Leslie has been exploring movement her entire life. From ballet to boxing, her exploration brought her to yoga 20 years ago. Over that time, she has practiced many different yoga styles and has traveled to India to study with the masters of Ashtanga and Iyengar, Pattabi Jois and BKS Iyengar. She found the practice so transformative that she became a walking billboard for yoga, which inspired her to become a teacher. She did her first teacher training at YogaWorks in 2001 and continues to be a student as well as a teacher, living the questions that life asks. She has studied and practiced therapeutic yoga for years and has witnessed its healing transformation in her own body and life as well as in her students. Certified as a gait therapist by Sherry Brourman and a yoga therapist through Loyola Marymount University, Leslie understands the body's systems beyond structure, what occurs in dis-ease and how yoga can be used safely to effect a greater sense of ease and well being.
Leslie has had the honor of combining the healing art of yoga with the science of medical research, collaborating on the design and implementation of several NIH-funded yoga studies. She is a consultant for the UCLA Department of Geriatrics as well as the Biokinesiology Department of USC in a true East meets West partnership.
Leslie believes the practice of yoga starts with the breath. By connecting to the breath, you connect to your self. By expanding and freeing the breath, you expand movement and create freedom in the body, in your self and in your life. She infuses her teaching with her joy of life and irreverent sense of humor as she guides students along their personal journey, meeting them wherever they are.
Inversions can be safe and fun for almost everyone if you Keep It Simple Silly. This session is a class I teach to Older Adults who have been practicing with me for a while. It is also a great option for beginners or others who want to get upside down AND are not sure if they are ready for it. We will use the wall to build stability and create support for the whole class. And as we move step by step, you may find that this is a practice that you will build up to over time. Or you may go all the way with legs up the wall to give yourself a new view of your practice, yourself and the world around you. Make it yours - that's the yoga!
Imagine that your arms are like wings that start in your upper back and have the potential to lengthen your spine and open your heart. In this session, you will explore how to spread your wings and free your spine, as you move into gentle backbends in seated and standing poses. Notice how you feel taller and stronger with this backbending practice!
In this final session, we explore the magic of backbends, using props for feedback and support. Feel how to balance the actions of lengthening and strengthening the lower back while opening the chest. As you cultivate these skills, you will create a sense of ease and openness in your breath and posture that you can take off the mat and into your life!
Who doesn't need more chest opening and more hamstring lengthening? This session does just that, combining beginner backbends with reclining forward bends. It's the perfect pair for improved posture - say that 5x fast! - in ways that are essential for older adults. We take some basic postures, add simple instructions, mixed in with some fun prop variations and we get an invigorating practice that will leave you feeling stronger, longer and more resilient!
Old age ain't for sissies - and neither is this seniors yoga class. We keep it simple and take it slow as we use props to strengthen the shoulders and open the chest. We modify "fierce" pose, aka chair, to give feedback and build more strength so that you will feel absolutely fierce in warrior 1, gracefully stepping up your practice as you step into your strength. This is a great session to reduce poor posture and build your vitality!
This class is designed for older adults and it's also great for anyone who wants a simple - not easy! - practice to improve balance. Moving with balance and grace is also simple but not easy. Feel the fluidity and grace of your breath. Find the inner poise and calm of a smooth steady breath. And know that with practice, moving on the breath will give you a greater sense of balance, poise and grace. Acknowledge that balancing poses are hard and be gentle with yourself - this is the true meaning of grace!
"Simple, not easy" is the key to finding balance for older adults and beginners alike. We will use the wall for extra support as a safety net that will encourage you to be brave in warrior pose. And be astonished by how well you balance on one leg when the wall's got your back!
Now that you've found some fluidity with your spine, let's take it up a notch and explore how to align your spine in standing poses. First, we will take a look at the way kyphosis expresses itself in your body with some hands-on inquiries. Empowered with that insight, you will learn the cues to adjust your spine and feel how to stabilize and lengthen your spine for greater ease in your body!
Feeling stiff or stagnant? Slide onto your back and join me for an easy, breezy flow that opens up all the joints. You will feel more fluid and peaceful with this simple practice, gliding the body with the breath into a state of tranquility.
Opening up the side body feels great for an expansive, free breath and long spine. AND it can throw you off balance as you willow over sideways while trying to maintain your center. This is a great practice for life - finding expansion, getting off balance, finding your center and remembering to bring your sense of humor so that you have fun along the way!