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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Adventures in Teacher Training: Britt Hunter

12765571_10156575019710626_1755945866_oI was fortunate enough to complete the 9-month 200-hour Teacher Training program through Yoga on High’s Teacher Training Institute between September 2013 and July 2014. I say fortunate because the program was an absolute gift to my entire being, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I was inspired to dive heart first into the program after practicing with many of the amazing teachers at Yoga on High. Each of the teachers of the program offered their diverse knowledge in their respective strengths to give a holistic education that not only provided a well-rounded understanding of yoga, but also helped me learn and develop my own strengths as a yoga instructor, which is essential if you want to teach. There is so much to learn about yoga. The best way to approach it is to find what you do best and go as deep as possible into that. One of the great aspects about the Teacher Training Program is you have access to whatever teachers/mentors most closely align with your approach to yoga: from anatomy and asana gurus to pranayama and meditation sages to just getting juicy, it’s all there.

Throughout the 9 months, I was crown deep in all 8 limbs of yoga as we navigated through anatomy and asanas, pranayama, meditation and my personal favorite, yoga philosophy. The pacing was perfect and I’m so glad I completed a program that spanned over 9 months rather than a shorter program. The amount of transformation you experience, if you allow yourself, is profound, and having enough time to go to new depths of understanding allowed me to emerge a completely “upcycled” person.

As I always say in my yoga classes, you control the depth of your experience. You can go as deep or stay as shallow as you’d like and the teachers/mentors are there for you if you lose your way. For me, tantra yoga (via the suggested reading in the Radiance Sutras) seemed to eloquently describe my approach to life and yoga. As such, I was naturally drawn to the Sekoia Yoga classes as I mentored with Karine and eventually also became certified to teach Sekoia.

I think it’s important to note that on my own journey, I’ve become acutely aware of the temptation and sway towards the instant gratification and posture-centered world of yoga; and it can sometimes feel like a high school popularity contest out there. I’m truly grateful for the grounded training I had at Yoga on High to keep perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in rocking a perfect handstand to post on Instagram, but thanks to my foundational training at Yoga on High, I haven’t lost sight of the core of my practice and my journey. For me, this makes my personal practice and my teaching way more fulfilling.

The 200-hour program was just the beginning for me, as I quickly realized the wealth of information and philosophy out there. After completing the program, I’ve had a pretty unique journey: quitting my job as a lawyer, opening a pop-up yoga studio in my small hometown in Ohio, moving to India and teaching yoga in exchange for a place to live, meeting my now husband there and then moving to Australia, where I completed a level 2 (500 hour) teacher training program. I’m now teaching regular classes here on the sunny Gold Coast. It’s amazing to see how my life has changed, and, when I look back, the biggest push in my journey of consciousness was going through the Yoga Teacher Program at Yoga on High. I am eternally grateful and ever humbled to have the great fortune of being on this path in this lifetime. It’s an absolute gift. Yeeewww!!

Britt was practicing yoga before she even realized what yoga was; whether she found herself in deep contemplation in the forest, running barefoot through the grass, stretching after a nap under the trees or savoring the sweet air at dawn. Britt came to formally practice yoga when she needed a space to reconnect while she attended law school. Inspired by the ancient teaching of tantra yoga, Britt completed her 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training  through Yoga on High’s Teacher Training Institute in Columbus, Ohio. She is now in the middle of  her 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training through Essence of Living on the Gold Coast in Australia, where she lives and teaches yoga.

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

Tuesday, March 1 from 7:30p to 8:30a at he Teacher Training Institute
Sunday, March 13 from 1:15 to 2:15p at Yoga on High

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March Happenings

 

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Watch Now: Why Yoga on High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Registration is now available for all classes!  Download our New Yoga on High APP or pre-register on line. Pre-Registration Frequently Asked Questions.

