Full Heart Yoga:  Yoga for Health and Wholeness

Why Full Heart Yoga?

Lakshmi at the White House
I strongly believe that everyone can do yoga! My yoga classes are woven with mindfulness, therapeutics, and stress reduction techniques - promoting health and healing in both body and mind.

I am a Yoga Therapist certified through the International Association for Yoga Therapists and Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness school, a registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT200, RYT500 levels, and a Meditation Teacher certified through Sally Kempton's Dharana Institute. I have been practicing yoga since 1998, instructed over 1000 hours of classes, and completed over 1000 hours of advanced training and study.

Yoga Aliiance E-RYT200Yoga Aliiance E-RYT200Yoga Alliance RYT500

 

I offer the following approaches, tailoring my instruction based on the needs of each individual and group that I meet.

  • Yoga quote by DesikacharPrivate Yoga Therapy
  • Private Yoga Instruction
  • Meditation & Guided Imagery
  • Yoga for Beginners
  • Mixed Level and Advanced Alignment Yoga
  • Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques
  • Science of Sleep panel discussion, photo by J KnightWorkshops on Yogic and Spiritual Philosophy
  • Yoga for Grief
  • Yoga for Cancer and Chronic Illness
  • Yoga for Chronic Pain
  • Gentle Yoga
  • Adaptive and Chair Yoga
  • Breathing Practices
  • Yoga for Trauma
  • Corporate Yoga

Yoga has continually revealed to me the deep intelligence of our bodies, the boundless wisdom of our hearts, and the resilient power of our true natures. I teach yoga with the goals of increasing compassion, happiness, beauty and healing in the world. I love sharing the incredible benefits of yoga, and seeing students expand and grow from the inside out.

 

 

Retreats

  • Winter Wisdom: Women's Sacred Day Retreat
    with sound healer Gabrielle Fouche Williams

    Saturday February 24, 2018
    9:30am to 5:30pm
    Blueberry Gardens
    Ashton, MD
    Only 45 minutes outside of Washington DC!

    https://fullheartyoga.ticketspice.com/winter-wisdom

    Early Bird Registration ends January 15!

    Sacred Women's Circles Gabi and Lakshmi

 

 

Workshops

  • Sacred Womens Retreat with Lakshmi, Art by Walker FeeNew Moon Goddess Circles:
    Nurturing Intentions

    The new moon is a potent time for setting intentions for the month to come and for nurturing our deepest selves.   

    When we honor the cycles of nature and the rhythms of life, we honor the goddesses of nature and the goddess within.  And when we gather in a circle, we tap into ancient wisdom and build awakened feminine community - both of which help us cultivate clarity and fearlessness for our journeys.  

    In September, we will honor the equinox – Latin for “equal night” - when day and night are of equal length, when the sun is directly overhead precisely at noon.   Autumn equinox also heralds the time when nights start to become longer than the days, reminding us that darkness plays a role our lives and in the work of transformation.  This is a wonderful time of inner preparation for enlightment,  a time to pause and honor our own transitions, to listen deeply within and hone our intuition.

    In December, we will work with the balance of light and dark in life that this pinnacle in the cycle represents.  Winter solstice is not only the shortest day of the year, but also heralds increasing hours of daylight.  Our practices will focus on our inner fire and light.  

    In March we celebrate the vernal equinox, when day and night are of equal length - and when days once again start to become longer than nights.  Celebrating this point of balance and transition reminds us that the light will always return after the darkness, that new beginnings and new life can spring forth from what may have once felt like endings, and the dance between these forces is reliable in its constancy of change.

    During our gatherings, we will practice guided imagery and meditation, breathing and movement to support recognition and amplification of our own intuition, wisdom and presence.

    womens circleAll levels welcome, all who identify as women welcome.  Please bring a journal and something to contribute to the evening's altar.

