Weary of the physical pain in her body from hard athletic training, Leah began the formal practice of yoga in 1998, though she had stumbled her way into several sustaining meditation and mindfulness practices ten years earlier, as a teen. While the yoga asana and pranayama (posture and breath practices) were utterly transformative to both her athletic performance and the pain that she later learned was fibromyalgia, what most moved Leah was the shift that she observed happening on the more subtle layers of self.
By the mid-2000s, the anxieties and exhaustion of life as a graduate student moved her to leave the world of triathlon and delve more deeply into the study of yoga, working through the major scriptures and philosophical treatises in yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. Leah also had become troubled by differential access to yoga studios for diverse populations, so began to focus on expanding access to yogic practices for those not usually able to make it to a studio. She co-founded and directed YogaReach, a nonprofit that brought free, on-site yoga to underserved high schools with students or teachers who wanted to try yoga and began a ten-year program of teaching for elders and dementia patients in assisted living facilities. It was with great joy that she accepted the invitation to begin teaching at Tucson Yoga in 2007.
Leah remains intensely committed to making yoga accessible, affordable, and physically, mentally, and spiritually available and empowering to all who are interested in exploring any dimension of the practice. She specializes in teaching asana, pranayama and meditation practices of all types and levels, including yoga for athletes, activists, mamas & babies (creating the first, ongoing Mama-Baby class in Tucson), teens, school teachers, healthcare providers, social workers, elders and others with limited mobility, the marginalized, and the traumatized. She grounds these teachings in the philosophical and ethical foundations of yoga, including its convergence with the teachings of various arms of Buddhism and Sufism. Her teaching fundamentally understands yoga to maintain an impetus toward social justice and to encapsulate the imperative of our collective work for the liberation from spiritual and socio-political oppressions of all beings.
As a medical anthropologist and professor of Integrative Health research and complexity science in the UA College of Nursing, she is constantly considering and incorporating the therapeutic insights developed at the convergence of Eastern traditional practice and Western clinical research. Curious about the latest clinical research on meditation? pranayama? Ayurvedic diet? Ask her!