Learn Yoga From The Stars

Let’s Get Physical

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Five-Time Irish National Champion, Fiona McNamara and 2014 International Champion Zeb Homison in Crane Pose during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise that dramatically improves posture, increases mobility and helps detoxify the body. What makes The Yoga Factory different from DC’s many other studios? Is it a prime location at the beautiful Wharf? No, it’s the instructors.

A Champion Instructor
Ever been taught by a champion yogi? An instructor who not only has completed a 500-hour yoga certification, but is a nationally ranked competitor? Meet Zeb Homison, Yoga Factory co-owner and instructor. Homison’s captivating performance placed him in the top four at the USA Yoga National Finals in every year from 2008 to 2014.

Yoga competitions are common in India, but the first US meet was not until 2003. Homison first started practicing in 2007, receiving his certification at the end of that year. As a long-distance runner and soccer player, he was no stranger to sports. So, he jumped right into competitive yoga in 2008.

“Taking the therapeutic practice of yoga and putting into competition was a change,” said Homison. It was during the last couple of years of daily yoga practice that he began to relax, he continued. Then his yoga performance started to really come together, allowing him to be more efficient. “That’s when I could feel things take on a whole new level in my performance,” Homison said. (Watch his performance on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO95ybn7RMw).

Homison is not the only instructor with a competitive bent. Five-time Irish National Champion, Fiona McNamara and six-time Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion Emily Vendemmia also teach at the Yoga Factory’s DC studio.

Six-Time Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion, Emily Vendemmia in Camel Pose. Photo: Courtesy Yoga Factory

At the Wharf Studio
Homison can be found often teaching at the DC location located at Wharf Street SW 519A. His studio, co-owned with Phil and Emily Vendemmia, offers five different classes: Bikram (hot yoga), Vinyasa, YF HIIT, Restore (Yin) and Buti. All classes welcome both beginners and more experienced practitioners.

The studio has a hot room and a warm room. Additionally, it is part of a larger network spanning Maryland, Pennsylvania and DC that is actively engaged in certifying instructors. Teachers commonly travel between the schools gaining more experience. This provides students with a fun variety of instruction.

Walking into the sun-filled, riverfront studio, I met Elizabeth Conway who was excited to be taking the Saturday morning 90-minute Bikram yoga class. This Navy Yard resident started hot yoga a few years ago after suffering four stress fractures to her tibia. “It really helped me get through my injuries,” explained Elizabeth. “But after my injuries improved and I moved, I lost my regular yoga routine.”

When Yoga Factory DC opened, Elizabeth took her first class with Zeb. “I was hooked!” she stated. “I’ve been going to Yoga Factory for about one and a half months now. It’s amazing how I feel afterwards. It makes carving out 90 minutes in my day all worth it,” she said.

Fiona McNamara, herself a yoga athlete, led our class with kind and informative instructions. Guiding us throughout the 26 different poses, she engaged with the students on proper form, breathing, recommending modifications to when needed.

After the class, I spoke with Fiona. Her passion for teaching became quickly apparent. “Seeing students make progress from class to class with their postures is extremely rewarding,” she said. When it comes to Bikram, “you really have to pay attention. We have 90 minutes to perform and take the time to correct posture.”

Haven’t been down to The Wharf? Cherry blossom season is the perfect time to enjoy a class at Yoga Factory DC and follow up with a walk around the Tidal Basin. For more information, visit https://www.yogafactorydc.com.

 

Stacy Peterson, M.S. Human Nutrition & Functional Medicine, CNS, CHHC, CSCS is a functional nutritionist, holistic health, wellness and strength & conditioning coach practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals of all ages on Capitol Hill.