News & Thoughts on Yoga in DC

Visiting Yoga Master

In Hot Classes, News on April 18, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Annie Carpenter

“How can someone so petite be so mean?”

A small voice comes from the floor of the Yoga Source studio in Richmond, Virgina.

“I’m not mean. I’m unrelenting,”

says Annie Carpenter.

Annie, who also teaches nine classes a week at the Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, California, gave a three-day workshop this weekend in the trendy Carytown district of Richmond. The 14-hour workshop was so demanding, many a chaturanga collapsed in a sweaty, trembling heap of spent muscle fiber.

Annie calls her method of practicing and teaching SmartFlow because its flow-inspired sequencing grows organically out of the body’s alignment.

Formerly a dancer with the Martha Graham Studio in New York, Annie has the honed physical intelligence of a dancer. She flits across the studio floor like a fairy to communicate joy or marches like a toy soldier to express solidity and rhythm. She transforms those familiar movements of dance into a yoga that draws on her early training in anatomy and kinesiology, and her classes, she says, are “informed by the body’s structure and evolution.”

“If you clench your butt, I will slap it!”

Annie announces to her students playfully.

Good alignment ensures a safe practice, she says. But hard work and a disciplined practice provide a way for each yogi to find her own inner stillness and meditation. Annie calls these entry points to inner stillness “points of dharana.”

I believe that yoga truly is a shamanic path, capable of leading us through transformation on all levels. Yoga reminds us what is real, and thus who we are — the light radiating from within.

Annie Carpenter

Annie is known as a “teacher’s teacher,” but you don’t have to be a teacher to love her classes. There are few yoga teachers with Annie’s level of knowledge — or who will take you deeper in your own practice — so kick on out to Los Angeles to take a class — and relax your butt.

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