Upavistha Konasana Seated Angle Posture

photo: Margo Jones Duvall

Dawn is first and foremost a student of yoga, eager to learn and expand her experience of the eight-limbed royal path. Her classes include a mix of flow and form and emphasize breathing, balance and grounding as the foundations of asana and a launching pad to introduce yoga into daily life and the world.

Occasionally Dawn will begin class by introducing a theme or element to bridge the asana practice with life. This yoga pre-amble offers students the opportunity to plant a seed in their life and yoga practice. This seed might be inspired by yoga philosophy, a life event, a personal story, a poem, the seasons, etc.

Eka Pada Sarvangasana One Legged Shoulderstand

photo: Margo Jones Duvall

The asana practice emphasizes the foundations of the practice as keys to unlocking challenging or advanced postures. The breath is always a foundation that we move from, and the mechanics or actions of a pose will build from the breath.

Some classes will find more steadiness and holding of poses to build strength and stamina. Other classes will find more flow as grace and breath meet in the practice. Expect to build up to new things and break down a pose or two each class.

Exploring different variations and prop set-ups in the same poses help to reveal the many layers of each asana. You will find that there are many props available and sometimes you'll use all of them! There are countless creative ways to use blocks, straps, and blankets, as well as the more exotic chairs, sandbags, and wall-ropes.

Bring enthusiasm - both to work hard and to have fun.
Bring compassion - to be safe and mindful of your body and its limits.
Practice with patience and persistence and your yoga will blossom with grace and beauty.
— Dawn's guidance for your practice



photo: Lerina Winter

Dawn finds that contemplative practice is an important part of her daily practice. Yoga practice is not limited to asana alone, and taking time for contemplation and meditation is important in our fast-paced and connected world.

The availability of information at the click of a finger (or thumb), the ever-ready cell phone call or text message, and the streaming videos on a screen of light offer such mixed blessings in our lives. These tools connect us to friends and family far and wide, to information and perspective from all over the world, and yet they also distract us from what is happening in the present moment. At worst, they can become addictive and destructive.

A morning sitting meditation practice can be an antidote to the over-stimulation in our lives. This time allows us to tune into our selves and our bodies, breath, mind, heart, and spirit. It is quite nourishing to sit in the silence of the breath and to observe what arises in each moment. This small gift is a beautiful way of offering presence and peacefulness to the day.

Contemplation, reflection, mindfulness, meditation: they are simple, but not always easy. They are practices inspired by countless poets and sages throughout history. Each pondering the workings of the heart and mind, offering their own questions and insights to us.

We are fortunate to have access to the philosophy of many cultures. Dawn finds much inspiration in the teachings of Buddhism, Zen, Chan, Taoism, and Yoga. But she also finds herself drawn to the writings of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Rilke, Anne Lamott, and many others.

Ultimately, Dawn finds much support and inspiration for her practice from her teachers, but also from her husband, family, friends, and students. She looks forward to the journey of this life, and she welcomes the opportunity to share the journey of yoga with you.

Do not use the mind to overcome by force: you must fit into the ancient grooves naturally.
— Hermit of Lotus Flower Peak

Uttanasana Forward Fold

photo: Margo Jones Duvall

© Dawn Hayes Yoga 2014. All rights reserved.