teach yoga

Welcome Space

 Natalie_Adams_yogaonhigh“What did I receive?” This was the question we were asked to contemplate on our graduation day from Yoga on High 200-hour Teacher Training Program. Without thinking, I took pen to paper and quickly wrote the first word that came to mind.

SPACE.

Wait. What? I wasn’t expecting that. It was a crazy, busy 9 months. I felt pulled in all sorts of directions—balancing teacher training with being a mom, a full time employee, and a wife….I often joke that those 9 months were harder than BOTH of my pregnancies.

But I sat with this word, and just wrote whatever came to my mind without over-thinking (I’m a yoga teacher now; I’m not supposed to “over-think” right?). Thoughts came pouring in, and are still pouring in since graduation 2 months ago.

Every Thursday night for 9 months, I had the space to learn about my favorite thing in the world—yoga: yoga anatomy, yoga adjustments, yoga alignment and yoga class planning. I assisted in classes with the some of the best teachers in Columbus, and learned how to take the 8 limbs of yoga off the mat.

I was like a kid in a candy store, taking in as much as I could, learning that there is so much I didn’t know (and still don’t)! Just when I thought I mastered how to cue downward facing dog, I quickly learned that there are about 50 other cues. This was simply the tip of the iceberg. Yoga is a life-long journey of self-inquiry and I’m in it for the long haul.

I found a space to share with people exactly like me. The kind of people who chant “om” loudly without worrying about what others are thinking. I met people who have been affected by yoga on a deeply personal level, who shared their stories of how yoga changed their lives and their desire to give back to a practice that has given them so much. We laughed hard and some of us (me!), cried hard. It was during these moments that a deep family bond formed, one that will never be broken. Even though we’ve graduated and do not see each other weekly, when I see them, it’s like no time has passed at all. We pick up right where we left off. We have each other’s back and support one another as we embark on this next stage of our lives. We truly are better together.

Teacher training gave me the space to let go and have fun! When will you ever have a chance to blow bubbles in total silence at a weekend silent retreat? Or chant so loud at kirtan that you just have to get up and dance? Or laugh uncontrollably while learning adjustments….I put my hand where??? The fun made the hard work worth it. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life.

But it wasn’t always easy. I also found space to learn my limits. I was stretched more than I ever thought I could imagine. I am someone who always thrived on being busy and “having it all,” but this was TOUGH. Between teacher training sessions every Thursday, assisting in yoga classes, practice teaching and a weekend silent retreat, it almost pushed me over the edge.

Through all the chaos, I literally thought I was losing it, but really, I was finding it. For the first time ever, I learned to say “no” when I couldn’t take on just one more thing, or to forgive myself if I wanted to skip practice in order to spend time with my husband and daughters. I learned that when I operate from a place of self-love and acceptance, that I am free. THAT, my friends, is the space!

During the program, I often asked myself, “am I am on the right track?” “Do I really want to do this?” “Is it worth it?” “Can I realllly do this?” All I knew is that I loved yoga. I’ll always love yoga. Yoga gives me space; space in my body and in my mind. When I’m on my mat, I feel safe, vulnerable, and at peace. I want to hold space for students to have their own journey. That’s what kept me going through training and keeps me going as I begin my journey as a new yoga teacher.

Finally, and most importantly, teacher training gave me space to love myself. Once I found this love, I was able to start fully receiving love from others; the deep love of my husband and daughters regardless of whether or not I was home to fix dinner every day; the love and support from my friends outside of yoga who came to practice teach sessions, who celebrated with me when I passed my final certification, and who were patient with my when I was just too tired to see them. Even if they didn’t always get it, it didn’t matter. They love me and that is enough.

If I never teach another class, this experience; my teachers, my classmates, this practice, will be etched in my heart forever. If you’ve ever thought of taking this journey, jump in with both feet. No regrets. Be brave with your life. Follow your heart.

Namaste.

Natalie Adams is a recent grad of Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training program.

Michele-2041e_playOur next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th.  For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session this Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at applications@yogaonhigh.com

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Welcome Trust

image1I had no idea if it was the right time to become a yoga instructor. A spell of feelings: self-doubt, intimidation, insecurity, anticipation. What did I have to offer that other 200-hour teachers out there didn’t have? Would I enter a saturated teaching scene with nothing unique to share? When I was considering joining Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, I solicited everybody I encountered for their advice. Do you think I should go for it? Do you think I have the time? Is my practice advanced enough? Am I ready? I received boundless advice, but it was my own fortitude that got me to take the leap of faith. ‘A leap of faith’ is exactly what I would call my entire 200 Hour Teacher Training experience at Yoga on High. I was never ready; I was never sure my practice was advanced enough, if I had the time, or even if it was the right time, but I had to take the leap of faith to figure it out. I couldn’t be more grateful that I did.

