Coming Out Comes Full Circle

By: Daniel Sernicola

awardMy hand shook as it unfastened my seatbelt. I slowly climbed out the broken window of my overturned car and examined the wreckage. Tires were still spinning and Jim Brickman’s Rocket to the Moon was playing on a continuous loop from the speakers. The roof of the car was smashed down to the driver’s seat. Help was needed, but on the quiet back road in my hometown it was unlikely to arrive quickly. I slowly walked towards a house that sat back from the road and standing on its porch, knocked on the door. No one was home.

A woman’s voice screamed, “There he is!” As I turned around, people were coming out of the woods where they had been looking for my body. The woman ran towards me and held me as tears ran down her face. She whispered in my ear that God must have been with me. A man placed me in his truck and drove me to my home just a few miles away. I was numb and could barely remember how to get there as I gave him directions.

My dad was in the kitchen cooking pasta as he did every Sunday. As I stood next to the man, he knocked on my parents’ door and told my dad that I had been in an accident. My dad calmly thanked the man for bringing me home and put down his spoon as he prepared to put on his shoes. Anger filled his face and the veins in his forehead were popping out – I just wrecked a car owned for three short weeks. Yet, he didn’t say a word as he grabbed his keys and drove me back to the scene of the accident.

As we pulled up, we saw the flashing lights from police cars and an ambulance. We got out of the car and the moment my dad saw the wreckage, he grabbed me, holding me tight and sobbing. It’s the only time I ever saw my dad cry. Thoughts of anger turned to compassion as police told him I was lucky to be alive.

Home from the hospital, I rested on our living room couch. Looking over at the coffee table, I saw my keys and began to scream and cry wondering what had happened and trying to piece together a sequence of events.

I was a senior in high school during the fall of 1996. It was October 12th and there was excitement as the camera flashed during my senior photo session. An hour later I had a date. Sure I had been on dates with girls before, but this was the first time I went on a date with a guy. I was nervous, but as the night progressed I realized that we were basically two guys hanging out and having fun. It was care-free and on the drive home, I couldn’t stop smiling.

From the age of four years, I recall feeling different and looking at other boys. The word, “gay” wasn’t part of my vocabulary and wasn’t talked about in our home, though I remember my mother and sister laughing at a very flamboyant man selling his items at a yard sale. Kids at school made fun of me calling me the dreaded “f” word. In my conservative church, sermons preached that homosexuality was wrong and a sin. Confusion filled my mind as I struggled to fight off feelings of attraction towards the same sex. Hours of prayer didn’t erase the feelings as they became stronger and more intense. I wrestled with feeling that even though I was born gay, everyone around me told me it was wrong.

I was on my way to church the morning of the accident. It also happened to be the day after my first same sex date. In my 17-year-old mind, the only sense I could make out of everything that took place was that my maker was punishing me for finally acting on my feelings. It wasn’t fair! I may have walked away from the accident with a concussion and no broken bones, but one thing was broken for sure; my spirit.

The following week at school, I passed notes back and forth in my Algebra class with one of my best friends. I decided to tell her about my date, knowing she would be accepting of me. It felt amazing to finally share with someone the secret I’d been keeping for my entire existence. I had an outlet in her to discuss my thoughts and feelings. It was enough.

A few weeks later, I knew something was different as I walked down the hallways of my high school and people turned away from their lockers to look at me, whispering to each other. It was surreal and appeared to happen in slow motion. This was interrupted by a football player knocking my books out of my hands and my belongings being scattered all over the floor. My friend’s boyfriend found one of our notes in her locker and shared it with the rest of the school. Being bullied was not new to me, but I wasn’t prepared for the year that was ahead of me.

I was beaten up weekly and weighing 140 pounds, it was futile to fight back. I’d take the punches and kicks waiting, hoping for the torment to end. When I finally had the courage to talk to school administration, I was told that I brought everything on myself since coming out. My parents, sensing something was wrong and knowing of my gay friend, started asking if I was gay. Finally, I told them the truth, my truth. They weren’t accepting, but witnessed my intense emotional pain and depression. A trip to the family doctor was supposed to help, but instead worsened my situation. I was put on heavy anti-depression and anxiety medications which brought on suicidal thoughts and feelings. I tried taking my life a few times and, fortunately, I survived. Later, I stopped the meds on my own having realized that prior to being on them I had never once thought of ending my life. A year later, reports were published stating that the two medications I was on caused suicidal thoughts in people under the age of 18.

