May Upcoming Events

IMG_4752Schedule Updates:
Tuesdays 6:30a Gentle Level 1 with Michael
Thursdays 7:30p Half Primary with Stella
Fridays 6:00a Full Primary with Linda

Series Classes:
Prenatal Yoga at Step by Step -- Westerville with Julie Carpenter Mondays 6:00p May 9 – July 25 / 10 week $149
6 Week Advanced Vinyasa with Lara Falbert Mondays 7:30p May 9 – June 13 / 6 week $75
Advanced Ashtanga at TTI with Tom Griffith Wednesdays 5:45p May 25 – June 29 / 6 week $75

Workshops:
May 1 – 31 May Commitment Challenge -- 21 or 30 Class and Team options!
May 6 Prema Hara Kirtan with Kamaniya and Keshavacharya Das
May 7 Mother & Daughter Yoga Event with Jennifer Gebhart and Julie Standish
May 8 Sekoia Mother’s Day Mini Retreat with Karine Wascher
May 14 Reiki: Natural Unfolding of a Deeper Healership with Jodi Patton
May 21 Art of Teaching: Arm Balances with Marcia Miller and Tom Griffith
May 22 Art of Teachign: Advanced Sequencing with Marcia Miller and Tom Griffith
May 20 Glowing Goddess Ayurveda: Beauty Rituals to Feel Healthy, Confident and Sexy with Jasmine Grace
May 22 Yoga for Pelotonia Fundraiser with Susan Cunningham
May 27 Glowing Goddess Ayurveda: The Beauty of Digestion with Jasmine Grace

Upcoming Teacher Trainings:
Ayurveda Level 1: Ayurveda Heath Educator -- Kickoff Weekend: May 14-15, 2016
200-HR Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica -- July 1 – July 23, 2016
Meditation Teacher training -- Begins August 20, 2016
Urban Zen Integrative Therapy -- Begins September 2016
Free Information Sessions:
Thursday, May 5 from 6:00p to 7:00p ET -- Conference call
Saturday, May 14 from 4:15p to 5:15p at Yoga on High

Grow Yoga Workshops:
May 1 – 31 May Commitment Challenge -- 21 or 30 Class and Team options!
May 21 Runners’ Workshop with Marcy Freed
May 28 Good V!bes @GrowYogaColumbus with Kelli Schaffter

Free Intro to Sekoia Classes at Lululemon Easton:
Sunday, May 1 from 11:00a to 12:00p with Jasmine Grace
Sunday, May 8 from 11:00a to 12:00p with Alissa Marshall
Sunday, May 15 from 11:00a to 12:00p with Karine Wascher
Sunday, May 22 from 11:00a to 12:00p with Jasmine Grace
Sunday, May 29 from 11:00a to 12:00p with Alissa Marshall

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Announcing the May Commitment Challenge

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Announcing the May Commitment Challenge hosted by @yogaonhigh @growyogacolumbus

For the month of May, join @yogaonhigh and @growyogacolumbus everyday for a pose of the day!  This yoga challenge is for ALL levels.  Each morning we’ll share a slideshow offering a range of levels and modifications for the daily pose so that you can explore what works best in your body on that particular day.  Post every day to win prizes!  Winners will be announced June 1. Prizes from: @sekoiastudios @zestjuiceco @mandukayoga @banyanbotanicals @rootswithwingsdesign @acrobeard @stacee_hill

Also check out our in studio May Commitment Challenge, including solo and team options! “When you make a promise to yourself and you keep it, powerful transformation happens.”  Choose 21 or 30 Class Solo trek or participate as a team, 16 classes each.  Click here to register for in studio May Commitment Challenge

How to participate in Instagram Challenge:

  1. Repost this challenge post and tag your friends to join you.
  2. Follow @yogaonhigh and @growyogacolumbus
  3. Starting May 1st, share a photo of the challenge pose everyday.  
  4. Post your picture and tag @yogaonhigh #yohichallenge  
  5.  Support your yoga community by commenting and like other’s photos.  Make sure your account is public so everyone can see!

