Anahata Project: Words from a Volunteer

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Every Sunday morning from around mid-April to early November, I pop on old brown pants, a raggedy white shirt that proclaims “I Walked the Bourbon Trail” and a black hat with RF on the front that I am pretty sure stands for Roger Federer, and head out to work in the Anahata garden. This garden is the source of produce for the Anahata Food Project, a community service project of Yoga on High that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to a local food pantry. Read More…

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Our Mission

The owners (current and former) of Yoga on High sat together one day and drafted this Mission Statement. We reread it before every board meeting and center the work done at Yoga on High squarely on the intentions set forth in its message.

While it is posted on the YOHI website and hangs in the studio, we wanted to send it out to you in hopes that you will take a moment and review it. We are all part of one big community, and share in its purpose.

OUR MISSION

At Yoga on High, we want to ensure yoga is accessible to everyone. We offer various practices and forms of asana, meditation, Reiki, teacher training, ayurveda and other healing modalities.

  • We aspire
    • • To be an inclusive community of teachers and students, practicing and studying together for the purpose of self-awareness, health and fitness, well-being, and spiritual awakening.
    • • To have well trained, experienced teachers that meet each student where they are, supporting the student’s intention for practicing yoga.
    • • To do this within an environment that welcomes diversity with a joyous spirit.

OUR VALUES

Quality
Yoga on High is committed to the highest quality in all we do—from our staff, our teachers, all our programs, customer service and communication with our students, and the Yoga on High studio environment. We have highly trained, experienced and responsible teachers and staff who are caring and concerned about the goals of the students.

Inclusivity
We ensure that everyone who enters Yoga on High is welcomed into an open-minded, non-judgmental and compassionate environment. Our goal is to provide yoga programs that offer something of value to everyone. We encourage students to come as they are, and we will meet them there! Can’t touch your toes? No worries, you don’t need to!

Integrity
Yoga on High staff commit to being honest and authentic with each other and with students. Simply put, to being real. We strive to be ethical on every level—in our business dealings and our personal relationships. In our relationships, we strive to be fully present and committed to living our yogic values and practices.

Learning
We are committed to facilitating profound, transformational self-acceptance. We provide teachers, programs and an environment that sustains on-going, holistic approaches to all eight limbs of yoga and that represent and welcome different points of view. Our approach provides students multi-layered, multi-directional courses of study that support a clear, logical progression toward personal development and mastery at each student’s own pace.

Community
Our community is a family that offers inclusive programs for everyone, including people who are not able to pay for it. We offer scholarships to Yoga on High programs as well as funding for specially designed programs through the Yoga on High Foundation. We also support numerous local charities.

Our family community involves other yoga studios, local businesses with goals in line with ours, and we strive to establish relationships that are fair and mutually beneficial to all of us.

In addition to our local community, we are a part of a larger yoga community that extends beyond Ohio. Every year we bring nationally and internationally recognized teachers to Yoga on High and into our lives and the lives of our students.

Sanctuary
From the moment you enter Yoga on High, you are in sacred space, embracing peace, comfort and refuge. You can put down artifice and defenses and embrace and welcome all aspects of yourself whether you feel joyous and celebratory or are coping with difficult challenges. At Yoga on High, we are dedicated to supporting one another along the path.

At Yoga on High, our programs promote fitness, resilience, well-being, self knowledge, self-acceptance, family, healing, growth, beauty and balance. Yoga on High is a place to be who you are!

- See more at: http://yogaonhigh.com/new-students/about-us#sthash.jZezKaQJ.dpuf

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EMBER Series – A Social Worker’s Review 

Alana Becker Photograph

Alana Becker Photograph

Working for a number of years in the mental health field with those who have experienced trauma has allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the scope of treatment needs, as well as approaches, that work for survivors. After having the opportunity to participate in the EMBER series with Michele Vinbury through Yoga on High, I would highly recommend it as part of a treatment plan for anyone recovering from trauma, and as an adjunct to other treatment modalities.

The EMBER series incorporates approaches including body movement, mindfulness skills, distress tolerance and emotion regulation, all of which have documented benefits in mental health treatment. The most current research is showing us how the body and the brain are directly impacted by trauma, and provides support for the incorporation of movement and mindfulness to traditional therapy approaches. The creation of a mentally and physically safe place through the EMBER program allows participants to explore being in one’s own body. Particularly for the trauma survivor, this is no small task. The practice of this type of purposeful, mindful, body awareness is an imperative aspect of the healing process.