My entire world as I knew it had changed and it felt like I had no control over anything. There was also the heavy feeling of being alone. My family, peers, church, and my maker all seemed to have abandoned me. Hope didn’t seem to exist, and I was beaten down.

meditation20 years later, it’s 2016. I’ve been out as a gay man for over half my life and I’m 37 years old. Life has changed. My family is now accepting; I’m surrounded by loving and supportive friends; and best of all, have my own family consisting of an incredibly amazing partner and big, goofy dog. Society has changed. Gay marriage is legal in all 50 states when it seemed like a huge and unfathomable dream at one time. Ellen DeGeneres now has the number one talk show in the country after her sitcom was cancelled in 1997 when she came out. And schools now have gay/straight alliances and student groups.

It appears everything is moving in a positive direction, but sadly, this isn’t the case. As a society, we witnessed the shootings at Pulse Night Club in Orlando this past summer. We also saw the State of North Carolina pass an anti-transgender restroom law. While we hope that youth don’t have to face the same situations I went through twenty years ago, the truth is that they are facing worse situations. Behind the closed doors of the family unit, parents are still struggling with acceptance of their LGBTAIQ+ children.

A few years ago when my partner, Jake Hays, and I began our 200-hour yoga teacher training, we were asked what groups we’d like to work with and what our goals were as teachers. We immediately thought of LGBTAIQ+ youth and decided we wanted to start a yoga program for them in Columbus. Through our practice teaching, we held classes and asked participants for donations to the Yoga on High Foundation that would be earmarked for this program. The Columbus Coyotes and local performers Nina West and Virginia West also helped raise money to go towards the development of this program.

Kaleidoscope Youth Center was thrilled when we approached them with our idea as yoga classes had been on the list of programs they desired. We made fliers with our standard publicity photos on them, and were excited when the first night of our classes finally came. Not one student wanted to come to yoga. We were saddened, but not defeated. We realized that in our photos, we are big guys and look exactly like some of the people who bully the youth on a daily basis. So, I went to the center to meet with the youth. Through tears, I shared every detail of my personal story hoping to make a connection with them. The following week we tried again and the room was packed!

mindfulness-practiceWho are the youth of Kaleidoscope? They are you and me. They have had to face adversity and trauma at young ages. Many have had horrific struggles including bullying, homelessness, human trafficking, rape and more. Yet, they have hopes, dreams, and bright eyes ready to conquer the world. They come to their mats each week, looking forward to the peace and calm the yoga program provides.

The yoga program was developed specifically for them and has evolved and changed to meet their needs. Kaleidoscope Youth Yoga incorporates a variety of yoga tools including physical postures, mindfulness practices, breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation and Reiki. The program is designed to inspire and empower the youth, offering them an opportunity to begin to heal from difficult life experiences. Through these practices, students are invited to find a connection to their true self by learning valuable coping skills in addition to fitness and body positivity in a safe environment infused with compassion, humor and empathy.

Together, we practice yoga and their personal stories slowly come to the surface. In the spring a young male to female transgender youth showed up to class in a dress, proudly proclaiming that she’s probably our first student to practice in a dress. We shared her pride, knowing the dress was more than clothing to her, it was an identity. We celebrated as a girl who was homeless and has practiced with us for over a year was excited to tell us that she was able to graduate high school and moving into her first apartment. And the meaning of joy was realized when another girl rested in savasana receiving Reiki for the first time. At first, her face showed pain and uncertainty. As soon as she felt Reiki, the corners of her mouth turned upward and she beamed, later proclaiming that Reiki made her feel safe. These are just some of the stories and there’s many, many more to tell. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve practiced yoga – together.

