Yoga District http://www.yogadistrict.com Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:21:46 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Medicine Wheel Yoga Workshop with Atticus http://www.yogadistrict.com/medicine-wheel-yoga-workshop-atticus/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/medicine-wheel-yoga-workshop-atticus/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:05:34 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9618 Join one of our lovely teachers, Atticus, as she shares the practice of Medicine Wheel Yoga this Saturday (November 18th) from 4 to 6 pm at our Bloomingdale studio. Medicine […]

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Join one of our lovely teachers, Atticus, as she shares the practice of Medicine Wheel Yoga this Saturday (November 18th) from 4 to 6 pm at our Bloomingdale studio.

Medicine Wheel Yoga blends two ancient healing systems, Peruvian shamanism and yoga. This 2 hour workshop features an introduction to the Peruvian Medicine Wheel, live music, 90 minute asana practice, an extended sonic savasana and group reflection. Take home a Medicine Wheel map and description to continue the inner work.

Saturday November 18th, 4 – 6 pm at our Bloomingdale studio

Click here to sign up for the the workshop.

For those new to this practice or want to learn more about it, read on for what Atticus has to say about Medicine Wheel Yoga and her workshop:

MEDICINE WHEEL YOGA

Medicine Wheel Yoga could be a fascinating study for a modern practitioner since it is an overlap of ancient practices, Peruvian shamanism and yoga. This type of practice highlights how we can achieve harmonious balance or “yoga” through many means and calls upon various tools to facilitate our journey to that state.

SHAMANISM and YOGA 

Shamanism is a practice, which recently has been drawn into mainstream thought and vernacular. It is becoming a revered, reclaimed process that allows us to examine our shadow, and thus embrace our light, with greater empowerment and consciousness.

Just like in yoga, shamanism reveals to us that we are far more than this physical body. The power we have to transmute trauma, reclaim the weaving of our story, and heal wounds of personal and collective natures resides within the work of each individual.

In the shamanic lineage, we are given a set of tools that are physical, energetic, and of the natural world to facilitate this journey to healing. Both yoga and shamanism highlight the importance of the inner journey, which ultimately ripples outward into the external world and completely reorganizes the practitioner’s life to become one of co-creation as opposed to one of passivity.

We become powerful manifestors and creators; leaders and compassionate beings. We approach each day with a deeper awareness and conscious connection with our rhythms.  

 

What to Expect at the Workshop?

The Medicine Wheel Yoga workshop begins with an introduction to the system of the Peruvian Medicine Wheel, the map to understanding our cyclical journey through emotional, mental, and spiritual states of the human experience. This is followed by an invocation of the power of energetic healing and then integrated through an asana series. The experience concludes with a “journey to the underworld,” or deep subconscious, in meditative savasana.  

The series of poses is designed to help us experience the medicine wheel in its four directions:

  • The Wind of the South, the Serpent, leads us to shed our shadows and the past
  • The Wind of the West, the Jaguar, shows us how to transform the darkness into light
  • The Wind of the North, the Hummingbird, guides us on an epic journey of levity and joy
  • The Wind of the East, the Eagle, flies us above the mountains and clouds to teach us to see the entire fabric of life

Learn to integrate the tools of the ancient Peruvian Medicine Wheel in a way that supports your journey to healing and empowerment. Come ready to receive an activation of creative participation with your life. You are more than you can imagine.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday November 18th, 4 – 6 pm at our Bloomingdale studio

Click here to sign up for the the workshop!

With love,

Atticus

 

 

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Yoga District’s Donation November Classes: YOGA FOR CAMP KESEM- WILLIAM & MARY http://www.yogadistrict.com/yoga-districts-donation-november-classes-yoga-camp-kesem-william-mary/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/yoga-districts-donation-november-classes-yoga-camp-kesem-william-mary/#respond Sat, 04 Nov 2017 03:03:42 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9597 One of our wonderful Yoga District instructors Kendall is a founding member of the William & Mary chapter of Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a national organization that offers a free week-long […]

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One of our wonderful Yoga District instructors Kendall is a founding member of the William & Mary chapter of Camp Kesem.

Camp Kesem is a national organization that offers a free week-long summer camp to support children through and beyond a parent’s cancer.

Kendall is donating all of the proceeds from her November Yoga District classes to kick-off Camp Kesem’s fundraising season.