    2017
    December 15: Winter Solstice
    Friday 6:30-8:30PM

    2018
    Sign Up Now
    March 16: Spring Equinox
    Friday 6:30-9:00PM

    Willow Street Yoga Center
    6930 Carroll Ave
    Takoma Park, MD
    3313 11th Street NW
    Washington, DC

  • Yoga for Grief

    "We don't get over our grief, we change our relationship to it" - Lyn Prashant

    Bird flying over the seaThis workshop shares healthy ways to cope with loss based on the yogic traditions. Whether you’re missing a loved one, pet, home, job, community, or anything else that’s shaken your sense of self, you may deeply benefit from the simple breathing, movement, and meditation practices explored in this all-levels workshop.

    Participants will explore methods to release tension built up in the body related to coping, loss, stress, lack of control, and over-identification with thoughts and feelings.

    The self-soothing, self-coping, self-healing, and self-empowering yoga practices in this workshop are appropriate for those completely new to yoga, as well as experienced practitioners. The practices in this workshop can be a great way to pay respect for any losses you’ve experienced directly or known a loved one to experience.

    All levels welcome. Please bring a journal.

    Register Online
    Saturday January 27 2018
    1:00 to 3:00PM

    Willow Street Yoga Center
    6930 Carroll Ave
    Takoma Park, MD
    3313 11th Street NW
    Washington, DC

 

Public Classes

 

 

About Lakshmi

Lakshmi at the White HouseElizabeth Lakshmi Kanter (yes that is her full name, given at birth) is a Yoga Therapist and E-RYT200, RYT500 Yoga Teacher who has been practicing yoga since 1998. She has been teaching yoga since 2009, is certified by Jnani Chapman in Yoga Therapy for Cancer and Chronic Illness (YCat), and is on the YCat training faculty. She received Awakened Heart Meditation teacher training through Sally Kempton and the Dharana Institute. In 2015, Lakshmi completed Sacred Journey: Being Present with Aging, Illness and Dying, a nine-month contemplative course offered by Insight Meditation Community of Washington.

Yoga and meditation have transformed Lakshmi both energetically and physically, helping her heal from physical injuries and also from the loss of her mother to breast cancer in 1999. Her Sri Lankan mother often spoke about the incredible healing power of our own breath, and Lakshmi now understands the truth and profundity of that insight.

Her instruction is insightfully tailored for the specific individuals in each and every class. Her teaching repertoire includes stress management techniques, gentle yoga, breathing practices, relaxation, guided imagery and visualization, chair postures, more vigorous therapeutic and alignment-oriented physical practices, meditation, and kindness.

Lakshmi has led yoga classes and retreats for people with cancer through INOVA Alexandria Hospital’s Life With Cancer program, Washington Cancer Institute, and Yogaville. She has worked with the Cancer Help Program at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, taught trauma survivors and human trafficking survivors, and assisted retreats at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Lakshmi also teaches at studios, nonprofits, museums, community events, corporations, conferences, festivals, and for private clients.

Lakshmi’s awareness, breath and movement have accompanied her throughout a high-stress, travel-filled career in documentary science television production, science communications, and urban education.  She holds a BA in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University and studied Photography at California College of the Arts.

 

 

Press

 

 

Awards

  • Contemplation in The Phillips Collection's Laib Wax Room, Photo by Bill O'LearyAmerican Alliance of Museums, 2015 MUSE Audio Tours and Podcasts Bronze Award for The Phillips Collection Contemplation Audio Tour

    Jurors said: “With the advent of events such as Slow Art Day, there is a recognized desire to slow down the museum experience, and make it more contemplative. This audio tour does just that, encouraging deliberate interaction with art objects and slow looking. The high level of engagement and follow-through of those who take the tour is significant, and offers new ways into experiencing the art.”

 

 

Listen to Audio Teachings

  • ListeningAwareness Practice
    Listen to the MP3 file now (7m 45s)

    The Awareness Practice, or Witness Practice, is an opportunity to draw your attention to whatever you are experiencing right now, to check in with all the different layers of yourself - body, emotions, thoughts, energy, and breath. You are simply witnessing and becoming present to what is happening in this moment. There is no need to shift or change or judge your experience. Developing your awareness is an opportunity to observe the truth of your experience right here, right now - more and more clearly and consciously. Seeing clearly, acknowledging, and accepting are the first step to creating change.

