OWY Blog

  • Welcome to The Fall Schedule!

    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.

    Shifting Personel

    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! 

  • Monday Meditation

    Monday Meditation

    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!

  • This Fall at OWY!

    I’m very excited about the new fall schedule. We’ve added some excellent new teachers and a few new classes.

    Some highlights:  

    • 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.

    1. Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda
    2. Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar
    3. Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, David Coulter
    4. Teaching Yoga, Mark Stephens
    5. 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!

  • Teacher Training 2015/2016!

    Teacher Training 2015/2016!

    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!

  • Summer School! (for Fall Teacher Training)

    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:
    June 10
    June 24
    July 8
    July 22  

    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.

  • Guest Post: Jen Divis on Real Yoga

    Real Yoga

    Hip-hop artists debate the realness of their art.  What constitutes real hip hop?  There is something in the essence of this debate that I appreciate; a continual questioning of what makes the art authentic, true.  So I borrow the framework of this questioning when I think about the proliferation of hatha yoga – asana practice - in the western world today.  What is real yoga?  

    The teachings from the yogic mothers and fathers of the sub-continent - spiritual practitioners, innovators, and cosmic luminaries – illuminates for us the true core of yoga and its path is to practice with the intent of experiencing deep infinite stillness, consciousness.  Sharon Gannon captures this perfectly with her statement, “You cannot do yoga.  Yoga is your natural state.” 

    The Yoga Sutras, in which Swami Patanjali codified the teachings, science and practice of yoga is estimated to have been written in the second century CE.  This Classical era text provides 196 threads of yoga wisdom from practices which historians estimate to have been taking place as early as 3000 BCE.  As early as 3000 BCE!  In the first few sutras, Patanjali defines yoga as the cessation of the fluctuation of the mind in which the Seer abides in his natural state (Sutra 1.2 yogas citta vrtti nirodhah, Sutra1.3 tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam).  Paramahansa Yogananda’s beautiful prose inAutobiography of a Yogi echoes the same, “Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevent all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of spirit.”

    Yoga, in western mind, is widely synonymous with asana practice; a series of physical postures or poses.  Asana or Hatha yoga practice aims to liberate the bodymind through physical transformation, asana and pranayama practice to achieve deep stillness.  The Yoga Sutras’ single reference to asana,commonly translates to asana is a stable, firm and comfortable position (Sutra2.46 sthira sukham asanam).  The etymological root of asana guides us to the essence of the practice; ‘as’ means ‘to stay’.  Yogi masters know, practice and impart this.  Iyengar and Ashtanga lineages hold poses for a minimum of five breaths.  Hridaya, yin, and restorative yoga hold poses in excess of five minutes on the short side. Sri Dharma Mittra continually reminds his students to remain steady and feel comfortable in an asana.  He cautions that an obstacle to progression is not staying in a pose long enough and instructs us to perform the pose according to our own physical condition.  (You are likely going beyond your condition if you lose stability, firmness and comfort!) 

    Stillness of body, stillness of mind.  Real yoga.

    To me, the diversity of asana practices today is a beautiful unfolding of the yogic way.  Each lineage and practice, when infused in the spirit of these ancient sutras, offers the bodymind an opportunity to transform and move toward stillness.  And, the diversity makes yoga accessible, it lets us gravitate to what we like, what resonates. 

    How does your yoga asana practice bring you toward stillness?  

    Bio:
    Jen Divis is a traveller.  An archer by nature, she is happiest when exploring the beauty of the world -- its cultures, peoples, nature and of course, yoga traditions and practices.  Her inner swimmer has a healthy respect for the technical and alignment focus of the Iyengar lineage and her whole being loves any practice that works to create inner peace.  She is RYT-200 certified from Yoga District studio of Washington DC.