why 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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A Poem for Summertime

Peaches_Full BloomFrom blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
From Blossoms by Li-Young Lee
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Pride in a Difficult Time

shutterstock_426023218by Daniel Sernicola

As the Arch City prepares for its 35th Annual Pride, bulbs in a hue of rainbow colors shine brightly from the arches on High Street and rainbow flags flutter in the wind. June is a month when we celebrate inclusiveness, love, and LGBTA+ pride. However, many of us are feeling spiritually wounded. The events in Orlando leave us with feelings of anger, hurt, and confusion. How could this happen? Why did it happen? How can we have pride when faced with such tragedy?
As a LGBTA+ community, we’ve spent most of our lives living in fear and aware that we are at risk. The Orlando shootings demonstrate that this fear is valid and very real. Many of us are reminded that the shooting could have taken place at any gathering or event. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been out or how far down the road of self-acceptance and love we’ve traveled, we are always aware of the fear within. 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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Watch our 200 Hour Teacher Training Video

 

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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.

YogioftheMonth_Deborah-01

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Courage, the ability to do something that frightens one.

yohigh_135I’ve been sharing Judith Lasater’s book Living Your Yoga with students in my Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis class. When discussing the chapter on courage with them, I told them that I believe they really embody courage—just by showing up to class. Sometimes just getting out of bed unsure about how your feet and legs will work is an act of courage. Navigating their way to yoga class is courageous—waiting for a bus, using canes, walkers or wheelchairs to make their way into the sanctuary we know as Yoga on High.

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Anahata Project: Words from a Volunteer

20150531_112851

Every Sunday morning from around mid-April to early November, I pop on old brown pants, a raggedy white shirt that proclaims “I Walked the Bourbon Trail” and a black hat with RF on the front that I am pretty sure stands for Roger Federer, and head out to work in the Anahata garden. This garden is the source of produce for the Anahata Food Project, a community service project of Yoga on High that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to a local food pantry. Read More…

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