Workshops and training in yoga, anatomy and related topics

This page lists some workshops and trainings in yoga, anatomy and related topics taught by Leslie Kaminoff, both in-person and live-streamed.


An Introduction To Breath-Centered Yoga

Yoga practice in the tradition of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar exhibits many distinctive principles and practices not found in other Hatha Yoga lineages. Details of breath sequencing, coordination with movement and spinal action are just some of the subjects we will explore in this highly interactive, experiential and informative session.
Leslie will introduce these breath-centered teachings from a historical, scholarly and anatomical perspective while leading participants into a progressively deeper understanding of the vital forces at work in the human breathing mechanism during yoga practice.


Introduction to Healing Through Breath-Centered Yoga

Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s therapeutic approach puts the central focus on two crucial elements: the breath, and the specific needs of the individual. In addition, promoting healing through yoga is based on the perspective that there’s always more going right for a person than has gone wrong. Working from these principles, Leslie will share what he has learned during the past four decades applying his teacher’s principles to working with groups and individuals.


Shushumna Nadi in Theory and Practice – The Central Pillar of Krishnamacharya’s Yoga

An organizing principle of Krishnamacharya’s breath-centered approach to yoga theory and practice involves the opening of the central channel of the energetic body – the Shushumna Nadi.  Leslie’s uniquely anatomical and experiential perspective on this topic refers to this as “vertical axis integration.”  This session will explore this idea in a practice sequence that integrates asana, kriya, bandha, mudra, pranayama. The session will conclude with a dhyana on the imagery derived from Krishnamacharya’s unique perspective on Prana/Apana, Kundalini and Agni.


Desikachar’s Revolution: The Breath, the Individual, the Relationship

In homage to the groundbreaking contributions of his teacher, Leslie will share rare footage of Desikachar explaining the key tenets of his approach to therapeutic yoga: an utmost respect for the individual, the central role of the breath in yoga practice, and above all, the definition of yoga as relationship.
Through inquiry, dialogue and a practice session that balances structure with free-form improvisation, students will have an opportunity to truly connect to the “Heart of Yoga.”


Demystifying The Bandhas

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.
The good news is the moment you first learned to coordinate breath and body movement, you were immediately, implicitly learning bandhas. From this perspective, deepening your yoga consists of nothing more than uncovering our innate ability to find support and spaciousness through breath-centered practice.


The Most Powerful Breath You’ll Ever Take

…is your very first breath. It transforms your entire physiology from its non-breathing, non-eating fetal state to that of an independent entity that must oxygenate its own blood, seek out its own nutrition, eliminate its waste and navigate a world of gravity and space. For the rest of our lives, we will have to negotiate this intricate dance between our internal and external spaces.
A breath-centered yoga practice offers you the opportunity to take the second-most transformational breaths you will ever take, and that is the specific goal of this workshop. Through inspiration, education and reflection, Leslie Kaminoff will lead you through a series of practices that will forever transform your relationship to your breathing body.


Re-imagining Alignment

This highly interactive workshop relies on students to bring questions about their own asana practice and teaching language. Leslie will promote an experimental, experiential atmosphere of inquiry regarding the teaching of alignment, safety and effective cueing of asana.
The session begins with an historical and anatomical perspective on the subject and functional definition of alignment. Then, an exploration of the uniqueness of human structure will lead to the understanding that “asanas don’t have alignment – people have alignment.”
Starting with clear, simple principles that govern musculoskeletal function, Leslie will help you put your asana on a solid foundation literally from the ground up (and from your head down). Topics include:

  • The fundamental importance of proprioception and interoception
  • Functional principles of alignment
  • Breath-centered, anatomically-based cueing
  • The relationship of bandha to support and movement
  • Why instructions like “tuck your tail,” “lengthen your spine,” “square your hips” may be doing more harm than good, and what kind of language to use instead
  • The use of gazing (drishti) and imagery to foster increased neuromuscular integration

Awakening Our Inner Resources – Proprioception and Interoception in Yoga Education

By recognizing the fundamental job of a yoga teacher is to help students re-inhabit their bodies, we can make a few key changes to transform our teaching language into a more empowering experience for our students. Specific classroom strategies that promote better body awareness will be re-imagined and demonstrated for commonly-taught practices.  A discussion of long and short term skill-sequencing will also help prioritize teaching choices for students of every level of experience.


The Warrior Series – A Hands-Free Vinyasa Practice

If you like a strong, flowing, breath-centered yoga practice, but have done more than a few too many down dogs, up dogs and chaturangas, then this is the class for you. This practice-heavy workshop will lead you through a specially-designed vinyasa that strongly works the legs and moves the spine in all possible directions, all without putting any body weight on your hands.
This session can be extended into two parts, with part one focusing on the relationship of breath to movement, while introducing the basic movement principles of the sequence. Additionally, the use of breath cueing to achieve alignment and safety objectives will be covered through exploring individual adaptation and modification.
Building on the basics covered in part one, part two covers the full sequence of poses in the Warrior Series with an emphasis on the details of alignment. In particular, we will experiment with how to individualize breath and asana cueing for groups of any size, as well as how to modify the practice for individual therapeutic objectives. The vinyasa will be practiced twice, the first time flowing through non-stop, and the second time breaking down the myriad possibilities for individual adaptation.


