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Stillpoints: A Podcast with Scott Johnson

Oct 24, 2020

#020: Prem & Radha Carlisi


Scott talks to Prem and Radha Carlisi (and their lovely dogs) about their friendship since 2008 and how they've evolved over an incredibly close, and tender, twelve years of knowing each other.


We'd like to invite you to join our growing Stillpoint Online Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness community. We live stream Ashtanga Yoga assisted self practice and guided classes with evening mindfulness sessions over 6 days with Scott Johnson and the Stillpoint teaching faculty. It's a beautiful way to navigate these times...


Anthony ‘Prem’ Carlisi and Heather ‘Radha’ Carlisi first came together as a teaching team in Sri Lanka in 2007. They felt a powerful synergy between their combined energy as teachers, which led them to continue to teach together internationally. They were married in 2013.

In December 2008 they travelled to Bali, where in November 2009 they established the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Research Center (AYBRC). In their shala they teach in the tradition of K. Pattabhi Jois, with whom they both studied for many years. Prem first travelled to Mysore to study in 1978, and Radha in 1995 having begun her study of Ashtanga yoga with Chuck Miller in 1990.

Following the example set by Krishnamacharya, they adapt their teaching to the individual needs of each student. They also apply their knowledge Ayurveda to their unique teaching style, blending the elements of Ashtanga yoga and Ayurveda to help students to achieve a balanced lifestyle well beyond their asana practise.

Prem and Radha have many shared at AYBRC. You can find out more about their teaching schedule here.



Finding Humility Together - Prem and Radha Carlisi 


In this moving conversation Scott, Prem and Radha share intimate and tender memories of their friendship over the past 12 years. Prem and Radha are deeply open and honest about how their relationship managed the passing of Prem's daughter Shanti in 2012 and how they navigated people coming to their Yoga Shala in Bali and their own yoga practices. We are left with hope....

In this deeply moving conversation Prem & Radha share:

  • The challenges they’ve faced running a Mysore shala from Bali during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • How Scott contacted Prem in 2008 after reading ‘The Only Way Out is In’, and ended up hosting both Prem and Radha for a London workshop.
  • Prem’s motivation for writing his book - to share his perspective as a ‘regular guy’ so that people would know that yoga is accessible to anyone.
  • That after Radha’s first yoga class - which she found in the Yellow Pages - she told the teacher (Chuck Miller) that she was going to be a yoga teacher.
  • About the incredible support Radha has given Prem in his work and in his personal life.
  • About how they set up Ashtanga Yoga Bali together, and how it felt like everything was falling into place for them. 
  • That everything collapsed in 2013 with the death of Prem’s daughter, Shanti.
  • How they managed to keep the shala open, with crowds coming to see them, while struggling to come to terms with this tragic loss. 
  • The thoughtless comments that Prem received about how, as a long term yogi, he should be able to deal with grief.
  • How grief forces a deeper perspective to Ashtanga yoga practise beyond the physical. 
  • That teaching - being able to give to others - can be a solace, and that suffering can bring empathy.
  • The sense of humbling humiliation that Prem felt, in the face of such grief after this life-changing loss, despite external material successes.  
  • Their intentions around organising Ashtanga yoga conferences, hoping to keep the community connected after K. Pattabhi Jois died. 
  • The responsibility that senior teachers have to pass on the subtler layers of practise that move beyond the physical.
  • About why Ashtanga yoga is a constant process of discovery, rather than a static set of rules. 
  • How important it is to meet all students as individuals, and that teaching this way becomes a dance. 
  • That an ‘advanced’ practise isn’t necessary to experience the principles of Ashtanga yoga practise: breath, bandha, and  drishti. 
  • The relationship between the ethereal aspects of practise and how they relate to our physical being.
  • Learning to dance with the people in our lives and with ourselves: Nataraja, Shiva, the aspect of life and death. 
  • How Prem’s practise has become more contemplative over time, spending hours in meditation.
  • How Radha has become more forgiving of herself, and that in finding more freedom in her practise she has a better understanding of who she is, rather than who she thinks she’s supposed to be.  



‘'I've been wanting to have this conversation with my dear friends Prem and Radha since I started the Stillpoints Podcast. It is one of the tenderest and most open conversations I have had and I loved the candid honesty that both Prem and Radha bring. They share how they have navigated grief together and that this is now the foundation of their relationship. We're left with a sense of hope. That it's a dance...

Scott Johnson - September 2020 

If you enjoyed this podcast then you might also enjoy Scott’s conversations with John Scott, Dr Matthew Clark and Liz Lark.