transformation

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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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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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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