More traditional talk therapy approaches to managing symptoms stemming from trauma are a beneficial and often necessary part of a trauma survivor’s healing journey. However, with research indicating that the brain and the body quite literally hold traumatic events, the importance of re-connecting with the body and addressing trauma in the brain becomes more apparent. The use of mindfulness and grounding techniques in the EMBER series create a foundation for this deeper level of healing to occur.

Visit Yoga on High to sign up for our next EMBER series.  Sliding scale payment options available to those in need through the Yoga on High Foundation.

Michelle Dismore is a licensed social worker and clinician working for a private non-profit organization in Columbus, Ohio. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, and a Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University. Michelle has experience providing therapy and interventions with children, adolescents and families across multiple levels of care including residential, intensive community based, and outpatient settings. Her approach in working with clients combines elements of mindfulness, regulating approaches and whole body awareness.

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On Aging

marcia-3982_0_0By Marcia Miller

As I write this I’m on my way home from teaching a weekend yoga workshop to a group of people over 50. One of the most meaningful parts of the workshop for me was the time we spent answering the question, “What do you know now that you didn’t or couldn’t have known when you were 20 or 30?”

The wisdom in the room was felt viscerally, as one person after another offered a phrase or two about something they had learned, often with a poignant story from their lives as examples. One woman described an unexpected acceptance of life’s difficulties, despite a deep longing for health and happiness for all. Another described understanding her own mother’s maxim, “This too shall pass.” She shared the face she used to make when her mother would say that, but lately she realizes her mother was correct. You may know that saying, that our parents get smarter as we get older? This turned out to be true for her. Another described a life in which his longtime question, “How do I get this right?” evolved into more interesting questions, including, “What can I learn from this situation?” Or, “What are my choices here?” It was quite a relief to not have to always get “it” right, whatever “it” is. We heard one woman speak movingly of a hard-won realization that she could not control the world around her. Life can take us to our knees, and, while painful, the lessons are precious.

Most spoke of a deeper understanding of what is really important in their lives now, having lost loved ones or faced death themselves. This clarity allows them to let go of that which is not important anymore and move on. And of course—love. We spoke of realizing that the essence of life is love—it all comes down to love.

These are likely ideas that we all heard when we were younger, but what I saw this past weekend was embodiment. Life turned concepts and ideas into lived experience that we could embody as truth.

In a culture where youth is revered and our elders are often invisible, I was inspired by us this weekend. Personally, my 20s were painful for me in many ways that I would never want to return to. I was naïve and judgmental, often sure I knew what was best for everyone around me. I was also earnest and caring, but without many of the skills I have now that make my life so rich and meaningful. Those of us in of 50s, 60s and beyond have lived life, earning our grey hair, our wrinkles and our shining eyes, and, to some, we are invisible. But our lives do not depend on being noticed—they are precious and empowered either way.

Marcia Miller was one of the original co-founders of Yoga on High, was the genesis behind The Yoga on High Foundation, teaches yoga classes on the public schedule, and runs many of the upper level specialty studies at Yoga on High, such as the Urban Zen program and the Therapeutic Teacher Training Program. She teaches workshops throughout the US, this workshop on yoga and aging as an example.

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Making Ghee – Power in a Pad of Butter

by Jasmine Grace

In the Ayurvedic Program at Yoga on High, we are making ghee this weekend. Ghee is clarified butter, and it has a multitude of health and cooking benefits, good for the body, mind and spirit.

How to Make Ghee

The making of ghee can be a very beautiful and peaceful experience. As you make it, be mindful. Perhaps chant and infuse the process with the vibrations and frequency of love and healing.

IngredientsIMG_1958
Grass fed organic unsalted butter (salted butter can be used but it will foam more. I prefer unsalted.)

Method
Place butter in a clean, dry, medium-sized, heavy-bottom sauce pan.

Cook uncovered on medium heat until the butter melts. Throughout the entire ghee-making process, stir the butter occasionally. The butter will start to boil and foam, and you will hear a crackling sound. Once it reaches a boiling point, reduce the heat to low and simmer the butter until the foam forms on the top of it. You will need to part the foam to see the melted butter getting clearer.