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Day 1: Vashistasana (Side Plank Pose)

Day 2: Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)

Day 3: Prapadasana (Tip-Toe Pose Variation)

Day 4: Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Day 5: Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose)

Day 6: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Day 7: Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing Splits Pose)

Day 8: Marichyasana C (Marichi’s Pose)

Day 9: Navasana (Boat Pose)

Day 10: Eka Janu Bitilasana Variation (One Legged Cow Pose)

Day 11: Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

Day 12: Parivritta Trikonasana  (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Day 13: Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)

Day 14: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Day 15: Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)

Day 16: Hamsasana (Swan Pose) Partner Day!

Yoga is #bettertogether – show us your favorite partner pose

Day 17: Padahastasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Day 18: Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

Day 19: Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3 Pose)

Day 20: Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose)

Day 21: Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose)

Day 22: Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Day 23: Viparita Virabhadrasana II (Reverse Warrior 2)

Day 24: Parsva Bhuja Dandasana (Grasshopper Pose)

Day 25: Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose/Yogi Splits)

Day 26: Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Day 27: Ardha Sirsasana (Half Headstand)

Day 28: Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Day 29: Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand Pose)

Day 30: Padmasana (Lotus Pose with Mudra)

 

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Spreading Suffering

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I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story of spreading suffering versus spreading well-being. For many years I have been practicing meditation. At some point it went from being a personal practice to part of my professional work. And, along the way I added many other pieces to what I consider my self-care puzzle—all parts of a whole that I felt were necessary for the expression of the full picture. I thought I had pretty much figured things out.

Then my professional and personal life began to grow. I changed my habit of waking up at the same time, very early, to meditate. I began to squeeze it in, usually on waking, but sometimes later in the day. As a practice, I’ve found some meditation somewhere in my day is OK, and certainly better than no meditation. Though many teachers might say otherwise, my personal experience is that, as long as meditation is a priority in my daily life, varying the time of day of my practice can work for me. The problem was that at a very stressful time in my life, I allowed it to be less of a priority. And there was the slippery slope…

My father became ill, and I became his caregiver. A few months later, as doctors were telling us he was improving, and we were making plans for the future, he passed away suddenly. Then in helping my mother with grief and life-changing transitions of her own, she began to have health issues. Care giving took over my professional life, as I went from full-time work, to part-time work, to time off. I continued to receive support from my own self-care practices and the caregivers in my life, and my family was offered more support in a variety of ways. I began to think that what I had previously considered to be a self-care puzzle was actually a bank. I thought, “I’ve made many deposits in my self-care bank.” I was busy. So I looked at my daily to-do list and my daily self-care support. I began to think if I had a self-care appointment, such as chiropractic or body work, on my schedule that it was pretty much like meditation. So, I skipped my practice. Yes. Me. Often described as a meditation teacher. I began to skip my daily practice, here and there. I thought my bank was full, and that a variety of other practices could continue to replenish that bank. And that felt true. And I felt more anxiety, although I continued to tap into presence, the present, throughout my day. “There’s enough in my bank. I’ll be fine.”

What I didn’t comprehend was that I began to spread suffering. As my meditation practice became intermittent, and my stress level rose, I began to take it out on those closest to me. Sadly, most of us do that. There were also a couple instances where I took out my stress in very painful ways on those outside my immediate family. A friend of mine said, “You lost your shit?!” Yes. Often in the moment of being upset, I was also apologizing for my outburst, but the damage was already done. The waves of suffering were spread.

For many months I would practice meditation a few days a week, receive self-care the other days, and I saw my world so differently. Each day, I fluctuated between feeling OK and feeling anxious, and also some feelings of well-being. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to my life and how it could resolve. And, then, in contemplation I heard, “Go back to the basics.” I listened. I listened a little more. And I realized I was hearing a call to return to meditation as my center. So I did: I made daily meditation a priority, again, and immediately things began to shift. I began to have an overall, abiding sense of well-being. Even though my life was still stressful, I approached it differently. The difficulties no longer threw me off my center. My closest relationships improved. And, overall, I went back to where I had been before—to spreading well-being instead of suffering. Do I still have misunderstandings? Do I still sometimes argue with my spouse? Yes, I’m human. But the underlying current is more of ease and flow, of well-being instead of disharmony.

I often tell people I don’t believe everyone needs meditation to find the ease and peace and inner happiness that is our nature. It seems there are some who come by it without searching; others who have found different entryways. For me, this is my path. I see that it wasn’t a piece of a puzzle; it is the whole.

