You May Also Like

Warrior III

These 5 yoga moves will tone your lower abs—and strengthen your practice

BodyArmor William Vale event

3 ways to instantly upgrade your outdoor workout

Stretching hips

Combat the pain of sitting at a desk all. day. long. with simple hip-opening stretches

WHOOP review

Everyone’s obsessed with this fancy heart rate monitor—but what does it actually tell you?

Well+Good - See Spot run—but make sure he stays healthy in the heat with these tips from a dog expert

See Spot run—but make sure he stays healthy in the heat with these tips from a dog expert

Cassey Ho's 3-ingredient essential oil blend will make your yoga mat squeaky clean

Cassey Ho’s 3-ingredient essential oil blend will make your yoga mat squeaky clean

Isaac Pena may be the next Rodney Yee, whether he likes it or not


Isaac Pena

To an outside observer, the closing of Sankalpah, the home base of instructor Isaac Peña and his loyal community, may have looked like a major setback.

Instead, the studio’s closing has left the beloved martial-arts-loving, inversion-prone yogi a renewed sense of freedom and purpose—and it’s translating into yoga stardom.

“I don’t want to be the head of anything,” Pena says, smiling. He admittedly does not enjoy the business side of running a studio. “I want to win the best supporting actor award.”

But that’s not going to happen. Peña’s new free-agent status is making him harder to find, but in that too-important-to-be-available way that only makes the spotlight shine brighter on a rising star.

Peña first saw the writing on the wall when he left Sankalpah for a six-day photo shoot. While he was gone, studio attendance shrank by 300 people. After years of overextending himself, he decided he didn’t need to be that busy, and now he’s working three hours a day and practicing for “about eight.”

“Let everyone come to me,” he says. And they do—for his intense, athletic style of instruction, and his gentle, profound magnetism, both of which are reminiscent of Rodney Yee’s allure.

Students traipse across Manhattan for Peña’s classes at Pure Yoga, his Saturday Sadhana sessions at the new Bija Yoga in Union Square, and to Body & Pole for flexibility training.

And he’s focusing primarily on his true passion: private sessions with his devoted clients, at least one of whom has won an Oscar.

Peña admits this cautiously, laughing and shrugging off the indications of influence. He won’t commit to plans for the future, and prefers to see where life, and yoga, will take him.

“I’ve always tried to bring yoga outside of the box,” he says. Often that means his classes don’t quite match what’s listed on the studio schedule. “I tell Pure Yoga they should just put on the schedule: ‘Show up to Isaac’s class, and you never know what’s going to happen.'”

Peña approaches his career in the same way. But something’s definitely happening, and it may just be big. —Lisa Elaine Held

(Photos: Yogoer.com; Yogadudes.tumblr.com)

Loading More Posts...

You May Also Like

Well+Good - See Spot run—but make sure he stays healthy in the heat with these tips from a dog expert

See Spot run—but make sure he stays healthy in the heat with these tips from a dog expert

Women doing bridge pose

3 workout moves to master for better sex

BodyArmor William Vale event

3 ways to instantly upgrade your outdoor workout

running nose bleeds

Here’s why you get nosebleeds during summer runs (and how to deal mid-stride)

Cassey Ho's 3-ingredient essential oil blend will make your yoga mat squeaky clean

Cassey Ho’s 3-ingredient essential oil blend will make your yoga mat squeaky clean

Stretching hips

Combat the pain of sitting at a desk all. day. long. with simple hip-opening stretches