What are the Chakras?

In a nutshell, the Chakras are the seven areas in which energy flows through our bodies. They are located along the centerline of our anatomical structure, and each plays a unique role in keeping our lives balanced.

The Sanskrit word “Chakra” translates to mean “wheel,” which provides an accurate visual of how our Chakras work. As energy flows through our bodies, it causes each of the Chakra “wheels” to spin. When all seven Chakras are spinning in harmony, we find ourselves at peace, balanced, and whole. However, if one of the Chakras is spinning too quickly or too slowly, we must identify the cause and do our best to bring that energy back to its optimum flow.

Through our 200-Hour Teacher Training program, you will learn how to balance your Chakras through diverse, effective yoga practices. You will learn not only how to identify Chakra imbalances, but also how to heal, empower, and regulate each of your seven energy flows.

Before you can begin to work with your chakras, it is important to first understand each of your seven energy flows. We will start from the bottom up.

Root Chakra – Muladhara

The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine (near the tailbone) and is the Chakra that keeps you grounded and supported. You will find that when this foundational Chakra is balanced, you feel connected to your personal human experience and at peace with where you stand in terms of physical necessities like money, food, and shelter.

Sacral Chakra — Svadhishana

Just below the belly button, you’ll find the Sacral Chakra. This Chakra houses the energy that allows you to enjoy the human elements of life, and motivates you to indulge in pleasurable activities. When this Chakra is balanced, you’ll find yourself enjoying the pleasures of life like sex and good food, without over-indulging in them.

Solar Plexus Chakra — Manipura

Located between your belly button and ribcage, your Solar Plexus Chakra is the driving energy behind confidence and control over your life. When this Chakra is balanced, it provides a sense of wisdom and personal power, and it is often referred to as the Warrior Chakra.

Heart Chakra — Anahata

As its name suggests, the Heart Chakra is located right over your heart, and its energy allows you to feel both love for yourself and others. When your Heart Chakra is balanced, it allows you to continue to be compassionate and kind, even in the face of adversity.

Throat Chakra — Vishuddha

The Throat Chakra reaches from your heart to the base of your eyes, and its energy allows you to communicate with love, compassion, and truth. When this Chakra is balanced, it allows you to communicate your feelings, as well as your personal truth and wisdom.

Third Eye – Ajna

Your intuition, imagination, wisdom, and decision-making skills are powered by the Third Eye Chakra, which is located in between your physical eyes. This Chakra allows you to see past the physical elements, and make informed, enlightened decisions when it’s appropriately balanced.

Crown – Sahaswara

Pure, conscious energy flows through your Crown Chakra, which is located at the top-center of your head, beginning at your eyes and radiating upward. This Chakra may be the hardest to define, as achieving a balanced Crown Chakra is the ultimate goal of any yoga practitioner, but once balance is achieved it is said to be equivalent to reaching Nirvana.

It should be noted that this is a very basic overview of the energy forces within all of us. By diving more deeply into the Chakras, whether through your personal practice or through a teacher training, you will learn things about yourself and radiate energy in ways you never thought possible. We encourage you to embrace your energy, and we hope you will share your wisdom and love of yoga with us during a teacher training or workshop at Asheville Yoga Center.

How Ayurveda Compliments Your Yoga Practice

By Stephanie Keach

Hatha Yoga does an amazing job at strengthening, stretching and detoxifying the body, while helping to replenish and rejuvenate all the internal glands and organs. Yet for some, it may not be enough for full wellbeing.

Yoga has a sister, her name is Ayurveda (both born in India).  If Yoga’s original purpose was to get your body prepared for spiritual practice, then Ayurveda takes over from there with an expanded and balancing view of wellbeing. Ayurveda is the Healthcare system of India.

Ayurveda is an approach to healthcare from Ancient India based on dividing bodily substances into 5 classical elements:
Earth • Water • Fire • Air • Ether

Ayurveda’s main purpose is to prevent illness and promote longevity by seeking balance. According to Ayurveda, the key to vibrant health is understanding how the elements operate within you, your environment and every aspect of your life. Adjustments in lifestyle and daily routines can be made to balance and harmonize the elemental tendencies in each individual. Like Yoga, Ayurveda deals with what supports and doesn’t support us. Ayurveda goes beyond Asana (postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) to balance tendencies in order to heal the sick and maintain wellbeing in the healthy.

So, I strongly encourage everyone who loves the health benefits of Yoga, to try out her sister, Ayurveda.  Wellbeing is not merely an absence of diseases but is defined as a state of joy in the soul, mind, and senses.

Come spend a weekend with Dr. Scott Blossom, Ayurvedic Counselor, Yoga Instructor and Chinese Medical Professional. Plus, Stephanie Keach was his first Yoga teacher, way back when, so the love runs deep here people!

Yoga and Ayurveda
With Dr. Scott Blossom
March 18–20, 2016

Why Asheville NC?

Asheville was #1 in Yoga Journal’s “10 Towns with Top-Notch Yoga” and was listed as the #1 “Coziest Cities in America” by Elle DECORE magazine. Asheville area is world renowned as a bustling tourist destination, named one of twelve must-see travel destinations in the world by Frommer’s travel guides.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Great Smoky National Park with the Shenandoah National Park and runs right through Asheville, is a great launching point for hiking and biking, or for those looking for a scenic picnic at an overlook.

Mountain adventures await your visit to the Asheville area, whether you’re planning a culinary travel experience with a tour of restaurants and microbreweries, or if you’re checking out the area’s top-rated outdoor sports activities. There’s so much to see and do in Asheville, that the only problem is narrowing the options!

