The Anatomical Gifts That Keep on Giving

University of Massachusetts anatomical gift donor form

In a temporal twist of fate, last week I got the news that my father, Harvey Kaminoff, passed away about 5 minutes after I returned from the local FedEx office to overnight his anatomical gift donor forms to the UMass Medical School. Although my father’s death was sudden, it was not unexpected. Fortunately, I had just organized a family visit with him the day before his death at the nursing home where he had been cared for since last October. Over the decades of my anatomical study, Harvey expressed interest in donating his body to help others gain the same kind of experience he’d seen deepen my knowledge and practice.

I am extremely grateful to Amanda Collins, the Director of Anatomical Services at the UMass medical school, and her colleagues, who helped expedite the donation process in record time. The fact that Harvey’s body will be helping first-year medical students learn gross anatomy this fall in Worcester, MA tremendously brightened an otherwise sad occasion. You can read more about my father’s influence on my life and work in this Facebook post. It seems to have struck a chord, garnering more engagement than usual.

In my decades-long study and teaching of anatomy, I have been personally and professionally enriched by the generosity of many donors like my father, and it has been an honor to facilitate an anatomical gift – this time from the family’s perspective.

My dad in his youth, on the left, and with my three sons and me in 2017.

While I’m on the topic of anatomical gifts, I’ve just learned that two spots recently opened up for our previously sold-out Movement Anatomy Hands-On Cadaver Lab in Colorado Springs March 14-18. We are limiting participation to 6 students per table, so if you’ve ever dreamed of learning anatomy in this amazing format, our lab will be as up-close and personal a setting as you will find.

I will be teaching alongside the amazing Lauri Nemetz, MA, BC-DMT, LCAT, ERYT500, C-IAYT, a yoga and movement educator who specializes in myofascial anatomy as well as one of the lead dissector on the international team at the Fascial Net Plastination Project, and past faculty dissector for Anatomy Trains Dissections®. Once these 2 spots are taken, the course will be full, so reach out soon via the KNM Labs website.

I have provided links below for those inspired to learn more about anatomical gifting, which serves a different purpose from the organ donation choice on the back of most drivers’ licenses. They fill a vital educational need, and many regions across the United States are chronically short of full-body donations for the kind medical study we do in our labs.

Hey, 2022…I’m back!

Well, a fresh set of Covid-19 antibodies wasn’t on my Christmas wish list, but I got them anyway. Between my original March 2020 battle with Covid, three vaccine shots, and a holiday bout with the Omicron variant that had me quarantining instead of festivating, I now assume I have sufficient immunity to get through 2022 with no further incident. I am very much looking forward to resuming teaching events scheduled for the first quarter.

The next in a series of popular 2-hour online workshops I’ve been doing for our U.K. friends at Keen Yoga is coming up at the end of this month on Sunday, January, 30 at 9:00am EST, 2:00pm UK time. The topic is something we could all use right about now: “Introduction to Healing Through Breath-centered Yoga.” The workshop is rooted in the perspective that there’s always more going right for a person than has gone wrong – something I’ve had to remind myself more than once in the past couple of challenging years. The recording will be remain available to replay for 14 days after the event.

Lauri and Leslie dissecting
Lauri Nemetz and me during the livestream of our first KNMLabs dissection workshop in October 2020

Looking ahead to March (the week of my 64th birthday!) Lydia, Lauri Nemetz and I will be back in Colorado Springs at the anatomy lab of our good friend Gil Hedley to lead a unique week-long cadaver dissection March 14-18. KNM Movement Anatomy Labs focus on interests of yoga educators, movement and fitness professionals, bodywork and massage therapists and artists.

A unique aspect of this hands-on lab is the opportunity to apply some of what you see in the lab in your own body during evening movement labs. There will also be opportunities to observe one-on-one work related to structural observations during the day’s cadaver lab.

We still have room for a few more participants, so click on the link above to find out more about this very special opportunity to experience human anatomy first-hand with an amazing group of individuals.

Getting back to bizness

Change of seasons, and the discussion between Lydia and me turns to what to pack for teaching trips. Neither of us likes to overpack, but we have both underpacked, and that was most uncomfortable! Hand washing clothing in a hotel sink is only so effective.

