Out of the Clouds
January 17, 2023, Anne V Muhlethaler

S3:E06 Annie Carpenter

on dharma, continuing to evolve and how good learning takes place within

Annie Carpenter on the Out of the Clouds podcast

Known in the yoga world as THE teachers’ teacher, Annie Carpenter shares her story with Anne, who has been an avid student, first via online platform Glo.com, before attending Zoom and IRL workshops last year. 

Annie’s journey starts in Virginia, but she tells Anne how she found her path early on with dance, leading her to the Martha Graham Company and New York City. From getting a scholarship to working at the junior company and briefly joining the main company, Annie found a calling in what she refers to as authentic self-movement and later in teaching at the Martha Graham Center. An introvert, she shares with Anne how yoga became an essential part of her life, thanks to Integral yoga (Swami Satchidananda’s school) which felt like a refuge from the competitiveness of the dance world.

Annie explains how after a trip to LA and a conversation with her teacher Maty Ezraty, she impulsively relocated to the West Coast and turned to teaching yoga full time, taking on teachers training at Yoga Works under Maty and Lisa Walford. They go on to talk about teaching, energy, movement principles, how to create inspiration for students, and why Annie founded her own yoga school, Smart Flow Yoga. 

Annie also shares why continuing to evolve is essential, as well as learning to let go of preconceived notions. She explains how she has learnt to tap into her students’ expectations rather than relying on her own. Now based in Northern California, the teacher, who turned 65 this year, also talks about the stages of life, or ashrams, and she is learning to ‘retire’ whatever is not supportive in her practice. Quoting Noam Chomsky, she says: “If you are teaching today what you were teaching five years ago, either your field is dead, or you are.” 

Annie also reveals  her passion for bird-watching, her mindfulness and pranayama (breath work) practices, and how learning to be still was the doorway to her meditation practice. Finally, she answers the most delicate and profound question of all, one that Annie regularly asks her students: who is Annie? 

A joyous, profoundly thoughtful and inspiring interview. Enjoy! 

Selected links from episode

You can find Annie at SmartFlowYoga.com

on Instagram @AnnieCarpenterSmartFlow

and on Facebook AnnieCarpenter1

And all details for her upcoming class schedule and teacher trainings are available at Smartflowyoga.com

or find Annie’s classes on Glo

Martha Graham on Wikipedia and via MarthaGraham.org

The classic piece Appalachian Spring

Integral Yoga and Swami Sachidananda

Savasana pose via Yogapedia

Watch Ali McGraw’s Yoga, Mind & Body on Youtube

Yoga teacher Eric Schiffman

Meditation teacher and author Sally Kempton

Annie’s teacher Maty Ezraty

Kundalini yoga teacher Kia Miller

Triyoga London – https://triyoga.co.uk/

Anne’s teacher Diana Rilov


The Alexander Technique

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

The Glo podcast

The classic text ‘the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’

The Siddhis

The prothonotary warbler

Slow Birding, the book by Joan E. Strassmann

The California scrub jay

The four ashrams of life

Abhinivesha via Yogapedia

Annie’s favourite word ‘molt’ via Merriam Webster

The Out of the Clouds’ playlist

Annie’s choice for what song best represents her is I’ll Take You There by the Staple Singers

An Immense World by Ed Yong

Smart Flow yoga founder Annie Carpenter on the Out of the Clouds podcast
Smart Flow Yoga founder Annie Carpenter

Full episode transcript

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:00:05):

Hi. Hello, bonjour and namaste. This is Out of The Clouds, a podcast at the crossroads between business and mindfulness. And I’m your host, Anne Muhlethaler.


Hey friend. So I have a major treat for you today, a glorious interview with a wonderful yoga teacher, a wonderful woman, called Annie Carpenter.


Annie is well known in yoga circles for being a teacher’s teacher, a k a. she’s a master. She’s the kind of person that you seek out when you want to better yourself, get to the next stage in your practice. Annie’s been practicing yoga since the seventies. Before that, she was a dancer and a teacher with Martha Graham in New York. More recently, Annie created her own yoga school called Smart Flow Yoga.


Now, I discovered her after completing my own yoga teacher training because the teacher I’d been studying with recommended that we students go out and study other teaching styles and other yoga styles, and she recommended Annie. And that’s how I landed on Glo, glo.com, an online yoga platform that Annie’s been teaching on for a number of years. And so after following her from a distance, I jumped the gun and first joined her live classes on Zoom because my evenings are a good fit with her mornings, given that I’m in Geneva and she’s in Oakland, California.


And later on, thanks to the wonderful ever at YogaKula in Vienna, I also studied in person with Annie. So it’s been a real pleasure and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to ask Annie many questions about her life and career, from dance to yoga, to somatic movement, to to working on glo and zoom, and even leading her down the path of talking about yoga philosophy.


I’m turning one question that she asked me and other students in our assignment last year, turning the tables and asking her, who is Annie? I’m excited to bring you such a joyful, profound, and inspiring interview. So without further ado, here’s my conversation with Annie Carpenter. Enjoy.


Annie, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to Out of the Clouds.

Annie Carpenter (00:02:38):

My pleasure. So good to see you

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:02:39):

Again. Oh, same here.

Annie Carpenter (00:02:41):

Be with you again, <laugh>.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:02:42):

So where am I finding you today and and how are things where you are?

Annie Carpenter (00:02:46):

Yeah, I’m at home in Oakland, California, which is, you know, across the bay from San Francisco. Those of you who don’t know. And it is chilly and bright and sunny. And it’s interesting that I think a lot of us think California doesn’t have seasons, but here in Northern California, and especially by the bay, by the ocean, we actually do have seasons. Not like Geneva, perhaps <laugh>. There’s very little snow, if any, but it, the leaves fall and, and there are bear trees which reveal the cedar wax wings and it is cold. And I’ve got a woo sweater on and all of that.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:03:22):

You’re right, actually, I think that most of us from outside of the US in particular, we tend to think of California as the whole of California to be like San Diego

Annie Carpenter (00:03:32):

Or Los Angeles. Yes. Lots of cars and lots of sun. Yes. <laugh>.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:03:36):

And occasionally a surf beach. Right. That’s <laugh>. Right.


So as you may already know, I like to start the podcast by asking my guests to share their story very freely because I like to talk about who we are a little bit more in depth before we talk about what we do. So I know it’s a big thing, it’s a big question. But Annie, would you tell me your story?

Annie Carpenter (00:04:00):

Wow. Yeah. I began in Virginia in a smallish town. And Virginia at that time in the fifties was quite conservative and old school, very southern. We identified as southern and all of the, including the negative things that that implies of the American South, frankly was part of my upbringing. And I’m still unwinding from some of that stuff. All the ism, sexism, <laugh>, ageism. Yeah, racism. All the things were, were unconscious to me as a child, certainly. But so clear and, and I do, I feel like I’m still unwinding from some of that stuff even today, all these years later. Having said that, it was, you know, safe and calm and quiet from the outside <laugh>.


And there were some mental health issues in my family with my mother. And I think I’m still unwinding from that stuff too. And I think all of that serves to to say and that’s why I needed to leave at 17. Oh. And never went back <laugh>. Right. <laugh>. And I did go to New York straight away. I was in love with dance and I did have this image the first time I really left town and got to go to a city was DC and my local dance teacher took a few of us up to see the Martha Graham Dance Company at Lincoln Center. No, not Lincoln Center. At Kennedy Center in Washington, DC And I, it really did feel like, I know this is a weird word, but it really did feel like deja vu. I felt like I knew it, never seen it. I mean I’d read the biography about her and all the things, but it really just moved me and touched me.


And I’d never seen anyone move with that kind of depth and clarity wherein the movement told the story. Whereas if you go to classical ballet and many other forms, it’s the same basic movements just put together with different costumes and different music, but the movements are the same, just reorganized. Whereas with Martha, the movement creates the emotion both in the dancer and viscerally, I think it’s felt to the audience as well. Obviously more or less, depending upon your sensitivity, your empathy to the human body, moving the shift of breath, all those things. But it was something I think I had always felt sort of sanctuary inward because a little bit of a crazy home that was my way was to go inside and feel all the stuff in inside of me. And so I think that’s why this theater, and it was theater, it wasn’t people telling their own lives. But that’s why it spoke to me because it was so true, authentic. And I knew somehow, I don’t think I could have said this at the time, that if I learned that and could be with that, that there would be some kind of inner knowing and inner honesty that would evolve in my life.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:06:58):

Ooh, that is so amazing.

Annie Carpenter (00:07:02):

Yeah, Graham is amazing. Again, it’s very historical. If you look at it today, someone, if you had never seen the Graham company and you saw one of her even Appalachian Spring, which is one of the classics for example, you would go, yeah, well that’s old school <laugh>. But as a mover and as a young mover trying to find out what really mattered in life, it was a huge shift. It was it was hope <laugh> in a very clear way. It’s like, this is it. This is my way to understanding, to inward freedom and purpose.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:07:37):

Wow. All three huge things in anyone’s life wrapped up into one.

Annie Carpenter (00:07:43):

That’s what it felt like. I mean, did it actually give me all of those things in terms of day in and day out? Of course not. But did it give me direction and have, did I have a sense of what I wanted to create in my life or have in my life? A hundred percent. Does that make sense? The difference?

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:08:02):

Of course, it set you on the path.

Annie Carpenter (00:08:04):

Yes. Set me on the path. Yeah.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:08:07):

And so what happened next?

Annie Carpenter (00:08:09):

<laugh>, you know, long story, I ended up having to go to college just cuz that’s what one did in those days. So I left New York to San Francisco, came back, you know, pretty much as soon as I could. And did apprentice at the, got the scholarship apprenticed at the Martha Graham Center. Eventually did work for the junior company and briefly for the main company and taught at the school for years, all those things. And two things came out of that. And maybe the most important in terms of who I am today was I’m really an introvert and all that stuff was exhausting being around all those people. And <laugh>, I didn’t know why I was exhausted <laugh>. but anyway, that’s what led me to the yoga studio, which was near my home downtown. And so whenever I could, at the end of the day, you know, if there wasn’t a performance or whatever, I would head home, get off the subway, go to the yoga studio and be with my people where I felt safe and you know, true sanctuary kind of thing.


