Full Heart Yoga:  Yoga for Health and Wholeness

Why Full Heart Yoga?

Lakshmi hiking in the cloudsWhat I offer - as an embodiment guide and a facilitator of inner transformation (as well as a anthologist, writer and filmmaker) - is insight into how to cultivate your relationship with your own wisdom, your own knower and knowingness. I share a modern, tender and accessible approach to ancient knowledge  how to deepen inner listening, how to refine discernment, how to focus concentration, how to flow with life rather than resist its movements, and how to harness the inherent energy accessible within change.

The teachings that move through me are universally accessible: everyone holds the keys within. All you need to have is a body, the curiosity to explore, and the desire to heed your inner call.

The doorway of deep grief brought me to yoga in 1998, and loss has continued to be one of my greatest teachers. My journey since losing my mother at the age of 20 has allowed me to inhabit my physical, emotional, mental, and energetic body in a way that is curious rather than commandeering, kind rather than critical, intuitive rather than intellectual.

I have been teaching hatha yoga since 2009, been a yoga therapist (specializing in cancer and chronic illness) since 2011, an Awakened Heart meditation teacher since 2015. The somatic wisdom of Embodyoga and Body-Mind Centering has permeated all aspects of my offerings since 2020. I have instructed over 2800 hours of classes, completed over 1500 hours of advanced training and study.

The years I spent at a Quaker hiking canoeing summer camp  in nature and in silence - profoundly impacted me. Other significant influences include My Sri Lankan Hindu mothers deep kindness and joy attending nearly any house of worship, my atheist-but-Orthodox Jewish-raised fathers appreciation for the inherent elegance of mathematics woven into the fabric of our universe. I have also been blessed by grace transmitted through the several living wisdom streams.

I share my teachings, wisdom, and gifts in service of deep healing for humanity and our planet. I am also renovating a house in coastal Alaska to offer transformational programming and events supported by the wisdom held within the wilderness.

Yoga Aliiance E-RYT200Yoga Aliiance E-RYT200Yoga Alliance RYT500



I offer the following approaches, tailoring my instruction based on the needs of each individual and group that I meet.

  • Yoga quote by Desikachar Meditation & Meditation Coaching
  • Private Yoga Therapy
  • Spiritual Companionship & Direction
  • Private Yoga Instruction
  • Somatic Exploration
  • Yoga for Beginners
  • Mixed Level and Advanced Alignment Yoga
  • Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques
  • Science of Sleep panel discussion, photo by J KnightYogic and Spiritual Philosophy
  • Yoga for Grief
  • Yoga for Cancer and Chronic Illness
  • Yoga for Chronic Pain
  • Gentle Yoga
  • Adaptive and Chair Yoga
  • Breathing Practices
  • Trauma-Informed Yoga
  • Corporate Yoga

Yoga has continually revealed to me the deep intelligence of our bodies, the boundless wisdom of our hearts, and the resilient power of our true natures. I teach yoga with the goals of increasing compassion, happiness, beauty and healing in the world. I love sharing the incredible benefits of yoga, and seeing students expand and grow from the inside out.



Weekly Public Classes



  • feet up in hammock over Amazon rainforestNature as Ritual in Alaska
    More info coming soon!
  • Nature as Ritual in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes




Please do not hesitate to be in touch!

  • Yoga Asana and Yogic Philosophy
    • Healing through Fierce Transitions
    • Yoga and Yogic Wisdom for Fierce Times
    • Yoga for New Beginnings
    • Peaceful Warrior in the Eye of the Storm
    • Cultivating Abundance
  • Yogic Philosophy & Meditation
    • Find the Joy in Everything: Surfing the Ups and Downs of Life with Tantra
    • Tantric Teachings of the Heart
    • Turning Towards Shakti: A Tantric View of Reality
    • Satsang: Saying Yes to Life
  • Sacred Circles
    • New Moon Circles
    • Full Moon Circles
    • Solstice and Equinox Circles
    • Goddess Circles
  • Yoga and Sound Healing
    • Matrika Shakti: Yoga Asana and the Power of Sound
    • Yoga Asana and Shamanic Sound Healing
  • Yoga Therapy
    • Support in Healing
    • Yoga Therapy for Immune Support
    • Yoga Therapy for Lyme Disease and Autoimmune Conditions
    • Yoga Therapy for Heart Disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Yoga Therapy for Chronic Illness & Caregivers
    • Yoga for Stress Relief
    • Yoga for Grief
  • Yoga Asana
    • Inversion Playshops


