Ellen Saltonstall

Photo: Nancy Adler


Ongoing Asana Classes

My training is in Iyengar Yoga and Anusara Yoga, both of which form the foundation of my yoga teaching. My dance, anatomy and bodywork experiences find their way into it as well. I intend to offer a practice that is intelligent, stimulating, safe and playful.  The practice in a mixed level class is geared toward the level of the students; sometimes more vigorous, sometimes more gentle; the last week of every month is restoratives. I teach alignment principles that apply to every pose and to everyday activities, giving students a template to help with any injury or chronic condition they may have.  My instructions are clear and direct, delineating optimum alignment in each pose, while acknowledging that each body is unique.  Students span a wide age range, and some have movement restrictions of one kind or another. I offer alternate choices when a student chooses not to do any particular pose. The atmosphere is friendly, non-competitive and focused on doing the practice for fun and good health.

Read “The ABCs of Yoga: Awareness, the Balance of opposites, and Creative Expression” to learn more about my approach to teaching yoga.

“Ellen Saltonstall’s teaching empowers the student to own and expand his or her own practice in whatever way that is applicable. Her knowledge is useful to a variety of practitioners, including yoga teachers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, physical therapists or to the beginner who just wants to feel better in her or her body. I trust her knowledge and experience and her teaching is clear and deep. It doesn’t even matter to me WHAT she is teaching, as I am sure to be challenged and enlightened under her guidance, regardless of the topic.”  —AG

Yoga Therapeutics

In a therapeutics class we focus on essential alignments and actions for preventing and healing injuries and strains.  One class might have a focus on the shoulders, another on the knees or the lower back. We work more slowly, and often I will “deconstruct” a pose to practice particular parts of it that are important for truly understanding the challenges and also the healing potential of the pose. Even though the pace is slower than a regular class, the work is deep.

“Ellen’s enthusiasm for anatomy and yoga therapeutics is contagious. I left each class wanting to try out everything I just learned. “  —JZ


I am fascinated by the delicate yet durable structure of the bodymind; everything in us is connected in a magnificent web. The bones, joints, muscles, fascia, organs, and the body systems that connect all the parts provide a rich opportunity for learning about oneself.  I teach anatomy in workshops that feature slide-shows, hands-on palpation to find and test muscles, and application of that knowledge to yoga and daily life.  It’s lively and interactive, and (in my opinion) essential knowledge for anyone.

“I do not have much anatomy background, and I was not sure I’d be able to focus on so much information in a subject area that has not always been my interest. Ellen, however, has changed my interest. I loved this weekend. There were many different styles of learning (visual, tactile, auditory, etc) that allowed for better assimilation of the material.”  —Donna Seed

“Ellen’s course was a rare experience of wisdom, compassion, scholarship and presence. She approaches even the most obtuse anatomical or physiological concept with the fascination and joy of a four year old making mud pies.”  —David Fink

Bodymind Ballwork

Bodymind Ballwork is a bodywork system that can benefit people of any age or physical condition. The unique feature of Bodymind Ballwork is the use of rubber balls of varying sizes and textures (as small as a walnut and as big as a melon), which support, massage and stretch localized areas of the body.  The result is a wonderful feeling of lightness and ease in the body, and quiet alertness in the mind. To quote one student: “It’s like having a massage therapist in your pocket”.

I practice 15 minutes or so of Bodymind Ballwork before I practice yoga. I find that it loosens stiff areas and refines my awareness so that the yoga practice is more enjoyable.

“To participate in Ellen’s ballwork classes, in an intensive series as well as in weekly sessions, gives me an exceptional chance to heal my body and lighten up my mind. Ellen is one of the most dedicated teachers I’ve ever encountered: her knowledge of the body is superb and she knows how to convey that knowledge; her style of presenting the exercises combines compassion and humor. Attending her class enables me to be disciplined and gentle to myself when doing the exercises at home – often getting totally rid of any pain. What a blessing !”  —JK