Jarvis Chen is an Intermediate Junior II certified Iyengar yoga teacher who lives, practices and teaches in Boston. He has studied with senior Iyengar yoga teacher Patricia Walden for over 15 years, and assists her regularly in classes and workshops. Jarvis also travels regularly to Pune, India, to study with the Iyengar family.
Jarvis’s teaching is an expression of this constant and always deepening study. In Jarvis’s weekly classes, students are taught a systematic approach to asana, so that they might embody BKS Iyengar’s maxim that “action is movement with intelligence.” In class, complex poses are broken down into primary and fundamental actions that build on one another, so that the pose is ultimately experienced as an integrative whole. Alignment and precision are key principles, not just as ends in themselves, but because they develop the exquisite sensitivity and awareness needed to bring about that feeling of integration and to penetrate towards the core of our being. As BKS Iyengar has said, “yoga is a science which makes one to associate the body with the mind, the mind with the intelligence, the intelligence with consciousness and consciousness with the Self.” Our asana practice gives us the tools to embark on this Inward Journey.
As a teacher, Jarvis seeks to make every student feel “seen” and tended to with compassion. Assisting Patricia’s Tuesday class for over 12 years and under her guidance, Jarvis has developed a deep interest in working with bodies with special needs. As BKS Iyengar tells us, “the body is our first instrument,” but when we experience illness, infirmness, or injury, the body itself can feel like an obstacle. Fortunately, Iyengar yoga also provides many therapeutic techniques to address different structural and organic conditions. In helping students in their own process of healing, Jarvis hopes that all of us can learn to experience our practice as a refuge.
Along with teaching and assisting in weekly classes, Jarvis Chen assists Patricia’s teacher training program and mentors teachers preparing for assessment in the Iyengar certification system. In 2008, Jarvis was recognized by Yoga Journal as one of 21 teachers under the age of 40 who are “shaping the future of yoga.” He is also a social epidemiologist and a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.