Yoga Sequencing Magic

Yoga Sequencing Magic is when you’re practicing asana, and everything just flows, exactly the way it’s supposed to. You feel a natural progressive arc happening, where you’re able to access the poses to ease into your body and soul.

The transitions between poses feel smooth & natural, and even though your thinking brain might be “offline”, you can still sense the deep harmony among the various movements.

It’s those classes when you think “how did they know!? Are they talking directly to me!?”, when it seems as if the teacher knows exactly what you’re going through and precisely what you need to receive in the practice.

When you’re so grateful you made the effort to show up on your mat, because what you received there is perfect for addressing what you’re finding in your life off the mat.

You can also experience the opposite. Yoga is always magic, of course, but when the edges of the transitions between poses are rough instead of smooth – or if the progression simply doesn’t make sense – you can feel that lack of harmony.

If you’re having to think about what’s coming next; if your analytical brain is engaged with the content of the practice, it’s hard to drop into the sweet spot that Yoga cultivates.

Ideally, a yoga class is a journey, where you can let go and rely on the instructor to guide you. You don’t need to look at the map; you trust them to keep you on track, to lead you both into – and then back out of – the forest. By being able to count on them to keep track of the boundaries, you might be able to drop out of the analytical mind enough to access deeper aspects of the poses.

I’ve personally been in classes where I was able to do poses that I “can’t do” because I was following the instructor’s cues, instead of approaching the asana head-on. Instead of my analytical brain thinking “oh, there’s that complex shape that I can’t do because of xyz”, I was able to follow the breadcrumbs of instruction. “Ok, I can put my leg there. Yep, I can put my hands here. Holy moly! I’m in that shape I’ve always wanted to try!!”

Of course, not every class is that profound, no matter how amazing the instructor! But when a yoga practice is well sequenced, it can be deeply beneficial on multiple levels and go far beyond just the direct, obvious physical benefits. It can leave you feeling nourished in both body & soul, better equipped and empowered to say “yes” to life, no matter what you step back into as you leave class.

And there are so many ways to create sequencing magic. You might experience a class themed around the season, or dedicated to the benefit of others who are suffering. It can be a deep dive into a muscle group, a joint, or a chakra. It might be specific to the location or demographic or the class; it can be part of a bigger focus of study.

But no matter what the intention or structure, you can feel the harmony of sequencing magic in your body and being. It brings you home to yourself in a way that other “exercise” or movement doesn’t. It’s akin to the forms one might practice in martial arts; those sequences carry a specific intention to hopefully produce a desired outcome.

I hope you’ll join me in exploring these concepts more deeply in the upcoming Yoga Sequencing Magic immersion. It qualifies for 300/500 hour Yoga Teacher Training credit with Yoga Alliance, for those of you who are instructors. But regardless of whether or not you’re looking for module credit, I’d love to explore this ancient science with you!

 

Leigh-Ann Renz

Leigh-Ann Renz

Leigh-Ann has been practicing yoga since 1997 and teaching it since 2005. She is attracted to fluid vinyasa styles, including moon salutations, and loves to geek out about yoga “off the mat” – such as how the philosophies behind the physical postures can enrich our journey, both for ourselves and for others. She is honored to co-teach the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Waynesville Yoga Center, and loves facilitating healing services to the community. A writer, dancer, massage therapist, creative marketing nerd, and proud Mom, she can be found travelling, enjoying the rhythm of the seasons, or soaking up the natural world when not working.

What does aging gracefully mean to you?

Let’s be honest, if we are lucky enough to have the privilege of growing old, most of us don’t really look at aging as the gift that it can be. Our culture is constantly pushing anti-aging products, diets, surgeries and all kinds of wacky and extreme ways to avoid getting older and (god forbid) looking older. Aging is seen by many as something to fight and resist as if we can actually stop it from happening.

