How I Choose to “Be” Through Traumatic Events

How I Choose to “Be” Through Traumatic Events

By: Juliana Cole – Student, Yoga Instructor, Studio Manager at Yoga Heights   I interrupt my regularly scheduled post following the Eight Limb Path of Yoga to talk about something that has been on my mind and just can’t be ignored, given recent events. We have, yet again, had to witness the horrible reality and trauma that reaches the deepest parts of our hearts when innocent young lives are taken in a painful, sudden and gruesome way. There is no sugar-coating what happening on Wednesday, February 14th in Parkland, Florida, and what we have witnessed more times than a person ever should in one lifetime. I want to take this time to talk about how I am processing this tragedy and how I choose to present myself in this world. This post is intended to create a platform for conversation around dealing with traumatic events, close or near to one’s life, and is also part of how I process something like this. By no means is this a recommendation of how I believe others should go about dealing with something like this and I want to be clear about that – we all have to find what works best for us when dealing with the highs and lows that life inevitably brings. Going back to listening to reports on Wednesday night of what happened in Parkland, I was sitting in my car on my way to practice (I have an evening Mysore practice which I try to attend at the same time, 3-5 days a week) when I heard the news. I was immediately relieved that I was going...
Learning to Live with Fear: Lessons from Death, Yoga and Martial Arts

Learning to Live with Fear: Lessons from Death, Yoga and Martial Arts

By Angela Meyer, Lead Yoga Teacher Trainer, Yoga & Self Defense Instructor at Yoga Heights I have hated fear most my life. Since I haven’t been able to get rid of it, I learned to be intimate instead. I remember writing a poem when I was in second grade about the monsters in my closet.  They would lurk in the middle of the night.  I would wake, feel the soulful terror, and with barefoot little feet, run across the house to my parents bed.  I sprinted that “wee hour sojourn” for many years, until I got kicked out and had to face the closet monsters alone. I didn’t know what I was so afraid of, but the fear felt real and anciently terrifying. Monsters in the closet were not the only phenomena that rattled my bones with fear, so did people. Lunch time was the worst, sitting with my lunchbox, looking straight ahead or down so no one would see me. Not eating crunchy food because it was too loud and may draw the attention of others. I wanted to be invisible. I had imaginary friends. I felt existentially alone and learned to live with that feeling.My greatest joy was before school, after school, on the weekends, running barefoot through the thick grass in my South Texas backyard. Jumping on the swing that was my saving grace.  I would spend hours in my own world, flying back and forth, long pig tails, finally free from the terror of being in the “people-centric” jungle. I went to college and played soccer, I lived in the favelas of Brazil, working at...
Beats Yoga 101

Beats Yoga 101

By Helen Conway Hi yogis! I’m thrilled to be writing to you as the new teacher for Beats Yoga at the Georgia Ave studio, starting this Friday. This class has been on my weekly yoga rotation since I became a Yoga Heights regular and I am excited to take on this sweaty, sometimes silly yoga power hour.   Why Beats Yoga? The tradition of yoga is rich and I hold much respect for its teachings. But as someone who lives most of my life in my head, living in a city that takes itself very seriously, I must seek out opportunities to be playful and silly or I will get bogged down by it all. And this is true for my yoga practice as well. Beats gives me a chance to take my yoga practice, and myself, a little less seriously. I look forward to bringing you my spin on this fun Friday tradition at Yoga Heights.   So what is it?   Beats Yoga is an hour-long power flow class set to an amped-up playlist that is sure to bring a smile to your face and make you want to dance. Beats Yoga is designed to get you moving, breathing, and sweating so we will move at a faster pace than a typical All Levels Flow class and will include plenty of strength-building and opportunities for play. The pace means that I will likely not spend much time breaking down fundamentals so I encourage you to check out one of our Back to Basics or All Levels Flow classes if you need a confidence boost or tune-up. But...
Pose of the Month: Vrksasana – Tree Pose

Pose of the Month: Vrksasana – Tree Pose

By Natalie Weinstein I love trees and feel the most at ease, grounded, and connected when I’m hiking in the woods. I love trees so much that I even dressed up as one for Halloween in college (picture purposefully excluded). My connection to trees extends to my love of Vrksasana, or tree pose, in yoga. In its true sense, this posture teaches you to feel rooted to the earth, yet just as wind does to a tree, it teaches you to maintain balance even when a slight shift may cause you to sway or wobble.   Not only does tree pose enhance your ability to balance by strengthening your calves and thighs, it’s also a great hip opener, and stretches the chest and shoulders. There are many fun variations in this posture and a lot of dynamic ways to transition into and out of this posture — come to one of my classes to explore this posture further! Tree pose can be accessible to anybody. There are many modifications and stages to this posture, so yogis can choose what is right for them. Step 1: Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) at the top of your mat. (You can also modify this pose by standing against a wall.)    Step 2: Place your hands on your hips. Begin to shift your weight into your left foot. Step 3: Lift your right foot and place it either: against your inner left ankle, inner left calf, or inner left thigh. Be cautious not to place your foot against your inner left knee.                Step 4: Bring your...
Student Spotlight: Kate Judson

Student Spotlight: Kate Judson

Yoga Heights is made up of many fascinating people.  We are excited to introduce you to them one by one via the blog! Meet Kate, who stays busy by working to make DC a great, green place to live, chasing after her toddler sons, and enjoying her neighborhood! She finds peace in yin classes and loves Yoga Heights’ inclusive philosophy and the diversity of its yogis. Read on to learn more about Kate! Yoga Heights: Why do you practice yoga? Kate: To gain strength and bring peace to my crazy life as a working mom to toddler twins!   YH: Tell us about your first experience at Yoga Heights. K: I think my first class was a yin yoga class with Amy. I remember leaving and feeling more relaxed than after a professional massage. I was hooked!   YH: What classes do you go to at YH and why? K: I most enjoy yin yoga and all levels flow.   YH: What do you do when you’re not on the mat? K: During the day I work for the District’s Department of Energy & Environment and lead the coordination and implementation of the District’s Sustainable DC Plan (a 20-year plan to make DC the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the US. Learn more here: www.sustainabledc.org). When not working, I am chasing after my almost 3 year old twin boys, drinking coffee, or enjoying brunch at Anxo on Kennedy Street!   YH: Where did you grow up? K: In sunny Sarasota, FL.   YH: What neighborhood do you live in now? People love to know about their neighbors!...