A yoga sanctuary in Bay Park

Just off a small side street in the quaint Bay Park community sits an unassuming place of refuge for business owners Russ Imlay and his wife, Kim, who together own and operate San Diego Yoga Studio at Napier and Chicago streets.

Since 2006 the Imlays have sought to provide a safe, non-intimidating yoga experience that follows the guidelines of B.K.S. Iyengar.

For those who are unfamiliar, Iyengar was among the first to teach yoga to large groups of students. The guru, who died last year at age 95, placed great emphasis on precision and alignment, and he pushed students to perform and break barriers. It is said that he brought about an automatic transformation in the mind and habits of people. He developed the Iyengar method after more than 60 years of practice and study, and was considered the foremost yoga teacher in the world. It’s a method that is precise and integrates alignment, balance, strength and flexibility.

I met Imlay when I was an 18-year-old kid working with him in one of San Diego’s finest surfboard factories, Diamond Glassing. While he is also an accomplished surfer, Imlay found that yoga helped him center and change his life in such positive ways that he wanted to share his passion for yoga with the community.

The peaceful studio is a place the Imlays designed for people to commune and share ideas. Their hope is that everyone who enters the space feels welcome and leaves with a sense of personal accomplishment and well-being that spreads to others. It’s a breath of fresh air in a town filled with flashy studios and sweaty millennials taking selfies during hot yoga.

The San Diego Yoga Studio: 4134 Napier St., Bay Park. (619) 865-1154 or

Upcoming events

Practice Inversions with Russ Imlay

When: 12:30-1:30 p.m. first and third Saturday of each month

Details: Included in all class packages. Drop-in fee per class, $15.

Restorative Yoga Series with Joann Edwards

When: 3:30-5 p.m. Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27

Details: Pre-registration required, minimum 10 people. $55 for four classes. Included in unlimited class package.*

Restorative Yoga Series with Joann Edwards

When: 3:30-5 p.m. Nov. 3, 10, 17 and 24

Details: Pre-registration required, minimum 10 people. $55 for four classes

Included in unlimited class package*

Manouso Manos Workshop

When: 6-8 p.m. Nov. 6; 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Nov. 7; 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 8

Details: Pre-registration and payment required. See registration form for fees. Manouso is one of the most capable and experienced of the senior Iyengar Yoga teachers. He began his studies with B.K.S. Iyengar in 1976. After numerous trips to Pune, India, and nearly 37 years of personal practice, his understanding of and insights into Iyengar Yoga are conveyed with authenticity and precision. Absolutely no beginners - six months Iyengar Yoga experience is required for all classes.

* Not included in regular class packages, drop-in fee is $15.

Source: DiscoverSD