What to expect in class


click here for class schedule

This page is intended to give the prospective student an idea of a class in addition to the description under the menu tag of Iyengar yoga.

Or watch David Yearwood, Iyengar yoga teacher from Portland , ME give a great description of Iyengar yoga


Iyengar yoga is a progressive, systematic method for learning the art of yoga. Classes vary weekly and can include all or one category of poses (forward bends, back bends, twists, inversions or restorative) Each class builds upon the skills of the previous classes so a student progresses over time. Yoga is learned through repetition, practice and analysis. Yoga is not just doing and doing it’s a process of analyzing what we do and applying that knowledge to move forward. Through this process a student starts to see true transformation.

Classes in the Atascadero studio are small for individualized attention. The studio is warm and tranquil with a wood floor and view of the mountains. A quiet retreat for your journey into yoga.

Classes focus on proper alignment and technique in the postures to develop body intelligence and mental concentration. Beginners learn to move with ease and more mature students learn to refine their knowledge.

A student of Iyengar yoga builds strength where there is weakness, mobility where there is stiffness and gains a practical tool for understanding themselves better.  Class cards offer discounts to encourage regular attendance as this is the only way to progress. In addition, regular attendance allows the teacher to better guide you through your path of yoga.

While there is an attempt to level the classes most are mixed level except Saturday’s advance classes which requires teacher’s  permission to attend. Levels are addressed individually so that some students may be asked to continue to work on one stage of a pose while others may move forward.

Students with limitations, conditions or injuries must contact the teacher to discuss the appropriate class to attend. Iyengar teachers are trained to deal with a variety of conditions and situations with the use of props and or teaching poses in stages to address students needs. But you must inform the teacher before class so that your needs can be addressed.

Class begins with the invocation to Pantanjali to whom we offer our gratitude for documenting the path of yoga in the Yoga Sutras. (scroll down for a translation)

I look forward to seeing you in class!

yogena cittasya padena vacam
malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena
yopakarottam pravaram muninam
patanjalim pranjalir anato’smiabahu purusakaram

sankha cakrasi dharinam

sahasra sirasam svetam

pranamami patanjalim

by Geeta IyengarThe two slokas (verses) that we chant to invoke Lord Patanjali begin the Bhojavritti, Bhoja’s commentary or Yoga Sutras. It says, first of all, that Lord Patanjali is considered to be the incarnation of Adishesha, which is the seat for the Lord Vishnu, the very creator of this world. It is said he took birth three different times giving three different sciences for people to improve themselves.The first is yoga.
yogena cittasya padenaa vacam To purify the mind (citta), purify the consciousness, Patanjali gave the science of yoga (yogena) to us. To purify our use of words (pada) and speech (vaca), he gave commentary on grammer to us so thatour use of words and way of speaking is clarified, distinct and pure.

malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena

To remove the impurities (malam) of the body (sarira), he gave us the science of medicine (vaidyakena).

yopakarottam pravaram muninam

Let me go near the one who has given these things to us.

patanjalim pranjalir anato’smi

Let me bow down my head with my folded hands to Lord Patanjali.
Then, after knowing the work of this Lord, the second stanza says what Lord Patanjali looks like. To do meditation first the form has to be in front of our eyes.

aahu purusakaram


From the hand up to the head he has the shape (karam) of a human (purusa.)


sankha cakarasi dharinam


In his hand he is holding the conch (sankha) and the disc (cakra.)


sahasra sirasam svetam


On top of his head (sirasam) he has got a thousand (sahasra) hoods of cobra, because he is the incarnation of Adishesha, the greatest cobra. Svetam means white.


pranamami patanjalim


I bow down to that Patanjali.


We chant so that at the very beginning that feeling of sanctification comes from inside, with the feeling of surrendering oneself, because nothing can be learned in this world unless you have the humility to learn. So the moment you think of the Lord at the beginning of doing a practice, you know that you are very small in front of that greatest soul. Once that is understood then the other problems which always arise while practicing, mainly concerned with the ego, will be affected. You know that you are “coming down” to learn something, and that you can’t learn anything unless you come down: if you think you are on the top and you know everything, then you are not a learner at all. In that sense, the chanting helps. We decide to chant these two slokas from the very beginning. When Guruji asked us to practice yoga we stayed with this recitation. But we didn’t do it in the classes because when people came as beginners, they had this idea that it is a religious prayer of concern only to Hindus. It took people a little while to understand. whenever we had some public program, celebration such as Divali or Guruji’s birthday, we would recite the prayers. People started taking interest and asking us what the prayers mean. When it was understood, everybody accepted it. For several years now we have been chanting these prayers before the classes. This explanation of the invocation to Patanjali is adapted from an interview given by Geeta at RIMYI in 1992 during the Canada intensive. The interview was conducted by Margo Kitchen and videotaped by Heather Malek., transcribed and edited by Judith M. a consultation with Marline Miller. Adapted by Francis Ricks.