On October 2nd, the Board of Directors of Kaleidoscope Youth Center, upon the recommendation of staff and participants, presented Jake and me with an award of Distinguished Community Partner of 2016. Amy Eldridge, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope stated, “The Yoga program that you have established at Kaleidoscope is a tremendous contribution to the well-being of our youth, and is providing them with skills that will support their well-being well into the future.”

It seems fitting that this takes place twenty years after my own coming out as a gay teenager. It feels as though everything has come full circle and yet we know there’s more work to do. As Robert Frost so eloquently wrote, The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.


October Calendar of Events

October 1 October Dedication Challenge
October 2 108 to Rehabilitate with Michele Vinbury and Yoga on High Foundation Supporters
October 2 Sanskrit Workshop with Rhonda Kuster
October 8 Yoga and Acupuncture with Linda and Hope
October 8-9 Philosophy Weekend with the Yoga on High Partners
October 9 Restorative Yoga and Live Music with Abby and Holly @ Grow Yoga
October 14 Prema Hara Kirtan with Kamaniya and Keshavacharya Das
October 17 Introduction to Ayurveda with Marina Zahran and Breanna Mustard
October 21 Leslie Kaminoff: An introduction to Breath-Centered Yoga
October 21-23 Leslie Kaminoff: Yoga Therapeutics
October 22 Mandala Art Adventures with Michele Vinbury
October 27 Urban Zen Integrative Therapy – Program Kick Off
October 27 Meditation on the Spiritual Path with Dandapani
October 29 Diwali, Festival of Lights Yoga Class with Anne Weidinger and Michele Vinbury

Reiki Programming:
October 3 Monday Evening Reiki Level 2 Training with Jodi Patton & Julia Haas
October 13 Reiki Level 2 Exploration with Marcia Miller and Linda Oshins
October Reiki Shares: 3, 10,17 & 31

Yoga on High Open Schedule Additions:

Thursdays Hatha Level 1 & 2 with Marcia Miller from 9:30a to 10:45a
Fridays iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation with Jasmine Grace from 8:15a to 9:00a

Grow Yoga Open Schedule Additions:

Tuesdays Hot Flow Level 1 & 2 with Jeremy Grace from 6:00a to 7:00a
Thursdays Hot Flow Level 1 & 2 with Teresa Eigel from 6:00a to 7:00a

Series Classes:
Mondays 4p October 3 – December 5 Multiple Sclerosis Yoga with Jenn Gebhart
Thursdays 5:45p October 6 – December 8 Prenatal Yoga with Mary Sinclair
Thursdays 7:30p October 6 – December 8 6-Week Advanced Vinyasa with Lara Falberg
Saturdays 12p October 8 – December 10 Multiple Sclerosis Yoga with Jenn Gebhart
Sundays 10:30a October 9 – November 13 6-Week Kids Yoga (Ages 6-11) with Julie Standish
Mondays 7:30p October 10 – December 12 Prenatal Yoga with Jenn Gebhart
Sundays 5:30p October 16-November 20 6-Week Ashtanga Foundations with Correna Starbuck
Tuesdays 7:30p October 18 – November 22 6-Week Ashtanga Foundations with Tom Griffith

Free introductory Classes at Lululemon Polaris:
Sunday, October 2 from 10:30a to 11:30a; Intro to Sekoia with Alissa Jackson
Sunday, October 9 from 10:30a to 11:30a; Intro to Ashtanga with Correna Starbuck
Sunday, October 16 from 10:30a to 11:30a; Intro to Vinyasa Flow with Sally Walsh Roberts
Sunday, October 23 from 10:30a to 11:30a; Intro to Sekoia with Meredith Bury
Sunday, October 30 from 10:30a to 11:30a; Intro to Vinyasa Flow with Gina Derry

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) begins October 27, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Sunday, October 2 from 2:00p to 3:00p at Yoga on High
Tuesday,  October 4 from 7:00p to 8:00p ET -- Conference Call

Ayurveda Heath Counselor (A.H.C.) begins November 5, 2016
Free Info Session:
Wednesday, October 5 from 6:00p to 7:00p at the All Life Center (Powell)
Sunday, October 9 from 5:00p to 6:00p at the Teacher Training Institute

300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training – Rolling Enrollment
Email to schedule an appointment with one of the studio owners or two apply.


