Aligning the Body ~ Aligning to Spirit

The word align translates as the act of adjusting all the parts into relationship to each other.  Just as in our body and in our lives, we might experience fragmentation and feel that we don’t even know or understand all the pieces and parts of ourselves.  Part of the practice of Yoga may be to first become aware of those parts and then work toward adjusting, adapting and refining them to work together, in harmony, with each other –  bringing them to center.

This weekend is a playful exploration with the practice of Yoga on the mat with Advanced Yoga Teacher, Trace Sahaja Bonner,

We begin by learning the power of intention, then practice with a keen inner eye as we shift our awareness from destructive thoughts. Finally we explore the power of meditation as the tool that gives us the thread to pull us into aligning with our Spirit, our truest self.  This program is a practice of hatha yoga on the mat as well as detailed alignment and adjustments. It is open to all levels of practice but is not appropriate for those who have no yoga experience).

And then the weekend classes I tweaked slightly are as follows:


Aligning to Our Creative Potential (2.0 hours)

The practice of Yoga sharpens our skill toward uniting with a part of ourselves that appears at first to be hidden, but which is our truest self.  Accessing this true self allows us to open to our creative potential, our purpose.  This practice is a Yin based class that opens the hips and the heart on the mat. Through these asanas we will feel the aligning of our body and mind to what makes us feel creative. That will help to release the blocks to manifesting our fullest creative potential.  All levels, bringing a notebook for journaling.


Action, Reaction and Interaction (2.5 hours)

We learn through experience, but it is said that the wise have cultivated the skill of learning through observation or discernment.  This is our leaping off point toward understanding what action is necessary on the mat in order to enable us to build this observant inner eye.  Through this dynamic practice we will learn action and alignment in the standing asanas, we will experience what it means to stay in observation not only of our actions, but also what follows…our reactions.  Throughout the practice, we will keep our attention present by weaving a thread or sutra to ultimately reveal how we act, react and interact, with ourselves and the world around us.

Open to all levels.


Principles of Action and Alignment (2.0 hours)

How do we bring insight from our practice on the mat into our lives off the mat?  There are 5 Principles of Action and Alignment that we will explore in this afternoon session, which will access our pranic energy from within the pelvis, and move it toward the heart;  Combining backbending and heart opening asanas as a way to see what arises on the mat.  Then we will incorporate the 5 Principles of Action and Alignment that are necessary to open to insight off the mat.  All levels, part lecture, bringing a notebook for journaling


Sthira (Steady), Sukha (Joyful) , Asanam (Seat) and Aligning to Spirit   (2.5 hours)

How we do something is how we do everything.  This combo class of sweat and soul, will teach us valuable skills in cultivating a new attitude about how to stand stable in the current of instability, find joy in all that comes to us and align to the part of us that is always at peace.  As we begin to align our desire to express ourselves in the world to our spanda or divine spark we come into joy of life.   We end with a long deep relaxation and meditation to enable us to restart our life with a deeper consciousness…and love for ourselves and others. Open to all levels.

Align Body and Spirit at YogavilleTrace Sahaja Bonner, E-RYT 500, is the Founder/Director of Holy Cow Yoga Center. She began her practice 21 years ago, and is a certified advanced Integral Yoga Instructor.  Although her teaching style has evolved to incorporate various hatha practices, her primary teacher is Swami Satchidananda.  Over the last 15 years, Trace Sahaja has not only directed a vibrant Yoga center, Holy Cow Yoga Center, but also lead 200 and 500 hour teacher trainings, guided group tours to India, completed a DVD, Sahaja Vinyasa, and wrote various online articles on Yoga.  She continues to take workshops with a host of contemporary teachers and deepen her personal understanding of Yoga. Yoga invites us to have fun with the journey, so she enjoys bringing her lighthearted teaching style to all levels of Yoga classes, teacher trainings, as well as in workshops on meditation, Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita.

Body Image and Yoga

20% off until February 10!

This workshop is for the general public and yoga teachers who would like to learn more about body image concerns and how yoga can contribute to a more easeful and respectful relationship with our bodies.

Society bombards us with messages about how our body should look and what the most desirable body type should be. As a result many people have issues of rejection and / or negativity about their body and their looks. Yoga and mindfulness can bring a healing perspective to our skewed view of body image.

In this workshop participants will learn how our emotions, culture and society influence our relationship with our bodies and how in turn, we develop negative self-images and disordered eating.  Participants will learn how Yoga and Mindfulness can be used to impact self-esteem, empowerment, and self-acceptance and how a technique called Yoga Body Experience can help promote a healthy relationship with our bodies.  Participants will learn about disordered eating, negative self-image and how to positively impact on disordered eating and body image. 

