ABOUT LEILA STUART
Leila’s transformational system of therapeutic yoga evolved from her desire to empower patients and students on the path to self-healing. Whether challenged with physical, mental or spiritual issues, Leila skillfully guides students toward a felt sense of their wholeness by exploring experiential anatomy and the interplay between awareness, gentle movement, breath, and mental patterns. By cultivating an awareness of their “living” anatomy and inherent body wisdom, students can learn to apply this intelligence in a practical way to their own healing process. Leila invites students to make yoga a living, transformational process by encouraging them to practice off the mat.
Read more about Leila here.
Internationally renowned teacher and author Donna Farhi on Leila’s teaching...
“Her teaching is clearly informed by a depth and breadth of knowledge about the human body, but more importantly she is able to convey the potentially “dry” information of anatomy in, as one participant put it, a “juicy” way. Her enthusiasm for her subject overflows and one is caught up in a kind of joyous reverie for and about the human body. In particular, she is able to help people access anatomy experientially and to use this information in yoga practice as well as therapeutically with others. She is extremely sensitive to the needs of her students and very conscious of making material safe while still being effective. It is rare for participants of my trainings to give more than a cursory comment to an adjunct faculty’s contribution but Leila consistently garnered profuse praise from the teacher trainees for the valuable contribution she made."
WHAT IS EXPERIENTIAL ANATOMY?
LEARN IT. FEEL IT. INTEGRATE IT.
Learning anatomy becomes a rich, multidimensional event when physical structures and systems are directly experienced. Learning anatomy intellectually is useful, but when you develop a felt sense of your body, you actually experience the mysteries of anatomical structure and function and forge a friendly and dynamic relationship between your body and mind.
Experiential anatomy is a way of learning that involves your whole being on all levels. For example, when you learn that bones are your internal supportive scaffolding and that standing in your bones creates comfortable, safer alignment, you can use your own body as a laboratory to experiment how to realize and integrate skeletal stability. You feel the mental, physical and spiritual effects of your habitual patterns of standing and moving, and then compare them with the new, experiential way of standing in your bones .Through this process of self inquiry, you increase awareness and become self empowered to make more sustainable, healthy choices.
Experiential anatomy teaches the Dharma, the rightful nature and place in the order of things, of each part and system of your body. It also leads to an understanding of how your individual Karma, the sum of your past choices and experiences, has affected the experience of your physical body. By listening to your body and honoring its structure, capacity and limitations, you can learn to live more from your wholeness.
When applied to movement practices, experiential anatomy can give you an internal, felt experience of your body that shapes movement from the inside out, rather than trying to conform to an idealized image. Yoga and other movement practices become transformational practices when the tissues, organs and structures of the body are acknowledged, felt and touched by mindfulness; stored memories and energy in the tissues can be safely released and your innate wisdom and wholeness can be experienced.
"Teaching people to be in their bodies is a radical political act because people who are embodied cannot be controlled"
Judith Koltai, Movement Educator
CENTERPOINT YOGA THERAPY STUDIO
Why Yoga TherapyYou may have found that regular yoga classes are not suitable for you- too challenging or a“one-size-fits-all”approach. A Yoga Therapist will carefully and skilfully consider your individual nature, needs and level of ability. Classes and private sessions are designed to gently and compassionately teach your body and mind to unfold and stabilize. The tools of yoga, including asana, breath awareness, mindfulness and meditation, are used to help you become an active participant in your own healing process.
Extensive research has shown that yoga has beneficial effects on at least 52 medical conditions. Proven benefits include: decreased pain, anxiety and depression; increased flexibility, mobility, balance and strength and ; restful sleep, increased energy and better organ function. Positive effects are long-term and ongoing when you practice tools for dealing with your daily symptoms and stresses.
The practices of Yoga Therapy calm the body and still the mind so you can rest in the stillness and vastness of your heart. When you live from this place, your physical disabilities and suffering may diminish. You may still have a disability or health condition but your relationship with your body becomes friendlier and more compassionate. The condition becomes an “AND” and ceases to define you. You may realize that “I am whole AND I have multiple sclerosis”. You gradually shift from self-judgement to friendliness and loving kindness toward yourself and begin to make more choices that move you toward joy and health.
