Archives for category: Training and Workshops

I recently had the good fortune of attending a Yoga Therapy training workshop with Doug Keller. Doug Keller has an extensive background in yoga and is a wealth of knowledge in the area of anatomy. I was totally blown away by what I learned from him. Unfortunately, I missed his talk on pranayama and meditation, but he’ll be giving these again in Portland, ME soon, so I’ll report on that later.

We covered topics like Myofascial fitness, alignment, the muscles of the hips, and neck and shoulder health. It was almost too much information as his lectures are condensed and filled to the brim with information. At the same time, however, I felt like I could keep listening to him. His manner is relaxed and comfortable, and at times, laugh-out-loud funny.

I have suffered from neck and shoulder pain for many years. Doug did for me what no one else could. He explained, clearly and simply, WHY I have this discomfort, exactly WHERE it’s coming from and HOW it started. And most importantly, HOW to treat it. No physician or physical therapist ever explained it to me like this before. In fact, they never explained it at all! This information is invaluable to me, not only for my teaching, but for my personal practice as well.

If you ever have a chance to study with Doug, you should really grab the opportunity. Check out his website for his schedule and to learn more about him and his teaching.

I have a clear memory of the day I decided to try yoga. I was living in New Hampshire and took a trip to the video store in the local mall to see what they had. It was 1996. They had exactly 3 VHS tapes to choose from. Without a clue, I chose the one with Ali McGraw on the cover because she was photographed in the White Sands desert, dressed in a white leotard, serenely posed under a gorgeous blue sky. I wanted to look serene laying on hot white sand, so I bought it and brought it home.

The tape was called “Ali McGraw: Yoga, Mind, and Body”. I put the tape in the machine. I assumed she was going to be the instructor, but after her initial video introduction, she introduced the actual instructor. His name was (is) Erich Schiffmann. I loved his voice immediately. It was gentle and calm. The first thing he did was introduce me to Ujjayi breathing, which is commonly used during practice. We started with cat/cow and puppy pose before beginning sun salutations.

I think I got through one or two sun salutations before losing my patience. I thought “fuck this”, and grabbed a cigarette. I proceeded to smoke my cigarette seated on the sofa while I watched the rest of the video. I remember thinking that there was no way I could slow myself down enough to do this. I was a butt-smoking, Mountain Dew-drinking, junk food-eating girl. I remember thinking that those people were nuts. I was strangely attracted, however, to the fact that they chose Dead Can Dance as background music, one of my favorite bands. And by the end of the video, those people seemed pretty blissful. I remember thinking, “Okay, I guess I’ll try it again some other time”. And I did. The second time, I made it all the way through.

I’ve bought many VHS cassettes and DVDs over the years and have studied many different styles of yoga, but this one is still my favorite. And it’s still my number 1 recommendation to anyone who wants to practice yoga. It might be a bit much for absolute beginners, but it’s doable. If I can do it, you can, too. The bad news is that it’s out of print, so if you can find a copy at a reasonable price, grab it! But don’t fret. Erich Schiffmann (who will always hold a very special place in my heart and is actually my Facebook friend!) has a few other DVDs you can try. He’s also written a beautiful book about yoga that I highly recommend. Check them out below by clicking on the photos.