Stephanie is a meditation teacher, mentor and coach. Thanks to UZIT™ training and other trainings, as well as many years of exploration in Eastern practices, she relies on a variety of self-care practices and practitioners to nourish her body and being. Yet, beneath it all, her meditation practice is the foundation. For more information, you can find her here [link].

 

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The Radiance Sutras 103

 Abandon all these attitudes
Of wanting to prolong pleasure
And avoid suffering.
Let the heart be itself and feel
Whatever is there.

Freed from clinging and avoiding
The heart regains its poise
And revels in creation.

Plunging deep into its center,
Discover that the heart is moved
By a pulse that is everywhere.

This sutra was not the first one I was drawn to, but I found that deciding to choose it was my first lesson. Magical-sounding phrases like “galaxies are flowers on this altar” get my attention first because they quite literally ignite my soul with their omnipresence. However, the verses of sutra 103 contain a collection of words that I knew would grow and shift with me over the month I would be meditating on them. Each separate part of the sutra can be its own unique theme for observation. I needed to learn, breathe, and live these words.

In the beginning of the month, I questioned and dissected the meaning of each word, each sentence, and each verse. I wasn’t convinced I understood or even agreed with what the sutra was trying to say. Reflecting on it, I know I had to go through this process before I could really absorb anything. For example, on the first day I contemplated the first line, “abandon all these attitudes of wanting to prolong pleasure and avoid suffering” while I was in an airplane above the clouds. I thought, “Both pleasure and suffering are human experiences, but what would it mean to exist in the in-between?” Is it even possible to know one experience of just being? What if either pleasure or suffering rules more in your life? It seems too passive to allow the inequality. Then I started to think how pleasure and suffering don’t appear to exist in the sky, and already the sutra was teaching me something.

Even on days when I did not make time to sit with the sutra, certain words seemed to free-flow into my mind when I needed them. I can recall a day I fought to avoid suffering in a personal relationship, and I said “let the heart be itself and feel whatever is there.” These words gave me permission to release and merely feel without judgment; consequently, I changed my negative reaction to this specific situation. Not only was I learning from the sutra, but now I was seeing these lessons in action. What an advanced practice it is to let the heart be itself. The sutra reinforced the idea that I am not my emotions; emotions are merely experiences.

In meditation, I broke down patterns that I did not know I had. I have been experimenting with meditation for years, but always went down the same pathways to go inward. When I meditated on the verse “freed from clinging and avoiding the heart regains its poise,” I was able to cultivate a new way to perceive presence.  I do not have to cling to the parts of life that do not serve me and I do not have to avoid the things in life calling to me. Consciously I learned I could at least try to rid myself of preconceived ideas I had of people, places, or circumstances. I could begin to see what’s really there.

By the end of the month, I really made an effort to formally sit down to explore meditation a little further. When I am not holding onto anything else, I catch glimpses of the sensation to “revel in creation.” All that remains in the center is the conception of everything, which is hard to even explain in words. It’s also damn hard to quiet the mind, and I concluded I am overstimulated. However, I worked to engage in the universal silence; “plunging deep into its center, discover that the heart is moved by a pulse that is everywhere.” And on a late February evening in meditation, I tuned into the pulse. It wasn’t a loud noise, but a subtle steady hum. I know because I’ve heard it before. From here, I have the foundation to sit a little longer, feel a little deeper, and gradually build on this space, this quiet, and this pulse.

Brittny Manos is a student in the Yoga on High 200-hour Teacher Training Program. One of her assignments was to choose a sutra and meditation upon  it for a month, keeping a journal about the experience. This is her summary of her journal. For more information on the on the Yoga on High 200-hour Teacher Training Program, please click here.

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Our Hearts Are Big Enough

IMGP6019-horz_0How often we find that our work as Urban Zen practitioners hits home—in our guts and in our hearts. Today I signed my father up for hospice. He has needed a lot of help to stay alive lately though we have long abandoned any life-extending treatments.  When I met with his care team this week, I was mostly calm. I know he is near the end of his life—I’ve known that for a while.  Thankfully those of us who love him know that he is more or less ready to die and have talked about his wishes for end-of-life care.

