Yoga is everywhere on Martha’s Vineyard, but which one’s for you?

By Elissa Lash

Yoga — it seems like everyone’s doing it. But what is it, and why should you jump on the yoga bandwagon?

Simplistically defined, yoga is an ancient science utilizing the physical, mental, and spiritual energies in a series of exercises to free the body and mind of discomfort and disease, enabling the student to sit for meditation.

Yoga, which literally means, “to yoke” or unite, originated in India in the 2nd century B.C. Modern yoga students come to class for a variety of reasons ranging from strengthening and toning the body, to increasing flexibility, to stress relief. These benefits are all available from even a semi-regular practice, but many practitioners find that yoga classes offer them much deeper rewards.

Maybe you’ve tried one class and didn’t love it, but your friend, doctor, or significant other is pushing you to give it another chance. Or you’ve never tried yoga and you’re curious, but intimidated because you can’t touch your toes, or you don’t have the right clothes or a mat. Maybe you have a specific need or condition you’d like to address using yoga but don’t know which class would be best.

Don’t fret. There is a yoga class and teacher out there for you. Martha’s Vineyard has an impressive array of yoga types, teachers, classes, and spaces, and our small island is a wonderful place to begin or broaden a yoga practice. There’s even a website listing every yoga class available on the Island ( This easy-to-use site lists the teacher, type, and location of all Vineyard yoga classes and provides maps to the various studios and gyms — as well as giving regular updates on class cancellations and changes.

Most yoga studios and gyms have communal mats available and a basic assortment of props to assist with some of the postures. Yoga teachers have been trained in yoga asana (physical poses) and pranayama (breathing), as well as meditation, anatomy, and physiology, so they can help you through your first classes. Many Island teachers have done advanced trainings that allows them to assist even students with limited flexibility or injuries to explore and benefit from a yoga practice.

Let’s look at some popular types of yoga and figure out which class might be right for you:

Anusara Yoga, a relatively new form of yoga created by teacher John Friend in the 1990s, has a strong focus on physical alignment. Classes are heart-opening and community-focused. Postures can be challenging, but props are encouraged and teachers explain and demonstrate the postures. A confident beginner could take these classes.

Ashtanga, which means eight limbs in Sanskrit, is a system of yoga created by master teacher Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Breath is synchronized with a progressive, continuous series of postures creating an athletic yoga practice. Ashtanga is a good fit for those seeking a challenging, more cardiovascular, practice.

Bikram Yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury, a gold medal Olympic weight lifter and disciple of Bishnu Ghosh. Classes are taught in a heated studio (often 95 to 105 degrees) believed to promote increased flexibility, and detoxification. Traditional bikram is a set series of 26 poses but not all hot classes observe this limitation. This type of yoga is for those in good physical health looking for a challenge.

Hatha is considered the most basic form of and the foundation of all yoga. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (breathing), and meditation. Most classes are slower paced so this is a good introductory class for many beginners, or any student looking for a class that focuses on the basics.

Iyengar, developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar more than 60 years ago, deeply explores physical alignment (optimal positioning and posture). The poses are generally held longer and time is taken in coming into each asana. Yoga props like cushions, blankets, straps, and blocks are key. Iyengar is beneficial for those needing a physical therapy component to their yoga class, and it can also work for beginner students.

Kripalu is a gentle form of Hatha yoga that often involves an inward focus and plenty of breathwork. This is another possibility for a yoga newbie or any student needing a slower pace.

Kundalini Yoga works to awaken and draw upward the spiritual energy at the base of the spine also known as the “root chakra.” Kundalini can be quite rigorous and a typical class will include chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises, it is an intriguing form for those interested in the spiritual and energetic aspects of yoga.

Power Yoga, inspired by Ashtanga, is a practice combining stretching, strength training, and breathing. Many of the poses resemble calisthenics — push-ups, handstands, and squats — but the key component is the pace. Instead of pausing between poses each move flows into the next. This is a good type for those seeking a yogaerobic workout

Prenatal Yoga is for expectant moms, although some classes are open to dads and/or postpartum women. Prenatal combines asana and breath to safely stretch and strengthen, often alleviating common discomforts of pregnancy, as well as preparing the body and mind for birth. Meditation time is focused on bonding with the baby, and classes help to create a sense of community for mothers-to-be.

