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Denise A Alston, Ph.D.

Level 1 ParaYoga Certified Teacher, E-RYT 200 and Certified Four Desires Trainer Maryland and Massachusettes

Denise has been practicing yoga for more than 25 years and has been teaching yoga since 2003. She received a Level I Para Yoga certification in 2014, highlighting a continuing journey of study and practice and experience which began in 2000 in a workshop offered by Yogarupa at a Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park. The uniqueness of Para Yoga influenced Denise’s practice right away, and later her teaching, in its focus on cultivating our inner Light and Divinity. This focus aligns with her approach to spirituality and being in the world. She feels blessed to be able to perfectly integrate her yoga practice and teaching with the rest of her spiritual life.

Denise began her yoga teaching with a 200-hour Kripalu certificate, and has since added an Ayurveda Yoga Specialist certificate to her toolkit. The latter synthesizes her longstanding interests in wellness and alternative health strategies. A new venture is planned for the Fall of 2015 when she will co-lead a yoga retreat with senior Para Yoga teacher, Lauren Toolin, in Southern Italy.

A primary desire guiding Denise’s teaching is to bring the access to health, peace and joy which she has found in yoga to diverse audiences. In 2004, she received a coveted Kripalu Yoga Diversity Grant, which enabled her to supply her free inner-city recreation center classes with the same quality of props found in the best-equipped studios. She continues to offer group and private classes to seniors and women of color from middle- and low-income neighborhoods. Through these classes, she creates a space for students to connect with their true selves, whatever their physical capacity, and find a center of peace within themselves. Only through the sublime techniques of Para Yoga is she capable of generating this access.

Beginning in 2013, Denise has had the privilege of contributing to the Para Yoga community through her service as key person for Culture, Values, and Ethics. Working with Para Yogis around the country she has led the effort to create a statement of Para Yoga cultural values, guidance for how we might be together in community, and a revised statement of ethics to guide us as Para Yoga teachers and enrollees. This work reflects her profound commitment to Para Yoga as more than a way to practice yoga, but also a way to be in the world.