Student Commentary

Norma is a wonderful teacher - very supportive yet challenging. Although she has a plan for the positions she wants to emphasize each class, she is quick to suggest alternatives to the student if other props, etc. work better for that student. 

She has a wonderful relaxed quality which makes the student feel comfortable. Although sometimes I find the work difficult and can get discouraged during the class (since there are certain stretches I won't ever be good at based on my body and age), I always feel fulfilled and calm at the end of one of Norma's classes. I find the sessions challenging yet ultimately very relaxing and satisfying. 

David Orcutt
Administrator and Classical Singer
Student since 1999


In addition to having excellent technical skills, Norma is a very patient, caring  teacher who makes every student--no matter what their level of ability---feel extremely comfortable. She is extremely clear when explaining poses; she is willing and able to provide adaptations for poses to accommodate students'  individual body challenges or specific injuries. I especially enjoy the fact that Normal organizes the month into weekly segments focusing on standing poses, forward bends, backbends and restorative poses, respectively.

Marilyn Wilson
Editor
Student since 1994


Iyengar Yoga has Improved my posture and enhanced my well-being.

Iyengar Yoga to me is more about refining the poses to make sure the alignment is correct in stead of going from one pose to the other. I’ve only ever practice yoga with Norma.

Norma is amazingly patient and dedicated. After 20 years, her classes are always interesting and fresh.

Iyengar Yoga has helped me deal with whatever life throws at me! I feel very lucky to have found such a good teacher!

Dannielle Bluysen
Boutique Retailer
Student since 1995


Iyengar Yoga is a slow, meditative kind of yoga that requires constant awareness in the present moment which I enjoy.

Norma is kind and fun, gives personal attention and corrections. Most notably, she is able to re-adjust poses based upon any kind of physical limitation, which allows the student to enjoy the full benefit of her teachings. I look forward to attending Norma's classes for a long, long time.

Sophie Nadell
Student Artist
Student since 2006 (also studied 1-2 years 15 years ago)


With Iyenagr Yoga, my body feels stretched, limber and stronger. After Norma’s classes, my body feels expanded, unknotted and then, so do I.

I love that the emphasis is getting my body – and me - in the right alignment and stretching it to its own limits, rather than feeling I am drumming up to someone else's speed or in a power marathon. It's not about competing with other people in the class. And being asked to hold asana longer, also forces you into a concentration that is itself a wonderful place to be. Focused, quiet and at work with yourself.

I tried Vinyassa, and one class that seemed like 'general yoga’, didn’t like them.

Norma’s individual attention, and focus on each person is like having a private lesson. She remembers each person's needs, weaknesses, abilities and discomforts— pays attention to what each student needs, and either gives them aids to help or to go farther than they thought they could go. 

I so look forward to Norma's classes and miss them when I cannot go. In its quiet, intense way, it is a place you feel welcome, safe, encouraged and given the chances and poses, to undo all the knotting you feel, inside and out.

Sara Lukinson
Filmmaker - writer
Student since 2008


I started yoga with Norma four years ago, my first time doing yoga. I started with my knee problem and the doctor wanted to operate.  

It is all the way Norma teaches. She's an excellent teacher, carrying the torch in a very fine form of art called Iyengar yoga.

I am very fortunate to have a great teacher who inspires her students to excel. I feel lucky to have found her. She has changed my soul and my body.

Sangeeta Ahmed
Esthetician
Student since 2005


I feel I have made improvements in the areas of strength, flexibility, and balance.
Iyengar yoga focuses on proper alignment and working into the poses.
I have taken some hatha classes and iyengar classes in other places where I have lived.

Norma is extremely patient, kind, and funny. She is always positive and encouraging. Her instructions are clear and she has great suggestions for adjustments/modifications to the pose. She has the ability to assess each student's strengths and weaknesses and works with the students at their own level. Norma provides each student with individual attention as needed- I have not seen this quality in other teachers.

Norma is a great yoga teacher!

Carol Hogg
Clinical Social Worker
Student since 2003 


My range of motion has increased a lot since I starting Iyengar Yoga with Norma. I am becoming more flexible and can see it in my daily movement out of class. I have become more aware of my breathing and am able to focus a bit better as well. I had no prior yoga experience, am very glad I found Iyengar Yoga.

What I really like about the way Norma teaches is the gentle way that she presents Yoga and the clear way she describes the process of breathing that we all just take for granted.

Norma has a caring way just as part of her nature. This comes out in her teaching. She is very patient and keenly aware of everyone's abilities and disabilities as well. She has a knack for describing movements so everyone understands the correct way to do the poses.

Lynn Rahner
Cookware Sales Representative
Student Since 2014


For 20 years, my weekly Iyengar Yoga class with Norma is the method that has kept my back pain free.  