Read below for Kendall’s class schedule and why she is so dedicated to Camp Kesem.

YOGA FOR CAMP KESEM WILLIAM & MARY

During the month of November, the proceeds from all of my classes at Yoga District will be donated to Camp Kesem William & Mary.  

Camp Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer.  Camp Kesem operates over 105 free summer camps in 40 states for children, ages 6 to 16, who have been affected by a parent’s cancer.  This camp experience has a lasting impact on the participating children by providing them a peer-support network that understands their unique needs, builds confidence, and strengthens their communication skills.  Camp Kesem aims to ensure that every child impacted by a parent’s cancer is never alone by offering innovative and fun-filled programs that foster a lasting community.

During my time in college, I helped to direct and grow Camp Kesem at William & Mary from a camp that assisted 32 children in its first year to one that supported 102 this past summer.  I can truly say that Camp Kesem changed my life through introducing me to strong inspiring kids, along with truly genuine and caring counselors.  

This summer, Camp Kesem William & Mary has set a goal of raising $85,000 in order to send 125 kids to this life-changing camp.  By coming to any of my classes at Yoga District during the month of November, you are directly helping to make this happen. For more information about Camp Kesem, you can visit their website here.    

Kendall’s Donation Class Schedule:
I hope to see you at any of my classes listed below!  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping me to support these children during their parent’s cancer battle.  

  • Tuesdays at 8PM, All Levels Flow @ Dupont
  • Wednesdays at 7:45PM, All Levels Core-focused Flow @ 14th St.
  • Sundays at 10:45AM, Flow 2-3 @ 14th St.
  • Sundays at 6:45PM, Powerful Flow 1.5-3 @ 14th St.

With love,

Kendall

 

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Embracing my Sacred, Feminine Power: What I learned from Yoga Therapy for Women http://www.yogadistrict.com/embracing-sacred-feminine-power-learned-yoga-therapy-women/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/embracing-sacred-feminine-power-learned-yoga-therapy-women/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:50:20 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9560 What does it mean to empower your sacred femininity on a physical, emotional, energetic, mental andspiritual plane? Follow Nicolette’s exploration of Yoga Therapy for Women. “Move with your breath.” “Take […]

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What does it mean to empower your sacred femininity on a physical, emotional, energetic, mental andspiritual plane? Follow Nicolette’s exploration of Yoga Therapy for Women.

“Move with your breath.” “Take the longest inhale you have taken today.” “Feel the waves of relaxation coursing through your body.” These statements  made me realize how much I go about my day not really listening to my body and what it needs or does to keep me alive on a daily basis. In an effort to bring more self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-care into my life, I decided to take the Yoga Therapy for Women workshop at Yoga District this past weekend. I left the workshop with some simple exercises and practices that anyone can incorporate, even if only for a couple minutes, into their lives to bring a little more peace to their minds and bodies amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here are my five practices I learned at the workshop that can get you through a busy week:
1. Monkey Stretches: The workshop instructor, Iysha Nobes, taught us about monkey stretches which help calm your nervous system. For the first stretch, we started in mountain pose and then traced our right hand along our right side body starting near our hips moving toward our armpits until the right arm was in the air and then we repeated that motion on the left side. For the second movement, we had our arms by our sides and starting swinging our arms side to side in a circular motion. As we we continued to do this motion, we sped up and then started to slow down after a couple minutes.
2. Incorporating Routine in your Life: During the workshop, we talked about the importance of routine according to the Ayurvedic tradition since the nervous system likes reliability. It can be something as simple as trying to eat a meal at the same time everyday or waking up and doing even just a few minutes of breathing exercises, meditation, or a couple of your favorite yoga poses. Make it your goal this week to think about how you can incorporate routine in your life or change up your current one for the new season.
3. Abyangha Self Massage: Massaging your body (as well as jumping) helps to flush the lymphatic system. For this massaging practice, we took coconut oil (another oil can be used) and rubbed it on feet, around the bones on either side of our ankles, wrists, arms, and legs. Rubbing the oil on your stomach and lower back in a clockwise position can aid in digestion. On the limbs, we made long strokes and around the joints we massaged in circular motions. Our instructor Iysha reminded us throughout the practice that is is very important for the neurological connection to look at the body part you are massaging as you do it.
4. Psoas Release: During this workshop, we learned that women store a lot of emotion in the psoas (the pelvic region). In order to help release this tension, we did certain restorative poses that target that region. Here is a link to similar types of poses we did in the workshop: https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/release-your-psoas
5. Yoga Nidra: You can find tons of videos for guided yoga nidras on Youtube that range from a couple minutes to an hour. This guided meditation is something that many people do before bed if they have trouble falling asleep or to help with anxiety. Here are links to a few different ones:
By just doing even one of these practices a day, you are acknowledging the importance of putting your self first and slowing down to acknowledge all that you do. Let us know how these practices work for you and if you have any favorite self-care practices of your own. Enjoy the week and remember to take some time for yourself!
You can find Iysha Nobes, the instructor for the workshop, on Instagram at iyshanobesyoga. To learn more about other workshops Yoga District is offering, check out http://www.yogadistrict.com/the-yoga/the-workshops/