So it really was a sort of refuge for me. And as much as I loved dancing and loved, you know, what time I did have with Martha and the school and all the things, it really wasn’t the life for me <laugh>. It was exhausting. Yeah. And I’m not competitive and I’m not, you know, all the things that it really takes to be a dancer at that level, just mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was hard for me. But then somehow they saw me, the, the director of the school saw that I could teach. And I think I was the youngest teacher ever hired. I was in my young twenties at the Graham Center. And it was so clear how easy and right teaching was for me as opposed to, you know, I think I was a talented dancer and performer, but it wasn’t easy. I was exhausted. Sure,

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:09:52):


Annie Carpenter (00:09:53):

So that shift happened and then it just kept going. You know, I did perform for years. I kept teaching, eventually I tried teaching at university. Hmm. That didn’t go well, <laugh>, just the grading people on art, all the bureaucracy. Yeah. No, good. So I did that for a little while and I did learn how to create a curriculum and I do Ah, right. And that’s why I think I have a school that is well organized and, you know, really user friendly. But yeah, eventually the yoga won out and <laugh>, I mean, I kept doing yoga on the side all the time. And then it was so just so clear that yoga was my path and off to LA to do a teacher training and with Maty Ezraty and Lisa Walford at YogaWorks and Maty says, oh, you should stay. And I said, what? Quit my job, leave my husband <laugh>. She says, well, whatever you want, <laugh>. And that’s what I did, <laugh>. And I was in nineties. Oh my

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:10:50):

God, that’s amazing.

Annie Carpenter (00:10:52):

That said, I was mid nineties and I moved to la I, I mean the marriage was breaking up anyway. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and taught at Yoga Works there for 13 years and then moved to another studio not far in Venice, and taught there for a number of years. And then Sam and I moved up here and I still teach, obviously up a little studio here and of course travel around a lot. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s the story.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:11:19):

<laugh>, I have so many more questions than I planned to ask <laugh>, I would first like for you to tell us a little bit about the, the first yoga experiences you had in that studio in New York. What was it called again? Cause I, I’ve heard the name…

Annie Carpenter (00:11:36):

Integral Yoga.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:11:37):

Integral Yoga Integral. And to talk a little bit about the teachers and the kind of yoga that you first practiced mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Annie Carpenter (00:11:44):

Mm. Well, actually my very first experience was when I was a teenager. I don’t know if you’ve heard this story before, when I had a little bit of a Mm, well, let’s just say I was smoking too much pot. And <laugh>,

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:11:57):

I did hear it too.

Annie Carpenter (00:11:59):

My parents sent me to this, not a in, you know, I didn’t live there, but after school every day I would go to this program anyway. And what we did is we did pottery and we had group therapy and I had my own little therapist and we did yoga on Thursdays. And my very first yoga class, I didn’t know anything about yoga. And you know, the movement was so easy for me cuz I was dancing. It was just like, whatever, you know, the Asana. But then he guided us into Shavasana and it was truly, it was the first time I was able to drop into a deep and sweet feeling of utter relaxation where I felt safe. And there wasn’t that sort of vigilante, oh my God, it wasn’t gonna drop next completely gone. And yet it was the Shavasana turned me onto yoga.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:12:51):

I would’ve never expected that <laugh>. But it’s fascinating because it’s true of my story as well. And, but the time that I discovered it, I discovered yoga via a video by Ali MacGraw, the actress from Love Story. And her teacher was Eric Schiffman.

Annie Carpenter (00:13:09):

Eric Schiffman

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:13:10):

And I actually went back, the recording is on YouTube for free. And I listened to his shavasana again cuz I, I did a speech about it not long ago. And he was very, he was very directive in his Shavasana and he was like, do this, let go do that. And I was like, whoa, <laugh>.

Annie Carpenter (00:13:30):


Anne V Muhlethaler (00:13:31):

It just worked. And I heard that Sally Kempton her experience, she’s a famous meditation teacher for people who may not know her.

Annie Carpenter (00:13:39):

I know Sally.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:13:40):

Yeah. And, and it was the same for her. So it’s fascinating that Shavasana is what drew us in.

Annie Carpenter (00:13:45):

Saying that is fascinating. And maybe that speaks to the world we live in, where we’re all just so busy and, and driven to do, to do, to do.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:13:53):

I mean, I certainly knew the movement practice and that’s what I focused on for the following 15 years, but <laugh>, but it’s what got me into it in the first place. And I think there’s, there’s something to that. But anyway, I interrupted you. So that was your first experience of yoga and then, and then when you got to New York, tell me about integral yoga.

Annie Carpenter (00:14:13):

Integral yoga. Yeah. So this is Swami Sachidananda’s school and his is the school, the little logo says ‘paths are many, truth is one’. And I just love that because a, it’s inclusive <laugh>, you know, in the most important ways. But it really invited me to find, if you will, the yoga in all the things I was doing. And I think in a word it helped me sort of prioritize or sense what I really loved, what was worth it, what wasn’t worth it. My word this year since I turned 65, is what I was willing to retire <laugh>, not me, but the practices in my life that I’m like, okay, I’m done with that.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:14:54):

<laugh>, I like that

Annie Carpenter (00:14:55):

<laugh>. Right. So I I I think it gave me permission to choose what was my truth and to look for that. Again, I’m not sure I could have said it in those words back then, but I do think that’s what his intention is and was at that time certainly. And he was inspiring. This is another thing that has come up a few times in my life. He would give chat at the Riverside Church way on the Upper West Side. I dunno if you’ve ever been there. It’s this huge church, beautiful gothic, very European, you know, kind of big open, high, high space. And a thousand people could go in there. And it was really cool to see a yoga master speak in that sort of setting. But what was wonderful for him is that he could in one minute be so deep and quiet and true and then he’d tell a big joke and then back.


And he was in a word, a, a really interesting mix of what today we might call Pitta and Vata, the sort of Pitta very focused mind. Oh yeah. And then the Vata, well, you know, which of course is me, <laugh>. And I think I’ve always thought of wise people as being more kaha, more slow, more grounded, more steady, not big excitement and background, you know, just steady. And so I always felt that I could never be that person <laugh>, you know, that I would always be the one flitting around. I’d be the little sparrows and not the hawk, <laugh>, <laugh>, you know. So that was a, a lovely, lovely learning. And and I’ve had to learn that numerous times that just because your energy doesn’t look like what you imagine the great teachers should be, or the wise people are like, you know, we all have to do it our own way.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:16:45):

But, but it’s lovely to also see someone who is able to model something closer to you, right?

Annie Carpenter (00:16:53):

Yes, exactly. Mm-hmm. Yeah. That was how I saw the possibility of me becoming deeper, wiser, you know, and more useful in the world. More helpful.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:17:04):

And so how did, when did you hear about Maty Ezraty and, and start working with her? So for our listeners who are not yoga fics who know much about the yoga teaching world, Matt is a very famous teacher who some of my favorite teachers have studied with her at some point in their lives and I’d love to hear about her. She sounded amazing.

Annie Carpenter (00:17:30):

Yeah. Maty, and in case you don’t know, Maty was a great teacher. She left the planet, gosh, it’s four years ago, I heard at least four years ago, maybe in five. Actually I didn’t hear about her. I heard about her partner Chuck, ah, a friend of mine in New York that we did yoga together. She did a retreat with him, nothing in Mexico, so many moons ago. And she says, Annie, you need to study with Chuck. You’re gonna love Chuck <laugh>. But Chuck was not leading the train and that’s why I still hadn’t never heard of Maty. Chuck was not leading the training at that point. He popped in for I think a little philosophy chat at one point that summer. So, but I went there anyway. And the two of them were both teaching Asanga, which had become my practice. The time that fit for me was not six 30 in the morning when Shep taught taught because I liked to sleep in frankly, ah-ha <laugh>.


But Maty was teaching at four and she was leading the training with Lisa. So Maty became my teacher kind of conveniently. I love that. She was an extraordinary being quite a force a remarkable force and a little bit younger than me. I think she’s probably eight, 10 years younger than me, which was kind of interesting to have a younger teacher, what can I say about Maty? She had a way of inspiring people, like great teachers do, like Martha did may maybe not quite that level, but being around them uplifts you. And whether I, I think with some teachers like Maty, I think part of that was out of fear of disappointing her. And that was certainly true to some degree with Martha. You know, I’m thinking of all the great teachers that I’ve had over the years, including a couple of great therapists that I’ve worked with, literally great, great therapists over the years.


And it’s interesting for me cause I’ve thought a lot about what is inspiration with a student? How do I create inspiration? And it one can do that via fear become better for me. I expect that of you. But I think one can also do that by ongoing ‘self-evolving’, is that a word? Yeah, <laugh> by continuing to learn to change, to grow oneself.


And I don’t think we expect that. I mean, I so often I’ve had students who worked with me 15 years ago and then they pop into a workshop and they’re always surprised at how much I’ve changed and my teaching has shifted. Not that I’ve turned against something I necessarily believed in years ago, but then I wanna keep learning <laugh> and I’ll, and I do. And Ty did that too. And in my time with her, she was my primary teacher for probably only about eight or 10 years. But we were dear friends also. And over those years I watched her soften. And, and just as I have learned, and I’m learning still to do, is to let the expectation come from within the student as opposed to from the teacher herself. Hugh, huge learning, huge, difficult, how to continue to excite charge, awaken the students energy, mind actions without it being what I want.


And rather can it be what the student in that moment is seeking. Huge shift. And I think I one of the hardest things as a teacher, trainer to share that idea and an essential shift. I don’t think we can become a teacher and and understand that in the beginning. I think it’s over time and, and seeing how there are some students that we intimidate, not intentionally, but it just happens. And then other students that maybe we do inspire with that methodology, but it’s not the methodology that I believe good learning takes place with Anne. Sorry, I went off, I watched Maty shift. Sure. <laugh>. That’s what that was all about.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:21:34):

That’s fascinating. Yeah. I feel like I expected this a little bit more, but I think it’s because I had high expectations from my teachers and I have no patience with someone who doesn’t deliver what I need. <laugh> <laugh>. And I think that should be true of students who like or don’t like to come with me. We should feel very free to move when we need to move onto someone who gives us what we need. but I feel like I’ve had a absolutely a really good nose to follow really good teachers, which is how I landed with you on Zoom

Annie Carpenter (00:22:10):

<laugh>. Thank you.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:22:12):

And so perhaps one of the things we could talk about then that, that segues quite naturally here is how did you come to develop your own style of yoga and your own curriculum?

