Experience and Background:
I came to yoga in 1990 when I was finishing college in Montana shortly after losing my mother to cancer. At the time I was crazy for the outdoors; an avid mountain biker, skier and rock climber. I was strong and athletic but could barely touch my toes. When I first came onto my mat I touched in with a deeper vitality in my body and breath that made me feel as if I had come home. Even though my body was tight, it felt so good to feel connected to myself and a bigger intelligence. Over the years yoga has essentially taught me how to be present with all that is and that it’s okay to feel. Just a few years after coming to the practice, It was clear to me that I was to teach and share this amazing modality with others.
I have been teaching yoga now for almost 25 years and it is a journey that continues to inspire me and reveal more of how I can serve from my best self. My background is rooted in the yoga traditions of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Tantra. My primary teacher for many years was Richard Freeman as well as master Iyengar teachers, Gabriella Guibillaro and Adhil Palkhivala. I travelled to Mysore, India in 1997 to study with Pattabhi Jois then came back to Boulder to continue deepening my practice at The Yoga Workshop. At that time, I completed my certification as a Rolfer of Structural Integration at The Rolf Institute in 1998. Soon after I took Richard Freeman’s first Yoga Teacher Training intensive in 1999 and taught yoga for many years as one of Richards Senior teachers. My teaching style is also strongly influenced by the Tantra traditions taught by Sally Kempton, Douglas Brooks, Shiva Rea and Chameli Ardaugh as well as some of the principles of Kundalini Yoga.
I believe yoga brings us back home to who we are at the core of our being. It reminds us that life is temporary and that we are here to live into our full potential if we choose.
Since my early 20’s Ive always been interested in how to experience more health and vitality on every level. Personal growth and evolution have have been a top priority for me over the years. Over the last 3 years, however, I found myself in a place I never expected to be. A family health challenge left me feeling disempowered in many other areas of my life.. I got to a place where I could not see my future and felt a sense of hopelessness and despair. Thanks to my teacher Joey Klein and the many years of practice I had cultivated, I was able to face those darker places in myself and come into relationship with my true power. I see yoga as a self reliant healing system that is continuously empowering us to take responsibility for our health and well being if we allow it to. The practice of yoga can be a training ground where we meet and move through deep feelings, sensations and discomfort in our bodies and minds, building tolerance for the inevitable struggles and challenges we face in real life. When we practice yoga, we wake up the body to its innate intelligence, awakening to our everyday experience of life. We begin to see where we are out of balance and through the poses and breath awareness, work to find some balance between oppositional patterns. My personal philosophy is that yoga is a place where we are given the opportunity to meet ourselves on every level. That means not only taking accountability for where we are, but also taking the actions necessary to change the situations we feel stuck in. In taking radical responsibility in this way, we begin to experience true freedom.
What Might A Student Experience in Class with Alison Litchfield?
Students can expect to show up as they are and be supported at whatever level they are working on in their practice. I give people lots of modifications and instructions to listen to their body first. Through the vinyasa practice I like to challenge students to meet their edges and move through sensation and discomfort rather than try to avoid it. I usually have with a theme, often focusing on particular areas in the body, using alignment cues in the postures and attention to breathing to bring more awareness and freedom into ones somatic experience. My greatest passion is to work the balance of strength and ease, effort and surrender and help people understand where the middle ground is. My intention is for people to walk out of class feeling more present, grounded and alive in their experience.