Yoga Systems

Our curriculum is based on the prolific work of yoga pioneer, T. Krishnamacharya, and his world renowned students B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, and TKV Desikachar.

Our Philosophy


Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, ayurvedic healer and scholar.

One of the themes applied by Krishnamacharya so masterfully was his ability to work with each student on an individual basis, thereby meeting people at their own specific level of need, and consistently helping people heal and deepen through yoga.

His truly riveting depth and brilliance cannot be given justice here, yet is directly evidenced in the giant accomplishments of a handful of his students.

Mr. Iyengar, Mr. Jois, and Mr. Desikachar, among others, have all been able to take what was shown to them and literally affect the entire world, passing on a culture of human transformation. That said, our curriculum is rooted in the tireless work of these yogis. We teach as our teachers have taught us, and to the best of our ability, we research and explore in our own personal practices to offer you a foundation in yoga that is sustainable and forged from direct experience.

The delineations in systems taught described below are to guide the student toward finding the kind of approach that is best suited to their interests. Westside Yoga Studio has developed a graduated curriculum among B.K.S. Iyengar’s, K. Pattabhi Jois’, and T.K.V. Desikachar’s methods of yoga, along with a handful of yoga classes that are more open, outside of these systems.

Private Instruction

Please inquire about rates for private instruction at the studio, teachers maintain different rates for privates.

Private instruction becomes important and/or necessary for students with health challenges, chronic pain, psychological and emotional challenges, and any other specialized needs. They can also allow students to create one~one immersions with their teacher.

They are also a great idea for beginning students as a way of familiarizing themselves to yoga practices in a private context.

Contact Us

Yoga Systems: AshtangaViniyogaIyengarGeneral Yoga Classes

Ashtanga Yoga
as taught by K. Pattabhi Jois and family

— Program Director is Johnny Smith

Introductory/Level I

These classes are designed for students who are new to yoga and students who are interested in starting to learn the traditional vinyasa system of yoga. The classes will build a foundation in the movements of Suryanamaskar A, (which is the first Sun Salutation in the practice), and go on to cover the introductory poses in the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga.

Classes are based on learning to connect smooth breathing with the various movements between poses and throughout the poses themselves. An introduction to the classic method of breathing called Ujayii will be touched upon here. Students will develop a solid base in the principles of Ashtanga Yoga to then go on to learn more of this method in Level I/II classes. It is recommended students spend at least 3 months in Introductory/Level I classes before going to the next levels.

Level I/II

These classes are a jump from the Introductory/Level I classes, where students will progress in the dynamics of the vinyasa method of yoga. Suryanamaskar A will be taught at the start of class, and Suryanamaskar B will be broken down for students to start to learn the classical progression of the Primary Series.

Here, students will start to learn more of the actual feel of the Primary Series, called Yoga Cikitsa (Yoga Therapy), as they have developed a base in Introductory/Level I classes from which they can now move deeper. The internal dynamics of the practice, including details of Ujayii breathing, bandha (the internal locks to distribute energy), dristhi (internalizing looking points) will be introduced here. It is highly recommended that students develop in Level I/II classes for at least 1 year before going on to Led Primary Series.

Led Primary Series (II/III)

Johnny Smith counts the entire Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga once a week for students who are in a regular practice of this method. This is a vigorous class, it is counted in the way that Johnny learned directly from his master, K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore. It is not recommended for beginning students and those who do not practice yoga regularly.

Mysore Practice (mixed level)

The traditional method of learning and practicing Ashtanga Yoga, as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, is called Mysore practice. In this method, each student in the class moves at his or her own pace, and receives the support and guidance of the teacher in a highly individualized way.

This however, is not a led class in the way that most students of yoga have become accustomed to, it is a self-practice context where the students are watched and guided individually by the teacher. Therefore, it is recommended that students develop a foundation in Ashtanga Yoga before coming to the Mysore Practice. The beauty of Mysore style is that it is tailored to each student’s needs, adjusted according to age, state of health, flexibility and level of experience. Mysore students are allowed to go deeply into their own experience of the practice while still maintaining the essential and reassuring experience of close guidance from the teacher. Students are taught on a highly individualized basis within a self-practice context, and are encouraged to progress through the deepening movements as the teacher deems them ready and capable with a specific eye out for their unique needs. The teacher in a Mysore room assuringly leads students through the type of practice that is best suited to their constitutional intricacies. This is not taught in the common yoga class context, but rather as a guided self-practice, where the postures are given one by one, and the elements of breath, internal bandha, and dristhi are explained mouth to ear.

Read About the Theory Behind Ashtanga Yoga

as taught by TKV Desikachar

— Program Director is Mirka Kraftsow

Introductory/Level I

At this level of the Viniyoga curriculum, the focus in these classes is on the therapeutic approach to yoga, self care and healing. Students work with bringing awareness to different parts of the body by paying attention, breathing, and learning to coordinate with movement.  This is the place where students in Viniyoga start to develop strength, flexibility, stability and balance. The teacher will regularly adapt postures to suit individual needs, with a focus on the structural level.

Level II/III

All the foundation learned from the Introductory level will be built upon here. These are classes for students who are already working regularly with a Viniyoga teacher. These classes are where the teacher will focus on evolution of asana, and expand the movement practices of Viniyoga. These classes integrate chanting, pranayama, and meditation. Also the teaching of the Yoga Sutra is brought into the learning sphere more regularly.

