Frequently Asked Questions

What is yoga? Why do it?

Ask yoga students what “yoga” means to them and you’ll hear a multitude of answers. Literally, the word “yoga” means: to unite. Today in the western world, “yoga” typically describes a physical practice exercising consciousness, intention, breath, and a balance of strength and flexibility that ultimately returns the practitioner to a natural, blissful state.

I am new to yoga. What can I expect on my first visit to Yoga Union?

Expect to introduce yourself to a supportive, growth-conscious community of individuals who will welcome your presence; people who desire to live well, feel good, and share their enthusiasm for the life enhancing qualities of yoga.

I'm not in the best shape, is yoga for me

It most certainly is. We have students of all shapes and sizes. Come to class and look around. You’ll see a group of people whose level of physical fitness cannot be measured by their outer appearance. Part of yoga is letting your practice be challenging in appropriate ways for yourself. At Yoga Union we care about your growth through a positive experience on the mat, not about how athletic your postures look. We encourage our students to stay within their capabilities and grow naturally over time.

The therapeutic applications that yoga offers are endless. If you have a serious injury, arrive early and speak to your instructor before class. They will help you learn to heal your body through the ancient art of yoga. However, we do encourage you to consult a doctor who knows about your type of injury, for advice about whether to practice yoga and how to do so safely.


What should I wear/bring?

Dress for comfort and to your own taste; we are not a fashion-concerned community. Just wear athletic clothing such as shorts and a t-shirt. For Yin classes, sweatpants are ideal. For heated classes, lighter weight material is preferred. If you have a yoga mat, bring it. But we do rent mats if you need one. You may also want to bring water and a towel, especially for heated classes.

Do I need to be flexible to practice yoga?


Absolutely not. Increased flexibility is one of the benefits a regular yoga practice will provide, but each individual has limitations. Our instructors provide skilled guidance for students of varying degrees of flexibility. At Yoga Union, you’ll learn to ease past your boundaries with care and patience.

Do I need to buy my own mat?


A yoga mat is essential for all Yoga Union classes. We sell a variety of yoga mats to suit your need, and our staff will gladly help you pick one that you’ll love. Mats are also available to rent/try-out at the front desk for $2.

How often should I practice?


This depends on your specific needs. Even one yoga practice will calm your nervous system and ground you in the present. If you are hoping to see physical change (e.g., weight-loss, increased flexibility, muscle tone…) the recommended frequency of practice is at least three times per week.

What is a Community Wellness Center (CWC)?


There are three main things about Yoga Union that make it a “community wellness center.” To answer the “community” part – whenever possible, we hire within the community. From our instructors to maintenance personnel, Yoga Union either trades with or employs nearly 40 community members at all times. As for the “wellness” – our aim is to continue seeking and providing an answer to the question: “how do we live well.” And we are a “center” because our space is a hub for people to gather with a mutual interest in creating both community and wellness in their lives.

How can I see who is teaching a particular class?


View the teacher schedule.

Where are you located?


Yoga Union is located at 2043 SE 50th Ave. in Southeast Portland between Hawthorne and Division, at the corner of 50th and Lincoln.

Where can I park?


We have a parking lot behind the studio, just off Lincoln St. There is also plenty of on-street parking available when the lot fills up.

What is your access to public transportation?


The #14 bus will drop you at our doorstep, and there are plenty of bike racks available outside.

I can't afford regular classes. What are my options?


We offer free (Yoga 101) classes as well as five dollar drop-in (Vinyasa 101) classes regularly . Please check the schedule for times, and feel free to take advantage of these classes as often you like.