I know that he could die at any time and, if I am honest, I am amazed that he is still here. I feel grateful to have had so much time and healing with this man and continue to learn from our relationship.  When we talked about hospice and as I type this now, I’m very grateful that he will be getting extra care AND I’m tearful and sad.  My head knows he is going to die, and I am mostly fine with it.  I believe in death—it is the closest companion of the life we live and celebrate.  These last few years have not been easy for him….and yet my heart is so sad. As I touch into the power of this sadness, I can also sense the cultural training that wants me to ignore and distract myself from anything that feels this uncomfortable. And yet, because of my years of yoga and my years of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT)™, I also have training to be with and to feel all that is present in my life.  I can do it; I am doing it, but it is a practice—a remembering of what is important and true.

pexels-photo-62279The good news is that my heart, our hearts, are so big.  They are big enough to hold it all.  I had this image today of the heart as something stretchy—but still a little tight. I could see all these emotions tugging at the heart to stretch it open, maybe a little more than is comfortable. But as the heart gets bigger there is also a sigh of relief. There really is room to hold all these emotions at the same time.  I can be sad at the same time I know that he is getting the care he needs and be grateful for that. I can feel my love and talk to him about leaving this world and the people he loves and the people who love him.  I can offer him lemon oil, a little reiki and just hang out. I have people who I trust will be able to hold all my emotions with me.  This is HUGE by the way.  Really huge. You are a part of that community.  We live in a culture that doesn’t often honor the power and truth of deep emotion.  We often label it as weakness.  Not so! To let our hearts be broken open. To let us stay with all that is within our hearts takes tenderness, courage and strength.  Seeds of that brokenness grow into compassion, empathy and trust in the fullness of life. The deep emotions that run through us connect us with what we hold most dear, most precious.  They connect us to our hearts and our guts and all that matters to us. And when we know what matters to us we can live authentic lives.

Marcia co-founded and co-owns Yoga on High. She teaches asana, pranayama, iRest™ yoga nidra, Urban Zen Integrative Therapy™ (UZIT) and yoga philosophy and is a practitioner of non-violent communication and a Reiki master. All of her practices support her in times of loss and grief, as well as contentment and joy. This piece first appeared in the UZIT newsletter

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April Calendar of Events

Marcia-3836Schedule Updates:
Mondays 5:45p Slow Flow Level 1 & 2 with Abby

Workshops

April 3 Ramananda: Work, Love, Lunch and Laundry
April 9 Yoga for the Immune System with Marcia Miller (Saturday only)
April 9-10 Yoga for the immune System and Breast Cancer with Marcia Miller
April 15-17 Tim Miller: The essence of Sadhana
April 14 Run out for Lunch -- Free noon run starts at Yohi
April 16
Sekoia Trance Dance Vibe Event
April 22 Sekoia Hike with Michele Vinbury
April 22 Ayurveda: Secrets of your Cycle – Honoring the Moon with Jasmine Grace
April 23 – 24 Yogi Matt Giordano ($38 Individual Sessions or whole weekend options)
April 23 Restorative Workshop with Gail Spirit Sky
April 30 Yoga and Acupuncture with Linda Chun and Hope Vitalis
April 30 Sound Journeys with Crown of Eternity
May 1-31 May Commitment Challenge – New team option!

Michele_4759Series Classes - Click here to Enroll Now

Hatha Beginners:
Dynamic New Beginners with Marcia Miller Mondays 5:45p April 11 – June 13 / 9 week $125
Basic New Beginners with Angela Lamonte Wednesdays 7:30 April 13 – June 15 / 9 week $125
Dynamic New Beginners with Melanie Miller Thursdays 7:30p April 21-June 23 / 9 week $125

Vinyasa Beginners:
Foundations of Vinyasa with Michele Vinbury Wednesdays 6:00p April 6- May 14 / 6 week $75
Foundations of Vinyasa with Michele Vinbury Saturdays 9:00a April 9-May 14 / 6 week $75

Ashtanga Beginners:
Foundation of Ashtanga with Correna Starbuck Sundays 5:00p April 10 – May 15 / 6 week $75
Foundation of Ashtanga with Tom Griffith Tuesdays 7:30p April 12-May 17 / 6 week $75

