events & workshops

The Yoga Sutra as a Story

Lecture with ruth lauer-manenti

sunday, may 7
the shala union square
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Often we travel to return home with a new perspective. These travels fill our lives with stories. Similarly the yoga sutra is filled with a story about returning.  As we go from here to there and back, our perceptions, character, understanding and well being slowly and positively transform along with the ups and downs of life. For a discussion on this journey in the context of The Yoga Sutra of Maharishi Patanjali please join Ruth Lauer Manenti. Open to all levels- no previous knowledge of the Yoga Sutras is necessary.

Ruth Lauer Manenti has been a student and practitioner of yoga since 1988. She started as a form of physical therapy after breaking her neck in a car crash. Soon after she became interested in the philosophy and a spiritual way of life; one that would support and integrate the yoga.

She has been blessed to be a student of Sharon Gannon and David Life since 1990 and of Sri K Patabhi Jois sincs 1991 and later with his daughter Saraswati Jois. She has also studied Sanskrit with Dr. Jaya Shree and Professor H.V. Rao.

She is an advanced certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, travels around the world teaching  and facilitates their teacher’s training course. She also has written permission from Sri K Pattabhi Jois to teach the primary and intermediate series of Astanga Yoga. She is the author of 3 books all published by Lantern Books, An Offering of Leaves, Sweeping the Dust, and her latest book Fell in Her Hands.

She is also an artist and recently received a NYFA grant for outstanding achievement in the field of photography. She regularly exhibits her work. She lives in a cabin in the woods in the Catskill Mountains with her husband.

*no refunds

the teacher is present

a two day training with annie piper

Saturday, June 10 to Sunday, June 11
$200 for weekend, early bird $175
the shala union square
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Saturday, June 11:
Day 1 Holding Space : How to create and maintain and strong energetic healing energy in the room. Learning to bring your most authentic self – voice and all – to your teaching and shed teacher “persona”.

Sunday, June 12:
Day 2 Trauma Sensitivity/Restorative : Recognizing trauma and strategies for helping students. Basic restorative and Yin, and continuation of day 1 ethos.

You may receive 20 hours towards a 200 or 300 hour teacher training certificate

liberation in backbends!

with Ron Reid & Marla meenakshi

saturday, april 29, 3:30-6:30pm
$35 in advance, $40 at the door
the shala union square
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$35 in advance, $40 at the door
the shala union square
saturday, april 29
all levels

In the yoga sutra’s, Patanjali describes the perfect asana as one that has the qualities of both stability (sthira) and ease (sukha). Not to take too literal a translation, but it is interesting that he lists stability before ease. In this workshop we will experience how building stability into our joints in poses creates the structural support that opens the door to ease in our practice. Finding stability in our shoulders we can not only limit injury to the joint but also find the means to open up the thoracic spine as a way of alleviating pressure in the lumbar spine. This allows our backbends to become much more balanced thereby increasing our ability to experience sukha (ease), and ultimately, liberation in backbends!

Ron Reid has been practicing Yoga for over 30 years and teaching since 1988.  He is Co-owner and Director of the Downward Dog Yoga Centre in Toronto, Canada (

Ron has studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath both in India and North America and was one of the first Canadian teachers to be authorized by Pattabhi Jois.. Along with his studies with his Pranayama teacher Sri Sudhir Tiwari, has also completed an “Advanced Pranayama” training with Sri O.P. Tiwari from the Kaivalyadhama Institute in Pune, India.

Ron is one of Canada’s top teachers, approaching teaching in an inspired, informed and non-dogmatic way.  He places the needs of the students ahead of the demands of the practice.  While continuing to teach and practice the ashtanga vinyasa system as a foundation, he endeavors to blend tradition with innovation, and to balance precision with grace.  Students will find his refined approach to practice both challenging and rewarding.

Marla Meenakshi Joy, (Co-owner and Director of Downward Dog Yoga Centre), first traveled to India in 1988 to study meditation and the philosophy of the Vedas with Swami Shyam, as well as other learned scholars in the Himalayas.  She is a Certified Meditation and Yoga Philosophy teacher from the International Meditation Institute in the Himalayas, and , along with her studies with her Pranayama teacher Sri Sudhir Tiwari, has also completed an “Advanced Pranayama” training with Sri O.P. Tiwari from the Kaivalyadhama Institute in Pune, India. She has been teaching Mysore (Self-Practice) around the globe, Meenakshi has a healing and informative touch.

anatomy classes with joe miller

thursdays, 10:30-12:00
$20 per session or class card
the shala union square

Jan 12 Adho mukha svanasana (Down dog)
Jan 19 Chaturanga dandasana
Jan 26 Virabhadrasana (Warrior) 1
Feb 9 Virabhadrasana (Warrior) 2
Feb 16 Padmasana (Lotus)
Mar 9 Ardha matsyendrasana (Seated spinal twist)
Mar 16 Urdhva dhanurasana (Wheel)
Mar 23 Sirsasana (Headstand)
Mar 30 Salamba sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
Apr 6 Ujjayi pranayama (Victorious breath)

The Shala Welcomes back Edwin Bryant!