Annie Carpenter (00:22:26):

Hmm. You know, I never intended <laugh>. I never intended to have my own school or or methodology. I was quite happy in my young teaching years and mi middle teaching years, we could even say when Mati left YogaWorks, basically I took over her role as teacher trainer. And the first few years it was me and Lisa Wofford, which was such a, an honor and thrill. And then I did more and more of that. And two things happened. I frankly didn’t feel appreciated by <laugh>, the management team in all the ways. And as I kept teaching the same thing over and over. And here’s what happened, Anne, is that it used to be that we, we were only letting in people who had a fair amount of experience in yoga in their own practice. And then in an effort to bring more and more people in a, a k a more and more money in almost beginners, you know, people with a lot less experience would show up what I would consider beginners.


And by a beginner, I don’t mean, you know, you may have been practicing for 10 years, but you did it once a week. That’s very different from a yoga who practices six, seven days a week, even for two years. In a word. I’d rather have that person join a training than the one, oh, I’ve been practicing for 10, 12 years every week. Hmm. You know, talk to me next year when you’ve put in more. Anyway. So I had to, in a word, dumb down the training. I I couldn’t go is in depth. And if you can’t go in depth, what I have found with I, I think many things that one is trying to teach. If you can’t get in depth, then you don’t, there’s no system, there can be no methodology.


Maybe I’m wrong about other things, but what I was finding is I just had to teach these people where to put their feet and, and to bend the knee on the exhale as opposed to a system that described the actions and counteract actions that balance the body and that engages the mind, that created that quality of awake, mindful attention and you know, yes, mind the front foot with the back heel. Those are essential things. You gotta learn them. But it’s not a system, it’s not a methodology that you can apply to multiple poses and to a way of living our

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:24:54):

A hundred percent because it’s it’s totally true of the body and it’s also metaphorically speaking something you can carry in your mental or spiritual life.

Annie Carpenter (00:25:06):

Absolutely. Or relationships. Absolutely all of it. Mm-hmm. Yeah,

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:25:11):

<laugh> mm-hmm. Got it. Is very

Annie Carpenter (00:25:13):

Interesting. So as that started to happen, when I got frustrated with the system as well as the management team, I moved up the street, you know, this wonderful studio called Exhale, which is where Schiffman was, by the way, <laugh> and other fabulous teachers,  <affirmative>. And I said, you know, and I’d like to lead trainings as well as have my classes. And they said, great. And, and at that time, Yoga Alliance was just getting really, you know, put together. And so I had to name the school and trademark the school and do all the things which didn’t really interest me and frankly felt like a pain. And you know what? But you know, that’s what we did.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:25:55):

Yeah. <laugh>. But it’s worth it because I guess it’s sometimes you need to have a clear structure externally as well as internally right. In what you were trying to put together.

Annie Carpenter (00:26:06):

Absolutely. And and I think it actually insisted that I quickly outlined the things that really did matter to me and that were in May some sharp and some mild contrast to the system in which I had been teaching. So it, it was good for me. It said yes to this and no to that <laugh> in very clear ways. And I think I actually, when I was writing that first manual, I think I actually surprised myself as I dug in and hung with it to get everything clear that there were some ideas that were more involved than I realized. <laugh>,

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:26:45):

I love

Annie Carpenter (00:26:45):

That. Like writing it down. Right.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:26:47):

<laugh>, I love, I love that it writing or journaling. Yeah. There’s nothing like writing it down and suddenly you’re like,

Annie Carpenter (00:26:53):


Anne V Muhlethaler (00:26:54):

What? So would you explain to our listeners what are movement principles in Smart Flow Yoga?

Annie Carpenter (00:27:02):

Yeah. So what I ha start to, to see was that many poses, and I did start from the physical practice, had a familial <laugh> connection in not in that they were all standing poses or that they were all inverted poses, cuz that to me doesn’t actually work. But rather that all of these poses had a way of, for example,


Rotating a hip relative to the pelvis and spine. And whether it was an inverted pose or a seated pose or a standing pose, we were looking for the primary actions that defined each of those poses and that that became the family. The movement principle had a series of poses that might have different orientations but had primary actions. So that’s the sort of categorization. But the main thing about a movement principle is that it teaches a continuum of movement and also a continuum of intention. And on one end of that continuum, it is the direction in which you are headed very intentionally and full of attention. And in the other end of that continuum is part of you that says, wait, maybe not, maybe that’s too much. Maybe I need to, you know, it’s like you’re taking a long walk, I gotta go home now <laugh>, right?


So there’s the yes and, and the go end. And somewhere in the middle is what we call the crux. The crux of a continuum is that most subtle of places where the two ends have a, an intimate relationship, frankly. And, and that is meant to be on the physical level. And in that way each of us finds how deeply we should go or not. And it’s so oppose is not defined by this is what it looks like, but the balance of that, what I call the effort in one direction and the returning to center in the opposite direction. So it’s all a balancing act.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:28:59):

It’s all a balancing act. <laugh>. Absolutely. I appreciate that you explained that because I guess that, so those of us, those listening to us who have taken yoga classes and who’ve enjoyed them, likely have found a teacher who understands and knows how to sequence and put these things together in a way that the student just experiences release effort, strengthening, if that’s what they’re looking for, stretching if that’s what they want, without noticing necessarily the cog that make this a well-oiled machine. And I personally find it really inspiring to see how much you can deliver for yourself on yoga mat when the person on the other side, the person guiding you, has put so much thought and effort as you have and as you do, and as all of those who’ve been taught under you, understand about how to guide us to be in that crux. Right. That place between one end and the other. And there are days when my intention takes me further and days where I need to stay closer to the home base. <laugh>,

Annie Carpenter (00:30:17):

Precisely Anne, that that is, that is the point, is that each day is okay if it’s a different place mm-hmm. <affirmative> each decade is definitely gonna be a different ca <laugh> place on that continuum. Right? Yeah. And, and that all of that is fine. And in fact it is the point mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it is you going in each one of us going in and finding what’s right, what’s the truth? Let, let’s say that differently. Not what’s right, but what’s the truth rather than what is that idea of Right.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:30:52):

I appreciate that you make that difference because in, I guided a meditation practice yesterday morning and at the end we had a, a chat with my students and this regular student of mine said, oh, it was good, it was a good practice. And I said, well, could you describe it instead of telling me, you know, what, what is good to you? Cuz sometimes we, we forget, we’re applying a judgment, but every, every meditation practice is good cuz you’ve done it, essentially whether you were distracted or not doesn’t necessarily mean that it was good or Right

Annie Carpenter (00:31:27):

Or as most bad. Yeah.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:31:28):

<laugh> as it oppos to bad,

Annie Carpenter (00:31:30):

There’s a continuum <laugh>.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:31:32):

Mm. So you are very known in certain circles to be a teacher’s teacher. Of course you’ve explained you’ve created your own school, you’ve got wonderful principals. But is this a moniker that you enjoy? And what does it mean to you to be a teacher’s teacher?

Annie Carpenter (00:31:52):

Well, it certainly was never intentional. I, I mean, it, it was certainly not a goal. But what was interesting is that this is back in the two thousands, early two thousands when I was at Yoga Works. I think I had Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I think it was a 10 45 class. And just what happened is all the teachers came <laugh>. And so who was in the room was some very experienced students and a ton of teachers of, to a lot of the yoga teachers, but even from other studios, it, so it was just, it became a thing that all these teachers were coming to Annie. And it was a little bit of a problem for me because I didn’t get paid for the teachers <laugh> <laugh>. So I’d have, you know, 75 people in the room and make hardly any money. Oh man. Anyway, it’s all good. So anyway, that’s where that came from was that people saying, oh yeah, it’s the teacher’s class, look who’s here. And then obviously as I have led, gosh, so many teacher trainings over the years. Yeah. So from oh three through 2010 I was Yoga Works trainings, and then since 2010 I’ve been leading Smart Flow trainings. So yeah, it’s, I’ve been doing this a lot. <laugh>

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:33:04):

<laugh>. That’s wonderful. So I actually found you through my teacher who I trained, with Suzanne Faith. And, and I remember because, so I signed up with her kind of like how you ended up <laugh> with Maty because she’s the only person who offered a 200 hour teacher training that wasn’t one month, it was two weeks in the spring and two weeks in the early fall. And I couldn’t take a month off work. So it was just what it was. And after we finished the first a hundred hours, she said to everyone, she said, I’d like you to go. And for those of you who don’t spend time looking at or trying other forms of yoga, Suzanne teaches [inaudible]. She said, I would like you to go and study. There’s this website, it’s called glo.com <laugh>, I’d like you to go and check out Annie Carpenter and I’d like you to check out Kia Miller and Kundalini.


And she named a few others and I can’t remember the name of the iyengar teacher…

Annie Carpenter (00:34:08):

Marla Apt

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:34:09):

Exactly. And so I’d done a fair amount of other forms of yoga, but immediately when I started working with you on Glow, it felt like a really great moment because I had my B K S Iyengar manual on the one side, I had all of my props, which guys, if you’re gonna be working with Annie online, it’s better if you have your props <laugh>, she likes to use them, get your blocks, get your bolster, get a bunch of blankets. So it was, it was a really incredible discovery. And so I would like to ask you, how did you, how did you get started on Glow?

Annie Carpenter (00:34:53):

You know, they had asked me early on when they first started, and they were really, as far as I know, the, the first solid online studio. And at that time I, I said no, I, I was frankly too busy. I was just starting to travel a lot. And then later actually I went to Derek who is the owner founder. And when I was about to move here, so it’s only Ben, I think that was 2014 when Sam and I were talking about moving out of la. So it was me and he said, oh yeah, come on, let’s do this. So yeah. And and part of that was because then at Glow there was a big studio in Santa Monica and all the students could come in and take the class. You know, the older classes where you have the big groups of people in there.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:35:42):

I know, it’s wonderful.

Annie Carpenter (00:35:44):

It’s wonderful. And so it was a way for me to come back to la record some classes, but also see my students and they got to do it for free, which was just amazing.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:35:54):


Annie Carpenter (00:35:55):

A few years after that, this class is closed, and it was just me in the studio. And now of course it’s me at home, <laugh>. But the cats do make the entrances occasionally

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:36:06):

<laugh>, the cats are very, very entertaining.

Annie Carpenter (00:36:09):


Anne V Muhlethaler (00:36:09):

Yeah, for sure. So,

Annie Carpenter (00:36:12):

But I love Glo and I feel like they really do a fabulous job. And there are many really good teachers on the platform.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:36:21):

I love them. I actually love Kia Miller. Mm-hmm. She does some fabulous Panama practices. I, I must say when I’m in need of <laugh>, like really extra help, I definitely go and follow her. Yeah. And Tias Little I discovered through that and lots of amazing teachers.

