Pose of the Month: Sirsasana – Headstand

Pose of the Month: Sirsasana – Headstand

by SADIE LEIGH Hey pals! We’re here today to discuss one of my favorite poses to practice and to teach – sirsasana! Sirsasana is the Sanskrit name for the headstand. In this entry, I’ll go over how to work towards this pose in your practice, but first, let’s go over WHY this pose is so wonderful.   Known as “the king of the poses,” headstand can seem scary, but it’s actually one of the most attainable inversions out there! And it offers so many incredible benefits. Here are just a few of the reasons to incorporate the headstand into your practice. Like any inversion, sirsasana offers a literal change in perspective. Sometimes if I’m stuck in a rut or having trouble coming up with a solution for an issue, it helps to get upside down, and just look at things a little differently. Unlike other inversions, headstand is a cooling posture. At first, getting into this shape might feel quite challenging and effortful, but after practice, you’ll find you can stay in the pose, and actually relax, quiet the mind, and settle. In fact, this pose can become so calming that it can actually help with things like anxiety and insomnia. The pressure on the top of the head stimulates the pituitary gland, which regulates and informs several vital functions in the body, including growth, blood pressure, metabolism, and certain functions of sexual organs (I visited my pal Wikipedia to refresh my memory on this one!) Increased circulation and heart health! When you’re standing or sitting, most of your body is below your heart, meaning that your circulatory system...
Meet Cameron and Greer: two Yogis who dreamed up something delicious – and delivered.

Meet Cameron and Greer: two Yogis who dreamed up something delicious – and delivered.

by Amy Rizzotto, E-RYT & Co-Owner of Yoga Heights   On a recent trip to Charleston, I did what I always do when I travel – wake up, find a yoga studio to try, take a class and chat with the teacher afterwards. As a studio owner and yoga teacher, I love seeing what yogis in other cities are up to and drawing inspiration from what they’re putting out to the world. While Community Yoga Charleston could in itself be the subject of this blog post, it’s a post-class conversation and where it led me that I want to share. As I was talking to the teacher of a sweaty morning class, I was telling her that two former DC-dwellers – one a former yoga teacher at YHDC and one a former teacher trainee of Owner Jess Pierno – had moved to the area to open a cute little cafe. “Harbinger?” I asked (butchering the pronunciation with my dormant Massachusetts accent). “Oh, my goodness, I’ve heard it’s amazing. I’ve been dying to go!” the teacher replied. Two others lingering in the studio’s communal space chimed in, emphasizing this sentiment. My heart soared to think of a time, roughly two years ago, when Cameron (Jess’ former teacher trainee) and I sat down and she expressed her concept for a cool and welcoming cafe in Charleston, asking questions about how it went for Jess and I opening YHDC. She was so excited by the idea of it and here she had actually done it! With Greer (a former YHDC teacher with crazy good culinary skills) by her side, the dream had...
Ahimsa & Compassion:  The golden rule of yoga

Ahimsa & Compassion: The golden rule of yoga

by Sadie Leigh Though many of us in the west come to yoga through the physical practice (myself included!), this deep and beautiful tradition goes far beyond the poses. According to the Yoga Sutras, there are eight steps towards attaining bliss, and asana (that’s the Sanskrit word for the poses) is actually the third step! So before you even unroll your mat, you can be practicing yoga through steps one and two, namely the Yamas and Niyamas. The wonderful Juliana will offer a more in depth look at the Yamas and Niyamas in next week’s post, but in brief, these two concepts outline the ethical principles of yoga. And the first of the Yamas is– you guessed it! Ahimsa.   Ahimsa, or nonviolence, being the very first part of the very first step in the practice of yoga is no mistake. My teacher Sri Dharma says that ahimsa is like the umbrella, it covers everything else on the yogic path, so practice compassion and everything else comes automatically. Practicing Ahimsa means practicing nonviolence in your physical actions, your verbal interactions, and even in your internal thoughts. And this approach, this unyielding dedication to compassion, applies to everyone you meet, including yourself. In a studio, or on your mat, this might look like greeting the folks around you as fellow humans as you enter the space. Not judging or comparing anyone in the room. And being very kind and compassionate with yourself as you move through the poses. Maybe you’re trying a new or challenging pose and can quite get it today. Oh well! Practicing Ahimsa with yourself in that...
Meet Beth Roessner, a.k.a. The Rungry Health Coach.

Meet Beth Roessner, a.k.a. The Rungry Health Coach.

Meet Beth Roessner, a.k.a. The Rungry Health Coach.  Beth is the guiding force behind our Yoga Heights Run Group, and a pretty inspirational lady.  She is deeply passionate about nurturing all aspects of health. But she’s also super cool about balance – as in sometimes the right food for the soul is a burger, sweet potato fries and dairy-free ice cream.  She will be contributing to the YH Blog with health and exercise tips and tricks based on her expertise as a health and running coach!  Here’s a little interview to help you get to know her:   YH: Beth, can you tell us a bit about your own wellness routine or habits?   B: Fueling is incredibly important to me, and I strive to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and high-quality proteins. (I’m primarily vegetarian–no cheese, some fish.) Most meals and snacks are cooked at home, and it took a lot of practice to get me there. I’m a firm believer in everyday movement, and try to incorporate some form of movement everyday–a lifting session at the gym, yoga, a morning run, an evening walk. I also try to practice a lot of compassion toward myself. After years of having a tumultuous relationship with my body, I’ve stripped myself of the “all or nothing” mentality. I now give myself grace when I eat a bit too much ice cream, skip a workout or have an extra beer. I go for progress over perfection. Those three things are my most important habits.     YH: What brought you, a serious runner and health coach, into...
5 Reasons Every Woman Should Train in Self Defense

5 Reasons Every Woman Should Train in Self Defense

I wish I could say I was always a self confident, black boot wearing, boxing glove carrying, badass woman, but the truth is, that is far from the truth. I was extremely shy growing up.  I was always afraid and did not feel safe in the world. I remember in my early twenties having reoccurring nightmares about men breaking into my house at night and doing awful things to me. I would wake up terrified, my breath shallow, not able to go back to sleep. I even called the police once, because I swore someone was downstairs in our three story DC group home. There was no one there. In addition, I was a bleeding heart, who constantly put everyone else’s needs before my own in the name of compassion. It would be correct in saying, I suffered from the “need to be needed.”  If someone asked me what I wanted to do, my response would often be, “I don’t care, whatever you want.”  I unconsciously did not think my opinion was important enough to validate making decisions.  The “little girl” in me was tender, highly sensitive, and wept for the world.  These are beautiful qualities that I hope to always nurture. My vulnerability and gentleness created a bridge connecting to other peoples pain, but I was swallowed by my own suffering of how to set boundaries and traverse, a very real, harsh, not always nice world. Fast forward to today.  I am still often afraid, but I have a strong desire to move towards my fear, especially when it’s visceral.  I know this is good medicine and will...