I found trust. I had to trust that while it felt like I didn’t know half of what I thought I knew about yoga, I was in the right place at Yoga on High. Surrounded by knowledgeable mentors, experienced teachers, and my fellow teacher trainees, I was given all the tools to dive as deep as I wanted into the sea of transformation. I trusted in myself that I would always find a way to accomplish everything I needed to, when I needed to. The 9-month program is perfectly crafted to propose new content in a digestible way and I trusted that there was plenty of time to know it all.

I found comfort. Teacher training taught me to truly find balance between ease and effort in practice and in teaching. I learned to dedicate myself to proper alignment to achieve comfort in even the most modest of postures. My teachers, Michele Vinbury and Marcia Miller, taught me comfort in the fluctuating state of the mind that has translated off the mat into daily life in more ways than I imagined.

I found fearlessness. Being in the role of an instructor and giving the gift of yoga to another person is an incredible responsibility. It felt unnatural to be judged on my teaching because teaching yoga isn’t supposed to be about me, it’s about my students! Overcoming that required a certain amount of audacity as did simply standing up in front of a room of students. Each lesson of the program helped me get to that place of fearlessness all on my own.

image2 (1)I found healing. I began this adventure with the intention of healing others and I ended with also healing myself. We all come into teacher training with our own experiences and circumstances. Life did not stop when I signed up for 200 Hour Teacher Training. I was not in a bliss bubble for nine months protected from all of life’s highs and lows. Yet still, I became better equipped to face life’s challenges and I broke down rigidity I had been holding onto in my heart. I have so many salient memories of moments over the course of the training that helped me unravel truths about myself. On a particular Monday night, I was assisting Anne Weidinger’s Hot Flow class and was completely overcome with awe witnessing the students in the room moving together with their collective breath. One morning I remember practice teaching a guided meditation in Savasana to a group of beginning yogis, and when I closed my eyes, I could feel their peace. Moments like these proved that I am enough and I do have something unique to offer this world. We all do.

If you are considering going through your teacher training, I propose the idea that it will never be the right time. It will always be a leap of faith. That’s the beauty of it and you just have to do it to let the mystery unfold.

Brittny Manos is a Research Coordinator in Adolescent Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a graduate of Yoga on High’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she has arranged her life around health and wellness and yoga is an extension of that. Brittny aims to awaken a new sense of freedom in the mind, body, and breath for her students through dynamic Vinyasa flows and guided meditations.

Michele-2041e_playOur next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th.  For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at applications@yogaonhigh.com

 

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Welcome Self-Inquiry

Abigail_Love_Teacher TrainingAbigail_Love_Teacher Training3After graduating from Ohio University I moved to Columbus to start my career as a nurse. Before moving, I was introduced to Yoga on High by a dear friend. Yoga on High quickly became how I built a sense of community in my new city. I immediately fell in love with the studio because of its central location, the sense of welcoming I felt as soon as I entered its doors, and the diversity of intelligent, passionate people attending the studio.

As my love for yoga grew, I was approached by my teachers at Yoga on High about my practice. They asked me if I was considering teacher training. My dream was to escape the city and do the training in an exotic location, and Yoga on High was doing their first Intensive in Costa Rica. I knew that was right for me because it would allow me to balance my career with the perfect learning experience. An added bonus was that I could share the experience with Taylor, a good friend from Columbus.

Once Taylor and I arrived in Costa Rica, we immediately felt relaxed and mentally prepared for the journey ahead. We both needed a break from our busy lives in the city and the time to focus on ourselves. The program was scheduled through three intensive, 3-hour class sessions each day, with breaks in between. We spent one week at three different locations. The first week we were in the rainforest at a biodynamic farm where we focused on the root chakra, the root of yoga, and the root of our practice. The second location was on a mountainside at an Eco-lodge facing the south pacific where we brought in the element of fire with the third chakra, the will power of our practice, and cultivated the authority to teach others. The last location was at a very luxurious beach resort with lush surroundings. Our room faced the beach and we could hear the waves crashing constantly. Here, we had reached bliss as a group – the sixth and seventh chakra. We learned to integrate all of the teachings, find our authentic voice, let our intuition guide us, and allow yoga to unify our life.

Jasmine and Michele provided just the right amount of challenge and support for each of our journeys. I never felt alone in the process or stifled by the pressure or expectations placed upon me throughout the program. It also helped to have by friend Taylor there as someone to lean on when I was feeling lost and it helped that we could decompress together. If you have the opportunity to take teacher training with a friend, I would recommend it!

