Yoga with Alison Alstrom
This is Alison. She’s my yoga teacher. She’s the best yoga teacher I can imagine.
I found Alison for the first time a few months after falling off a running horse. I broke my back; just a compression fracture, just a tiny bit broken. I barely took time off work, literally got back on the horse a week later. I commonly respond to pain like this: Leap up and move! Be strong and be fine!
Maybe 6 months after falling, maybe 8, I went to Alison’s class. At that point I could do everything, but everything hurt. I could do nothing completely or for very long. I couldn’t rest comfortably, ever. The surface of me had healed, I was functional; but deep down, I just wasn’t.
In that moment, my body and I weren’t enough for each other. I was injured and afraid of it and it was injured and afraid of me. We were doing our absolute best, but we needed help. My first minutes in class I simply felt relieved. I knew, from the middle of the center of my core, Alison could help.
And she can. Right away and slowly, slowly over time.
Class with Alison is like being lost and having someone call good directions through the dark: now lift up your foot, now feel with your foot, now understand the ground. And you can, right away. Also slowly, slowly. Your foot can understand the ground, and itself. It’s just yoga - long holds, downward dog, lots of alignment cues, talk about the Psoas muscle - just regular. The same poses I’ve been doing since the early 90’s. It’s like no yoga I’ve ever done before.
Since starting classes with Alison I’ve broken and healed in unpredictable ways – beautiful and painful, sometimes simultaneously - many times. Every time this practice helps me through. It keeps me centered, brings me, over and over, back to groundedness.
Here’s a bit of writing I lifted off Alison’s website:
There’s a word I love in Sanscrit: Nitya. It means “enduring”, or “eternal”, but it can also refer to the little things we do day to day, “nitya karmas”, The phrase means “daily rituals”, but resonates as the little things we must do. The mundane, seemingly insignificant details that together give something its wholeness.
I feel like it’s a good description of what practicing with Alison is like. Having her standing near, it’s possibly to notice the tiny things - the seemingly insignificant details, the enduring, eternal things I do each day that give my life its wholeness. I highly recommend it.
Here are ways you can practice with Alison:
1. Come to class! Tuesdays at 5:30 PM, Fridays at 9:30 AM and Saturdays at 10:30 AM. I’ll be there too! We can do yoga together. Click on this link to sign up.
2. Meet with Alison (virtually) one-on-one. This is particularly good if you’re hurt; if something in your body or your heart is injured or lost and needs to be called to through the dark. Here’s how it works: You’ll email her or text her to set up a meeting time. You can tell her a little bit about your experience with yoga, your body (and your feelings since the two are not separate), what hurts and what you hope to strengthen, or just say - hey, I’d love to have a private with you. Then you’ll meet over Skype or Facetime. Together you’ll come up with a practice to help you find your center – a practice you can use again and again through all your transformations.
3. You can also meet up with Alison for private breath work. This is VERY helpful if you’re experiencing anxiety, it you’re in an acute phase of loss, if you’re working with PTSD or if you are a human with lungs and a nervous system. Alison is not a therapist or in any way interested in taking the place of a skilled professional mental health practitioner - but she knows a lot about breathing. And breathing is helpful.