Restorative Yoga teaches postures designed for relaxation, deep stretching, and opening, using blocks, blankets, and cushions to support the body so poses can be held longer. Restorative is ideal for those in recovery physically, mentally, and spiritually or anyone who needs extra nurturing.

Vinyasa, sometimes referred to as flow yoga, coordinates breath and movement. It is a physically active form of yoga created by Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois. Like Hatha, Vinyasa can be a general term to describe many types of classes, but most tend toward a vigorous pace and focus on a series of poses called Sun Salutations. If you are looking for a faster class with lots of variety this is for you.

Yin Yoga, another newer form, was developed by teacher  Paulie Zink, and combines Hatha yoga with Chinese Taoist traditions like Qigong. Yin poses are held for long periods to stretch the connective tissue around the joints to prepare the body for sitting meditation. It’s a great form for those seeking increased flexibility and improved joint mobility.

And don’t worry about your outfit, as long as you’re able to move comfortably and freely. Yoga is focused on internal experience, not external appearance. So roll out your mat, I’ll see you in class

Elissa Lash is a writer, theatre artist, yoga teacher, and labor doula who lives in Vineyard Haven with her husband and two children.

Taoist and Yin Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training Certification Program Cincinnati Ohio

Article by Matt Eshleman, ERYT500

Taoist and Yin Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training Certification Program Cincinnati Ohio

We believe that to most effectively and safely practice or teach yoga, one must understand certain fundamental principles of anatomy.  There are so many different traditions and types of yoga, it is not possible to cover them all – and it can sometimes be difficult to discern the underlying unity.  Our view is that it does not matter what style of yoga you may practice, what we all have in common is a human body.  We will first develop an understanding of physical anatomy and form a common language for our discussions.  We will then learn to apply the fundamentals of anatomy to our personal practice and our teaching, including the important role of individual anatomical differences.  We will learn this first through the study of Yin Yoga, as the simple postures and slow pace will allow us the necessary time for posture analysis and discussion.  We will then carry this on to the study of yang movement sequences that are a great way to begin your practice and teaching of more dynamic yoga styles.

We will develop your understanding and your teaching from a functional perspective, meaning that our focus will be not aesthetic appearance or superficial alignment, but rather the actual intended effect of the technique and how to best produce that effect for each unique practitioner.  Without the common ground of anatomical understanding this is not possible, but with practical understanding of anatomy the function of the techniques and their application becomes clear.  We will discuss the theory of exercise and it’s relevance to yoga asanas. We will experience the function of a diverse array of techniques through direct personal experience.

We will become comfortable teaching students with varied levels of ability and experience.  In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says there are as many paths to God as there are people.  Each student you encounter will need something different from you as a teach er.  If there is one message that we will carry throughout our training it is that every individual’s yoga practice is ultimately unique, and the teacher’s function is to guide the student’s practice in order to help lead them to their own direct experience of their personal truth. 

We will learn to practice and teach fundamental techniques of meditation. We will differentiate between two types of meditation: techniques used for relaxation or stress reduction, and techniques used for personal and spiritual evolution. We will first learn to practice and teach meditation techniques that are very simple and easy to teach to beginners. We will then explore subtle anatomy, the energetic system of the body, including chakras and meridians, and discuss the “bigger picture” of karma and reincarnation. We hope to clarify some of the confusion that can arise from studying any one tradition. We will put our theories into practice in asana, pranayama, and meditation sessions.

We will become familiar with the essential scriptures and philosophical texts of yoga.  We believe that the most important information about the yogic sciences are contained in just a few ancient texts.  Many contemporary authors write ‘new’ books that are essentially a paraphrase of the wisdom presented in these sacred writings, and often their personal biases can obscure the original message. Not to say that there are not some very good modern texts, but we can read a few hundred modern books trying to sort out these truths, or we can work to really understand a few seminal works. We shall do the latter.