Yoga on High March Print Schedule (PDF)

Additions to Open Class Schedule:
Yoga on High – Short North

Tuesday:
6:30a Slow Flow Level 1 & 2 with Michael Murphy (Starts March 15)

All Life Center – Powell
Monday:
9:30a Slow Burn Vinyasa Level 1 & 2 with Marcy Freed
Tuesdays:
4:00p Hatha Beginner Drop In with Melanie Miller
Wednesday:
9:30a Slow Burn Vinayasa Level 1 & 2 with Kelli Joyce
7:00p Slow Burn Vinyasa Level 1 & 2 with Marcy Freed
Saturday:
8:15a Hatha Level 1 & 2 with Melanie Miller

Yoga on High -- Short North -- Series Classes:
Spring Series Classes – Coming soon!

Upcoming February Workshops and Trainings:
March 4 Tag Team Yoga with Lara Falberg and Julie Kennel
March 5 David Keil 9-day Ashtanga Training Course
March 11 Ayurveda: The Power an Ritual of Tea with Jasmine Grace
March 13 Meditation: Befriending the Mind with Marcia Miller
March 13 Open House all All Life Center -- Powell
March 21 Level 2 Training & Attunement with Jodi Patton and Angela Lamonte
March 25 Ayurveda, Asana and Pranayama Series with Jasmine Grace

Reiki Shares:
March 7, 14 and  21

200 Hour Teacher Training:
9-Month Weekend Program Begins March 18
Learn More

200 Hour Teacher Training Information Sessions:
Tuesday, March 1 from 7:30p to 8:30p at Yoga on High
Sunday, March 13 from 1:15p to 3:15p at Yoga on High

School of Ayurveda Information Session:
Friday, March 11 from 5:00p to 5:45p at TTI

Additions to Grow Yoga Open Class Schedule:
Tuesday:
4:00p Slow Flow Level 1 & 2 with Abby Dorn

Grow Yoga Upcoming Workshops:
March 5 Melt Method Introduction with Crystal Fauber
April 16 Essential Oils, Crystal Therapy and Chakra Workshop with Karine Wascher
Reiki 1 Level 1 Training and Attunement with Michele Vinbury
May 21 Runner’s Workshop with Marcy Freed

Grow Yoga March Print Schedule (PDF)

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Adventures in Teacher Training: Cara Unrue

CaraAsana_LowRes-14I walked into the first night of TT, never having meditated before.  We started with a meditation to ask ourselves on several different levels why we chose the teacher training path.  I was shocked and amazed at how much information I learned about myself and my purpose through this simple, yet profound exercise.  I was in need of much more that I had imagined, and I had so much inside of me to share with the world.

Over the next few months, I learned all about yoga philosophy, asana (the yoga postures), breathing (pranayama) and meditation.  I began to feel myself open slightly.  Each time we met, the bonds I formed with my “tribe” of fellow students grew, and the teachers in the program held the space for us all to open and blossom in our own way, and at our own pace.

The largest transformation came for me at the silent retreat held toward the end of the program.  It was the piece I was most apprehensive about, as I was so guarded and set in my ways… how would I deal with 3 days of silence away from my family and the outside world?  Through 3 days of meditation, asana, and sitting with my true self, my levy officially broke.  Everything that I had walled up inside of me flowed out.  There was no stopping it.  And it was scary.  But the most beautiful thing came from it.  Once it’s out, there is space left to breathe.  And there’s nothing to be ashamed or scared of.  For the first time, I was truly loving myself.  This was an essential part of my path.  How could I ever love my students or help them love themselves without first embracing me?

The program is masterfully written and is absolutely beneficial to all who embark on this journey.  Nothing forced or contrived --just a space to learn and grow, and to become a knowledgeable teacher, should that be your goal.  I now truly love the person I am, and am not afraid to share myself with my students, and the world.

Cara Unrue is a mentor in the Yoga on High 200 Hour Teacher Training and a teacher at Grow Yoga.  To learn more about our upcoming 200 Hour Teacher Training beginning this March, join us at one of our free information sessions or email application@yogaonhigh.com.

Saturday, February 27 from 10:30 to 11:30a at the Teacher Training Institute
Sunday, February 28 from 1:15 to 2:15p at Yoga on High
Tuesday, March 1 from 7:30p to 8:30a at he Teacher Training Institute
Sunday, March 13 from 1:15 to 2:15p at Yoga on High

 

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Handstands

Hatha_LowRes-155I love handstands.  I have loved and practiced them for decades and I never tire of the exhilaration I feel after each one. They help me feel strong and alive, even as I move deeper into my 60s. As a yoga teacher I also know that almost anyone can learn to do at least some version of a handstand, and that many students will be surprised, thrilled and amazed to get up in either a handstand prep or the full pose. Handstands empower us.