Prenatal:
Prenatal with Jennifer Gebhart Tuesdays 10:30a April 12 – June 14 / 10 week $149
Prenatal with Mary Sinclair Thursdays 5:45p April 14 – June 9 / 10 week $149
Prenatal with Jennifer Gebhart Mondays 7:30p April 18 – June 13 / 10 week $149

Specialty:
MS with Jenn Gebhart Mondays 4:00p April 11 – June 13 / 10 week $40
MS with Jenn Gebhart Saturdays 12:00p April 9 – June 11 / 10 week $40
Gentle Yoga with Sharon Collaros Sundays 3:30p April 10-June 12 / 9 week $125
Pranayama Class with Linda Oshins Tuesdays 11:00a April 19 – June 14 (phone conference class) / 9 week $125

Step by Step -- Westerville:
Yoga for Runners with Marcy Freed Tuesdays 7:00p April 12 – May 17 / 6 week $75
Mommy & Baby with Janet Braden Mondays 9:15a April 18 – May 23 / 6 week $75
Yoga for Highschoolers (ages 13+) with Katie Whitsett Thursdays 6:00p April 21 – May 26
Kids Yoga (ages 6-12) with Mary Lynn Niland Saturdays 11:00am April 30 – June 4 / 6 week $75
Parent and Kid Yoga (ages 5-10) with Mary Lynn Niland Saturdays 12:00p April 30 – June 4 / 6 week $150

Upcoming Teacher Trainings

Ayurveda Level 1: Ayurveda Heath Educator May 2016
Info Session: Friday, April 8 from 4:30p to 5:30p at the Teacher Training Institute
Info Session: Friday, April 22 from 4:00p to 5:00p at the Teacher Training Institute

200-HR Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica; July 1 – July 23, 2016
Meditation Teacher training -- begins August 20, 2016

Grow Yoga Updates

Schedule Updates:
Tuesdays 7:30p Hot Flow Level 2 with Sally

Grow Yoga Series Classes:
Tuesdays April 12 – May 31 iRest Yoga Nidra with Jasmine Grace -- Enroll Here

Grow Yoga Workshops

April 16 Essnetial Oils, Crystal Therapy and Chakra Workshop with Karine Wascher
April 30 Reiki Level 1 Training & Attunement with Michele Vinbury
May 21 Runner’s Workshop with Marcy
May 28 Good V!bes @growyogacolumbus

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Benefits of a Beginners Yoga Course

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2016 is my 40th year of teaching yoga to beginners and I still love it! For me, when I am sharing yoga with someone new to the practice, I’m giving myself the assignment of synthesizing all I have learned over the years in a way that keeps it basic, yet rich enough to help students experience the depth of a yoga practice from the beginning.

At Yoga on High, we have drop in classes for beginners so people can try out yoga with a minimal investment of time and money, but our favorite way to teach beginners is in a 6- to 10-week course. Many people have tried yoga at various studios, at a gym or online, but those locations don’t always have series of classes designed specifically for beginners. Dropping into an ongoing, mixed-level class can be confusing or, at worst, dangerous. Here are a few of the benefits of taking a course designed specifically for beginners:

  1. Safety: Beginning students do not generally know their bodies well enough to know what will keep them safe. Knowing how to approach a yoga practice safely takes weeks of practice, all the while paying attention to the effects of the poses. And it takes time for a student to learn what level of intensity is appropriate for them. A teacher knowledgeable in working with beginners can facilitate this process and will avoid poses that are likely to create pain or to injure to new students.
  2. Organized progression of material: a beginning series starts at the beginning and progresses in order. This may see obvious, yet many yoga students dropping into mixed-level classes may never learn some of the key points that are included in a well constructed yoga course. This may include what to do about pain, injuries and how to work wisely with the breath.
  3. Relationship with a teacher over time: If you are in a course with the same teacher week after week, you can work together to address your specific challenges or desires for the practice. If your teacher knows you are working with a particular issue—an injury, insomnia or anxiety, for example—they can help you fine-tune a pose or a practice to your needs.
  4. Relationships with your fellow students: going to class with the same people week after week may provide a community of support for you which makes it more fun to attend class and more likely that you’ll want to show up week after week. You’ll share the experience of learning something new together and progressing in the practices together.
  5. Learning a basic routine: Beginners have different needs than experienced students. These days, many classes offer lots of creativity and originality into asana sequences. A beginner needs lots of repetition to get stabilized into a few sequences that can become a basic home practice. Too much variety at first makes it hard for a beginner to feel into their body, to remember poses or to gauge their progress.
  6. Beginning courses are a great way to start over: Experienced students who want to start at the beginning again include those who haven’t been to class in a few years, have had an injury or a new baby. They can develop confidence in an easeful way and get back into yoga practice safely.

