Leah Knippel

ABOUT LEAH KNIPPEL

I am so grateful to have found my new teaching home at The Alchemy Yoga Studio.  I have loved being a student here since Ayako opened, and have grown so much in my meditation practice from spending time with Ayako and attending her sound healing classes.  This studio just feels like home. 

A little about myself:  I have been practicing yoga since 2002 and teaching since 2014.  I owned my own Yoga studio here in Frisco called Sacred Space as well as a children’s Yoga enrichment program called YogaTales for Kids.  We opened in downtown Frisco and in area schools in 2014, but everything closed down during COVID.  It was a wonderful journey for almost 8 years building a different kind of Yoga community in Frisco.
Now my Yoga studio operates as Sacred Space Bungalow, an Airbnb, which has honestly been a really fun change and I am grateful to be able to pass the torch on to the like-minded people at Alchemy.  It took a while for me to find a studio in Frisco that focuses on transformation and deepening the Yoga practice beyond just a form of fitness, but I unreservedly recommend all my former students to practice at this special studio, where Ayako has curated some amazing teachers and leads this community into the most beautiful depths of the practice.
I came to Yoga initially as a practice to ground myself and decompress from an extremely difficult and at times traumatic career in International Development working with human trafficking victims across Asia and parts of Africa.  Living abroad had its challenges, but the most difficult part was witnessing firsthand how children were treated in the most inhumane ways as they were sold into sexual slavery or bonded labor.  My Yoga practice, studying under some Indian Yogis in Bangkok, honestly kept me sane during that time. 
Once I returned home from years living abroad, I began healing from the trauma I had witnessed and became very interested in Yoga and meditation as modalities for healing trauma that is stuck in the body.   My studio, Sacred Space, specialized in trauma-informed Yoga as we taught special classes for those needing a healing space including Yoga for 12-step recovery, meditative drum circles, Yoga for kids with special needs and Yoga for people who have experienced trauma (either directly or indirectly) such as domestic violence victims, cancer survivors, veterans, those working in the fields of social work, counseling or first responders. 
My favorite class to teach was Restorative Yoga with Thai Massage.  After each class I enjoyed tea time with my students, which became such a lovely place of community and a time to hear each other’s stories.  Part of my life’s mission is to help build transformative communities.
I continue to enjoy guiding students in a Restorative/Yin Yoga practice as my own meditation practice has grown and become increasingly important to me.  I appreciate how this format is a primer for meditation while it also opens up the body, heart and mind.  I hope to be a guide, but I see you as the expert of your own practice.  Your allies in this practice are the asanas, pranayama, the floor/mat/earth, gravity, the props and sometimes my hands as I adjust you.
Each posture is full of possibilities for exploration and release. Just slight and subtle adjustments to the postures can bring huge openings where things have been closed, static, stale or stuck.  Though it can be hard, perhaps tedious, to take time on your mat to practice in this more subtle and less active form of yoga, there is something magical about what happens over time.  If you make your intention “opening”, you will see the body respond. 
This practice can become a doorway to deeper meditation and ultimately help you return to yourself and to Love.  I look forward to knowing you and sharing a healing and supportive space with you.

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