Because I teach handstands almost every week in at least one of my classes I am always looking for new ways of making this pose more accessible to my students. I’m always asking myself what alignment tips and various muscular and energetic actions can move my students (and me!) toward more ease, fun and airtime in this amazing pose.

This year I found another physical action that can help us balance in the pose. If you are not yet able to get up into handstand against a wall, then come to class to learn the basics. You can also practice this tip and get your body ready to support you.

The premise behind this practice is that handstand is not just about strength in the arms and wrists as some people imagine. An easeful handstand requires balanced muscular actions throughout the whole body. My students are telling me that doing this exercise, especially right before doing a handstand, awakens what they need to happen in the body to balance off the wall. See what you think.

Begin by lying on the floor on your back. Create the shape of Supta Padangusthasana (SP) with the left leg stretched out along the floor and the right leg up in the air with a strap looped around the center of the arch.

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In this version of SP the main actions of the pose happen in the leg on the floor.  The top leg can be extended into the strap but have enough ease through the back of the leg that the whole pelvis (especially the lower half) is completely on the floor.

As you focus on the bottom leg, feel it spreading lengthwise and sideways along the floor. Let the leg feel wide and completely glued to the floor. Keeping the leg glued to the floor, create the action in the body that would lift it off the floor and do that action strongly even though the leg is staying on the floor.  You’ll immediately feel the whole front of your leg and the left side of your torso up to your ribcage “wake up” with the toning of muscular action. These muscles are the stabilizers that will help you get up into handstand easily and balance once you are up. Relax effort and let the toning go, and then pause and do it again. Repeat on the other side. Be sure as you do this action that you are not flattening or overarching the back; let the front of the body do all the work.

If you look at the photo below I am pressing on the front of Evan’s shin and asking him to push me away. This way I can feel if he is getting the action correctly, and, if you are a yoga teacher, this is a useful assist.

Marcia Miller is teaching a Restorative Master Class on Inversions at Yoga on High February 21st from 9:30a-4p. You can also catch Marcia teacher her favorite handstand variations during her Wednesday evenings Hatha Level 2 & 3 drop in class at 5:45p at Yoga on High.

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Ujjayi

Ujjayi is a foundational breathing technique used alone or while practicing other techniques such as kumbhaka (breath holding) or nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing). The Sanskrit word ujjayi translates as ‘victoriously uprising,’ referring to the expansion and upward movement of the pranic energy of the breath. In practicing ujjayi, you slightly contract the throat muscles,  which provides more resistance to the flow of the breath in and out of the body. The glottis (the opening between the vocal chords) partially closes when you do that too. This restriction of the airway evens and lengthens both the inhalation and exhalation and brings the action of the breath down into the diaphragm. Ideally, the force behind both the ujjayi inhalation and exhalation is even and uniform throughout, from its first impulse to its conclusion. The same volume of breath moves through the nostrils with the same force at the same rate of flow from beginning to end.  The sensation of an even inhalation or exhalation is often described as like the feeling of pulling a silk thread evenly through your fingers.

During ujjayi breathing, you can hear the breath whisper in and out of the body. The sound helps you focus your attention on the breath and pay attention to its qualities. The sound should be subdued, barely audible; no need to accentuate it.

