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…and now, “you were here* : the video!”

My last post about honesty in yoga credentialing has gone a bit viral. It was natural then, to discuss it in last Wednesday’s post-Yoga Anatomy, on camera Q&A.

What emerged was a rather interesting exploration of my views on how we train people, and what it takes to really absorb the kinds of things we teach in yoga trainings.

Enjoy!  If you’d like to join the discussion, please leave a comment.

You were here*

I’m often asked whether my workshops or trainings qualify for continuing education credit with Yoga Alliance, International Association of Yoga Therapists or other registries and/or accrediting bodies. I always tell event attendees that they can put whatever they like in front of me and I’ll happily sign it, notwithstanding the fact that my less-than-favorable views on certification and licensing are well-documented.

To simplify this process in the future, I’ve decided to provide free to the public as a downloadable PDF an official-looking certificate of attendance. Please feel free to print one and bring it with you to your next event with me, and I’ll autograph it.

Please note the fine print referenced by the prominent asterisk:

“This certifies that the person named above showed up for [some/most/all] of the indicated session and appeared to be awake, though there’s no way for me to know whether they were listening or whether they [absorbed/understood] what I said – let alone how effectively they will choose to communicate it. Additionally, there is no way for me determine the teaching ability or qualities of the person named above, regardless of how much I may have [liked/tolerated] [him/her].

The recipient of this document bears full responsibility for demonstrating to the public the quality and efficacy of their skills, and communicating honestly the true extent of their training.”Sample of Leslie's version of a certificate of attendance.


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.


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


Mukunda Stiles Feb. 24, 1949 – Feb. 18, 2014

Mukunda Stiles

I just received this notice from Chinnamasta about the passing of her beloved, Mukunda Stiles.

Mukunda and I worked together on the board of Unity in Yoga, and kept in touch over the years.  I knew he had been quite ill recently, but had thought he made a recovery when I saw he was teaching again.

He will be missed.

If you have any remembrances of Mukunda you would like to share, please post them as comments below.

Tom Myers, Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews teach NYC Symposium, Nov. 22-23

Tom Myers’ Anatomy Trains®,
Leslie Kaminoff’s Yoga Anatomy &
Amy Matthews’ Embodied Asana present

Spacious Feet: The Foundations of Under-Standing

A weekend symposium in New York City
Sat-Sun, November 22-23, 2014, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Helen Mills Event Space, 137-139 West 26th Street NYC
Join anatomy and movement pioneers Tom Myers, Leslie Kaminoff, and Amy Matthews to illuminate the complicated foundation of our oh-so-human posture, stability, adaptability, poise, and sturdiness.

Using lavishly illustrated lectures and movement explorations, this workshop is for anyone with feet, especially movement teachers and manual therapists of all kinds.

28 bones wrapped in a fascial bag, our uniquely human foot is a marvel of engineering – and it needs to be: such a tiny base of support under a tall and gangly skeleton with a high center of gravity.

Tiny changes in the position of our foot bones can make huge differences in functional ability and pain.  Learn to see proper positioning and response to guide your clients or students into dynamic, responsive feet that hold the body up easily and tread lightly on the planet.


  • The essential arches of our feet
  • The ankle joints and body balance
  • The improbable heel and support for the back body
  • Slings and arch support: the calf muscles to the rescue
  • Responsive walking and the myofascial meridians — how we handle forces as we walk
  • Maintaining a pliable foot in an urban environment

$495 early bird (ends Sept. 21, 2014)

$550 thereafter

Questions? Contact Leah for more information

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.


Now available: an alternate time for my live online chats

I am thrilled to offer a second opportunity for online students to participate in my biweekly live online chats. I now offer a Tuesday 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) chat, in addition to the 7:00 p.m. ET chat that’s been going on for years.

Here’s a little taste of this afternoon’s exchange:

Student A: I have a question about the Foundation class (editors’s note: “Foundations and Origins” is the first Practices class). When you asked us to place the attention on the chest in the inhale and on the belly on the exhale, my breath turned automatically to ujayyi. Is that what you wanted us to do? I don’t think I have a “ujayyi-always pattern” but with this exercise even if I tried to come to a neutral breathing it will go again to ujayyi.

Student B: Anytime I slow my breath it seems to be ujayyi!

Leslie: Ujayyi is really helpful when it’s needed to slow down and stabilize the breath.…It’s also something that many people tend to over-do, even when it’s not needed.…We like to be in control, and we use the breathing to accomplish that.
When we get away from the idea that there’s a “right” way to do these practices, and simply use them as a way to experiment, it really frees us up.
If you simply ask a student to slow down their breathing so that it matches a slow movement of the body, they will discover ujayyi naturally.

Student C: Why is it that we can breathe longer when we go from top to bottom?

Leslie: To make the belly move first, you need to restrain the ribcage, which means you have to figure out how to release it for the rest of the bottom-to-top breath.
When you start at the top, you are only releasing the ribcage – not restraining, and then releasing.…

I usually don’t teach ujayyi. I let people find it on their own, then get them to notice what they are doing.

If you’re already an online student, please join us for the next live chat, Tuesday January 28, 2014 at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. ET. If you’re not and would like to join us, you can sign up at

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!

My basketball buddies

The crew from my last few games before leaving Mexico: Will "Farmer Tan" Brubaker, Jay Washburn, Chris Fletcher, Marshall Chapman, Joe Talbert, Leslie

Michele Hebert and Leslie

Michele Hebert and Leslie at New Year's Eve dinner

Leslie and Indra Devi

Leslie with Phyllis Pilgrim on New Year's Eve. Phyllis recalls her mom taught herself yoga during the 1950s using Indra Devi's book!

Friends in the firelight

At the end of a lovely fire-lit evening with tequila, mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups and funny, funny conversations with Joe and Sara Talbert and Kerry Wilson.

View from Alex's Oak Tree

We enjoyed a lovely two-mile hike up to Alex's Oak Tree when the wind whipped up madly! Great views overlooking the 3000+ acres that make up Rancho La Puerta.

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.

Fall tour recap, part 4: Vancouver, BC

Leslie in the fogFoggy. That’s what it was for most of the five days of my stay in Vancouver! Fortunately the students at Y Yoga were far from it and the week-long training was challenging and engaging in equal parts.

And the FOOD! We have never had such impeccable meals, not a dud among them. Still craving a repeat of the sushi at Samurai and cocktails at Lolita.

Students learning hands-on techniques

Teachers working with each other, to practice techniques for better grounding.