Posts by: yogaonhigh

iRest® Yoga Nidra Meditation: A Living Practice of Connection & Belonging

 

s-lopez-web_7By Stephanie Lopez 
This blog was originally published in the Accessible Yoga Conference newsletter in 2016.

In the course of daily life how often do we feel unseen, disconnected, and disempowered? For many this is an all too frequent experience.

People practice yoga and meditation to discover a sense of ease, balance, and purpose. I believe there is a deeper motivation as well; a longing for connection with one’s self and rest of the world. I’ve found this yearning is satisfied through iRest Yoga Nidra. This transformative yet simple practice uncovers an undeniable ground of well-being and interconnectedness. It brings forth a direct sense of wholeness that is unchanging regardless of life’s circumstances.

iRest is a modern adaptation of the ancient practice of yoga nidra and was developed by Richard Miller, a clinical psychologist and researcher, as well as yogic scholar and author. iRest comprises a full path of meditation with 3 core principles: the practice of welcoming, seeing everything as a messenger, and an essential wholeness or ground of being. These principles are woven through the 10 steps of the protocol forming a potent and healing meditation practice.

As we learn iRest we begin by welcoming everything just as it is. To practice welcoming is to abide in nonjudgmental presence and simply allow whatever arises in our mind. We learn that welcoming is not an extra something we do. Rather, it is an essential aspect of being human.

In contrast, struggle is accompanied by tension, contraction, anger, and fear. At its heart is the desire to have things other than what they are. You push away what you don’t want and cling to what you desire. There is no denying this pain and struggle but iRest meditation teaches us to meet these experiences without trying to fix or change them. Imagine the fierce grace of meeting pain as pure physical sensation and gently accepting the emotions and beliefs it engenders. Yet, simply feeling into and allowing pain to emerge can bring a shift in its intensity.

What happens when we let go of the struggle with life? What happens when we simply allow its challenges, heartbreak, and beauty? In my experience there is a release of tension, an opening to freedom, and joy in full presence of all movements of life. At the heart of this welcoming is an ease of being untouched by life’s movements. This is an underlying wholeness that cannot be broken.

In the practice of iRest we meet life fully through this combination of welcoming and ease of being. We navigate difficult emotions, beliefs, and memories with an Inner Resource to rely upon when they become overwhelming. We also come into new insight when our sensations, emotions, and beliefs are seen as messengers. Experiencing them fully develops and deepens a connection with the self. We come into loving and compassionate relationship with ourselves. You’re able to hear your voice and what is being asked for on the deepest levels. It is in this state of iRest meditation that habitual patterns are broken and you develop clear and novel responses to life’s challenges.

Through this compassionate welcoming you develop connection with all parts of yourself and begin to live authentically. There is trust in who you are and what you do -- and this belonging with yourself flows into a connection with others. As you live life fully and with an undefended heart you develop a sense of belonging in the world. This intimacy with yourself and others empowers you to live life to its fullest potential.

At the heart of every person is an ease of being and wholeness that has never been broken. I cherish this practice and its simple ability to shine the healing light of truth of who we are.

Stephanie Lopez is leading iRest Yoga Nidra Level 1 Training at Yoga on High April 19 -- 23.  Learn more about this training here.

Stephanie Lopez, LISW-S, is Director of Operations for the Integrative Restoration Institute (IRI), Senior iRest® Trainer and IRI Retreat Leader. Stephanie’s teachings are informed by over two decades of immersion in the non-dual teachings of yoga as well as her integration of western psychology and the wisdom traditions of eastern spirituality. As a clinical social worker Stephanie weaves self-inquiry and iRest meditation into her clinical practice. Teaching for nearly 15 years, Stephanie’s compassionate presence, depth of knowledge, and ease of being create a welcoming space for insightful learning. She leads workshops, retreats, and trainings in the U.S. and internationally. Stephanie finds joy in her marriage with her husband, Francisco, and their two cats, Juniper & Luna. She is also an avid traveler and hiker.