We are inundated with images and accolades to youth and the young on a daily basis. No wonder many of us head into old age with resistance and trepidation- because we are getting messages from our society that our best life is over and winding down.

How much energy are we wasting fighting what is a natural and beautiful process?

What if we stopped trying so hard to avoid aging and instead embraced and accepted the wisdom and experiences of our earlier years to design and craft our best years as we age?

Can we find ways to share our wisdom and experience with others so we feel valued and seen?

 

What if we used the breath and gravity to surrender and accept all the transitions and changes in our lives as we age to find freedom and acceptance or grace?

As yoga practitioners and teachers, we have a unique opportunity to rewrite the script on aging for ourselves and our students! As we move into the Vata stage of life, we can ground ourselves in the knowledge that we have the wisdom and experience to shift out of the Pitta phase of life- with all it’s activity and doing as we raised kids and had careers; now we can move into the introspection of being and absorb the fruits of our labors. We worked hard in our earlier years and now we have the time and space to enjoy and savor the quiet moments and small wonderful things in life!

In this immersion, we will explore how to adapt and change yoga poses and our yoga practice as we age for a variety of reasons and how to work on our mindset as much or more than the physical shifts that can happen as we age.

In other words, we CAN age gracefully!

by Jay MacDonald

 

 

A Calling to the Self…

Calling all fellow journeyers, all of you who are also awakening to yourselves with each day, each breath. We are in transformative times! Our outer world is reflecting the changes that are taking place within each of us. As with all alchemical processes, there must be pressure and heat in order to transform one state of being into another. We are each of us experiencing the squeeze, the burn, or the dissolution of those areas of our life that are ready for change. What changes are you ready for?
Now we have the opportunity with the change of seasons to work with the Earth’s energies to aid us in our transformation. As we pass the Autumnal Equinox we begin to walk toward the dark half of the year. We can move closer to our Shadow, to our hidden selves, and allow space for listening to what beckons from within. What parts of yourself have you been longing for?
We have timed this next Yoga & Shamanic Breathwork workshop to support your preparations for this powerful transformational time:
  • Receive medicine wheel teachings to aid your process and support your choices.
  • Clear the chakras and release old or stuck energy that no longer serves you.
  • Connect with your own inner knowing and receive guidance for your life now.
  • Set intentions to carry forward for the future.

(Also read: But what IS Shamanic Breathwork?)

We are all walking this Spiral of the Medicine Wheel together, observing what appears as a fragmented world. But wisdom teachings throughout time have told us this is the great illusion. We are a kaleidoscope of dancing light. We are fractal. We are one. This is why it is said, “when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.”
Will you join us?
Kirsten Earley

Kirsten Baucom Earley is a Certified Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator, Shamanic Minister, and Minister of the Blue Star Church. She has a BSEd in music education. She believes that music has the power to stir emotions and connect us to all parts of ourselves, past, present and future. She believes we each have the ability and the responsibility to claim our power, heal ourselves, and live in right relation with All Our Relations.

 


Weekend Chakra Immersion

Each Chakra carries its own unique flavor and tone. None is better or more important than the other, and by learning how to recognize the qualities & presence of each chakra in our daily lives, we are empowered to grow and appreciate life more deeply. By cultivating the inner tools of chakra study, we are better resourced to navigate the world & its seasons through a variety of perspectives.

I’m a data-driven anatomy nerd – and a deeply spiritual, woo woo hippie. What I love best about the Chakras is that they can be viewed through either lens, and make total sense. These two perspectives are not only compatible; they’re actually complementary. You can approach the Chakra system from a purely Western view: centers of electricity in the body that directly correlate to endocrine glands & nerve plexuses.

Or you can see it through the unseen lens: invisible vortices of prana (energy) that connect in the body’s energy channels (nadis).

In our either / or, divisive culture, how refreshing to embrace something as both / and: maybe the Chakras truly are both of these perspectives, simultaneously?

