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Ellen Saltonstall

After graduating from Cornell University in 1970 with a degree in English, I found my way to California and then New York City, where I spent a few decades as a modern dancer and massage therapist. I studied and performed with Merce Cunningham, Carolyn Brown, Twyla Tharp and Elaine Summers. You can spot me in a few scenes of the 1979 feature film “Hair” as part of the dance tribe. I also started to meditate at this time, and found that Hatha Yoga was the perfect link between my spiritual study and my love of movement.

During this time I studied with Elaine Summers, the originator of Kinetic Awareness, and became certified by her in 1985. I wrote and published the first book on the method, Kinetic Awareness; Discovering Your Bodymind, in 1988. Over these thirty years I have evolved in my thinking and my teaching, and I now feel that what I teach is best represented by a new name, Bodymind Ballwork.  I am currently writing a new book on this method; watch for it in 2017. You can read more about Bodymind Ballwork here.

I have been lucky to study with many brilliant teachers in my journey of lifelong learning. I offer particular thanks to Swami Muktananda, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, Mary Dunn, Judith Lasater, Elaine Summers, John Friend, Sally Kempton, Paul Mueller-Ortega and Thomas Myers. My yoga teaching is most influenced by Iyengar Yoga, Anusara Yoga, and Siddha Yoga. I was certified in Anusara Yoga from 2000-2012, and now I teach independently while drawing on my experience and inspiration from all of my teachers. My family has also provided a context for deep learning in ways that I continue to discover.

From my family background of being the daughter of a physician father and musician mother, my approach to bodywork and yoga has always been a combination of scientific study and artistic expression. I have developed a specialty in yoga anatomy and therapeutics, which I offer in workshops and trainings throughout the USA, Europe, Asia and Central America. I am constantly fascinated by the miraculous dynamics of the human bodymind, how every part of us is interconnected, and how practices like yoga and Bodymind Ballwork can help us to live fully and joyfully. You can see the listing of workshops, and teachers.

Read “The ABCs of Yoga: Awareness, the Balance of opposites, and Creative expression” to learn more about my approach to teaching yoga.

My book Anatomy & Yoga, A Guide for Teachers and Students, was released in December 2016, and you can read more about it here.  This book is intended to be a user-friendly introduction to anatomy for anyone practicing yoga, and a learning guide for yoga teachers in training.

I have also written two books with Dr. Loren Fishman: Yoga for Arthritis, 2008, and Yoga for Osteoporosis, 2010, published by W.W. Norton. This collaboration led to us presenting many webinars together through YogaUOnline, a premier yoga education resource. You can see the listing of those webinars here.

I have published articles in Yoga Journal, the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, see details here.

I have recently been certified as a Yoga Therapist by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I’m grateful that IAYT provided a pathway to this title for those of us who have been teaching for many decades.

I am honored to appear in the 2011 feature film “Yogawoman” which depicts a diversity of women teaching yoga all over the world. I am also honored to be featured on the YogaCityNYC website as a Master Teacher. You can read the 2016 interview with me here. 

I maintain a teaching studio in my New York City home, where I raised three children with my husband, artist Robert Kushner. I welcome students of all ages, and all levels of experience and fitness, for classes, private sessions and workshops. I serve my students wholeheartedly, with great respect, inviting them to discover their own true nature and fullest potential.

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