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April Calendar of Events

Jeremy-9095Schedule Updates:
Friday 6:30a Hot Flow Level 1 & 2 with Nicole Fleming
Monday 9:30a Sekoia Aerial Level 1 with Dale Ann Gray
Saturday 8:30a Hot Flow Level 1 & 2 with Jeremy Grace at Grow Yoga

Announcements:
Studio Closed Easter Sunday, April 16
Michael Murphy is moving to North Carolina.  All Love Michael!
Welcome home Karine Wascher!  Look for her on the schedule staring May. 

Workshops:

April 1 Reiki Share with Marcia Miller
April 1 – 30 Commit, Cleanse and Clear April Challenge
April 14 Ayurveda, Asana and Pranayama for the Seasons: Kapha with Jasmine Grace
April 15 Book Conversations with Marcia Miller (On Being Podcast with John Lewis: The Art of Discipline of Nonviolence)
April 19 -- 24 iRest Yoga Nidra Level 1 Training with Stephanie Lopez
April 29 Ayurveda: Spirituality and Wellness with Dr. Hari Sharma
April 30 Sekoia Spirit Journey: Lioness with Michele Vinbury

Series Classes:
April 3 -- June 12 Mondays 4:00p MS Yoga Mondays at Yoga on High with Jennifer Gebhart
April 3 -- June 12 Mondays 6:00p Prenatal at Step by Step Wellness – Westerville with Julie Carpenter
April 4 -- May 16 Tuesdays 7:30p 6-week Ashtanga Foundations at Yoga on High with Tom Griffith
April 5 -- May 31 Wednesdays 5:45p Hatha Basic New Beginners at Yoga on High with Cindy Houpt
April 6 -- June 15 Thursdays 5:45p Prenatal Yoga at Yoga on High with Mary Sinclair
April 7 -- May 12 Fridays 9:30a 6-week Sekoia Series at All Life Center – Powell with Alissa Jackson
April 8 -- May 20 Saturdays 10:15a Introduction to QiGong at Yoga on High with Kevin Eigel
April 8 -- June 10 Saturdays 12:00p MS Yoga Weekend Class at Yoga on High with Jennifer Gebhart
April 9 -- June 1 Sundays 2:00p 9-Week Hatha Beginner Series at Grow Yoga with Holly Moretti
April 9 -- May 21 Sundays 10:30a 6-week Kids Yoga (Ages 6-11) at Yoga on High with Julie Standish
April 9 -- May 21 Sundays 3:00p 6-week Ashtanga Foundations at Yoga on High with Correna Starbuck
April 10 -- June 12 Mondays 5:45p Hatha Dynamic New Beginners at TTI with Marcia Miller
April 10 -- May 15 Monday’s 7:30p 6-week Advanced Vinyasa at TTI with Lara Falberg
April 10 -- June 19 Monday’s 7:30p Prenatal Yoga at TTI with Jennifer Gebhart
April 11 -- May 16 Tuesdays 9:30a 6-Week Vinyasa Beginner Series at Grow Yoga with Alissa Jackson
April 13 -- May 18 Thursdays 4:30p 6-week Slow Burn Vinyasa Level 1 & 2 at All Life Center – Powell with Marcy Freed
April 18 -- May 23 Tuesdays 11:15a Mommy & Baby at Step by Step Wellness -- Westerville with Janet Braden
April 26 -- May 31 Wednesdays 6:00p EMBER at Yoga on High with Marybeth Hamilton
April 30 -- June 4 Sundays 3p 6-week Foundations of Kundalini Yoga at Yoga on High with Sada Nam
Click here to enroll in series classes.

Upcoming Teacher Trainings:
Ayurvedic Health Educator (AHE Part 1) -- 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, April 2nd from 5:30p to 6:30p with Marina Zahran & Marisa Barsotti at Yoga on High Teacher Training Institute
Saturday, April 15th from 12:30p to 1:30p with Jasmine Grace at Yoga on High Teacher Training Institute
Saturday, May 13th from 12:30p to 1:30p with Jasmine Grace at Yoga on High Teacher Training Institute

300 Hour Teacher Training – 1 to 3 Year Customizable Program
Rolling Enrollment
Contact: linda@yogaonhigh.com

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) – 11 Month Program
Wednesday, August 23 through Sunday, August 27 First Onsite
Contact urbanzen@yogaonhigh.com
Free UZIT Info Sessions:
Saturday, May 13th from 1:30p to 2:30p at Yoga on High Teacher Training Institute with Marcia Miller

 

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Sending Reiki

By Marcia Miller

Marcia-8579ccOne of the greatest gifts of Reiki Level 2 is learning to send Reiki through time and space. There is no doubt that in-person Reiki offerings are powerfully loving and satisfying, but many of the people we love and care about are not able to be with us in person: they may be across town, across the world or even across time. (More about this in another blog.) Just as we love people who are not right in front of us, we can also send Reiki as a vehicle of that love for those who are not in our presence.

