Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: The Niyamas, Living Yoga

Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: The Niyamas, Living Yoga

By: Juliana Cole – Living Yogi, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   Hello Yogis! Thanks for tuning in once again as we continue our discovery of the Eight Limb Path of Yoga. Last month, we got into the Yamas, the first limb, and in this post, we will look more closely at the Niyamas.   Quick review – we are exploring the eight limbs or stages of yoga which are all about the practical application of yoga. Yoga can be considered the study of the mind with the intention of understanding the workings of the mind, connecting with one’s innermost self and feeling at peace and at one with everything around you. The eight limbs are offered as a means to reaching this ultimate goal and should be practiced all at once, all the time. Yes, that sounds like a lofty goal and it is! In a way, that’s the point: this is a practice that is constant and though at times can seem easy, there is the inevitable eb and flow which implies that there are times when it seems impossible. I think it is safe to say that most people embark on a yogic path because they are drawn to it, so the work (which eventually becomes ever present) is truly a labor of love. Let’s get into it then- the second limb of this wheel or path of yoga- The Niyamas!   The Yamas and the Niyamas make up what could be considered the ten ethical principles by which we guide our thoughts and actions. We reviewed the Yamas last month, discussing the five...
An Introduction to Children’s Yoga – Including a Sequence to Practice at Home!

An Introduction to Children’s Yoga – Including a Sequence to Practice at Home!

By Jess Gruber There are moments of teaching children yoga when I know they are deeply aware that yoga is so much more than an exercise; it happens when we practice deep breathing, the children close their eyes, everything stills and quiets, as they finish they look at me, eyes softened above a gentle smile. I ask them how they feel, pausing to consider, they say, “so peaceful,” “I feel gentle,” “sleepy and soft,” “like I want to cuddle”. Why + How? When teaching yoga to children, it’s important to utilize visuals, songs, and creativity. Visual guides help children to understand their body in space, this is called proprioception. When our proprioception is working efficiently then we can strengthen our interoception, our ability to feel the body internally. Interoception is important because it helps us to manage emotions and understand our body’s needs (hunger, elimination, illness) and then respond accordingly. Music is a timeless method to help children (and adults) improve memory and also creates structure within the lesson. Creativity, such as pretending to be animals or mindfully making crafts, provides an opportunity for children to utilize their foundation of knowledge and experiment with it. When teaching children yoga, one of the ways I engage children’s proprioceptive/interoceptive abilities, strengthen their memory, and set the groundwork for creativity is through the Little Moon Children’s Yoga Cards! I helped create these cards in collaboration with artist Andrew Schubert. The LMY Kids Yoga Cards tap into the creativity of pretending to be animals while teaching deep breathing and mindful movement to cultivate proprioceptive and interoceptive skills.   A Practice Here is a...
Pose of the Month: Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon

Pose of the Month: Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon

By Jess Gruber Confession: When I first started practicing yoga, I absolutely hated this posture! I couldn’t balance, I didn’t have enough strength to lift my leg, I kept collapsing. Whenever the teacher cued it, I felt an unsteady sensation in my stomach, my jaw would clench, and my body would stiffen. Over time, I grew stronger in postures like the warriors and lunges, more flexible in wide legged forward fold, and more balanced in tree pose. Now, this is one of my favorite postures – it’s so dynamic, provides the ability to move through a variety of transitions, and no matter how many times I’ve practiced it, it’s still challenging. If you’ve been to my classes, you’ll know that this posture is a staple of my All Levels Classes! We play with transitioning in and out of this posture, consider the lines the body is making, all while elongating the body and allowing the breath to wave through the body with ease. Let’s try it! Grab a block, find an open wall, and take a few breaths or wiggles to open your breath and body in preparation to try something new/challenging! Step 1: Come to the wall and take a forward fold with soft knees and your right side against the wall. Take a few breaths here.   Step 2: Take a halfway lift with a strong core, elongated spine, and strong legs without locking your knees. Place the block in front of your right foot and bring your right hand to the block so that your wrist is underneath your shoulder. Creating strength and stability in your...
Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: The Yamas, Living Yoga

Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: The Yamas, Living Yoga

By: Juliana Cole – Living Yogi, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   Hello Yogis! Thanks for tuning in again as we continue our discovery of the Eight Limb Path of Yoga. In this post, we will look more closely at the first limb: the Yamas. Last month I mentioned that I’d be writing about the Yamas and Niyamas in this post but as I dive into writing these posts and attempt to make them engaging and not overwhelming, I keep pulling back on adding more content. So I have split this post into two: this month you’ll get the Yamas & next month, the Niyamas!   Quick review – the eight limbs or stages of yoga are all about the practical application of yoga. What is the goal? BLISS, self-realization! You know, that glimmer that you have felt when you’re on the mat or out in nature where you get the sensation that you are one with everything. Maybe it appears more as a feeling of peace or a gentle quiet sensation or freedom from the things that otherwise make you feel restrained or conflicted – all of that is yoga and the journey to that oneness is also yoga.   We start here with the Yamas. The Yamas and Niyamas can be considered the ten ethical principles with which we guide our thoughts and actions; how we treat ourselves and the world around us, so to speak. Instead of thinking of these as a list of characteristics that you should emulate, think of these as descriptions of what you already embody that you practice to fine-tune...
Yoga Heights Takoma Class Schedule Preview: Which classes are you most excited about?

Yoga Heights Takoma Class Schedule Preview: Which classes are you most excited about?

We are so excited to be opening our brand new second location so soon!  Take a peek at our class schedule for Takoma and let us know which classes you are most excited to take by commenting below.  If you want us to add other classes or time slots, let us know by commenting here.  Then go to www.yogaheightsdc.com and sign up to save your spot in opening week classes!     Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday AM AM AM AM AM AM AM 8:45-9:45 Barre (Kristin) 6:15-7:15 All Levels (Dianne) 6:30-7:30 Power Flow (Gregory) 6:15-7:15 All Levels (Jess G.) 6:30-7:30 Power Flow (Gregory) 6:15-7:15 All Levels (Amanda W.) 8:45-9:45 Power Flow (Colleen) 9:00-10:15 All Levels Flow (Emily A.) 9:30-10:30 Pilates (Liz) 10:00-11:00 Power Flow (Gregory) 10:00-11:00 Baby & Me Yoga (Mariela) 10:00-11:00 Back to Basics (Colleen) 10:45-12:00 All Levels Flow (Liz) PM PM PM PM PM PM PM 12:00-1:00 All Levels Flow (Alex) 12:00-1:00 All Levels Flow (Juliana) 12:00-1:00 All Levels Flow (Amy) 12:00-1:00 All Levels Flow (Becky) 12:00-1:00 All Levels Flow (Rhiannon) 5:00-6:00 Half Price Flow (Gregory) 5:00-6:00 Half Price Flow (Amy) 5:00-6:00 Half Price Flow (Buck) 5:00-6:00 Half Price Flow (Becky) 5:00-6:00 Half Price Flow (Juliana) 6:00-7:00 Beats Yoga (Justina) 6:15-7:15 Back to Basics (Cole) 6:15-7:30 All Levels Flow (Natalie) 6:15-7:15 Back to Basics (Jess P.) 6:15-7:30 All Levels Flow (Becky) Barre? Isabel 6:15-7:30 All Levels Flow (Alex) 6:30-7:30 Power Flow (Jenn F.) 6:30-7:30 Fusion Flow (Amy) 6:30-7:30 Power Flow (Angela) 6:30-7:45 Prenatal Yoga (Jess G.) 7:45-8:45 Yin (Matthew) 7:30-8:45 All Levels Flow (Jess P.) 7:45-8:45 Restorative (Juliana)   We will continue to shape...