Continue to simmer the butter until the crackling subsides. How long the process takes depends on how much butter you are clarifying.

You know ghee is ready when:

  • Crackling stops, which is an indication that the moisture has been cooked away
  • Under the foam film, the butter becomes a golden yellow liquid
  • The milk solids separate and settle in the bottom of the pan, and are light brown in color

Be careful not to overcook the ghee and burn the milk solids. When burned, they turn a dark brown and/or the liquid ghee will be dark brown.

When the butter is clarified, remove the pan from the heat and let the ghee cool for about 30 minutes, then pour it through a fine strainer lined with 1 layer of muslin. Strain it multiple times, if necessary, to ensure that all the milk solids are strained out.

Pour the ghee into a clean, dry glass jar. Do not place a lid on the jar until the ghee has fully cooled. Ghee can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 months.

Why Ghee?

IMG_19999999999It is high in nutrition: Ghee is rich in vitamins A, E, K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid, an antioxidant with anti-viral properties if it is sourced from grass fed cows).

It has a high smoke point for cooking (482 °F).
Unlike many other oils you can cook and fry with ghee, and it will not break down into free radicals

It has a great buttery taste but doesn’t prompt reactions to dairy allergies
Ghee is made from butter, but the milk solids and impurities have been removed so that most people who are lactose or casein intolerant have no issue with ghee.

It supports digestive health
Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that is beneficial to intestinal bacteria used to support intestinal wall health. Ghee can also stimulate the secretion of gastric acid. Consuming ghee therefore supports overall digestive health.

It can support the mind and spirit

The mind and body are directly connected. Modern science teaches us that there is a chemical nature to our emotions. Our negative emotions can release hormones and chemicals that are stored in fat. When used properly in a cleanse regimen, ghee can help cleanse (oleate) these tissues and pull the toxins from the body, positively effecting our emotional state. Ghee has a sattvic (clear and balanced) quality. Sattvic foods promote positivity, growth and expansion of consciousness.

Uses of Ghee

  1. For massage (Abhyanga): It is said that 60% of what we place on our skin is absorbed into the body, bypassing the digestive system. This allows ghee’s qualities to penetrate directly into the tissues.
  2. In cleanses (Panchakarma): a small amount of ghee, taken first thing in the morning to oleate the internal organs and “dissolve” the ama or toxic wastes in the tissues, allows toxins to be carried to the digestive tract for elimination.
  3. It is a carrier for herbal formulas: Ghee is used in Ayurveda as a carrier for medicinal herbal preparations so that they are transported to and absorbed by targeted areas of the body, deep in the tissues (dhatus).
  4. To support bowel movements: one or two teaspoons of ghee first thing in the morning, followed immediately with a cup of hot water, will promptly produce a bowel movement. It will also warm the body quickly. Two spoonfuls of ghee in warm (non-homogenized) milk before bedtime is soothing to the nerves, lubricates the intestines and facilitates a bowel movement in the morning.
  5. For cooking: Due to its high burn point, ghee is one of the best cooking oils.
  6. For oil-pulling: Excellent for swishing through teeth (1 tablespoon) to improve the health of the teeth and gums.
  7. For bathing: Mix ghee with several drops of an essential oil and place the mixture in your bathwater for a nurturing bath.
  8. For a topical treatment: Ghee is excellent to put on topically for both chemical or fire burns and scrapes on the body.
  9. In the eyes: A small drop of room temperature ghee can be used in the eyes for lubrication and eye fatigue. This is best done at night before bed as a small film of ghee will cover the eye until it is absorbed into the tissue.

10. Facial use: Ghee can be used as a make-up remover and moisturizer for the face.

11. Nasal use: Use a few drops in each nostril after Neti pot use, or if you get a nosebleed, or to alleviate nasal dryness.

12. To balance the Ayurvedic Doshas: Ghee can increase Kapha and decrease Vata and Pitta.

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The Yoga on High Teacher Training and Ayurveda Institute: School of Ayurveda has certifications in wellness counseling in Ayurvedic Health Education (A.H.E) and Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (C.A.P). Our next program begins in October 2015.

