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February 2020
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She Rocks it! with Genny Kapuler
The Iyengar Institue
150 West 22nd Street, 11th Floor, New York
New York, NY 10011

Fri, 12:30 PM To 2:15 PM

After taking Genny Kapuler's Level III Iyengar class, Sleuth got caught fawning. "She knows everything," I told my friend. She told me to tell Genny myself. Red-handed, I did, to which she replied, "I don't feel like I do." She said that she just studies and practices a lot. I could tell.

Not because she went up into sirasana the way most of us step off the curb and not because the Iyengar instructions roll off her tongue as if they were her breath. It was the way she looked me right in the eye when she gave me instructions and the way her eyes lit up when I understood; it spoke as evidence to her abhyasa. Brilliant and exacting, Genny never strayed into condescension.

When I came into the classroom, she was assisting a student with his headstand practice. "Can you feel how your left leg is higher than your right?" she asked. "Yes." "Good," she said as if the awareness were all that mattered. Her students' curiosity excited Genny, not our ability to do a pose. Her willingness to let us interrupt her for clarification or with additional questions showed her appreciation for involved, active students. She kept telling us to "stay alert," and I found my mind wandering back to my body - legs and arms strong again, all from those two words repeated at the right time.

Genny guided us through a sequence designed to quiet the mind, mostly with head below the heart and restorative poses like supta baddha konasana on bolsters. The poses we did were simple, but the instructions were stringent.

This Level III class assumes an advanced practice and a fair understanding of anatomy. Familiarity with the use of props Iyengar-style is necessary, although Genny was happy to help me into the ropes for sirasana.

The Iyengar Institute is a beautiful studio that looks like it gets a good scrub-down every day. There is a sign in the spacious women's bathroom that encourages us to leave the seat clean as a way of practicing yoga at all moments.

A tip: The intercom on the first floor isn't labeled: press 1-1 and then the green button to be buzzed in. $25 per class, all props included.

—Neely O'Hara for Yoga Sleuth

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