I would say the most foundational thing I learned about my personal practice is to be OK with “backing-off” or taking a break when my mind or body needs me to. It is A LOT to practice yoga intensely three times a day, but because of my character, I immediately saw it as a challenge. I plan to use this lesson with my students by giving them the option to do less in order to feel more. My practice actually progressed immensely from this lesson because I am no longer holding that tension in my mind or my body. I was able to find ease and go further into what I sought or yearned for in my practice.

Abigail Love began her yoga journey at age 12. From an early age, she found that yoga helped adapt to body changes, improve self-confidence and build healthy relationships. Abigail is a nurse and sees yoga as a method of healing. She hopes her yoga classes will empower students to find harmony in their lives.

TT_Video-02Our next 200 Hour Teacher Training program begins September 9th.  For more information, join us at our upcoming Free Info Session Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute. To apply or for questions, contact Breanna at applications@yogaonhigh.co

 

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Featured Teacher: Michael Murphy

Why do you practice?
I practice to learn about myself. Using what I learn on the mat to help me live a better life off my mat. I practice to create more space within myself, so that I have more room for prana and feeling.

Why do you teach?
I teach because I love yoga and have experienced how it can improve my life. I want to share this love with my students but mostly I want my students to learn about themselves.

Inspirations?
I am inspired by anyone with a smile on their face. Seeing other people happy makes me happy and inspires me to live with an optimistic outlook.

Who have you trained with?
Devarshi Steve Hartman, Megha Nancy Butterheim, Jovina Chan, Richard Freeman, David Swenson, Cyndi Lee

What style do you teach?
Vinyasa, slow flow, and power flow

What’s your favorite food?
Pho

What’s on your playlist right now?
My playlist is always changing but right now I’m probably listening to alt-j and the xx the most

What’s your favorite yoga accessory?
My 85” Manduka Black Mat!!!!!!!

What style influences your teaching?
I blend the mindfulness of Kripalu with a powerful Vinyasa practice

Favorite yoga pose?
Bakasana – I love the lift through the bandhas and balance it takes to come into bakasana. It also takes trust in myself as I move my weight forward out over my hands.

Favorite quote?

“Through practice, I’ve come to see that the deepest source of my misery is not wanting things to be the way they are. Not wanting myself to be the way I am. Not wanting the world to be the way it is. Not wanting others to be the way they are. Whenever I’m suffering, I find this war with reality to be at the heart of the problem.” --Stephen Cope

What is your favorite TV show of all time?
Firefly, and I’m still kinda upset about it being canceled.

Your favorite item of clothing?
For practice and teaching nothing is better than Lululemon Run: response shorts.

What drives you every day?
I absolutely love what I do and know that it brings joy and benefit to others.

Whom do you admire?
David Williams

What books are you reading right now?
I’m always reading “Light on Life” by BKS Iyengar, “Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy” by Gregor Maehle, “The Radiance Sutras” by Lorin Roche, and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The new book I’m reading currently is “The Great Work of Your Life” by Stephan Cope

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Featured Teacher: Marianne O’Neil

Why do you practice?
I could answer this question like this:  to build a bridge between the body, mind and outside world; to learn about the body, to relax, to experience the inner self, etc.  But I have really considered the question, and I am not sure why.  Why do any of us do anything?  Can we really answer that question?  I am not really sure if I have a choice about whether to practice, or about any other thing that I do in life.  Although it appears to be a choice, it just may be an appearance.

Why do you teach?
For me, teaching is an extension of and deepening of my practice.  In order to teach, I really have to look inside at the practice and motivation and understand the poses and practices in a way that allows me to make the movements have more universality rather than just for my practice that day.

Inspirations?
Everyone who wakes up each day and keeps the world going.

Who have you trained with?
Rodney and Colleen, Richard Miller and Anne Douglas, Richard Freeman, Doug Keller, Leslie Kaminoff, and Linda and Marcia.

What style do you teach?
Hatha

What’s your favorite food?
Red lentil soup and any Indian Food

What’s your nickname?
Ginge -- a reference to my alter ego on Gilligan’s Island.

Do you own any animals?
Yes!  Two goofy dogs.  Yogi is a black and white maltese-schitzu and Ralphie a black schitzu-cocker spaniel mix.

What’s on your playlist right now?
The High Kings, soundtrack from The Descendents, and Eric Church

What’s your favorite yoga accessory?
Nothing!!  One of my favorite things about yoga is that you really don’t need anything other than your body.  But it is nice that props can make poses more accessible or help us to stay in them longer.