A Process of Rejuvenation

by Leslie Kaminoff

perth-teaching_dsc2572-2000pxWhen I teach workshops about the healing potential of Yoga, I play a section of a 1996 documentary I helped to produce in which my late teacher T.K.V. Desikachar talks about the students who show up at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram seeking help. His simple words express very beautifully the essence of how Yoga can help:
“The most important problem is suffering. When somebody suffers, they cannot meditate, they cannot worship, they cannot pray. When these people suffer, and they go to the usual system of healthcare and it doesn’t work, they suffer more. For some reason, the usual system of medical and health care is not able to understand the person who is suffering. They know a lot about the problem…they know a lot about the disease…they know a lot about illness…it’s amazing how much they know, but the relationship between this illness and the person is not so much emphasized. So, when the person goes to all these people and still they are not better, they become desperate. It’s not just illness…it’s what I call ‘the relationship to the illness.’

“We [at KYM] talk to these people. We say, ‘You have some resources which are not just medicine. There’s something you have: you can still breathe…you can still talk…you can sit and move. That means you still have the energy that can heal you. Let us direct and use this energy…who knows? It may do something good.”

Desikachar goes on to emphasize the importance of the relationship between the student and the teacher:

“Care, love and attention gives the student confidence. With a new positive attitude they can begin to work on their body and their breath, which creates a process of rejuvenation. I don’t know how it happens…it happens. I can’t say it’s because of this technique or that technique, but it happens, and they subjectively feel better, which make them feel more confident, which motivates them to do more Yoga more positively, so the healing begins.

“Even if they’re sick, they feel better, which makes them more prepared for other aspects, like meditation…which can lead them to discover important things about themselves. This is Yoga…one thing leading to another”


In both my private practice and in the clinics I lead at The Breathing Project, people with all manner of dukha (suffering, literally “bad space”) show up for looking for help. As I meet these people who are seeking healing through Yoga, my unspoken gut reaction is typically, “I’m just a Yoga teacher…not a doctor! Who am I to address this condition?” I regain focus in those moments by remembering the principle embodied in my teacher’s simple words in the passage above, when he is clearly referring to prana, the life-force: “You can still talk…you can sit and move… that means you still have the energy that can heal you.”

In my practice, this principle has evolved into a quick checklist for new students: “Are they breathing? Are they able to focus their attention? Can they move their body voluntarily?” If the answers are even a little bit of “yes,” then they can practice Yoga and reap immediate benefits. It is my contention that the most profound healing derived from Yoga practice comes from the simplest things we teach, not the most complex. The first, simplest thing that we ask people to do is also the most powerful: bringing the body and mind together through the medium of the breath.

As soon as a person engages in this act of integration, what immediately becomes apparent are any obstacles that make it difficult to coordinate mind, body and breath. This principle is what allows asana practice to become a true tool of Yoga. Breath and postural practices help us identify and resolve obstructions to prana – on whatever dimension we may find them. Therefore, Yoga practice is not about doing the asanas; it’s about undoing what’s in the way of the asanas.

lak_dsc7112-square-1Excerpted from “Yoga Therapy and Integrative Medicine: Where Ancient Science Meets Modern Medicine.”

Yoga on High is thrilled to host Leslie Kaminoff for the second time this October 21- 23.  Friday he’ll offer An Introduction to Breath-Centered Yoga as taught in the T.K.V. Desikachar tradition.  Or join him for the whole weekend workshop Leslie Kaminoff: Yoga Therapeutics.


Living a Big Yes

“Our hospice staff works so very hard and needs the Urban Zen experience. Will you come to South Africa?” asked the head of Helderberg Hospice, Gail Sykes.  “YES!” Said Lori Moffett; “YES” I said after hoping for this moment for years.  YES, YES, YES! And so began our African adventure. One of the elements that remained a powerful gift throughout the whole trip--the planning, the travel to get there, the work itself--every part of it-- was the ongoing experience of a whole-hearted and whole-bodied “Yes.”

