Master Teacher: Lois Nesbitt

Known worldwide, Lois Nesbitt’s prowess for inquiry began long before she dedicated herself to yoga. In earlier careers, she was a professional writer, editor, and artist. With a B.A., Magna cum laude, from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Princeton University, where she taught literature and writing, Lois’ penchant for analysis have made her teacher trainings deeply rich experiences.

A teacher of 22 years and a leader in the Anusara Yoga community as well as a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga for almost ten years, Lois has led many retreats and workshops internationally. Her popular public “Injury Clinics” have helped many out of pain due to accidents, surgeries, and life’s wear and tear. She is currently crowdfunding and writing Hip Op: Beyond Recovery, on how she endured, survived, and thrived via a total hip replacement.

Devoted student Allison Harrington said, Lois answers ALL of your questions—what I learned is that there are often multiple, ‘right’ answers, but Lois was able to tell me what the differences between them were and why, attributing it to the respective schools and approaches. She knows them all and can lay them out in a clear, concise comparison. She is a master not only of asana practice and its intricacies, but also of the philosophy behind it. Lois makes it understandable, giving you an invaluable foundation and framework for deeper study.

Kathleen Kraft: What does your yoga practice look like every day?

Lois Nesbitt: I get some yoga in every day, one way or the other! But I’m not as rigid as I used to be, when it felt like my daily Mysore-style Ashtanga practice was the glue holding my life together. When I left that practice (partly because of injuries from a bicycle accident, and partly because I had discovered alignment-based Anusara yoga, which was shifting how I practiced), I felt like I was in free fall, without a rudder, and worried that I wouldn’t have the discipline to get up and do anything!

Luckily my love of yoga and a strong will to carry on kept me going. Given the changes in my practice scenario, I focused first on a lot of stabilizing actions and familiar poses to maintain some consistency. Over time I relaxed and got more creative and innovative, enjoying my newfound freedom.

Given the erratic nature of my teaching schedule and my frequent teaching-related travels, I don’t stick to the same practice at the same time every day, but do what timing allows and what my body needs. I’ve been through periods where illness, accidents, and other physical barriers (like a total hip replacement!) forced me to radically alter what I considered “practice” and even “yoga,” often blurring lines by including moves drawn from classic fitness workouts and physical therapy. But yoga is so v