Workshops and My Schedule

Lisa Waas in Urdhva Dhanurasana – from the flyer for her workshop at Branches Yoga in June 2015

Dear Colleagues and Friends in Yoga –

There are several Iyengar Yoga workshops coming  to our area: one each in the next four months.  This is a positive plethora, compared to 1 or 2 workshops per year in previous years.  Here’s the list:

  1. Aug 21-23Suzie Muchnick on Amelia Island, FL, sponsored by Community Yoga (!special-eventsworkshops/cqtu)
  2. Sep  11-13Dean Lerner in Asheville, NC, at One Center Yoga (
  3. Oct 2-4 Bobbi Clennell on Amelia Island, FL, sponsored by Community Yoga (!special-eventsworkshops/cqtu)
  4. Nov 13-15Sharon Conroy in Savannah, sponsored by Branches Yoga (not yet on website, but will be soon at, scroll down for special events)

Which brings up some questions:

  • What’s special about a workshop?
  • How do I know whether the level will be appropriate for me?
  • What do I learn that is different from the benefits of my home practice or regular class participation?
  • Will I “make it” through several hours of workshop, when my class or home practice is 1-2 hours at most?

In other words, why bother?

Often what’s special   – and that is the case for the four listed below – are the qualifications and experience of the instructor.   All four carry high levels of certification in the Iyengar system, and all have decades of experience practicing and teaching yoga.  Their eye is trained to notice imbalances and habits that less experienced teachers – or yourself – do not see or, if seen, may not know how to correct.  What’s special also is the opportunity to focus on yourself and your practice for a longer period of time than the typical class length.  That sustained observation – both from without and within – makes a difference!

To determine whether the level is appropriate, study the requirements for the workshop.  If the requirements are unclear, inquire through the sponsoring studio / teacher.  If you are new to Iyengar Yoga or have injuries or conditions that you are concerned about, consider a shorter workshop experience, such as the afternoon session given by Lisa Waas at Branches, or the Membership Drive workshops I’ve given at Island Yoga and the former Ganesha’s Place over the past three years.  Alternatively, sign up for the first session only of a longer workshop.  Typically the first session focuses on basics, while the instructor observes the students in the group, and the students get used to the instructor.  Sometimes there will be a session specifically designated for “Basics”, as we did at Kquvien’s January 2014 workshop at Ganesha’s Place.  Remember that these instructors have worked with people with many conditions and limitations.  If you describe your concern succinctly in an email, I can forward it to the instructor directly for their comment.

What will I learn that’s different?  Even in the highly consistent, rigorous Iyengar system, each teacher has favorite phrases or ways of giving instruction.  Every time I participate in a workshop, I hear something that helps me approach posture, extension, effort in a more informed manner.  I get some piece of feedback that reveals my own habits more clearly.  You will discover something useful about yourself.  The Iyengar system also strictly guides the asanas that can be taught by teachers at varying levels of certification.  So if you’re ready to learn some asanas that I’ve not yet been approved to teach, this is your opportunity!

Will I “make it” through the workshop?  What if I get tired?  Workshops are paced, because the sessions are longer than the typical class.  There are more demonstrations, which are built-in opportunities to rest. It is always acceptable to rest if you become too fatigued.  Often the teacher will notice this first and either build in a resting pose, or specifically direct an individual to take an alternate, resting pose.

Bottom line, these are special opportunities to learn from really special, expert teachers.  Try it!

Classes this week:  Many of you know that due to a critical illness in the family, I am out of town this entire week.  I am not sure of my return date.  My wonderful colleagues at Branches Yoga and Island Yoga are filling in.  It’s best to check the schedule at the studio websites, but here’s what I think is happening this week:

*The Therapeutic Yoga class at Island Yoga will be held Mondays only during the summer.  Patte Ranney typically instructs.  The classes in August will focus on heart health.

See you as soon as I can!


Jann Boyer
Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor (Introductory II)

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