I hope you know this feeling--this knowing that you are doing what you absolutely must be doing in a given moment. Perhaps there is the sense of doing what you were born to do, or what all your time on earth has prepared you to do. There may be the beautiful sense of Life living through you in a way that is at once deeply personal and yet vastly impersonal. Or maybe it is the fulfillment of a deep longing of your heart. Whatever the details, there is a sense of being in the right place at the right time, a sense of purpose and flow that feels so right.

This feeling doesn’t need to wait for something monumental like a trip to Africa--it could come when you are playing with your cat or watching your baby sleep.  It could be you posting on Facebook, just the right comment to your friend who is suffering, or celebrating. It could be anything that is yours to do, that no one else could do like you would do it. And they don’t need to because they will hopefully do what is theirs to do.

Anyway, back to our trip….We lived in the flow of our big YES for 3 weeks. While much of what happened was challenging and required lots of effort we always knew we were where we were meant to be. That helped us to let go of any resistance to the moment and to be present over and over to what was actually happening. We used ALL our skills, including ones we didn’t know that we had. And because of this feeling of being held in something bigger than ourselves, we could just relax back and let Life happen through us and the people we were with.

For me, living in this experience for 3 full weeks gave me a deep drink of what it means to live from my heart, and I will use this feeling more and more as a guidepost for other things I am doing in my life. Can I live my big ‘yes’ and leave the rest for someone else? Can I discern more and more what is mine and mine alone to do? Why is my to-do list always bigger than what I can do? Can I use this ever-deepening compass to help me navigate? We’ll see but I’m definitely trying this on.

Marcia Miller recently traveled to South Africa with her friend and colleague, Lori Moffett and her husband Kevin Eigel.  They taught UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) to staff of over 15 hospices at 4 locations around the country. If you would like to hear more stories Marcia and Lori will be sharing on Thursday, September 15 at 6:30 at the Yohi Teacher Training Institute.


September Calendar of Events


CC_September-03Studio Closed Monday, September 5 for Labor Day (Yoga on High and Grow Yoga)

September 3 Kirtan with Narada Wise
September 9-10 200-Hour Teacher Training Kick Off Weekend
September 10 Prenatal Partner Workshop with Mary Sinclair
September 11 Restorative Yoga & Live Music with Abby and Holly at Grow Yoga -- Grandview
September 14 -16 Rodney Yee: Yoga Practice and Therapeutics
September 14 Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee: An Urban Zen Class
September 18 The Four Agreements (3 & 4) with Lara Falberg
September 18 Yoga for Runners with Marcy Freed at All Life Center -- Powell
September 23 Ayurveda: The Power of Ritual of Tea with Jasmine Grace
September 24 Restorative Workshop with Gail Spirit Sky
September 24 Ayurveda: Clinical Ayurveda Theory (C.A.T.) Program Kick Off
September 30 Ayurveda, Asana and Pranayama: Grounding Vata with Jasmine Grace
October 1-31 October Dedication Challenge to support The Yoga on High Foundation
October 2 108 to Rehabilitate to support The Yoga on High Foundation

September Reiki Shares: 12 & 19

Schedule Updates:
Sunday 6:30p Sekoia with Brittny Manos
Tuesday 7:45p Sekoia with Michele Vinbury
Wednesday 12:00p iRest Yoga Nidra with Stella Cornett
Friday 4:30p Hot Flow Level 1 & 2 with Gina Derry
Saturday 8:30a Sekoia with Jasmine Grace

Series Classes:

Yoga on High -- Short North
September 7 Wednesdays 6p Yoga Lab 101 with Michael Murphy and Michele Vinbury
September 19 Mondays 7:15a 4-Week Pranayama Class with Michele Vinbury

Step by Step Wellness -- Westerville
September 10 Saturdays 11a Parent & Kid Yoga (Ages 5-10) with Mary Lynn Niland
September 12 Mondays 9:15a Mommy & Baby with Janet Braden
September 13 Tuesdays 7:00p Yoga for Runners and Cyclists with Marcy Freed

All Life Center -- Powell
September 15 Thursdays 4:00p 6-Week Slow Burn Vinyasa with Marcy Freed
September 16 Fridays 9:30a 6-Week Sekoia Series with Alissa Jackson

Click here to sign up for Series Classes.