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Yoga & Trauma

My first experience with EMBER Yoga was over a year ago. I asked the Ember yoga instructor, Michele, kind of tongue and cheek, if she would teach me how to do a headstand. It was at that time that my whole life had changed. I know, I know, this sounds too cliché. My life now is learning to embrace being present through yoga movements. With this presence, I am also learning to cope with past traumas, and I am now looking forward to a future. I never thought I could live a life that I would enjoy.

With the EMBER series and Ashtanga Beginner class, I noticed that I felt included. Michele always ask us if we had any questions, comments, or concerns. Well, yeah. We’re doing yoga, right? I would practice what I learned in class, but couldn’t do it like I did just a couple hours beforehand. I was told patience, everybody is overwhelmed, and learning yoga can take lifetimes. My questions weren’t ignored or not heard. Different. Like, I mattered.

Okay, now the tough part. The triggers. I remembered specifically that Michele said that yoga is sometimes weird. I think at that particular time she was talking about the Ujjayi breathing technique. I admitted to her that I felt I was not able to stay present hearing this breathing. She said that voicing my concern was appropriate and she would help me stay present and would give me some reminders on how I could do this on my own.

During my struggles to stay present, I noticed that within these classes I felt safe. This took some time. At the end of each class, when we would do the Savasana, I am not sure why, but in both of these classes, sometimes, tears would roll down my cheeks. This was a pretty new experience for me. Didn’t understand how this was to be, the absorption of what I just learned had turned to tears.

As in other parts of my life, I started to make goals, challenges, for a yoga future beyond the six weeks series. I really did want to learn to stand on my head. Michele sent me an article on how to build up strength by doing the dolphin pose after teaching it in class one day. I read the article and looked at the pictures and got on my mat. I got my butt up in the air and I immediately broke down and started to cry. It was at this very time I learned about acceptance. I finally accepted the sexual assault. I accepted that I was not strong enough to do a headstand NOW, but I would work on this endeavor so maybe in a month or so, I could be closer to having my feet up in the air.

I can now talk about what happened to me. I don’t have to be strong enough. I don’t have to be anything enough. I just…be present.

Laurie R.

Michele Vinbury, lead instructor in the Ember program, in headstand.

Michele Vinbury, lead instructor and co-creator of the EMBER program, in headstand.

The EMBER classes are sponsored by the Yoga on High Foundation. For more information on the Foundation, please click here.

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Yogi of the Month: Paula

Paula truly takes advantage of so much of what YOHI has to offer.  We regularly see her in hot flow and sekoia classes, in hatha and ashtanga classes and in restorative and pranayama classes too.  She can do it all!  We are inspired by her dedication to showing up on the mat, by her adventurous navigation of our schedule and by her ability to see the “yoga” in all of these varied practices and paths -- that is true flexibility :)  We are thrilled to recognize Paula as our Manduka Yogi of the Month.   Read More…

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And the Journey Continues

yohigh_152By Gail Larned

I had been studying and practicing Hatha yoga for about 10 years before I started practicing Ashtanga, in 1998. When I first saw people practicing Ashtanga, I was hooked: “I want to do what they’re doing!” I taught a yoga class at Grant Hospital at the same time as the Primary Series class at Yoga on High and couldn’t attend it. I’d arrive at YoHi to see all of those sweaty, jubilant Ashtangis, and wish I could be in the room with them. So I quit my gig at Grant and joined in the fun. I began to study with my friend and colleague Martha Marcom, learning the sequence of the Primary Series. And it has always been that for me: challenging, rewarding and fun.

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Congratulations to Marianne O’Neil

yohigh_011Congratulations to Marianne O’Neil

Graduate of the Yoga on High 300-hour (Advanced) Teacher Training Program, completed June, 2015

My interests in yoga are as varied as yoga itself! I began as a young adult practicing breath work and poses in the Hatha style, but now I often find myself wanting a more vigorous Ashtanga-styled practice paired with pranayama and yoga nidra. In the last several years I have worked closely with Mary Sinclair, our local expert on Balance®, which teaches postural training. The Kundalini teachings of Yogi Bajan are also part of my regular practice. I find that all of the seemingly disparate practices mysteriously work together as a reflection of the universe itself. Richard Freeman calls it The Jeweled Net of Indra, where all practices are jewels connected by the net that leads to all other jewels, and to the heart of yoga that is the intimate relationship with the inner Self. My hope is that I can bring that understanding of the various practices to the students who I teach as well.

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