Leilah has been a dedicated practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga in the tradition of Sri K Pattabhi Jois for 16 years, and has been teaching yoga around the world for over a decade. After being introduced to the lineage in Colorado by Certified teachers Annie Pace, Richard Freeman, and Mary Taylor in 2004, Leilah soon traveled to Mysore, India to practice with Guruji Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She continues to practice regularly in Mysore at Sharath Yoga Center with Paramaguru Sharath Jois whenever possible. Throughout 2020 and to the present day Leilah has practiced almost daily with her teacher Jorgen Christianson in LA via zoom, and is currently working her way again through Ashtanga's 3rd series, pose by pose.
Leilah has had the unique privilege of studying extensively with several of the most highly-regarded Ashtanga teachers in the lineage. During her five seasons as a plant-based chef while part of the team at Purple Valley Yoga Center in Goa, India, she had a rich opportunity to learn from revered senior teachers including Petri Raisanen, Sharmila Desai, Dena Kingsberg, John Scott, Ty Landrum, Mark Robberds, Laruga Glaser, Kino MacGregor, David Robson, Maty Ezraty, Chuck Miller, Nancy Gilgoff, and many others. She completed Ashtanga's challenging 3rd series under the guidance of David Garrigues in 2013 and eventually even forayed into the first postures of 4th series under the tutelage of teachers at Purple Valley. While living at Purple Valley retreat Leilah attended daily Mysore practice as well as participating in innumerable workshops covering such topics as pranayama, meditation, philosophy, chanting, and hands-on adjustments.
Leilah has completed several hundred hours of teacher training, including a month-long Teachers' Intensive (200hr) with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, in Boulder CO in 2016. In 2018 she completed a month-long (200hr) Teachers' Retreat with Joey Miles and Rachel Woolhouse in Goa, India. In 2007 she attended a Primary Series teacher training with Tim Miller in Tulum, Mexico. She has also assisted her teacher Petri Raisanen on multiple occasions.
While teaching, Leilah aims to be authentic without being dogmatic. She seeks to support students by personalizing instruction to suit their needs and to be both encouraging and compassionate. Firm, yet gentle, Leilah holds a meditative space for a practice that is invigorating yet deeply calming and transformative.
Having the opportunity to study Ashtanga Yoga in a virtual setting with Leilah has completely altered the course of my life for the better. The refinement that comes with a consistent practice such as ours, is, ever-evolving. The Mysore class is ideal for those who wish to practice under the watchful eye of a teacher who will guide and assist you in such a way that you will confidently keep going. It is only by having Leilah as a teacher that I have been able to reach the point where I can now flow through the Half Primary Sequence in a mindful, and efficient manner. At nearly 40 years old my mind is clutter-free, sincerely joyful, and I feel as though I am the most functional I have ever been.
JT | Virtual Yoga Student
I have had the pleasure of training with Leilah for over 5 years. We started in person...I was a very inflexible person in my late 30’s who had never done yoga before ever. Leilah was patient and gradually advanced me through the practice from not being able to touch my own toes to being able to jump in on any yoga class or event I have attended. She focused on building my technique so that I grew to have a whole new appreciation of the finer points of each movement and I continue to learn something new from her in every lesson.
When she left Seattle to travel to India, she tried to convince me to find another local yogi to work with. I surveyed the field and was never able to find anyone that I thought was as good as Leilah...so for the last three years we have been training [virtually] as she has traveled the world to learn even more about Yoga and bring it into our lessons. Leilah is an amazing teacher and I can’t even imagine working with anyone else!
CATHY | In-Person & Virtual Yoga Student
I’ve actually known Leilah for many years, both as a friend and as a teacher, and I’ve watched her humbly approach the deep well of yogic knowledge from many geographical and practical entry points. Through it all, she maintains strong roots in India and a constant quest to learn more and expand her knowledge and practice. When she’s not practicing, teaching, or studying with other teachers, she’s reading up to expand and diversify her understanding and her approaches to teaching and learning. Through this, she’s able to offer students a traditional approach and a variety of perspectives from other teachers that enriches the practice and understanding.
DHARMA KAYA-BUFORD | Student