Reader Recommendation Request: Yoga for beginners

November 1, 2007 at 3:32 pm | In Reader recommendations | 27 Comments

It’s been a few days since we put out the last WSB Reader Recommendation Request; we’ve got a few in queue, and here’s the first — it’s from Sarah in Gatewood, a West Seattle native who just moved back after 2 years away (welcome back!):

I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion on a good, very basic, beginners, yoga class in the area. I have never taken one before, but am really anxious to try. I am really not too interested in the Bikram classes (the only ones I could find for beginners), as I think they might be too intense for a brand newbie, but really would welcome any suggestions.

Leave yours as a comment on this post; remember, all previous RRRs are archived here.


  1. my friend, Ann Ford, offers classes for true beginners. Her classes are technically not in WS, but in Burien. If you can get there, she is absolutely wonderful, and will show you ways to modify poses to accomodatejust about anything. She also does Reiki sessions…energy work that is truly remarkable. You’d love her :)

    Comment by Jan — 4:13 pm November 1, 2007 #

  2. I have been taking yoga at Sound Yoga for several years now and really love it:

    The style of yoga is Vini yoga which could be described as one of the gentler forms of yoga. It focuses on meeting every person where he or she is in terms of ability.

    Nearly once a month they have a free yoga class on a Sunday night for those interested in it. The next one is Nov 11. This is a great way to see if you like the studio.

    Comment by Laurel — 4:33 pm November 1, 2007 #

  3. 8 Limbs (across from Easy St. and above Matador) is a wonderful place with a wide range of teachers who are all excellent. Their intro classes are great.

    Comment by Venkat — 4:38 pm November 1, 2007 #

  4. Another vote for 8 Limbs from me. I haven’t taken an intro class there, but all the instructors I’ve had have been good, and all are happy to help beginners in their classes.

    Comment by Andrew — 5:01 pm November 1, 2007 #

  5. The All-Star Fitness has some great yoga teachers, my personal favorites are Manda and Amelia. I have heard good things about 8 Limbs, which might be easier to just drop in and check out.

    Comment by Lauren — 5:10 pm November 1, 2007 #

  6. Being a beginner myself, and someone who is not in perfect shape, I did not have a good experiences at 8 Limbs. I felt uncomfortable there. Just my $.02.

    Comment by Stretchy — 5:28 pm November 1, 2007 #

  7. As a complete newbie to yoga, I’ve really enjoyed the beginner’s classes at All-Star taught by Alexa. She’s very clear in her instruction and makes yoga very accessible and unintimidating.

    Comment by Kathy — 6:30 pm November 1, 2007 #

  8. Jan -
    I was checking out Ann Ford’s site and it linked to my friend’s yoga studio in Burien (Karuna Arts Yoga – Ann Basco)…small world. I used to teach feldenkrais (not yoga) classes at her studio when she first opened up 4 years ago.

    Comment by Erik — 7:21 pm November 1, 2007 #

  9. All-Star is ok but can someone tell me why the put the free weights right above the yoga studio?! Not so peaceful when you hear heavy weights constantly dropped right above.

    Comment by A — 7:46 pm November 1, 2007 #

  10. I like 8 Limbs. I just started there and Denise is an instructor who goes out of her way to make everyone present comfortable with their practice. I haven’t had any other instructor yet but I am optimistic.

    Comment by Phil — 7:50 pm November 1, 2007 #

  11. Oh, I am also a BigOne and Denise helped me with modifications I did not already know about (this was a Basic class.)

    Comment by Phil — 7:52 pm November 1, 2007 #

  12. A vote for 8 Limbs. Both times I took class there I was pregnant. The prenatal class was excellent and all of the different teachers that came through (as subs when our regular teacher was gone) were fabulous. Several times these teachers had just finished the beginner class before us and you could hear (and see after class) the time and concern they had for the students.

    Comment by k — 7:57 pm November 1, 2007 #

  13. Erik…small world…6 degrees and all that. :)

    And praise for Denise at 8 Limbs. I met Denise at a cancer retreat on the Kitsap peninsula a year ago…she led our yoga classes that weekend. She’s a wonderful, warm, gentle supportive teacher. And, if you’re a breast cancer survivor, she offers a free yoga class at 8 Limbs on Monday afternoons, and I believe she also offers classes at Cancer Lifeline at Greenlake.

    Comment by Jan — 10:13 pm November 1, 2007 #

  14. I enjoyed the beginner series at 8 Limbs. Will have to try All-Star next.

    Comment by Chris M — 6:38 am November 2, 2007 #

  15. Susan Turtletraub teaches small classes out of a new space near Camp Long. It is a true fundamentals class, much enjoyed by a greatly varied group (men, women, new moms, not-so-new moms, younger, older). She’s very supportive and knows lots of adaptations for those in need.

    Comment by M — 8:46 am November 2, 2007 #

  16. Both Sound Yoga and Normandy Park Yoga are great options for beginners. They are a similar style of yoga, very friendly to newcomers. Look for “all level” classes.

    Comment by Jae — 10:24 am November 2, 2007 #

  17. I recommend classes at the West Seattle YMCA, particularly those taught by Karen. She is a wonderful instructor–brilliant at walking you through the poses in a way that is clear and supportive. Her classes are wonderful for beginners. Classes are free with YMCA membership… The monthly rate is a better deal than paying a per-class fee at a yoga studio, and you have all the benefits of the Y, including free childcare!

