Workshops for Teachers and Students of Yoga

We believe that once a student always a student! There is always something more to learn about the many facets of Yoga. All curious students are welcome and Yoga Teachers earn CEC’s for each hour of training.

Contemplating the Essence of the Yoga Sutras

Rescheduled due to snow!

february 9th from 1:00-5:00 with Maryam Ovissi & Jafar Alexander

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As one build's their connection to the practice, process and philosophy of Yoga, one will inevitably arrive to the doorway of the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras offers us clear insight into the why, how and what of Yoga. The 196 Yoga Sutras as codified by Patanjali are inspired by the teachings of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. We will share insight in the origins of Yoga and why it was so impactful then and now!

Jafar and Maryam will share insight that is essential not only for the Yoga Teacher but also for the Yoga Practitioner. Come spend an afternoon exploring the Yoga Sutras and how to utilize them in the practice of Yoga.

Maryam and Jafar have co-authored "A Pilgrimage through the Yoga Sutras" and we will have copies available to use as our guide.

Duration 4 hours / 4 CEC's for teachers, $65/$55 early bird discount by Feb. 2 — Sign up here

Bhagavad Gita: A Beloved Song

April 27 from 2:30-5:30 with Maryam Ovissi

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One of the most powerful stories in history, the Bhagavad Gita, shares a conversation. This conversation takes places in the center of a Battlefield. Reflective of the pivotal moments of our lives, The Gita reminds us to pause, ask and listen. The Bhagavad Gita is part of The Mahabharata, which is considered one of the greatest epic literary works of humankind.

Join Maryam for an afternoon of discussion and contemplation. She will offer an overview of the six paths of Yoga and look at how The Gita speaks to four of these paths: Karma, Jnana, Raja and Bhakti as well as illuminates the Schools of Samkhya, Vedanta and Yoga. You are encouraged to read Stephen Mitchell's version and consider highlighting a few sections that resonated with you.

Duration 3 hours, 3 CEC's for Yoga Teachers, 45/36 early bird discount by 4/20

Maryam Ovissi, E-RYT 500, RCYT, RPYT, C-IAYT, YACEP


Maryam Ovissi believes, "Yoga is the most powerful system that gives power back to the indivdual to find their freedom, moving from the inside- consciousness!"
Maryam has had the honor to be the owner and director of BelovedYoga- a flow based yoga studio and wellness center located in Reston and Great Falls, Virginia, for over 10 years. BelovedYoga has been a powerful nucleus in Reston & Great Falls for over 9 years, partnering with Cornerstones on many community projects as well as creating an annual event~ Love Your Body; Northern Virginia Yoga & Wellness Day ~ at the Reston Town Center every June.

Maryam Ovissi became an avid student of yoga in 1999, after studying privately with Simin Yahaghi, her first yoga teacher, in California. Since 2001, she has been teaching Hatha, Hatha Flow, Vinyasa, Prenatal and Mom & Baby classes. Maryam is a certified yoga instructor that has done numerous trainings including her 500 hr Teacher Training under the tutorledge of Bhekaji Lynch. She has continued to study with reknown teachers in the world of Yoga. Maryam co-developer of the BelovedYoga Teacher Training Programs: 200 hr Immersion, 300 hr Advance Teacher Training and the BelovedYoga Certification Program. The BelovedYoga School meets the standards set by Yoga Alliance and is a member school of International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Learn more about Maryam and BelovedYoga here!

About Jafar Alexander, E-RYT 500, RCYT, RPYT, YACEP


Jafar's belief is "Yoga is yoga. No need to complicate it, it's quite simple. Breathe, move, and find your way to silence. Everything you need to know is right here... Atha!" His devoted study of Yoga has made him a multi-dimensional teacher who is able to playfully weave stories with expert sequencing and thoughtful philosophical inquiry all in one asana, making his classes what he likes to call "Yogasanas - keeping the Yoga in the Asana!"