Body Image and Yoga at YogavilleMala Cunningham, Ph.D. is a Counseling Psychologist in private practice in Charlottesville, Va. and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia Nursing School.  Dr. Cunningham is the President of Positive Health Solutions and is the Founder and Director of Cardiac Medical Yoga.  She is a senior disciple of Sri Swami Satchidananda and has been practicing and teaching yoga for over thirty-five years.  She is also a widely recognized authority in the field of Yoga Psychology and Medical Yoga and has been featured in numerous radio, print and TV interviews.

See more about Mala, her work and books/CD’s on her website and facebook pages.

Her website is:

Body Image and Yoga 2.27.15

Yoga for Chronic Pain

Yoga for Chronic Pain at YogavilleThe Viniyoga methodology for working with people who deal with chronic pain utilizes a variety of strategies that address the whole person.  Movement and breathing are the most well-known yoga strategies for chronic pain, yet it is often the inner dimensions of yoga that are fundamental to optimal life functioning.

This special workshop is designed for health professionals, yoga teachers, and others who would like to understand Viniyoga’s therapeutic interventions for chronic pain and learn Viniyoga strategies for assessing individuals with chronic pain and intervening in beneficial ways.

GARY S. KRAFTSOW, MA, E-RYT 500. For more than 30 years, Gary has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation. His journey as a yoga student, practitioner, teacher, therapist, and teacher of yoga teachers and therapists began at age 19 when he traveled to Madras, now Chennai, India, to study Saiva Siddhanta, the Saivite Tantra of south India, with the respected mystic/scholar V.A. Devasenapathi, and yoga with T.K.V. Desikachar, son and student of T. Krishnamacharya.  Gary received a Viniyoga Special Diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris, France.

Gary graduated from Colgate University in 1976 and received his Masters Degree in Psychology and Religion from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983. Gary is the Founder, Director and Senior Teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute. He is the author of Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation; and educational DVDs: Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips and Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders, Viniyoga Therapy for Anxiety and Viniyoga Therapy for Depression.

Gongs, Bowls, and Drums: A Sound Mindfulness Meditation Retreat

Gongs, Bowls, and DrumsWhen we meditate, we spend time paying attention. Whether we focus on our breath or a mantra or an external object, the practice of meditation – and the ability to cultivate mindfulness – provides an array of benefits, both for our physical and mental health. In this workshop, you will have the chance to begin or deepen your meditation practice, using sound as your focal point as you join Andy Matzner for this sound immersion experiential workshop. Visit his site at

By experiencing sound baths featuring instruments such as crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, and drums, you will be able to explore new dimensions of mindfulness. The wide range of sonic frequencies that you will experience during this workshop, ranging from relaxing to energizing, will allow you to naturally heighten your awareness of the nature of sound – and silence.

As you practice being fully present with vibrations that are both surrounding and enveloping, you will learn to develop a state of mind that is open, attentive, curious and receptive. By combining the practice of mindfulness with deep listening, this workshop will give you the opportunity to explore the different ways in which sound can affect you – physically, emotionally, mentally and intuitively.

During the course of this retreat you will:

1. Experience a series of sound meditations, each one featuring a different sacred instrument.
2. Develop and deepen your own individual mindfulness practice.
3. Learn how various types of sound waves resonate with your body, mind, and soul in different ways.
4. Become familiar with the latest research on the benefits of mindfulness and the healing properties of sound.
5. Journal and process your listening experiences.

Gongs, Bowls, and Drums2Andy Matzner MSW, LCSW  is a licensed clinical social worker, and also a psychotherapist, tarot card reader, and teacher. He is passionate about exploring the intersections between sound, creativity, movement, spirituality and healing. Andy is a drummer, percussionist and guitarist; in addition he is a long-time student of the singing bowl and the gong.

Andy is also the author of several books, including The Buddha Diet: A Guide to Creating a Positive Relationship with Food and Eating (2012) and The Tarot Activity Book: A Collection of Creative and Therapeutic Ideas for the Cards (2013).

New Year’s Silent Retreat – 2016

New Year’s Silent Retreat Re-align Yourself with Your Highest Goals at Yogaville

It’s a new year! There’s a sense of fresh possibilities and energy for change. That makes it a perfect time to pause, reflect, relax, and re-align yourself with your highest goals. Time to Re-align Yourself with Your Highest Goals.

