Monthly Archives: February 2017

Christen Boyles: Venture Inward

Christen BoylesBy chance, or perhaps by divine intervention, I stumbled into a semester-long yoga class in college. I knew nothing about yoga at the time. I knew I had anxiety. I knew I was overwhelmed. I remember that class being the only two hours of my week when I felt like I could breathe.

At the end of that semester, I graduated and left on a retreat-like road trip by myself across the country. Life was quiet and simple for a month, and a trip that I had thrown together at the last minute ended up being life-changing. I packed a $10 yoga mat (which I still use to this day) and rolled it out on dusty campsites for 30 days. At some point, I decided I wanted to share this practice with other people.

On a 1,400 foot peak In Utah, I met a group of friends and discovered that myself and the two girls in the group share the same birthday. Divine intervention? One was a yoga teacher. Divine intervention.

Before I knew it, I was back home and walking into my first night of teacher training at the Yoga On High Teacher Training Institute. An elaborate mandala of candles and flowers was spread out on the floor and we all chose a seat around the circle. None of us could have imagined the journey we were about to embark on together.

The knowledge shared
Friendships formed
Tears cried
Hands held
Epiphanies reached
Lives changed

I learned how to teach yoga. I learned how to adjust poses and sequence classes. But most importantly, I learned to venture inward in search of myself. I learned to be in silence whether it was comfortable or not. I learned to look fear in the face and do it anyway. I learned to quiet my mind. I learned why people cry on yoga mats.

I laughed, cried, felt vulnerable, got frustrated, and through it all, I was always surrounded by a community of people who supported me, reminded me to forgive myself and to always go forward.

I still feel the support of that community as I navigate each new experience as a yoga teacher. I feel the impact of those 9 months with me everyday.

I am eternally grateful.

Christen2Christen Boyles graduated from the Yoga on High Teacher Training Institute in 2016. She teaches Hatha yoga and is passionate about teaching students who are just beginning their yoga practice. She is also interested in the ways that yoga can help students cope with stress and anxiety.

Our next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins March 17. For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, February 19th from 12:00p to 12:45p with Michele Vinbury at Yoga on High. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at

Watch Yoga on High Teacher Training video here.


March Calendar of Events

Community-9499Schedule Updates:
Grow Yoga:
All mid-morning Grow Yoga classes have moved to 9:30 am start time:
Monday Slow Flow Level 1 & 2 with Cara @ 9:30a
Tuesday Sekoia with Alissa @ 9:30a
Wednesday Slow Flow Level 1 & 2 with Cara @ 9:30a
Thursday Hot Flow Level 1 & 2 with Erin @ 9:30a
Friday Slow Flow Level 1 & 2 with Anne @ 9:30a

Yoga on High: Please see web for most current schedule.

March 3-5 Sekoia Teacher Training with Jasmine Grace, Michele Vinbury & Karine Wascher
March 6 Reiki Share with Jasmine Grace
March 10 Ayurvedic Herbs: Making Tinctures with Jasmine Grace and Meredith Bury
March 10 – 12 Yoga for people over 50 with Marcia Miller @ Yogaville Virginia
March 12 Prenatal Partner Workshop with Mary Sinclair
March 18 – 19 Reiki Level 1 Training and Attunement with Marcia Miller
March 22-26 David Keil Mysore – SOLD OUT
March 25 Sekoia Spirit Journey: Snake with Michele Vinbury @ Grow Yoga

Series Classes:
March 6 -- 20 Monday 5:45p Balancing the Hips with Marcia Miller
Mar 28 -- May 9 Tuesday 4:00p 6-Week Hatha Level 1 & 2 Melanie Miller @ All Life Center
Mar 29 -- May 3 Wednesday 6:30p Yoga for Runners with Marcy Freed @ Step By Step Wellness -- Westerville

Upcoming Teacher Trainings:

200 Hour Teacher Training -- 9 Month Weekend Program
March 17-19 Kick-off Weekend
Free 200 Hour Teacher Training Info Sessions:
Sunday, March 12th from 12:00p to 12:45p at Yoga on High
Watch Video Here

Ayurvedic Health Educator AHE I -- 11 Month Weekend Program (equivalent to NAMA’s Ayurvedic Health Counselor)
May 20 -- 21, 2017 Kick-off Weekend
Free Ayurvedic Health Educator Info Sessions:
Sunday, March 12th from 6:30p to 7:30p at Yoga on High TTI

