<< LA Yoga: How has your dancing background
influenced your yoga practice?
Carrie Janell Hamner: I started teaching dance
when I was 13, so I’ve been teaching for a long
time. Performing gave me the confidence it takes
to teach yoga. Professional dance was so much
about precision and discipline, especially being one of the Rockettes, one of 36 women who
needed to conform and collaborate for uniform
movement. Yoga is more creative. Being on stage,
you can only see the people in the front row but
with yoga I get to directly interact and give someone a hands-on experience for an hour and a half.
It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
LAYoga: What makes Ayurvedic Yoga different?
CJH: All these lines are starting to blur for me
between Yoga and Ayurveda and it is hard to
pinpoint a style in my classes. You could call it a
blend of Vinyasa flow and Hatha Yoga from an
Ayurvedic perspective, which really just means we
do a lot of breath work. I teach about the benefits
of certain postures and go into tangents about
the thyroid gland or the nervous system. I like
to throw out a lot of information during classes.
Ayurveda is an iceberg. Just the tip is going to
bring you so much fulfillment; but the deeper you
go the more you will get out of it.
LAYoga: What keeps you inspired?
CJH: My students. It’s all about them. They
are the ones doing the work. When I am going
through a hard time, I make the decision to just
bring it to the practice and be open and vulnerable. It takes my teaching to another level. It is
more honest and I am able to go a bit deeper.
LAYoga: What is the most healing asana for you?
CJH: Plow position. Halasana. Most days it is
not comfortable for me but the intention of the
practice is to learn from what is difficult. I will
practice plow for five to ten minutes, not even going into a shoulder stand. There are so many benefits to it being a slight inversion and a forward
fold at the same time.
LAYoga: What is in your playlist?
CJH: Krishna Das is always one of my favorites and I listen to KCRW and the independent
artists they support. I like older artists like Otis
Redding and adore Tony Khalife, a kirtan artist
from Ojai who has so much truth in his music.
Music is a must-have for me during my classes. I
love music just as much as I love Yoga and create
playlists based on the intention of the practice or
LAYoga: What do you cook at home?
CJH: When I stopped eating meat it was a big
learning experience. Considering I am from south
Texas, my cooking had to transform a lot. At least
one day a week I eat kitchari, an Ayurvedic detox
food, and drink hot tea as the perfect balancing
cleanse. I make the kitchari in a rice cooker, which
is not traditional, and combine mung beans, bas-mati rice, and ghee with turmeric, an important
herb in Ayurveda, cumin, coriander, Himalayan
rock salt and ginger. You can add vegetables too.
It is delicious and so good for you. People are
always surprised that it is so tasty.
LAYoga: How are you dealing with PKD?
CJH: I felt so helpless at first but I have realized