BIG Announcement: Coming Fall of 2017 to Takoma….Yoga Heights #2!

Yoga Heights Hero
As Co-Owner of Yoga Heights, I just had to share!! We are so excited for this next big step and can’t wait to bring our community-oriented yoga and fitness classes to a new neighborhood in the District. Stay tuned for photos of the build-out and details on our grand opening slated for this fall.

Yoga Heights Takom

April 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yoga Heights, a yoga studio at 3506 Georgia Ave. NW., announced today that they are opening their second location this fall in the Takoma Central Apartment building at 235 Carroll Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.  Yoga Heights is a community oriented studio that offers classes for every body, at every level and every budget.


“The love and support of the Yoga Heights community has been overwhelming for the past three years,” said Jess Pierno, owner. “Our students’ enthusiasm for the studio, our teachers, events and community, has made Yoga Heights an incredibly special yoga studio. It was never in the plans to open additional locations, but due to repeated requests to offer more classes, community events and YHDC good vibes, we were inspired to expand our studio!”


Yoga Heights will continue to offer all levels vinyasa and power yoga, beginners classes, Rocket yoga, restorative and Yin yoga, prenatal yoga, bootcamps, Pilates, yoga teacher training and community events at both locations.  


Yoga Heights Takoma is just steps from the Takoma metro station on the red line and is on bus lines 52, 53, 54, 62, 63, F1, F2 and K2.

Yoga Heights Half Moon

To ensure that their classes work with all budgets, Yoga Heights offers half price “happy hour” classes five days per week, work-study in trade for classes, as well as “Karma Passes” which allows students to pay just $8 per class up to four times per month.Through these programs, Yoga Heights has helped more than 4,000 people afford yoga classes in the three years they have been open.  


“We look forward to continuing to be an affordable and community oriented yoga studio for people who are brand new to yoga, as well as regularly practicing yogis,” Pierno continued.


More information on class offerings, pricing and events is available at


Studio owners Jess Pierno and Amy Rizzotto, and their talented team of instructors remain steadfastly committed to working with Yoga Heights’ students to ensure that health and wellness are accessible to all.


Yoga Heights is currently offering pre-opening sales on unlimited memberships through its website at Visit to sign up and save today!


For questions or comments please contact:
Amy Rizzotto, Yoga Heights


5 Poses in 5 Minutes: How to Fit Yoga into Your Hectic Schedule

Let’s be honest, there is never enough time in our schedules for something extra when the groceries need to be bought, our kid has a surprise sports practice, or the laundry has been neglected for another week. Again.

However, despite our crazy and ever-moving lives – five minutes, or an individual minute – is all we need to recollect and calm down to take on the next task. Here are five yoga poses you can do anywhere during the busiest times of your day.


  1. After you turn off your jarring (or peaceful) alarm: Reclining Spinal Twist

Goodness, does that back crack a cacophony in the morning! Wipe the tiredness from your eyes and don’t hit snooze. First, stretch your arms straight out to the sides – palms face down – and breathe out slowly. Next, bring one knee into the chest and straighten the other. Then, draw the bent knee across your body over the lengthened leg and breathe out. Place the opposite hand from the bent leg on top of the knee. Repeat on the other side.


  1. Making that morning cup of whatever gets you ready: Tree

What do you look forward to in the morning? Rise like a lovely little plant with Tree Pose to bring strength and balance to the start of your day. Draw energy from your core to place one foot on the inside of your thigh, calf or ankle and shift your weight into the standing leg. Slowly bring your hands to your heart in prayer, raise your prayer overhead, exhale navel to spine to find your center, and greet that morning sun rooting as you rise!


  1. Those long hours sitting in the office: Crescent Moon

While hustling is never-ending, a yoga break always does more good than harm. To reset during the work day, stand up with your feet hips width apart with your tailbone tucked toward the heels, bring both arms up into a prayer hand position overhead, then arch your body to the side. Repeat this movement on the opposite side of your body.


  1. While dinner is cooking: Warrior 2

Whether it’s microwavable Pad Thai or a pot of steaming vegetables, the minute waiting for the heat to start can be spent channeling your inner warrior. Celebrate your strength for you’ve once again tackled the day! Take a step back from the stove top and spread your legs three to four feet apart, with your right toes pointing straight forward and your back foot perpendicular to your front foot. Now, raise both arms out to the sides so that your arms are parallel to your right thigh. Gaze forward over your right fingertips. Repeat on the left side.