Jafar uses his diverse and comprehensive understanding of the yogic tradition to guide practitioners in individual sessions, group classes, weekend workshops, master classes, and teacher training programs. Jafar’s energy and presence brings yoga theory to life as he encourages yogis/yoginis to find space, allowing for movement, which leads to freedom from attachment. He truly shares his yoga practice and passion through a connected journey of self-awareness, conscious breath, and physical strength.

Jafar has a unique range of influence from fellow yogis such as A.G. Mohan, Kelly McGonigal, Anirudh Shastri, Cora Wen, Richard Rosen, Doug Keller, and Maryam Ovissi. Jafar is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance at the 500 hr. level. He is the Director of the BelovedYoga Flow Teacher Training and leads the BelovedYoga School. In Summer 2014, Jafar helped expand the BelovedYoga School to Europe and will continue to offer workshops and training abroad and at home. Learn more about Jafar and BelovedYoga here!

Anatomical Geography: Mapping the Bony Landmarks of the Body

February 10 from 1:00-5:00 with Mary Richards

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What's a spine? (Hint: We are not talking about the vertebral column at present ...) Where do you find a tuberosity, trochanter or malleolus? How does any of this pertain to yoga practice or instruction?

Knowledge of skeletal anatomy is immensely useful for those of us who teach and practice asana, especially when offering modifications, since people come in all shapes and sizes. Skeletal anatomy also provides a point of reference for studying muscles because many muscles are named according to their relationships to nearby bones. Furthermore, the palpable and visible bony features of our skeletal anatomy provide us with valuable information about the movement and orientation of our joints. From the foundation of the skeleton, we can offer anatomically correct and functional movement instructions, offer safe and effective assists to our students, and place props to support the body properly in asana. 

Join Mary Richards, anatomy fanatic, for an adventure that explores the bony features of our magnificent skeletal structure. We will explore the planes of movement, how different types of joints move, and learn about the law of concave-convex motion. This workshop involves active practice, so be ready to practice from your bones.

Duration: 4 hours, 4 CEC's for Yoga Teachers, $60/50 early bird by 2/3/19 — Sign up here

Exploring the Axial Body: Mapping the Vertebral Column

March 24 from 1:00-5:00 with Mary Richards

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The vertebral column is the central organizing axis of the body. Composed of multiple bones that articulate with one another, the shoulder and pelvic girdles, skull and rib cage, it's safe to say this structure is immensely important to posture and movement. In addition to the bones, the vertebral column is composed of cartilaginous discs. These discs are vitally important to the structure and function of the column. Furthermore, the vertebral column is home to the spinal cord. It is the major thoroughfare of the central nervous system. The vertebral column also interacts profoundly with the peripheral nervous system and internal organs of the body. 

Join Mary Richards, CYT, e-RYT, for an engaging workshop dedicated to the vertebral column in all its glory. We will construct models of vertebral bodies, act like spinous processes and facet joints, and take our vertebral columns through their full range of movement via asana. In addition, this workshop will include a discussion of respiratory physiology and pranayama.

Duration: 4 hours, 4 CEC's for Yoga teachers. $60/$50 early bird by 3/17 — Sign up here

Butterflies in the Belly: Asana and the Inner Body

May 5 from 1:00-5:00 with Mary Richards

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We tend to associate the physical practices of yoga with muscles and bones. Asana and pranayama also massage the body from the inside-out. Each movement that we perform in asana -- and every breath we take -- has a physiologic effect on the organs. During our practice together, we will explore the relationship between the movements of the spine and the abdominopelvic organs. By expanding our awareness of how the actions of the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems change conditions in the inner body, we increase our capability to identify and release obstacles within us, literally and figuratively, that contribute to bodily discomfort and emotional pain.

In this workshop we will learn about the internal organs and how the alignment of the organs is affected by and affects the movement of the outer body. This workshop includes active and restorative pose practice as well as pranayama techniques.