Upcoming Teacher Trainings:
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training -- Begins September 9, 2016
Conatct Breanna at to apply.

300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training -- Rolling Enrollment
Free Info Session:
Sunday, September 11 from 1:00p to 2:00p at the Teacher Training Institute

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) -- Begins October 27, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Sunday, October 2 from 2:00p to 3:00p at Yoga on High
Tuesday,  October 4 from 7:00p to 8:00p ET -- Conference Call

Ayurvedic Heath Counselor (A.H.C.) -- Begins November 5, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Sunday, September 11 from 12:00p to 1:00p at the Teacher Training Institute
Friday, September 30 from 5:15p to 6:00p at the Teacher Training Institute


Welcome Space

 Natalie_Adams_yogaonhigh“What did I receive?” This was the question we were asked to contemplate on our graduation day from Yoga on High 200-hour Teacher Training Program. Without thinking, I took pen to paper and quickly wrote the first word that came to mind.


Wait. What? I wasn’t expecting that. It was a crazy, busy 9 months. I felt pulled in all sorts of directions—balancing teacher training with being a mom, a full time employee, and a wife….I often joke that those 9 months were harder than BOTH of my pregnancies.

But I sat with this word, and just wrote whatever came to my mind without over-thinking (I’m a yoga teacher now; I’m not supposed to “over-think” right?). Thoughts came pouring in, and are still pouring in since graduation 2 months ago.

Every Thursday night for 9 months, I had the space to learn about my favorite thing in the world—yoga: yoga anatomy, yoga adjustments, yoga alignment and yoga class planning. I assisted in classes with the some of the best teachers in Columbus, and learned how to take the 8 limbs of yoga off the mat.

I was like a kid in a candy store, taking in as much as I could, learning that there is so much I didn’t know (and still don’t)! Just when I thought I mastered how to cue downward facing dog, I quickly learned that there are about 50 other cues. This was simply the tip of the iceberg. Yoga is a life-long journey of self-inquiry and I’m in it for the long haul.

I found a space to share with people exactly like me. The kind of people who chant “om” loudly without worrying about what others are thinking. I met people who have been affected by yoga on a deeply personal level, who shared their stories of how yoga changed their lives and their desire to give back to a practice that has given them so much. We laughed hard and some of us (me!), cried hard. It was during these moments that a deep family bond formed, one that will never be broken. Even though we’ve graduated and do not see each other weekly, when I see them, it’s like no time has passed at all. We pick up right where we left off. We have each other’s back and support one another as we embark on this next stage of our lives. We truly are better together.

Teacher training gave me the space to let go and have fun! When will you ever have a chance to blow bubbles in total silence at a weekend silent retreat? Or chant so loud at kirtan that you just have to get up and dance? Or laugh uncontrollably while learning adjustments….I put my hand where??? The fun made the hard work worth it. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.

But it wasn’t always easy. I also found space to learn my limits. I was stretched more than I ever thought I could imagine. I am someone who always thrived on being busy and “having it all,” but this was TOUGH. Between teacher training sessions every Thursday, assisting in yoga classes, practice teaching and a weekend silent retreat, it almost pushed me over the edge.

Through all the chaos, I literally thought I was losing it, but really, I was finding it. For the first time ever, I learned to say “no” when I couldn’t take on just one more thing, or to forgive myself if I wanted to skip practice in order to spend time with my husband and daughters. I learned that when I operate from a place of self-love and acceptance, that I am free. THAT, my friends, is the space!

During the program, I often asked myself, “am I am on the right track?” “Do I really want to do this?” “Is it worth it?” “Can I realllly do this?” All I knew is that I loved yoga. I’ll always love yoga. Yoga gives me space; space in my body and in my mind. When I’m on my mat, I feel safe, vulnerable, and at peace. I want to hold space for students to have their own journey. That’s what kept me going through training and keeps me going as I begin my journey as a new yoga teacher.