I've learned to focus on refining each pose, it strengthens my body and mind.   

What I like most about Iyengar Yoga is the use of props, they make it possible for me in achieving the next level of stretching. During each class the the poses build on one another to reach the end goal for that class. Norma is always prepared! She plans a sequence of poses that build on one another for the class as well as a month of classes

The atmosphere in the class is friendly and congenial. People enjoy the class and the Camaraderie.

Margo Hasen
Student since 1995
Style and Wardrobe Consultant


I have studied on and off for thirty years. For me, on a good day, Iyengar Yoga is a form of meditation. The best is when I have only thought about getting the asanas right during the class.

Norma notices if I don't get it right and corrects the asana to the extent that my body will allow. She allows for each student's particular weaknesses or strengths. She gently encourages me to do as much as I can without trying to do more than I can. 

Norma makes sure the student is paying attention. I like that She's called me out when I was not making my best effort. It encourages me to concentrate on the practice. 

Linda Balance
Banking Computer Consultant
Student from 2002-2013


I came to Norma's class in the worst shape I have ever been. Starting with her "Gentle" classes, I had the opportunity and incentive to turn things around. I am always challenged in Norma's classes, but never more than I can handle. And, I always come away feeling better.

I have come to appreciate the precision in Iyengar Yoga as opposed to other instruction I have had, also the use of proper supports to achieve correct alignments in accordance with student's skill level

I feel I am gaining a better understanding of what the various poses should feel like so that I am doing them correctly at each stage and have little worry of injury.

I have definitely gained strength and increased flexibility. Most surprising has been my increased willingness to try what is not familiar. That has was never my strong point.

I trust Norma's knowledge and instruction and admire and appreciate her dedication to her art, her extensive knowledge of the practice and her ability to vary and individualize instruction.

Etel Elman
Retired Teacher
Student since 2004


Norma's expertise is never ever ego driven. She is an innate teacher, calm, disciplined, insightful and compassionate. I started with Norma when I was already an experienced English teacher yet I observed that her methodology affected my own in the High School class room. She has a way of being present yet detached.

The greatest benefit I have received studying Iyengar Yoga has been an awareness of the complexity of the mind and body. When I first started Norma's class I remember being very aware of my shoulderblades between classes. This growing awareness and attention to important aspects of physiology has deepened my respect for life and breath.

I feel utterly fortunate to count her as my teacher in every sense of the word.

Added in 2015

I especially like the way Iynegar poses are varied yet cyclical.
I like Norma’s tireless attention to detail and the personal attention I receive in the class no matter how large it is. 
Norma is a delight.  She is smart, funny, patient and humble about her great wealth of yoga wisdom.

Mary Landers
Therapist
(Former H.S. English Teacher)
Student since 2000


Under Norma's tutelage, I've really come to understand the inner workings of the poses, so that I can be my own coach when she is not there. Physically, I feel immeasurably better -- back problems gone, posture way improved, and stronger than when I began. Her classes are models of construction, always building carefully and subtly to a final poses or destination you didn't even suspect, but that is now attainable with greater ease. 

Also, Norma has an amazing eye, she misses nothing, always offers help and individual attention, and she has amazing hands -- guiding with just a touch or a gesture that makes the body understand what is needed.

She is simply the best -- caring, encouraging, and pushing us all to do things we're not sure we're capable of but she's sure we can do. She believes in us, and so we believe in ourselves. There's a great atmosphere in class, and great camaraderie.

Susan Nisbett
Arts Journalist
Student from 2008-2009


What I like most about Iyengar Yoga is the slower pace and intensity of doing the poses correctly. I like that the props help accommodate different abilities so that one can get the best benefit without being frustrated by lack of strength or flexibility.

Norma is well educated  and conveys the information in a relaxing and studious manner providing a solid foundation for all practices of yoga.

Her class is always a good and relaxing workout.

Anne Leigh
Art Director
Student since 1995


I looked specifically for an Iyengar yoga class after reading a 2001 Time Magazine article on yoga that mentioned Iyengar as a good choice for those with no prior experience with yoga. Iyengar's equal emphasis on strength, flexibility and alignment made intuitive sense to me, and the careful teaching methodology addressed my concerns about whether or not I could hurt myself (I was 47 at the time). While I still keep active with other forms of exercise, my twice-weekly Iyengar classes have become central to my efforts to stay fit well into my 50's and beyond.

Norma teaches the entire cycle of yoga asanas; the total body conditioning that comes with that approach was very apparent to me after my first month.

Norma's ability to 'teach to the individual' is amazing. She can assess each person's capability in every asana, knows when to support and when to challenge, and can break down a yoga position into its components so that you can work on various aspects. What sets her apart is her wonderful combination of clear instruction, sense of humor, and obvious care for the individual. 

