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...
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...
Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: An Introduction

Exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga: An Introduction

By: Juliana Cole – Living Yogi, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   Hello again, Yoga Heights Yogi! First and foremost, thank you for reading! This is the first of a series of five posts that I will be writing exploring the Eight Limb Path of Yoga, so here we go!   Before we get started, it’s important to answer the very basic question: What is Yoga? Yoga means many things and presents itself in many ways. The beauty is that whatever you glean from the word yoga, you are right…and there is more of that! Most of us in the western world think of yoga as a physical practice, the Asana (poses). I think you would agree that in your practice of the Asana, you find a calming of the mind, or at least a reduction of stress. You hear your teacher talk about quieting the mind, focusing the breath and allowing your practice to be a moving meditation. That’s what I focus on when I practice the asana. If you come back to the mat, it is most likely because you have found that sensation of release from the stuff that clouds the mind on a daily basis…and you want more of that. Well, you are figuring out what yoga is all about. In a very basic and simple explanation, Yoga is the study of the mind.   Yoga has such a rich history, much of which was unwritten and only passed on through spoken word, and can be traced back almost 6,000 years. The codification of yoga, so to speak, came out in the Yoga...
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...