 

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Seasons change and so do we: What’s to come on the Blog http://www.yogadistrict.com/seasons-change-whats-come-blog/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/seasons-change-whats-come-blog/#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 19:37:55 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9550 With new seasons comes big change! Embrace the new season with updated blog content and stories that interest you. With fall fast approaching, we are embracing change with the blog […]

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With new seasons comes big change! Embrace the new season with updated blog content and stories that interest you.

With fall fast approaching, we are embracing change with the blog as well. You can still expect similar content, but now you can look forward to blog posts more often and new topics we haven’t previously covered. Each week you will find encouraging and inspiring posts fit for everyone—whether you are new to yoga, a devoted student, or a returning student. Here is a sneak peek of what blog posts are to come:

-Teacher Trainees’ Experiences with Teacher Training
-Yoga and Meditation Apps Our Students and Teachers Love
-Which Yoga Teacher Training is Right for You?
-Go-To Yoga Poses for Teachers and Students
-Beyond the Yoga Classes: A Look Behind Yoga District’s Workshops
-Q&A with Recent Teacher Trainees
-30-Day Challenges (such as ones focused on yoga activism, meditation, and embracing change in your practice)
-Yoga Teacher, Student, and Intern Profiles
-Strategies on Taking Your Practice with You When You Travel
-Finding a Class That Fits Your Body’s Needs
-The Best Classes for First Time Students

Please comment to let us know what you hope to see on the blog in the upcoming months. Do you want to learn more about our teachers’ at-home practices? Do you want to know more about how teachers come up with sequences so you can switch up your home practice a bit? Are you hesitant to try a new style class and want to know a little bit more about some of the classes at Yoga District? We are happy to hear your ideas, suggestions and inspirations!

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Meet Peach, our sister & teacher training grad from the Philippines! http://www.yogadistrict.com/meet-peach-our-sister-teacher-training-grad-from-the-philippines/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/meet-peach-our-sister-teacher-training-grad-from-the-philippines/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:19:47 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9343 Meet Peach, one of our beloved teacher training graduates from Manila, Philippines! Read on for Peach’s story about the journey which brought her to yoga–and the Yoga District teacher training […]

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Meet Peach, one of our beloved teacher training graduates from Manila, Philippines! Read on for Peach’s story about the journey which brought her to yoga–and the Yoga District teacher training all the way from the Philippines!

 

What is your name?
Peach Cristine P. Mascariñas

How long have you been practicing yoga?
I’m roughly on my 7th year now- on & off the mat. I was first introduced to yoga when I was in college. Back then, my priorities were different as I wanted something intense and pursued powerlifting.

Why did you choose to enroll in Yoga District’s teacher training program?
Taking a yoga teacher training to deepen my practice was at the back of my head for quite awhile. There was too much going on in my personal life as well as at work for me to just leave everything behind. I told myself that if I find a good program that resonates with my life principles that will be my sign from God and the universe to give it a go. I’ve been searching for a yoga teacher training program for at least a year before I found Yoga District’s Teacher Training Program. There were a lot of options to choose from – from celebrity yogis leading the training to training venues that seemed more of a vacation than a training, differences in curriculum and of course, tuition fees that ranges from reasonable to absurd. Unfortunately, most of them were too commercialized. Something didn’t feel right.

I found Yoga District as one of the very few, if not the only one, that is in sync with the things that I value – a good curriculum with diverse yoga styles for diverse student communities, simplicity, educating others and sincerity in spreading yoga to everyone. It wasn’t all about the money. YD has programs in place to help students pay for their trainings – payment plans, full and partial scholarships, work-study program. YD also hires their trainees which only means that they have confidence in what they are teaching them. What impressed me the most is that it also has FREE yoga teacher training for DC Public Schools teachers. Its vision to make yoga accessible to the many is not just all words.

