Class Series

Neck and Shoulders with Liza Toft In-Studio 5-Part Series

Wednesdays 12:00–1:30pm
Series July 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10
$115 series + drop-ins allowed on class cards

In this series we will be focusing on the shoulders and chest to bring relief to the neck and find more balance and ease in this area of the body.  We will be exploring postures that lift the area called the “arm-pit chest” to relieve neck and shoulder pain.  When there is more expansiveness in this region of the body, it not only affects how we feel physically, but can have a profound effect on our mood and mental state.

Liza Toft – CIYT is one of Samamkaya’s newest and most talented faculty members.  Her sensitivity in her yoga practice and teaching is one of her great strengths.  Much of Liza’s insight into her students’ practices evolve from her personal experience with healing her own body.  In addition, Liza’s longtime career as a Body-Oriented Art Psychotherapist  has informed all she does, allowing her to see her students and the body in a unique light.  Please join Liza for this helpful workshop on the hips!!


Yoga for Spinal Fusions and Scoliosis with Jen Krakowsky

Virtual Class meeting Tuesdays, 12pm-1:15pm

There will also be a monthly hybrid in-studio series June 7, July 5, August 2, September 13*
$95 series + drop-ins allowed on class cards for in-studio series
*Please note: the in-person class will be cancelled the night before if less than 3 students are signed up in advance. Students will be notified and refunded.

For those with spinal fusions for scoliosis, a general yoga class can feel like an intimidating place.  In this class, we will create space in our minds and bodies for an appropriate and safe yoga practice for fused spines.  With simple and accessible modifications to basic yoga poses as well as gentle breath practices, we will work to strengthen, lengthen and celebrate our fused spines in a safe and welcoming environment.  A full yoga practice is possible without all the deep backbends and twists we see on the covers of magazines!  Instead of feeling limited by our fused spines, we will explore how, if approached with attention and care, our spines can teach us so much about our bodies and our minds.

For this class, it’s best to have a wall space and stable chair you can use as well as some basic props (or substitutions), like yoga blocks, blankets and a strap.  Students must be at least 6 months post-surgical fusion and have been cleared by their surgeon to participate in general yoga or exercise classes.

Starting in May, Jen will be coming to our studio once a month to teach the virtual class hybrid to in-person students as part of a discounted series!

At the age of 14, Jen Krakowsky went through major spine surgery to halt the progression of scoliosis. Many years later, suffering from chronic back pain and a gripping stiffness in her neck as well as stress and anxiety, Jen felt drawn to yoga. She immediately fell in love with yoga’s physical and mental benefits and came to realize that yoga offered her a path to understanding her fused spine as well as her underlying scoliosis.

Jen teaches with a focus on healthy alignment, body mechanics and breath. She approaches her students with the belief that each body is unique and carries with it its own history, limitations, strengths and weaknesses.  In her own practice, she modifies or abstains from certain poses due to her spinal asymmetry and limited range of motion.  Despite this (and even because of this), she has found that the possibilities to move and learn through yoga are endless.

Jen received her teaching certification at Yoga Haven in Westchester, NY under the direction of Betsy Kase. Jen has also studied with Elise Browning Miller, completing her program to become a Certified Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher Trainer. Jen is grateful to share her passion and knowledge with others.


Fusions Support Group with Martha Carter

MONTHLY on Thursdays, 4:00-5:30 pm on ZOOM:
May 26
June 16
Free or by donation
Sign Up Here!

Samamkaya Yoga is pleased to offer a support group for people with spinal fusions for scoliosis (or those considering a spinal fusion for their scoliosis). This group, led by Martha Carter, is designed to encourage participants to safely explore the emotional toll and experiences related to their fusion in an environment with other participants who share their experience.  Whether you were a teen when your spinal was fused or an older adult or somewhere in between, discussions within this group will draw out personal reflections, identify successful ways to self-heal, and evolve to reflect the needs of the group.
Please join Martha as she seeks to encourage health and healing through group interaction—free of the shame and stigma associated with scoliosis and related surgeries.

