The first thing you will notice about Kristen is her joi de vivre. She loves laughter and life, and she will inspire the same in you. On the mat you will find her to be a consummate professional. She begins gently, and slowly builds the heat of the practice to the point of challenge for both the novice and seasoned practitioner, all the while keeping an eye out for the proper and safe alignment of her students. Her cues are clear and exactly timed to the cadence of the breath. Her sequences are well constructed to balance and work the various joints and muscles without overexertion or strain. She always has a plan, and she executes it well. So, whether you're just looking for a good exercise class, or you're seeking deeper acquaintance with the eight limbs, Kristen will be a friend and true guide for you. I heartily recommend practicing with her.
- Malcolm D., South Boston Yoga
I have been studying with Kristen for a little over a year now, and I cannot believe the difference in my life. I had spinal surgery for a severe herniation and though the surgery helped enormously, I was so guarded afterwards I developed piriformis syndrome. I went from limping because of the herniation to hobbling around and in pain sitting, standing and lying down because of muscle spasms and nerve infringement. Though PT helped a little, a year after the surgery I was still a wreck and had no real hope of improvement in sight. A friend of mine knew of my issues and suggested Yoga Union. When I started going I was scared of hurting myself again, I honestly didn’t think it would help and I was also terrified of making anything worse. But I was desperate to move my recovery forward, so, I started by going just once a week to Kristen’s Wednesday Herniation Basics class [12:30-1:30]. Before I started, I was in almost constant pain and my range of motion was laughable. Kristen’s kind, calm and careful attention in class helped me ease into the practice. Because Kristen is so attentive and conscientious she makes you feel that you are not only safe but also that you can go at whatever pace makes you comfortable. After the very first class I felt a positive change. I am now up to 4-5 yoga classes a week, and the difference in my daily life is nothing short of astounding. I am no longer in constant pain, and no longer constantly afraid of hurting myself. If not for Kristen’s approach to the practice, which is a wonderful combination of sensible yet creative and fun yet focused, I don’t know if I would have stuck with it. I know I wouldn’t be able to be as pain free today as I am without her.
- Sara W., Yoga Union (Backcare & Scoliosis Center)
Every class with Kristen feels like a private instruction. Her genuine enthusiasm and excitement for our individual practice is palpable even when we’re in a group – she is always gently and safely suggesting moving a pose into the next iteration and is just as excited and proud as you are when you make it there. I can say without a doubt that my yoga practice has evolved and grown under her mindful instruction. The moments when my practice has deepened, where I have achieved long-wanted goals – they have all happened in her classes. I find that Kristen’s greatest strength is her ability to break complicated, seemingly out of reach poses down into achievable movements. She crisply articulates what we should be feeling in the body and how we should safely move into and out of more complicated poses in a way that suddenly makes them effortless and accessible. Her warm smile, encouraging tone and deep knowledge base creates a healing, challenging and enlightening experience – I recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone.
- Katie M., various studios
I came to yoga reluctantly about a decade ago because of a bad back. I have tried many varieties from Bikram to Iyengar, to even aerial. Kristen Woods is the best yoga teacher I have ever had. She combines empathy and precision, humor and extensive understanding of the body. She doesn't waste half the class with vague philosophical ramblings. She is cheerful. Most importantly of all, it is somehow a pleasure to follow her instructions. She strikes this amazing balance, by firmly guiding without turning into a drill sergeant. I highly recommend her as a teacher. She has helped me (and my back) immensely.
-Richard Zacks, author of Island of Vice and other books, Yoga Union
KWOODS YOGA IS: fun, thoughtful, and intuitive to move through! Kristen has been my friend, colleague, and yoga sounding-board for awhile now here in Boston; I very much value her dedication, intelligence, and joyful zeal for yogic studies, investigation, and practice. Whether learning from her in public classes, during private studio time, or in casual conversation, I find that her personal and attentive approach always yields new insights for my own needs and interests. Plus she's totally down-to-earth and a blast to be around!
- McMillan, South Boston Yoga
With precise cues clearly timed to the breath, Kristen strings together unexpected poses revealing relationships between them you hadn't previously perceived, moves your body in all planes exploring directionality you usually ignore, and subtly builds to a peak pose you had no idea you could do. At the end of class you feel present, focused, and joyful. Her thoughtful preparation, contagious enthusiasm, and down to earth laughter make yoga accessible to all. Take a class with her if you get a chance. She's one of the best teachers out there.
- Rachael, Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness
Open Flow with Kristen Woods is one of my happiest NYC discoveries! Kristen is an excellent, caring instructor, who leads a creative Vinyasa practice. Her genuinely joyful personality, combined with serious technical ability, makes her one of the most interesting instructors with whom I've worked anywhere. She makes yoga accessible.
I began taking her Sunday afternoon class after taking a break from Vinyasa practice and was initially nervous that I wouldn't be able to complete a class. Make no mistake: this is not an 'easy' class. That said, Kristen assists with modifications (where necessary), encouragement, patience and a positive attitude. I found myself not only able to keep up, but also improve my flexibility, breath capability, strength and balance. My confidence has soared!
Kristen's class is well-paced and never boring. Each class feels like a complete body work out, and she isn't afraid to challenge us with creative transitions and new approaches to poses. She is incredibly knowledgeable and always willing to answer questions and discuss alternatives (when appropriate). Her instructions are clear and concise, enabling us to work capably in the right direction.
The yoga studio itself is clean, spacious, well-apportioned and filled with light. The entire environment is one of friendliness and welcome, without being disorganized or awkward.
- Catherine F., Yoga Union