Marcia-3980eAs a teacher I love to see new students blossom into an awareness of how yoga can enrich their lives. After a few weeks they often realize they are sleeping better, feeling more relaxed and have increased flexibility. They may even discover that a chronic pain that they assumed was permanent is now gone.  And once they have tasted the sublime elixir of relaxation they are never quite the same again.

Marcia Miller is one of the founders of Yoga on High and in her 40 years of teaching has never found anything she likes as well as teaching yoga. For more information on Marcia, please click here.  Yoga on High offer many beginner and foundational series classes, many of which begin this week.  For more information or to register, click here.

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Yoga:  A True Harmony of Head, Heart and Hands

RamanandaBy Swami Ramananda

Yoga is both the complete experience of our essential Spiritual Self and the practices done to reveal that true nature.  It is both a science of self-mastery and the art of pursuing that goal with self-discipline, compassion and contentment.

Yoga asanas (postures), so commonly known in the West, are only one small part of Yoga and are meant to be performed in the context of a much broader philosophical picture.  Otherwise, the numerous benefits of asana practice, while significant, lack the potential transformational effects for which they originated.

Yoga is a comprehensive way of life that includes numerous branches, each like a pathway leading to the same mountaintop.  These different paths or approaches to Yoga practice heal and develop the various aspects of an individual: social, physical, energetic, emotional and intellectual.

The path of Raja Yoga could be called the path of mental mastery and is presented in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the main scriptures that delineate Yoga and its teachings.  The Sutras define Yoga as an experience that occurs when the movements of the mind are stilled, and it describes eight limbs or steps to that achievement, which is often called Self-realization.

The Sutras also present the practices of asana, pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation, which can be considered the path of Hatha Yoga. This approach uses the gross, physical level of being, to gradually purify and bring under conscious control the more subtle levels. Ultimately, Hatha Yoga fully awakens the storehouse of superconscious energy, or kundalini, an experience synonymous with Realization.

The Sutras describe as well the use of sound vibration as an aid for self-mastery, which can be seen as a path by itself called Nada, or Japa Yoga.  This practice utilizes sound formulas called mantras, which represent different aspects or qualities of the Spiritual Self.  Through chanting and repetition, an individual can attune the entire body-mind system with the divine vibration of the Spirit, and thus attain harmony with it.

The same harmony with Spirit is reached through another branch called Karma Yoga, the Yoga of action through selfless service.  This path is described in detail in the Bhagavad Gita, another of the main scriptures that expound the teachings of Yoga.  Karma Yoga involves performing duties with a focused mind and loving intention, without attachment to the outcome or to personal reward.  When the heart and mind are trained to act for the well-being of all, the practitioner becomes an instrument of the Divine Will, transcending her/his individuality.

The Bhagavad Gita also advocates the path of love and devotion to God in some form, called Bhakti Yoga.  Many individuals are naturally inspired to see the Divine Light in a spiritual teacher, deity, symbol or in the infinite magnificence of Mother Nature.  Through faith, constant remembrance and devoted service to that representation, one can rise above the illusion of a separate self and experience union with the Spirit that dwells within everything, including oneself.

Yet another branch of Yoga promulgated in the Bhagavad Gita is Jnana Yoga, the path of wisdom.  This method requires self-analysis and a keen intellect to practice a steady, systematic discrimination between the unchanging Spirit and the ever-changing forms of creation.  By identifying less and less with one’s own body, mind and ego, one comes to experience the Spiritual Self that is normally hidden behind these grosser aspects of being.