I did my pencil pushing and weighed everything out – tuition fees, miscellaneous fees, airfare, lodging, transportation costs, food and thousands of miles away from my son. I am from Manila, Philippines and aside from the fees, I will be spending at least 24 hours flying to DC and another 24 hours flying back home. For me, time is money. I wanted to find a school that would use my money in doing something better for this world and only Yoga District met this requirement.

Aside from your 200 hour certification, what did you gain from your teacher training that you hope to share with others?
I gained not just a new set of yoga friends but I gained a family in DC! I love my co-trainees and my teachers/mentors!!! They provided a safe, non-judgmental space for me to be myself and to grow. We still keep in touch up to now supporting each other in life’s struggles. YD community-vibe really felt like home.

If you had to describe your life in the form of a yoga pose, which pose would it be and why?
Hanumanasana! It takes a lot of work to get through life, to get into this pose. Nailing the splits doesn’t happen overnight. To get to where I am now in life, I had to take it slow and steady. I have to know when to push myself and when to pull back. I had to work hard on opening myself up to a lot of things – and the pose requires open hamstrings as well as the hip flexors. There will always be times when u just have to let go and surrender yourself. And just like Hanuman, I’ve taken and still taking a lot of leaps of faith for the people I love.

Kat's Teacher Feature Pic

What is your favorite thing to do in your community?
My favorite thing to do is to spend some quality time with my son traveling, playing, watching movies/tv series as well as getting massages together.

Describe your personal circumstances or experiences that made you want to share yoga.
Yoga saved me and is continuously saving me.

Sometime 2010, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroiditis and my cortisol level was so high. Doctors couldn’t give me any medications just yet for so many reasons. I got frustrated with my condition and felt helpless. That’s when I decided to stop my monthly lab tests and doctor visits and instead, I decided to try out Bikram Yoga. I couldn’t let a day go by without going to a class. My blood tests showed that my thyroid function and cortisol level went down to normal. This deepened my love for yoga even more. I eventually explored other types of yoga.

I started traveling a lot for work in 2013. I didn’t have a home studio. Though the frequency of my yoga practice went down, the very few times I’m on my yoga mat, I felt like I was home.

Very few knew what I was going through or that I was even going through something in 2015. I knew that I have no control over the situation, over the people around me but I can control the way I respond to what’s happening. I can’t fix everything but I can fix myself. I decided to seek refuge to my yoga mat. Yoga became my tool for self healing. It taught me to love myself and to listen to my inner voice. I learned that I can better take care of others if I take care of myself. I redirected my negative emotions/energy to something productive- yoga classes. Physical strength and flexibility are just “side effects” of practicing yoga. Yoga gave me my inner peace. It taught me the value of self acceptance, self love and happiness in solitude.

What advice do you have to others sharing seeking to share yoga with others?
You have to start with yourself. Once they see it in you and see how yoga positively changed and is continuously changing your being, it is so much easier to share it with others.

Kat's Teacher Feature Pic

Please describe a challenging moment that you have experienced in training, how you faced that challenge, and what you learned from it.
Long days, tons of information and unnecessary pressure I was putting myself into worrying about the final practicals can be overwhelming. For my final practicals, i decided to teach a sequence I prepared myself instead of the set sequences of Power Yoga or Dharma 1 which reflected more of my creativity and personality. During my actual practicals, my favorite teacher was assigned to observe my class, I felt even more pressured. I joined my students in the breathing exercise and the mini meditation part of the sequence because I badly needed it. It calmed me down. Laughing it out when I made mistakes made it so much easier.

I learned that taking time to breathe and meditate calms me down and gives me a fresher perspective of things. Always being my goofy self, not taking life too seriously is the way to go.

How did enrolling int the Yoga District teacher training affect you personally and professionally?
Before my training, my definition of deepening my practice is nailing advanced poses. Yoga District Teacher Training Program opened my mind about what yoga truly is. My teachers/mentors focused on yoga philosophy. Yoga is not just about getting into the poses. It’s not a performance. The physical aspect is just a small part of the picture. Fitness is just a side effect of yoga. The training instilled the value of self-care. As a teacher, this is very important because students will look up to you. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

I’m hyperactive. I’ve appreciated the value of breathing and meditation. They say that what you hate the most is what you need the most. Post training requirements strengthened the roots of these new habits I’ve gotten from my training.

