By Diane Y. Welch
If you visit the Rhythm Yoga and Dance studio in the Del Rayo Shopping Center in Rancho Santa Fe chances are you’ll find co-owners Frank and Serpil Iszak hanging around — literally.
It’s not that they have little else to do, rather it’s that hanging upside down on their custom-designed Yoga Wall has remarkable health benefits.
Case in point is the fact that Frank Iszak’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is in remission, he said. Refusing to let the disease progress, Iszak, 81, started a regimen of wall work using the strap and harness system that safely allows his body to suspend in mid air. “I am in love with our wall! It is the most magical thing I’ve seen in my life,” said Iszak, who has been teaching yoga for 20 years.
The system was invented by B. K. S. Inyengar, the ultimate yoga guru, according to Iszak. It has revolutionized the art and science of yoga and is what sets apart Rhythm Yoga and Dance from other yoga studios.
Classes offered to teens and adults are mostly private. “Many of our clients have some kind of physical issues, whether it’s scoliosis, back pain or joint pain. They’ll come to us after they’ve had rehab or surgery and deposit their pain in the studio,” Iszak said. Much of the wall work is conducted one-on-one and is custom tailored to individual needs, he added.
Initially there is a bit of a fear factor, said Iszak. “They say, ‘Oh my gosh I have to hang upside down like a bat?’” But once they feel their spine starting to decompress and joints beginning to open up, their movements are going to be more fluid. “They are reacquainting themselves with their bodies and they realize that they have a body that is more than a food receptacle,” explained Iszak.
A Hungarian native, Iszak escaped his home country just prior to the revolution of 1956. He commandeered a commercial airplane and landed in West Germany. He recently wrote a book about the historic event. “Free for All to Freedom” is his memoir that recounts the daring escape. There is also a movie in the development stage, said Iszak, who emigrated to the USA, settling in San Francisco in 1958.
After several decades of martial arts practice, Iszak took up yoga and became a registered teacher, then completed the necessary requirement to become the highest rank of Yoga Alliance instructor. He also became a certified personal trainer, a Pilates mat instructor, and a Tai Chi master.
Nineteen years ago he met Serpil, his wife. The couple moved to San Diego 15 years ago.
Born in Turkey, Serpil came to the USA in 1984 to attend Georgetown University. After marrying Frank she studied to become a yoga teacher. She is also a certified pilates mat and equipment instructor, a Tai Chi master, and has taught over 10,000 yoga and pilates classes during the last 15 years.
The couple co-founded Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach, a nonprofit organization, that offers free yoga classes to the elderly. Ten years ago, with the support of seasoned yoga teachers and gerontology professionals, Iszak designed a new yoga style tailored for the elderly and established an online yoga teacher training course specifically for Silver Age Yoga, certifying over 300 yoga teachers, nationally and internationally. They founded the Rhythm Yoga and Dance studio a year ago.
Classes offered to teens and adults include instruction in yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar wall work, and restorative, along with Zumba dance classes and other private dance classes by request.
“The studio creates an atmosphere for the continued education of the mind and body with an enriched environment that provides clientele a well-rounded yoga and dance experience,” said Iszak.
To find out more about class schedules and fees, visit
or call (858) 759-7590.