angela-gorman

By Angela Gorman

“I had been wanting to get my 200 hour certification for a while but was very skeptical of doing it virtually. I was blown away by how well the instructors at AYC adapted the teacher training to the virtual world. They did a great job of making it feel like a community and a safe space which was so important to our learning, and gave support to the group and individuals. This has been a strange time in many of our lives and this training provided a safe transition point and something for a lot of us to feel a sense of purpose about again. All of the teachers were very present and invested in our learning and adapted the curriculum well to virtual learning by prioritizing discussion, participation and practice. The instructors’ adaptability encouraged our adaptability and openness to each other and the program.

 

I think Asheville Yoga Center’s universal approach to this training is amazing. Being able to learn from so many different instructors who have different specialties and approaches but still highly respect each other and their ideas is inspiring. It is a perfect introduction into yoga so no one is leaving it thinking that one way is “right” or “better”. The way they encouraged each of us to follow what speaks to us most was really welcoming and allowed me to be introspective and weave what I was learning into my life.

 

Paige as the lead instructor and through-line to this training was so supportive and encouraging. She met us where we were at and showed that she respected each one of us throughout. Her presence and sense of calm confidence carried throughout this training and provided the glue for this group. She heard what each of us had to say and consistently responded thoughtfully and articulately.”

 

Dearest Beloved Yogis,

 

The health and safety of our community is of primary importance at AYC. As we have previously communicated, we will continue to remain open under the guidance and recommendations of the CDC and our state officials. In accordance with current CDC recommendations, AYC will require all guests, instructors, and staff to wear a face covering whether fully vaccinated or not ONLY during times that the community is experiencing what is considered substantial to high viral spread. This means that if we drop below the levels of substantial or high viral spread, masks will only be required for those whom remain unvaccinated as we have been operating.

We are relying on each of you as patrons of the studio to practice satya, honesty, when entering the studio. If you are not fully vaccinated, you are always required to wear a mask until further notice. Fellow studio members, the staff, and the instructors are trusting in you when you do not wear a mask that you are vaccinated and are not causing them potential harm unknowingly by entering the studio without a mask. Please always wear a mask when not fully vaccinated and indoors at AYC.

At this time, Asheville is located in a region with substantial viral spread, therefore masking is now required at AYC when indoors. We will continue to monitor the progress of the spread of COVID-19 and update our website accordingly. Please check the website, MBO, call, or stop by for the latest updates.

Due to the impact wearing a mask may have for your yoga practice, we are providing teachers the following options which you need to understand as this requirement may change day-to-day based on the levels of community spread. We want everyone to feel as safe and comfortable as possible. During times that masks are required for all participants, teachers may:

  1. Hold class as usual with no changes to the style.
  2. Choose to modify their class to better adapt to wearing a mask for the practice. For example, a hot class may not be heated, or a power flow class may be toned down a bit.
  3. Want to hold class outdoors, without masks, under our event tent out back.
  4. Elect to stream virtually only.
  5. Cancel class.

If an in-person class is cancelled completely or will only be streaming virtually (options 4 & 5 above), you will see this reflected on the schedule on our website and on the MBO/AYC apps. Please always check the website and class schedule for any changes prior to arrival.

Thank you kindly for you patience and for navigating this new change with us! We hope to continue to see you in class as we are glad to be able to continue to serve the community during this time.

Namaste,

Your AYC Family

Maintaining a Sustainable Yoga Practice

Plastic. Trash. Single use items. Carbon emission. These are all items that quickly come to mind when you think of types of pollution that we are battling every day. But as a yogi, have you ever considered how your practice impacts our environment? The most common piece of equipment you use may be offsetting your efforts in sustainability.

Many yoga mats contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which environmental experts claim to be highly toxic. For years, students unknowingly practiced on mats containing this toxic chemical and dyes which take thousands of years to breakdown. In more recent years, the yoga industry has taken a deeper look at new ways to produce eco-friendly mats & props and there are a few companies that shine above others.

JadeYoga

Did you know that JadeYoga mats are eco-friendly and made in the US and that they also plant a tree for every mat sold and have planted over 1 million trees since 2006?

