Why choose us? We put that question to our students and here are some of the responses.


“Susan Elena and Suzy have taught me that yoga is a lifelong process that continues to refine and redefine in every pose in every class. Our poses are wonderful, some crazy and fun but that is not what it is about. For me it is the process of finding my strength and breath that creates change in my mind and heart. They do all this with integrity. They have created a community that allows everyone to learn and grow.”
-Sheri K., Florence


“I came back to yoga, after thirty years away, to address the pain in my hip I’d had for over a year. Susan Elena’s Yoga for Back Care and Scoliosis series has worked like a dream to correct my alignment and alleviate my hip pain. She has an extraordinary grasp of anatomy and what adjustments are needed to address the physical problems caused by our typical daily actions (standing posture, sitting at a desk, etc.). I appreciate the way that she simplifies and supports the poses for beginners and those with injuries through the creative use of props. I love Susan Elena’s soothing, caring voice and manner; her gentle corrections of my poses; and the increased strength, mobility and stability I’ve gotten from attending her classes.” -Lynn B., Florence


“A year and a half ago when I first came to River Valley Yoga I was in debilitating pain due to sciatica and also dealing with chronic knee pain. I started with the Back Workshop and then began to regularly attend the Healthy Spine and Foundations classes. Susan and Suzie are amazingly knowledgable and loving teachers. They have encouraged and supported me to do things I never dreamed I would be able to do such as hanging from ropes and using my knee more than I have in decades. They seem almost as proud and happy as I am at my developing strength and lack of pain! ” –Toni K., Northampton

“Although I have been practicing yoga for many years, when I started Iyengar based classes, I went back to the beginning.  There were so many fine tunings that I needed to get in my body, and Suzie and Susan Elena know how to teach us to learn our bodies. Their clear, excellent instruction focuses on many methods, which help us find forgotten parts of our bodies and activate them. It’s hard work and discipline, but when done with their support and humor, it leads to many rewards- therapeutically and in all aspects of life. The integrity of the teachers and the system makes a difference. No pose is a shell but each is structured from deep within. I take Foundations classes to keep instilling the basics in my body and I enjoy the challenge of Level II to apply those basics to more advanced poses. I feel fortunate to have this caliber of classes in this valley.” –
Colleen F. Conway


“A few years ago, my chiropractor advised me to take up yoga, as this would help ease my back pain. At the time, I didn’t understand how that would help, but I surely understand now. I’ve been taking the Healthy Spine class at River Valley Yoga Center for nearly 2 years, and nothing has helped my back more. Susan Elena has a knack for sensing an individual’s physical limitations, and for helping each person in the class achieve a level of comfort and flexibility that they may not have imagined. Her gentle nature, warmth, and passion for yoga make the class an important part of my week.”  –Peter S., Easthampton


“Suzie’s emphasis on building a practice from a firm foundation creates a sense of security that results in a blossoming of openness, on the emotional as well as physical places. Pain from long-standing injuries from sports and work, has lessened by learning correct alignment, and recognizing and changing old patterns/ habits in my body that have developed over time. The pacing of her classes, the focus of correct alignment and the use of supported poses, allows the body and mind to move in harmony with one another.”
– Stephanie G., Easthampton


“As a ‘getting on there’ woodworker and part time farmer I needed to find something that would help with my deteriorating strength and flexibility(as well as a constant soreness) and Susan Elena’s classes have done it for me. My back, balance, and (even!) knees are grateful for her instruction.” – Bill H., Whatley


“My absolute favorite part of Suzie’s class is when she gives assists in class.  Her assists are thoughtful and personal. Her knowledge of the asanas and human anatomy makes me feel safe and supported in each pose.  I have been hurt by teachers in the past who have forced me into poses and depths I should not have gone. With Suzie, I never feel pressured to go further than I can or want to, but she still challenges me to align correctly and go as deep as I am able and feels comfortable.  She has a unique ability to make a class feel like both a workout, with challenging poses, and a relaxing, meditative experience. Her teachings offer an opportunity to practice, both physically and spiritually.  Integrating the two is something I can always look forward to in her classes.  I always leave class so grateful that I made the choice to go.”
– Beth L., Haydenville


“Susan Elena has a following.  We follow her across town, down the street, up the stairs….and now we follow her to Florence.  She appeals to both the experienced and brand new students.  I am the latter.  I had never done yoga before and had NO idea what I was getting into. I am athletic, play soccer and run, but as I have gotten older -everything has begun hurting,from old injuries, previous surgeries, arggh you name it – I simply wasn’t holding together well. Flat feet, scoliosis…pain – today my shoulder, tomorrow my ankles, my knees every day. It was hard to pinpoint. Susan has helped me immensely.  With intense attention to detail and a knowledge about body structure and alignment, I walk stronger and I am getting back to running.  The pain seems to have less of a hold on me. She has helped me look at the way my body contacts this earth and I have worked to get stronger in subtle ways that are really changing my balance and my attitude….I feel better!    Susan Elena, is quiet and kind she implies no judgment and offers instead a lot of knowledge and support.   A rope walll?? Climbing on folding chairs?? (whaaa???).  These thing require trust.  Susan Elena is someone who knows what she is doing and how to teach it. I trust her.”
– Martha S., Northampton


“Kim’s warmth and openness welcomes every student –  experienced or beginner. She offers many options to all levels so no one feels awkward or left out. Her Friday class is the best way to end my busy week!”
-Anne P., Northampton


“Simply put, I believe that Susan Elena is a wonderful yoga teacher.  I’ve known her for years (as neighbors in our art studios) so have long known what a wonderful person she is: kind, generous, honest, and always optimistic.  Certainly great qualities for a teacher.  For the past three years, she has guided me through my first experience with yoga, although I’m in my 50s.  Through Susan Elena’s patience, encouragement and enthusiasm,  I’ve developed an interest in yoga for the first time in my life.   Her class is non-competitive and safe–and I’ve recommended it to many of my friends, now fellow Susan Elena devotees.”
– Mary T., Holyoke


“Suzie’s brightness of spirit and gift with words set a tone in class of joy, acceptance and possibility. Her ability to demonstrate and articulate poses inspire a deepened spiritual and physical practice every time I come to the mat.” – Jane S., Northampton







Sign up for our monthly newsletter