We will prepare you for the realities of teaching yoga as a profession. This does not just mean that you will be certified, that’s the easy part…. It means you will be able to teach effectively in any setting that you choose, to any student seeking your guidance. It means you will be able to find or create job opportunities, and effectively negotiate the compensation you deserve for being properly trained. It means you will b e ready to go out into the real world and teach real students a practice that really helps them, and that requires an understanding that we will have to work hard for. It will be worth it.  

Tentative Schedule and Format:

The following schedule allows you the opportunity for a total of 192 contact hours, 12 more than required by for an RYT200 certification.  This allows a trainee 12 hours of absences before make-up hours will be necessary to complete the 180 contact hours required for Yoga Alliance certification. To make a total of 200 hours the additional 20 non-contact hours will be fulfilled by viewing assigned video materials, observing, teaching, and participating in classes and completing writing assignments based on those experiences. 

12 Weekend Sessions, Total Contact Hours Each Session = 16 

January 6, 7, 8January 20, 21, 22February 3, 4, 5February 17, 18, 19March 2, 3, 4March16, 17, 18March 30, 31, April 1April 13, 14, 15April 27, 28, 29May 4, 5, 6May 18, 19, 20June 1, 2, 3

Each weekend will follow this general framework:

Fridays (Tentatively scheduled for 6-9pm) = 3 Contact Hours Friday evenings will begin with an overview of the weekend’s events, a led practice, and lecture and discussion covering a variety of topics in the curriculum.  Friday evening we will introduce key anatomical or philosophical concepts that will be elaborated upon over the weekend.  

Saturdays (Tentatively scheduled for 9:30am-Noon and 1-6pm) = 7.5 Contact HoursSaturdays will begin with an hour of Asana practice.  We will then have about 90 minutes for lecture, posture analysis, and practice teaching.  Following lunch we will continue the morning’s activities.  On some Saturdays we will be holding workshops that will cover certain aspects of the teacher training curriculum but may also be open to the public. We will end most Saturdays with a Yoga practice exclusively for trainees and time for questions and discussion.  

Sundays (Tentatively scheduled for Noon-5 :30pm)  = 5.5 Contact Hours Sundays will begin with meditation, followed by lectures on anatomy, philosophy, or ethics and lifestyle of yoga.  We will close each weekend with a 90 minute led Yin Yoga practice and guided meditation practice that covers portions of our training curriculum, and will also be open to the public.

Of course, the above schedule is subject to change.

Required resources provided for you upon payment of your deposit:

An unlimited class pass to all You Do Yoga’s regularly scheduled weekly passes from the time of your deposit until the end of training (value = 0+)

– Motoyama Meridian Exercises Book (value = )

– Paul Grilley DVD 3-pack (Anatomy for Yoga, Yin Yoga, Chakra Theory and Meditation (value = 2) – Please Note, if you enroll in our program later than November 1st 2012, the DVDs will not be included in the tuition, and you will be expected to purchase these materials on your own. 

Other YDYTT Required books to be purchased by the trainee:

-Yinsights by Bernie Clark

-Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga v.1 – by Ray Long

Any translation or edition:-Tao Te Ching -Hatha Yoga Pradipika-Yoga Sutras of Patanjali-Bhagavad GitaNote: We will study these 4 scriptures during our training.  We would like each trainee to choose from among the many translations available for two reasons:#1 = You should find one that resonates with you as a unique individual.#2 = If we all have slightly different versions we will have a diversity of perspectives to consider, and are less likely to become trapped in the semantics of any single translator.