Our New Year’s Silent Retreats have been popular for over thirty years. Seasoned retreat goers as well as those trying a retreat for the first time enjoy this opportunity to press pause on their busy lives.

It’s amazing what a little silence can do! The silence of the Retreat helps participants slow down to truly nourish body, mind and spirit. Away from the demands of normal daily life, many find themselves reacquainted with their ideals, their dreams and the ways they can bring their “regular” lives into alignment.

Retreat participants keep silence, but the presenters and staff speak to bring you all levels (beginner to experienced) of yoga’s physical poses, meditation techniques, and a variety of talks to help you renew healthy mental and physical goals for 2015.

The New Year Silent Retreat offers

  • The gentle and practical teachings of Integral Yoga, including daily practice of asana (the physical poses), pranayama (breathing practices), guided deep relaxation and meditation

  • The profound support of a yogic environment, including yogic diet (delicious, nutritious and organic vegetarian meals),

  • Mauna (the practice of contemplative silence), the natural beauty and sacred spaces of Yogaville

  • Inspiration to help you forge your individual path

This retreat is suited to students of all levels of experience. Those new to Yoga and the practice of silence will receive full instruction and support. Experienced retreatants can move even more deeply within. You will also have the opportunity to seek additional guidance or clarification by asking questions in writing.

Mindfulness & Stress Reduction: an Experiential Workshop-Retreat

As long as we are locked into stress, we cannot live fully. Anxious thoughts and emotional reactions prevent us from truly experiencing the richness of the moment. Mindfulness is a way to free our lives. Mindfulness works, as a growing body of scientific research and the testimony of practitioners from a wide range of religious backgrounds affirm.

Take a break from stress and join us for this experiential workshop-retreat where you will:

  • Learn and practice powerful mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and gain greater clarity and peace
  • Explore the transformative connection between mindfulness and the heart’s opening in loving kindness
  • Be guided in establishing a personal mindfulness program for dealing with obstacles or problems
  • Explore mindfulness as a path supporting your highest spiritual aspiration

There will be opportunity for individual conferences with the teacher. This program is designed for people new to mindfulness practice as well as seasoned practitioners.

Mindfulness & Stress Reduction at YogavilleSusan Carol Stone, Ph.D., teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the University of Virginia’s Mindfulness Center ( She co-leads the Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, a weekly mindfulness group ( and has taught mindfulness at a men’s and a women’s maximum-security prisons, as well as in a private middle school. Susan has practiced mindfulness for thirty years, has lived in Zen Buddhist and Theravadan monasteries and is a Zen lay priest. She is author of the historical novel The Kosambi Intrigue; A Tale at the Time of the Buddha published in 2012 and available on Amazon. Comments about the novel include: “A terrific read!” (Tara Brach), “an engrossing adventure,” “dramatic, engaging, brilliantly done” (Stephen Batchelor)  and “You don’t have to know anything about Buddhism to love this book” (Wendy Eisner). Susan is also author of At the Eleventh Hour, about mindfulness and caregiving, and The American Mosaic, about workforce diversity. She leads mindfulness workshops and retreats in a multi-state area and is a Reiki master. More information about Susan, her teaching and her latest book is available at


Fall Silent Retreat

Autumn in the Virginia countryside: In the Fall Nature starts to turn inward, and we can join that quiet celebration. October’s festive colors and the cooler temperatures lend themselves to a feeling of contentment and contemplation. While enjoying the beautiful fall weather and scenery, we take time to go within, reflect on our lives and renew our direction.

Autumn is the perfect time of year for us to harmonize with nature and turn inward for meditation but, also, to learn more about ourselves.  The Integral Yoga® Signature Silent Retreats offer a guided way to slow down and refresh, relax and rejuvenate our systems.  As we recharge our bodies and quiet our minds, we rediscover the deep peace and commitment to uncover the lasting joy that exists within our own hearts.

During our fall silent retreat, you will experience the natural beauty and sacred spaces of Yogaville® as you nourish and nurture yourself through the many practices of Integral Yoga®. Beginners and long time yogis both can enjoy full benefit of the retreat. You will Renew Your Direction and Renew Your Life. Discover or deepen your experience of Hatha Yoga (the physical postures), yogic breathing, guided deep relaxation, meditation, and yogic diet (delicious, organic vegetarian meals). The powerful practice of maintaining silence supports your journey within. Inspiring and insightful talks, given by our swamis (monks), ministers and other senior teachers, focus on ways to know our True Nature more fully and to experience our natural bliss as we move through the ups and downs of daily life.