“I will never be able to express to you how important you and your healing skills have been to me over the years. You have helped to keep me sane through some really difficult self-healing and some very hard times in my life. Thank you with all my heart.”
“It is such a pleasure to come to your classes-your wonderful smiling face-your infectious laugh-then there is the “work”-always calming, soothing, healing-taking us to new realms of possibilities and understanding.”
“Thank you for a wonderful year of yoga. Your leadership and insight have helped me get through a very difficult time. Now I know I will not only survive but be stronger, more aware and more at peace. Yoga will be a part of my life always.”
“The thing I love about experiential yoga is that once you get it in your body, you know. It’s such a joy and inspiration to be able to study with you. Thank you.”
“A note to tell you how much I have gained from my yoga experience with you over the last couple of years. The big things like asthma control and sleeping better and also many small things that have added to my life physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
“Just a brief note to say thank you for your guidance over the past few years. I have enjoyed your teaching more than I can say. You have given me a glimpse of what is possible.”
” I found my healing when I came to you at Centerpoint Yoga studio.”
“Thank you for your teaching. Your knowledge is vast and deep. You connect with each of your students in a personal way which gives it all the more meaning. You’ve given us a deeper understanding and solace.”
“I am always aware of my good fortune to have you as my teacher. It is because of yoga and because of your dedicated, conscientious, centered, intelligent, compassionate and wise instruction that I have been able to regain health, hope and wisdom personally. Your teaching and heartfelt sharing of knowledge makes this a much better community.”
“I am finding wellness through your open dedication of friendship in yoga. I appreciate your knowledge, guidance and loving kindness so I can paint the world with colors that never fade.”
“Thank you for your guidance, kindness and patience with us. What a difference you make to our awareness!”
“You so graciously, gently and beautifully guide us. I’ve never felt so comfortable, supported and, not sure it’s the right word – ‘successful’ in any class.”
“I am so loving the yoga following your teachings and handouts. I’m just thrilled to feel so much better-I feel more like my old self than I have in years-over that threshold where I now have enough energy after busy days to do more physical activity which I love.”
“Leila’s course has transformed my practice, teaching and life. Beginning with the rich foundation of anatomy and journeying into the intelligence of the body, this course brought my bones to life and helped me to see my deeper holding patterns. Through her gentle, yet penetrating guidance, I have been given many tools to expand awareness, release tension and open the energy flow within. I am more free.”
“The Anatomy of Yoga Therapy is a powerful course filled with spirit and love. Leila sets up a space that is safe, secure and embodies trust. In this environment I was able not just to be myself, but to find, discover, evaluate, absorb or discard aspects of myself. The course was like a journey to self discovery – through body awareness and alignment, knowledge and learning, reflection and testing out ideas, absorbing and integrating what resonated with my beliefs and prior knowledge. I learned to listen to my body and to honour its wisdom. This course opened up my curiosity and awareness of the connection and alignment between body, mind and soul. It was a magical journey toward wholeness.”
“Being on the journey with this group has helped me to be a bigger and deeper person. In my heart I really understand now that all of our suffering is caused by forgetting who we really are at essence, and that we are all on this journey together to remember who we are so that we can in turn remind others, and so on. This is the challenge and the joy of being a yoga teacher. Through our individual and group interactions and experiences you have all helped me to remember. A million thank you’s.”
“Leila, thank you for being in my life and for this amazing course you have taught. Your beauty and grace and passion and brilliance are an example to us all. I love you and I thank you for everything.”
I found the workshop very lovely and intense. I’ve been doing some or all of the exercises you shared with us everyday. I found the work shifted quite deep into my subconscious mind and unearthed old patterns and learned behaviour. I recognize the benefit of moving slowly and listening deeply. I am deeply grateful to find validation in your words and wisdom. I look forward to studying with you further in the future!