What style influences your teaching?
Currently, Krishnamacharya.

Favorite yoga pose?
Urdhva danurasana and savasanah

What is your favorite TV show of all time?
Probably Seinfeld or Frazier

Your favorite item of clothing?
The boots my sons gave me for Christmas -- I wear them all the time.

What did you want to be when you were little? 
Big

In the animal kingdom, which animal would you be? Why?
Tiger:  graceful, strong, fiercely courageous

Best trip you’ve taken, or dream trip you’d like to take?
I’m not too into travelling, but love Park City, Utah.  Great mountains, food, art and yoga!

What word describes you best?
Dedicated

What drives you every day?
I would have to say coffee has a pretty big role.

Whom do you admire?
Hillary Clinton, Dalai Lama, my mother-in-law Marlene O’Neil

What is your mission?
To leave the world a little kinder than when I arrived.

What books are you reading right now?
The Walking Dead, Compendium Two  -- but I really like the show.

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Featured Teacher: Tom Griffith

Why do you practice?
I feel better on every level with each day.

Why do you teach?
I absolutely love it. Very literally helping others to help themselves, what better way to share ones passion?

Inspirations?
Martha and Jerry Marcom, the love, compassion and skill with which they live life in addition to their dedication to teaching and practicing Ashtanga yoga. I have watched as they have both shared this practice with so many happy people. I have also watched as they have both profoundly healed physically and all kidding aside aged gracefully as a result of practice and non-attachment.

Who have you trained with?
The Marcoms, Linda Oshins, Marcia Miller. For Ashtanga specifically Tim Miller every April at Yohi since 2005 (except one), Richard Freeman for a week long teacher training in 2007 and just last year here in Columbus, Maty Ezraty and a little with David Swenson and Manju Jois. So many great teachers at Yohi past and present.

What style do you teach?
Ashtanga but as they say around the studio I go both ways. I love to break things down into doable bits so that what may in fact be difficult becomes more approachable with a different perspective.

What’s your favorite food?
Southern BBQ.

What’s your nickname?
Tall Tom, Tbird and Tag. About three people in the world call me Tommy.

Do you own any animals?
I live with a cat called Persephone.

What’s on your playlist right now?
About this time of year I have Krishna Das’ Flow of Grace on constant rotation in the car.

What’s your favorite yoga accessory?
The half block. What can’t it do?

What style influences your teaching?
Tim Miller’s Surya Namaskara C and Richard Freeman’s metaphors have allowed me to stay rooted in my personal Ashtanga practice but to present what I know in fun yet challenging ways. Somewhere in there is a consistent repeated practice that is similar enough each week to know what changes (and what doesn’t) and subtle enough to stay with the experience long enough to experience it.

Favorite yoga pose?
This week, Bhujapidasana-arm pressure pose.

Favorite quote?

“Spread the toes of your buttocks.” -- Freeman

What is your favorite TV show of all time?
Looney Tunes

What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
Tom

Your favorite item of clothing?
Blue leather blazer jacket.

What did you want to be when you were little?
Professional skateboarder / photographer.

In the animal kingdom, which animal would you be?
Flying squirrel
Why?
Ok, maybe flying monkey.

Best trip you’ve taken, or dream trip you’d like to take?
Honeymoon in Prague.

What word describes you best?
agreeable

What drives you every day?
love

Whom do you admire?
Teachers

What is your mission?
To learn and help others

What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?
It is a very long story but the answer is bought me a leather jacket.

Fun fact about you?
Rymocerous

What books are you reading right now?
Just finished a reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

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Featured Teacher: Jasmine Astra-elle Grace

Why do you practice?
I practice yoga for health, self-acceptance, compassion, devotion, and clarity of mind. I practice so I can teach from experience and I practice so that I may know my own true nature.

Inspirations?
As a leader you constantly have to find ways to be inspired. I find my inspiration on my yoga mat, in nature, spending time with my daughter, painting, music, reading a good book, watching a good movie, reading inspirational quotes and poetry, perusing pinterest, cooking with fresh quality foods, and being with friends. I guess I find inspiration in everything – I love life for all of it!

Who do you admire?
My family, especially my husband Jeremy Grace and daughter, Ella Grace. My business partners, Marcia Miller, Linda Oshins, & Martha Marcom. My friends and my students.

Who have you trained with?
Maty Ezraty, Richard Freeman, Tim Miller, Matthew Darling, Cyndi Lee, Loren and Camille Roche, Doug Keller, Rodney Yee, Marcia Miller, Linda Oshins, Martha Marcom, Joanie Delph, Linda Chun, Taylor Hunt, and Hari Karin Khalsa.