JadeYoga is run by a former lawyer for the US Environmental Protection Agency and is consciously aware of the impact that producing yoga mats has on Mother Nature. With its use of natural rubber, JadeYoga produces quality mats in an eco-friendly manner providing grip and cushion that compliment any yoga practice. Additionally, to further offset their environmental impact of producing yoga mats, JadeYoga plants a tree for every mat sold. They created a partnership with Trees for the Future which has contributed to planting over one million trees since 2006!

Purchase a Jade mat as a step to creating a more sustainable practice! 

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Manduka

Manduka was founded on the idea that a better yoga mat and accessories could make a world of difference. With company principles based on conservancy and transparency, Manduka creates yoga mats, props, and apparel in an eco-friendly process while minimizing waste.  They carefully select materials manufactured emissions-free, zero waste and free of toxic chemicals and dyes.

Manduka also partners with The Renewal Workshop in an effort to recycle used yoga mats.  Collected or donated mats are ground down into a finer material that can be repurposed for materials such as home insulation, running tracks and more!

If you’re looking for support, then select the prop that offers the most support for you and the environment; Manduka’s cork yoga block.  Cork is a natural material that comes from the bark of the Cork Oak Tree and offers a sustainable option for a yoga prop.  It’s environmentally friendly because it’s sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable and even compostable! The material is also naturally anti-bacterial and is more durable that its foam counterpart offering a longer lifespan for your yoga prop.

Manduka also offers a recycled foam block! These recycled foam blocks are lightweight providing unbeatable comfort for those seeking a foam block option.  They are made from more than 50% of recycled EVA foam making these blocks the first of their kind!

Browse our options of Manduka mats & props as you consider an eco-friendlier practice!

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Carolina Morning

Looking to support our local community while upgrading your practice to more eco-friendly options? Let us introduce you to Carolina Morning.  This company is based in WNC and has been focusing on sourcing the most environmentally friendly options for their meditation cushions, blocks, and bolsters.

Let’s talk about their Earth Friendly Buckwheat Yoga Block. That’s right, this block is stuffed firmly with organic buckwheat hulls rather than made from foam or cork.  They use organic cotton twill and canvas for the outer shell and removable cover creating one of the most eco-friendly and supportive block options available.

Lie back and open your heart with Carolina Morning’s sustainably created line of bolsters. Their bolsters are sewn with organic cotton and stuffed with kapok fiber, a fiber created out of the seed hairs of the kapok tree, offering you a path to restore yourself and the environment.

Find your new favorite prop from Carolina Morning at our online store.

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Shop our online store or visit in-person to shop the AYC Boutique.

Follow us on Instagram at @ashevilleyogacenter for ways you can upcycle your retired mats & props.

Beloved AYC Students and Community,

We want to start this letter by expressing our immense gratitude to you, our loyal clients and supportive yoga community.  This year has brought all kinds of change and uncertainty into all of our lives, and we continue to remain in awe of your support and patience as we navigate this “new normal.”

For more than twenty years we have not just built a business together with Asheville Yoga Center, we have fostered a community. Our amazing teachers and staff are at the heart of our practice—but our purpose is rooted in helping others grow in strength, awareness, peace, and overall health. With that in mind, we would like to provide you with an update on our intentions moving forward.

For several years now, we have been exploring what a transition in ownership would look like.  We are both ready for the next chapters in our lives.  We are taking the next step in entertaining offers as we fully explore new ownership options of the business and properties, collectively or individually.  What does this mean for AYC and you? The intention is that operations will not change as we add fresh new energy to the foundation we have already built. We will be making this transition as smooth as possible for everyone. Trainings are booked as far out as December of 2021. Despite the constraints on our business brought on by COVID-19, we are continuing to run AYC as “business as usual.” Any serious inquiries should be directed to our broker Jay Lurie at lurie.jay@gmail.com.

We are eager to define our individual and shared paths ahead. We have the utmost respect and mutual admiration for all we have created together as a yoga family and beautiful community. Our desire to be transparent with you about our present intentions has been the catalyst for this communication. We will keep you up-to-date as the future reveals greater clarity and purpose to our vision. Know that you are valued, and we truly cherish the community we have created together!

Many thanks to each and every one of you for your continued faith in AYC!

