Big, Safe Space

scunningham“You’re so calm.”

So many people have said this to me in my adult life that I began to believe it was true.

I am an oncology nurse, a breast cancer survivor. I have witnessed and helped many friends and family members through illness and death. I am the middle child—the children known to be good negotiators, mediators, the calm ones. We middle children go with the flow to keep the family peace. I used these tools my whole life.  By the time I enrolled in the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) training I was convinced I was a calm person.

When Steve, my husband, was hit by a car one month into UZIT training I was sucked in to a space I have yet to leave. His injuries were severe. A brain injury and broken body from head to toe. I have vivid memories from this time. The sound of the voice of the surgeon, and this strange moan coming from my body. Of my niece Lauren’s strong arms wrapping a coat around me. The vibration of the car engine as she drove us to the ER. The strength of Lauren clinging to my arm in the waiting room. Feeling not only my feet firmly planted on the floor but my whole body…in this shape, sitting, breathing…I felt my breath go in and out of my body as I saw Steve’s bloody, bruised face amid the swirl of medical personnel and equipment. Vivid memories in the form of sensation rather than words or events. I shake as I write this. Read More…

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Kitchari: Nourishment in Each Bowl

Seamless texture of spices on blackThe ancient healing medicine of Ayurvedic places a strong emphasis on food as a way to restore health to the body and the mind. In the Ayurvedic tradition, Kitchari is used to balance digestive health. As you will see below in the recipe, Kitchari is a soup of rice, protein-rich mung beans, nutrient- dense greens and seasonal vegetables, spiced with fresh and dried herbs to support digestion and eliminate toxins. It is a nourishing and cleansing meal in itself. It is often the sole menu item during Ayurvedic cleanses. Sometimes just spending a day or two doing a kitchari diet can ease digestive problems. The amount of water added to the recipe determines how soupy the kitchari is, and can vary depending on your tastes.

This recipe that was given to me by Gary Jacobsson, C.A.S., master teacher and talented chef at the California College of Ayurveda.

1 Tbs                      Ghee or Olive Oil
1 Tsp                      Dry Ginger or 1 Tbs. Fresh Ginger, chopped fine
1 Tsp                      Cumin Powder
1 Tsp                      Coriander Powder
1 Tsp                      Black Mustard Seeds
½ Tsp                     Turmeric Powder
½ Tsp                     Yellow Curry Powder
1 Tsp                      Fennel Powder
1 Tsp                      Sea Salt
1 Tsp                      Asafoetida Powder or 1 Clove of Fresh Garlic
1 Tbs                      Braggs Liquid Aminos
½ Cup                    Basmati Rice
½ Cup                    Split Yellow Mung Beans
4-6 Cups               Filtered Water – Add more water to make soupy
1 Bunch                Fresh Cilantro, chopped as topping
1-2                          Limes, quartered and squeezed over top Read More…

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The World Needs Your Gifts: End of Year Letter

Partners-1456eDear friends, colleagues, students and anyone else who is reading this blog,

The following poem is our gift to you at the end of 2015. You have offered us many blessings because you have been a part of Yoga on High this past year. You have come to our classes and workshops, shopped in our bookstore, recommended us to your friends, let us know you are grateful for what we offer and even let us know how we can make Yoga on High better and better.  We are all better as a result of our work together, and we know it.  Thanks so much for being a part of our lives.

With love and deep pranams (bows),

Marcia, Jasmine and Michele

Poem-01

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January Open Schedule Updates

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New Year! New Schedule! For most accurate and complete schedule updates and changes, please check out our online schedule.

Yoga on High

PDF January Print Schedule

Monday:
9:30a Aerial Level 1 with Dale Anne

Tuesday:
5:30p Mysore with Tom – now at TTI

Wednesday:
12:00p iRest $5 Karma Class with Stella
6:00p Sekoia with Amy L.

Thursday:
9:45a Sekoia with Michele V.

Friday:
3:00p Free Community Class with Nicole and Katie

Saturday:
8:00a Free Pre Practice Meditation with Alissa M.
8:30a Sekoia with Alissa M.

Sunday:
12:00p iRest $5 Karma Class with Michele V.