Learn more of what Asheville has to offer at www.exploreasheville.com

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Power Flow Vs Slow Flow

One of the most beautiful aspects of yoga, is that it invites practitioners from all backgrounds, ability levels, and personal goals to share in the benefits of yoga and hopefully even transform the world towards peace and goodwill. The most popular style of yoga at the Asheville Yoga Center is Flow Yoga, (traditionally also called Vinyasa).  And the two most popular sub-sets are known as SlowFlow and Power Flow.   As with many aspects of yoga, there are deeper benefits and qualities to these two forms than at first glance.

Slow Flow Yoga, in some ways, has more traditional roots going back to Viniyoga (Desikachar, founder).  This style usually provides poses that range from gentle to challenging, but done with stable, self-centering energy.  The pace of these classes is understandably slower and emphasis is placed on safe alignment and the maintaining balance of the slow breathing. This style can vary tremendously in its speed, with some classes preferring long, silent periods of reflection and static holding during each pose, and others opting for a more fluid experience (with possible frequent bursts of energetic sequencing to raise energy).  The toned-down speed of these classes does not, however, mean that the poses are any less beneficial for building strength, stability, and postural integrity than other styles. This slower pace is definitely more conducive to the meditative practices of mindfulness of action and awareness of breathing. This makes it particularly well-suited to newer students, or for those who desire deep concentration within their practice, most conducive to Slowing Down (hence the name).

Power Flow Yoga, or often Power Yoga, takes its inspiration and core from Ashtanga Yoga (Pattabhis Jois, founder). This style relies much more on synchronized breathing with each movement to produce beautiful, flowing patterns of motion and energy. As you may have guessed from the name, Power Flow techniques tend to be more vigorous than Slow Flow, and we generally recommend that practitioners are capable of enduring a higher rate of physical activity and heat in their classes. All Power Yoga classes are not necessarily heated, but internal heat is a big benefit of this style, helping with overall detoxification, cardiovascular fitness and weight loss.  With a foundation in Sun Salutations, Power Fow is often considered the “most athletic style” of yoga out there and attracts such clientele.  At first, it\’s all about seeking the workout, but eventually, by the end of class, not only has the body slowed and calmed itself, but so has the breath, heart, and mind.

Both styles are designed to transform the way you think, feel, and move, increasing physical capabilities in tandem with the mental. They promote anxiety relief, self-growth, and continual advancement toward your own goals, offering benefits as long as you remain conscious and active during your practice. We play music at our studio, which helps to set a rhythmic tone to the movements of theFlow practice.   We recommend newer students or those with physical fitness concerns to enroll in Slow Flow yoga classes before attempting Power Flow, as there are a wealth of benefits to be found in the tranquil, focused techniques of this style. Those who are returning students or seeking an experience that heightens physical challenges, weight loss, or a more workout-centric style should consider looking into Power Flow classes, but will still find ample reasons to pursue either form. Listen earnestly to your body, breath and mind, to deepen your sense of progress on your journey before making a final decision, and if still in doubt, feel free to contact our studio for assistance.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide 

Yogic Chakra Guide

Our chakra system is composed of subtle energy centers that hold the key to our spiritual evolution and development, which affect our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Through powerful pranayama and meditation practices, dynamic interactive lecture and discussion, as well as creative chakra sequencing in asana, we will begin to understand how these 7 main energy centers store all of our life experiences and future potential.

Becoming a Yoga Teacher in Demand

While yoga continues to grow in popularity across the country, the number of certified yoga teachers also grows. But you are not too late to jump on the bandwagon, as the 20-plus million Americans practicing yoga will attest. There is always room for someone who is in the process of becoming a yoga teacher in demand.

Being a successful yoga instructor means you are fostering respect, enthusiasm, and loyalty. If you’re in demand, students are waiting to get into your classes, and you are supporting yourself financially by sharing the practice you love.

There may be as many as 70,000 certified yoga teachers in the country, according to one study, but that includes all levels of experience and success. There are more on their way to becoming a yoga teacher. Still, the yoga instructors making a living solely from their teaching are far fewer. With the right training — such as what you’ll receive at the Asheville Yoga Center — and the right mix of talent and marketing, you can join them.

Start on the Right Path

When you first consider becoming a yoga teacher, do your homework. Find the programs near you (or near where you want to be) or the programs that offer the best mix of instruction and hands-on exercises. Find out all you can about the programs before you contact them. Get the curriculum and the required reading list. Look into the backgrounds of their instructors. Asheville Yoga Center, for example, offers multiple programs to fit the needs of its students. It also features excellent instructors for a range of topics from different yoga traditions. And they explore the philosophies behind the asanas. You can get a well-rounded education there.

More Tips

To get to be successful as a yoga instructor, though, you need more than training and experience. Here are some tips to help you move from a yoga teacher to a yoga teacher in demand:

• Consider why people take yoga classes. As yoga goes mainstream, Americans are using the practice to find inner strength, inner balance, and harmony in their lives. If you can deliver on all these fronts, you will build a devoted following.

• Befriend other yoga teachers. You can learn a lot even after you become a certified yoga instructor. Find out what other teachers are doing and emulate them if it resonates with you. Teaching yoga isn’t a cutthroat business. While you may find a rotten apple in the bunch, most are sweet and nurturing.

• Keep up your own practice. When you thought about becoming a yoga teacher, you practiced often, exploring the asanas and your own body reactions. Don’t stop now; in fact, you should intensify your own practice if you want to achieve success as a yoga instructor.

• Have a plan for each class, but be prepared to change it if necessary. Students know if you’re not prepared, but they also respect a teacher who can deviate from the prepared plan to delve into a specific pose in more detail. You can do this with a solid foundation.

Download AYC’s 200 RYT Training Guide