Duration: 4 hours, 4 CEC's for Yoga Teachers, $60/50 early bird by 4/28 — Sign up here

About Mary Richards, M.S., C-IAYT, e-RYT500


Mary began practicing yoga in 1992, and teaching in 2002. For over 10 years, Mary studied primarily in the Iyengar tradition with additional study in other lineages. In 2002, she attended her first workshop with Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., PT. Mary felt an immediate resonance with Judith's work; she has studied regularly with her ever since. Mary assists Judith at various workshops around the United States and serves as her lead therapeutics and anatomy teaching assistant. Mary and Lizzie Lasater, M.Arch, yoga instructor and Judith’s daughter, also share a series on Lizzie’s YouTube channel entitled “Today’s Anatomy Question,” which features dialogue and demonstration of anatomical concepts and principles pertaining to asana. Mary, Judith and Lizzie are currently co-developing a digital movement literacy course, which will launch in December 2017.

Mary's teaching and practice are informed by her deep, abiding interest in and study of anatomy and kinesiology. Mary has completed credited coursework with labs in anatomy, physiology, cadaver dissection, kinesiology and biology. Additionally, she graduates on July 23, 2017, with a master's of science in yoga therapy at Maryland University of Integrative Health. She has also completed volunteer observation hours at physical therapy facilities specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. Mary is passionate about sharing her experience in yoga therapeutics and other healing modalities to help others cope with -- and ideally, prevent -- injury to the joint segments of the body, especially the weight-bearing joints of the lower extremity.

Mary has been married for over 20 years. She and her husband have a son and daughter. They live in Alexandria, Va., where Mary teaches syllabus-based classes, sees clients privately, and trains body workers and yoga instructors. Learn more about Yoga With Mary Richards here!

Workshop: Pranayama & Restorative Yoga

February 24 from 1:00-5:00 with Lili Robins and Lauren Rogers


As the days go by we ebb and we flow, and sometimes we burn out. Before this happens, find some reflective time with Restorative Yoga and Pranayama. Restorative yoga rejuvenates and deeply rests the body and mind through a series of still postures each held for several minutes. These asanas allow the body to stretch and open organically, using gravity and supports as the primary tools. You will learn how to teach and cue these restorative poses.

Experience the effect that comes from spending time with the breath as you learn the principles of pranayama and how to bring about a desired outcome using specific breathing exercises.

In this workshop you'll learn why these practices work on both a structural and biological level to bring you back to homeostasis. Join Lili Robins and Lauren Rogers to learn how to reset, restore, and repair through these tried and true techniques of yoga and pranayama.

February 24 from 1:00-5:00, 4 CEC's for Yoga teachers, cost $48 — sign up here

Self Awakening Yoga

March 10 from 1:00-5:00 with Bhavanam

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Self-Awakening Yoga provides simple techniques that enhance the free flow of prana to promote physical and emotional healing, self-discovery, and spiritual evolution. It also teaches how to release the body’s inefficient, painful patterns and to access unknown potentials through kinesthetic inquiries.

When artist and professor Don Stapleton discovered yoga, it marked the beginning of a journey into the awakening powers of prana (the energy of yogic purification) and the natural spiritual and healing properties of his own body. After 30 years of extensive yoga training, an accident left him with a severe injury to the spine. Faced with the challenge of physical recovery, Stapleton drew upon his knowledge of yoga to create a series of exercises that allowed him to recover freedom of movement, release emotional blockages, and unleash his spiritual and physical potential.

Self-Awakening Yoga is the synthesis of Stapleton’s practice. More than 100 exercises--from focusing on the breath to accessing primal sound--show how to unlock the wisdom and power of prana to engage the body’s healing powers. His simple exercises and meditations focus on natural movements that encourage body awareness. Participants learn how to listen to what the body is saying before engaging in any specific yoga postures. Self-Awakening Yoga takes yoga back to its roots as a creative learning process and an expansion of consciousness, not just a technique for health and fitness.

