Our Hearts Are Big Enough

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

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

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April Calendar of Events

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

Workshops

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

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Benefits of a Beginners Yoga Course

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

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

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Yoga:  A True Harmony of Head, Heart and Hands

RamanandaBy Swami Ramananda

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

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

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

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Yogi of the Month: Paul

Yogi of the Month

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

Occupation: English Teacher, Thomas Worthington High School

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

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

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Adventures in Teacher Training: Teresa Eigle

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

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

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Adventures in Teacher Training: Stacy Abbott

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 8.40.22 PMVery suddenly I quit my demanding corporate job. Thirty-seven years young, mother of 3—it was time to re-assess priorities. A crossroads, and, on the other side, balance. This was my intention. I would say, “Someday I will make yoga a priority.” Someday was now. And by ‘now,’ I meant ‘right this very second.’ Then all would make sense, the moon & stars would align and my world would be full of everything blissful, right?

I knew I wanted to go to the ‘yoga mecca’…the highly respected YOHI for teacher training. But as it turned out, I had just missed the start of a class and the next one wasn’t for 7 more months. Obviously I couldn’t wait 7 more months to become a teacher…7 more months to find balance…to maybe, just maybe,find…enlightenment!!! No, this had to happen now. I had already put it off for 15 years!! So I began ‘Teacher Training shopping,’ researching other programs. In my over-eagerness, I was lead to a phone conversation with another teacher training program. You know that gut feeling inside…the one we often don’t hear, but feel, and often choose to ignore? Well, I heard it, I felt it, I listened. Read More…

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Adventures in Teacher Training: Christa Overbeck

Christa“How has teacher training changed my life?” There are so many ways to answer this question and at the same time there is no answer at all—at least not in words. The journey of yoga and of teacher training in particular has been an expedition into “felt sense,” an intuitive deepening in and of the body, mind, and spirit that defies language, a peculiar thing for this word lover.

Entering into the 9-month, 200-hour teacher-training program, I was somewhat ambivalent. I was taking a teacher training course and yet I wasn’t certain I actually wanted to teach yoga. I have taught high school English for the last thirteen years. I love what I do, and I wasn’t looking for a career change, and yet as I took stock of my life—my accomplishments, my blessings, my questions, my hurts, my hopes—teacher training felt like the best course of action. Read More…

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Real Yoga

Yoga Class-3247by Michele Vinbury

Morning Practice.  I step onto the smooth, familiar coolness of my mat.  The pre-dawn yellow of a street light spills across the floor.  I yawn and spread toes, feeling my feet ground into the well-worn grooves scuffed through the mat’s surface.  My body, at first stiff, begins to sense and then move with the fluid streams of breath that glide in and pour out.

Inhale.  Honey sweet, the breath enters, expands and unfurls.

Exhale.  All effort undone as the breath slowly recedes and then fades away.

Inhale.  Opening. Receiving.

Exhale.  Surrendering.  Releasing. Read More…

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Adventures in Teacher Training: Alissa Jackson

AlissaJacksonYou know when you are desperately looking for something precious that you lost… Something you love and adore, but you seem to have misplaced it… When you have opened every closet door, every drawer, looked under every bed, and the house is a complete disaster… yet you are still sitting on your bed racking your brain about where it could be? You hardly remember the last time you saw it. Then it turns out that the very thing you were looking for was right where you left it last, and you just kept overlooking it, and piling other things on top of it. Well, that was me looking for myself, my true self, in the few years prior to beginning the 200-hour Teacher Training Program at Yoga on High.

I was at a point in my life where I needed a change, a challenge, a path to learn to trust my heart rather than continuing on a trajectory that, in many ways, was built from my perception of others’ expectations of me.  I was seeking the answer to the question “Who am I?” I wanted to peel the onion layer by layer to see what was in the middle. I knew that there was more for me to know.

Another teacher in the community recommended Yoga on High as the perfect place to begin the path of becoming a yoga teacher. I dutifully reviewed the curriculum and credentials of teacher training programs in Columbus and decided to dip my toes in the water at the various studios. I attended Yoga on High first and took a few classes from the teachers who I knew were Teacher Training Institute (TTI) teachers. What I found at Yoga on High consistently were teachers with such compassion and warmth. I was welcomed into this community with open arms. I took skillfully led classes that left me in awe and feeling fulfilled in many ways. I listened to captivating dharma talks, was guided into alignment by intelligent cueing, and I heard the words, “you are already complete, healthy and whole” for the first time in my life. I knew from the first class I attended that I was in the right place. I also knew that I wanted to give this gift of yoga to others.  I signed up for the 200-hour program soon after attending those first few classes. I went from dipping my toes timidly in the water to diving in headfirst. I never looked back.

The program was transformational for me for many reasons.

The Teacher Training program at Yoga on High allowed the space for me to step into vulnerability, to feel sensation, to be with myself, and to accept all of it. Everything was welcome – sadness, joy, strengths, weaknesses, success and failures. I found the education and information invaluable. All the learning modalities offered by The Teacher Training Institute supported the path to becoming a mindful teacher and were also pointing me back to lessons I needed to learn about myself. From yoga history and philosophy, asana, and pranayama to meditation, anatomy, teaching methodology, subtle energy and class planning -- every area led me to realizing who I am and helped me to develop into the kind of teacher I wanted to be. For me, everything learned on the mat and at the Institute was parallel to life off the mat in those 9 months.

Looking back, the whole experience was similar to flowing into a pose and breathing. Inhale- lengthen, expand, notice; exhale- relax, let it all sink in. Inhale- find tension, un-comfortableness, find space, sensation; exhale- feel that. Inhale- grow; exhale- accept that, be with that.

Sometimes when I am teaching a class, I hear the thoughts as they waft through the mind,

Who is this? Who is this person, who is that voice?

-It’s you.

It’s me?

-Yes.

Yes, it is me. It is me. I’m home. I was here all along.

A deep satisfying inhale arrives, the exhale follows- relax, sink in, go deeper.

So who am I now? I am exactly who I always was all along, the difference is that I am not fearful to be that person. I continue to learn to accept and welcome it all. And so gratefully the exploration continues …

Alissa Jackson currently teaches at Grow Yoga. With a background in medical social work, Alissa enjoys working with diverse groups of people and in unique settings. She has experience teaching private individuals, hospital employees, in local parks and at schools. She is committed to sharing the benefits of yoga in the community.

To learn more about our upcoming 200 Hour Teacher Training beginning March 18th, join us at one of our free information sessions or email application@yogaonhigh.com.

FREE INFORMATION SESSION:
Sunday, March 13 from 1:15 to 2:15p at Yoga on High

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Watch our 200 Hour Teacher Training Video

 

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