faith; an active, joyful and adventurous lifestyle; and two daughters: Xenia born in 2002 and Ava born in 2005, who are frequent visitors to Yoga Den, even joining in on classes when Leeza is teaching. Ava is known for her shoulder massages and aromatherapy assistance during savasana and Xenia for long limbed body in yoga poses or dancing.
It was her love of Yoga, commitment to the practice and ability to enjoy the relaxation of savasana that kept Leeza balanced during her twelve years in the often grueling and hectic world of modeling where the opposite dualities of both a health-conscious, as well as party-heavy lifestyle, are available. Leeza’s first inspiration to try Yoga came when she was about to turn eighteen, in the summer of 1983, after watching a television interview where Raquel Welch was talking about her Yoga practice. Inspired, Leeza sent away for Raquel Welch’s video, found any books she could on Yoga at the library and started meeting people who were involved in the practice. Then when she was twenty, the six-foot-tall blond lived and worked outside the US for the first time in Japan. Homesick and experiencing culture shock, she found a Yoga teacher in Tokyo. All the lifestyle components of the practice, along with meditation and finding happiness and health, continued to be her anchor. Whenever she would travel the world, be it Munich, Athens, barcelona, sweden, miami she would come back to Southern California, where, as she described it, the best Yoga teachers could be found. So it made perfect sense to return home. Her love of Yoga led to completing a number of teacher training programs and studying with a variety of teachers, traditions and lineages. Iyengar, Ashtanga, Saul David Raye, Yoga Works, Shiv Rae, Steve Ross, Bryan Kest, Beth Shaw, Sean Corne to name a few.The years of continuous study have given her an eclectic fun, flowing style where she plays music and chooses sequences that feel right for the people in the room.
The progression from student to studio owner is a manifestation of the power of persistence. In 2000, Leeza and Humberto wanted to settle down, her love of Yoga led her to teach, then rent a small space, then a larger one and then finally buy the building now home to the Yoga Den. 1035 Montecito Drive. A thorough yogini, Leeza models the balance of family-Love & Joy, eating by listening to her body, she calls a “Flexitarian”, running a studio “community” and maintaining her own practice “humanitarian”.
Part of her practice involves seva, the ethos of selfless service and being involved in the community. One of the activities that is near and dear to her heart is participating in the local Soroptimist club, a nonprofit organization made up of women volunteers helping other women. Their meetings every week are not only a lovely group, as Leeza describes the gatherings, but a supportive network that helps the community as a whole. In addition to her own service, she frequently gives back by helping out at her children’s schools. Off the mat, she makes time for family, friends, dancing, rock climbing, paddle boarding, swimming, poi spinning, festive gatherings and says you never stop practicing Yoga . She lives by, models and teaches the philosophical attitude that you are what you eat, breathe and think. Leeza is a model of making it matter. As she teaches…”We Matter.”