  1. To practice ujjayi, you can be sitting or reclining.
  2. Take a normal breath in through the nostrils.
  3. As you exhale, slightly restrict the throat as though you are whispering and imagine making the sound “oooohhh.” Notice the sound the breath makes.
  4. Take multiple breaths in this fashion, breathing normally on the inhalation and restricting the throat on the exhalation. It is easier for most people to practice the restriction on the exhalation.
  5. When you are ready, restrict the throat on both the inhalation and exhalation. On the inhalation, imagine making the sound “aaaahhh.”
  6. Inhaling, “aaahhh” exhaling, “ooohhh.” Once you know the feeling in the throat, stop saying the sounds to yourself, but continue restricting the throat following the pattern your have just established. Focus on the sound the breath itself makes.
  7. Keep the rate of flow constant, without fluctuation. The exhalation will probably be longer than the inhalation. You may find that you pause slightly at the top of the inhalation or bottom of the exhalation. Allow the breath to feel natural and unforced.
  8. Lie down or sit up and practice ujjayi for 5 to 10 minutes. How do you feel afterwards?

linda-3829_0_0Linda Oshins has made practicing and teaching pranayama her focus for a number of years. She teaches the 9-month pranayama teacher training course (taught by phone) [link] and a pranayama class (also by phone) [link]. This is a section of her book Pranayama: A Compendium of Practices, available through Yoga on High.

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Patterns of Consciousness

DeborahForsbloomDuring my 200-hour Teacher Training, I began to see more and more that being Present suffused every part of yoga.   When I needed a topic for a paper on Yoga Philosophy, I decided to see what Patanjali had to say about being Present.   Stephen Cope’s The Wisdom of Yoga became my guide to the sutras of Patanjali.  This is part of that query.

For 3000 years, renunciates in India have been trying to discover what causes human suffering and how humans can live a happy life.  Through trial and error, they decided that the answer to suffering was Liberation, which meant “freedom from all sources of conditioning that bind us to small ways of thinking and being.  Liberation means being entirely awake and fully alive.”[1]  I am calling this being Present.

Read More…

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February Happenings

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Yoga on High February Print Schedule (PDF)

Upcoming February Workshops and Trainings:
Feb 5 Sekoia Hike
Feb 6 Reiki: Healing in the Language of Love
Feb 7 Charles Gibson: Thai Yoga Massage
Feb 10 Pranayama Teacher Training
Feb 13 Couples Massage
Feb 13-14 Acro Yoga Workshop
Feb 14 4-Part Melt Workshop
Feb 20 108 Hour Ashtanga Teacher Training
Feb 21 Restorative Master Class: Inversions

Reiki Shares:
Feb 1, 8, 15, 29

Information Sessions:
200hr TT: Feb 28 1:15-2:15
Ayurveda: Feb 12 5:00- 5:45

All Life Center – Powell – Drop In Classes:
Monday:
9:30a Slow Burn Vinyasa Level 1 & 2 with Marcy Freed
Wednesday:
7:00p Slow Burn Vinyasa Level 1 & 2 with Marcy Freed

Step by Step Wellness – Westerville – Series Classes:
Monday:
9:15a Mommy & Baby with Janet Braden (Starts Feb 8)
6:00p Prenatal Yoga with Julie Carpenter (Starts Feb 22)
Tuesday:
7:00p Yoga for Runners with Marcy Freed (Starts Feb 9)
Thursday:
6:00p Yoga for Highschoolers (teens 13+) with Katie Whitsett (Starts Feb 18)
Saturday:
11:00a Kids Yoga (ages 6-12) with Mary Lynn Niland (Starts Feb 13)

Yoga on High -- Short North -- Series Classes:
Tuesday:
6:00p EMBER with Michele Vinbury (Starts Feb 23)

Grow Yoga Upcoming Workshops:
Feb 13 Valentine Yoga and Poetry
March 5 Melt Method Introduction
April 16 Ignite Your Personal Transformation

Grow Yoga February Print Schedule (PDF)

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Yogi of the Month: Deborah

Meet this month’s Yogi of the Month, Deborah Forsblom.  She is a long time student of yoga on high and currently in the 300 Hour Teacher Training program. Here’s her #whyyoga:

Why Yoga On High? We moved to Bexley in the late 1970’s and joined what was then the Bexley Food Coop. Marcia was one of the founders, and we met her there. Then we took her yoga class at Bexley Rec. When I was ready to take studio classes, I never considered anywhere else. I am so happy that I can go to great, safe classes and get training and attend world-class workshops 10 minutes from my house. Marcia, Martha, and Linda created something wonderful for Columbus, and Jasmine and Michele are helping to build it and keep it going. Yoga on High has become my home away from home.

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