Not at all required, but depending upon individual interest, highly recommended:Yin Yoga – Paul GrilleyAnything by Dr. Hiroshi MotoyamaMoving into Stillness – Erich SchiffmanAutobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa YoganandaAshtanga Yoga DVDs or book – David SwensonEnergy Medicine by James OschmannAnatomy of Hatha Yoga by David CoulterTaoist Yoga DVDs by Paulie ZinkDance of Shiva DVD by Andrey Lappa

Payment inf ormation :

Cost Includes unlimited class pass from time deposit is paid through the end of the training, and above specified materials (Total value = over 0)

Non-Refundable deposit required to reserve your spot = 0

Payments Due 1st of each month January thru May 2012: 0Payment plan: Total cost = 00


Total Cost if paid in full by November 1st 2011= 00

Enrollment is by acceptance only. You must speak with the director of teacher training.Contact Matt Eshlemanby phone: 513.258.2002or email:

Matt Eshleman is the Director of Teacher Training for You Do Yoga, and is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance.

You Do Yoga is a Registered Yoga School with the Yoga Alliance.

About the Author

Matt Eshleman, B.A., ERYT500, has many years of experience teaching yoga and meditation. Matt earned his 500 hour certification through his studies of Anatomy, Taoist Yoga and Meditation. Matt is a trained Thai Yoga Massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, a student of Martial Arts, and is an adjunct professor at Cincinnati State. He is the founder of You Do Yoga LLC, and is the director of teacher training.

My Yoga Instructor

My Yoga Instructor

Video Rating: 5 / 5

Knoxville Yoga

Article by David E. Morgan

Knoxville, Tennessee is home to a growing community of yoga enthusiasts, including many excellent yoga teachers.

This is great news whether you’re an advanced practitioner interested in trying out different yoga styles or you’re a beginning yoga student shopping for your very first yoga class.

Whether your interest in yoga is for physical fitness, for the health benefits yoga offers any number of conditions and illnesses, or purely spiritual, you will surely find a yoga style and teacher you like with a little shopping.

The number of yoga styles and traditions can be daunting, so here is a list of what yoga you can find in Knoxville, TN and where you will find it:

Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga is one of the more athletic forms of yoga still rooted in tradition, emphasizing movement through a prescribed series of postures.

SideCrow Yoga: (865) 584-3864

Hatha yoga: Hatha literally means ‘forceful,’ though it is often attributed to gentle yoga in the West. Any form of yoga incorporating body postures and breath control could be said to be hatha yoga, including the yoga teachers below (and all the other types of yoga listed in this article).

Yoga with Shanti: (865) 584-1086 Yoga for Life: (865) 591-3281 Five-Element School of Yoga and Meditation: (865) 300-8125

Iyengar yoga: Iyengar yoga emphasizes precise alignment of the body while holding postures.

Knoxville Yoga Center: (865) 694-0101

Kripalu Yoga: Kripalu Yoga integrates yoga postures and breathing with meditation, making it as much an inward experience as it is an outward exercise. Classes range from gentle to vigorous.

Yoga with Santosh: (865) 368-8773

Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini Yoga is an intense combination of purifying, energetic movements with breathing and chanting to awaken energy centers called chakras.

Yoga with Ajeet: (865) 851-7830

Prenatal and Momma-Baby yoga: Yoga can enhance a healthy birth and keep mom in shape afterwards.

Lindsay Rogers: (865) 7 05-YOGA

Vinyasa yoga: Vinyasa, flow, and power yoga is the movement from one posture to the next connected by the breath. Usually the flow is based on the sun salutation and the pace of movement between poses is fairly fast, but that is not always the case. The classroom is sometimes heated for increased flexibility and body purification.

SideCrow Yoga: (865) 584-3864 Knoxville Yoga Center: (865) 694-0101 Yoga with Santosh (slow, meditative flow): (865) 368-8773

Yin Yoga: Yin Yoga targets the connective tissue — tendons, ligaments, and cartilage — for increased flexibility. Postures tend to be held for longer periods as a restorative technique.

SideCrow Yoga: (865) 584-3864

Best wishes in finding the right yoga class for your particular needs, and welcome to the Knoxville yoga community

About the Author

David E. Morgan teaches Knoxville yoga classes. See his Knoxville yoga class schedule and sign up for his mailing list at Yoga with Santosh.