Grow Yoga

PDF January Print Schedule

For most accurate and complete schedule updates and changes, please check out our online schedule.

Tuesday:
4:30p 6 Week Vinyasa Beginner Series with Abby *Jan 19 Start Date

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What is the Ashtanga Primary Series?

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David Keil and Tim Miller will be guest faculty members for the Yoga on High 108 Ashtanga teacher training. To get to know David Keil, and for a concise look at the components of the Ashtanga Primary Series, click here.

For more information on the Yoga on High Ashtanga teacher training, please click here.

If you would like more information on this program, call us at 614-291-4444 or email Enrollment Director, Stacee Hill, at applications@yogaonhigh.com.

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Yogi of the Month: Fernando

Meet this month’s Manduka Yogi of the Month, Fernando! Fernando was invited to give Yoga on High a try when one of the Partners met him on a friend’s backyard deck where a group had gathered to chant the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra 108 times.  He decided to stop by for a class with Gina, and the rest is history.  Fernando has unrolled his mat all over the world, a native of Venezuela, he now calls Columbus home.  A true adventurer, you’ll find him taking pranayama, vinyasa, hatha and ashtanga classes, as well as supporting Yoga on High Foundation events (and patiently teaching Michele Spanish whenever they meet!).  Fernando’s open heart and welcoming nature inspire both students and teachers alike to remember that a committed daily practice is not only possible, it can be joyful as well.  We are grateful to have Fernando as part of the YOHI community!

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A Dialogue about Death

marcia-3982_0_0“Seeing the end of your life is the birth of your ability to love being alive. It is the cradle of your love of life.”~Stephen Jenkinson

This is the quote that I posted on Facebook a few months ago as I started to read the book Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson. I tagged a couple of people who I knew faced death regularly in their work and asked if they wanted to read it with me. In one day I had over 40 people on a list who wanted to read it together and were asking if we could meet as a book club to talk about it. Dialogue About Death was born.

Last night 10 of us sat around my living room and two others joined us on Skype. More had wanted to come but were kept away by exhaustion or other circumstances. We came together because we had read, or thought about reading, Die Wise. We laughed more than you might imagine and got teary a few times too, as people shared their stories about why they came out on a dark Tuesday evening to speak of death. One of us is 88 and was relieved to find a group of people willing to talk about death since many of her peers won’t. Several of us have cancer and are already living in the “More Time” part of our lives that Jenkinson talks about. We love these people or others who are in a similar time of life. One of us teaches people who have cancer, yet is not “allowed” to talk about death even though her students are dying and the other students are eager to explore the topic. We came because we want to learn to speak of death more directly with the people we know and we want a safe place to experiment.

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Panchakarma: Cleansing and Rejuvenating the Mind, Body and Spirit

Jasmine-2917

As many of you already know, I became an Ayurvedic Panchakarma Specialist this summer through the California College of Ayurveda. The course, steeped in the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda, was a specialized training which, when added to my Clinical Ayurveda Health Practitioner certification, allows me to help clients rebalance their doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) while cleansing and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.  Click here for further information on the doshas.

So what is Panchakarma, exactly? It is a detoxification that cleanses the body, mind and spirit. Normally our body has a natural ability to efficiently process and remove waste materials and balance the doshas, but as a result of repeated dietary and lifestyle indiscretions, poor digestion, genetic predisposition, and hormones, the body becomes imbalanced. This causes the spread of toxins throughout the body, and may lead to disease.  According to Ayurveda, the waste matter expelled when our body is out of sync is called Ama: a foul-smelling, sticky, harmful substance that coats the internal passageways and tongue. Panchakarma works to eliminate Ama from the body and reset the digestive system. Read More…

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Silence

teacherbiopicresized-5My twin brother has always been a very quiet person. There is no compulsion to speak. He’s never been talkative, and as we get older, he becomes even less so. I’ve always been the opposite. Overactive throat chakra syndrome is how I think of it. I read a lot about the throat chakra. It’s our communication center, and it’s where we interpret our feelings and our truths. I often hear people say things like, “I can’t wait to go home and be quiet.” Or, “I just need some space and silence.”  But typically, when that home-alone situation happens, or I’m sitting by a tranquil pond with only the sounds of the breeze and the birds, restlessness overcomes me. There’s a compulsion to be DOING something ALL of the time. Checking email, Googling something, texting, reading my horoscope, reading an article about astrology, reading the news, reading a menu, watching a show, Googling an actor on a show to see what other shows they’ve been on, watching the news, having a conversation, playing a game, cleaning, primping, plucking, driving, walking, purging, or spending. It never ends. The struggle to say and do nothing is real. In class, when it’s time for Savasana, there are always a couple of people struggling to get comfortable, to stop moving, to just rest and be in their bodies.

