A beloved Los Angeles based yoga teacher, licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, wellness expert, and mother of three, Kali Sampson Alexander has the unique ability to make yoga practice approachable for all experience levels. Her capacity to apply her knowledge of ancient Eastern modalities and make them relevant and effective for contemporary living in a Western world creates a unique synergy that resonates within a modern lifestyle. Kali’s yoga classes are marked by creativity, community, strategic effort, and smart practical application to help her students build a sustainable yoga practice that endures a lifetime.
She has been featured in the Huffington Post’s Moms Change the World, Yoga Journal, MANTRA Yoga + Health magazine, USC Annenberg’s Neon Tommy, the web-series Yoga Intervention, Elephant Journal, The Daily Quirk, Journey of Possibilities podcast, LA Beez, and was honored with the 2013 Leimert Park Legacy Award for her contribution to the community in the areas of health and wellness. In 2012 she created Yoga Classes for the Masses–a project to take yoga to untraditional communities to reach people of all ages, stages, shapes, and sizes. She holds both a Master’s Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Emperor’s College and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCLA. She has studied with master teachers in the Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa systems. She credits her personal practice and studies with Purusha Hickson, Pagan George, and Jorgen Christiansson as her primary influences.
“When I was a child my mother was in a book club so we always had lots and lots of books all over the house and I loved reading them,” recalls Alexander. “One day I found a book titled “Yoga” and it had a White woman wearing a red leotard on the cover. Yoga was a word I had never heard or seen before and I was intrigued. I began reading, and then later started following a yoga show on PBS and that was really my introduction into the practice.”
Though the perception of what it means to be a practicing yogi is changing, it is still seen as a predominately White activity.
“It is amazingly rewarding to be a part of bringing yoga to the Black community, but it hasn’t always been easy. I still sometimes teach in predominately areas and in those moments I’ve actually had people walk out when they saw that a Black woman was teaching the class,” explained Alexander. “It used to bother me to see how uncomfortable it made some people but I’ve learned to let others uncomfortability be their own. Because of how much experience I have now there are more opportunities, but the doors don’t just open for me, I still have to knock...or sometimes bang on them.”
Kali credits yoga for the emotional balance she enjoys today.
“I’m a fiery person, so yoga practice balances me out. I have found that the way that you practice yoga is the way that you do everything else. Sometimes I will be anxious in my day-to-day routine and I find that will reflect in my practice so really yoga becomes a mirror to your emotional well-being.”
Alexander has a number of upcoming classes and workshops, including one on Sunday, March 19 from 2-4:30 p.m. at YogaWorks South Bay, 740 S. Allied Way Suite E, El Segundo. The workshop, “Spring Revival” will be a warm room yin yoga experience and is $60. There will also be a “Purple Reign” workshop as an homage to Prince on June 3, and a “Fall Awakening” workshop on Sept. 24. For more information and to register visit yogaworks.com/workshops.
Alexander will host Adventurous Play & Soulful Connection in Bali with Kali an 11-day yoga retreat from June 23-July 3, 2017 and teaches a free class every Saturday at the Baldwin Hill Crenshaw Plaza Macy’s bridge from 10-11 a.m. for all experience levels. For a full class schedule, visit thisishowiflow.com
“I come from a lineage of Black folks doing yoga, so we do exist and we have a unique experience that I am happy to be able to share with the community.”