This coming weekend I’m teaching a hybrid (in-person and online) workshop for Sun & Moon Yoga in Arlington, VA (predicted temps in the low 60s F). The title is a direct reflection on my own personal, present experience, Breath-Centered Yoga Practice: Maintaining Balance in Changing Times.

The weekend after that I will finally be holding the longest planned event in my history, for Matt Ryan at Manchester Yoga (predicted temps in the low 50s F). It was originally scheduled for May 2020, then October 2020, then May 2021. After holding multiple Zoom check-ins with the registrants, we will now finally get to spend time in the same space at the same time!

Pre-order your copy of Yoga Anatomy, 3rd edition.

Oh, and the third edition of Amy Matthews and my Yoga Anatomy should be shipping just about now! There are new chapters, new illustrations, new perspectives, and improved content across the board.

This has been a true labor of love through the Covid year as I fought post-covid brain fog and heart abnormalities, and Amy and I both spent most of the year outside of New York City, in Maine and Massachusetts, sheltering in low-population areas. Anyway, we hope you buy at least one copy! Bulk orders are definitely cheaper. Just sayin’.

Miami, Memories and Me

Here we are at the cusp of September 2021, well into a second year under the looming threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. I, for one, really didn’t think I’d be saying that. Many of my workshops got rescheduled from 2020 (one even postponed multiple times!) but I am truly thrilled and eagerly anticipating a fall season of travel teaching.

Me (L) and my brother Rick, Key West circa 1963

There’s a lovely synchronicity that my re-entry to live, in-person teaching includes a weekend workshop at Kino McGregor’s new Miami Life Center, titled The Anatomy of Yoga, the Yoga of Anatomy. This topic will provide a solid grounding to the yoga I teach, and practice but – separately – I consider South Florida my ancestral home.

In the early to mid-60s, I lived in South Florida, splitting time between an apartment above my grandparents’ bar in Key West and Miami Beach, where my mother relocated as she rebuilt life with two young sons after her split from my father. Far from being the fashionable, hip enclave it’s become, the South Miami Beach I knew in the 1960s was almost entirely the province of an aging Jewish population that had found refuge from the cold Northeast and the ravages of the Holocaust. Thinking about that time span now, it’s incredible to realize that for the people I was living with in Miami, the end of World War II was as recent a memory as 9/11 is for me.

And now, after nearly two years of pandemic-separation, I will get to visit with my mother who lives back in the region, as well as teach in Miami! With so many memories intertwining on this return, I anticipate having a very resonant, heartfelt experience on this journey.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to help Kino open her beautiful new facility, and for all the hard work her team has put in to make it possible, in spite of nearly overwhelming challenges. It takes a lot of guts to open a new yoga facility these days, and I’m happy to support anyone who’s willing to take it on. If you or anyone you know is in the Miami area, I’d love to have a chance to connect.

This will be a hybrid event, with a limited number of vaccinated or recently negative-tested students attending the sessions in person as well as virtually, and filmed for replays by Omstars, a great online resource. I’m very much looking forward to connecting with the community there – even with all the challenges intrinsic to gathering with a group of people for an in-person learning event.

Slowly but surely, life as we know it is re-starting, and workshops are scheduled!

On the road again!
On the road again!

I am sure I’m not alone in saying I was very relieved to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus back in April. Since then, I’ve gotten to dine with and hug friends I hadn’t seen in months, and I’ve been able to restart my private practice in New York City in a beautiful brand new space for The Breathing Project, just across the street from the apartment I share with Lydia on the Upper West Side. I will have more to announce about some exciting in-person and live-streamed programs from that location in the near future.

Happily, I am now starting to see my schedule – at least the last quarter of 2021 – begin to fill with workshops. Here’s what’s upcoming:

LONDON CALLING – I’m still doing the online series for triyoga London, with the next scheduled for this weekend, July 17-18. Our topic will be “Practice and Principles: a Weekend of Interactive + Breath-Centred Yoga.”

LONE STAR VISIT – Next will be my first in-person event in a year, “Asana, Pranayama and Bandhas,” for My Vinyasa Practice, in Austin, TX September 25-26. Tickets are being sold separately for the in-person and online component.

