New Wisdom Warriors Class takes off at Yoga Del Mar

Desirée Rumbaugh’s Wisdom Warriors class. Photo/Rick Le Beau
Desirée Rumbaugh’s Wisdom Warriors class. Photo/Rick Le Beau

By Rick LeBeau

If you didn’t know better, you could walk into Desirée Rumbaugh’s class at Yoga Del Mar on Wednesday afternoons and think you’d discovered the fountain of youth — or at least some lost tribe of people with superior flexibility genes and the strength of people half their age. That’s because Rumbaugh’s class of “Wisdom Warriors” is comprised of people over 50 who smile and laugh and share their way through a two-hour session of yoga that may be for the young at heart, but definitely isn’t for the faint of heart.

Rumbaugh started the class in April 2012, and already has as many as 30 or more yoga practitioners spreading their mats side-by-side for 120 minutes of intense poses interspersed with more joy and camaraderie than you will see in any other yoga class. In starting the class targeted toward advanced yogis age 50 and above, she hoped to provide a setting where her peers (both in age and ability) could relax and leave their inhibitions at the door, enabling them to enjoy the yoga experience in a different way than the more traditionally stoic and serious environments of most yoga settings.

If you’ve observed or practiced yoga before, it is easy to notice the contrast in the Wisdom Warriors class. The music is more up tempo, the mood is less somber, the solemn whispers of the normal yoga setting are replaced with joyful interaction and encouragement all along the way. The connections in the class are not just confined to two hours each Wednesday, either. The yogis meet regularly for picnics and potlucks and the occasional gathering highlighted by instruction in how to prepare tasty raw food cuisine.

The class isn’t just comprised of light-hearted banter, though. There is plenty of respect for the traditions of yoga, and Rumbaugh flows with the class through progressively more demanding poses, with arm-balances, back-bends, head-stands and other challenging inverted and standing poses as well. Attendees frequently pair up to help each other into the more demanding poses, and are often amazed at how they are able to achieve new levels of strength, balance and flexibility beyond the limitations their bodies had previously expressed. Most people recognize as they age that the loss of flexibility and strength is part of the process, but in the Wisdom Warrior setting, you will see people turning back the clock on the aging process as they dictate to their bodies what can be done, and not the other way around. When you see a room full of people in their 50s all ignoring the physical limits that govern most people’s activities, you can’t help but be encouraged that you, too, may be capable of breaking through boundaries you thought were permanent.

Rumbaugh hopes to plant the seeds for other Wisdom Warrior classes around the region and even nationally. Already there are plans in the works for teacher trainings in other locations.

For more information, visit; 2652 Del Mar Heights. Road, Del Mar, 92014; 858-720-0076.