The article mentions yoga classes held on the National Mall, and the DC Global Mala Project.
The other “Fantastically Yoga Friendly Towns” are Asheville, NC; Austin, TX; Boulder, CO; Encinitas, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City; New Orleans; and Woodstock, NY.
It's so great to see DC mentioned among all these “hippie” cities! It's a welcome observation, as most of the country likely views DC as a buttoned up, serious town. However, once you move beyond the tourist spots on the National Mall downtown – yoga studios abound; especially in Woodley Park, Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle yoga mat toting locals are plentiful.
Before beginning my yoga 200-hour teacher training program, I talked with several of my yoga teacher friends about their own training experiences and they all had the same message – be prepared for a transformation. I was almost certain my training, in some way, would be a life changing experience, but exactly how, I was not sure. I tried to release any expectations, although this was easier said than done. Knowing and believing full-heartedly that it is not supposed to be about who can do which yoga poses, I secretly hoped that upon graduation I would enjoy deeply meditating in Padmasana (Full Lotus Pose), and then maybe from there, transition into some crazy arm balance. In a nut shell, I hoped that I would have: 1. stronger arms, 2. more flexible hips, and 3. the ability to focus and meditate.
1. Strong Arms: Well, as life would have it, I had an accident and injured both hands and wrists two days before training started, so arm balances were definitely out of the question for at least two months. This was a very humbling experience and a struggle to respect my body during its healing process by keeping pressure off my hands and wrists, thus practicing the yama, Ahimsa, meaning non-harming. It was also a good lesson in finding acceptance—observing the niyama, Santosa, meaning contentment. This honestly was harder than lifting weights at the gym, but it definitely made me “stronger”!
2. Flexible Hips: After daily asana practices and plenty of hip-openers, my hip joints have become somewhat more flexible, but still not even close to Padmasana-flexible. However, during the anatomy portion of the training, I did learn that there are a number of factors that influence the range of motion of a joint (beyond muscle tightness), such as bone structure—something I never even considered. Therefore, no matter how long I hang out in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), those knees might never touch the floor… but one of the best lessons I learned during training was that it really doesn’t matter! So, is it possible to teach yoga poses without having mastered them myself? …Or without even having the physical ability to do them? – Yes, absolutely!
3. Focused Mind: As for my difficulty in sitting still and meditating on my own… yeah, I am still working on that one. Through, like my hip flexibility, it strangely may also be linked to my bone structure in a roundabout way. Studying Ayurveda and learning about doshas, the three subtle energies, I have become aware of my abundance of Vata energy, which is often the case in people who have narrow bones structures. People with more Vata in their constitutions also tend to be quick and lively in thought, speech and action, and make friends easily. I accept that it is the tendency of my nature to be all over the place, but through the lessons of teacher training I learned how to cope with dosha imbalances with certain changes in diet, lifestyle, and of course yoga.
So in conclusion— Did I transform? Yes, no doubt. Did I transform in the way I expected? Absolutely not, but that’s what made it so beautiful.
I am a neurotic type A personality, a Pitta-Vata dosha. What’s your dosha? I like to set a goal and accomplish it within the timeframe I’ve established for myself. I try to apply that discipline to every aspect of my personal and professional life. And when I take up a hobby, I don’t kid around.
So when I started practicing yoga, my mind was firmly fixed on mastery: mastering the poses, the breath, the quiet mind.
Buy yoga is not a skill to be mastered; rather, it’s a journey to be experienced and it’s never over. Ever. Every time I think I’ve “mastered a pose,” I learn that there’s always somewhere deeper to go, both in the body and the mind.
Think you’ve mastered crow? Try moving into tripod headstand or hopping back to chatturanga. Or engage the bandhas and move into firefly. Or stay put, close the eyes, and meditate on a single point of concentration, dedicating every breath to your beloved.
In yoga, practice doesn’t make perfect. It makes more practice. You might find that the practice itself is a perfect gift.
The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
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The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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