Meet Xandra, one of our teachers at Yoga District! Learn how yoga has helped her overcome culture shock and how online yoga allows her to stay connected with her community.
Check out Xandra’s current class offerings below and sign up here!
Wednesday, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Meditation for People with Vaccinations @ H Street Studio (500 H St NE)
Friday, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Core Flow Yoga (All Levels) @ Stanton Park (226 4th St NE)
Finding Centeredness through Yoga
I first started going to yoga with my mom in high school. It was just a way to counteract the effects of too much running plus not enough stretching from playing competitive sports. I couldn’t get more than halfway down a forward fold and I was just 15 years old!
It wasn’t until after college that I really came to love yoga for more than stretching. I moved abroad as a teacher to a small, rural town where I stuck out like a sore thumb and didn’t speak the language. I was lonely, stressed, and homesick. With yoga, I became calm and centered, which in turn eased my culture shock and helped me find my place.
Top Three Lessons Yoga Has Taught Me
Respecting Limits: Yoga has taught me (and continues to remind me) to respect my body’s limits. My mind wants to be a “cool” yogi and do all the deep hip openers and intense inversions, but my body constantly reminds my ego to calm down. We may get there one day, we may not, and both outcomes are equally fine.
Finding Balance: In the same vein, yoga has taught me that my practice may not look the same day-to-day. Some days I just need legs up the wall and savasana (1 and 2). Yoga taught me to expand my limits by balancing effort and rest.
The Importance of Mindfulness: Breathing and mindfulness are everything (3). While asanas are hard, sitting with my thoughts and just breathing is even harder. I was not a meditator until recently and yoga led me to meditation. Meditation has been immensely helpful to me during the pandemic lockdowns. It helps me stay in control of my anxieties and fears. On days, where my mind is racing and I feel like I’m “failing” at meditation then the simple act of sitting and breathing makes me feel infinitely better. Even the most imperfect meditation practice is better than nothing at all!
Staying Connected with Online Yoga Classes
With virtual yoga, I love that I don’t have to go to a particular studio to take a class with a particular teacher. The travel barrier is completely removed, which is super cool! I have connected with old teachers of mine across the country and it’s been incredibly rewarding to see how their teaching has changed, how my practice has evolved, and how I relate differently to their offerings now that I am a teacher as well!
My favorite style of class to teach online is restorative yoga and meditation because there’s so much stress in all our lives that it feels extra important to offer rest. When practicing at home, without access to yoga studio equipment, students have become quite resourceful with their props. I love seeing the creative things people use instead of bolsters (4). Students can expect smiles, meditation, and always a bit of core in my classes!
My favorite part about teaching online is seeing everyone’s pets! Pets are excellent yogis and are encouraged to make appearances in all my classes.
To stay motivated with online classes, I would encourage students to get to know their teacher. Stay behind to ask questions or come early to say hi. It’s much harder to skip a class if you know your friend is waiting for you and is ready to encourage your practice.
Viparuta Karani (Legs up the Wall pose), https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/beginners/legs-up-the-wall-pose/
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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