Annie Carpenter (00:36:38):

So yeah, so Kia, I love, love, love too. And in fact she did train with me back way back. I’m not, I’m not obviously her Kundalini teacher that was separate, but her Hatta and Vinyasa, she did with me and she did a, a mentorship with me. I’ll never forget that group. There were some great people came out of that group. Ki, Brock Kayhill. Gosh, I’m blanking. But anyway,

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:36:59):

I feel like there’s a bunch of teachers that you guys all do something different mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But you are all very complimentary and I feel like it’s, congratulations to glow people, <laugh>. I, I’m still really excited every time that I take a class there. Awesome love. But of course I was very excited to join you online via Zoom. The pandemic is a global disaster, but having the opportunity for me from Geneva, Switzerland to dial into Oakland, California, <laugh> to do your 10:00 AM classes or your 9:00 AM class on a Monday, Wednesday or Saturday was really exciting. So how do you feel about teaching via Zoom

Annie Carpenter (00:37:42):

<laugh>? It’s complicated. I know. I, I I, I too am delighted that I get to connect with you and other, I mean, you see in those classes there’s always a few people from Europe. Sometimes there’s someone from the Philippines or New Zealand, you know, godly knows what time it is for them or even la you know, or New York, you know, closer in. So that has been wonderful to be able to connect and, and have a, in a word, more global community every time I teach, that’s fabulous to not be in the room, to not be able to walk around and see you three dimensionally to feel your energy and the way I would if I was standing beside you to listen to your breathing, to feel how the community is impacting each individual. Cuz it’s not always positive. You know, sometimes we need to create space or boundaries. Anyway, all of those things clearly are, are missing <laugh>. So, you know, there’s the pluses and the minuses. I am grateful and for now I’m grateful it’s continuing and I think many people think it’s not gonna change that that will somehow carry on. I will say as a teacher and teachers out there who are listening, it’s kind of exhausting to do both. Try to be present with the folks in the room and the folks at home on the monitor. It’s, it, it’s a big job

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:39:09):

During the hybrid. Sounds complicated cuz I have one of my favorite teachers in New York, Diana Rilov, she’s switched to doing either in person or on Zoom. And so she teaches on Zoom a bunch of times a week, but she doesn’t do the hybrid. And I I can see how it splits your own attention in a way.

Annie Carpenter (00:39:29):

Exactly. Yeah.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:39:31):

And so you travel quite a lot in order to deliver yoga teacher trainings, which is how we ended up meeting this year in, in April. Although, I mean, I had the pleasure of taking your workshop on try yoga on Zoom, a great workshop. The one that you did in March this

Annie Carpenter (00:39:49):

Year. It was on Keystone, the keystone’s of the body. I

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:39:52):

Loved it. Yeah. Wow. That was exceptional. I’ve never done <laugh>, I’ve never done Sun Salutations the same way since then.

Annie Carpenter (00:40:00):


Anne V Muhlethaler (00:40:01):

So how do you feel about the travel?

Annie Carpenter (00:40:04):

Mixed again, <laugh>? Mm It is lovely to be in community in different areas and really sense the culture of the area and a big sense, but also the yoga culture of each area. Cuz it is different town to town and country to country. I do have increased guilt about the carbon emissions that the big flights are putting out in the world. And I’m trying to be more efficient with travel. I mean I always was, but e even more so about going somewhere and staying for three weeks or four even. Like I will be in Europe in May this year and I’ll do looks like three or four different stops altogether before I come back home again. So those types of things. And I’m, I’m choosing not to do some trips that feel like maybe, maybe that’s not efficient for all, all that it would take in terms of me leaving home, but also the travel itself and yeah, it’s a, it’s a tough time, you know, o on one level I think, oh, well isn’t it better for one person me to travel than to expect 30, 40, 50 people to travel to me? Okay, that makes sense. So there’s that. But still when I get on the plane and I think about how much, you know, filth, <laugh> is emitting. Yeah. It, it, it’s hard.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:41:26):

I’m actually quite shocked at how many people I know of all ages in various countries don’t seem to care. So,


But I, I hear you. One of the things on, in my experience of, of you through Zoom and in you in person that, that is matched is that you have an incredible kind of energy. And I, I was writing this question before we talked today and I was thinking it felt, it feels to me like you have this incredible power and you can dial up or down depending on what you want your students, what you’re inviting your students to do. And I was thinking it’s a superpower <laugh>. Yeah. I was thinking it’s Super Annie and I would love for you to tell me, are you aware of the energy that you have and, and how do you tap into it? How do you del develop it as a teacher and perhaps as a human?

Annie Carpenter (00:42:31):

Well first I think I have a fair amount of, in a word, control over it these days. But I do think it’s intuitive. I do think let me, let me also credit Martha. I think that that was it, it not these same words that we are using today. But I do think, and frankly if you go orchestra, I went to a fabulous opera last week in, in San Francisco, just incredible and a great singer, a great cellist, all of them. It’s to be able to choose when you’re shouting, when you’re just chatting, when you’re whispering, when there’s silence, you know, this is the stuff of a good experience. Just like good love making, you know, <laugh>, it’s any good relational thing has to have this ebbing and flowing and like surfers can ride a wave and no, no, that one’s crazy or this one isn’t big enough.


It, it’s, it’s that sort of surfing one’s own energy and perhaps more importantly surfing the room’s energy. so that hopefully I have a fairly clear sense. Does the, does the room need me to give them a little juice or does the room need me to bring it back and invite them to be quieter, slower, less effortful, more returning to center, more internal interception as opposed to action. And I think whatever we do, and if it is relational with one other person, a hundred other people, a million other people, to ride that energy and to sense it in a way that feels, that makes other people feel like they’re understood, it’s key.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:44:26):

So still on that theme of energy, this calls back to something you said earlier, and I’d be interested for you to tell me, it sounds like teaching, although it takes a lot out of you, also gives you a lot of energy as opposed to what you were doing earlier in your career when you were dancing and, and navigating that world of dance that was just depleting you. Yeah,

Annie Carpenter (00:44:47):

It is true. And I dare say, maybe I could have learned how to be a performer and have it feed me and not deplete me, but I didn’t and, and I did find teaching. So yeah, that’s my dharma.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:45:03):

It’s a calling.

Annie Carpenter (00:45:03):

Yeah, it’s, it’s definitely a calling and, and I feel like I am doing what I’m meant to be doing and I have for many years and I feel lucky that way. I’m, I’m not torn about other things I should might do. I know I’m on my path and I do think my path is, you know, basic teaching but also helping other teachers to, to find their authentic, hopefully true voice. Mm. Yeah.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:45:29):

There’s another link between your dance career and you may correct me, <laugh> and, and the way that you lead quite a few of the, of the practices that you do today. You seem to incorporate a lot of somatic movement. Could you tell me how that happened and perhaps explain to people who don’t know what it is, what, what the benefits are?

Annie Carpenter (00:45:55):

Somatic, I think many people call it somatic exploration. It, it’s, it’s, there are a lot of different, what should we call them forms of that these days. But I was very lucky. I think I told you I went off to San Francisco for college and this is in the seventies. And the little tiny school that I went to, which no longer exists was called Lone Mountain College. It’s fabulous. Little tiny school that had basically a dance department, a theater department, and a psychology department. And that was it. And in the seventies, a lot of liberal arts schools went down, including this one. But anyway, in the summers. And I couldn’t go back and forth to east coast every summer. So I stayed and, you know, worked in a deli and worked as a waitress and all the things. but anyway, Mosha Feldenkrais, who was an Israeli somatic therapist really, he came in the summers and offered these workshops.


And one summer I was able to join, not for the whole thing, but for part of it. And it, boy, I just love, love, loved it. And so I have studied Feldenkrais over the years. Also, when I was in New York, I hooked up with an Alexander teacher, which is another form, but really quite different, more maybe active than Feldenkrais. But I’ve always had these, let me, let me see if this makes sense. So whereas in yoga, the attention is deepened by moving closer to a, a known form and its actions and balances. Somatic movement focuses attention by not knowing where you’re going.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:47:36):

Yes. <laugh>. Which I think for the person who’s doing it, it’s a discovery process. I remember,

Annie Carpenter (00:47:43):


Anne V Muhlethaler (00:47:44):

I think it was doing the tri yoga workshop that you guided us to imagine that we were a baby and going through all of the stages of discovering the world <laugh>. And so there I was on my own, on my rug <laugh>, crawling and looking

Annie Carpenter (00:48:05):

Creeping and creeping and crawl and crawling

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:48:08):

And it was

Annie Carpenter (00:48:10):

Sucking and spitting.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:48:11):

It was such an incredible experience. And somehow you are right. First of all, huge recollection. This really made it into my memory circuits as a heightened experience. And I think it was making the point of the discovery. So how do you blend that in with the yoga?

Annie Carpenter (00:48:31):

Well, my belief is that not often enough <laugh> and, and for the most part, it, occasionally I’ll bring it into a class as sort of an opening exploration for whatever movement principle we’re doing that day, especially with shoulder girdle that that can fit in nicely. You know, part of it is audience, it depends who’s in the room are, are they ready to not be told exactly what to do? Step your right foot forward, turn your back heel down, <laugh>, you know, in workshops and in trainings when there’s more time. And frankly when I need the group to, to relax to, you know, we can’t push all day long. It’s, and to go in and, and to be reminded that inquiry <laugh> and self-inquiry ultimately is the point of yoga. While I think Asana, which most people think of at yoga is asana. Whereas as we know, it’s only a part of yoga.


And again, beginners wanna be told what to do, where to put their feet, you know, all the things to shift that to what are you feeling, what is, where is the blockage, where is the freedom? And what if you were to do the movement in a way that might feel say backwards. That’s a very Feldenkrais thing to do. To, to turn the eyes in the opposite direction that they would naturally go to in, in a word, reset the nervous system by doing that. These are very, very healing things and I don’t think they present on, on first encounter as a big deal. And so I think it’s not easy to trust them in the beginning, but I do think most people who’ve had that opportunity do go, oh yeah, this is, oh wait, I didn’t know that. Yeah. <laugh>, you know, in, in that moment of aha like you’re

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:50:23):

Talking about. Yeah. Cuz I remember regularly you do that thing for the, the shoulder of a girdle and we do like a snow angel and then we do the, the head turning and the eyes going in the other direction. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Annie Carpenter (00:50:36):

Yes. That’s all Feldenkrais. Oh, that’s where I stole that.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:50:39):

So much fun.