  • Guided Relaxation
    Listen to the MP3 file now (14m 15s)

    Lie down comfortably and allow yourself to be guided through a progressive relaxation. When you relax more fully, your body's innate wisdom can offer nourishment and rejuvenation from this calm but awakened state.

  • Three Part Breath - Reclining then Seated
    Listen to the MP3 file now (12m 7s)

    Three part deep breathing is calming, supports efficient energy production, and is nourishing to your immune system. This guided session will help you cultivate deep, easeful, efficient and rejuvenating breath in your daily life. We will start reclining on the floor, and then transition to a comfortbale upright seat - allowing you to experience the breath in two different orientations for maximum applicability day to day.

  • Concentration and Meditation Workshop
    Listen to the MP3 file now (11m 21s)

    This short session will guide you through an experiential practice of three concentration techniques. Each technique suggests a different focus or anchor for your attention: a word or phrase, an image, and your breath. Whichever technique or anchor works best for you is the best one to use. Experiment and notice which feels easier or more natural for you.

    One technique or anchor is not inherently better than any other. In other words, whatever feels most comfortable for you on any given day is the best one to use. Practicing these concentration techniques regularly - even just for 2 minutes 3 times a day, or 5 minutes daily - can start to shift activity in your brain over the course of several weeks, not only the regions of your brain that are activated, but also the types of brainwaves that you generate. These practices can literally change our brains!

    Concentrating does not mean that you are trying to stop the flow of thoughts or to stop thinking. Instead, these practices are an opportunity to give the mind something to concentrate on, to focus on and return to between the flow of thoughts - rather than getting lost in the endless stream of thoughts. These practices of returning the mind over and over to one object of concentration can lead towards a meditative state.

 

Testimonials

  • Butterfly and Caterpillar transformation, Art by Walker Fee I know we have more Goddess Circles coming up, but I wanted to try to express how truly grateful I am. I hope it shows how far you ... have helped me along in healing.

    You already know some of my background - the anxiety and panic attacks have really interfered in my life this past year. I used to get a panic attack once or at most, twice a year until recently. They were starting to become a monthly, then almost weekly occurrence. And as bad as the emotional part is, the physical symptoms of not sleeping, body aches, severe headaches, etc were also starting to take over. I was worried that they would hurt me, my relationships and career path. I knew I needed to find help, but with anxiety, it’s a catch-22. The fear kept me from going into a doctor or psychologist.

    So I started yoga classes since the one thing that I know that helps is movement/exercise, and somehow I ended up in the Goddess Circles. I was really, really close to letting my anxiety keep me from showing up to the first one.

    Anyway, fast forward to now… and I can’t say enough to explain how much better I’ve been feeling, even in this short time. With your guidance, I’ve been able to start to face the fear and really explore the source of the pain. You’ve given me the knowledge and the encouragement to pay attention and work through this. Thank you for your kind words, your warmth, and all of the time you’ve put into this.

    I know I still need to practice and continue to put in the work, but I feel like ... I can keep asking for help when I need it. That’s a very liberating feeling. Life can be really, really tough, so thank you for being there to remind me of all the beauty and love that exists, too.

    -MC, Goddess Circle attendee

  • As you know I have several autoimmune conditions. Along with the conditions comes the stress and anxiety of everyday life and the unknowns that go along with these conditions. The physical benefits of yoga have been numerous. I have found improved, strength, flexibility and endurance. My conditions are systemic and I do not haven a particular area that I focus on. I have found my relationship with my body has become more positive. My body is no longer something I am fighting against. I respect that sometimes I need to rest and sometimes I need to move. I am also more focused on what my body can do and not what it can't do.

    I was most impacted by the practice of being present more often. I found that being more present at work, one of the main points of stress in my life, I was able to focus more on what I was doing and less on when the work day would be over. Work has become more enjoyable and I am working toward incorporating more practice in my work day.

    I have tried to start yoga practice before but was not able to get going. This class was the right pace and offered practices that I could fit into my life. Each week i looked for ways to slowly add to my practice. I always felt encouraged to explore small ways to in incorporate the weekly topic into my life.