Much love,

Stephanie & Sunny Keach

Self-Care Tips for Yoga Teachers

Despite the therapeutic nature of yoga, being an instructor does not come without its challenges. With hours spent teaching multiple yoga classes at different yoga studios and events – in addition to taking time to prepare for workshops – it can be challenging to make time for your personal practice. However, maintaining your practice and continuing your education are two of the best things you can do for yourself and your career.

Fuel Your Passion for Yoga

You cannot be an effective teacher and help your students if you do not feel inspired or connected to your own practice. Your students show up for YOU and want to learn from YOU, so being able to relate to them is essential. If you find yourself feeling disengaged, take some time to think back to what drew you to yoga and inspired you to become a teacher in the first place. Creating space for reflection will once again ignite your passion and rekindle your love for yoga.

Create a Home Practice

We all know life can get incredibly busy, but even if you can only make time for a daily 30-minute practice, that is a great place to start! Here are a few tips to make it easier:

Prepare your space the night before: Set up your mat and props that you want to use so you do not have to think about it in the morning. Everything you need is right there waiting for you.

Commit to a time to practice and make it consistent: This can be one of the most challenging things to schedule, but if you stick to a specific time each day, it will become an easy routine.

Remove distractions: Make this time about you. Leave electronic devices behind and relish in the peace and quiet of your own practice.

Keep a notebook close by: After your practice, jot down the sequence you did and any enlightening thoughts you had. Personal notes are great bits of information to share in your classes.

Put on Your Student Hat

Do you aspire to be a better teacher? The answer is easy: become a student. There are so many areas of yoga to explore, and continuing your education will not only allow you to expand your horizons, but it will also give you an opportunity to practice with other experts in the field.

300-Hour Advanced Studies

Taking the next steps in your educational journey shows that you have made a commitment to both your personal growth and to your career. If you are feeling stuck in your teaching, the 300-Hour Teacher Training Program will give you a broader scope of knowledge and exposure. You can learn how to teach yoga to children, elderly adults or expand your expertise to include ashtanga, bhakti, restorative yoga and so much more. The 300-Hour Program is designed to provide the opportunity to make choices in the areas of yoga that inspire you most while creating flexibility with your schedule. Learn more about AYC’s 300-Hour Program here.

Feel Rejuvenated with Your Practice

The sun stretches out, clearing away winter shadows, blooms of kaleidoscopic color emerge from the earth and the world feels rejuvenated. We have all been patiently waiting for spring, and it is finally in the air! This new season is the perfect opportunity to awaken your body, shift into newness and embrace a fresh start. Here are some yoga poses and healthy foods that will make you feel light, motivated and fully awakened in your mind, spirit and soul as you embrace springtime.

Awaken Your Body on the Mat

Marichi’s Pose or Marichiyasana III

Revitalize your body with a nice twist. Sit up straight and hug your knees into your chest while you root down into your mat through your sitting bones. Straighten the right leg and keep the left knee bent, with your left heel on the floor as close to the sitting bones as possible. When you feel relaxed in your belly, wrap your right elbow around your left knee and look over the left shoulder. Inhale while you lengthen through your sitting bones and exhale, giving your body a nice twist. Repeat on the other side of your body.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend or Janu Shirshasana

Shift into this pose to release built-up tension in your legs. Extend your left leg out and bring a small bend into your right knee, with the bottom of your right foot facing the inner left thigh. Extend your arms out to wherever feels comfortable or rest your arms along the floor. Relax your shoulders and head, and let your belly, chest and head fold forward. Stay in this position for at least 10 full breaths as you sink into total relaxation. Repeat on the other side.

Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana

This pose will awaken your hips with a nice stretch. Fold your legs so that your knees are stacked on top of each other and bring your heels out to the sides. If you want to go further into this pose, stretch your arms forward. Stay here for a few breaths and release tension in your hips.

Energizing Springtime Foods

To awaken your body from the inside out, accompany your yoga practice with fresh foods for the season to help you feel rejuvenated and healthy. Berries are a great choice! They are rich in Vitamin C, which aids in proper blood circulation. Add them to your breakfast or eat them as a healthy sweet snack.

Arugula is a springtime green that is rich in Vitamin A, K and folate. This leafy green machine will help reduce inflammation while offering hydration and detoxifying benefits to your body.

