Rachel Lanzerotti, MSW, E-RYT500, IAYT-Certified Yoga Therapist, is an experienced practitioner and founder of San Francisco-based Five Rivers Yoga Therapy, with over two decades of study and practice. She offers individual sessions and group classes in Noe Valley, as well as teaching at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and San Francisco Village. Rachel is a member of Essential Yoga Therapy Faculty, a mentor and teacher for yoga teachers and therapists-in-training, and founder of the SF Yoga Therapy Collaborative.
Certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT) and EYT Therapist Training Program, Rachel also has the highest designation of Yoga Alliance, E-RYT500, which distinguishes teachers with significant experience.* Rachel holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from SF State University and a BA (Human Biology) from Stanford University.
Rachel is involved with research studies at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, currently consulting for a study on Yoga During Chemotherapy Treatment. She taught for the YoMA study (Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain and its Mechanism of Action), led individual sessions for participants in the Integrative Approaches to Cancer Survivorship (IACS) study, and taught mindful breathing for the Project Inspire study. From 2010-12, she taught Restorative Yoga with PRYSMS (Practicing Restorative Yoga and Stretching for the Metabolic Syndrome), an NIH-sponsored study through the University of California, San Francisco and San Diego.
Rachel completed the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation Training Program and The Yoga Loft’s Teacher Training, and she has specialized training in the Essential Low Back Program (lower back pain relief and strengthening) and Advanced Relax & Renew® Restorative Yoga. She has trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as well as iRest® Yoga Nidra, and the Buteyko Clinic Method.
For a decade prior to founding Five Rivers Yoga Therapy, Rachel ran an organizational consulting practice with community-based organizations. This experience, along with many years of direct work in nonprofit and social change organizations, contributes to Rachel’s professional rigor and engagement.
* The Yoga Therapy components of Rachel’s teaching are based on IAYT Certification, not derived from her status as an E-RYT with Yoga Alliance Registry.
From Rachel: What Brought Me to Yoga
2010: I like teaching people who might not do yoga otherwise, because that was how I started out: Not particularly athletic. Shied away from the word “spirituality.” Becoming a yogi absolutely was not on my to-do list.Looking back, I’ve been a seeker. Like many others, what I’ve sought is connection and meaning. I’ve often found myself in the liminal, or in-between, identities and places of change. Like participating in social justice movements and aligning with marginal communities that are envisioning new possibilities. And like being at the birth of a baby, or with someone dear who is approaching death.
A clarion call from my body brought me to yoga. In 1999, when I first tried yoga, I took only restorative classes for a year—to recover myself and to rebalance after burning the candle at both ends as a student, activist, and community worker. Stress and anxiety showed up in my body as digestive problems, inflammation, and insomnia. My body required that I slow down to a healthier speed and listen.
Yoga brought me to meditation. Meditation in formal retreat settings as well as my own daily practices brings me into deeper contact with time, silence, and being. In addition to sitting regular vipassana retreats, I’m sustained by my neighborhood and local meditation groups and, of course, the welcoming refuge of my home cushion.
Studying yoga also opened me up to new forms of community and mentorship. And change. My passion for the lifelong learning and healing offered by yoga has led me to study with many senior teachers and to transform my work life.
In teaching, I incorporate all of the tools of yoga. I teach what I’ve learned— about how to enhance health, remember, abide, and connect and how to create new, holistic patterns. I also teach with insights harvested from the many times that I, like all the humans I know, forget, make mistakes, resist, and fall into old habits. Or all of the above!
Mind, heart, body, and spirit all together: This is the gift of yoga that I continue to receive and now offer. That’s what brought me to yoga, and why I bring it to you.