Duration: 4 hours, 4 CEC's for Yoga Teachers, $60/50 early bird discount by 3/4 — Sign up here

About Bhavanam, Bobby Ducharme, e-RYT500


Bhavanam believes that yoga is for every body, a powerful practice for healthy living today.

He found yoga as an adult in 1999 with Mary Pafford in Ukiah, CA. Relocating to Providence in 2002, he practiced at Eyes of the World for seven years before taking the teacher training with Tom Gillette. He has taught at Breathing Time Yoga, Miriam Hospital, Eyes of the World and his own studio, The Heart Spot.

He was given the Sanskrit name Bhavanam by Don and Amba Stapleton to honor his RYT-500 achievement. He continues to study with master teachers Richard Freeman, Judith Lasater, Josh Summers, Theresa Murphy and is always seeking more knowledge of yoga.

Bhavanam is also a theatre artist, and has acted in plays for Perishable Theatre, The Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre, Epic Theatre and Counter Productions Company.

His classes focus on the balance of breath with body movement, to create a sense of profound well being. Learn more about Bhavanam and Heart Spot Yoga here!

Hormone Yoga Therapy

April 5, from 5:30-7:30 with Anne Petrov


Anne Petrov joins us for an Ayurvedic Weekend with her Hormone Yoga Therapy workshop. This practice is a natural treatment for hormone problems using yoga, breath, and visualization. The exercises of HYT help reactivate hormone production and, as a consequence, help to reduce many symptoms related to hormone imbalance such as: hot flushes, dry mucosa, fatigue, anxiety, depression, hair loss, dry skin, decreased libido, etc. And Menopause brings a wide variety of symptoms that may be treated via a holistic approach that includes HYT.

Dinah Rodrigues, a 91-year-old Doctor of Psychology from São Paulo, Brazil, and yoga practitioner since the 1960s, developed hormone yoga therapy (HYT) to help women and men re-balance their endocrine system and help deal with menopause, pre-menopause, diabetes, burnout, and a variety of other hormone-related health issues.

In this workshop we will learn and practice the full 30 minute daily sequence designed by Dinah Rodrigues for hormonal balance. Attention will be paid to the various glands and how the exercises stimulate these glands. A handout with the different postures will be given to aide participants who wish to practice at home.

April 5, 5:30-7:30 /2 CEC's for Yoga Teachers / $25 / Sign up here

Ayurveda: Theory & Practice

April 6 from 1:00-5:30 with Anne Petrov

Ayurveda is for everybody and yoga students, especially, will find an empowering way to reach optimal health and vitality for themselves and their family members through observance of simple, common sense Ayurvedic practices.


Part 1—Theory: Described in the ancient Vedic texts, Ayurveda is a dynamic, complete medical science from India. Ayurveda is meant to be practiced in the home. It is pragmatic and common sense, rather than esoteric. Everyone can benefit immensely from a working knowledge of Ayurveda. This course is designed to help simplify the basic concepts and give participants a useful working knowledge of the basic principles of Ayurveda. Participants will assess their own Ayurvedic dosha after attending this class.

Short Break: We’ll enjoy our own spiced Chai and rich prasaad and give out recipes for both.

Part 2—Practice: Participants will review the concept of Ayurvedic dosha as a starting point for this class that puts Ayurvedic principals into practice. Nutrition is the basis for health. But a food or spice that is healthy for one person (pacifying, nourishing) may cause complications for another person (over-stimulating, not assimilating). The properties such as heating, cooling, aggravating, in addition to taste (rasa) of common fruits, vegetable, grains, spices, will be explained from the standpoint of Ayurveda. This will allow participants to assemble a delicious template of foods, spices and Ayurvedic practices and observances that help to give optimal health and wellbeing.

