What, Why, & How?

Our goal is to make Studio Po your yoga home! We love Iyengar Yoga and it is our passion to share with you the many gifts that this incredible practice offers. To do this, we provide a welcoming atmosphere in which people of all ages and levels of fitness can have fun practicing yoga. Please read below to learn more about Iyengar Yoga and Studio Po.

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+ Who is BKS Iyengar?

BKS Iyengar was the world’s greatest contemporary yoga master. From the time he was 16-years-old until his death at 96 on August 20, 2014, he devoted his life to developing, practicing and evolving his style of yoga, referred to as Iyengar Yoga. He is the author of numerous books on yoga including his definitive work Light on Yoga, which has become a classic for all students of yoga and has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide since it was first published in 1966. In 2004, Time Magazine recognized BKS Iyengar’s influence and selected him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. In June 2017, the Ramamani Iyenger Memorial Yoga Institute was chosen as the first recepient of India’s Prime Minister's Award for outstanding contribution for promotion and development of Yoga.

+ Why do people practice yoga?

People come to yoga for a variety of reasons. Some begin practicing yoga to improve their health, others to quiet their minds. The subject of yoga is vast, and there are several scientific studies supporting the many benefits of a sustained yoga practice. While there is no disputing these many benefits, traditionally, people sought yoga as a spiritual path. In his book, Tree of Yoga, Mr. Iyengar says that, “yoga is more than physical. It is cellular, mental, intellectual and spiritual – it involves man in his entire being.” By definition, ‘yoga’ means to yoke: “the union of body with the mind and of mind with the soul.”

+ What is Iyengar Yoga and what can I expect from practicing it?

Iyengar Yoga promotes integration of body, mind and spirit through the practice of traditional yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques). It is based on classical yogic practices as interpreted by the yoga master BKS Iyengar and places special focus on body alignment, sequencing, and timing. With teaching that focuses on these aspects, practitioners can experience positive physical, mental and emotional effects.

The practice of Iyengar Yoga improves one’s mobility, stability, strength, flexibility, concentration, and overall well being. The Iyengar method of yoga is appropriate for everyone. All body sizes, shapes and ages can benefit from Iyengar Yoga. Asanas are taught at different levels according to the experience and capabilities of each student. This ensures that students progress safely from basic to more advanced postures.

+ What types of asanas (postures) will I do in class?

At Studio Po, classes follow a typical 4 week Iyengar Yoga cycle. The first class of the month emphasizes standing poses; the next week forward extensions & twists; then back bends and twists; and in the last week of the month restorative poses and/or pranayama. Level-appropriate inversions are included in every class. Please keep in mind that while the emphasis of each class follows the above cycle, every class will likely include a range of asanas. No two classes are alike. Both the sequence of asanas and the emphasis of teaching will vary from class to class and teacher to teacher.

+ What are inversions?

Inversions are asanas (postures) that involve having the head below the heart. They are an essential part of Iyengar Yoga. The teacher will gradually and safely introduce full inversions such as Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) and later Sirsasana (headstand).

For every inversion, as with each of the other asanas, there is always a way to modify the pose so that it is appropriate for one’s level and circumstance. Iyengar Yoga is very much a personal journey. In an Iyengar Yoga class, one will often find different students practicing various presentations of the same pose. What is right for one student is not necessarily appropriate for another, and that is absolutely respected.

+ What Sanskrit words will I hear in class?

In tribute to the lineage of teachers who have brought the teaching of yoga to the modern day, Iyengar yoga teachers use occasional Sanskrit words in class. In Sanskrit, yoga postures are referred to as yoga asanas. Each asana has a Sanskrit name. Please do not feel you need to know or memorize these names. That said, students are often surprised to find that one day, out of the blue, using these names has become second nature.

+ Is Iyengar Yoga a form of meditation?

The practice of Iyengar Yoga is typically referred to as meditation in action. While performing asanas, students develop awareness of the different parts of the body. In the beginning, a student’s mind shifts from body part to body part; however, over time, it becomes aware of the body as an integrated system. As one refines this awareness, one’s mind becomes more meditative, allowing for deeper penetration within the practice.

+ What are props and how can they enhance one’s practice?

BKS Iyengar is credited for designing and introducing props to the practice of yoga. Simple props are used to encourage optimal body alignment and to offer support so that anyone, at any level of fitness and flexibility, can practice yoga effectively and safely. Props are also used to teach specific actions of an asana. The props function as tools to develop and sharpen body awareness. Examples of props include sticky mats, blankets, wooden blocks, foam bricks, belts, wall ropes, chairs, benches, and sandbags.

+ As a beginner, what can I expect from a class at Studio Po?

The teacher will introduce the foundational postures and orient students through basic shapes and movements. The asanas taught at the beginner level build strength and stamina and improve muscle tone, mobility and body alignment.

There are no mirrors in the practice room and students can expect to feel comfortable knowing that they are in a non-competitive environment. Iyengar Yoga teachers are trained to design and modify their classes to meet the needs of individual students.

+ What are the different classes offered at Studio Po?

Please check out our Class Descriptions for a better understanding of the different classes offered at Studio Po. If you are unsure of which class to attend, please do not hesitate to contact us.

+ What should I bring to class?

Studio Po provides all of the props needed for class, including sticky mats; however, you are welcome to bring your own yoga mat if you prefer.

+ What should I wear?

Please wear shorts or footless tights and a fitted t-shirt. Loose leggings and baggy tops make it difficult for the teachers to see the alignment of your body in the postures. Yoga is practiced in bare feet. Please do not wear perfume or cologne.

+ Is there anything that I need to do to prepare for class?

It is best to practice on an empty stomach. Please plan your meals accordingly. If you are attending an early morning class and your body constitution requires that you eat something, it is appropriate to have coffee, tea and/or something light such as yoghurt or a piece of toast.

Before your first class, please arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a health history questionnaire. Every student must complete a health history form before participating in classes at Studio Po. Studio Po is open 15 minutes before each class and those arriving late may be refused entry.

+ Do I need to be flexible to practice Iyengar Yoga?

Absolutely not! This is a misconception. Yoga asanas help to loosen stiff joints and muscles and increase their mobility. Each asana can be modified as needed to accommodate individual students and ensure that they practice safely.

+ Do I need to be in good physical shape to begin practicing?

No, anyone can practice and benefit from Iyengar Yoga. Yoga asanas are taught at different levels according to the experience and capabilities of each student so that students may progress safely at their own pace.

+ Can I practice Iyengar Yoga if I have a medical condition or physical limitation?

The teachers at Studio Po are trained to accommodate common ailments in the context of a regular class (for example a sore back, knee or shoulder). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns.

All students are required to fill out a health history questionnaire before beginning their first class. It is the student’s responsibility to advise his/her teacher of any new medical condition that may arise or if practicing with a new teacher, of any existing condition that may affect his/her practice.

+ What is Yoga for the Greater Good?

Yoga for the Greater Good is a subsidized yoga program targeting paid employees of not-for-profit and charitable organizations. It consists of a 20% discount off of regular prices. Click here for more details.

+ Yoga Etiquette?

  • Please arrive 15 minutes early if it’s your first class so that you have time to fill out your health history form.
  • In general, please come early to class so that you have time to register and change your clothes. This ensures that class time is not disrupted.
  • Please remove your shoes at the top of the stairs.
  • If there is a class concluding as you are arriving, please be respectful and avoid conversation.
  • Please do not bring water bottles into the practice area. They can be kept on the side with your personal belongings.
  • Please put away any props that you have used during class and wipe clean your sticky mat with the wipes provided.
  • If you need to leave early, please inform the teacher at the beginning of class.