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, 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

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


Watch our 200 Hour Teacher Training Video



My Friend has Cancer Part 2

As you may have heard our friend, colleague, teacher and one of the co-founders of Yoga on High, Martha Marcom, was diagnosed with cancer over the last two weeks. She has a site at in case you want to stay in touch with how she is doing and see the opportunities for help. Please at this time do not call them or send emails (in order to keep their inbox manageable with planning and medical info). If you would like to send a card please send it to Yoga on High at 1081 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201 and we will be sure she gets it. And of course send prayers, reiki, blessings and any dedications you like. She is already feeling the river of support and is floating along in it. Read More…


Spring Cleaning, aka releasing that which no longer serves you

by Stephanie Estice

There’s an interesting thing that happens when you begin to lean into a more expansive way of being in life. As you listen to your soul’s calling and learn new things and feel things that you haven’t experienced before, you run into your old limits. Or, to put it another way, you reveal deeper layers of your old patterns.

The theme for the month of March at Yoga on High is to release that which no longer serves us. When you go to the High Street location of the studio, in the back hall, there is a display of beautiful photos. Just above this wall of images there are slips of paper where you can write what you want to release and then tie the paper wish to a branch on the wall. It made my heart feel warm to find this display. It speaks to me on many levels: it is aesthetically pleasing and reminds me of the papers that I saw people tie to tree branches in shrines and temples when I was in Japan – the papers containing bad fortunes that they wished to release. Read More…


Savasana Armor

by Michele Vinbury

Every week in savasana, I ask students to allow me the privilege of helping them find comfort and to trust me, and the space we’ve created, as they close their eyes and begin to release tension in their bodies.  I stand watch, holding space, as they beautifully surrender to gravity and soften their physical armor.

I, on the other hand, am that student every restorative teacher knows, who would rather remain excruciatingly still while a blanket corner digs into my ribs than raise my hand to ask for help. This raised hand, a seemingly simple gesture, signals to me a vulnerability I needn’t expose. I admit that it is irrational – seen in my mind’s eye not as a form of self-care, but instead as a white flag of surrender, a signal of defeat. I need something because I can’t do it myself. I have no such judgments about my students though.  I often think the opposite, that it is the student with the more advanced practice that can accept and allow for comfort and ease. Read More…


Radical Vulnerability

by Jill Nielsen-Farrell

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.
-- Muriel Rukeyser

Recently, my 14-year old son and I were talking about a challenge he was facing. During the conversation it was apparent that he clearly prides himself on his ability to not “whine or complain.”

As he was talking, a part of me thought, “This is good, right? Who wants to raise a whiner and a complainer? Not me! I’m happy I’m raising a kid who is strong and un-whiny!”

Almost immediately, however, I realized, “Oh my. I can’t help him unless he’s totally honest with me…and, more importantly, he can’t help himself either.” Read More…

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