Teaching a workshop on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Friday, April 7, 2:00 to 6:00pm
The Shala Union Square
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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the classical ancient Indian treatise on the practice of Yoga. While Yoga conjures up images of bodily postures and stretches in popular western culture, this aspect of yoga, the asanas, is only the third limb of the eight limbs outlined in the Yoga Sutras — and, indeed, Patanjali pays only passing attention to this aspect of the system. This seminar series will consist of a close reading of Patanjali’s original text, focusing on the opening section of the work, wherein Yoga is defined and the state of samadhi, liberation, described, as well as on the eight limbs of yoga covered in the heart of the text, which outline the step by step methods for attaining this enlightened state. Attention will be paid to the pre-modern commentaries of the text, thus exposing students to the traditional understanding of the practice of classical Yoga and its goals. Students are advised to bring any copy of the Sutras which has the Sanskrit text in romanized script as attention will be focused on the original source rather than its westernized manifestation.

Edwin Bryant received his Ph.D in Indic languages and Cultures from Columbia University. He taught Hinduism at Harvard University for three years, and is presently the professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University where he teaches courses on Hindu philosophy and religion. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published six books and authored a number of articles on Vedic history, yoga, and the Krishna tradition. In addition to his academic work for the scholarly community, Edwin’s Penguin World Classics translation of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the traditional source for the story of Krishna’s incarnation, is both for Indology specialists as well as students and those interested in Hinduism from the general reading public and the yoga community. As a personal practitioner of yoga for 35 years, a number of them spent in India studying with traditional teachers, where he returns yearly, Edwin strives to combine academic scholarship and rigor with sensitivity towards traditional knowledge systems. In addition to his academic course load, Edwin currently teaches workshops on the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, and Hindu Philosophy at yoga studios and teacher training courses throughout the country. His translation of and commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (North Point Press, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009) is specifically dedicated to contributing to the growing body of literature on yoga by providing insights from the major pre-modern commentaries on the text with a view to grounding the teachings in their traditional context.

Scapulo-Humeral Rhythm and Arm Balances

A workshop with Alison West

April 29th, 12-3pm
$50 early bird, $60 at door
the shala union square
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The Scapulo-Humeral Rhythm and Arm Balances

Are you regularly told, or do you tell your students, to take the shoulders “down” or to keep the shoulders blades “on the back” when the arms are up overhead (full flexion)? Learn what you really want to be doing/teaching by studying the wonderful scapulo-humeral (shoulder/upper arm) rhythm in the context of asana practice. You will have a better understanding of how the arm positions in chatturanga, plank, tripod headstand, headstand, handstand and shoulderstand are quite different from each other and ask of us different things. Understanding the scapulo-humeral rhythm is fundamental to a strong and graceful practice.

Translate this information into Forearmstand and Handstand, and see how they differ from Crow and Peacock Poses and how to prepare for these joyful odes to courage and strength.


Alison West, Ph.D, ERYT, named one of the most influential Yoga teachers in America, is director of Yoga Union and the Yoga Union Backcare & Scoliosis Center. She first established Yoga Union in 1996 in SoHo after studying widely (Sivananda, Iyengar, Astanga Vinysasa Yoga) and teaching in NY for ten years. Her first studies at the Sivananda centers of Munich and NY in the early 80′s have led to a life-long interest in Yoga philosophy and the subtle practices of pranayama, meditation, mantra, yantra and mudra. She is ever grateful to Robert Moses, Kevin Gardiner, the late Mary Dunn, Sri K. Patthabi Jois and others for their selfless teaching and inspiration.

After studying with Bobbie Fultz and completing her Yoga for Scoliosis training with Elise Miller, Alison has gone on to develop new material and create the largest dedicated Yoga for Posture, Backcare, Herniation and Scoliosis in the world and conducts the only 100-Hour Backcare and Scoliosis Certification Program.

Alison conducts demanding “Gold Standard”* 200-hour Three-Pillars of Practice Teacher Trainings and a full 500-hour Mandala of Yoga Masters program in New York City, teaches workshops and master classes nationwide, in Europe and in the Middle East, and group and private classes in Manhattan.

She is currently writing her first Yoga book, Yoga for Backcare, which will be followed by Yoga for Scoliosis.

Note: Prior to her becoming a full-time Yoga professional, Alison obtained her Ph.D in Art History (1985) at NYU’s renowned Institute of Fine Arts under H.W. Janson and Robert Rosenblum. Her now-classic book on French Sculpture, From Pigalle to Prèault: Neoclassicism and the Sublime in French Sculputre, 1760-1840, was published by Cambridge University Press n 1998 and reviewed in all important publications including the New York Review of Books.

hip openers & arm balances workshop with frank mauro

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Arm balances can present an impressive and sometimes intimidating visual quality, especially to practitioners with less experience.

If we take the time to peel away the first few layers of any arm balance, we can see that their main functional foundations rely on open range of motion in our hips and a firm connection to the ground through our hands.

Through seated hip opening postures we are not only able to further explore the motion of our hips, but also gain an even closer connection to our primary source strength…  The ground.

Join Frank Mauro as he guides you through a series of postures both standing and seated that will bring a necessary awareness to the mobility of your hips and build confidence in the strength and technique of your arms, as it all comes together to relate to arm balancing.

This workshop welcomes all levels of experience from basic to advanced students, although previous experience practicing asana will be helpful.