    Comment by Suzanne — 10:55 am November 2, 2007 #

  18. I second the 8 Limbs sentiments–it is a wonderful studio with fabulous teachers. I would add that Bikram is actually quite accessible to beginners. Bikram was my first yoga experience and I have taken many beginners to classes (including my mother). The heat can be a little overwhelming at times, but it is always possible to lay down and relax for a few minutes. The same postures are used for every class, and it is just about focusing on where you are for that class. Don’t be deterred! Bikram can be a rewarding practice for the experienced and beginning yogi/yogini alike.

    Comment by Meghan — 11:36 am November 2, 2007 #

  19. I agree with M and you beat me to posting Susan’s info. I vote for Susan Turtletaub’s class as well. She is an experienced teacher and starts with the most fundamental of human movements and guides the student to discover links to traditional yoga poses. She promotes alignment from the inside of the body to the outside, where form and function meet. Susan strongly endorses the transformative tradition of yoga as a life practice to be taken off the mat and fully integrated into everyday lives to promote optimal health and wellness. Her approach translates into a sound understanding of yoga postures and ideals, grounded within the broader context of the yoga tradition. She does all of this with intellect and imagery and also with humor.

    Her next series will start in January. The studio is the Grassroots studio at 5609 34th Ave SW (between Finlay and Juneau). It’s a sweet little space run by the Phffft Dance Company.

    Comment by quasiws — 11:49 am November 2, 2007 #

  20. Jan! THANK YOU for making me realize that the Denise you’re talking about is my old yoga instructor, and long-time acquaintance Denise Carrico. She is WONDERFUL in so many ways. She used to teach at the Alki Community Center (You think having weights dropped above you is an issue? Try having a dog-obedience class going on in the room next to you!!) When she stopped teaching at ACC, I stopped taking yoga–I’m so thrilled to know that she’s now at 8 Limbs and I’ll be signing up immediately. Really, for all of you looking for an excellent instructor, regardless of your level or ability, Denise makes you feel very comfortable and she addresses individual needs during the class (such as old injuries, illnesses, etc.)

    Comment by The Velvet Bulldog — 12:26 pm November 2, 2007 #

  21. Harold’s Fitness (formerly Fitness for Women) @ 5908 California SW has the easiest beginning yoga on Weds. at 10:30. For those with health/injury issues you can actually sit for the more strenuous movements. You can always check it out and should you decide to join, we do Tai Chi on Mons. and Fris. also at 10:30.

    Comment by Linda — 12:57 pm November 2, 2007 #

  22. I would like to recommend 8 Limbs as well. I have been going to classes there for a year and a half and the teachers are great as well as the studio itself. Before joining 8 limbs I took classes at All Star and I have to say I didn’t like it a bit. The teachers may be good but the studio is right next to the area were they have the spin cycle class and it was hard not to hear the loud music. Also, as somebody else mentioned, the weight area is above the room and there’s nothing more annoying than hearing the weights being dropped while you are trying to concentrate. I don’t think the classes at All Star targeted for beginners either. I recommend starting at 8 Limbs with the Intro Series classes they offer and then slowly moving to the Basics and more Advanced. In a few months you will be able to pick and choose from all the classes they offer. It is very important to feel comfortable with your surroundings while doing yoga and I couldn’t find that at All Star. My 2 cents.

    Comment by Manoli — 6:41 pm November 2, 2007 #

  23. Thank you for bringing up Susan Turtletaub’s class in West Seattle. She gets around to Fremont and gives private sessions as well. I enjoy the series style that her classes offer after 8 weeks I feel that I have evolved. Susan can be contacted at I highly recommend her classes for every level of student.

    Comment by Reverend danny Boy — 6:31 pm November 3, 2007 #

  24. Susan Turtletaub is AWESOME! A walking inspiration and illustration of Yoga practice in motion, and in still-ness.

    Comment by Amy — 6:56 pm November 3, 2007 #

  25. Susan Turtletaub is a phenomenal Yoga instructor for every level. Her extensive knowledge, unparalleled patience, and life of the practice, on and off the mat, is extraordinary. Susan’s the real deal.

    Comment by Emily — 8:04 am November 4, 2007 #

  26. I’m adding to the recommendations for Sound Yoga (5639 California Ave SW). I’m a newbie myself, and they’ve been great. They also have a ‘free Sunday’ once a month, so you have an opportunity to come by and try them out without having to commit to a full session. The next free Sunday is next week, Nov 11th

    Comment by Lisa — 1:57 pm November 4, 2007 #

  27. For anyone on the east side of West Seattle… I was happy to see that the Delridge Community Center was offering a yoga class starting in January (the first that I’ve seen them offer). Unfortunately it was cancelled due to low enrollment, which I think is because they’ve never offered yoga before so no-one would think to look there. So I thought I’d post this in case there is anyone else in the area that is interested in signing up for the next class. The Highpoint Community Center also offers yoga classes, and I had a really great teacher there (speaking as a beginner).

    Comment by Mercy — 12:32 pm January 4, 2008 #

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