Linda Oshins and I are currently sending Reiki to our dearest friend who is living with cancer. We are so glad to have a daily way of offering her support. Linda lives in Seattle, I’m sending from my farm west of Columbus and our dear friend is downtown. We have chosen a specific time to send to her each night. The best part is that it feels like we are all together in person as we send energy each day.

We are having several different kinds of experiences as we send. Sometimes, we feel our friend as her separate self—with specific health and emotional sensibilities; for example, we can sometimes sense her anxiety, or we feel a deep personal love for her.

Marcia-8463ccSometimes I can feel our friend’s energy through the connection I feel with Linda. When Linda and I both lived here we did a lot of Reiki together. When we shared clients she would generally end up at their head and I would be at their feet. We found we could feel each other’s energy through a person’s body. We can feel each other in sending as well. When we are sending to our friend at the same time, we can feel each other there—together. Sensing Linda there with me is so comforting. As we walk side by side with our friend who has a terminal diagnosis, we need each other and Reiki is the best way for us to be with each other. It’s been hard for me to face this by myself, and it’s very comforting for me to know Linda is there as a felt experience. When I do my sending—generally at the end of the day—I’m tired and full of the day I just had. When I plug into my send it feels so much more palpable when Linda is there too.

And then there is the other type of experience I have—the Big Energy. Sometimes I start sending, and I tap into an Energy that is Big—it’s not just Linda and me together; it feels like the energy of the entire universe. It’s Big (I know I said that already but it’s the word that keeps coming) and palpable with a vibratory quality to it that feels like the essence of Life Force. It has a flow and pulsation to it. In this case, no matter how tired or distracted I am, I immediately feel this huge connection and can rest into it.

In my mind, I am not at all Ok about the impending death of my friend. But when I am in the Reiki energy with her, in that Big Energy, I am actually OK and so is she. It just feels Ok that life is as it is. That in itself is a huge gift as we go through this time together.

Reiki is one of my paths that has broadened my experience so that I know that things are not always as they seem. That love is love whether we are together or not. The Love and Reiki both exist without any limits of time and space.

Marcia Miller, Linda Oshins and Michele Vinbury are teaching Reiki programs throughout the year and reinitiating the Yoga on High Reiki Masters’ program beginning in the fall. Please click here for details.

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Richard Freeman: Asana-Poet and Embodied Philosopher

It is my position that the great, traditional asana sequences are like the epic poems of Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and Ovid. Richard Freeman is a voice uniquely situated to interpret the various Ashtanga Vinyasa series, often by breaking them into sonnets and haikus in order to reveal hidden structure and meaning. Richard’s 60- or 90-minute classes might focus on, say, the first third of second series “Nadi Shodhana” or the last third of primary series “Yoga Chikitsa”. As students, we are blessed by the opportunity to read these gigantic works of physical poetry through the lenses of a master teacher.

Richard Freeman’s approach to teaching yoga is a consistent re-envisioning and re-imagining of traditional yoga techniques, particularly those found in the various series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system Richard studied with his guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. With equal love for physical, contemplative and philosophical practice, Richard has devised a completely unique and idiosyncratic teaching that invites each student constantly back into the “beginners mind” -- forget what you know, and practice into the open mind. You can hear straight from him about his method and history of practice here.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.25.53 AMIn the recently released The Art of Vinyasa, Richard and his partner Mary Taylor collect the condensation of the vinyasa method unique to the lineage and innovation of the luminary T. Krishnamacharya, teacher of Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar and others. Correct vinyasa for entering and exiting postures extends into a method for sequencing postures into the yoga mala, or garland of practice. The Art of Vinyasa begins, not with Sun Salutations or an introduction of asana technique, but with a chapter entitled “Natural Alignment: The Internal Forms of the Practice,” wherein the question is asked: if asana is as old as we think it is, how was physical practice taught without our modern knowledge of anatomical alignment?