I’m not there yet. And it’s ok to be a work in progress.

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]]> http://www.yogadistrict.com/meet-peach-our-sister-teacher-training-grad-from-the-philippines/feed/ 1 Diversity and inclusion with Mary to honor Black History Month http://www.yogadistrict.com/diversity-and-inclusion-with-mary-to-honor-black-history-month/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/diversity-and-inclusion-with-mary-to-honor-black-history-month/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:02:14 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9284 I never dreamed of becoming a yoga instructor. That dream, if any, was further deterred by the lack of Black bodies and faces that I saw in the media and […]

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I never dreamed of becoming a yoga instructor. That dream, if any, was further deterred by the lack of Black bodies and faces that I saw in the media and in my yoga classes. Little did I know that yoga was to be my path to self-awareness and self-knowledge.

Yoga is the stream of consciousness that we always seek. The sacredness of yoga lies in diversity and the ability to think outside the box. It is my belief that yoga is a means to achieve social justice and health of our communities. My yoga practice began in 2009 with a Wii Fit balance board and has since then, transcended to a practice of mental and physical discipline and flexibility. The most important lesson that I learned in my early days of yoga is that the practice is for anyone – regardless of religion, body type and/or nationality and race. With time, came self discovery and the peeling away of society’s stipulations for how we should approach and treat our fellow humans.

Tenets of justice are inherent in the practice of yoga. When we look deeper, the notion of race is a baseless historical and cultural distinction between groups of people based on the color of one’s skin. Pre-conceived beliefs further fuel discrimination against groups, and most pronouncedly in the U.S., Black and Brown people. As a Black woman, I am often the only brown face in yoga class. In fact, I was somewhat hesitant about beginning my practice because first, I feared it to be a societal trend and second, rarely did I see a face like mine practicing asanas. Against all odds and with the spirit of encouragement, I decided to pursue yoga more deeply, teaching me to seek truth towards a path of enlightenment and justice.

Yoga calls for diversity and inclusion. My recent intensive yoga teacher training at Yoga District was one of the best experiences in my life and with a small, yet diverse group of 5 other students, I learned things over the course of 200 hours that I have adapted and continue to adapt in my everyday life. The Yoga Sutras teach us to drop the veil of subtle ignorance and self-doubt to discover one’s true self and nature. With this, yoga brings about a sense of peace and conviction within self to treat the next person as we would like to be genuinely treated. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Former President Barack Obama

United with you,

– Mary @mary2thegame

Practice with Mary in a special class to honor diversity, inclusion, and Black History month on February 25 at our Columbia Heights studio.

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Meet Ben! http://www.yogadistrict.com/meet-ben/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/meet-ben/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:34:54 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9273 Meet Ben, one of our beloved instructors, as he shares a little about his yoga journey, personal teaching insights, and philosophy. Get to know Ben.   What is your name […]

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Kat's Teacher Feature Pic

Meet Ben, one of our beloved instructors, as he shares a little about his yoga journey, personal teaching insights, and philosophy. Get to know Ben.

 

What is your name and what is your favorite style of class to teach, and why?
I identify with a hot and strong flow.

Describe your personal circumstances or experiences that made you want to share yoga.
I can’t differentiate one discrete experience but I do hope that joy of joining breath and motion is something I’m able to share.

What advice do you have to other sharing or seeking to share yoga with others?
I would offer: don’t take ones self too seriously, yoga is a joyful experience and I would hope that people learn to laugh and love the process.

Please describe a challenging moment that you have experienced teaching, how you faced that challenge, and what you learned from it.
Public speaking is part of teaching yoga and something I consistently find challenging. I constantly learn that making mistakes is ok, and that when I trip up in what I say, just to learn to laugh and keep going.

What pose or practice do you like to teach to help students feel empowered? To relieve stress? Please describe how you saw this practice work with an individual or group.
I think standing forward fold is the best pose to relieve stress, the process of releasing effort to allow gravity to open up the back and shoulders brings so many benefits.

