Mallory has been an important fixture at OWY since the beginning. She writes about her inspiring journey below. Thank you Mallory for your vulnerability and willingness to always look deeper and grow more. You are an inspiration to our yoga community. -Shannon
Yoga came in to my life when I needed it the most. I was studying Fine Art at the University of Cincinnati, suffering with debilitating anxiety and depression which stemmed from consuming self-judgment and negative thinking patterns. My self-esteem was crumbling along with my grades and my relationships. I was cold and disconnected from everything and everyone. I isolated myself and became dependent upon others approval for my self worth. At the same time I was completely overwhelmed as waves of repressed emotion and grief started to break to the surface.I lost my older sister Michelle in a car accident at a young age and wasn’t able to process my experience at the time. I found myself suppressing my emotions to appease others. I distracted myself so I didn’t have to feel. Afraid of ever facing that pain again I closed my heart off to deep connection. I grew cold, distant and repressed. I lost touch with myself. At that time I was making unconscious choices, medicating myself with shopping, binge eating, alcohol and marijuana to numb the pain. When I surpassed my older sister in age, the emotion I’d repressed erupted. I hit rock bottom and reached out to my mother, family and friends for help. I started therapy sessions and opted to take yoga classes, focus on lifestyle changes and incorporate alternative therapies into my life rather than take conventional medication.I was 20 years old and terrified to attend yoga classes at my college campus. My body was toxic and at its heaviest. A direct reflection of the feelings I held inside. My anxious mind raced giving me every single excuse and reason not to go. It took literally everything in me to drag myself out of bed and walk alone to the rec center in the winter cold and get to class. I was afraid, but I longed for a change, so I did it anyway. I knew I was lost and I was committed to finding myself again. In the class I was incredibly uncomfortable in my body, but I found out quick that I was even more uncomfortable in my mind, in who I was and who I was becoming. I was observing my mental state, jumpy, reactive and filled with incessant degrading self talk, judgment and comparison. At the end of class we laid in stillness, in presence. The thoughts slowed and I was able to connect with my true self. I realized then how powerful this physical practice was and became invested in going deeper.It took me 2 years of trying to create a consistent practice and failing over and over before it really started to feel like an essential part of my life. The benefits were noticeable and significant regardless of my inconsistency. I loved yoga, but often found myself resistant to putting in the effort. I reality I was scared of sitting with myself and really processing the heavy emotions that would surface. I was terrified of the darkest parts of me, but even more so intimidated by the infinite potential I was starting to realize was within me.I am a student of Yoga and the past 7 years of practice have led me on an incredible journey of physical and emotional healing, self awareness and inner growth. Through Yoga I found relief from the mental state that was drowning me. I have and continue to create a healthier lifestyle for myself and those around me. I have learned how to accept and process the heavy emotions, anxieties and fears that had accumulated within me and have realized I have only just skimmed the surface of who I am and who I’m meant to be. I’ve peeled back layers and walls that were built up over the years to protect me. I’m learning daily how to open my heart up and live from a space of love, compassion and truth. By doing so I hope to inspire others and spread this heightened awareness like wildfire. I am a 200HR RYT through Yoga Alliance. I attended the yoga teacher training immersion at Open Way Yoga with Brian and Shannon in 2014. I have been fortunate enough to continue to teach for the studio ever since! Huron is my hometown! I am so honored and grateful to to be able to offer Yoga to our community and to assist in the healing, growth, and expansion of the amazing people in this area! I am a very versatile teacher with the capability of leading all levels of students. These last few years of teaching and I have gained experience instructing everything from restorative to prenatal, kids yoga, yoga flow, body sculpting and hot yoga classes. My classes tend to focus on specific areas of the physical body and often reference correlating energy centers of the subtle body. We work towards gaining control of the inner fluctuations through breath control and movement. Truly finding stillness within the chaos. Encouraging personal growth both on and off the mat through developing strength, flexibility, balance and control. I merge structured postures, with specific vocal cues and combine them with feminine delicate movements as we flow from one posture to the next. I break down challenging positions to make them more digestible, creating a foundation to build upon to advance practice. I will push you to you to the edge of your comfort zone and help your realize you are capable of more!
Yoga Basics with Valerie, 4:30-5:45pm Tuesdays
Valerie finished our teacher training in February of 2016. If you come to class, you've seen Valerie, she spends a lot of time practicing at the studio. She has a very thorough and thoughtful practice which comes through in her teaching. We’ve had requests from school teachers for a class at this time, so spread the word.