The program is suited to students of all levels of experience. Beginners to Yoga and the practice of silence will receive full instruction and support, and experienced retreatants will have the opportunity to move even more deeply within. You will also have the opportunity to seek additional guidance, support or clarification at any time by asking questions in writing or by requesting private mentoring.

Anatomy & Physiology for Teachers: Developing Core Awareness, Improving Core Stability – 2015

Yoga Alliance Hrs: 13 (approximate)

Anatomy and Physiology for Teachers 1Core stability is much talked about but little understood. This workshop will deepen your understanding and practical application of this topic. Having a strong core is nourishing and freeing and will directly affect the quality of your yoga practice (asanas, pranayama and meditation) as well as your teaching practice. Developing awareness is key to being able to develop core stability.

One of the most important core muscles is the iliopsoas. Because of prolonged and dysfunctional sitting and other habits, this muscle ends up restricted by social limitations and confined to repetitive movements. A healthy psoas is the first step toward a steady and comfortable yoga practice. In this workshop you will explore the psoas, working with core awareness through the practice of yoga asanas.

Expand your perspective and experience the essence of core stability as you discover core awareness. By working with our center, we develop the ability to consciously respond to life situations rather than react to them. We refine our capacity to be alert, responsive and openhearted.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Understanding the role of the psoas muscle in core stabilityAnatomy and Physiology for Teachers 2
  • Yoga asanas for core stability
  • Exploration of sitting habits and seated asanas for meditation
  • Connections between core stability and breathing
  • Enhancing pranayama practice through core awareness and core stability

*Please note: this program begins at 3:30 pm, but registration is between 2:00-3:00 pm.

Leticia Padmasri 2014Letícia Padmasri, M.A., E-RYT 500 is a certified Integral Hatha Yoga teacher in the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels, as well as a certified Raja Yoga teacher. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science, a Master Degree in Education and many years of dedication towards Exercise Physiology. Her interest for the body’s structure and function combined with her love for the Yoga Philosophy support students in experiencing the depth of the Yoga asanas. Letícia teaches Hatha Yoga classes along with personal training where she integrates the Eastern and Western Philosophies. She teaches workshops in Yogaville and Brazil, and is one of the Trainers for the Integral Yoga Teacher Trainings, as well as the Anatomy & Physiology Teacher. She also has been administrating Yoga teacher trainings and workshops at the Integral Yoga Academy since 2008.





Yoga for People Over 50

As we age, we change, and so should our yoga.  Whether you are a longtime practitioner or a beginner, this workshop will offer you ways to meet your changing body and life just as you are, in a community of your peers.

When we are over 50, we have many skills and life experiences and also different questions than we had in our 20s. How do I best meet this next phase of my life?  What do I need to add to my life and what should I let go of? What is the balance between self-care and service to others?  And when did I start feeling so stiff in the morning?

Practices will include asana that respects our joints and chronic sore places but will also safely build physical strength, balance, suppleness and stamina.  We’ll focus on practices that are sustainable for aging bodies with youthful hearts.  We’ll move all body parts each day and then rest deeply in poses that leave us feeling open, refreshed and ready for the next adventure. With many years of therapeutic yoga experience, Marcia will help you identify ways to care for your tight (or sore) shoulders, hips, knees or back.  Meditation and breathing practices will bring us clarity, attention and integration.  Spring in rural Virginia will also nourish and delight us.

This weekend workshop is appropriate for men and women over 50 who want to continue caring for themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually as they age.  People of all yoga traditions and experience levels are welcome including those new to yoga.  For this workshop you must be able to get up and down off the floor (but it need not be graceful!)


“Marcia was very knowledgeable and informative but also fun and real.”

“I didn’t want it to end so I think that means it was terrific.”

“The most valuable part of the workshop was the positive attitude toward the experience of aging along with very specific instruction regarding care of the joints and injury prevention.”

“I thought Marcia was very passionate and thoughtful about teaching correct alignment for the body so as not to hurt ourselves.  I really appreciate her care and gentle knowledgeable approach.”

“Marcia made the topic approachable and enjoyable to all experience levels.  I value her wisdom and knowledge.”