About Lakshmi

Lakshmi at the White HouseElizabeth Lakshmi Kanter (yes that is her full name, given at birth) is a Yoga Therapist certified through the International Association for Yoga Therapists as well as by Jnani Chapman in Yoga Therapy for Cancer and Chronic Illness (YCat). She has served on the YCat training faculty, and is an E-RYT200, RYT500 Yoga Teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. Lakshmi received Meditation Teacher Training through Sally Kempton and the Dharana Institute and has been given blessings to teach texts and philosophy from the heart of her lineage. In 2015, Lakshmi completed Sacred Journey: Being Present with Aging, Illness and Dying, a nine-month contemplative course offered by Insight Meditation Community of Washington. In 2021, she finished Shraddha Yoga / Yoga Center Amherst's Embodyoga training, drawn deeply from Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen's Body-Mind Centering work with embryological development and early childhood movement patterns. In 2024 Lakshmi was certified through Cloud Sangha's Mindfulness Mentor Training with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.

Yoga and meditation have transformed Lakshmi both energetically and physically, helping her heal from physical injuries and also from the loss of her mother to breast cancer in 1999. Her Sri Lankan mother often spoke about the incredible healing power of our own breath, and Lakshmi now understands the truth and profundity of that insight.

Her instruction is insightfully tailored for the specific individuals in each and every class. Her teaching repertoire includes stress management techniques, gentle yoga, breathing practices, relaxation, guided imagery and visualization, chair postures, more vigorous therapeutic and alignment-oriented physical practices, meditation, and kindness.

Lakshmi has led yoga classes and retreats for people with cancer through INOVA Alexandria Hospitalís Life With Cancer program, Washington Cancer Institute, and Yogaville. She has worked with the Cancer Help Program at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, taught trauma survivors and human trafficking survivors, and assisted retreats at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Lakshmi also teaches at studios, nonprofits, museums, community events, corporations, conferences, festivals, and for private clients.

Lakshmi’s awareness, breath and movement accompanied her throughout twenty years of a high-stress, travel-filled career in documentary science television production, science communications, and urban education.  She holds a BA in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University and studied Photography at California College of the Arts. She loves to cook, and loves to dance!







  • Contemplation in The Phillips Collection's Laib Wax Room, Photo by Bill O'LearyAmerican Alliance of Museums, 2015 MUSE Audio Tours and Podcasts Bronze Award for The Phillips Collection Contemplation Audio Tour

    Jurors said: “With the advent of events such as Slow Art Day, there is a recognized desire to slow down the museum experience, and make it more contemplative. This audio tour does just that, encouraging deliberate interaction with art objects and slow looking. The high level of engagement and follow-through of those who take the tour is significant, and offers new ways into experiencing the art.”



Listen to Audio Teachings

  • ListeningAwareness Practice
    Listen to the MP3 file now (7m 45s)

    The Awareness Practice, or Witness Practice, is an opportunity to draw your attention to whatever you are experiencing right now, to check in with all the different layers of yourself - body, emotions, thoughts, energy, and breath. You are simply witnessing and becoming present to what is happening in this moment. There is no need to shift or change or judge your experience. Developing your awareness is an opportunity to observe the truth of your experience right here, right now - more and more clearly and consciously. Seeing clearly, acknowledging, and accepting are the first step to creating change.

  • Guided Relaxation
    Listen to the MP3 file now (14m 15s)

    Lie down comfortably and allow yourself to be guided through a progressive relaxation. When you relax more fully, your body's innate wisdom can offer nourishment and rejuvenation from this calm but awakened state.

  • Three Part Breath - Reclining then Seated
    Listen to the MP3 file now (12m 7s)

    Three part deep breathing is calming, supports efficient energy production, and is nourishing to your immune system. This guided session will help you cultivate deep, easeful, efficient and rejuvenating breath in your daily life. We will start reclining on the floor, and then transition to a comfortbale upright seat - allowing you to experience the breath in two different orientations for maximum applicability day to day.

  • Concentration and Meditation Workshop
    Listen to the MP3 file now (11m 21s)

    This short session will guide you through an experiential practice of three concentration techniques. Each technique suggests a different focus or anchor for your attention: a word or phrase, an image, and your breath. Whichever technique or anchor works best for you is the best one to use. Experiment and notice which feels easier or more natural for you.

    One technique or anchor is not inherently better than any other. In other words, whatever feels most comfortable for you on any given day is the best one to use. Practicing these concentration techniques regularly - even just for 2 minutes 3 times a day, or 5 minutes daily - can start to shift activity in your brain over the course of several weeks, not only the regions of your brain that are activated, but also the types of brainwaves that you generate. These practices can literally change our brains!

    Concentrating does not mean that you are trying to stop the flow of thoughts or to stop thinking. Instead, these practices are an opportunity to give the mind something to concentrate on, to focus on and return to between the flow of thoughts - rather than getting lost in the endless stream of thoughts. These practices of returning the mind over and over to one object of concentration can lead towards a meditative state.



  • Butterfly and Caterpillar transformation, Art by Walker Fee A great and ancient question is “Who am I?”. Yoga’s breathing and poses are one path to face this question. Elizabeth Lakshmi is an able guide for those choosing to try or commit to this path. She consistently offers questions and teachings that are not only significant but that everyone can engage with in their everyday life. It is hard to find someone whose presence exudes such quiet capable optimism!

    FD, yoga therapy client since 2016

  • It was pretty impressive how you got those muscle spasms to relax! Thanks for your suggestions, perspectives and support.

    -ML, client with intense back pain

  • I know we have more Goddess Circles coming up, but I wanted to try to express how truly grateful I am. I hope it shows how far you ... have helped me along in healing.

    You already know some of my background - the anxiety and panic attacks have really interfered in my life this past year. I used to get a panic attack once or at most, twice a year until recently. They were starting to become a monthly, then almost weekly occurrence. And as bad as the emotional part is, the physical symptoms of not sleeping, body aches, severe headaches, etc were also starting to take over. I was worried that they would hurt me, my relationships and career path. I knew I needed to find help, but with anxiety, it’s a catch-22. The fear kept me from going into a doctor or psychologist.

    So I started yoga classes since the one thing that I know that helps is movement/exercise, and somehow I ended up in the Goddess Circles. I was really, really close to letting my anxiety keep me from showing up to the first one.

    Anyway, fast forward to now… and I can’t say enough to explain how much better I’ve been feeling, even in this short time. With your guidance, I’ve been able to start to face the fear and really explore the source of the pain. You’ve given me the knowledge and the encouragement to pay attention and work through this. Thank you for your kind words, your warmth, and all of the time you’ve put into this.

    I know I still need to practice and continue to put in the work, but I feel like ... I can keep asking for help when I need it. That’s a very liberating feeling. Life can be really, really tough, so thank you for being there to remind me of all the beauty and love that exists, too.

    -MC, Goddess Circle attendee

  • As you know I have several autoimmune conditions. Along with the conditions comes the stress and anxiety of everyday life and the unknowns that go along with these conditions. The physical benefits of yoga have been numerous. I have found improved, strength, flexibility and endurance. My conditions are systemic and I do not haven a particular area that I focus on. I have found my relationship with my body has become more positive. My body is no longer something I am fighting against. I respect that sometimes I need to rest and sometimes I need to move. I am also more focused on what my body can do and not what it can't do.

    I was most impacted by the practice of being present more often. I found that being more present at work, one of the main points of stress in my life, I was able to focus more on what I was doing and less on when the work day would be over. Work has become more enjoyable and I am working toward incorporating more practice in my work day.