Annie Carpenter (00:50:39):

Mm-hmm. But the other work, the movement work from infant that comes from my study with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, have you heard that name? No. She is a force and she has books and people have written books about her. I don’t think she’s very good at slowing down and writing herself. Kinda like me. Yeah. Bonnie ba Bainbridge Cohen is an incredible, and I’ve done numerous workshops with her over the years and amazing. And she does therapy with infants

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:51:07):


Annie Carpenter (00:51:08):

Who’ve had difficult births and things. It just amazing.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:51:11):

Wow. Yeah. Yeah. I will definitely look her up. That’s, that’s wonderful. So I’m glad that you talked about inquiry because I think it’s by the third or fourth day in, in that 50 hour training that I attended that I just realized how much you use questions in order to get people to do things. And of course <laugh>. So for the listeners who know this about me and the other ones, well you’ll, you’ll find out a year ago I certified as a, as a coach with Martha Beck, who’s an incredible, incredible coach. True coaching in the way that is described by the International Coaching Federation is really all about inquiry. You don’t give advice whatsoever. It’s just about asking the next right question so that the person in front of you you’re supporting can find the answer for, for themselves. And so that was, that was on my mat and I thought, is Annie a coach? Because I realized that perhaps 50% of what you say in the class is question. Were you aware?

Annie Carpenter (00:52:19):

Yeah. I mean I did. I know that that’s what coaches do.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:52:21):

No, but were you aware that’s what you were doing, <laugh>?

Annie Carpenter (00:52:25):

Oh, it’s so intentional and I hope that it’s more than 50% actually.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:52:28):

Probably. Yeah. I didn’t count the cues, but yeah,

Annie Carpenter (00:52:32):

<laugh>, that would be interesting for me to take a class and go, ah, that was only 43%. You need to get up to 60 <laugh>.


It’s absolutely intentional. And, and, and probably unconsciously, I know some of what you’re talking about as a real coach, but certainly not in the way that you do. But what I do know is I am trying to empower the student <laugh>. I am trying to, in a word, disempower the teacher. Because so often it’s, you know, one or the other as, as a teacher seems more powerful and more all-seeing and however students project us onto some pedestal, which we’re of course always gonna fall off of in a big thud <laugh>, you know, so that’s scary too. but I do believe as I can be clear and somehow fade into the background so that their experience is what matters. They, they evolve their own sense of reality, inner reality, and thus they make choices not just in the moment, in the, on the mat or in their meditation, but in their lives. It, it’s a way of living, not driven from the outside but driven from the inside.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:53:51):

A hundred percent. It’s interesting because not when, was it Monday, yesterday? I can’t remember. I guided another meditation not long ago and once in a while I realised I’m, I’m not asking enough questions. Cuz in guiding meditation you use a lot of passive language. So noting, noticing what you’d use for a shavasana or yoga nidra. But there is real room for exploration.


Can you sense this? So just know that you’re influencing me <laugh>, but I’m trying to do it with let’s say a different energy. Cuz sometimes when you ask questions, you deliver them with a lot of power, especially when you make us hold a pose for a long time. And so we’ll be there in like a, not necessarily a challenging pose, but just there for a long time and you be there, can you feel your back toe? Can you move the thigh back? And you ask question in question in question and instead of getting tired, essentially I’m consistently just going, can I <laugh>? And moving that, moving to your cue or moving to your question. It’s really fun.

Annie Carpenter (00:54:58):

That would be the point. Thank you for, for getting it. <laugh>. I’m not sure everyone does. Yeah, sometimes I see these faces get me out of this pose. <laugh>.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:55:07):

But it’s, but it’s funny because sometimes also as you grow in your practice, some of the cues that you give me come naturally to me and others I’ve never thought of. And I think that was why when you did this keystone workshop, it was really interesting to focus so much on the feet. Just an area of the body that we put so little attention on. And yet they carry us literally wherever we go. And so I’m excited about the kind of teaching that you offer that I think bring us more self-knowledge that is useful in day-to-day life, honestly.

Annie Carpenter (00:55:47):

Well, I, and maybe it’s because I’m, you know, older now, but you know, the, the crazy poses I used to do, you know, sticking my feet behind my head and balancing on one hand and all the things which frankly are retired and not all of them, but some of those poses I’ve retired that it doesn’t interest me because it doesn’t support my life. And a lot of poses do support our lives, you know, and all the standing poses for the reasons you just mentioned and more. Yeah. But as time goes on, we see hopefully it’s not about the poses <laugh>, it’s not about the, the poses. The poses, you know, support our lives clearly like feet too. But also, and that’s why I really love to kind of move through the body in an organic way. Can you ground the inner edge of the big toe as you lift the arch?


Can you lift that inner kneecap as you soften the groin back, so it has a clear organic line through the body. But also I, I think bigger picture is can we move back and forth from micro macro and micro to macro and, and that sense of the, the tiniest, tiniest most intimate way of paying attention to the largest way, but also maybe even bigger picture, Anne, if you, if you can get behind this is I am an essential spark of life of energy and I, and yet I am just part of the whole. And to me, all of those things are connected. And maybe it’s just me being a hopeful teacher. I, I am hopeful. <laugh>.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:57:25):

I’m glad you are and thank you for making that beautiful segue cuz I wanted to talk about yoga philosophy.

Annie Carpenter (00:57:31):

Okay, let’s do it.

Anne V Muhlethaler (00:57:33):

I heard you talk on another podcast, actually it was the Glo podcast that you recorded I think a year ago. It was really lovely. You talked about the yoga sutras of Patanjali and you talked a little bit about the siddhis, the superpowers. Mm. The third part of the yoga sutras is that frankly most teachers just gloss over and say, yeah, this is just like weird stuff <laugh>, but it’s really fun. I heard your take on it. Would you offer us a glimpse of what you think that means or they mean?

Annie Carpenter (00:58:04):

So the cities are, are actually really interesting. It’s early on in the third chapter, third part, as we say in in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. And frankly my feeling is, and I think most people would agree, is that there are these incredible, what might be called magical powers. Like being able to move through time and space, being able to talk to animals, knowing exactly and how you’re going to die. So I think what you’re hearing here is moving beyond time and space, which is so appealing I think to many of us. And maybe again, that’s certain kind of geeky mind or a certain time in one’s life. But let me just preface it all by saying in the sutures these are described after this whole line of them as distractions, as obstacles. And I think that’s really important cuz we get caught up in trying to be good at something or trying to understand something in a way that no one else does or any, any time we attach super to something, then we’re in judgment or in comparison, competitive kind of mode.


So that’s one side of it. But the other side, which is even more interesting, which I think is super fun, is the idea of time and space as a human construct that helps us move through the world as a, as a society, as a culture. And in the same way that we might look at this idea of the big bang of life starting from, well we’re not quite sure, but it was almost nothing. And then boom, and then everything has evolved out from that moment. The one of the most trusted if you will, creation theories coming out of the Hindu religion from say, 4,000 years ago, more or less is very similar to that, where it, there was nothing. And then there was desire. And from desire, Shiva and Shakti, the two poles of energy were created, moved away from one another. And that all expressions of life are inner word them trying to get back together. <laugh>,


I think as we embrace that as a theory, if you come, if you move in the opposite direction from that theory, if you try to get back to what we might call the beginning, then time and space are, are again, merely constructs don’t serve. And the idea of being able to sit together and have a cup of tea, and whether you’re in Geneva and I’m in Oakland, <laugh>, you know, we think we need Zoom, but we probably don’t <laugh>. Right? And, and, and the same with going to sleep and you know, all the things. And I don’t think humans can live beyond time and space right now. And I don’t think all of the well let’s look at the glaciers. If you, we want to stay with Patanjali’s work, all the obstacles that we work through in practice in particular, that last one, that abhinivesha, which is the fear of dying or the clinging to life, which I think fits well into the story. I don’t think any of us, except perhaps very close to the last, whether we have two months of knowing when we’re gonna die more or less, or the moment of passing.


And especially I think if you have children, you know, that wanting for their lives to continue, I, I think that it’s near impossible for most of us to live in that sort of timeless spaceless category. Less way of of life where, whether I’m alive or whether I’m dead, no. Even though I know that life itself continues, I don’t know that we can live without some fear and some longing for it to continue our relationships, our our dreams. Yeah. I think it’s a good thing, a good meditation for us regularly to meditate on that last rough. But certainly not easy. And in a word, I’m not sure it’s even possible to live that way for any length of

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:02:25):

Time. I would venture that also that fear is good, cuz it perhaps it helps us feel attached to life or we notice this small moments because we know we’re going to lose it one day. I wouldn’t wanna live forever. That would be awfully boring. And of course I don’t feel like dying tomorrow, <laugh>, but I mean, my father died at 93 and I swear he Wow was like way ready. But having seen that, it’s okay that we go someday.

Annie Carpenter (01:02:57):

I’m with you a hundred percent <laugh>. And in fact, when I read the Greek myths, you know about the titans and the, and the gods who live forever. They’re all, they all get bored and then violence happens.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:03:07):

Yeah. I mean I’ve <laugh> it’s what you should say, that I personally feel very strongly like a Kashmir Shaivite. So I do study the Shiva, Shakti and the Spanda and stuff like that. It feels very right in my life. <laugh>. But also I love reading the God stories because there’s so much drama. So one of the, one of the things that I want to stress to the people who are listening to us, perhaps some of those who are not necess keen on, on trying yoga, but who may be interested in meditation, is that you are an exceptional meditation teacher as well. And there are plenty of wonderful practices that you’ve recorded on Glow. And I wanted to know, or perhaps for you to tell us, cuz you and I have discussed this before, how meditation made its way into your life. And, and that’s it,

Annie Carpenter (01:03:59):

<laugh>. Okay. You know, I think I resisted it forever until I realized all the ways that I was already doing it. <laugh>. And by that I mean perhaps just moments, even in an Austin of practice moments in a deep conversation with someone I loved and trusted, certainly moments walking alone in nature. and then over the years when I, when I fell in love with pranayama, with the breathing practices, that really was in terms of my formal daily meditation practice, that was my, my doorway in with the gateway really for me because it was, once I could sit still and still have something to focus my mind on <laugh>, I have a very fast mind that allowed me to stay within ever more subtle things and even more subtle. And then that moment of between the breaths, which I was able through practice to extend, not on purpose, but because I could, because it was available and there’d be that moment where I was not doing, not because I was trying not to do, but just because I was not doing. And I realized, oh wow. And that lovely sense of peace with presence as opposed to presence that typically my mind would go, okay, so great, what would she do? We’re all focused <laugh>.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:05:43):

That’s how, that’s what my mind feels like very often is like, oh, you’ve cleared your mind now let’s do this.

