About Alison

see larger

↓→

AlisonTellsAStoryNarrow

My name is Alison. I teach yoga classes, workshops, immersions, and also train yoga teachers in the greater Portland area.

My yoga studies and practice, and my work as a teacher, have touched my life in uncountable ways. Yoga holds the potential to deepen and enrich all of our experiences by helping us to uncover ever more nuanced and complex layers of ourselves. Yoga is a way of being in the world as much as it is any pose or movement or bio-mechanical system.
aliseatedbabycradle

Learning to know my own body was a game changer for me. Before I took my first asana class, I lived primarily in my head. I would go so far as to say I carried a certain disdain for things like athletics, and the pursuit of physical fitness. Not surprisingly, I was physically falling apart, but more than that – I was incomplete. As a painter, a veteran bartender since the tender age of 16, an avid reader and traveler, I was in love with the poetry of the human experience that I saw unfolding all around me. Learning the poetry of my own body helped me fall in love with myself a little bit. Just me, as I was. As I found myself when I woke up in the mornings.

The physical practice led me back to the stories. The myth, theory, and history of this amazing tradition never disappoint. What I find the most interesting of all is the the relationship between the varying aspects of the practice – I am continually romanced by the way the layers of our experience reflect and refer back to one another, and inform and color one another, like palimpsest. I love that we can discover connections between the stories of yoga, the stories of our lives, and the artifacts of those stories as they are written into our bodies, through the deceptively simple practice of asana.

ekapadaroof

scroll to read about my yoga background, my other background, the loom school, and the myths & methods series →

 

 class schedule
workshops
retreats
privates & mentoring
loom school
contact
home

•.

.

.

.

.

A Little More About Alison

see larger

↓→

ekapadaroof

My Yoga Background

I was introduced to spiritual practice as a child by my grandmother, Muriel Alstrom. Born in 1904, she taught both Sunday school and meditation, both informed by her own very particular worldview. She was passionate about positive thinking, and lived her commitment to see divine intelligence radiating through every being and every thing on earth. The simple practice I learned from her, of looking into every face and seeing the sacred, carried me through a rocky adolescence and young adulthood with my sense of wonder intact, and for that I am immensely grateful.

On the subject of asana, I have learned from many greats, among them Desiree Rumbaugh, Christina Sell, Noah Maze, and more recently, Doug Keller and Leslie Kaminoff. Perhaps my greatest teacher, certainly my most exacting, has been my work in yoga therapeutics. The opportunity to work closely with individuals of all levels of fitness has required that I sharpen and fine tune my understanding of movement and the body, and so has refined my skills on every level.

The ways we are broken so profoundly inform the ways we are magnificent.

My most influential yoga teacher is Dr Douglas Brooks, who doesn’t do any asana at all, at least not in the way we think of it. He certainly takes a position on things, one of the subtler meanings of the word. Please avail yourself of his wisdom and insight in his wonderful blog.

dbrkwide

My Other Background

I was raised by music makers, and I must have liked it because I married one. My aunt taught me to paint in oils when I was seven years old, and I was never without pigment or charcoal or graphite under my fingernails.

My first job was scrubbing hair brushes, sweeping up hair cuttings, and on a good day, taking curlers out of  newly quaffed silver locks at Mane Tamers Hair Salon in Fairfax, California. I was twelve, and it was awesome. After that I scored my first restaurant job answering the phone for takeout orders at Primo’s Pizzeria, which funneled me into waiting tables, and eventually, my long and illustrious first career as a bar tender.

While I worked throughout what would have been my college years, I gave myself a semblance of a liberal arts education by asking lots of smart people what they  were reading and following suit – a practice I continue to engage in and highly recommend. I also drank deepy of community college offerings, studying subjects ranging from English and literature, to drawing and painting, to Russian Language (a passion I followed to a summer term at Moscow University), to statistics (I was a math geek in grade school), to African dance.

My 18 years behind the bar nurtured my fascination with the human spirit, my respect for the ways that greatness can coexist with human suffering, and my deep love for the many forms humanity takes. I drew about a gazillion sketches and portraits like these during those years,

atSpec's

JenMaynard copy

JP

Ely13

amyjohaden copy

which I realize now were teaching me to see in a deeply nuanced way, a way that is as fundamental to my approach to yoga, and to teaching yoga, as it is to drawing pictures of things. My formal education culminated in a few precious semesters at the San Francisco Art Institute, where I felt more vulnerable and exposed than at any other time in my life, and where I began the work to cultivate the most powerful and most exquisite parts of myself. This work continues now through my yoga practice and my creative life.

I live in Portland, Oregon with my wildly charismatic, remarkably gifted, and maddeningly individuated husband, Chris Kaup, and our dog, Feather River.

chrisalifeather

“YOU are an inspiration… You always seem to speak with absolute relevance about where I am [we are] at – mentally and emotionally – which makes me see the collective unconscious more palpably, and trust that the process is a community phenomenon rather than me just floating in the ether. Alone. Wow. That is so comforting! And of course, thank you for the direction on how to hold my body so that I can fill it with the most breath – so that I can be most alive – so that I can BE the most me! I am just now beginning to understand how standing in my truth with strength in my legs allows my heart to seek ultimate freedom. And love. You remind me of all this. Thank you. I look forward to your next class. With gratitude and love ~ AH”  

 class schedule
workshops
retreats
privates & mentoring
loom school
contact
home

.

.

.

.

.

About Myths & Methods

see larger

←↓

meru

 

Myths & Methods was born on Thursday nights at the People’s Yoga NE small studio, the product of an always shifting and growing community of  curious, dedicated yoga students.

Still going on Thursdays, and now held in workshop format in venues in and around Portland, Oregon, the classes and workshops in the Myths & Methods series are progressively sequenced, bio mechanically insightful asana sessions illuminated by the story and iconography of Yoga’s rich mythological tradition.

Participants in these sessions learn skills and strategies to fine tune their asana practice, while being guided to explore the many layers of their human experience.

The meaning of the word Yoga has been translated variously as both “engagement” and “coming together”. Myths & Methods classes invite you to think of your yoga practice as a way in to the interconnectedness of the mysterious and evocative with the day to day – the remarkable with the ordinary.

Any of the topics in the Myths & Methods series can be reformatted into a workshop or workshop series. Please contact me to inquire about presenting Myths & Methods at your studio.

View Myths & Methods Events

 class schedule
privates & mentoring
loom school
contact
home

.

.

.

.

.

About the Loom School

see larger

The Loom School of Hatha Yoga is a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga School at the 200 hour level, with plans to expand to the 500 hour level in 2015. Our Yoga Teacher Trainings are designed to help you add to your existing toolbox of skills and strategies for engaging with the life you’re in, or for re-imagining that life to better suit you.

As a Hatha Yoga School, we teach the practice of asanas (poses) with an emphasis on biomechanics, pranayama (breathing) and the meditative arts, as well as the history and mythology of yoga practice, and multi disciplinary wellness and healing modalities. In time, we hope to offer programing with an emphasis on applying the principles of yoga to your creative life. See our trainings pages for details about current programs.

As of this writing, the Loom School is in its infancy, and we are fine tuning our mission statement to put out into the world, we hope, in early 2015.

Our inclination is toward community and growth. If you would be interested in affiliating yourself with the Loom School, please feel free to get in touch, and we will keep you posted. Namaste.

see upcoming loom school trainings

 

 Alison’s class schedule
workshops
privates & mentoring
loom school
contact
home

 

.

.

.

.

.

.