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...
Student Spotlight: Benjamin Finkel

Student Spotlight: Benjamin Finkel

Yoga Heights is made up of many fascinating people.  We are excited to introduce you to them one by one via the blog!   Benjamin Finkel is a super dedicated yogi who quietly comes in, sets up in the front row, and digs deep into his practice every time.  Since his first visit to YH in July of 2015, Ben has taken more than 225 classes. Check out his work as a cameraman, which is his super cool day-job, via the link in our interview below.   Yoga Heights: Why do you practice yoga? Benjamin: I run around with a heavy camera on one shoulder which throws me pretty far off balance. Yoga straightens me out.   YH: Tell us about your first experience at Yoga Heights. B: About a year before I joined Yoga Heights when I lived in Silver Spring, a friend invited me to a restorative class at Yoga Heights with a live guitarist and wine. I was sore for the next week.   YH: What classes do you go to at YH and why? B: I really joined Yoga Heights because of the variety and frequency of classes. My work schedule changes day to day, so I end up in lots of different classes at different times.   YH: What do you do when you’re not on the mat? B: I’m a cameraman and video editor producing content for a variety of broadcast and corporate clients. From ESPN, Discovery and Access Hollywood to Hilton, Boeing and the American Cancer Society, I do it all. Check out www.viewpointvideo.com   YH: Where did you grow up? B:...
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...
Student Spotlight: Bethany VanderSluis

Student Spotlight: Bethany VanderSluis

Yoga Heights is made up of students who are fascinating people.  We are excited to introduce you to them one by one via the blog!   Meet Bethany.  She has taken more than 400 classes at Yoga Heights since her first visit in September 2015.  Bethany also graduated from the Yoga Heights Yoga Teacher Training last May and she is our newest addition to our teaching team!     Yoga Heights: Why do you practice yoga? Bethany:To challenge myself mentally and physically. The challenge always depends on the day, is it the challenge of calming down my mind or tuning into my body or to try something new and not be afraid to fall on my face.   YH: Tell us about your first experience at Yoga Heights. B: My first class was fusion flow with Amy and it kicked my butt!   YH: What classes do you go to at YH and why? B: I mostly go to 4:30 classes. The teachers are great and the class are right after I get out of work. I also love Rocket and take it on Sunday nights to push my myself in my practice.   YH: What do you do when you’re not on the mat? B: Working as a social worker in DCPS, gardening, cooking, and hanging out with my friends and family.   YH: Where did you grow up? B: Grand Rapids, MI   YH: What neighborhood do you live in now? B: I have live in Petworth for three years.   Make sure to say hi to Bethany if you see her in the studio.  She’s usually...