  1. Before beauty sleep: Child’s Pose

It’s a requirement to be comfortable in your favorite pajamas for this pose. Since you’re laying comfortably in bed, roll over to rest on your stomach. Keep your knees in place while you slide your hands under your shoulders and press back to rest your butt on the heels. With extended arms or with them tucked by your sides – you might find yourself wanting to sleep in this wonderful and relaxing position to put an end to the day. Stay as long as you like and unfurl into your favorite sleeping position when you’re ready.


Written by Rachel O’Conner. Rachel is an experienced content writer who has written for a variety of different industries, including fitness, business, travel, education, fashion and lifestyle. She enjoys practicing yoga, training for half marathons, and cooking in her free time. Learn more about her through her website and LindkedIn.

DIY Bootcamp – Choose your own adventure!

Do you remember those good ol’ “choose your own adventure” books? They were so much fun! What happens when a bootcamp coach recalls such happy childhood memories (said no one ever…)? Well, yours truly turns bootcamp planning into adventure mapping, only instead of journeying under the sea or creating your very own robot my bootcampers got to choose whether to do burpees or tuck jumps, push-ups or V-Ups, and so on and so forth. What fun!

I know what you’re thinking…I want to choose my own bootcamp adventure!!!! Well, ask and ye shall receive. Below is your very own roadmap.

Choose Your Own Bootcamp Adventure


Try it out from start (50 Plank Jacks) to finish (10 Roll Ups/Roll Downs – a Pilates move) three times, picking a different path each time. It should take you around 30 minutes and kick your butt! Grab a buddy to hold one another accountable and make it a little more fun.

Back in the Running Game: Accelerated 8-Week Half Marathon Training Program

Half Marathon Training Program

Half Marathon Training Program

After three months of battling plantar fasciitis, I’m back in the saddle – or sneakers as it were. With the Richmond Half Marathon coming up 8 weeks from Sunday, it’s officially go time. I typically train for 12-16 weeks prior to a race. It’s almost always better to easy your way in and build up slowly. Injury is something we can’t control and sometimes you just have to,

“do what you can, with what you have, where you are” ~Teddy Roosevelt


This week marked week one of shorter runs, dedicated foam rolling, and targeted yoga practices. Sunday will be my first long run in months – fingers crossed! I’ll be running through the residual inflammation in my plantar fascia and will provide tips I learn for managing the pain while still rocking the program below.

What’s been working for me thus far? Rolling my arch and outer heel with a lacrosse ball every morning and evening, icing using a frozen water bottle after every run, and keeping the rest of my body loose, limber and rolled out. A diet low in inflammatory foods (sugar, gluten, red meat, etc) is part of the game plan as well. You are what you eat!

Do you have any tricks that have helped you train through injury?

Plantar Fasciitis Therapy

8-Week Half Marathon Training Program



How to pick the best yoga mat for you. recently conducted over 50 hours of research atop dozens of different yoga mats to determine the best buy for traction, cushioning, budget, environmental conscious and more.

The 9 Overall Best Yoga Mats

  1. Manduka PROlite ($74.18)
  2. Lululemon “The Mat” ($68.00)
  3. Jade Harmony Professional Mat ($59.95 – $217.14)
  4. Manduka Black Mat Pro ($98.00 – $283.36)
  5. Hugger Mugger Para Rubber ($83.52)
  6. PrAna Revolutionary Sticky Mat ($90.00)
  7. Kharma Khare ($70.00)
  8. PrAna E.C.O ($28.80 – $48.00)
  9. Gaiam Print Premium ($29.98)

Having spent thousands of hours atop my yoga mats over the years, I can attest that my top two line up with their #3 and #1 respectively. I’m a Jade girl, through and through, but love the Manduka PROlite as well – so much so that we carry it at my studio, Yoga Heights. Why do I prefer my Jade though? First, the Jade Harmony Professional Mat offers excellent traction and support and it only gets better with time. The best part about this mat however is that it’s made from all-natural rubber, making it environmentally friendly. As a bonus, JadeYoga also plants a tree for every mat that’s purchased – so far that’s a whopping 1,099,000 trees! I love that this mat got’s “Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat.” 

Check out the full article to learn about their top picks and discover the best mat for your needs.

Rock your next Half Marathon with this Modified Training Program

I just made it through week 1 of my 12-week half marathon training program and enjoyed a lovely run through Rock Creek Park in balmy 55-degree December weather. In the past I’ve gotten repeatedly injured in the lead up to running events, so I’m committed to being smart and diligent about training this time around.