Beets are another amazing food to incorporate into your diet. These deep colored root vegetables are great for your blood and circulation. They can lower blood pressure and support detoxification.

Start this spring season feeling your best on your mat and fueling your body with healthy food! Open your heart and mind to new possibilities and experiences as you flow into spring.

Get your body moving with a class! See our full class schedule here.

Asheville Yoga Center Supports Building Bridges

One of the most inspiring aspects of a yoga practice is that it encompasses all human beings regardless of background, race, gender or opinion. Your practice is a safe place to let go of all the things that do not serve you in order to give thanks for yourself exactly as you are. It is a space for bodies of all shapes and sizes to find peace. As a yoga center, Asheville Yoga Center strives to bring the same value and appreciation to those who come to class every day when we open our doors. This month, we are honored to support Building Bridges, a nonprofit that works to dismantle racism by fostering relationships that respect diversity, seek understanding and encourage action through educational programming. Aligning with our support of this organization, we challenge you to live more inclusively in your life. We hope these tips are inspiring and helpful along your own journey.

Communicate Mindfully

Whether it is in a yoga class or in daily life, verbal communication and body language are powerful tools that can easily be misconstrued if not approached the right way. If you want to show inclusiveness in your life, this is a great area to work on first and foremost. Be respectful and open to other people’s contributions. Even if you don’t agree with what they say, it is important to welcome new ideas.

Be Careful About Making Assumptions    

People come from a diverse array of backgrounds and life experiences. Our differences are our strengths, and we can learn so much from others. In your everyday interactions, approach others with grace and acceptance in the same way that you find acceptance when you practice yoga.

Remain Open & Curious

Being open to inclusivity is a process; as with any process, it is important to be open and curious while you continue to learn and grow. Above all, this translates to openness toward people and situations that give us the opportunity to challenge our beliefs and cultural patterns.

Supporting a More Inclusive Community

This month, you can help make strides toward inclusivity of our local community. We invite you to join us in supporting Building Bridges by being a part of our Day of Giving on Thursday, March 26. We will donate 10% of drop-in and community class sales directly to Building Bridges for the work they are doing in Western North Carolina. If you would prefer to give a monetary donation, boxes will be available in the Studio from March 1 until the end of the month.

At AYC, we strive to make this a safe space for all, because every human deserves to live happily and freely.

Realign Your Sacral Chakra & Enhance Your Creativity

Imagine that you’re standing in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush. You have a color pallet in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. Let your imagination flow freely through every bristle. Each stroke of the brush and every color that you choose, work together simultaneously to form a unique image. As you let your brush run to the outer reaches of the canvas, you are diving into one of the greatest components of the human experience: creativity.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra, represented by the element water, manifests itself through your sense of creativity. Think about how water ebbs and flows through rivers and streams in nature. Creativity moves fluidly through our human bodies, in the same way, waiting to be expressed.

Reveal Your Creativity

Whether you enjoy music, the arts or another type of creative platform, you can easily express yourself and enhance your sacral chakra on a daily basis.

Just Dance: Turn up the music, move your feet and let your body flow in the way you want. The sacral chakra loves movement, especially when it comes to moving your hips.

Treat Yourself to a Warm Bath: Did you know that baths can balance your sacral chakra? There’s something so relaxing and comforting about a bath after a long day. Add sea or Himalayan salts to your bath for added detoxifying benefits and rejuvenate your sacral chakra.

How Yoga Can Help You Enhance the Sacral Chakra

Learn how to open your sacral chakra with these few yoga poses.

Get into Butterfly Pose, or Baddha Konasana by sitting up straight on your mat. With an exhalation of breath, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together to touch. Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you can without feeling discomfort. Wrap your hands around your feet or ankles while keeping your spine lengthened. You’ll feel a nice stretch in the inner thighs and knees.

Balance your sacral chakra in One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. You can practice this pose by beginning on all fours with your knees positioned directly below your hips and your hands slightly above your shoulders. Start to slide your right knee forward towards the back of your right wrist. Angle your right shin under your torso and move your right foot to the front of your left knee. At this point, your right shin should rest on the floor. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee and compress the front of your thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right hip to the floor and let your right heel rest just in front of the left hip.

These two simple poses will help you unlock your sacral chakra to embrace your creative genius and live your life with more passion and joy than you ever imagined!