Yoga for People Over 50Marcia (Bhavani) Miller has been a yoga teacher her entire adult life. She has taught all types of students including beginners, yoga teachers, prisoners, seniors, ballet dancers, war veterans and cancer patients.  One of the founders/owners of Yoga on High, she is the co-director of its advanced Teacher Training Programs including a Therapeutic Teacher Training.  She designed and taught the yoga protocol for two research studies at the Ohio State University studying the effects of yoga on the immune system and on women healing from breast cancer.  She is also one of a handful of Master Teachers in the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program created by Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee and Donna Karan. In addition to leading trainings, she offers UZIT in the largest medical center in Columbus, working with nurses, patients and their families. Visit:

In 2008 Marcia took the lead in founding the Yoga on High Foundation, a fund at the Columbus Foundation as a way to serve all populations of people in her community including low income kids, people with diabetes, homeless veterans, and survivors of cancer and sexual abuse.  She is also known for the clarity and compassion of her language, having studied and taught Nonviolent Communication for many years.  In her 6th decade, she is well aware of the aging process, its challenges and its many blessings.

Yoga for Athletes: Centered, Strong, and Fluid

Yoga is the perfect complement to athletic training, and athletes of all levels are realizing this truth. Yoga is showing up in collegiate and professional athletics more and more, and professional athletes and amateur athletes alike can benefit from the mind-body connection that a Yoga practice fosters. As everyday athletes, we focus on building drive and endurance, but we need to do so without over-training or creating injury. This can be a delicate balance, and Yoga postures and mental practices can help in this pursuit.

Whether you have a regular Yoga practice or are just exploring Yoga, this weekend will offer a fresh take on the complementary practice of Yoga and sports training. Class sessions will include Yoga poses, breathing exercises and discussions about key aspects of the eight limbs of Yoga and their applicability to athletic focus and training.

In our movement sessions, you’ll learn to cultivate strength from the core, increase flexibility with poses that work for any body, find ease in balance, savor recovery and examine how Yoga philosophy can make you a better athlete—whether your athletic pursuits are to run a 5k or participate in an Ironman. Participants will leave the weekend with practical, easy routines to build strength, increase fluidity and speed recovery.

The sessions will include handouts for short routines to incorporate into training—during off-season, recovery and in active training. We’ll discuss why Yoga for Athletes is not Athletic Yoga; it’s Yoga to cultivate our athletic abilities, not demonstrate them on the mat.

Participants in Yoga for Athletes: Centered, Strong, and Fluid can expect to:
• Learn routines that work to enhance training and encourage recovery
• Discover the ways that Yoga philosophy and athletic focus connect
• Explore the way that Yoga can offer a fresh approach to a sport
• Experiment with appropriate application of effort and breath in Yoga poses

Details on Workshop Sessions and Content:

Friday: The Six Movements of the Spine and Effective Yoga
In this session, we’ll look at the many ways we can stretch and move the spine. We’ll explore fluidity in the body prone, seated and standing—noticing where the stretches feel best. We’ll also begin our discussion here of effective Yoga for the ebb and flow of athletic training.

Saturday Morning: Core Strength, Hip Flexibilit, and Athletic Focus
In our most active session, we’ll build strength by through intensive core work and focus on keeping the knee safe in effective hip-opening poses. Our discussion here will focus on cultivating athletic focus through balance, meditation,and a consideration of the eight limbs of Yoga.

Saturday Afternoon: Yoga for Athletic Recovery
This part of the weekend intensive will be an invitation to recover and restore. We’ll spend some time in easy and effective static stretches and then stay in longer holds of gentle, supported, restorative poses. Discussion will focus on the need for preemptive rest and the use of Yoga as a recovery tool.

Sunday: Balance, Breath, and Appropriate Effort
In this closing session, we’ll revisit some discussion of ideas already covered. We’ll break the practice into mini-routines that can be used for any aspect of athletic training. We’ll also spend some time exploring balance in body and mind.

Yoga-for-Athletes-Centered-Strong-and-Fluid-at-Yogaville-300x240Alexandra DeSiato has been a teacher and athlete in some form for over ten years. After running for many years, she discovered yoga while recovering from an overuse injury. Since core strength, flexibility, balance and recovery are crucially needed not just by runners but by everyone, Alexandra decided that teaching body movement would be her life’s passion.

In addition to studying Yoga with Prana Flow practitioners, Alexandra studied extensively with Yoga for athletes expert Sage Rountree. Alexandra teaches flow Yoga, Pilates, and Yoga to athletes. The Yoga classes she teaches often include focused core work, as a strong core is essential for athletic performance and physical fitness. She enjoys teaching a variety of populations—athletes, more advanced practitioners and beginners alike—and loves helping students find their breath when postures challenge them physically.

In addition to weekly classes, Alexandra regularly offers a six-week introduction to Yoga series, restorative Yoga workshops and core workshops. She enjoys working with athletes of all stripe, and her clients range from casual runners to collegiate athletes, including varsity athletic teams at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Visit Alexandra’s website at: