Class Descriptions

Levels are intended to help students find the classes best suited to their overall current physical and mental state. For a more in depth exploration, please see the blog post, “What’s My Level” by Maya Lev. Many students spend several years at level 1-2 working to improve the basic poses, increasing their understanding and ability so they can attempt more challenging poses without fear of injury. Deep, true changes need time to develop and take root; for example, the opening of the hips and the mobility and stability of the spine and shoulders improves gradually, but unmistakably, with consistent practice.

Iyengar Style Yoga Classes


Introductory Series is recommended strongly for all students new to yoga or new to Iyengar yoga. The series covers basic poses, concepts and anatomy.

The Introductory Yoga series is offered a few times a year. In the meantime, feel free to drop in to any level 1 class.

Beginners and continuing beginners welcome.

About Slide 0000 Level 1

Level 1: For students new to yoga, new to Iyengar style yoga, or returning to yoga after a hiatus. This level introduces and consolidates the basic principles of alignment of the standing poses, the seated poses, and the movements of the spine for beginning backbends, forward bends, and twists. This level is safe and appropriate for anyone with chronic or acute back, neck, knee, or hip injuries or other limitations.

About Slide 0001 Layer 2

Level 2: For students who have studied or practiced Iyengar yoga for six months or more, this level builds upon the concepts introduced in level 1. A student begins to increase his/her stamina and strength by holding postures for slightly longer times. At this level, students also begin to practice poses such as Setu Bandha (bridge pose) and supported Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). Additionally, students prepare for Sirsasana (headstand) by building strength and awareness of the core and upper body anatomy.

About Slide 0002 Layer 3

Level 3: Considered an intermediate level, this is for students who have a minimum of 2 or more years of Iyengar yoga, or are able to practice sirsasana and sarvangasana independently (unless there are contraindications.) A good indicator of readiness is the ability to maintain Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) for up to five minutes. This level also asks students to maintain standing poses for 1 minute or more, seated poses for 3-5 minutes, and to work on intermediate backbends such as Urdhva dhanurasana.

About Slide 0003 Layer 4

Level 4: For advanced students with 5 or more years of Iyengar yoga experience, this level is for students interested in challenging their limitations. Being able to sustain sirsasana for 5 minutes or more is a good benchmark for this level, as well as being able to attempt variations of legs and arms in inversions. More advanced backbends such as eka pada rajakapotasana and forward bends such as kurmasana, as well as longer holds of twists and some arm balances are all practiced at this level.

About Slide 0004 Level 5

Level 5: For the safety of the student and well being of the class as a whole, this level is for advanced students and teachers who have received permission from the senior instructor. Students should be familiar with or able to work on moving from Tadasana into Urdhva Dhanurasana (dropping from standing into backbend) and from Sirsasana to Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, as well as working towards Natarajasana and Eka Pada Sirsasana (leg behind the head pose). Students interested in attending this level should contact YCSC prior to class, or attend Kofi’s level 2-3 class and discuss it with him directly. It is not required that students be able to perform these poses; rather it is required that students have the depth of understanding of their own bodies and the poses so they may practice them safely, with intelligence and awareness.

Special Yoga Classes

Chair Yoga
Chair Yoga is accessible for everyone. This wonderfully therapeutic practice will help you increase strength, balance, range of motion, stamina, mental awareness, and improve circulation. Suzi Mahler gently guides you through movements that are both traditional yoga poses and creative movements that are aligned with the breath to add lightness to the practice. Each class is safe, fun and informative.
Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal Yoga: A sacred space for a transforming mother to connect with her baby and breath, as she gently moves her body safely and intentionally. learning tools of strength and surrender to help prepare for childbirth, motherhood and beyond.

Mother & Baby Yoga: Offering a mindful & gentle class for the mamas and their babes, during a crucial time to support them in the post partum stage of motherhood. fresh from the birth experience. an opportunity to learn therapeutics for the whole body, tapping into the strength of their tired minds and bodies, stability in the pelvic floor, and learning ways to calm the nervous system, through meditation, breath work and quiet movement. recommended age six weeks PP (when mama is mostly healed has completely done bleeding) to baby crawling (when the babe is so mobile, that the mother can no longer focus on her practice). These classes are taught by Trisha Leineke. Currently she is on maternity leave till Fall, 2017.
Taoist Qigong
Taoist Qigong, Meditation and self-care techniques. It will be a balanced blend of dynamic movement, breath awareness and deep stillness. You will experience and learn to harmonize the 5 internal elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) that are in constant relationship with our external environment. The last class of the month will be Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep). Benefits of Qigong include:
  1. Increase flexibility
  2. Reduce stress/anxiety
  3. Uplift mood, manage depression
  4. Harmonize mind and emotions
  5. Help regulate blood pressure
  6. Helpful in creating positive change
  7. and establishing healthy habits
  8. Help increase lung capacity
  9. Increase vitality, promotes restful sleep

Yoga Center Santa Cruz

Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.
B.K.S. Iyengar