300 Hour Teacher Training – 1 to 3 Year Customizable Program
Rolling Enrollment

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) – 11 Month Program
Wednesday, August 23 through Sunday, August 27
 First Onsite


Ellen Smith: Adventure

TTsI began the Yoga on High teacher training program with the sole focus of wanting to become a yoga instructor. What transpired over the next nine months was an amazing journey that brought me not only my RYT-200, but also a deeper understanding of myself and the connection of mind, body and spirit. I was in awe my first night of class when we were invited to “empty your cup.” At that point I can say now without judgement or embarrassment that my yoga practice was more ego driven, muscling through poses regardless of form or safe technique. So that first night when we were invited to empty our cup and let go of what we thought we knew, to make space to truly learn, I made the conscious decision to check my ego, cup empty, let the adventure begin.

Over the next nine months the diverse group of dedicated instructors inspired me with their knowledge of all things yoga…….anatomy, pranayama, meditation, subtle energy, sequencing, adjusting, and even marketing. Each lesson was delivered in an intelligent accessible format, providing a comprehensive program that was both fun and challenging. From the reading and written assignments, to assisting and practice teaching; I found the progression of the program perfectly provided me the opportunity to develop the skills I needed as a teacher to help my students grow and deepen their practice. I feel I was given a solid knowledge base as well as a supportive space to establish my own unique teaching style.
I am grateful for the education I received through the Yoga on High teacher training program. I was met with several personal challenges during my training that allowed me to experience first-hand the transformational power of yoga. While the textbooks from the program have become a resource library that I constantly refer back to for the wealth of information they provide, it is what I learned on a personal level while in the program that I come back to on a daily basis…”yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s what you learn on the way down.”

Ellen_Smith_TTEllen Smith is a graduate of the 200 Hour Yoga on High Teacher Training.

Our next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins March 17. February 17 is the last chance for the paid In full price of $2850 (with no deposit, no monthly payments). For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, February 19th from 12:00p to 12:45p with Michele Vinbury at Yoga on High. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at

Watch Yoga on High Teacher Training video here.


Interesting Reads for Current Times

Beginning in March, the Yoga on High Foundation will host monthly discussions centered around books and podcasts. Our hope with this series is to help encourage an educated, engaged and inspired community -- as well as to foster open, thoughtful dialogue around issues of the day.

Enroll in a book conversation here.

During the course of creating these community events, I had the opportunity to ask for book recommendations from some amazing, intelligent and caring people. What follows is a list I’ve compiled of their favorites, combined with my own picks for 2017 must-reads.  If you have recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

-- Michele

1984 by George Orwell

The Power of the Powerless by Václav Havel

The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz

The Rebel by Albert Camus

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White: the strange journey from Ellis Island to the suburbs by David Roediger

Borders: A Very Short Introduction by Alexander C. Diener and Joshua Hagen

Hope In the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit

The Age of Fracture by Daniel Rodgers

Neither Beasts nor Gods by Francis Kane

C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy by Jeff Sharlet

Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy by David Daley

Gerrymandering in America: The House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, and the Future of Popular Sovereignty by Anthony McGann

The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

White Trash: The 400 year old untold history of class in America by Nancy Isenberg

Listen Liberal: or Whatever Happened to the Party of the People by Thomas Frank

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

Stopping Rape: A Challenge for Men by Rus Ervin Funk

Transforming a Rape Culture by Emilie Buchwald, Pamela Fletcher and Martha Roth

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ain’t I a woman? Black women and feminism by bell hooks

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

A Bond between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion by China Galland

Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

When Abortion Was A Crime by Leslie Reagan,

This Common Secret: My Life as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Cents and Sustainability:  Our Common Future by Gro Harlem Brundtland

Mobilizing the Green Imagination: An Exuberant Manifesto by Anthony Weston

This Changes Everything: Capitalism and the Climate by Naomi Klein

World as Lover World as Self: Courage for Social Justice and Ecological Renewal by Joanna Macy

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

To Repair the World: Paul Farmer speaks to the next Generation by Paul Farmer

No god but God: Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam by Raza Aslan

The Bible and the Sword by Barbara Tuchman

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi

A Path Appears: Transforming lives, creating opportunities by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

