Practice Guides [broken links]

It seems there are some problems with several of the links in the site. It’s going to take me a while to go through and check the whole thing, so in the interim, if you find a broken link and would like to get to the missing info, just drop me a line and I will be happy to send you a working link.

Here are links to several of the practice guides:

28-Day Basic/Intermediate Course in Yoga

28-Day Intermediate Course in Yoga

28-Day Advanced Course in Yoga

A Year of Basic Yoga

A Year of Intermediate Yoga

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What is the Alexander Technique

F. M. Alexander (1869-1955)

F. M. Alexander (1869-1955)

Outside of the performing arts, where it has had a strong influence for many years, the Alexander Technique is not so well known, certainly not as well-known as Yoga. Developed by F. M. Alexander over a hundred years ago, the Technique is a method of kinesthetic re-education that will help you identify patterns of poor use of the body and mind and release them into a better, more organized way of using yourself in everything you do.

Alexander developed his Technique as he tried to heal himself of vocal problems that were threatening to end his career as a professional actor. When he was only in his twenties, he began to suffer from hoarseness to the point where he was even losing his voice altogether. The only advice that doctors had for him was to rest his voice, which he would do. Once his voice had recovered, however, he would soon get hoarse again. This led him to presume the cause of his problems was not an infection of some form, but something that he was doing to himself. He set up mirrors in his room so that he could observe himself and set out to find a solution.

Along the way he made several important discoveries, which became the fundamental principles of his Technique. (more…)

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My Journey to Middle Age with Yoga and the Alexander Technique

WitoldColor.2WitoldColor.2WitoldColor.2(Photo by Gina de la Chesnaye)

I came to Yoga in my mid-twenties suffering from anxiety and the effects of stress as a result of my job. I was working at the time as an assistant in the acting department at a boutique talent agency in New York. My work environment was aggressive and competitive. At the end of my work week I would find myself exhausted and depressed as a result of the amount I was required to achieve in my work day and the hostile attitude of many of the people I was working for. I was permanently stuck in “startle” mode and my health was beginning to suffer as a result. In addition to depression, I was suffering from attacks of anger and anxiety.

It may be hard to imagine now, but at that time in the mid-nineties, there was not much Yoga around. The idea that problems such as those I was suffering from could be dealt with in ways other than medication and psychotherapy was not as widespread as it is now. My attempts at self-care began with a seated meditation practice for two years, but it was not until I began to take group Yoga classes that I started to feel an improvement in my overall wellbeing. (more…)

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A Question About Head Stand


“Do you have general suggestions for people with more flat thoracic and neck in headstand? I am a long time practitioner. Any comments would be helpful.

Thank you!




Hi, Lori:

I would say think about the way you are placing your head on the floor and using your head, neck and shoulders. Ask yourself the following questions:

• Is your pose properly centered on your head? If you place a finger right in front of the opening of your ears and trace that up to the top of your head, it should get you to the place that is lined up with the center of gravity of your head. That will be the spot upon which to center your head in the pose.
• Are your ears lined up with your shoulder joints when you are in the pose? Very often people focus more on the placement of their head in their hands, palms flat on the skull. You want to have your wrist bones stacked up and your ears under your shoulder joints. This may mean that you will end up with a bit of space between your head and the center of your palms.
• When in the pose, are you allowing both the back of your skull AND the bridge of your nose to be weighted into the floor? Sometimes we try and effectively push the back of the head into the floor. This can flatten out the cervical spine.
• When in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), if you bring your arms overhead as if you were in headstand, are your forearms in line with the crown of your head? If they are higher, you will need a lift under your head. If lower, then you will need a lift under each forearm. You can experiment with how much height.

I thoroughly recommend reading Donald Moyer’s book, “Yoga: Awakening the Inner Body.” It features a whole chapter just on headstand (and another on shoulder stand) with detailed discussion of alignment and action in the pose, plus all sorts of prop variations to help you prepare and refine the pose.



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Intermediate Practice: Space and Spirals in the Legs and Pelvis (Forward Bends)

This intermediate forward bend practice begins with standing poses to wake up the hips and legs and establish the relationship between the legs and the torso. Props are used to help define and open the front of the hip crease, creating separation between the legs and torso. Then come inversions, in which the legs are used to lift and support the torso, creating torso/leg separation in a different way. Single leg variations in Shoulder Stand are included to work with the relationship of the legs to the hips once again. Finally, simple seated forward bends are practiced, with and without props to explore the leg/hip relationship.

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Basic Practice: Spiraling the Legs and Torso (Standing Poses)

The practice begins with seated poses to wake up the ankles, feet and knees. It follows with reclined poses to stretch out the backs of the legs and to open the hips in outward rotation. After that come lateral standing poses, in which the theme of the day, the spirals in the legs and torso, can be optimally employed. It ends with restorative poses to settle and center the system.

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Advanced Practice: Wrists, Hands, Shoulders and Breath Free (Pranayama and Inversions)

This advanced practice behind with Shavasana (Corpse Pose), breath awareness and reclined pranayama to free the ribcage, shoulder girdle and arms. It follows with seated pranayama in which the practice is to maintain that freedom in the upright. After that comes an inversions practice with an awareness of the breath and organization of the arms, shoulders, back and chest.

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Intermediate Practice: Armpits and Elbows (Inversions)

This intermediate inversions practice begins with reclined poses to soften and widen the chest and back, and open the shoulders. It follows with floor poses to integrate the legs and arms into the torso before going into Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand), Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1), and shoulder stand variations.

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Basic Practice: Supporting the Shoulders with the Sides (Upper Body)

This basic practice begins with floor work to create widening and lengthening of the torso and separation of the arms from the body. It follows with a short series of standing poses with a focus on the use of the arms and floor work to widen the chest and collarbones. Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) is threaded through the practice to create stability and connection of the arms into the torso as well as to increase range of motion in the shoulder girdle.

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Advanced Practice: Opening the Front Body (Back Bends)

This advanced practice begins with standing poses and inversions to activate the torso and integrate the legs while strengthening the upper body and opening the chest and shoulders. It follows with a series of back bends over the chair to open the abdomen, hip creases, chest and shoulders while minting integration of the limbs into the spine, ending with Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from the floor. It ends with a short series of supported forward bends and restorative poses to widen the back and settle the energy.

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Intermediate Practice: Separating the Thighs and the Abdomen (Backbends)

This intermediate back bends practice begins with wall work to wake up the shoulders, hips and torso. It follows with standing poses to strengthen and integrate the legs arms and back while lengthening the thighs and opening the chest. Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) and Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) are included to deepen the opening of the front body before a floor sequence of baby back bends, using a bolster for support to encourage release of over-work in the back. The practice ends with some brief restorative work to bring the body back to balance.

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