I love Austin. Y’all.

Leslie loves teaching Yoga Yoga students!

This is the fourth year I’ve taught for Yoga Yoga in Austin as part of the great teacher training program run by Lori Johnson. She and director of special events, Laura Forsyth, have made sure I’ve been getting socialized around town each year and now I realize I just love this place. It helps that it’s 70 degrees when it’s below freezing in NYC, and it helps that there is great barbeque all over town, every meal has been delicious and reasonably priced and tequila is a beverage of choice.

I also love the studio. Yoga Yoga has a bunch of locations and I get to teach in this big, beautiful room at their Westgate venue (high ceilings mean I can throw my teaching toys all the way to the back of the room) and light from two walls of windows reminds me of my home studio, The Breathing Project. The room is full of experienced teachers and those in training asking pointed questions.

Teaching teachers is so satisfying. Here’s a taste of what we’re covering today: Bandhas and ujjayi is over-taught. From the first moment you ask someone to coordinate their breath with a long, slow movement, they’ve already started to use ujjayi. Bandha is just not that complicated.

Next…

I hope to meet more of you on the road. Next up, Sadie Nardini and me at Maya Tulum.

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Tired of the cold? Me too!

ugh NYC in the snow - it ain't pretty

I’m so ready for Tulum.

Here’s the deal: My good friend Sadie Nardini and I will be teaching together for a whole week. There will be classes with each of us catering to all levels and interests, plus the chance to explore the Mayan world of unspoiled beaches, peaceful lagoons and ancient pyramids. (No, I didn’t write that copy but it makes me drool.)

Pricing (see accommodations page) includes your cabana, meals, yoga program and the unlimited ocean at your doorstep. Like this…

glorious white sand beach at Maya Tulum

I hope you’ll join me. Questions? contact Laura Forsyth who knows everything and will also be there.

MT1

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My Breath-Centered Yoga Week at Rancho La Puerta

I just finished a delightful week getting back to my roots teaching Yoga to normal people (as opposed to Yoga teachers). It was Breath-Centered Yoga Week at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.

I came up with a series of five 90-minute classes that progressively built skills and awareness throughout the week and was gratified to have a core group of dedicated students who attended throughout. Predictably a few folks were initially disappointed, thinking the designation “level two” meant a sweaty yoga workout, but by the last day there were students who proclaimed this the hardest Yoga they’d ever done. Individualized, breath-centered yoga can kick your ass from the inside-out.

In addition to these great classes, we met fantastic people including author and yoga teacher Michele Hebert and her husband, Dr. Mehrad Nazari, the wonderful writer and musician Marshall Chapman and her husband Dr. Chris Fletcher, the multi-talented Kerry Wilson (who ditched family traditions to spend this week with us!), Pilates and fitness trainers Sara and Joe Talbert, yoga teacher Phyllis Pilgrim (one of the only people I know who’s been teaching Yoga longer than I and whose mother learned Yoga from Indra Devi’s book in the 1950s) and the “Godmother of the Wellness” and founder of Rancho La Puerta Deborah Szakely.

All that plus some great hikes and basketball games left us really looking forward to returning in the spring of 2015!

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Underwater pranayama at Rancho La Puerta


I’ve always wanted to try Watsu. For the uninitiated, Watsu is a combination of Shiatsu and water-based bodywork in a 96-degree pool. I had two hour+ sessions while teaching at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico with Pete Voggenthaler, a masterful underwater expert.

Here’s a little video to give you a sense of Waterdance, a Watsu variation in which the practitioner takes you underwater (thus the pink nose clip!) while cradling, stretching and guiding your body through waves, rolls, twists and inversions.

In my first session the underwater part was done only on retention after an inhale. For the second session, pictured here, I requested that we work with the exhale underwater as well, which drastically changed my buoyancy and flexibility. The body stiffens on an internal retention and is much more released during and after an exhale. Pete ran with the idea resulting in the best pranayama session I’ve had in a long time.

In addition to his work at Rancho La Puerta, Pete does aquatic show consulting, water show artistic direction & training for extravaganzas around the world. If you have an opportunity to work with him, I highly recommend it.

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