MIAMI ANATOMY – We are flying directly from Austin to Miami for our first collaboration with Kino McGregor’s OMStars and Miami Life Center October 1-3. We are very much looking forward to seeing the beautiful new space she’s built in Miami, and are honored to be the inaugural guest workshop there, entitled: “The Anatomy of Yoga, the Yoga of Anatomy.”

FAIRFAX FRIENDS – We are thrilled to be returning to Sun and Moon Studios in Fairfax, VA to visit with good friends Annie and Amir and their wonderful community for an in-person/online workshop October 22-24. Registration details will be posted soon to our calendar.

MANCHESTER ENGLAND, ENGLAND – At the end of October, my long-awaited, repeatedly postponed Manchester, UK workshop, is still on our calendar. Given the ongoing uncertainties of COVID outbreaks, travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, I cannot 100% guarantee I can make it over there, but one way or another, I will be teaching something on October 29-31 to the resilient, loyal students who have stuck with us since May 2020!

ENCINITAS, ALWAYS – Last in 2021 is my annual weekend workshop for Soul of Yoga in beautiful Encinitas, California. It usually sells out, so I’m not sure there will be any tickets left, but keep an eye on my calendar in case any get released.

MARCH CADAVER LAB IN COLORADO SPRINGS! – The newest offering on our calendar is the second joint project with good friend and colleague Lauri Nemetz – a 5-day Movement Anatomy Hands-On Cadaver Dissection Lab March 14-18 at Gil Hedley’s amazing facility, the Institute for Anatomical Research in Colorado Springs. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to experience human anatomy close up and personal in a way that was once reserved only for medical students – through guided dissection of your very own human cadaver. This is a small-scale, personalized event in which we limit six students per table, with an absolute maximum of four tables in the lab. Because we are emphasizing the individualized nature of your experience, we encourage you to reach out personally for more information at info@breathinproject.org.

2-hour Bandha Workshop available to everyone online, November 29

Back on September 29, UK-based Adam Keen posted a wide ranging podcast interview with me that covered a lot of interesting ground. We had such a great chat, he invited me to teach a 2-hour online workshop to his students at Keen Yoga who practice mostly Ashtanga Yoga. He selected one of my favorite topics: “Demystifying The Bandhas,” and registration is open to all. Here’s the workshop description:

The popularity of vinyasa-based yoga practice has created a wide interest in the theory and practice of Mula, Uddiyana and Jalandhara Bandha – the “yogic locks.” In this workshop, Leslie applies his unique, experiential approach to clarify and, above all, simplify the practical, anatomical basis of these powerful, yet widely misunderstood tools.

One of the few benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is that my teaching is no longer restricted by geography! Come join us online for some breath-centered practice with a strong focus on anatomical and personal inquiry.

illustration ©The Breathing Project and Lydia Mann

Sunday 29th November
2.00-4:00pm (UK) / 9.00-11:00am EST
Cost: £25 ($32) 
Click here to book now

A bright spot for 2020…a live-streamed Yoga Anatomy cadaver lab!

Hello Everyone.

I hope you’ve been staying safe and healthy in the upside-down dumpster-fire that has been 2020 so far. I’m writing to let you know about at least one pretty awesome thing coming up.

In a couple of weeks, Lydia and I travel to San Diego to produce a Yoga and Movement Cadaver Dissection Lab along with Soul of Yoga and the fabulous Lauri Nemetz, with whom I’ll be co-teaching.

This week-long lab was originally designed to be in-person only but after the pandemic hit it was reconceived to also include a livestream, online event. Reimagined for a much wider online audience, it is now a 20-hour professional training that has been fully approved by Yoga Alliance and IAYT for CEU credits. 

We’ll be streaming this training from a state-of-the-art anatomy lab in San Diego and I’m offering a special $50.00 discount code for online registrations. All you have to do is enter Y-AN.ORG50 when you sign up. Once registered, you’ll be able to access the livestream in real time, or review the recordings for up to one month. That means if your schedule doesn’t permit you to view the training during the livestream, you’ll be able to watch, pause, rewind, and review for up to one month following the lab. We look forward to answering your submitted questions, if possible during the next day’s session. The daily schedule of topics is attached below and on the Soul of Yoga site.