Annie Carpenter (01:05:49):

Right, exactly. <laugh>, thank you for getting that. And

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:05:55):

Yeah, it’s really embarrassing. I feel like that’s when my to-do list goes.

Annie Carpenter (01:05:59):

But you know, what that arguments me of is, and, and I’ve heard people say this since I was a, a young dance teacher, is there, the people who can teach anything well are often the people who had to struggle a little bit to get there to understand it. Like I remember there was two fabulous Graham dancers and they didn’t have to teach cuz they were constantly performing and making a better salary at that than I ever did. But anyway, they weren’t great teachers because everything came so easily and simply they didn’t know how to break it down. They didn’t know how to set up the sequence so that you inevitably came to that movement or that idea or that feeling, or in, in yoga Asana. And even though I was always a very flexible person, what I had to learn was how to stabilize and how to create active stillness. That’s a very different thing for, you know, the stiff people need to move in the, in the direction on their continuum towards motion. But many people who are drawn to yoga Asana have too much movement in their bodies. And to make the movement away from flexibility and towards stability, and to have that be as interesting, to make it interesting for a flexi person, that ain’t easy <laugh>, because I, I just wanted to go further.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:07:28):

Me too, all the time. I was like, okay, let’s bend me more <laugh>.

Annie Carpenter (01:07:33):

Exactly. And more sensation. Yay, <laugh>. Right. And then what it’s not that much fun. You can’t breathe very well anyway. Yeah. So that movement towards the stillness and that movement towards being comfortable when there’s not the next thing that we’re trying to create or do or become in any way, and there’s joy in that, there’s joy in that.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:08:01):

I, I feel like this speaks to what I love about yoga is that it, it helps balance out the things we have too much of versus what we have too little of with a good teacher. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, so I have a really silly question.

Annie Carpenter (01:08:17):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:08:18):

There’s a lot of people near me, not necessarily close friends who struggle in their body. They’re not old, but they’ve got back pain or knee problems or whatever, and yet they haven’t tried yoga. Maybe it’s the yoga culture in Europe is definitely way behind compared to the US and compared to, I would say Australia as well. But so <laugh>, if you were to pitch it to someone, a silly pitch, right? It doesn’t have to be serious, what would you say to convince someone to give it a try? Because it’s gonna help you like with life?

Annie Carpenter (01:08:56):

Okay. I, yeah, let me, let me put that aside and I hopefully get back to it. But, but I think the thing is, if there isn’t a culture of, I’m just gonna call it beginner yoga, which it’s, you know, not, that’s not exactly the right name, accessible yoga and, and part of it is finding the right name for it, gentle yoga, that sounds wimpy. Ah,

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:09:21):

That’s such a good point.

Annie Carpenter (01:09:23):

So yeah, that’s the one piece you know, and we can say introduction to yoga, but that just means, yeah, okay, we’re gonna give you a little bit, but you really can’t do it yet. Or maybe you never will. So I, I think that’s part of it is, is what do we call it? How do we bring it in and can we train teachers who can make yoga accessible for those people? Because frankly, true beginners, especially if they’re on the stiffer side or very weak for all the reasons that people are weak, are not gonna do well in any of the classes that I teach regularly. They might be okay in that Sunday morning class, which is pretty mixed level, and it’s not easy to teach that class that takes way more skill.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:10:04):

I remember you, you taught us an amazing beginner yoga hourlong and it was wonderful. But yes, it’s a whole different skillset. It’s actually a whole different vocabulary. I’m glad you mentioned that because I remember when I was in New York, I used to go to Yoga Vida all the time because it was close to my house and they had a beginner yoga. And even though I wasn’t a beginner, occasionally I did dip in the class and I really enjoyed it. Sometimes a return to basics is just really lovely. Hmm.

Annie Carpenter (01:10:36):

Yeah. So I wonder if maybe the beginning, quote unquote classes should look at a name change, like whether it’s functional movement or live well in your body, or, I don’t know. We, we could talk about this for hours, but maybe that’s part of it, because I do think for better and and worse, people think of yoga as asan, people sticking their feet behind their head and touching the floor. And when they’re standing on their heads, you know, <laugh>, all the things that many people actually will never and probably should never even try. It’s, it’s not for everyone. That type

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:11:13):

Of joke. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Annie Carpenter (01:11:14):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s the other part about zoom. Sorry, I just threw that in. Oh yeah. Because it, I can’t really see what people are doing mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it’s really hard for me to set boundaries mm-hmm. <affirmative> anyway.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:11:25):

Mm-hmm. Very good point. Thank you. I do not need you to answer the pitch question, but I’m delighted I asked it because it makes sense. We need more beginner yoga classes than they should be called something

Annie Carpenter (01:11:40):

Else. Yeah. I think that’s the key.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:11:43):

Now switching to a very different topic. You have a passion outside of yoga that <laugh> that is very inspiring actually, as I hear you talk about it. You are a very, very passionate bird watcher. Birder. Yeah. Yeah. Can you tell us about it,

Annie Carpenter (01:12:02):

<laugh>? Well, I think part of it is it just gets me outside. Although I do have a feeder on our deck, and I can sit and watch, you know, on any given day, I’d say in our little tiny backyard in Oakland, which is pretty acidified, pretty urban. I get 12 to 15 different species to my little tiny backyard. Now, part of that is because I’ve taken away all the non-natives, got rid of the lawn, have only native plants, lots of berries that birds can eat. I leave the leaves when they fall because that’s where the grubs and the worms are. You know, all I’ve done on no fertilizer, all the things. Anyway, birds remind me of me, you know, they’re quick, they’re light, they’re lively, <laugh>, they’re too skinny. They have hollow bones, <laugh>. But I, I was very lucky as a teenager, I, I went to my high school was a, an alternative high school, one of the first of its kind certainly in Virginia.


And so for our school topics, we could choose, like for science, we had this amazing science teacher, George Clark, and we would hike the Appalachian Trail for PE and we would identify flora and fauna for science for botany. Right. And, and he was a birder. And so one course, one month long thing, we had to identify a certain number of birds and he took us kayaking in our little city park. It was a big city park and a big lake. And if you go way in the back where the lake becomes marsh, back to probably how it had been for centuries, we were looking for several birds, including king fisher. There was an eagles nest back there, but there was aary warbler. Ary

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:13:54):

Warbler. What is that <laugh>?

Annie Carpenter (01:13:56):

I’m gonna look at your little Yeah, please do. They’re warbles are small birds. And remember many birds, not all the girls are these Dr. Brown, to keep them safe. And the boys are these bright, flirty, you know, it’s like the fancy sports car, <laugh> <laugh>. And the pro warblers are this brilliant yellow, it’s got just a tiny bit of orange in it. So it’s a really warm, bright yellow color. And they have this beautiful simple song, just four whistles like that. So you usually hear it before you see it. And they’re definitely in decline now, like so many other birds. But anyway, I, I saw this, I think I was 16 or seven, maybe 17 years old. And all bird, most birders have what we call the spark bird. Kind of like the spark Shavasana <laugh>. Right. and you see it and it changes your life and it’s like, wow, I wanna see that bird again.


I, I don’t know, I can’t explain it, but it, it changes you. And even though for many years when I lived in New York City and even la you know, New York had a lot of pigeons, LA had a lot of seagulls, <laugh>. And here there are more, there is more diversity of birds. And, and I do think people are starting to shift and look after the land a tiny bit better so that some birds are coming back. So all of that. And it reminds me how the smallest, brightest thing can be so inspiring. You know, it doesn’t have to be it. Sometimes we call them LBJs, little brown jobs, <laugh> and you know, the little small sparrows that are, that are always around. Yeah. They’re really fun to watch. The quality and attention. It really, for me is meditative and calming and I get outta my stuff. It’s, it’s, if you’re looking for a hobby, yogis try birding.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:15:59):

Mm. I wonder how you felt the first time that you got to Sydney. So one of the things that I’ve noticed, I’m not a birder yet,

Annie Carpenter (01:16:07):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:16:08):

I do like them, but I, I’m very attuned to sound. And there’s one thing more than smell for sure is how much I can, I can tell you where I am, depending on the kind of bird song that I hear. And the first time I was in, in the Southern Hemisphere, the first time I was in, in Bondi in Sydney, or the first time I went into Thailand, oh man. Every time in order to get my myself back there, the first thing that comes is, is actually the sounds, not necessarily the images. So yeah. What was it like for you the first time that you went to an

Annie Carpenter (01:16:43):

Exotic crunchy? Oh, pretty good. And especially if you can get out deeper into nature, which I can’t always when I’m teaching, but I went to the, a very tiny bit of rainforest that’s left in, I’m talking about the coast of Australia. It’s just north of Byron Bay, which is up the coast a bit from Sydney. Yeah. And I actually hired a, a, a bird guide and he took me deep in, into the small rainforest. And many of the birds of the rainforest, you, you really don’t get to see, but there’s a, a whip bird and I can’t do that one <laugh>. It is so loud. And usually the bird is quite a distance anyway, so many birds I’d never ever heard because they don’t, all their creatures are different from anywhere else. So it is just,

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:17:32):

It’s shocking. Shocking.

Annie Carpenter (01:17:33):

Yeah. The, the soundscape. But I, I just have to remark, Anne, that you do podcasts <laugh>, which are all about sound

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:17:41):

<laugh>. Yes, absolutely. And I was a singer before that and

Annie Carpenter (01:17:46):

That’s right. That’s why you have such a beautiful voice. So it’s, it, it’s no surprise to me. And by the way, if you can identify your area by listening, you’re a birder. Sorry,

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:17:57):

<laugh> <laugh>.

Annie Carpenter (01:17:59):

It’s official.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:18:00):

Yeah, I get that.


It’s, it’s interesting, because I had been following you for a couple of years by the time we got to the first lockdown and I was in a small apartment in Geneva, just a, I mean I was so lucky cuz it was tiny, but across from me was the park and Geneva in March can be very dreary. And of course there are no leaves on most trees. I mean some, we had some pines and further into the park and I had very loud neighbors: crows! <laugh>, oh my god, so many, so many crows <laugh>, you have no idea. I mean the racket that was going on outside my window was crazy. And so I did <laugh> start bird watching during that period because I would sit by my window and journal every morning with my coffee. I always to be baen. And the only thing that I get to see really is I was on the fourth floor. My locals were my birds. Because

Annie Carpenter (01:18:58):

You were living alone.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:18:59):

We’ve moved. Yeah. I was living alone. Yeah. And it’s funny cuz I live in a different neighborhood now, so I get only some crowds, but now I feel like they’re kind of like extended family. I, I have some affinity to them having observed for so long.