One answer given is that the practice of visualization was key: visualizing deities, remembering teacher demonstrations, sensing into systems of the subtle body (nadis, bandhas, mudras, cackras, etc). These internal forms create a deep core of listening in and around the body, wherein the rhythms and pulses of the nervous system itself can be the teacher. We can see this key turning in the lock of Richard’s teaching when we hear in class about the heavy golden coccyx (tailbone) and the four angels of the pelvic floor, undulating the torso like the “peacock who swallowed a snake,” spreading kidney wings and lifting cobra hoods, coiling around the sun in the belly and tasting nectar at the root of the palate.

RichardFreeman_AdamWetterhanA precise knowledge of the power of sequencing asana with the internal forms of the practice has led Richard to emphasize the transitional space between each pose, lengthening out the boundary-points between one pose and another. He says, “The best poses are the ones with no name,” such as the one I’m demonstrating here, a preparatory position and first vinyasa for Trikonasana B (revolved triangle), Parsvottanasana (pyramid, or intense side forward bend), and Parivrrta Ardha Chandrasana (revolved half moon). This in-between-pose is usually only practiced for one inhale “on the way” to some destination; but as a posture in and of itself it opens the line from the back foot crossing the psoas to the top hand, a relationship integral to proficient performance of the asanas that might follow, and one that just might trick you into utilizing those elusive bandhas. Richard sometimes refers to this posture as “Challenging Indra Pose, not to be practiced on golf courses during thunderstorms.” Indra, being the Indian equivalent of Zeus, sits above the clouds and hurls thunderbolts at potential threats, including powerful yogis whose arms grow miraculously longer during asana practice.

Richard’s method of teaching has been particularly useful to me for my work teaching Ashtanga yoga to incarcerated men. Re-envisioning each asana and vinyasa as a sacred moment of listening, we grow closer to the wisdom inherent in our own nervous system. This fine-tuning of the inner ear not only leads to a perfection of asana -- not that the poses are perfect, but that the person practicing is already perfect; listening in this way demands that we begin to live within the shelter of the yamas & niyamas, the ethical precepts of yoga.

Internal forms of practice “turn the light around” from external perception to internal feeling. Many prisoners begin practicing yoga with an eye toward physical improvement or rehabilitation of injury, but then find their way into the more contemplative pursuits of pranayama, visualization, and meditation via methods informed by Richard’s teaching. As stated on page 9 of The Art of Vinyasa: “Visualization helps you to organize sensations and perceptions so you can release habitual, self-centered perspectives on these sensations and relate to the world as a composition of interconnected parts.”

Perhaps the power of the imagination harnessed in Richard’s technique is best explained by the French philosopher and student of Sufi mysticism, Henry Corbin, in his doctrine of the “mundus imaginalis” or imaginal realm: “Between the universe that can be apprehended by pure intellectual perception and the universe perceptible to the senses, there is an intermediate world, the world of Idea-Images, of archetypal figures, of subtle substances, of ‘immaterial matter.’ This world is as real and objective, as consistent and subsistent as the intelligible and sensible worlds; it is an intermediate universe ‘where the spiritual takes body and the body becomes spiritual.’” (Henry Corbin, Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi).

What I most want in my own practice, in my teachers and in my own teaching is this ability to mediate between the worlds -- inner and outer experience, hard physical reality and energetic subtlety, progress in practice and return to the basics. Perhaps all of these require an abundance of that magical faculty, the imagination!

Come explore this synthesis of anatomical precision and internal form with Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor at Yoga on High this May, including specific insights into backbending, hip opening, twisting, the Finishing Poses and a section entitled “Restorative Ashtanga,” which I personally cannot wait to experience!