Level I – III (Mixed)

Viniyoga is an integrated practice that includes the use of sound and meditation to incorporate body, heart, and mind. In the mixed level classes, the focus is on the exploration of the evolution of asana, moving from simple to complex postures in a group setting. Mirka Kraftsow has a gift for working with those who show up, on an individual level. She respects and meets students where they are in the moment. Students will begin in a simple posture in order to prepare the body to move to the next level. The postures will be adapted to the level of each practitioner in the yoga room, and modifications will be given as necessary.

Specialized Workshops, Courses, and Training

In Viniyoga workshops and trainings, Mirka will work with students using the technology of yoga to open to new spectrums of themselves. She will encourage students with personalized tools for self care, and transformation, giving them a way to embark on and deepen their personal practice, and to embody the precepts of yoga in all aspects of their lives Viniyoga practice is designed for each person’s unique body and mind. Workshops and trainings are designed for both students and teachers to generate a deeper, more sensitized understanding of exploring yoga for well-being.

Read About the Theory Behind Viniyoga

Iyengar Yoga
as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar and family

Introductory Course

Level I classes are best suited to students coming out of an Introductory Course and those who are interested in learning the preliminaries for a yoga practice. Classes will cover the beginning standing poses, arm and shoulder work, seats, forward and back extensions, twisting, inversions. Students will be introduced to the groundwork of Iyengar Yoga where they will be challenged to develop the beginning ability to increase the communication of various parts to work together in a coordinated effort. Themes covered here will build students to move into Level I/II classes.

Level I/II

Level I/II classes are built to support students who are “getting their legs.” More of everything will be opened to the students here, they will be introduced to a continuing increase in the depth of content to learn and absorb in their personal practice. Students coming to Level I/II classes will be learning the tools for a basic, very well rounded self-practice and be encouraged to take what is learned in class home to unfold further.

Level II

Level II classes are for students who are steady in Level I/II classes. In these classes, we will move further in inversions, back-extensions, and deeper into the concepts that build stronger, more steady, conscientious minds. Pranayama (breath work) will be explored, as well as jumping in and out of postures, Suryanamaskar, inversion variations, and more complex movements and actions that guide the practice.

Read About the Theory Behind Iyengar

General Yoga Classes

Introductory Course

This is a 1-3 month course in the foundational principles of yoga for people who are new to yoga or anyone who wishes to learn the beginning precepts. Class meets twice a week to begin the process of developing a regularity and rhythm of practice.

The course will build slowly and methodically to prepare students to continue on to general classes. Standing poses, forward-extensions, twistings, back-extensions, and inversions will all be introduced with integrity. Please register with the gusto to see the course through, as it is progressive in nature. We currently offer an Introductory Course in Iyengar Yoga, Introductory/Level I classes in Ashtanga Yoga, and Introductory/Level I classes in Viniyoga. Details of each can be found on by clicking on the links at the Curriculum page.

Level I Classes

These are designed and sequenced for beginning students and students interested in working on foundational principles. It is recommended to spend at least 1 year in Level I classes before going onward to Level II.

The content builds new students from the ground up, with specific attention to developing safely, learning foundational principles that set the stage for a life-long endeavor. A broad range of movement is introduced along with a developing awareness of the body, mind, and breath.

Level I/II Classes

Designed and sequenced for students who have 1-2 years of consistent training, those who are in again out again with yoga practice, and those who are interested in learning and expanding, but not diving into Level II/III classes.

It is recommended to spend at least 1 year in Level I/II classes before going onward to Level II/III. These classes are a progression from Level I classes and will start to forge students in broader facets of yoga. All content from Level I classes will be visited and developed further, with the addition of more challenging standing poses, introductory jumpings, seated and forward extensions, twists, back extensions, and inversions with variations including Sirsasana(headstand). Students will be introduced to the next layers of yoga practice with new frontiers for stamina, inner connectivity, breath usages, and a building of the fire of purification within.

Level II Classes

These classes are designed and sequenced for students who have at least 2 years of consistent yoga training and practice. These classes are a jump from Level I/II classes and will feel noticeably stronger and more involved for the student.

All content from previous levels will continue to evolve, and more of the depth of yoga will be brought into view. All types of yogasana will be taught, including jumpings, introductory arm balances, and Sirsasana variations will be introduced and developed. Principles of yogic breathing will be opened out more fully and students will be encouraged to maintain a regular home practice. Students will learn how to negotiate more difficult challenges and begin to learn about coordinating the efforts of the body/mind/breath to help clean the mirror to the view within.

Level II/III Classes

These are taught for students teachers who are committed to this practice. These time slots are meant to drive students deeper into yoga science by opening out more intricate precepts.

Students here are expected to have a working understanding of the Level II principles, and be sufficiently ready to go beyond perceived limits. These are deeper water classes. More difficult actions will be thematic in II/III classes and students will be trained to explore the profound mystery of the body/mind/breath in coordination, and the powerful effect of that exploration. All standing poses, vigorous jumpings, various forward and back-extensions, arm balances, Salamba Sirsasana and Salamba Sarvangasana/variations will all be taught regularly with extended time. Pranayama will be introduced periodically. <strong>Community Yoga</strong><p>A class offered at a rate of $5 – $20 sliding scale, or use the class pass you already have. Designed to accommodate every budget.

Read About Our General Yoga Classes