Martha Carter 
As a therapeutic movement specialist for scoliosis and spinal fusions, Martha teaches Gentle Yoga and Scoliosis Wellness classes, workshops, and retreats for all ages and abilities in Canada, the US, and internationally. She is a certified teacher of Yoga for Scoliosis, based on the techniques developed by acclaimed Iyengar teacher, Elise Browning Miller. She has also studied (and continues to enjoy explorations in) Pilates for Scoliosis, Essential Somatics, Energy Medicine, and Trauma Release techniques, which she weaves into all her classes to help participants with pain relief while enhancing their movement potential. Martha is the founder and director of the Twisted Outreach Project for Back Care and Scoliosis (TOPS), a Canadian-based non-profit that provides a range of holistic and creative approaches to working with back care and scoliosis. (


Back Care Beginners Series with Edna Gruvman

Fridays, 4:30-6:00pm
POSTPONED until further notice

This series will cover the basic skills you need to participate in the Back Care and Back Care Basics classes. With other new beginners to Back Care Classes at Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective, instructor Edna Gruvman will teach you many of the basic actions, find your alignment and learn prop adjustments appropriate for your scoliosis, herniated disk(s), kyphosis, lordosis, spondylolisthesis, lumbar or neck pain… or any other back problem. Learning these skills through a series will help you make a commitment to your yoga practice and help you integrate smoothly into the Back Care classes.

Edna deBeer Gruvman, MS, BC-DMT, began studying yoga in the late 90s as she transitioned away from a career as a modern dancer. She worked as a Dance/Movement Therapist, specializing in helping children with Autism use the power of movement to help facilitate communication and interpersonal interaction. She began her exploration of yoga at Yoga Zone and continued her studies with Adam Dobbs. Edna received her 200 hr training at Yoga Polarity of Long Island where she was first introduced to Iyengar Yoga. She went on to study Iyengar Yoga with Jeff Logan and Ann McDermott where she was able to deepen and develop her understanding of alignment. Edna’s interest in movement flow and body mechanics later brought her to study with Lorraine Aguilar, where she received her 300 hr training and first began her journey in recognizing and working with her own scoliosis. This discovery led her to Samamkaya, where she studied with Elise Browning Miller, and the many other talented teachers at the studio, broadening her understanding of scoliosis and furthering her desire to help others deepen their own understanding of their practice. In her spare time, Edna can be found tending to her hummingbird garden or working with a number of nonprofit organizations to better her own community and the world beyond.


The Standing Poses in “Light on Yoga” from a Back Care Perspective with Eve Holbrook

Online Series for experienced practitioners

POSTPONED until further notice

In this 10-week series, we will explore all of the standing poses in Light on Yoga progressively, with modifications for back issues. The poses will be approached in the order in which they are presented in the book, which will give us an opportunity to better understand the intelligence behind the sequencing and how one asana builds upon another. This series is appropriate for experienced practitioners with at least 6 month’s experience. Because this series is progressive and each class builds on the class before, it is highly recommended that you sign up for the entire series. However, a 5 class option is also available. No drop-ins or single classes for this series. Recordings of sessions will be available for participants who attend to review.

Eve Holbrook, C-IAYT. Initially drawn to yoga in 1994 for relief from back pain following a childhood horseback riding injury, Eve has grown to view it as an exploration of life and what it is to be a human being. In 2005, Eve completed the two-year teacher-training program at the Iyengar Institute of New York, where she now teaches, and is a certified Iyengar teacher at the Junior Intermediate two level. Since 2006, she has made five extended trips to Pune, India to study and assist in the medical classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute. Her beloved teachers include the late Mary Dunn, Kevin Gardiner, James Murphy, and Lara Warren. Eve is a graduate of Northwestern University and The British American Drama Academy. You can learn more about Eve at




POSTPONED until further notice

  • Has your doctor told you to watch and wait?
  • Is your child braced?
  • Is your child preparing to have fusion surgery, or have they already had fusion surgery.

No matter what your child’s situation, the Yoga & Scoliosis for Teens and Tweens class will help address your child’s scoliosis, muscular tension, pain patterns as well as the psychological and social pressures that accompany treatment and therapies in adolescence.

This class is appropriate for ages 11-17. All teens welcome are welcome to this class, but as idiopathic scoliosis is commonly diagnosed in adolescence the class will generally focus on scoliosis. This 1-hour class creates an environment that is less intense than the adult classes, allows teens to relate with one another, and is sequenced for a young person’s energy level. Dahlia Galler’s positivity and experience with her own scoliosis will communicate how the love of yoga will lead to a healthier relationship to the body…at a time when this relationship is particularly difficult.



It is strongly recommended that you pre-register for workshops and series. If you pre-register for a series, you must cancel 48 hours in advance in order to be refunded for that class series less a 20% administrative fee.

Please cancel via email ( or call 646.964.5772. Even if we receive the message later, we will go by the time stamp and refund your money if appropriate. If you are ill or there is an immediate family medical emergency, we will of course waive the fee. However, please email us as early as possible, and before the workshop begins, to waive the fee or arrange a credit.


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