Art of Vinyasa Teacher Day | Friday, May 26
Art of Vinyasa Weekend | May 27-28

Adam Wetterhan is a yoga instructor at Yoga on High, Blue Spot Yoga, and through Healing Broken Circles at Marion Correctional, where he is also Director of Programming for a community center inside the prison.  Adam has been practicing yoga for most of his adult life, holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Comparative Religion from Capital University, completed his 200-hour certification at Yoga on High in 2015 and is currently enrolled in their 300-hour program, where he has concentrated on Ashtanga, pranayama, and yoga therapy.

 

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What does it mean to be a channel for Reiki?

Marcia-8436ccWhat does it mean to be a channel for Reiki?  We often hear that Reiki is Universal Energy that is channeled through us. The image given by one of our dear teachers, Hyakuten Inamoto, is that of being like a “hollow bamboo.” This beautiful loving energy flows through us—it is not “our” energy. Air flowing through a bamboo flute, for example, doesn’t come from the bamboo, it comes through it.

This image is very helpful but doesn’t go far enough in my experience of Reiki. There IS a sense that something is coming through me that is not originating within me, and I think this is what Sensei Inamoto means by this comparison. However, a piece of bamboo with air flowing through it isn’t changed by that experience, yet I am deeply changed by the Reiki flowing through me. Just before I started writing this article I did my Reiki self-practice and paid close attention to my experience. I immediately felt more relaxed and at ease. I felt a warm, tingly, energetic flow coming through my hands and into my body, and my whole body felt spacious with room for all parts of myself.  My mind didn’t get especially quiet, but there was room for the thoughts I was having and so much more. Everything felt in context and interconnected. I felt meditative and happy for no particular reason. As I gave myself Reiki I also sent Reiki energy to many other people I love and care about. (This is a practice learned in Reiki Level 2.) I felt the connection with them as well and my heart welled up with love. Even when my main intention is to give Reiki to another, it is still affecting me as I offer it.

There is something so very special about offering Reiki to another person. They are receiving a powerful energy that is not mine—since it is not coming from me, but through me—so in a way I am a hollow bamboo. But, there is more for me. In addition to the Reiki flowing through me, the person under my hands is getting my care, my intention to serve and my love. They are getting something from me by my personal presence. We experience a powerful mutual connection by being in the Reiki energy together, and we are both transformed by it, whether the session lasts just 2 minutes or is much longer.

So what does it mean to be a channel for Reiki energy? I invite you to join me in this ongoing contemplation. I have been living with this question for years, but lately in a more active way. As I give myself or someone else Reiki I have been feeling into my experience in a deeper way—even repeating that question and just sitting with the felt responses that come to me. And I’m also asking this question as I go through my day when I am not giving Reiki consciously. Do the events and decisions of my daily life affect the way Reiki is channeled through me? I’m finding that in some ways yes, and other ways no. I’ll save this exploration for another article. In the meantime keep offering your warm, Reiki hands to yourselves and others.

Note: I have been doing self-Reiki now for about 20 years. In my early years I didn’t have many sensations. I would feel relaxed after my sessions, but that was all.

Marcia-8579ccMarcia Miller has been practicing and teaching Reiki for 20 years. She uses it is all sorts of ways—in private Reiki sessions, in private therapeutic yoga sessions, in yoga classes, as part of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy™ and in her daily life. She is teaching Reiki at national Yoga Journal conferences, as part of UZIT training and in the Reiki Masters’ program at Yoga on High, beginning in October, 2017.  Marcia is teaching our upcoming Reiki Level 1 Training March 18 -- 19 at Yoga on High.

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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 applications@yogaonhigh.com

Watch Yoga on High Teacher Training video here.

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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.

Workshops:
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
Contact applications@yogaonhigh.com

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) – 11 Month Program
Wednesday, August 23 through Sunday, August 27
 First Onsite
Contact urbanzen@yogaonhigh.com

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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 applications@yogaonhigh.com

Watch Yoga on High Teacher Training video here.

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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

Podcasts:

On Being

John Lewis: https://www.onbeing.org/programs/john-lewis-the-art-discipline-of-nonviolence/

Ruby Sales: http://onbeing.org/programs/ruby-sales-where-does-it-hurt/

David Whyte: https://www.onbeing.org/programs/david-whyte-the-conversational-nature-of-reality/

 

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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 applications@yogaonhigh.com

Watch Yoga on High Teacher Training video here.

 

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