Though Yoga emerged in ancient India as one of six schools of Hindu philosophy, all of these paths, teachings and practices remain timeless tools for personal transformation.  The more well-known practices—--asana, guided relaxation, pranayama and meditation—create numerous physical and psychological benefits and, when properly instructed, can be practiced by anyone, of any age, of any faith.  Yoga practice can be reduced to very simple and safe forms, such as slow deep breathing, and is being used therapeutically to treat countless health issues.  My teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda, playfully expressed its simplicity when he said that Yoga means having an easeful body, a peaceful mind and a useful life.

While someone may be naturally drawn to a particular form of practice or one of the branches mentioned here, there is a great benefit to practicing all of them, thus addressing all the levels of our human nature.  However, even without this comprehensive approach, any one of them can bring a practitioner to the ultimate goal of liberation and make the journey an enjoyable one.Ramananda_Class

Swami Ramananda is the President of the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco and a greatly respected senior teacher in the Integral Yoga tradition.  He has been practicing Yoga for over 40 years. A Midwestern boy by birth, he and Marcia were in the same teacher training class in 1976 and have been dear friends ever since.  Sunday, April 3 from 9:30a to 1:00p Swami Ramandanda is offering Work, Love, Lunch and Laundry. This workshop will include lecture, yoga practice, guided reflection, and discussion around the topic of incorporating yoga into your daily life.  For information on his upcoming program, please click here.

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Yogi of the Month: Paul

Yogi of the Month

Nickname: Harvey (long story how I got the name, but it is from the Jimmy Stewart movie…)

Occupation: English Teacher, Thomas Worthington High School

Fun fact about you: I am colorblind, more like an almost complete absence of color vision. Not sure if it is fun, but it sure makes picking out my clothes interesting.

Who is your favorite instructor and why? That is like asking me to pick my favorite cheesecake! I love Michele for her energy, her enthusiasm, and for reminding me that it’s just yoga. I love Lara’s humor and irreverence, as well as her helpful adjustments (and for having the best playlists), and I love Daniel and Jake’s class (at Grow Yoga) for helping me “be a happy little tree.”

What inspires you? Witnessing people perform random acts of kindness

When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you? Usually you can find me riding my bicycle around Grandview, reading at a coffee shop, and, if I’m completely honest, you can find me on my couch watching Gilmore Girls and Charmed!

Favorite Short North Hangout? Marcella’s. It’s a great place to people watch, especially in the summer when the windows open out to the vibrant streets! I can also be found on most Saturdays, after Sekoia, having brunch at Northstar!

What is your favorite yoga pose? Tree Pose, because life is all about balance!

What song should be on every yoga playlist? Katrina and The Waves Walking on Sunshine, because that always puts me in a good mood!

What is your intention for your yoga practice? I came to yoga, after ending a 7 year relationship. In many ways, I was trying to rebuild myself. I always enter my practicing looking for peace; acceptances with being true to myself and my practice, and hoping that I take that with me into my daily routine.

How long have you been practicing and how has yoga improved your life? I’ve only been practicing for ten months, but it has helped me learn to focus on myself and let go of stress. I find that I have more energy and sleep better.

Why Yoga On High? Yoga On High is like being part of an extended family. The instructors become your friends, the range of classes allows you to challenge your practice, and it’s time set aside with my best friend Kim.

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Adventures in Teacher Training: Teresa Eigle

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 8.52.20 PMIt’s hard to believe I am more than halfway through this amazing journey that is my yoga 200 hour teacher training at Yoga on High. I came into yoga teacher training wanting to deepen my own practice. That goal still remains. Halfway through I am still not sure whether I want to teach, but I am 110% sure I have accomplished my goal…with still so much more to learn and absorb from my teachers and fellow students. If I teach, my purpose and motivation will be to spread the power of yoga to as many people as I can. Observing a roomful of students settling into Savasana and relaxing as a consequence of your voice is pretty freaking amazing…thinking about it gives me the chills.

My own regular practice began about 5 years ago, when I decided I should start stretching more after I exercised. At the time, to me (and still to so many), yoga was merely a means of becoming more flexible and stronger. I would power through a class, cranking myself into the deepest adaption of each pose I could. The sweatier I was after class, the better. The sorer I was after a class, the better. I look back now and smile with gratitude that yoga entered my life at all…and at the fact that my practice has taken a 180 degree turn since then. Read More…

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