“Leila takes the body/mind/spirit experience of yoga to a whole new place. Literally, a place of “Wholeness” is experienced as we delve deeper into the understanding of our physical body. As someone truly walking her talk, Leila brings her incredible wisdom to us in an experiential way that is easy to understand and can change our lives forever on the journey home through yoga.”
“I have had great benefit from the classes on the pelvis. My hip hardly ever hurts now. I feel so blessed to have had the privilege of learning what I’ve learned in this course. My life is different. I feel as though I was stuck in a place of “physical limitation” and now my growth is happening at other levels, my mind, my spirit are now more engaged in the process of shedding the old patterns and beliefs as my body is freed.”
Your knowledge and presentation is truly inspiring and I’ve been using some of the anatomical ideas you presented to remind me of the importance of the spine.
As I have gotten older, my yoga has become more slow and thoughtful and experimental – this is a great addition to my practice.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a wonderful workshop in Dublin. I enjoyed every single moment and loved all the experiments. I admire you for being so warm, patient and listening all the time – this is the most important for me – feeling safe within the learning environment – I wasn`t afraid to answer any of your questions, I felt welcomed and understood whenever I said something.
“An exceptional amount of knowledge is shared between teacher and students in this training. Leila is an inspiration to each and every one she comes in contact with.”
“This course met and went beyond my expectations. I’ve become a much better yoga instructor and more importantly have learned a lot about myself.I really appreciated the koshic model of healing and the many faceted approach to connecting to wholeness; I use this in my teaching a lot now. Personally, so much more of myself is awake now. My body is more stable and I feel more authentic as a person and as a yoga teacher.”
I loved your weekend and have so much to enjoy and work on. The effect on me has been unexpected. I am walking with greater ease and much longer strides as well as noticing a deeper more mellow tone to my voice as a result of fuller breathing. I can get rid of tailbone pain by stroking my psoas!
Pathways to a Centered Body
Gentle Yoga Therapy for Core Stability, Healing Back Pain and Moving with Ease
Leila joined forces with internationally renowned author and teacher, Donna Farhi, to produce a definitive guide to centering the body in a multidimensional way. The foundation of the book is a protocol developed by Leila over 25 years of working with a diverse population of students. It is a gentle, yet incredibly effective, approach to balancing body structure for optimal pain-free movement.
This book demystifies the catch phrase “core fitness” and teaches you how to center your pelvis and find optimal spinal alignment as the foundation for true core strength and stability. As deeply held tension is resolved, this work will help you to feel more grounded, mentally focused, emotionally calm, and better able to stay connected to yourself and to others.
Donna Farhi and Leila Stuart’s Pathways to a Centered Body is nothing short of a foundational, comprehensive, and wonderfully accessible treatise on self-awareness; and in this marvelous instance, the self can be defined as the psoas. Having read this carefully-crafted book and having begun to integrate the exercises into my Yoga practice, I will never sit, stand, walk, twist, bend, or lie down ever again without a profound appreciation for my psoas and all it connects to—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
. . . this is embodied anatomy at its very best–a veritable treasure trove of tried and tested practices. Prepare to enter with one body and leave with another.
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
. . . clear, intelligent, and an easily absorbed guide with beautiful illustrations and photos . . .
“…the most thorough, educational, and delightful read on the multi-dimensional area we know best as the pelvis.”
Dr Monica Gauci
A pragmatic, cutting-edge, intelligently applied therapy that empowers us to self-heal.
Simultaneously radical and down-to-earth, Pathways to a Centered Body will help readers create a sustainable Yoga practice—both on and off the mat.
Farhi and Stuart have a gift for making anatomy relevant and easy to understand. However, while Pathways to a Centered Body includes an abundance of fascinating anatomical information, the heart of this book is imminently practical. Their six-phase process for psoas rehabilitation is comprised of thoughtful exercises designed to improve the functionality and health of this key stabilizer. A perfect blend of practice and theory, Pathways to a Centered Body will transform your relationship to your psoas – and to yourself.
Elise Miller M.A.
Capturing the very essence of how to approach healing back pain with Yoga therapy and core stability.