Annie Carpenter (01:19:13):

Stay in large flocks. They call them murders, you know that right?

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:19:17):

I didn’t, I didn’t know that murder

Annie Carpenter (01:19:18):

<laugh> that it sounds exactly what was going on. And they fight a lot by the way.


Yeah. And you know, they’re all the birds, they’re incredibly intelligent. The all the corvid family, which is the j’s and the mag pies and the crows, the ravens, they are crazy smart. So of course you love them

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:19:40):

<laugh>. Yes. And I think that there’s also a challenge there cuz copos is not something that comes easy to me. <laugh>. So there’s, I was very aware that there was a dichotomy in that sort of budding relationships. Indeed <laugh>,

Annie Carpenter (01:19:55):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:19:57):

So of course the, the podcast is at the crossroads between business. So what we do and and mindfulness <laugh> what I care about <laugh>. And I would like for you to share with us, us if you don’t mind, what’s your ritual? What do you do every day that supports you or keeps you grounded and balanced, whatever it may be?

Annie Carpenter (01:20:15):

No, I think I might be surprising or frankly surprising to me these days is that when I was younger and I had a really, really strong asana practice and I would, in the mornings would be my, what I call the quiet practices, which is I almost always start with pranayama and then I sit and sometimes that’s 15 minutes and sometimes that’s 30 minutes. That’s it. And then later in the day I do my asana practice. And the asana practice used to be this one big thing that was an hour and a half, sometimes two. And it’s not like that anymore in, and I think it’s just age. And in the mornings I get up and I have this really simple, I have the ropes wall, the Iyengar ropes wall and, and my little homeroom here. And I do a series of stretches and shoulder stabilizers and you know, on that.


And it might just be 10 minutes, then I do the emailing and all that stuff. And then I’ll sit, usually in the morning I’ll sit and breathe and, and do that. And then later I’ll do a practice and then later I’ll do a long walk outside just to get outside. And then I come home and after the walk I have 15, 20 minute hip and calf release <laugh> series of, it’s not really yin cuz I need to stabilize all the time. I, so it’s this thing through the day. And the lesson is the, the meta message here is my yoga practice fits into my life in order to support my life. And I think when I was a younger yogi and I was establishing myself, my self-identity as a yogi and as a yoga teacher, it was more formal. And this is the meditation practice. And although this is the awesome practice and you know, separate and not integrated and, and I didn’t even add what the days that I get to go out birding, which to me when I finish I feel like I’ve just had a meditation practice.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:22:17):

Which I’m pretty sure you have had by that point because they, depending on the intention and the focus, the concentration that we bring to the experiences we have, it is, you know, there’s a quantifies my

Annie Carpenter (01:22:29):

That I just haven’t read the book yet, I can’t remember the author, sorry. But it’s about, she calls it slow birding. And it’s the idea that many birders today are, they keep a life list and they try to build more and more and more and more and more and more birds. It’s, you know, on that list, hundreds and hundreds of birds and they try to get so many in each year and just all this stuff. And that to me is not interesting and actually takes me away from <laugh> my enjoyment of watching the birds again, the little brown jobs, they have really interesting and odd behaviors and oftentimes I can tell ’em apart, we have a, a pair of scrub js and a pair of stellar js that come cuz we put out peanuts in the morning and they come and we know, oh, that’s the one that always tries to get two in hez beak <laugh>. And that’s the one that goes back and forth and back and forth and, and that’s the one that fights and that’s the one that screams and yells and you know, and you ju you’re just with them.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:23:28):

Oh wow.

Annie Carpenter (01:23:29):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:23:29):


Annie Carpenter (01:23:31):

But I don’t That’s hilarious. Put ’em on my list and I don’t, are you with me? I’m not trying to get anywhere with it. I just wanna be out and with the birds.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:23:43):

Yeah. But hold on a second. How do the cats feel about that?

Annie Carpenter (01:23:46):

Oh well one cat sleeps through it Jojo.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:23:48):


Annie Carpenter (01:23:49):

She’s, she sleeps in in the morning cuz she’s up all night bothering us. But Hazel gets up with us and she sits her little cat perch and she scratches the window and the birds don’t care. <laugh>

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:24:05):

That’s hilarious. Yeah. Yeah. Cuz yeah, my puppy loves birds. A k a he wants to jump on them and every time he sees one walking by the lake is hilarious cuz it’s like the most entertainment he’s ever seen in his life. He saw swans last week and it is like, he was very scared of them and they really were trying to scare him as well. <laugh>, highly entertaining

Annie Carpenter (01:24:29):

Goose geese swans can be mean.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:24:33):

Yeah. Yeah. I, I I lived in London over at the canal and we had, we had wild geese and also damn they make a lot of noise <laugh> in the middle of the night. I wanna add.


Yeah. I mean, I dunno if it was mating season, but it was, it was very loud. I just realized there was one question I forgot before. So at the end of our 50 hour communication teacher training, you prepared three questions for us. And the last one was really interesting and, and really deep, and I want to add this to our list, but I realized in listening to another podcast interview that this was also a question that you were asking yourself, not just asking us. And the question was, who am I? So I would like to ask you the theme question. <laugh>, who is Annie? It

Annie Carpenter (01:25:28):

Was so, as you know, because you have thought about this Anne <laugh> that can be answered at so many levels. And I think as we’re younger and we’re establishing ourselves in yoga, we talk about the ashrams, which are periods of life, the stages of life. And I’m approaching, you know, the, the, the last stage. Here it is the stage where the other definitions, you know, where I live, what I do, who my family is, how I identify all those things, while essential and important and I continue to live that is doesn’t matter as much. And I think that is the trajectory that all yoga practice is meant to take us, is who am I? And yes, we find our dharma, what we should be doing with our lives, how we should be sharing our lives, all of those things. But ultimately, and I try to ask myself this question at least once a day, who am I?


Is is the question that takes us past the misunderstanding, the misapprehension, the, the myth <laugh> of how and why we identify with all things phenomenological rather than identifying with things that we can in, in good moments of the day, know and identify with as eternal. And the good meditations. I think, you know, this Anne, take us to at least have brief moments, brief glimpses of that. But in the good times, on the good days, I do know that I am an eternal energetic spark spirit soul. You know, my names for it have changed and continue to change over the years. But I do know that. And that while I identify with this body and the things this body has done and hopefully will continue to do for a bit longer, I do know that Annie Carpenter <laugh> is this, this little energetic pulse and this little light that animates this vehicle that I call Annie.


And while you know, that leads us back to abhinivesha. Yes, this vehicle will be finished at some point, and to your point, probably sooner than I expected, and probably thankfully sooner than I expected. Cuz who wants to suffer And that light, that energy pulse will find its way and continue whether that’s an, you know, just something pulsing out in the ether or being living in a vehicle of another sort, who knows and who and frankly who cares. so, so I, I do invite myself to remember the, and to identify with that eternal bit that is very small <laugh>. And it does help me get through all the changes that seem swifter these days and, and appreciate the changes and welcome the changes knowing that there is some, some sense of constancy.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:28:54):

Thank you very much. What is a quote that you either love or live

Annie Carpenter (01:29:00):

By? Well, I, you know, I was gonna say hope is the thing with feathers. I, I presume <laugh>, that’s the Emily Dickinson mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But you know what I think because I have thought so much about teaching and inspiration and in both seeking new learnings for myself, but also being a, a teacher. I have two that, that really i, I try to live by in my dharma, if you will. And one is Noam Chomsky, you probably know. And his this one, there are many of his that are really inspiring. He says: ‘If you are teaching today what you were teaching five years ago, either your field is dead or you are.’

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:29:43):

<laugh>. I love it. Oh my God. Oh, that’s exceptional.

Annie Carpenter (01:29:47):

So, you know, it’s, don’t sit on your laurels, I mean, for all the reasons, you know, but in the moments where we feel accomplished and we have some sense of success and the sense that we feel like we’re reaching students or student students are showing up, I don’t wanna be stuck and have to teach the same old, same old. And I have known teachers over the years who’ve, who’ve literally come to see and said, Annie, you seem to keep evolving. And I feel like I have this great success and I feel like my students want the same thing and I feel like I can’t change. And what I know and hopefully live by is that I can only teach what I’m living and my practice has evolved. And I don’t teach Ashtanga anymore, even though I have great respect for it. I feel like it’s for younger people.


I don’t teach a younger strictly, even though I studied that fairly, you know, fairly married to it for a number of years. Anyway, my point is that I, I wanna keep learning and I wanna keep understanding and, and part of it is what suits the physical body I’m in, but also I need philosophy. I need to cultivate meaning. And maybe because the world is a little scary right now, and I feel like people don’t care and there’s, you know, creed and all that. And I need to balance that with a sense of, of hope and, and meaning and joy. So there, so there’s that side of things. But also I, I’ve learned more about the body and how it ages and, you know, pre-menopause is different from post-menopause and all those things. So I, if I’m not continuing to learn and you know, if I am bored, then you are gonna be bored <laugh>. Right. So bottom line.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:31:40):

Oh, that’s such a good point. Oh wow. Yeah, of course. I mean, that would be cheap for me as

Annie Carpenter (01:31:44):

Well. Well, that’s why we get along <laugh>. And then last one, and this is from Albert Einstein, and he has so many good quotes. He says: ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:32:01):

That’s just me clapping in the background.

Annie Carpenter (01:32:03):

<laugh>. Yeah. I, I, you know, and, and that’s enough said, he said it, it’s, you know, if it’s not simple to me, then I, it’s, I’m not ready to teach it.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:32:14):

Hmm. Amen. <laugh>. So what is a word that you would say is not necessarily just a favorite word, but one that you could theoretically tattoo on yourself or live with or live by? Oh

Annie Carpenter (01:32:28):

Gee, you know, a million words came to my mind and I hadn’t thought about this as a, you know, one word thing, but how about this malt?