Kat's Teacher Feature Pic

How has sharing yoga affected you?
I think that growing up and living in Washington DC the mentality is very Type A, very perfect, very flawless, and when I started yoga my personal practice had that as a goal, I was going to always have the perfect posture with the perfect breath and always matching with the perfect yoga tights. I think that teaching yoga threw me into the deep end really quickly and let me accept my own mistakes as just part of the process, and to really appreciate making them, appreciate laughing at myself, and appreciate creating space in my class for others to try new poses and if they fall over to have the space to laugh at themselves and try again.

Could you describe any best practices in sharing yoga that you apply regularly in your classes?
The precept of non-attachment. In DC generally we are too often our professions or our educations, and yoga is such a wonderful way to let all of those things slip away and let us truly enjoy breath and movement.

What is your favorite thing to do around town?
I will never stop being amazed at meeting the people that come to town to affect change. This ranges from meeting people socially, at protests, professionally, socially, that have this internal fire inside them to make the world a better place. I guess that’s my favorite thing to do around town.

What is your favorite thing about the DC yoga community?
Love. in one word. The amount of love I’ve received and been honored to have been able to give to others has been life changing.

If you had to describe your life in the form of a yoga pose, which pose would it be?
Tadasana or mountain pose, stable and strong but vulnerable and open all at the same time.

How long have you been in DC?
I am one of the rare few that has been born and raised in the DC area. I’m the fourth generation of my family that has lived in DC, my great grandmother came to DC after being released from the Japanese internment camps in World War II and my family has been here ever since.

Meet Ben in the yoga classroom

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]]> http://www.yogadistrict.com/meet-ben/feed/ 0 YD community volunteers at D.C. Central Kitchen: by Kelly http://www.yogadistrict.com/yd-community-volunteers-at-d-c-central-kitchen-by-kelly/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/yd-community-volunteers-at-d-c-central-kitchen-by-kelly/#respond Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:22:16 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9193 “By doing service, you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred, jealousy, idea of superiority vanish. Humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance, and mercy are developed. Sense of separateness is annihilated. Selfishness is […]

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“By doing service, you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred, jealousy, idea of superiority vanish. Humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance, and mercy are developed. Sense of separateness is annihilated. Selfishness is eradicated…You begin to feel oneness or unity of life. You develop a broad heart with broad, generous views. Eventually, you get Knowledge of the Self.” ― Swami Sivananda

Last month for the holiday season, Yoga District members were given the opportunity to volunteer with DC Central Kitchen for an evening meal prep shift. A large group of yogis participated! Hear from YD teacher, Kelly B., about the experience here (and keep an eye out for the next volunteer date under the “Workshops and Specials” section of the Yoga District website, or sign up with DCCK directly!).

As I sit down to write these words it is a new year, and December 23rd feels very far away. And yet, if I close my eyes and turn on some Herbie Hancock tunes, I’m transported back to D.C. Central Kitchen, chopping up bell peppers.

You like Jazz music?” chef William of DCCK asked as a group of us assumed our post in front of chopping boards, chef’s knives in hand, gloves on, aprons on, hair nets in place to tackle the vegetables before us. So, it was jazz music that set the rhythm for our evening of slicing and dicing.

That night, 14 of us from the Yoga District community gathered to volunteer for the evening meal prep. When we arrived, we watched a short training video, met with the wonderful, warm and hilarious staff there and suited up for our various tasks. Our 3-hour shift including lots of chopping—carrots, peppers, green beans—and lemon zesting, too.

Admittedly, I struggle to find the meditation in cooking at home. I am constantly trying to multi-task and perpetually burning pans, taking short-cuts, becoming distracted. But at DCCK, it was nice to find myself so intently focused on a single task. The repetition and the focus was therapeutic. Not to mention the sense of tiny accomplishment—but accomplishment nonetheless!—as you gaze finally at a mountain of chopped vegetables.

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Because the food is all donated, it’s not always pristine—there are spots and such to cut around. But I was surprised to see just how much we got out of it and then of course delighted at the sheer volume of food waste that was prevented and ultimately turned into delicious, healthy, fresh meals for the individuals that DCCK serves – 5,000 people a day, in fact. Because that’s of utmost importance to DCCK’s operation: they believe that all people deserve healthy, dignified food, but they also believe in training people for jobs that will give them economic opportunity. Their mission is to use food to “strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.” Sounds a lot like why we practice yoga, too, right?