Read More…

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Questions

linda-3829_0_0Years ago, an old friend of mine initiated the three of us—Martha Marcom, Marcia Miller, and me—into Reiki.   Then we began practicing together faithfully, each of us dipping into the mysteries hinted at when sensing energy flow in ourselves and one another, sensing that unfamiliar aspect of the world…obvious when sought, largely ignored otherwise. To sense energy in the world was not part of our normal cultural training and we were on new ground. We decided we wanted a guide through our experimentations so Marcia approached a long-time student of hers, Katherine Dufrane, who trained as an energy healer at Barbara Brennan’s college and went on to develop her own approach to healing through years of working with clients as a psychotherapist and energy worker. She asked Katherine to guide us.

Katherine refused to do so in the normal fashion, as an authority imparting wisdom to inexperienced students, but she agreed to lead us in mutual explorations of any questions we proposed to address as a group, and that has been the bedrock of all the work we have done since. Even learning to form open-ended questions took practice because the tendency is to ask a question that does two things—imply a judgment and narrow the query.

For example, suppose I am at a confusing and distressing juncture in my life and I want to know what to do. I’ve been schooled in the jargon of yoga and I propose a question like this one, “How do I know right action?” This seems open ended. It isn’t as small as, “Should I leave my current job, or how do I confront my teenager about his dangerous behavior or how do I cope with a diagnosis?” It’s not as small as, “How do I get rid of this fear, this grief, this anger that’s stopping me from doing what I think I should and from being a better version of myself than I am today?” But it still implies a judgment, which is “I don’t know right action; therefore, I am small, confused, and prone to wrong action.” And it implies a time line, I don’t know right action now but I want to in the future, how do I get there?

To open the question up, it could be rephrased, “What is the nature of right action?” While my life’s dilemma is not specifically addressed in that question, it’s held in its embrace.  As a group, we would decide on a question and “enter the energy” together—that is we would draw the Reiki symbols and enter into an open state of awareness, each of us contemplating the question personally, but the impersonality of the question inviting a large response, not one so bound up in our desires and convoluted by our conditioning. And, in this example, “right action,” is present now, not held for the future and some more perfect variant of ourselves. At the end of the contemplation, we would talk as a group about our experience, and each person’s vision would enrich all of us.

When working with open-ended questions, there isn’t one right answer for everyone, and any one person’s answer will change over time. The questions matter, not the answers. A “final” answer simply stops the inquiry. If you have a “final” answer, why look further? Why not see simply what you have seen before? Living with questions lets you see things from different perspectives—the answers to your questions can change, mutate as you work with them, evolve with your understanding and experience.

Answers are just echoes, they say. But
a question travels before it comes back,
and that counts. [1]

Energy work is well suited to learning to work with open-ended questions, side-stepping linear thinking and receiving intuitive insight into the nature of things. Insight that can inform life’s challenges, that can be taken back to the small, personal world as a reminder that we are more than our limitations, maybe even that we are not just this body/mind. Working with questions is part of the Reiki Masters training at Yoga on High and part of the training in the 9-month pranayama course. To learn to sense energy and to contemplate open-ended questions, you are invited to join these groups. Also, Marcia Miller works with students one-on-one in contemplating questions in Reiki privates.

At this stage in life, Linda teaches pranayama, iRest yoga nidra (meditation) and co-leads silent retreats. Her next pranayama training starts in February, 2016. The 2016 silent retreat led by Marcia and Linda is in April. Their Reiki Level 2 training is scheduled for August.

[1] From the poem The Research Team in the Mountains by William Stafford

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