Many residents have taken yoga class with Marla Ricketts at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, but now she’s leaving to pursue a new career path with Elevate Public Affairs.
When her two boys were born (now 12 and 14), the native Angelino took time off from her career as an independent business consultant to stay home and raise her sons.
Six years ago, she reentered the workforce part-time as a yoga instructor for the Westside YMCA.
In 2017, she came to Pacific Palisades and started working full-time. A single mom, she told Circling the News last week that “The Y has been instrumental in allowing me to take care of my sons and have an income and I am grateful for the opportunities.”
“The Pali Y allowed me to diversify my yoga teaching skills,” Ricketts said, and she was able to add TRX, TRX Yoga, stretch classes and Personal Training. (TRX stands for “Total [Body] Resistance eXercise” and refers to a training device that utilizes a suspension system.)
“That led to the creation of one of my favorite programs, the teen training program,” she said. “That program taught teens how to use the equipment in the gym safely and with awareness.
“We were also able to teach them the basics of proper weightlifting movements and how to advocate for themselves inside a gym full of adults,” Ricketts said, noting that the idea and funding came from Pali Y member Annie Barnes.
With her success, Ricketts was promoted to become the local Y’s Membership and Healthy Lifestyles Director. “The position allowed me to grow the membership of the Pali Y while getting to know the community members,” she said.
Then Covid hit, and Ricketts was furloughed. “I morphed into Pumpkin Patch helper and Christmas Tree seller,” Ricketts said. In August 2020, “we were able to use Simon Meadow and provide families with a covid-safe after-school activity called Get Out, Get Moving.”
That program has continued this year.
The Y also introduced a FeedLA program that provides groceries to the food insecure, not only in the Palisades, but other communities in Los Angeles. Ricketts said, “I helped grow the program here, and today (October 21) we gave out 70+ bags of food to those in need.”
The Y has reopened with limited hours this fall — 7 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“I will miss the Palisades Y members and the families,” said a grateful Ricketts.