Laura Williamson
"Early" retired Banker
Student from 2001-2013


Norma,

You have saved my life. Plain and simple. Thank you.

Staci Light
Philanthropic Alternatives, LLC
Student from 2009-2012


Iyengar yoga is distinguished by its emphasis on precision in yoga poses, especially important to  those of us who are not limber enough to achieve a full pose on our own. With skilled and precise guidance from Norma and use of props such as belts, blocks, bolsters, one is able to benefit at any level of ability.

Flexibility, strength, mindfulness, that's what I get from Iyengar Yoga. Also, good friendships with like-minded people who are also regular attendees at Norma's classes.

Norma has special skill at giving just the right, brief instructions to improve our yoga poses and help us get the maximum out of the class. She is exceptional in her ability to give individual attention even a large class of 10 or 11 people.

Norma has a large number of people who have followed her from one location to the next over many years. That kind of devotion to a teacher says it all.

Alice Herman
Retired executive
Student Since 1996


I find I am much more limber since starting yoga. I can bend over a touch my toes when before I could barely reach my knees! My posture has improved (not perfect yet). At least I think about it more. My blood pressure is lower tho I don’t know if the pressure drop was because of yoga or the pills or both. I also try the breathing exercises to help me sleep.

Besides Iyengar Yoga, I have tried one or two other methods but at the other locations the classes were too large– and the poses went from one to another without consideration to whether one was doing it correctly or not.

I do aerobics, weights, and swim –all of which I like. And yoga is part of my agenda—none will I give up. They are part of my life. I only wish I had started yoga years ago.

Norma checks everyone’s poses and corrects when necessary. Her concern and the attention that she gives her students makes her the best. She cares!

Barbara (Bobbie) Neski
Architect
Student Since 2010


Norma encourages her students to do their best without pushing themselves beyond their ability. She is able to conduct a class and at the same time watch each person attentively.

She creates a pleasant atmosphere and expresses an interest in each student. This encourages students to get to know her and one another better.  She is knowledgeable about the body and on occasion shares helpful articles with students on matters of particular interest.

Sandra Van de Walle
Retired Attorney
Student since 1995


I can't say enough good things about Norma. She is so genuine and caring and really devoted to helping students achieve their personal best. She is a gifted instructor and a true blessing to the practice of Yoga. I am happy to have found her to study with. What sets Norma apart is her intuitive understanding of just which tweak will bring you into a pose. She just has a way of making that adjustment that is just right for you and suddenly you realize "wow...I am actually doing this intricate position".

What I like most about Iyengar is the precision involved. I feel that I have a greater understanding of the poses in my body because of the time taken to ensure that students are performing the poses properly. It makes for a great foundation.   

Lynn Majors
Banking Executive
Student since 2007


I prefer the pace of Iyengar Yoga and found Vinyassa and some others [I forget which kind] to be too fast-paced and strenuous. 

I have, over the years, valued Norma's gentle and friendly approach. Her patience and thoughtful ways of knowing other students' and my particular weaknesses that needed attention made the Yoga classes pleasant and relaxing. If I find myself in any class where there is tension or where the teacher is at all impatient with me or other students, I understand what causes it, but it encourages me to stay home where I know I can find relaxation. I believe that Yoga and calmness are excellent partners, and look forward to many more years of that experience.

Linda Pleven
Student from 1990-2013


Practicing with Norma is about mind, body, and soul. I've slowed down my rapid NYC pace, I take deeper breaths, I'm more thoughtful, I've gained confidence in my ability to do seemingly more difficult poses, I feel better about myself.

Norma focuses on the muscle groups of the entire body versus exercise classes which only focus on one area. Additionally the concentration on doing the poses correctly ensures that the right muscles are being stretched at the right time and there isn't the muscle soreness afterwards associated with exercise.

Norma treats every one in the class as an individual starting from your first class when she makes an effort to learn your name and understand your abilities (or in my case, my lack of ability). She takes the time to show each pose, never assuming that we know how to do the pose. Additionally, Norma will modify any pose to accommodate those who have weak hips, knees, or wrists (or other ailments). Or, for those of us who have less flexibility. This is unique for a teacher in a class setting. In a class of more able students, I never feel like I'm a 'less able' student. 

Elizabeth A. Weisser
Marketing Executive
Student since 2008


From an email written by a former student:

I took lessons with you last year at Monqi Fitness which I enjoyed very much. But then we moved and its just too far to get to E. 67 St..

I tried several yoga studios near me and they are ok but none of the teachers come close to your practice and your way of teaching. So I wanted to know if maybe you teach in another studio closer to me? Please let me know if you do beca I really really enjoyed your classes. 

Norma, even if I repeat myself, now that I’ve taken more yoga classes you really are the best!

Naomi A.
Student in 2008