A look at the new Confluence teacher: Dena Kingsberg

I’m assuming that it’s because she’s down in Australia, but it seems that we here at the Confluence Countdown are not the only ones less than familiar with Dena Kingsberg — the new addition to next year’s Ashtanga Yoga Confluence lineup. (Word is Richard Freeman had a conflict the weekend of Feb. 28-March 3.)

Via ashtanga.com

There also doesn’t seem to be too much online about her. (Sort of like with Nancy Gilgoff.) Here’s a salient point: She’s completed Fourth Series. From the bio at her website:

Dena has been studying and practicing traditional ashtanga yoga for over 25 years. Having completed the fourth series in 1996 she has been certified to teach by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois of Mysore South India. Dena and Jack were married by Guruji in 1997 and the arrival of Zoli 11and Izac 8 has completed the picture.

Life is full and sweet.

If you’re like me, the “married by Guruji” certainly jumps out.

I also found a six-year-old column from the Telegraph in the U.K. that focused on a Kingsberg class. A few interesting bits (and, of note, the writer at the time had been practicing just four months):

A few minutes later, Dena Kingsberg, one of the world’s foremost female yoga practitioners, walked in. I had seen a photograph of her floating on her back in a lake, her hands in prayer position, one long leg straight out along the surface, the other hooked behind her head at the ankle. It had only served to deepen my terror.

But the woman who now stood before us – early forties, tanned, blonde ponytail, radiating beneficence – was more earth mother than the yogic equivalent of a pop star. Yet Kingsberg, an Australian who has practised Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for 20 years, inspires such devotion that she is currently on the London leg of an annual world teaching tour.


On that first day of the week-long course, after explaining that yoga meant to “yoke” or “harness” – the aim being the union of body, mind and soul – Kingsberg asked us to think about what we believed in. My mind went blank – the kind of vacuum one is supposed to attain during yoga, but isn’t ideal when you’re being asked to imagine something concrete by an important visiting yogi.

She then told us to throw all our life experiences onto an imaginary pane of glass as though they were paint. Yoga, she said, was a bucket of water and a sponge. Each time we practised, we were dipping the sponge into the bucket and wiping it across that painting. Every now and then, we would wipe a tiny portion clear – and there would lie clarity.

The thought that I might achieve some clarity in my life – enlightenment seemed rather ambitious – affected me more than I could have imagined. Before I knew it, a tear was rolling down my cheek. Mortified, I feigned an itch so that I could wipe it away.


Uh-oh, I thought, as I saw Kingsberg coming over to me. She asked which pose had been my last. “Starts with M,” I mumbled. “Maha … Maha … rajah C?” “Marichyasana C. Right, well let’s give you something to take away with you,” she said, telling me to sit in half lotus before pushing and pulling my unwilling limbs painfully into the most difficult asana at that point in the Primary Series. This was Marichyasana D, which is a seated position with one leg in half lotus, the other with the knee drawn in to the chest and the arms bound behind the back.

A quick look at her Facebook page yields a few words that jump out (in other words, that seem to be repeated or emphasized) from people posting there: smile, inspirational, love, magical.

Words we’ve all used to describe our Ashtanga teacher, right?

Sounds like she’ll be an interesting addition. (No surprise there.) I’ve seen a few comments from people enthusiastic that there’s two senior women in the mix for 2013.

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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