Fixed Flow with Brian and Mallory, 6-7:15pm Thursdays Mallory and Brian will pair up to teach a class that will begin with the same consistent vinyasa flow every week. The second half of the class will vary according to each teacher’s flavor but will draw from a loose set of predetermined poses. We're big fans of this type of structured repetition. Practicing this way allows the body to sink quickly and deeply into the poses and it offers a way to track our progress as we do the same poses week after week. It also supports a more meditative atmosphere and gives more freedom for the teacher to pay attention to students.
Yoga Flow with Brian, 9-10:15am Wednesdays
This is our general All Levels class. Options will be given for both advanced and beginning students.
Open Practice with Shannon and/or Brian, 10:30-12pm
This was formerly named Study Hall which created some confusion about what we do during this time. Not so onerous as high school study hall, this is really an open practice time, so we've renamed it: Open Practice. Come practice yoga in your own individual way. What do you want or need to work on? Do it here. Be inspired by others, ask questions, seek guidance. Sometimes a small group ends up taking turns working on a pose such as forearm balance, giving each other support and encouragement. You may need to get out of your house and away from distractions to work on your practice or use the time to ask for more depth about poses or ideas that we can't cover in general classes. Meditation, pranayama, philosophy? Sure, it can all happen here.
Community Class, 12-1pm Sundays
The teachers for this class will come from the current pool in our teacher training program. The class is free and generally has a somewhat informal vibe, so it can be a good place to bring someone who is newly interested in yoga.
The rest of the classes you know and love from the fall schedule are unchanged. See you at the studio!
-Brian and Shannon
I'm very excited about the studio class schedule and the number of interesting workshops lined up between now and the first of the year. Most of the changes to the schedule are shiftings of teachers to different time slots. Follow your teacher if you can, and also check out the new teacher in your favorite slot. There's something to be learned from every teacher on the schedule!
New This Fall
Sunday Meditation 6-7pm: These will be lead by our visiting yogi, Jen Divis. She will lead the sessions in the style of Dharma Yoga, the institution where she is finishing her 500 hour RYT program.
Sunrise Yoga, Wednesdays 7-8:15am: This class isn't brand new. Mary taught this time slot for the summer and has graciously agreed to continue on through the fall. We're thrilled to have her teaching this All Levels class.
The weekday 9:00 am slot is where the shifts occurr.
Mallory will be teaching Body Sculpt on Tuesday mornings and Shannon will teach Body Sculpt in the Thursday 9:00am slot. This duo presents a lovely twice a week practice opportunity for those of you interested in this style. One of things they both have in common is that the classes are both Good Solid Yoga, as I like to say. None of their yoga expertise is lost with the Sculpt emphasis.
Jen Divis will be bringing us Dharma III Flow all the way from NYC! Wednesday morings at 9am.
Sherrena will be teaching the Friday 9:00am Yoga Flow class. This will be a general All Levels class, infused with Sherrena's welcoming warmth and well planned flows.
My 9:00 am Monday class, Yoga Basics will stay as is. I'm really enjoying teaching this class, slowing WAY down. Many of our more seasoned practitioners have been attending. They tell me that they get a lot out of it, tweaking their alignment in some basic poses.
Shannon and I are in our Saturday and Sunday 9:00am spots as usual. It's a nice week of classes at that 9:00 am slot.
All the times and teachers in the evenings are the same. Jen Divis will teach a Dharma III Flow class Thursdays at 6:00pm. I'll write more about Jen and what she'll be teaching in a later post.
Stay tuned for info on our great selection of fall workshops!
Yoga Immersion and Teacher Training:
This year's group is shaping up and we still have a limited number of slots open for this fall's training. If you've been considering it, it's time to commit!
Meditation is often the last thing I get to in my practice and as such it often gets left off, so on Mondays I put meditation on the top of my practice list.
I have a few different meditation practices that I do. One is to simply sit still for 20 minutes, no moving. If you have tried this yourself you know it's not as easy as it sounds. As soon as the timer starts, I get an itch on my nose or I remember the laundry needs put in the dryer or that I need to send a text. Sometimes I don't get through the 20 minutes in one sitting, but that's ok. I allow myself to accumulate time in smaller chunks when needed, 5 or 10 minutes at a time. There are things about not moving that are advantageous to a meditation practice. One is that it puts space between desire and action. "My nose itches...I want to scratch it....no, I'm not moving...ok....sit with it....feel the itch…don’t react to it, just experience it…breath into it" Often, it goes away.
