Les Leventhal is one of San Francisco’s most sought-after yoga teachers
Les leads retreats and workshops world-wide, and has built a strong following through his video podcasts series as well. Learn more below:
From his website:
Looking back over my life, I realize that I have been practicing yoga for a very long time which I now see as an art and a celebration of life, the way it is and not the way I think it should be based on efforts I put forth. Years ago, when I was a competitive swimmer, there was tremendous attention paid to the breath – so I was practicing pranayama before I even knew it. I remember some days of training were about diving into the pool and swimming under water to the other end and seeing if the turn could be made and head back for home in a single breath, certainly a breath retention. Where now, a breath retention is about being still and watching the inhale and how whole, full and complete that one breath is. Then watching the exhale and pausing to be empty of breath and noticing how whole, full and complete I am even without breath. This kind of awareness stirs up the prana or life-force within me that moves me to study and explore what it is that I am doing and why I am doing it.
My introduction to yoga occurred at a gym during a time when I was busy lifting weights as hard and as fast as I could. I was working furiously to carve and chisel the body on the outside in an attempt to cram and jam that outside look to an inside feeling. It never worked and then one day I jumped – and yes I jumped into a yoga class with vim vigor and pep and I understood nothing and forced everything and fidgeted everywhere. Thank goodness that teacher was Steph Snyder and she had a sense of humor that day and helped me laugh at myself for putting so much effort into that simple task of backing off and letting go. By the end of class, when I collapsed into Savasana (corpse pose), honestly, I felt dead. I remember feeling a bit emotional and embarrassed to show that, yet at the same time there was something quite soothing in the willingness to let go of everything, finally, for those few moments. I was hooked. Sign me up for the year class pass and so I did. I started practicing a couple of times a week and then I found Michael Cooper on Fridays at noon. My whole week revolved around that class. Every Friday, I left work early and thank goodness my boss always worked from home on Fridays until one Friday he didn’t. He asked where I was going and I decided to be honest. I let him know how important it was for me and what it was doing for me. Then I did a little headstand for him and he let me go.
Over the years, I have practiced with many many amazing teachers. I find every teacher which is really just everyone I meet in life to be amazing. Some of them guide me to continue studying the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Others guide me to explore meditation and the 8 Fold Path of Buddhism. Others remind me to be humble and grow in my compassion for all people and still others remind me of how I used to wander through this life in fear. These teachers give me permission to embrace this life, all of it which has been so freely gifted to me. Every step and every breath that I have taken, regardless of occasionally not being able to see the teachings through the valleys, has brought me to this moment. These are the things that I want to share with you the most.
A final thought or word – I think that we’re meant to have everything, joy and frustration, anger and love. I think that opposites of this world are really the parallels that show us in times of challenge the level of appreciation we might cultivate for this incredibly short life. If you have kids, let them remind you how to just live without filters and judgments. If you don’t have kids, get some cats and dogs or other pets and if that’s not an option – go get some ice-cream (single scoop – everything in moderation even your yoga). I truly believe that at some point I will meet up with the divine and I will get to ask many questions and see the true answers and that I will be able to embrace the person that I am as I move through this life as my yoga shifts on and off the mat. Today, the asana is an important limb to me – so I focus a lot of attention there. I hope that as my life changes and as perspectives shift and I weave in the other limbs and teachings that you will embrace those with me.
I thank you for your trust and your love and I look forward to a lifetime of learning with you and as a great man sings……Stay Human.
Lotsa Love – Les
About Yoga with Les
Yoga with Les is a vinyasa/flow yoga practice. Les is one of San Francisco’s most popular and sought after teachers around the world. Les’ classes and podcasts are filled with all the basic technique and alignment cues you will need to get your yoga practice started. They are also filled with lots of variations and occasional longer sequences to challenge the more seasoned practitioner. The prana (life force) comes from within. So be prepared to sweat and let the rasa (the sap and the juice) flow freely. Les’ studies and ceremonies are steeped in Forrest tradition, having completed Ana Forrest’s teacher training. Les has also assisted Ana’s teacher training and studied many additional hours with her. Also, Les has completed several trainings with Tias Little and has learned much of his alignment and technique cues from Tias, as well as a firm foundation in the 8 Fold path of Buddhism which compliments the asana practice with a sense of grace and elegance that allow you to take classes whatever your yoga experience and whatever traditions you have in your own life. Les pays careful attention to weave in the 8 limbs of yoga and keep the traditional styles and intentions of yoga a part of his classes while making great strides into opening a window into our global cultural shift. Les’ yoga will give you an opportunity to heal your heart and laugh, cry, dance and just let go. Some classes flow freely, while others will explore holding postures a bit longer. Many classes have music. Most of all, is that in Les’ classes, you have an opportunity to modify and do what you need to do in order to take care of your practice and that in learning to take better care of yourself, you can then take better care of those around you and they might then take better care of those around them.
Video Podcast Classes
Click here to download Les’ video podcast classes today!
Home Studio Schedule
6:15pm – 7:45pm – Yoga Tree Valencia
9am – 10:30am – Yoga Flow Castro
6:15pm – 7:45pm - Yoga Tree Valencia
9am – 10:30am – Yoga Flow Castro
4:30pm – 6pm – Yoga Flow Castro
11am – 12:45pm – Yoga Flow Castro
9am – 10:45am – Yoga Flow Castro
Upcoming Workshops & Events
April 28th – May 1st
Scottsdale Yoga Festival – Scottsdale, AZ
May 6th – 11th
Yoga Life Yoga Studio 40 Hour Teacher Training – Schenzen, China
May 20th – 22nd
Midwest Yoga Conference – Chicago, IL
Zen and the Yoga of Recovery – San Francisco, CA
June 11th – 12th
Workshops at Yoga Sanctuary - Las Vegas, NV
June 22nd – 26th
Workshops at Yoga Tree Melbourne – Melbourne, Australia
June 27th – July 3rd
Workshops at Mind Life Yoga Centre - Sydney, Australia
August 27th – September 3rd
Retreat to Bali at Michael Franti & Carla Swanson’s Stay Human Retreat Center
September 9th – 11th
Workshops at Back Bay Yoga – Boston, MA
September 23rd – 25th
Workshops at Franklin St. Yoga Center – Chapel Hill, NC
October 14th – 16th
Rainforest Workshops – Juneau, Alaska
October 21st – 23rd
Click here to vist Les’ website and learn more!