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:32:40):

 please explain <laugh>. So

Annie Carpenter (01:32:44):

Birds malt at least three times and some birds malt four times a year, which means they literally lose all their feathers and grow a whole new set. And they do that of course, you know, depends upon, are you male or female? Are you courting all the things, but in a word, it’s the willingness to let go of all that you seem to be and become something entirely new and do the work that that requires. It takes a lot of energy to, to grow a whole new set of feathers for that tiny little guy.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:33:20):

That’s amazing. I had no, I, I don’t feel like I knew this, but it’s beautiful because I’ve often related to the, I wanna say the same process that happens in snakes when they shed their old skin, which I think is remarkable. And I think that to your point about the different ashrams and the stages in life, sometimes we need to let go of who we were because we’re entering, we

Annie Carpenter (01:33:46):

Need to retire,

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:33:48):

<laugh> retire it, and <laugh> and it makes us feel very vulnerable, naked and tender.

Annie Carpenter (01:33:54):

And that’s what they say about the birds is, is when they’re malting. You know, if there were a freeze that came through, they’d be way more vulnerable to the cold. And you know, feathers are all kinds of protection and they don’t fly as well until all the feathers have come through fully. So yeah, it’s a vulnerable time just like with the snakes and just like with us when we’re, when we’re going through a change.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:34:17):

Mm. Thank you so much. Mott, what song Oh Boy Best represents You? Ah,

Annie Carpenter (01:34:26):

You know, I love <laugh>. You might be surprised by this, but I love gospel and soul. Not, not necessarily the blues, but you know, in that direction. Things I listen to over and over again are people like the Staple Singers, which is a, a great gospel group. And oddly enough, I’m not thinking of a particular song right now, but let me say, there are songs of praises and they generally have a seeking or the, the gospel, they, it’s all about forgive me. Mm-hmm. I have sinned. Mm-hmm But I’m staying with it. I don’t, I can’t, funny, I can’t think of a song. I also love Van Morrison. Mind you

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:35:09):

<laugh>. Okay. <laugh>. You can always send me the song after when it comes to you cuz it, I know it’s a very tough question, but let me know when you find one that you feel would fit the bill because I’ve put together a playlist, which is incredibly eclectic for every guest of the podcast to answer the question. Could even be, it’s really fun.

Annie Carpenter (01:35:30):

Okay, I will do that.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:35:32):

<laugh>. Ah, interesting. Yeah, cuz my mine is Marvin Gaye

Annie Carpenter (01:35:35):

Actually. Which, which one?

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:35:37):

It’s Ain’t No Mountain.

Annie Carpenter (01:35:39):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:35:39):

No with Tammy Terrell. We love

Annie Carpenter (01:35:41):

That. Yeah. Okay girl. Yeah. It’s another way we connect. Yeah.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:35:46):

Well actually next question, what does connection mean? You

Annie Carpenter (01:35:49):

Know, again, if we sense that the truest part of ourselves is that energetic pulse, I do think that their energetic pulses, you know, mine and yours for example, that that tune easily. And that doesn’t mean we become the same, but that we resonate can resonate together in the same way. You know, you might be a C major and I’m a G major, but it works. So, so there’s that piece. And I think connection is easier when we know what our pulse pulses

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:36:19):

<laugh>. Oh.

Annie Carpenter (01:36:20):

When, when we’re young we try to have these deep relationships and, and maybe they’re good and fun and pleasant and you know, all of that and maybe we even grow in them. But I think that the type of relationship we’re capable of having later when we recognize that pulse and what supports that pulse and helps us know it better and be seen and see another, it’s very different.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:36:46):

Thank you very much. What is a secret superpower that you have? So none of the ones that I’ve listed already, cuz obviously they’re not secret

Annie Carpenter (01:36:57):

<laugh>. Oh. You know, it’s not that secret. I, I’m a pretty good, I make food Well <laugh> I know it’s good cause I’m so damn skinny. I, I like to make food. I love, you know, really fresh, local, organic. It’s simp it’s not fancy food, but I, I do almost all the cooking for us and, and I enjoy that. Sometimes I get bored and I have to get reinvigorated. I read recipes, I get a couple of blogs. Yeah. I, I love Oh great. I love food. I love fresh organic food. Yeah.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:37:31):

That’s secret <laugh>. Wonderful. Thank you. What is a favorite book that you could share with us?

Annie Carpenter (01:37:38):

I’m looking at my, the bedside table that has stacks, you know, of books Uhhuh that maybe I haven’t finished but that are, go back

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:37:47):

To don’t know what you mean.

Annie Carpenter (01:37:49):

<laugh>? <laugh> I can’t see, but I can imagine, oh, you know which one I’ve been enjoying and still haven’t finished is gosh, I can’t pronounce his name. Edward Young, I think is his, is his last name. I think that’s his name. It’s called An Immense World. Have you read it?

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:38:05):

Oh no, but I’ve heard about it.

Annie Carpenter (01:38:07):

Yeah. I think it’s on some bestseller list this year. It’s a new book. Yeah. This guy, he’s a scientist and a writer, incredible writer. And each chapter is a different animal or animal group and he dives deep into the way their senses create their world. And of course his intention is that we recognize how defined and thus small our world is because we can only hear in this range and we can, our eyes are forward like some animals, their eyes are on the sides who are always walking forward into our world rather than living in the world. Mosquitoes can taste with their feet. They have, as it were tongues when they land on us.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:38:55):

Oh, I heard that before. That’s crazy. There

Annie Carpenter (01:38:57):

Are all kinds of interesting superpowers to us that define and create their worlds and they’re vastly different. And of course we are so human-centric and, and of course that’s one of my goals in life is to be less that. And we can’t know their worlds without someone doing all this research and trying to describe it to us. So it’s just fascinating and it is the kind of book that you can read a chapter and think about it for a week or two and then go back. I think you’ll love it. An immense world.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:39:30):

It sounds absolutely incredible. Thank you so much. I will definitely buy it. Where is somewhere you visited that you felt really had an impact on who you are today?

Annie Carpenter (01:39:43):

Oh, so many cuz you know, I, I traveled as a dancer and and then now again as a, as a yoga teacher, you know what popped into my head is when I was 17 and I went to New York the first time to do what then was called the June course at the Martha Graham School. And I had only mostly been in this relatively small town and my sister accompanied me. I think we took the train up and spent one night there just to make sure, you know, cuz I, I was kid. Anyway, we went down to the Lower East Side to have Indian food. There’s a whole section so you may remember and oh gosh, is it, is it St. Mark’s Is, is that the one that’s downtown on First Avenue? I think.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:40:33):

I think so. Yeah. I love that place. Place, yeah.

Annie Carpenter (01:40:36):

Stairs. Anyway, so after dinner we walked out, went down and I guess we’re getting a cab to go back. I was staying on the upper sort of Middle East side. Anyway, I remember while we were waiting for the cab, looking out at the steps in front of this cathedral and seeing numerous homeless people and I had never seen that before. And I remember asking, what, what’s going on over here? She says, oh, those are the homeless, you know, as if to say don’t look over there or don’t, that’s not our concern. And I don’t know if, I wonder if she even would remember this. I’ll ask her.


We went back to this little hotel where we were staying at and I was sick to my stomach, literally sick. And I remember trying to push that away, that feeling and where the Graham school, they’re less homeless, at least at that time. But now I, in a word I try to remember it to, to remember the privilege I have. And it’s not that I’m a terribly wealthy person or anything like that, but I have virtually every privilege I’ve ever imagined anything I thought I really wanted. for the most part I’ve been able to at least try and not felt the kind of resistance that I would say many, many people do. And so you know, I’m sorry it’s not a positive inspiring memory, but it, it has been and it has come back more easily to me in the last 15, 20 years. I think I’m able to have more empathy maybe cuz I’m more comfortable in my skin. But yeah, I think in the same way we’re human-centric, we’re also a type of human-centric many of us, most of us perhaps, and open up to that and to try to live in ways that, and in some way diminish it or, or help it as this certainly a goal.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:42:55):

Thank you. I’m really glad that you shared that story. And now for my last and always favorite question, what brings you happiness?

Annie Carpenter (01:43:06):

So many things. well to go back, good food, good food makes me happy. Certainly birding. What one of the highlighting experiences for me, and this is hard to feel over zoom to get back to that question, is when I see a student make a self-discovery is, and I’m, I don’t take ownership cuz I, you know, cuz a lot of ’em don’t get self-discovery or certainly not every day, but when I see someone have that aha moment, whether it’s understanding something in their body or, here’s my favorite one is when I s when I see them recognize that they’re judging and over pushing themselves and they pause and that, that’s almost that sort of giggly acceptance of why am I giving myself such a hard time <laugh>, you know, there is such joy in, in watching people light up and get closer to who they really are. It’s nothing like it.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:44:09):


Annie Carpenter (01:44:11):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:44:12):

You so much. This has been a, a really wonderful conversation. I’m so glad that we could have this time together and that you would indulge me in answering all of my questions.

Annie Carpenter (01:44:24):


Anne V Muhlethaler (01:44:26):

I could stay on the line for another couple of hours, but I think it’s, it’s been a while. Let’s release you back to Sam and the cats. Can I just ask you, you said that you’re going to be traveling in a little bit next year. When and where can people expect to find you in person if we’d like to connect?

Annie Carpenter (01:44:43):

Thank you Anne. I will be in LA for one weekend in January doing a couple workshops. I’m coming to you to Europe in May. Yay. And I’ll be in Munich and Vienna, the festival in the Austrian Alps. More, more information that soon.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:45:03):


Annie Carpenter (01:45:04):

And I’ll be back in Australia next November and that’ll be Melbourne and Sydney and maybe Byron, I haven’t decided about that one yet. So, Ooh. So those are the big ones. Ooh,

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:45:15):

I’m happily traveled there to find you

Annie Carpenter (01:45:18):

<laugh>. Oh, come, come to Australia.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:45:20):

Been a while since I’ve been to, to Australia, so I will put links to everything, the Smart Flow Yoga, Glo, et cetera, for anybody who wants to, to get in touch, follow you. They’ll have all of the access. Thanks again. Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day and weekend.

Annie Carpenter (01:45:38):

Thank you Anne, it’s been such a pleasure.

Anne V Muhlethaler (01:45:42):

So friends and listeners, thanks again for joining me today. If you’d like to hear more, you can subscribe to the show on the platform of your choice. If you’d like to connect, you can get in touch with me on Twitter @Annvi, on LinkedIn Anne Muhlethaler or on Instagram @_OutoftheClouds, where I also share daily musings about mindfulness. You can also find all of the episodes of the podcast and much more on my website, AnneVMuhlethaler.com. If you don’t know how to spell it, it’s also gonna be in the show notes. If you would like to get regular news directly delivered to your inbox, I invite you to sign up to my monthly newsletter. So that’s it for this episode.


Thank you so much for listening to Out of the Clouds. I hope that you will join me again next time and until then be well be safe and take care.