“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 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.