Lower Back Pain with Yoga Part 2

Article by Glen Wood – The Yoga Teacher


Treatment may vary from simple stretching exercises to the massage therapy and acupuncture therapy. Lower Back Pain Exercises and their benefits are very important for the treatment of back pain and the strengthening of the back muscles. Every one’s life style is different and hence the treatment of back pain lower right side is also different for every one. The treatment recommended depends upon the intensity and scale of pain. Therefore, if you are looking for the best lower back pain relief treatment, you are recommended to go for a back pain therapy with positive thoughts. Traction treatments are also one of the ways of treating lower back pain, and can give wonderful results. In particular an Inversion Table is worth consideration.


If you are not in the habit of exercising daily, you may start with trying yoga or some light stretching exercises. Yoga or light stretches as daily exercises does a lot of good to your muscles.

Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana

Translation: Cobra Pose

From a prone position place the hands down under the shoulders, or farther away from your body depending on your spines flexibility, and raise the upper body. Push the legs together if you wish to engage the lower back and gluteuls. Leave the legs slightly open if you want a deeper stretch.

Tips for Cobra Pose

It can be quite hard on the arms when this posture is held. Try different positions with the arms. Allow a slight bend, straighten or do a combination of both.

Holding Cobra can be a good way to open the smaller muscles in the spine before starting a sequence of Sun Salutations.

Benefits of Cobra Pose

This pose increases the flexibility of the spine. It can also strengthen the spine.

Healing effects

When done mildly the cobra pose can help relieve and even heal bulging discs in the lower back. However raising too high will aggravate the issue. So when performing this pose for healing remember to raise into mild discomfort a nd no fu rther.

Simple Exercises for Back Pain

A quick, simple exercise for back pain are three little exercises in one. Starting in Pose of a Child, then to Cat then into Cobra. Do this in a fluid movement if you can for a couple of minutes. Doing this a few times a day gently will begin to open up the joints and create the space needed between them.

About the Author

Glen Wood – The Yoga Teacher. Glen is a yoga expert who loves to teach you how to lose your neck, shoulder or back pain with yoga. He is dedicated to unlocking the Real Secrets of Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain.To help you further with your back, neck and shoulder pain you need to sign up for your FREE “Yoga and You” report at

Authentic Power: Enlivening the 3rd Chakra – This Yoga Blend class of Anusara, Kundalini, and Yin Yoga with Ashleigh Altman, Kia Miller, and Dina Amsterdam is a divine power of transformation, cultivating a healthy relationship with your Authentic Power. The third chakra is the seat of our power. Healthy cultivation of this center empowers transformation driven by the fire of our Will. When this center is underdeveloped, we feel weak, stuck or dis-empowered. When it is over developed we experience anger, rigidity and separation. Through a dynamic practice of Anusara, Kundalini and Yin Yoga, learn how to tap into your true power without hardening.

Video Rating: 5 / 5

You Do Yoga September 2011 Newsletter

Article by Matt Eshleman, ERYT500, You Do Yoga LLC RYS200

Hello Yogis, and happy September It seems like we always start our newsletter this way, but really – there is such amazing stuff going on with You Do Yoga It’s easy to get carried away with so much happening, so we’ll hit the highlights here and then refer you to the website for the details.

You Do Yoga Anderson Township hit the ground running on August 1st, and we can’t thank everyone enough for helping put it all together. We were surprised to see our new space filling up so fast with so many great people. If you haven’t yet had the chance, swing by our new studio at 7218 Beechmont Avenue 45230 and see what You Do Yoga is doing on the Eastside of Cincinnati Our September schedule has a few small changes, so double-check the website and then head on over for a class

A bit more on our rapidly evolving Anderson Township location:

The first of many Family Yoga events will take place at our Anderson Township studio on September 17th at 7pm, opening with an all-ages (kids and adults too) yoga practice followed by a child-friendly movie. Feel free to bring beverages and snacks for the movie, and be prepared for fun Donations will be gratefully accepted but this event is open to all And as long as we are on the subject of families, we want to get the word out early for this special offering: starting October 2nd we will begin an 8 week session of Pre-Natal Yoga, taking place every Sunday at 10AM in Anderson Township. More information will be available online.

We are going to be hosting the Seiki Aikido group at our Anderson Township Studio twice a week. Seiki Aikido offers a unique approach to realistic martial arts training. Participation is by instructor approval only, but we invite you to come observe a class.

Our newest and most popular class offering, an uplifting combination of Yin Yoga and review of essential yogic scriptures we call “Yoga and Philosophy” (weekly, Mondays at 7pm) will now be complemented by a monthly workshop focusing on the philosophical t exts of Eastern mystical traditions. On the first Saturday of every month starting Oct 1st, we will gather to review and discuss the themes of the previous month. Availability will be limited, Drop-ins may find space but online Pre-registration is encouraged:

Yoga Nidra will now be offered once a month at each You Do Yoga location. This month, sessions will be on September 10th at 3:30pm in Anderson, and September 18th at 6pm Downtown. See the website for more information:

So Speaking of Downtown… some folks have asked us if we are “moving” or “relocating” You Do Yoga, and the answer is NO WAY – we are “growing” and “expanding” We love our downtown community and we plan to keep the You Do Yoga home base right in the Heart of Over-the-Rhine at 1319 Main Street Cincinnati Ohio 45202. So you can continue to expect the same fabulous classes and inspiring teachers, but now in two places. As an added bonus, anyone purchasing an unlimited class pass will have full access to all regular classes at both studios

A couple of changes to mention about the You Do Yoga Downtown Studio Schedule: Starting in September, our Donation-based Community Yoga class moves forward 15 minutes to 8:45AM. This will allow Liz a full 90 minutes to wring you out and get you ready for the weekend We are glad to open our studio for donation-based classes that make yoga even more accessible to our beautiful community. In fact, our “Meditation by Donation” is now going to be offered twice weekly, at Noon on both Sundays and Wednesdays. This is an open meditation practice that will include some light stretching and guidance in basic breathing and meditation techniques, along with time and space for personal practice. All levels of experience are welcome, the intention is to encourage the practice of meditation for the benefit of all For more information about how Donation-Based classes work, please visit the website.

Final Fridays are now even mor e fun S ome of you may have been following the developing combination of Acrobatics, Yoga, and Thai Massage that has been creeping into the limelight at You Do Yoga’s more casual events. By popular demand, donation-based open Acro-Jams will now take place every Final Friday 7:30-9:30pm at our Downtown Studio, following our “Don’t Worry, Be Happy-Hour”, 5:30-7pm Laughter Yoga with Hasya Yogi phenomenon Patrick Welage.

You Do Yoga is a Registered Yoga School. Our next Yin Yoga and Taoist Yoga Teacher Training Starts in January 2012. For more information visit

One last new addition to mention: In addition to our renowned Thai Yoga Massage and Reiki services, we are now offering Therapeutic and Medical massage sessions with a Licensed Massage Therapist, by appointment. Call to book a session with our LMT by dialing 513-258-2002.

That’s enough for now… but look for more to come, and remember: Find us on Facebook (You Do Yoga), follow us on Twitter @YouDoYoga or to keep your fingers on the pulse of Yoga in Cincinnati Ohio visit our website at


About the Author

Matt Eshleman, B.A., ERYT500, has many years of experience teaching yoga and meditation. Matt earned his 500 hour certification through his studies of Anatomy, Taoist Yoga and Meditation. Matt is a trained Thai Yoga Massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, a student of Martial Arts, and is an adjunct professor at Cincinnati State. He is the founder of You Do Yoga LLC, and is the director of teacher training.

Thai Yoga Intro to Abdominal Part 1

Aachan James guides SomaVeda Thai Yoga Practitioner students into a deeper understanding of the world of the abdomen and it’s importance in health. Abdominal or belly massage technique has always been part of Thai Yoga and Thai Massage. Topics include: Abdominal assessment, Navel Ba Gua, True nature of the umbilicus and navel, what is the belly or Hara, what this area means to the body, mind and spirit, origin of the Matrix Body, origin of all Chakra, Meridians, Sen Lines, Tangible physical body, organs, role of fascia, assessment of the navel and the abdomin, original Yin/ Yang symbol.

Video Rating: 2 / 5