Meet Jen, one of our teachers at Yoga District. Find out how her practice as a yogi and teacher empowers her students and her life. She offers a specific yoga pose that is very grounding during these challenging times.
“It’s a reminder to me that sometimes strength is subtle, and just standing in your own being is so powerful.’”
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I had a bike accident last summer and have been healing from a concussion for eight months. Since then, I have made changes in many areas of my life, including my yoga practice and teaching. Before the accident, I was focusing on nailing a handstand and taught the full Ashtanga primary series in a very rigorous class. Now, I am taking a step back from both of those pursuits. It has been humbling to accept my body’s new limitations.
Since I have to rest a lot, I’ve learned to find beauty in stillness more than ever before. Relaxing sounds help my brain heal. I wanted to share that healing experience with students, so I usually teach a class on Sunday mornings at Glover that includes a sound bath. During this class, I play a singing bowl, chimes, and incorporate chanting! This was a big step out of my comfort zone and felt like a beautiful manifestation of unexpected growth in my practice. The experience taught me to trust the journey so life and my yoga practice could unfold.
Life as a Yoga Pose
I would be Kakasana, or crow pose (1). I’ve read it symbolizes transcending our perceived limitations to fly. Especially in honor of Womxn’s History Month, I am celebrating my strength and capabilities, and this pose represents those things.
Empowerment Through Poses
I love to empower students by teaching the alignment of Tadasana (mountain pose) (2). It is wonderful to notice the strength in the stillness of this posture. It’s a reminder that sometimes strength is subtle, and just standing in your own being is so powerful. I’ve also read that Tadasana is the pose that brings us to Samasthiti, which is the stillness (3). Until I started teaching this more, I didn’t completely understand this. I’ve noticed that it’s easier for students to find alignment in other poses after standing in Tadasana. Hopefully it’s a pose students revisit in their daily lives to feel grounded and strong.
Especially with life feeling so different now with the COVID-19 pandemic (4), moments like those spent in Samasthiti are especially important since we’re adjusting to physical distancing (5). The serene moments I spend in this pose ground me when things feel so out of control.
Inspirational Yoga Moments
They are remodeling the space beneath our community’s Glover location. Construction — loud drilling and all — has happened during my class a few times. My students and I framed it as a meditation challenge to not let external factors disturb us. I thought this was a really hard task, but students said they enjoyed the classes despite the noise and actually found peace.
I’m grateful to them for their patience and understanding, and I found it to be deeply inspiring. What students bring to the space is so important and shapes the experience. I am just one part of a yoga class.
Welcoming New Yogis
I was at a store in the city recently and saw “Yoga Needs” listed on an aisle directory sign. I remember thinking that many of the items weren’t truly essential to yoga.
When inviting someone brand new to yoga, I’d tell them that yoga is more than merchandise. You don’t need a lot of stuff to do it, and you don’t need to spend a lot on what you do buy. In fact, I still teach using a $20 mat I bought in high school! I’d also point them to the type of class that fits their interests and let them go from there on an individual path.
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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