Non-Linear Asana Flow – Escaping the Tyranny of the Rectangle

Learning the simple geometries of classic asana is a great starting point for the physical aspect of yoga practice, just as learning scales on a piano is a necessary foundation to playing music. This is a workshop that tunes into the music of the body, by honoring the spirals, fluids and asymmetries inherent in our organic forms.  We will practice in a way that seeks more balance in our systems by honoring the complementary forces of order and chaos, inquiry and technique, form and function.


Forward-Bending: Stretching the Back Line

In Sanskrit, the back of the body is referred to as “Paschima,” meaning “West” – therefore Paschima Uttanasana, or Paschimottanasana, is the practice of elongating the posterior line of the body’s myofascia. Unfortunately, some of the most common alignment instructions that are given in forward bending do not produce an evenly distributed lengthening of these structures, resulting in a perpetuation of chronic tightness in the very areas the poses seek to release.
This workshop will provide a solid grounding in the posterior line of the body from both an anatomical and a yogic perspective. We will also practice a variety of breath-based movements and alignment strategies that are guaranteed to move you forward in a whole new way.


Better Backbends Through Breathing

Is backbending about moving backwards in space or is it about changing the shape of the spine? What role does the breath play in entering into and remaining in these challenging poses? How we answer these fundamental questions will determine our goals and experiences when we practice backbending.
In this fun and informative workshop, we will explore the definition of backbending from the viewpoint of the body’s full range of anatomical possibilities – from world-class contortionists to average citizens. We will also practice several key asanas and vinyasas that will permit us to use the breath in a variety of creative ways to enhance and deepen the opening of our bodies to these delicious shapes.


Arm Supports Reimagined: Open Chains and Spirals

In the grand scheme of sequencing the skill acquisition of asana practice, Leslie considers arm-supported asanas to be intermediate level skills. He will explain the anatomical basis of this view, and propose a radically different method of entering into these challenging poses by working with the spiraling lines of myofascial support in the arms while preparing the upper extremities to support our body weight through open kinetic chain movements.


Twist, Don’t Break – Twisting Poses, From the Inside Out

Axial rotation is the anatomical term for twisting of the spine. Understanding the structural core of twisting postures, known in yoga as “Parivritti,” reveals the critical role that breathing plays in safely accomplishing these complex movements.
In this practice-oriented workshop, Leslie will review the key structures of the spine and breathing mechanism that can contribute to (or sometimes interfere with) the twisting actions of the body. The positions of sitting, standing and supine will be explored, as well as the role of binding and twisting’s effects on our physiology.


The Yoga of the Foot: How to be a Better Biped

As mammals of the genus homo, we have been walking erect for about 2 million years. Yet, in what amounts to an evolutionary blink of an eye, natural organic ground has literally been pulled out from under us, as we have leveled, paved, and otherwise smoothed out the unpredictable terrain our feet evolved upon. Add to this insult the injury of restrictive footwear and we in the industrialized world have an epidemic of physical ills that can be traced back to our compromised foundations.
This workshop will delve deeply into the history, structure, function and retraining of our feet as the foundation for a healthy asana practice and for living more fully functional lives as happy bipeds.


Mahamudra and The Sage’s Seat – The Anatomy and Physiology of the Central Axis

A cornerstone of breath-centered yoga in the tradition of Krishnamacharya, the practice of Mahamudra is considered to be a bridge between Asana and Pranayama. In addition to the seated practice that bears its name, the principle of Mahamudra is invoked whenever strong axial extension of the spine is accomplished through the action of the bandhas.
This workshop will employ a breath-centered practice sequence the purpose of which is to reveal our body’s inherent structural equilibrium. This builds towards a unique experience of “central channel” breath movement, which arises when our metabolic requirements are reduced to a minimum along with our breathing.
An accompanying discussion will review the anatomical and physiological basis for the experience of sushumna, kundalini and related yogic concepts.


The OM Workshop – The Yoga of Sound, Breath, Resonance and Vibration

In a yoga class, one of the first opportunities for students to connect with their teacher is through a shared “OM” but how often do we pay as much attention to the details of this sound as we do to the nuance of asana? Leslie will deconstruct the phonetics of this complex, resonant, sacred vibration with a review of the phonetic map of the mouth embedded in the Sanskrit alphabet. He will lead students in a simple chanting practice to blend exploration of the relationship between sound, physical support and movement.


Inquiry vs. Technique in The Classroom – The Sthira and Sukha of Teaching Yoga

Teaching yoga techniques without a spirit of inquiry can be overly reductionistic and didactic. But promoting a spirit of inquiry without the structure and boundaries of specific techniques can lead to students feeling lost and confused.
 This workshop addresses strategies for balancing this dynamic dichotomy in the classroom, with sample sequences and interactive discussion.

Leslie assisting a student in a forward bend
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Leslie working with students
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