Choosing Peace: New Ways to Communicate by Ike Lasater and John Kinyon

Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu

Full Catastrophe Living, John Cabat Zinn

Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte

Ten Poems to Open Your Heart by Roger Housden


On Being

John Lewis:

Ruby Sales:

David Whyte:



Shannon Taylor: Wide Open Heart

IMG_0046Heart. Cracked. WIDE. Open with space for new and beautiful things! Yoga is sometimes SO big (for me), that it’s hard to put into words. I walked into Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga on High nearly a month after taking my first-born to college (one of the most beautiful, exciting and toughest moments of my life). Looking back…I was a little raw (emotionally). I was full of so much emotion and energy. I only shared with a few people that I was investing in myself, and starting this journey. On a Friday evening in September, the nine month journey began. Armed with my Nike spirit tee “Just Do It”, I was BURSTING with excitement! When it was my turn to introduce myself…it was all I could do but scream I’M SO EXCITED!!!! I couldn’t believe that I was really there, living out a dream. It was a long time coming. I knew shortly after my first “live” Yoga class that eventually, I wanted to teach yoga. I wanted to create a class where people would leave feeling AMAZING in body and in spirit! Up until Spring 2015, it had been something I’d talked about, but didn’t think I had the time or money to actually do it. I stepped out on faith, applied for the program, and somehow, some way…. God made a way! But, what I didn’t know then was how much Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga On High would impact my life.

Birthing a “Yoga Baby.” The program is nine months for a reason. There is so much to learn. Asana, pranyama, meditation, anatomy and alignment, yamas, niyamas, sutras…my spirit (and body) were stretched in ways I couldn’t begin to articulate…and you need TIME for that! I didn’t expect for my practice on the mat to grow and change, I was supposed to be learning how to teach people yoga. I became a better listener of others (teachers) and of myself. I established and developed a personal practice and I began to understand (from an academic, philosophical and spiritual perspective) how my yoga practice had changed my life and allowed me to deal with the “adult” part of my life.

Being Silent…As a little girl, I always got the comment on my report card that referenced my talking. Quiet isn’t necessarily my thing. I like talking, I love podcasts, I like the TV playing in the background, I like music…. That being said, the Silent Retreat was initially very intimidating, SILENT! No talking at all? That weekend was one of the most fulfilling and exciting weekends of my life!   My husband still can’t believe I was quiet the whole weekend. I didn’t know it, but it was just what I needed. The quiet was beautiful. I colored, I journaled, I ran, I practiced yoga, I meditated and I processed and I was able to reset. Now, I treasure those moments of silence. Allowing myself to be fully immersed in my actions.

Solid Ground. Throughout my Teacher Training experience, I would tease and tell my friends that I was in the “Harvard” of Yoga Teacher Training. In all seriousness, the breadth and depth of the Yoga on High TT program is so vast and unparalleled! I’m forever grateful that my journey as a teacher began here. Yoga on High will always have a piece of my heart! It includes a strong philosophical foundation and an explorative approach to practice on the mat. The program is thoughtful and comprehensive. It was well structured, nurturing and challenging, providing a strong foundation for a teacher and practitioner. The access to an amazing group of teachers/mentors and their classes provided the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with different styles of yoga and different instructors. This also informed my own teaching style. When I began teaching my own classes, I felt confident that I was well prepared and would provide my students with a quality experience.

Support. Friendships cultivated with my mentors and fellow TTs will last a lifetime!

Yoga is a gift! Trust me, I will be unpacking the experience for the rest of my life!

A54186AA-4D7F-4E3D-A7F4-99F51006D22FShannon Taylor currently teaches at Replenish Spa Co-op.  She enjoys sharing yoga with family, friends and coworkers and strives to be a light to others whenever opportunity allows. Shannon is dedicated to bringing access to yoga to underrepresented populations, encouraging them to grow their practice through self exploration and powerful choices. Off the mat, Shannon is a wife and mother and works as a College Advising Manager for the non-profit organization, I Know I Can.

Our next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins March 17. February 17 is the last change to get the paid In full price of $2850 (with no deposit, no monthly payments). For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, February 19th from 12:00p to 12:45p with Michele Vinbury at Yoga on High. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at

Watch Yoga on High Teacher Training video here.


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