Bay Area Yoga Teacher Highlight: Leila Swenson
Name: Leila Swenson
How long I’ve been practicing yoga: I discovered yoga in September 2000 at the Himalayan Institute, and practiced off and on for 9 years. Then in 2009 I dedicated myself to daily practice, and have been ever since—so in total, over 18 years.
How long I’ve been teaching yoga: I have been teaching full-time since September 2010... so more than 8 years.
What kind of yoga I teach: Vinyasa primarily, and also hatha alignment, bhakti yoga and meditation.
My mantra these days: "I'm listening."
A posture that has been resonating with me lately is: Supta baddha konasana (reclined bound angle pose).
How I like to practice yoga off the mat: Non-attachment. For me, it's a forever practice. Clinging less tightly to how I see myself, plans, relationships, work, health, whatever it is that is showing up in my life off the mat, and allowing life to flow naturally as it is, rather than how I would like it to be. For me, non-attachment is a practice in letting go and trusting the benevolence of the universe, my humble place in it, and wherever the flow is taking me.
Favorite way to celebrate the winter: Cozy time at home with a good book or movie and hot tea.
My sign: Scorpio.
The last book I read was: My Life with a Brahmin Family by Lizelle Reymond.
Favorite local juice/tea spot: Beloved Cafe in the Mission in San Francisco.
Where I go for a nourishing meal: Ananda Fuara on 9th & Market, SF.
What’s on your yoga playlist right now: A few of my favorites: "Only Love (Can Save Us Now) (feat. Falguni) by Drala, "Ong Namo" by Snatam Kaur, "Rooting for You " by London Grammar, Namo Namo (Sat Nam) (feat. Nirinjan Kaur) by Ram Dass, and "Love of Strings" by Moby.
A few of my favorite yoga teachers are: Richard Rosen (for pranayama, philosophy, and hatha yoga alignment), Annie Carpenter (for vinyasa alignment, inquiry, and paying attention), Seth Powell (for sanskrit), Adyashanti (for meditation), and Amma (for Divine Love).
A ritual I love: Morning coffee and journal writing!
What I am letting go of this year: Letting go of old patterns, conditioning or beliefs that do not serve me or others... a constant practice!
What I am embracing this year: Clarity... in relationships, service, love and life.
My website: www.leilaswenson.com.
My instagram: @leilaswensonyoga.