Dristi Christie Rafanan

Christie Rafanan Yoga Garden SF yoga teacher ashtanga rocket vinyasa san francisco california forearm stand inversion


Can you share with readers where you are from? What were you like as a kiddo? 
Born in Vallejo, Ca an raised in Yountville, Ca. As a kid, I was very shy around adults but very outgoing with kids my age and my report cards always had good grades, but was reported as distracting others by being too social in the classroom. I looked up to my older brother so I was also a tomboy – a little girl climbing trees in tights and a dress with ribbon bows in my hair; my mom was not pleased. I always enjoyed athletics and movement (who knew this interest would lead to my career!): dance, gymnastics, softball, track & field.

How did you get started teaching yoga in San Francisco? 
I fulfilled a 7-8 year dream of getting certified to teach yoga at Yoga Garden SF in 2014 (or 2015? I can’t remember!) – which was mostly something I wanted to do in order to commit fully to my on-again-off-again relationship with my yoga practice. I figured if I started teaching, I would have to practice consistently in order to be a good teacher. I started teaching just a few weeks after graduating and I’m proud to say I’ve been committed to my practice 6 days a week ever since.

What is one of your hidden talents? Hmm… one of my hidden talents? I think it is that I am very good at Tetris and Mario Kart.

What wisdom do you most want to transmit to your students? I want my students to know that everything they want is already within them! I know it sounds cliche, but I truly believe that everyone CAN handstand, for example – it is innate; the body already knows how, it’s the mind that needs to be trained to remember how.

What challenge(s) has yoga helped you overcome?
Yoga allowed me to see that I have purpose in this world; it taught me self-love, self-worth, self-trust and self-confidence – overcoming the lack of each of these was a result of my yoga practice and something I will forever be grateful for.

Christie Rafanan Yoga Garden SF yoga teacher ashtanga rocket vinyasa san francisco california woods splits hanumanasana

Who is your hero/heroine? 
 My heroes are my students. Their dedication, hard word, discipline, courage, openness and love are endlessly inspiring.

What still excites you and keeps you inspired to teach and share this practice with students?
What excites me and keeps me inspired to teach is that I am always a student of the practice. I’m a nerd for biomechanics and enjoy the struggle of not having access to a pose because it allows me to spend time studying how to find the pose in my body. That self-study is what allows me to grow as a practitioner and therefore empower my students with that knowledge.

What is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal is hip-hop.

What shifts once you first unroll and step on your mat?
The biggest shift that happens when I show up for my practice is that the overwhelm of thoughts and emotions don’t go away, but I am able to compartmentalize my thoughts and emotions recognizing and owning them and am able to acknowledge each of them without becoming each of them.

If you didn’t teach yoga, what else would you do?
If I didn’t teach yoga, I think I would still be in movement or fitness. Maybe a personal trainer or bodyworker?

What’s your finest advice for a new teacher?
My advice to a new teacher is to always practice and never stop learning. Not just going to public classes, but developing and staying fully committed to a home practice. You are your best teacher and you can only teach what you have already learned and your best learning will come from the time you spend getting to know your body and Self.

Christie Rafanan Yoga Garden SF yoga teacher ashtanga rocket vinyasa san francisco california beach ocean view splits

What do you have in the pipeline? Are you working on any exciting projects? 
 I am working on a project that I am very passionate about; what I will share about it is that it is a project completely designed from my own yoga journey to empower people with the tools of knowing oneself to banish negative stories/patterns/habits that limit the peace and freedom in their lives.

Where can we connect with you off the mat? Off the mat, you can find me on Instagram: @dristichristie, Facebook: Dristi Christie and at Sightglass Coffee across the street from the studio! 😉

To practice with Christie, check out her weekly schedule!

Photography Credit: Dan Goodman