Ayurveda on the Mat with Leigh Khoo, Dec 13 - 27

Orchard Central
Sunday, December 13, 20 & 27, 2020
3pm - 5pm

Interactive sessions combining lecture and practice, supported with essential oils. 

Yoga and Ayurveda are inter-related sacred sciences in the Vedic tradition. Ayurveda is the science of healing both body and mind; Yoga is the science of self-realisation that depends on a well-functioning body and mind. It is impossible to craft a practice that is both holistic and integrated without understanding both.

In Ayurveda, the five elements that make up the universe are combined in different proportions to make up the three doshas — vata, pitta and kapha, and life is seen as a tapestry of the doshas' movement and play of balance and imbalance. These three doshas colour and determine our conditions of growth, health and disease, and understanding each dosha’s tendencies provides us with preemptive information to keep ourselves in balance. Ayurveda employs a variety of tools to balance the doshas, one of which is Yoga.

In this three-part series, we will draw upon Ayurvedic principles to inform and transform our yoga practice. Each session will spotlight one dosha, and we will start with a short discussion on crafting a practice to pacify it using specific asana and pranayama, as well as essential oils (led by guest facilitator Rachel Grace). This will then lead us into a well-rounded and effective dosha pacifying practice.

We are all susceptible to circumstantial doshic imbalances aggravated by external circumstances including weather and lifestyle, so an overall understanding of all three doshas will benefit immensely. While the sessions can be attended separately, you are encouraged to commit to the whole series for a holistic understanding of the system, as Ayurveda really is greater than a sum of its parts.

Session 1: Pacifying Pitta
Sunday, December 13, 2020
3pm - 5pm (45-minute discussion, 75-minute practice)

The pitta dosha controls digestion and metabolism, and its primary function is transformation. Pitta's inherently fiery nature manifests itself as drive and passion, but too much of one thing often results in a burnout! This pitta-balancing session combines a cooling, hip opening flow with moon salutations, which fulfils the pitta desire for movement without overheating the body, alongside belly-down backbends, twists and forward folds that massage and release tension from the liver and small intestine, where pitta tends to accumulate. On top of that, we will explore the use of cooling pranayama exercises and cooling essential oils, so you will leave feeling calm and collected. This session aims to equip you with the knowledge to put together a home practice that you can turn to when feeling overheated, or to calm an impending burnout.

Session 2: Pacifying Vata
Sunday, December 20, 2020
3pm - 5pm (45-minute discussion, 75-minute practice)

The vata dosha controls respiration and nerve impulses, and its primary function is movement. Vata’s inherently airy nature manifests itself as creativity and unstoppable energy, but when aggravated, vata tends to express itself as stress, anxiety and forgetfulness — more so during this lead-up to the year-end festivities! This vata-balancing session combines a spine-strengthening hatha practice with restorative yin poses to bring grounding to vata's hyperactivity. We will focus on forward folding and twisting asanas that massage the pelvis and colon, where vata tends to accumulate, while at the same time nourishing joints — an important point as vata excess can predispose us towards stiffness. We will also explore the use of grounding pranayama, meditation techniques and mildly warming essential oils, so you will leave feeling calm, centred and grounded. This session aims to equip you with the knowledge to put together a home practice that you can turn to when feeling anxious, scattered or unhinged.

Session 3: Pacifying Kapha
Sunday, December 27, 2020
3pm - 5pm (45-minute discussion, 75-minute practice)

The kapha dosha controls weight, muscle strength and growth, and our immune system, and its primary function is protection. Kapha's earthy nature manifests as loyalty, steadfastness and calmness, but too much of kapha (often from inactivity and overeating) would result in congestion and lethargy — something we may all feel after a long weekend of festive indulgence! In this kapha-balancing practice, we will move through an invigorating sequence of heart-opening backbends, twists and side bends, all designed to stimulate the circulatory and respiratory systems, and counter sluggishness. We will also explore the use of energising and congestion-clearing pranayama practices and uplifting essential oils to leave you feeling motivated, clear and light in both body and mind. This session aims to equip you with the knowledge to put together a home practice that you can use to nudge you out of a rut, or at times when you feel heavy and dull.


Single session: $65
Full series: $180

Previous attendees of Leigh’s Living Ayurveda immersions and Living Yoga teacher trainings are entitled to 10% off. Please email us for payment. 


Leigh found yoga 13 years ago in a tiny studio in Chinatown. As much as she enjoyed the dance-like flow of postures, it was the meditation practice after the asana sessions that really drew her in. Her first teacher Sunil Dahiya used to ask: “Where are you in your body? Meditate on that.” That set the tone for Leigh’s yoga journey. While she naturally inclines towards dynamic vinyasa sequences, she also enjoys quiet, meditative practices, which she believes are key to connecting us to our deeper, higher wisdom.

Through her years of teaching, Leigh has learned to understand and, more importantly, respect anatomical differences. She loves inviting practitioners to step into their power and practise according to their inner alignment — asanas that look right on the outside may not necessarily feel so within. She continues to be deeply influenced by her teachers Emily Kuser and Jo Phee, as well as by the philosophies of Tantra, which remind her to see everyday pleasures as doorways into the divine.

Her teaching is embodied, intuitive and poetic, and a reflection of her life on and off the mat. After all, she sees life to be the greatest teacher, with every moment serving as an opportunity to connect to our highest self and to live with compassion, intention and integrity.


A yoga practitioner herself, Rachel Grace first discovered the beauty of essential oils when she was searching for alternative healing methods to support her own personal healing journey. Amazed by their results, she dived into studying the science behind them and is constantly looking for ways to incorporate the oils into her yoga practice and daily life.

Through her offerings, Rachel hopes to share her love for these gifts from Mother Earth and empower students to find peace on a physical, emotional, energetic and mental level.