What style do you teach?
Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Meditation, Art & Yoga, Slow Burn Candlelight Yoga, Business of Yoga, Yoga for Runners.

Do you own any animals?
Yes, a stray, tiger striped, grey cat who showed up at our door. We named him Shadow. He is pure love and knows Reiki. 

What’s on your playlist right now?
I love music: Trance Dance, Sting, Crowded House, Amos Lee, Snatam Kaur, Rolling Stones, Black Keys, and Adele!

What’s your favorite yoga accessory?
My Manduka Black Mat.

What style influences your teaching?
Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Cyndi Lee’s Om Vinyasa.

Favorite yoga pose?
Urdhva Danurasana (Wheel)

Favorite quote?

Our thoughts create our world -- Buddha

What is your favorite TV show of all time?
I don’t watch much TV. By choice we don’t have cable/TV. I do like a good secret spy movie though!

What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
Jasmine Astra-elle Grace. I often tell people I married my husband for his last name not his good looks! That always gets a smile.

Your favorite item of clothing?
Lululemon Yoga Pants, of course – they are the best and last for a long time.

What did you want to be when you were little?
A healer/doctor.

In the animal kingdom, which animal would you be?
A horse or a snake. Different animals for different periods in my life. The horse is a symbol of strength, loyalty and perseverance. The snake represents transformation and change.

Backpacking or a luxury hotel?
Both, with no attachment to either. Just accept and enjoy what is. I recently went to Kripalu and stayed in a dorm with 20 others and it was fun.

What words best describe you?
Catalyst. Inclusive. Collaborative. Visionary. Entrepreneur. Spiritual.

Fun fact about you?
I collect mortars and pestles.

Why do you teach?
I teach to inspire a daily yoga and meditation practice and to help people feel more alive in their own body! I want us all to be more “awake” on and off the mat. I see yoga as a way to heal -- inside and out by helping us soften into accepting who we are, right here, right now.

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Featured Teacher: Marcia Miller

Join Marcia Miller for her open Hatha Level 3 class or one of several upcoming Holiday Restorative workshops.

  

Why do you practice? To stay humanly divine or is it divinely human? I want to live a life of freedom, service and joy and yoga seems to help.

Why do you teach? It’s how I learn and serve. There is nothing more satisfying than supporting someone in finding more peace and strength in his/her life.

Inspirations? The wide sky, my favorite trees (they seem so wise and patient), so many incredible yogis and poets who have gone before, my students!

Who have you trained with? SO many great teachers over the years—do you really want the list? Swami Satchidananda, BKS Iyengar, Ramanand Patel, Rodney Yee, Angela Farmer & Victor van Kooten, Richard Freeman, Aadil Palkivalha, Judith Lasater, Jean Couch, Noelle Christians Perez, Mary Schatz, MD, Tom Myers, Roger Cole and many others. Thanks to them all.

What style do you teach? eclectic hatha

What’s your favorite food? Fresh corn on the cob, garlic (how I met my husband)

Do you own any animals? A beautiful black cat that just returned to us after being gone for 4 months. Yay, Zappa.

What’s on your playlist right now? I’m hooked on Lama Gyurme and Brazilian Dance music.

Favorite yoga pose? I love so many of the arm balances but for resting give me viparita karani any day.

Favorite quote? “I just want to be fully alive, even if it kills me.” Kevin Eigel This one makes me smile every time.

What is your favorite TV show of all time? the Wire

Your favorite item of clothing? The first sweater I made that fits me!

Backpacking or a luxury hotel? I must admit I do like a bed at night these days but not a luxury hotel—too boring. I like a hotel with a dedicated owner who can help me understand the place where I have traveled to.

What word describes you best? I asked my husband and he said, “competent, friendly, steady.”

What drives you every day? A passion to fulfill my dharma—to be myself in the fullest sense of that. Which may end up being no one in particular—stay tuned.

Who do you admire? People who know how to say yes and give of themselves, but also know when to say no.

What is your mission? to see the beauty in everyone (including myself).

What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you? The thing that popped into my mind was something Martha did for me. My first darling daughter died after 3 days of life. I had her at home in a wonderful yet challenging birth. Once she was gone no one thought to ask me about the birth but Martha. She courageously gave me the opportunity to talk about that powerful experience even though I was devastated by loss. This was one of so many kindnesses that I have received over my life from many many people.

Fun fact about you?  I’m always reading at least 10 books at the same time—many by my bedside and others on CD in the car.

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