BUSINESS – Kerry Doyle is back in the studio with AHA Yoga in Dublin

AHA Yoga instructor Kerry Doyle leads a pre-session breathing exercise.

AHA Yoga instructor Kerry Doyle leads a pre-session breathing exercise. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

Dublin-based AHA Yoga instructor Kerry Doyle leads an Iyengar yoga class.

Dublin-based AHA Yoga instructor Kerry Doyle leads an Iyengar yoga class. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

AHA Yoga students perform the downward dog pose.

AHA Yoga students perform the downward dog pose. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

AHA Yoga is a new Iyegar yoga studio based in Dublin.

AHA Yoga is a new Iyegar yoga studio based in Dublin. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

Iyengar yoga uses props such as the rope wall, which helps students achieve the best alignment in their poses.

Iyengar yoga uses props such as the rope wall, which helps students achieve the best alignment in their poses. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

Inyengar yoga involves one-on-one interaction between the students and the instructor.

Inyengar yoga involves one-on-one interaction between the students and the instructor. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

By CAMERON CASHMAN

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

Published: 06-07-2024 12:02 PM

After several years of teaching yoga online and in various venues across New England, Iyengar yoga instructor Kerry Doyle is happy to be back teaching classes out of her own yoga studio in Dublin Village Park.

Doyle reopened Ancient Healing Arts, or AHA Yoga, at its new Dublin location in April, after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to close the doors at her previous location in White River Junction, Vt., in 2020. While she was happy to continue her work instructing yoga virtually and eventually at local venues such as the Dublin Community Center, she realized she needed a space of her own, so her students could have the chance to use the full range of “props” that Iyengar yoga is known for.

“Iyengar yoga is great if you’re really curious about things and you like to explore,” Doyle said. “In Iyengar classes, you rarely do the same pose the same way twice. I could list 10 ways to do downward-facing dog – depending on how you do it, it will have a different effect.”

That’s where the props come in. Iyengar yoga is differentiates itself from other forms of yoga with the use of props, such as foam blocks, bands and ropes, which can be used to help students achieve their optimal pose. That pose can be different for everyone depending on one’s experience and physical issues someone may want to address. The other key element of Iyengar yoga is the communication between the student and teacher.

“My goal as a teacher is to find a way to make the pose work best for you,” Doyle explained. “One thing in an Iyengar class that’s unlike other classes – and I hear this from my students – ‘when I go to other classes, I feel like I’m being led through a series of poses. But when I come to your class, I’m actually taught how best to do them.’”

To that end, Doyle has been trained to keep a close eye on every student, so she can help each of them individually.

“There’s a lot of feedback between the student and the teacher,” she said. “I’m watching the whole class – part of the skill of being an Iyengar teacher is you have a sharp eye and ways of clearly communicating how to address different students in class.”

These are skills Doyle honed during her six-year training period to become a certified instructor, during which time she worked with a mentor for three years to develop teaching skills, followed by a three-year assessment period. During assessments, a panel of senior teachers observe the instructor in training, taking note of how the instructor is communicating with the students and giving them feedback to move in a more-healthy way.

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Aside from Iyengar training, Doyle also received her master’s degree in environmental science from Antioch University. For 15 years, she worked for the Vermont Land Trust doing conservation work, but when her Iyengar instructor in Lebanon told Doyle she would be retiring and offered her the yoga studio, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I had this opportunity to run a studio, and I had to make a decision,” she said. “But I see a lot of connections between [conservation and yoga]. I use analogies when I’m teaching – I’ll say the arms and legs are like the tributaries to the spine. Everything you do with your arms and legs is going to inform your whole trunk. So there’s a connection in that way.”

Doyle says her classes in the new studio have gone over well, and she has gotten great feedback from her students.

“Because they understand the poses better, students develop body awareness. So when they’re off the mat, they’re moving in more healthy ways,” she said.

AHA Yoga is located at 1283 Main St., Unit 4, on the second floor. Doyle offers classes and programs for students of all skill levels both online and in person. For information or to sign up for a class, visit ahayoga.com.