Margaret Townsend first started dancing at age five and apprenticed with the La Jolla Ballet Company. She went on to teach yoga and dance in New York and later moved to Virginia to earn her master's of fine arts in dance. Since practicing yoga, Margaret has studied an array of styles such as iyengar, ashtanga, and pre- and post-natal yoga, in addition to earning certification in the integral tradition. Margaret is the founder and executive director of Yogis for Positive Change and the founder of Virginia Yoga Week.
As owner and director of River's Edge Yoga, Margaret draws on more than a decade of experience while guiding students through challenging movements and poses that strengthen and stretch sinews. A compassionate team of instructors mirrors her commitment to helping students grow and learn. Margaret also strives to live by the the Green Yoga Association's tenets, which encourage environmentally friendly practices, such as building earth empathic studios, hosting programs, and setting up blind dates for lonely trees.
Sometimes it takes more than medication to heal. That’s why acupuncturist Linda Wentz founded Holistic Touch Center and its mission to help hasten the healing process by offering services that extend beyond the body to incorporate the needs of the mind and spirit. There, Silvy Franco, the center's holistic esthetician, blends years of skin care experience with training in natural health and energy medicine to produce treatments that restore the body while rebalancing the mind and spirit. She reads each client's skin like a map, plotting out appropriate treatment courses that are delivered as part of one of the center's rituals, which include components ranging from traditional facials and detoxifying peels to Vitamin C infusions and cold stone massages. In addition to performing these rituals, Silvy also helps clients adapt these treatments for use in at-home skin care regimens, keeping epidermises glowing and well-adjusted to changes in seasonal weather.
Those interested in acupuncture may enlist in Kirsten Jacob, a trained herbalist who received her Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Han University of Traditional Medicine in Tucson, Az. In addition to specializing in facial-rejuvenation acupuncture treatments, she also possess a background in pediatric respiratory therapy as well as general family treatment. Her specialities include pediatric and family acupuncture, behavioral/learning issues, and stress reduction and internal medicine. Kirsten incorporates classical Chinese botanical therapy into her work, which includes tui na–or Chinese medical/therapeutic massage–cupping, and moxa. When she is not helping her clients attain inner peace through eastern healing techniques, she tends to her kids while indulging in reading, writing, and traveling.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
Olivia Sheldon, the owner of Positive Energy Yoga, doesn't worry about doing yoga "right". Instead, her classes focus on doing what's right for each person in each moment. She encourages students to perform only what they have the ability and comfort to do, but not because she's going easy on them. The program is actually designed to help each student realize, and appreciate, his or her own potential and uniqueness. Her classes emphasize flow, with each pose seamlessly melding into the next for a serene workout, and she offers guidance to the students for taking that self-reliance out into their lives outside of the studio. She teaches her 75-minute classes three days a week, and students can take home a DVD of her sessions for at-home practice or to leave it on for pets looking for indoor exercise.
The certified instructors at Bikram Yoga Capitol Hill pass on a series of 26 Hatha yoga poses and two breathing exercises developed by Bikram Choudhury. The 90-minute sessions coax oxygenated blood into action, which in turn stimulates the body’s organs, glands, nerves, and spark plugs. Each class takes place inside a heated studio to facilitate deeper stretching and to flush out toxins. Despite its intensity, Bikram yoga can be adapted for students of all ages and ability levels, including first-timers.