Duration 4.5, 4 CEC's for Yoga Teachers, $60/50 early bird discount by 3.30.19 / Sign up here


Anne Petrov, E-RYT 500 lives within walking distance of the Sivananda ashram in Orleans, France. She did her teacher training, advanced teacher training and sadhana intensive at the ashram, where she also teaches and does ayurvedic massage.

Anne was certified as a Hormone Yoga Therapy teacher by Dinah Rodrigues in 2014. Her Ayurvedic studies include:

Ayurvedic Cooking and Health. Certification with Doctors Kulkarni (Sivananda Tyrol Center, Reith Austria, 2011), Ayurvedic Medicine and Massage. Certification course with Escuela de Cultura Ayurvedica, Barcelona (2014), Courses with Angela Hope Murray and Dr. Kamlesh. Sivananda Yoga Center and Ashram, France.

Asana and the Chakras

April 7 from 1:00-5:00 with Elizabeth Finnan


Join guest teacher Elizabeth Finnan for an exploration through Asana and the Chakras. Chakra is a Sanskrit word which literally translates to spinning wheel. Chakras and our understanding of them go back to the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutras. In modern times, we understand these spinning wheels as the 7 energy centers in our body. These energy centers influence all aspects of our lives, including our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. When the chakras are in balance, we are in perfect health and are connected in positive ways to others and the world around us.

In the first half of this workshop, we will explore the roots of the chakra system and explore the evolution of our current day 7 chakra system. We will review the meanings of the chakras, including the relationship to the spine, organs, elements, seed sound, color and mental states. We will learn how to use asana as a tool to activate, balance and manage the energy body.

In the second portion we will delve a little deeper into the chakras tools and complete an introspective exercise on our current state of being. We will flow through a short vinyasa chakra tune-up and explore how to develop asana sequences for each chakra in(take out in) with demonstration to the class. We will conclude with a beautiful chakra balancing meditation. You can learn more about Elizabeth and YogE Wisdom here.

Duration 4 hours, 4 CEC's for Yoga Teachers, $60/50 early bird by March 31 / Sign up here


About Elizabeth Finnan,  E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, YACEP 

Elizabeth has been teaching professionally for seven years and practicing for over 25 years. Her first yoga practice was with Desikachar trained teachers and more recently trainings included teachers trained by Desikachar’s father, Krishnamacharya. This yoga lineage has a focus in yoga as therapy which aligns with the Viniyoga tradition, adapting the practice to the person, rather than vice versa, making her classes accessible and enjoyable to people of every fitness level. She infuses her knowledge of both yoga and Ayurveda to help her students achieve whole health and well-being. Elizabeth is also a certified Reiki Master and an Advanced Practitioner of Integrated Energy Therapy. She is a member of Yoga Alliance, Yoga International, and AFAA.

Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga

May 4 from 1:00-5:00 with Lauren Rogers and Lili Robins


What Yin allows us to do as practitioners is take our over-stimulated senses and repurpose them, closing the eyes, releasing our touch and being still, and listening inwardly to the rhythms of our breath and the pulse of our heartbeat. This can be very healing to the nervous system while it teaches us about ourselves as we learn to focus our attention to one point and hone the senses and prepare for meditation. Instead of multi-tasking as is our want, in Yin Yoga we are now simply mono-tasking, yet that’s not as simple as it sounds. With practice, concentration becomes well-honed because the poses are held for some 4-10 minutes and the poses are mostly done on the floor, allowing gravity to assist in the gentle transformation of the body’s connective tissue: fascia, ligaments, and cartilage.

In this workshop we will practice Yin poses, learn how to build an intelligent sequence, and teach to a group.

We will take a look at the philosophy behind Yin Yoga and explore the Sutras that describe Samyama, the process of one-pointed concentration, contemplation and meditation and becoming completely absorbed with the flow of energy. Open to all students and teachers of Yoga.

Duration: 4 Hours, 4 CEC’s for Yoga Teachers, $48 / sign up here