This space between desrie and action can be useful in our lives. Think of the times you may be upset and feel like sending an angry text. Give the feeling some space. Allow yourself to experience it. Don't repress it. Don't act on it. Simply feel it. Sometimes it softens. When I can manage to let myself have this space, I never send those texts and am always glad I didn't.
Another example I like to use is with hunger. A natural desire for sure, but our conditioning gets in the way. Hunger arises and if we act habitually we can end up making choices that aren't so good. (I head for donuts!) Putting a little space between the desire to eat and the action can give us the opportunity to make better choices. Pause, experience the hunger, get in touch with what the body really wants, then act. Here's another way of putting it: act rather than react.
Sometimes I soften the practice and allow some movement to occur, but I'm deliberate about it. For instance I may make small subtle motions rocking my pelvis back and forth. It feels good in the spine and helps me find a good seat. And it's not like anyone is watching or keeping score. If you need to move, then move, but do so consciously and deliberately, with intention. "I'm going to scracth my nose now. I'm moving my right hand up to my face..." Think of minimizing movent.
Give sitting still a try and see how nicely it affects the rest of your day. Choose a nice quiet place with no distractions and find a way to sit as comfortably as you can. Sitting on a bench or low table can be really comfortable. Settle into stillness and set your intention not to move. Try to find the stillness from deep within your body and let it radiate outward rather than imposing it from the outside. Meditation can be extremely challenging. It doesn't always feel good when you're doing it, although sometimes it does. The benefits accumulate and can show up after practice, later in the day. 5 minutes a good length of time to start a practice. If it feels good, you can always do another 5!
I’m very excited about the new fall schedule. We’ve added some excellent new teachers and a few new classes.
- Sunday mornings OWY teacher Keelie will be leading a Meditation Class. Keelie has been meditating for many years and has very calm and grounded presence. We're excited to be adding dedicated meditation time to the schedule.
- Heather is teaching Monday mornings at 9am. Heather has been subbing for us this summer so you may have seen her already. She completed her yoga teacher training in India last year and comes to the studio with a strong foundation in Astanga yoga. Although she’s not teaching a strictly Astanga class, her training in this practice comes through loud and clear with an emphasis on alignment and breath. I’ve been to a few of her classes and they are fresh and fabulous.
- Tricia and Karyl are also new additions this season. Both completed OWY's teacher training program and we’re thrilled that they will be teaching at the studio. When you go to their classes you will notice that they bring some familiar OWY elements to their teaching, but they also each bring individual styles as well. Tricia teaches Monday evenings at 5pm and Karyl teaches Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm.
- My Mother (Bev) is teaching a class called Senior Stretch. We’ve been developing this class over the past year with our Tai Chi students. In addition to stretching, the class contains exercises for balance, joint health, breath work and strengthening. The class meets Tuesdays at 10:30am. Regardless of name, this class would be a benefit to all practitioners no matter the age. If you are looking for a good gentle stretch, give it a try!
Teacher Training starts the weekend of September 26th. For those of you enrolled, be sure to have your books by then. We have copies of them for sale in the studio.
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda
- Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar
- Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, David Coulter
- Teaching Yoga, Mark Stephens
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Swami Satchinanada
During the first weekend we’ll be looking at Sutra 35 in Book One, so if you would like a bit of a preview into the things we’ll be exploring you can have a look.
Finally, we're adding kids yoga this fall. Liz Kelley (another new OWY teacher) will be leading story based yoga on Tuesday mornings for ages 3-5 and Thursday evenings for ages 6-8. Here's the flier for the full story!
Program Fee: $2000.
- $300 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration.
- Early registration discount of $200 ($1800 program total). For early registration discount, register by Sept 1 for the fall session, by December 10, 2015 for the winter session.
- All classes and workshops are free from the date the program is paid-in-full through the end of the Group Training Sessions.
Pay in full now and start coming to classes for free!
Accumulate some hours toward Fall Teacher Training (beginning the weekend of Sept. 26) by attending our TT Summer School sessions. Register now for the Fall Teacher Training and you can attend one or more of the following summber sessions:
Noon to 3 PM on:
The focus of these sessions will be teaching practice and correct exeution of standard yoga asana.
Register early! Register now because all classes and workshops are free from the date the program is paid-in-full through the end of the Group Training Sessions.
Visit our Teacher Training Page for more information about our program.