    I have tried to start yoga practice before but was not able to get going. This class was the right pace and offered practices that I could fit into my life. Each week i looked for ways to slowly add to my practice. I always felt encouraged to explore small ways to in incorporate the weekly topic into my life.

    I found shutting the door and meditating for three to five minutes when my students are at specials or lunch decreased my anxiety. I challenged myself to ask for time and space at home to practice. I used breath to prepare for my biweekly injections. I found a place to practice yoga in a chair while my dad was in surgery. I practice neck and shoulder movements in the car when at a stoplight. I use waterfall pose when in the airport to reduce swelling and relax prior to a flight. The handouts helped me to search for an ap that had a yoga nidra practice similar to the one used in class. While using the treadmill I stopped listening to music or watching tv and focused on being present during my workout and it went faster and is more enjoyable.

    When I started the first session, I wanted to try to reduce my anxiety/antidepressant medication. I am happy to say that I have reduced my medication by half. I have more energy, I am more productive, and I am more positive about my body. I still have anxiety but now I acknowledge it and work to reduce it. I am sure I mentioned some things in class that I have forgotten here. Please feel free to use whatever you remember. I am looking forward to the next session. You are a great instructor Elizabeth Lakshmi. Thanks for all you do.

    -TP, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Sjrogen's Syndrome Survivor

  • I’ve been a yogi for six years, but after my bone marrow transplant, my body wasn't able to do all the twists and poses it used to do. Working with Elizabeth Lakshmi has helped me ease back into a yoga practice that is integrated into my recovery process. She has also introduced me to relaxation techniques, breathwork and guided imagery that have helped immensely when dealing with illness and traumatic life changes. Her knowledge of therapeutic techniques has given more confidence in my own body and more ease of mind.

    -AL, Cancer Survivor

  • Learning yoga with Elizabeth Lakshmi has been incredible. As a total beginner, I was nervous about attending classes in studios and wanted to proceed at my own pace and schedule. She blends the philosophy of yoga into the physical practice with each and every pose, all with a tireless patience and an ever-ready smile. I wish I could do yoga with her every day!

    SC, Beginning Yoga Student

  • Elizabeth Lakshmi's way of being is very conducive to care and compassion.  Her personality is soothing and calm.   I appreciate the time and energy it takes for her to offer personal care. 

    -TC, Trauma Survivor

  • Ms. Kanter led a class that was gentle and soothing to my body. She makes every effort to tailor the yoga to individual needs, by listening and providing guidance and support throughout. Her personal involvement was apparent during the entire class.

    -JS, Cancer Survivor

  • Thanks so much for a great class. No matter the level or simplicity of the poses, there is ALWAYS something to learn, and something to get out of it. You reminded me of that today with a really well instructed and well informed practice!

    -JL, Intermediate Yoga Student

  • Her teaching really works. I feel relaxed and my muscles are more limber and less achy than they've been in weeks. Thank you!

    -AW, Gentle Yoga Student

  • Each time before class Iíve been stressed. But after yoga class, I can breathe better.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • Yoga helps me talk to my body.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • I feel relaxed, I forget everything else that is going on.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • I feel like I can fly, my body feels lifted.

    - Human Trafficking Survivor

  • I found out how to relax and cope with surgery through yoga.

    - Cancer Survivor

  • My goal was to relax and de-stress during treatment and after. I learned to take time for myself Ė to breathe, relax, and clear my mind. Wonderful class and Elizabeth is an amazing instructor!

    - Cancer Surivivor

  • I learned to use yoga practices to recognize my whole, valuable self.

    - Cancer Survivor





(Elizabeth) Lakshmi Kanter
Internationally Certified Yoga Therapist and E-RYT200, RYT500 Yoga Teacher
lakshmi (at) fullheartyoga (dot) com * 510.219.2872 * Washington, DC

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Calligraphy by Nellie Chao
Paintings by Walker Fee
Phillips Collection photos by Bill O'Leary