Alison Smith is the founder of Kanda Yoga School and has taught yoga and therapeutic movement for over 20 years. These days she classifies herself as an embodiment educator and inner awareness specialist, teaching clients to listen to their body and develop inner knowing. 

Q: Hi Ali! We know you are an incredible yoga educator, but we also know that’s only one part of you!  Could you share a little bit about who you are and what inspires you on a daily basis?

AS: Aliveness inspires me on a daily basis. When I study the body, the breath, the miracle of being, I am brought to my knees with awe. Teaching classes and clients keeps me in this current of inspiration. I have the great honor of working with a wide array of people. From programming for tech companies to designing curriculum for teacher trainings to sweet 20-minute practices for clients. The thread that ties all of these offerings together is teaching people about the miracle of their body, the magic in their breath, and the majesty of their being.

Q. Since yoga is a large part of your life, we’d love to hear more about your philosophy and about Kanda Yoga School.

AS: I created Kanda Yoga School because there were so few opportunities for students to learn and grow and go deeper with yoga. Kanda was originally a brick and mortar facility where I saw clients and offered programs for in-depth study. With COVID, everything went virtual. This has greatly expanded our ability to offer educational programming. 

My philosophy with Yoga is that it’s a healing art. The ultimate aim is to balance your body, calibrate your nervous system, and restore wholeness. 

At Kanda we emphasize education and personalization of practice. When teaching classes, I sit and provide individual instructions. With clients, I craft personalized practices to alleviate chronic pain, manage auto-immune conditions, recover from surgery, stay grounded while running a business and raising a family. We offer programming on subjects like functional breathing, meditation, ancient concepts like the Vayus, and modern concepts like connective tissue and Polyvagal Theory. 

Q. You recently launched a “Breathe Better Challenge” which is a FREE mini course, comprised of tutorials and home practices. What a gift this course is! We often take breathing for granted, but there’s SO much to consider about how we breathe and the ways it can affect our entire body. What inspired you to create this course? 

AS: I wanted the whole community to be solid with functional breathing because it changes everything. So we did a 5-day challenge. The event was powerful and transformative. We wanted to keep those resources available and easily accessible so we turned it into an easy-to-access mini-course.  

There are 3 tutorials on functional breathing and 3 practices that can be done sitting, standing or laying down. There is truly something for everyone and practices you can use anywhere. 

Q: Could you share a bit about your own healing journey at Inspired Health?

AS: Dr. Dishman has catapulted me into a new dimension of health and wellness. I came to her feeling pretty good. But I wanted more data, clarity, and strategy, especially regarding my hormones, because I was turning 40. Most of her “prescriptions” were lifestyle adjustments. A fine-tuning of what I was already doing paired with powerful and precise supplements. I took action and expected to feel a bit better… I got more than a bit…  I am AMAZED at the results. I feel like a different person. Especially in the mornings. I used to be a slow riser and wrote it off as “not a morning person.” Now, I wake up energized and inspired. My mental clarity is amplified. My digestion (finally) feels strong. Best of all, I have confidence in my ability to care for myself in this new decade of life.  

Q: Which products from the Inspired Health Apothecary have been game changers for you?  

AS:  All the hormone supplements seem to be life changing, but FemmenessencePRO Harmony gives my body that inner “YES.”

Q. We are OBSESSED with your Gluten-Free Sourdough Focaccia which we’re sharing on the blog this month HERE. What else are you making in the kitchen lately that you’re loving?  

AS: I make delicious Oat Scones that are sweetened with sliced apples! They’re the perfect not-quite-but-almost-sweet-savory. I’m also eagerly awaiting warmer weather for big summer salads. Recently I made a Spring Salad with mixed greens, asparagus, strawberries, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. 

 Q: Which of the 8 Pillars of Inspired Health are you giving extra attention to these days?   

AS: Morning Sunlight exposure has been a game changer for me! I “habit stack” with a brisk walk.

Q. Are there any books, podcasts, or shows that have inspired you lately?

AS: I love reading. Here are a few books that have inspired me lately: 

  • All About Love by Bell Hooks is not so much about romantic relationships but about love, just love, how do we expand love inside of ourselves and all around us. 
  • The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown is a must read if you’re interested in functional breathing. 
  • When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate changed my life and my work with students and clients. 
  • John Mark Comer’s book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry is a radical look at modern culture and how we’re “distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion.” 

Q. Are there any songs you’ve had on repeat lately? 

AS: Budding Trees by Nahko and Medicine for the People 

Q. And as usual, let’s share some Bend love!  Can you share a couple of your favorite local businesses in Bend? 

AS: My favorite Bend businesses: 

Thank you Ali! 

Learn more about Ali and Kanda Yoga School at her website, and find her on Instagram @alisonsmithyoga and @kandayogaschool