If you are interested in attending live, we have a waitlist in case extra spots open up at one of the tables. To get on that list or to ask about any aspect of the lab, please contact me.

The Return of The Breathing Project!

After much research about the best method by which to deliver high quality, accessible online content at a reasonable price, I am very excited to announce the launch of a digital version of The Breathing Project Studio on the innovative Union.fit platform.

Although the groundbreaking programming at The Breathing Project studio ended in the summer of 2017, TBP has continued as an educational non-profit through which I have developed material via many live events I’ve facilitated around the world.

Now, all this new and updated material will be available for live and archival streaming beginning Monday, April 20, 2020.

I have reproduced a weekly schedule that feels very much like that of the much-beloved physical studio in New York City. I will teach 1-hour practice and theory sessions Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with an exclusive live mentorship group every Wednesday afternoon. The full schedule is available at this link.  Once taught, all classes can be streamed at your convenience.

Class sessions can be paid for singly on a drop-in basis, or through a discounted 8-class pack. But, the best deal is the unlimited all-access community pass that includes the weekly live mentoring sessions. Registration details are available here.

At the above registration link, you can try out your first session at less than half-price (only $7.00) by entering this exclusive access code: LKYoga1. Please feel free to share it with anyone you know who’d be interested.

I am so very happy to be able to connect with you all using this amazing platform. Please reach out to me directly via email if you have any questions about these new Breathing Project classes. I very much look forward to sharing this new material with you.

Greetings from my self-imposed isolation in New York City!

Stale Peeps-on-a-stick pair very nicely with a fine rosé.
CREDIT: Lydia Mann 

I hope you and your loved ones are faring well and staying safe during this challenging time in our shared history. Lydia and I are nearing the end of a self-imposed 14-day quarantine after returning from a month-long teaching tour of Australia. 

The trip home was….well…a trip. Our original flight on Cathay Pacific was canceled, so we enjoyed a 15-hour layover in Hong Kong. We wore our N95 masks, did our best to sequester ourselves in the near-deserted airport lounge, and we had a whole bulkhead row to ourselves on the half-empty flight back.

In spite of all our precautions, I got off the plane from our 44-hour journey with a cough, sore throat and a bit of a fever.  Ordinarily I’d expect to be a bit under the weather after such a travel ordeal and would have paid it no mind but, given the current concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, we exercised an overabundance of caution and self-imposed the quarantine at home. My fever went away in a couple of days and I was feeling myself a few days later, consistent with my ordinary recovery from a trip down under.

Unsurprisingly, several of my upcoming live workshops have been rescheduled for later in the year. We’ve got wonderful hosts who are doing all they can to accommodate the changes needed during these chaotic times. There is still so much unknown, but please refer to my calendar page for updated workshops.

Much yoga teaching has moved online in the past few weeks, a rapid and wonderful alternative during this crisis. I have made sections of my online course “Practices” and selected resources from “Fundamentals” available for free as part of a larger project called “Studio Relief.” This initiative by Mark Walsh, founder of The Embodiment Conference, brings together teachers from many styles who have donated online resources for the house-bound public. You can access my classes at this link.

As wonderful as these heartfelt and generous offerings are, I feel the need to point out that it is imperative not to permanently de-monetize our value.  If a studio is offering free classes in hope that members or card-holders do not cancel ongoing payment plans, that’s a valid business strategy. But if you are an independent teacher putting classes online for free to stay connected, consider asking students to pay on a sliding scale. It’s simply a matter of offering value-for-value. After all, internet service isn’t free nor are your electric or food bills, so neither should the yoga instruction you offer.

Wishing you and yours well,

November Special Offers!

Hey folks: I’ve got a couple of unusual offers in the next few weeks:

Friday November 1 and Monday November 4, I will be offering private sessions in beautiful Regensburg, Germany (Bavaria) before and after my workshop at the Zen Center Regensburg. If you or anyone you know is in the region, please let them know, as I still have some slots free. Here’s a link to sign up for a session. UPDATE: Only 2 sessions left on Monday, November 4!

Also, triyoga and I are offering a scholarship for my upcoming immersion + weekend of workshops worth £570! If you or anyone you know is in or around London, and would like to apply for the scholarship, click here to apply. The deadline is November 1, so act fast!