This was my first time at DCCK, and I’ve already signed up for a shift/month for the next few months. The community that they’ve built is admirable and the work they do is so important, I can’t recommend their volunteer program enough. If you have the time, please check out their calendar to sign up online (keep in mind that shifts fill up quickly!), or keep an eye out at Yoga District for future outings that we organize. It is an amazing way to serve and honor the wonderful D.C. community that we live in.

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What I Learned Teaching Community Yoga Classes http://www.yogadistrict.com/what-i-learned-teaching-community-yoga-classes/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/what-i-learned-teaching-community-yoga-classes/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:05:47 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9133 By Anonymous More months had past since the end of the classroom portion of Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) than I had originally planned. As with most other tasks, the YTT […]

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screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-1-13-14-pmBy Anonymous

More months had past since the end of the classroom portion of Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) than I had originally planned. As with most other tasks, the YTT requirements were taking longer than I anticipated and delays between the tasks had eaten up time as well.

I had tried scheduling my own class in a park near home and posted it to yoga group on Facebook. Of course I chose a place close to me at the time most convenient to me. Not enough people were interested though. I rather envied some of my classmates who seemingly had endless amounts of friends who always wanted to take Yoga classes. So I would take a deep breath and remind myself they had to deal with other issues that I probably could never guess.

My second plan was to teach on my vacation when I would visit my parents. I asked my Mom who also practices Yoga for potential places to teach community classes. She asked some people and came up with several potential places.

My first class was in a studio that had volunteer staff and asked only for donations from the students. The studio was downtown where parking could be difficult, but also was over a Health Food Store giving good convenience for self care and also good energy.

Practicing my Yoga at Yoga District, it always takes some mental adjustment for Yoga classes in my parents community. They live in a place popular with retirees. So in my preclass greetings I made sure to go around and ask about issues. Some of the students told me some of the issues they had. I mostly had to stick with my response “not to push it or do anything that makes you feel too uncomfortable.” I wasn’t going to provide any hands on assistance and I was hoping they would understand their own limits.

Standing in front of a class with students you don’t know is probably intimidating for most first time teachers. I certainly felt the pressure. I started with some breathing exercises. This probably helped me relax at least as much as it helped them. I brought my guitar and went through the Chakra clearing exercise accompanying the C Scale. I had a moment of self-consciousness, wondering if they’d think I was too “hippy-dippy” for performing this exercise. Still, I was in a rather progressive area in a Yoga Studio, so it couldn’t be too far out.

I started the asanas with a Table series then moved into one of my more preferred series for Level I Yoga, Integrated Moon Series. About 15 minutes into the class a Yogini rolled up her mat and started to leave. I inquired if there was a problem. She said she wanted more of a “Flow Class”. I had become somewhat more comfortable by that time in the class. At this point a student was now rejecting my teaching style. Fortunately I’ve had several experiences in Leadership and Group Organization. I have come to learn from those experiences that pleasing everyone was not only improbable, but rather something of an impossibility. So someone not liking what I was doing somehow was more normal than not. I had survived the rejection. It was not a big deal, and I became calmer after that.

As class went on, I would check in with some of my students when they weren’t getting into the final asana. They would affirm or tell me perhaps something new about their health issues. I had to let go and let them perform their own practice.

I got to the end of the class without any other major incident. While talking with some of the class in the post-class time, I received a comment that I did hold the asanas a ‘long time’. Though this same Yogini said another instructor had held the poses too short a time to experience them.

For the second class I taught at a Community Center with the Senior services wing. There was one student who was a staffer and probably in her 30s. The others were Seniors. One or two had some experience in Yoga. The last one had little experience which was years ago.

With this class I really needed to keep the asanas within their range. As such we kept it almost exclusively on the mat. We started with gentle neck stretching, then side stretching, forward stretching, table and locust, Dhanurasana , Ustanasana, and Bridging. I tried conditionalizing may of the asanas with “if you are able to”, “if this works for you”, or “if you can do this without straining yourself”. Dhanurasana was challenging to one, but instead of it hurting, she ended up laughing which brought some levity to the class.

Our class room had a couple of doors and several people were coming in for lunch that day. This made for several distractions, but it was manageable. I was prepared to do a few more asanas, but with the impending lunch, I had to cut class a few minutes short.

My third class proved the most challenging and also to be a study in patience in chaos. I signed up to teach an after-school program for kids. The staff had gym mats lined up in the second story room. I could hear the children coming long before I could see them. I wondered how this was even going to work as they numbered over 30. Surprisingly, about a third raised their hands when I asked how many of them had taken Yoga before.