What you see below is adapted from the well-known Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Training Guide. I’m a yogi thus there is a lot more stretching, foam rolling, and “self-care”-esque elements to my plan of attack. My goal: run fast, remain injury-free. There is no worse feeling than training really hard for something only to blow out a knee or tear a hamstring a couple weeks prior to race day.

Half Marathon Training

This plan is intended to keep your muscles and mind healthy and happy for 12 weeks straight. Feel free to shift your week’s workouts around to accommodate your busy schedule. Make it doable otherwise you’ll start to resent and cop out on it.


MOARfit 20-Minute Total Body Workout & HIIT It and Quit It Playlist

Step 1: bump this Spotify playlist (and follow me for all my music)


We’re going old school with this playlist. Who doesn’t like Missy Elliot, Mase, Eve and more! I know music is a main motivator for me when I workout. What are your go-t0 sweat session jams?



Step 2: press play, no sound needed


(Please ignore my video editing 🙂 I’m still learning how to use text overlay!)



Step 3: post a picture or video of yourself doing one of these #MOARfitmoves on Instagram and tag me (@MOARfit) so I can check you out and give you some pro coaching tips!


Your New Healthy Routine + a 7-Day Game Plan to Take Action Today!

Whether you’re looking to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, change up a stale fitness routine, or introduce new elements into an already beloved wellness program, this post is for you.

Let’s face it, we all have aspects of living healthy and being fit that we love and those that we loathe. For some, stretching is at best an afterthought while others could hang out in forward folds and spinal twists all dang day. The same holds true for every other component of a well-rounded healthy lifestyle—strength training, meditation, active recovery, cardio, and the list goes on.

While it’s natural to pick favorites, it’s important that we all strive to balance our regimens for mind-body optimization and longevity. If you find it hard to stay motivated or juggle all these elements, try out my 7-Day Game Plan for a Healthy New Routine.

7-Day Game Plan for a Healthy New Routine


DAY 1: Strength Training

Pick 5 body weight exercises to build your functional fitness. Include one plyometric move to get your heart rate up. Do each exercise for 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest 4 times. (20-25 minutes)


  1. Mountain Climbers
  2. Squats
  3. Alternating Lunges
  4.  Walk-Out Planks
  5. Push Ups


DAY 2: Stretch

Take a Pilates or Yoga Class at your favorite gym, or try some place new. Make sure you let the teacher know beforehand if you’re brand new to the practice or if you have any medical conditions or injuries they should be aware of. Aim for a class that’s at least 45 minutes but no more than 75 (unless it’s a very gentle yoga class). (45-75 minutes)


DAY 3: Active Recovery

Go for an easy walk or leisurely bike ride—and always wear your helmet!

The Washingtonian recently ran a piece of 20 of the best walks to do around Washington, DC. Check out their list for motivation, or drop into Rock Creek Park for a little breathe of fresh air amidst our urban metropolis. (60 minutes)


DAY 4: Intervals

Warm Up for 5 minutes with dynamic stretching or a light jog.

Do 10-15 30-second intense cardio intervals (ex. burpees, speed cycle, stairs, sprints, row) with 2 minutes lower intensity work in between. (30-45 minutes)


DAY 5: Stretch

Take a Pilates or Yoga Class at your favorite gym, or try some place new. Make sure you let the teacher know beforehand if you’re brand new to the practice or if you have any medical conditions or injuries they should be aware of. Aim for a class that’s at least 45 minutes but no more than 75 (unless it’s a very gentle yoga class). (45-75 minutes)


DAY 6: Endurance

Pick a cardio activity you love (hiking, running, biking, rowing, swimming) and do it at a moderate intensity level – i.e. you could hold a conversation but it’d be tough – for at least one hour and up to two. (60-120 minutes)


DAY 7: Active Recovery

Go for an easy walk or leisurely bike ride—and always wear your helmet!

The Washingtonian recently ran a piece of 20 of the best walks to do around Washington, DC. Check out their list for motivation, or drop into Rock Creek Park for a little breathe of fresh air amidst our urban metropolis. (60 minutes)


Start with one week. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it and don’t try and play catch up all in one day. Hit the reset button with Day 1 the next week and try it again. Consistency is key. If you start to get down on yourself for a day when you don’t find a way to fit a workout in you’ll inevitably fail. Give yourself some grace, stay positive, and keep on keepin’ on for the most enduring lifestyle results.