Finally, and most importantly, teacher training gave me space to love myself. Once I found this love, I was able to start fully receiving love from others; the deep love of my husband and daughters regardless of whether or not I was home to fix dinner every day; the love and support from my friends outside of yoga who came to practice teach sessions, who celebrated with me when I passed my final certification, and who were patient with my when I was just too tired to see them. Even if they didn’t always get it, it didn’t matter. They love me and that is enough.

If I never teach another class, this experience; my teachers, my classmates, this practice, will be etched in my heart forever. If you’ve ever thought of taking this journey, jump in with both feet. No regrets. Be brave with your life. Follow your heart.


Natalie Adams is a recent grad of Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training program.

Michele-2041e_playOur next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th.  For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session this Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at


Welcome Trust

image1I had no idea if it was the right time to become a yoga instructor. A spell of feelings: self-doubt, intimidation, insecurity, anticipation. What did I have to offer that other 200-hour teachers out there didn’t have? Would I enter a saturated teaching scene with nothing unique to share? When I was considering joining Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, I solicited everybody I encountered for their advice. Do you think I should go for it? Do you think I have the time? Is my practice advanced enough? Am I ready? I received boundless advice, but it was my own fortitude that got me to take the leap of faith. ‘A leap of faith’ is exactly what I would call my entire 200 Hour Teacher Training experience at Yoga on High. I was never ready; I was never sure my practice was advanced enough, if I had the time, or even if it was the right time, but I had to take the leap of faith to figure it out. I couldn’t be more grateful that I did.

I found trust. I had to trust that while it felt like I didn’t know half of what I thought I knew about yoga, I was in the right place at Yoga on High. Surrounded by knowledgeable mentors, experienced teachers, and my fellow teacher trainees, I was given all the tools to dive as deep as I wanted into the sea of transformation. I trusted in myself that I would always find a way to accomplish everything I needed to, when I needed to. The 9-month program is perfectly crafted to propose new content in a digestible way and I trusted that there was plenty of time to know it all.

I found comfort. Teacher training taught me to truly find balance between ease and effort in practice and in teaching. I learned to dedicate myself to proper alignment to achieve comfort in even the most modest of postures. My teachers, Michele Vinbury and Marcia Miller, taught me comfort in the fluctuating state of the mind that has translated off the mat into daily life in more ways than I imagined.

I found fearlessness. Being in the role of an instructor and giving the gift of yoga to another person is an incredible responsibility. It felt unnatural to be judged on my teaching because teaching yoga isn’t supposed to be about me, it’s about my students! Overcoming that required a certain amount of audacity as did simply standing up in front of a room of students. Each lesson of the program helped me get to that place of fearlessness all on my own.

image2 (1)I found healing. I began this adventure with the intention of healing others and I ended with also healing myself. We all come into teacher training with our own experiences and circumstances. Life did not stop when I signed up for 200 Hour Teacher Training. I was not in a bliss bubble for nine months protected from all of life’s highs and lows. Yet still, I became better equipped to face life’s challenges and I broke down rigidity I had been holding onto in my heart. I have so many salient memories of moments over the course of the training that helped me unravel truths about myself. On a particular Monday night, I was assisting Anne Weidinger’s Hot Flow class and was completely overcome with awe witnessing the students in the room moving together with their collective breath. One morning I remember practice teaching a guided meditation in Savasana to a group of beginning yogis, and when I closed my eyes, I could feel their peace. Moments like these proved that I am enough and I do have something unique to offer this world. We all do.

If you are considering going through your teacher training, I propose the idea that it will never be the right time. It will always be a leap of faith. That’s the beauty of it and you just have to do it to let the mystery unfold.

Brittny Manos is a Research Coordinator in Adolescent Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a graduate of Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she has arranged her life around health and wellness and yoga is an extension of that. Brittny aims to awaken a new sense of freedom in the mind, body, and breath for her students through dynamic Vinyasa flows and guided meditations.

Michele-2041e_playOur next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th.  For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at



Welcome Self-Inquiry

Abigail_Love_Teacher TrainingAbigail_Love_Teacher Training3After graduating from Ohio University I moved to Columbus to start my career as a nurse. Before moving, I was introduced to Yoga on High by a dear friend. Yoga on High quickly became how I built a sense of community in my new city. I immediately fell in love with the studio because of its central location, the sense of welcoming I felt as soon as I entered its doors, and the diversity of intelligent, passionate people attending the studio.

As my love for yoga grew, I was approached by my teachers at Yoga on High about my practice. They asked me if I was considering teacher training. My dream was to escape the city and do the training in an exotic location, and Yoga on High was doing their first Intensive in Costa Rica. I knew that was right for me because it would allow me to balance my career with the perfect learning experience. An added bonus was that I could share the experience with Taylor, a good friend from Columbus.

Once Taylor and I arrived in Costa Rica, we immediately felt relaxed and mentally prepared for the journey ahead. We both needed a break from our busy lives in the city and the time to focus on ourselves. The program was scheduled through three intensive, 3-hour class sessions each day, with breaks in between. We spent one week at three different locations. The first week we were in the rainforest at a biodynamic farm where we focused on the root chakra, the root of yoga, and the root of our practice. The second location was on a mountainside at an Eco-lodge facing the south pacific where we brought in the element of fire with the third chakra, the will power of our practice, and cultivated the authority to teach others. The last location was at a very luxurious beach resort with lush surroundings. Our room faced the beach and we could hear the waves crashing constantly. Here, we had reached bliss as a group – the sixth and seventh chakra. We learned to integrate all of the teachings, find our authentic voice, let our intuition guide us, and allow yoga to unify our life.

Jasmine and Michele provided just the right amount of challenge and support for each of our journeys. I never felt alone in the process or stifled by the pressure or expectations placed upon me throughout the program. It also helped to have by friend Taylor there as someone to lean on when I was feeling lost and it helped that we could decompress together. If you have the opportunity to take teacher training with a friend, I would recommend it!

I would say the most foundational thing I learned about my personal practice is to be OK with “backing-off” or taking a break when my mind or body needs me to. It is A LOT to practice yoga intensely three times a day, but because of my character, I immediately saw it as a challenge. I plan to use this lesson with my students by giving them the option to do less in order to feel more. My practice actually progressed immensely from this lesson because I am no longer holding that tension in my mind or my body. I was able to find ease and go further into what I sought or yearned for in my practice.

Abigail Love began her yoga journey at age 12. From an early age, she found that yoga helped adapt to body changes, improve self-confidence and build healthy relationships. Abigail is a nurse and sees yoga as a method of healing. She hopes her yoga classes will empower students to find harmony in their lives.

TT_Video-02Our next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th.  For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at



August Calender of Events

August 12 Ayurveda: Calming Anxiety with Jasmine Grace
August 13 – 14 Reiki Level 2 Training & Attunement with Marcia Miller and Linda Oshins
August 18 Sekoia Hike with Michele Vinbury
August 20 Meditation Teacher Training with Jasmine Grace
August 26 Potluck and Talent Show
August 27 Sekoia Chakra Journey with Michele Vinbury

August Reiki Shares: 1, 8, 15 & 29

Series Classes:
7:30p Tuesdays August 2 6-Week Ashtanga Foundations with Tom Griffith
10:30a Sundays August 7 6-Week Kids Yoga (ages 6-11) with Julie Standish
6:00p Wednesdays August 10 iRest Yoga Nidra with Michele Vinbury
5:45p Mondays August 15 Inversions from the Ground Up with Marcia Miller
4:00p Mondays August 10-Week Hatha Level 1 with Melanie Miller @ALC Powell

Upcoming Teacher Trainings:
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training -- Begins September 9, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Thursday, August 11 from 6:00p to 6:45p at the Teacher Training Institute
Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) -- Begins October 27, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Thursday, August 18 from 7:30p to 8:30p ET- Conference Call
Saturday, August 27 from 4:00p to 5:00p at Yoga on High

Ayurvedic Heath Counselor (A.H.C.) -- Begins November 5, 2016
Free Info Session:
Friday, August 12 from 5:15p to 6:00p at the Teacher Training Institute

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