I would talk about the pose while demonstrating. I would give a few adjustments while teaching, but the student to teacher ratio was too large for me to give much personal attention. Their ages were about 5 to 12 giving a wide distribution in growth and maturity. While most did try to do the asana, several gave up and laid down. A group or two would have some sort of talking circle and may do some of the asanas at their whim. If the noise level rose, I would have to talk louder over them. I started to shorten my explanations and move on to the next asana as quickly as possible.

Hopefully a provided a somewhat meaningful or at least entertaining portion of their afternoon. I doubt I’ll never know if I planted the seed for future Yogis and Yoginis.

I wasn’t able to schedule all my classes while I was visiting my parents. So, when I returned a classmate suggested teaching at Libraries organized by With Love DC. I signed up for a couple of teaching slots.

My fourth class had a few students in it. One was a Senior and hadn’t practiced since her grandchildren had moved out a few years ago. She spent only a few minutes practicing before deciding that she didn’t want to continue. I asked if she had access to the web so she could try self practice before trying to come to another class. She said she had DVDs with Yoga classes and she was not the ‘giving up’ kind. Hopefully, she will continue her practice.

The rest of the class went well. I returned to the Integrated Moon Series. The small size allowed for lots of time for me to observe the individual students. I was able to give a good amount of personalized adjustments. The feedback was positive.

I taught the fifth class in the same library a week later. The student body was different and the finicky Metro trains made me late. I was a bit disappointed that none of the previous class came back, but this allowed me to teach the same routine without boring anyone. With the same surroundings and the same routine, I was able to feel the most comfortable teaching. While leading the second Dhanarasana I demoed, and the students followed in rolling a little for and aft and then rocking left to right. This produced one of my favorite reactions: smiles and laughter. The students gave positive feedback.

In the end of my first five Community Class teaching, I would say I still have a tinge of envy for those who could teach their friends for all their Community classes. As often happens in life, the more challenging events teach us more and allow for more growth than a more comfortable path. I had to learn to adapt to different ages and abilities. I also had to adopt to new classrooms and distractions. In the end, trying to make the class work for the majority of the Yogis is the best a teacher could do.

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By Andrew: I will build bridges, ladders, passages http://www.yogadistrict.com/9109-2/ http://www.yogadistrict.com/9109-2/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 15:36:01 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9109 Andrew, one of our beloved teachers, shares his reflections following the outcome of the presidential election. So I believe part of my job as a yoga teacher as in life […]

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for-yd

Andrew, one of our beloved teachers, shares his reflections following the outcome of the presidential election.

So I believe part of my job as a yoga teacher as in life is to not avoid issues that may present themselves, to try and share a truth of myself and that of the students. In hope of demonstrating our shared existence and to celebrate each individual’s light.

I hope to both challenge and enrich, physically and emotionally. In being open with my own struggles, my joys and my aspirations; I try to demonstrate that our paths are often no different, the path of life generally has no right way.

The intention if followed by the action to do no harm is the only way, everything is possible and brighter when we avoid harm physically and emotionally.

I often feel so very blessed with kindness from others that my glass overflows with gratitude.

My job as a yoga teacher, as a person, is to pass on what little I think I know. My hope is to pass on the many instances of kindness and further enrich our shared tapestry, so we may all have glasses that overflow.

Do not be discouraged by the hurt of another, be buoyed to recognize it as an opportunity to share your love and understanding. Be a warrior, bring truth, there is no truer truth than love. Be love, you are unbreakable if you are love.

I love you and if it makes you feel better then go ahead build a wall if you must but know this, it is a cage for you. I will build bridges, ladders, passages, i will stand with those you think to lock out.

My geographical accident of birth did not make me more special but more actively responsible to reach out and share, to espouse my freedoms so we may all be free.

I can only be free when we are all free.

So I love you and hope to fully be of service in helping you break free from your hatred. Make no mistake it may hurt a little, nobody said it was going to be easy, doing no harm is sometimes fraught with struggle.

We rise to the same sun, it will be as such till we are no more. I’ll ask you to come sit next to me and will share my bread, this tree has fruit and shade enough for all of us.

I will watch out for you even when you least want me to, it is my way, be love.

Big love

Andrew Howard Bsc (Hons) Ost

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