    I found shutting the door and meditating for three to five minutes when my students are at specials or lunch decreased my anxiety. I challenged myself to ask for time and space at home to practice. I used breath to prepare for my biweekly injections. I found a place to practice yoga in a chair while my dad was in surgery. I practice neck and shoulder movements in the car when at a stoplight. I use waterfall pose when in the airport to reduce swelling and relax prior to a flight. The handouts helped me to search for an ap that had a yoga nidra practice similar to the one used in class. While using the treadmill I stopped listening to music or watching tv and focused on being present during my workout and it went faster and is more enjoyable.

    When I started the first session, I wanted to try to reduce my anxiety/antidepressant medication. I am happy to say that I have reduced my medication by half. I have more energy, I am more productive, and I am more positive about my body. I still have anxiety but now I acknowledge it and work to reduce it. I am sure I mentioned some things in class that I have forgotten here. Please feel free to use whatever you remember. I am looking forward to the next session. You are a great instructor Elizabeth. Thanks for all you do.

    -TP, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Sjrogen's Syndrome Survivor


  • I've been a yogi for six years, but after my bone marrow transplant, my body wasn't able to do all the twists and poses it used to do. Working with Elizabeth has helped me ease back into a yoga practice that is integrated into my recovery process. She has also introduced me to relaxation techniques, breathwork and guided imagery that have helped immensely when dealing with illness and traumatic life changes. Her knowledge of therapeutic techniques has given more confidence in my own body and more ease of mind.

    -AL, Cancer Survivor

  • Learning yoga with Elizabeth has been incredible. As a total beginner, I was nervous about attending classes in studios and wanted to proceed at my own pace and schedule. Elizabeth blends the philosophy of yoga into the physical practice with each and every pose, all with a tireless patience and an ever-ready smile. I wish I could do yoga with her every day!

    SC, Beginning Yoga Student

  • Elizabeth's way of being is very conducive to care and compassion.  Her personality is soothing and calm.   I appreciate the time and energy it takes for her to offer personal care. 

    -TC, Trauma Survivor

  • Ms. Kanter led a class that was gentle and soothing to my body. She makes every effort to tailor the yoga to individual needs, by listening and providing guidance and support throughout. Her personal involvement was apparent during the entire class.

    -JS, Cancer Survivor

  • I feel so much better! I can't believe how much yoga helped relieve the pain in my back. Within 3 hours of our session there was a dramatic improvement in my mobility and the overall tension in my back. It's incredible. Thank you!

    -KH, Yoga Therapy Client

  • Thanks so much for a great class. No matter the level or simplicity of the poses, there is ALWAYS something to learn, and something to get out of it. You reminded me of that today with a really well instructed and well informed practice!

    -JL, Intermediate Yoga Student

  • Elizabeth’s teaching really works. I feel relaxed and my muscles are more limber and less achy than they've been in weeks. Thank you Elizabeth!

    -AW, Gentle Yoga Student

  • Each time before class I’ve been stressed. But after yoga class, I can breathe better.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • Yoga helps me talk to my body.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • I feel relaxed, I forget everything else that is going on.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • I feel like I can fly, my body feels lifted.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • I found out how to relax and cope with surgery through yoga.

    - Cancer Survivor

  • My goal was to relax and de-stress during treatment and after. I learned to take time for myself – to breathe, relax, and clear my mind. Wonderful class and Elizabeth is an amazing instructor!

    - Cancer Surivivor

  • I learned to use yoga practices to recognize my whole, valuable self.

    - Cancer Survivor

  • Elizabeth was interested in being very adaptive to each individual’s needs.

    - Cancer Survivor

  • It’s a very good practice for people with cancer. The teacher is very helpful and supportive.

    - Cancer Survivor

(Elizabeth) Lakshmi Kanter
Yoga Therapist and E-RYT200, RYT500 Yoga Teacher
lakshmi (at) fullheartyoga (dot) com * 510.219.2872 * Washington, DC

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Calligraphy by Nellie Chao
Paintings by Walker Fee
Phillips Collection photos by Bill O'Leary