When we study the Chakras from both angles, in a complementary fashion, we’re able to connect the Chakra system within ourselves.

We’re inspired by this ancient science (chakra seven) and seek to receive that knowledge for ourselves, in our own experience & through the lens of our own unique perspective (chakra six).

In doing so, we attend courses and read books, both listening and sharing (chakra five), joining a circle of others who also seek this truth (chakra four). We employ our personal discipline and boundaries to complete our goals in reading, studying, and practicing what we learn (chakra three).

As we begin to incorporate the knowledge into our daily lives, it becomes a part of our patterns & rhythms (chakra two), and literally changes the shape of our lives, both internally & in relationship to others (chakra one). By embarking on this journey of discovery, we commit to change & growth, and have the opportunity to embody this ancient wisdom viscerally, in our lives here & now. How very cool! 🙂

If you’re ready to deepen your understanding of – and relationship with – the chakras, join Leigh-Ann for a weekend immersion. We’ll take a deep dive into each chakra individually (including chakra 8, the aura!), as well as weave them together for a holistic understanding of the system itself.

 

10 Tips for a Great First Yoga Class

1. Taking your first yoga class is a huge leap of bravery and courage. I hear all the time from newbies the fears they have of passing gas or really any emission of air either from either end in class. One helpful thing to keep in mind is avoiding any large or heavy meals for at least 2 hours before class! If you have to eat, keep it light. And if the worst happens, act casual and maybe they will think it was your mat neighbor.

2. Show up early. Make a point to come early to the studio, about 10-15 minutes, so you have time to sign in, get oriented to the space, meet and greet the instructor, and get settled on your mat with your props. This is a much easier transition onto your mat than coming in hot and frazzled.

3. Read the class description. I can not tell you how many times I have had people come to my classes and they just saw ‘yoga’ in the class description and assumed that was all they needed to know. There are so many different styles and levels of classes that it really helps to know what you are getting into when you take any class.

4. Leave your ego on the shoe rack with your shoes. It is always humbling to try something new and we are hard wired to want to keep up with everyone else and do whatever the group is doing, which is the opposite of what yoga is supposed to be about. Yoga should meet you where you are on any given day so remember to treat your body kindly and choose the pose variation that works best for your body. This is hard to do but essential for a safe and satisfying yoga practice.

5. Don’t talk yourself out of the props that you need. Props are an essential tool for many to find freedom and ease in many yoga poses, yet I find many will turn them down thinking that they are a crutch or only for beginners. If a prop makes any pose more accessible or comfortable then why deny yourself that help. You may not need them every time but when you do, use them!

6. You are flying the plane. I love this quote from “Your Body, Your Yoga” by Bernie Clark because it is an important reminder that YOU are in charge of your body and your movement. YOU know your body better than anyone and you can choose what works for you in any pose and what does not work for you in any pose. Instructors are just guiding you through a movement practice as opposed to drill instructors barking orders at recruits. YOU are in charge!

7. Know how you learn. For example, if you are a visual learner then choose a spot in the class room where you can SEE the teacher. I know it is tempting to hide in the back but you may struggle following along if you can not get a good visual. If you are an auditory learner, then position yourself so you can hear the teacher, especially if your hearing is better on one side than the other!

8. Bring your sense of humor. Yoga does not have to be so serious and intense all the time. It is ok to laugh at yourself when trying something new. Yoga can be awkward at times so why not embrace the awkward and have some fun with it!

9. Come as you are with an open mind and an open heart. The clothes don’t matter so much as long as you are comfortable and can move easily and comfortably. Having an open mind and heart to the experience of yoga allows us to shift away from judgment and criticism to a place of acceptance and peace.

10. Be here now! The main reason we practice yoga is to fully bring our mind, body and spirit into the present moment and live fully in that moment with awareness! The past moments have passed and the future moments have not happened yet. The only place to affect change is the present moment!


Jay MacDonald is the owner of WYC and has been teaching yoga classes for over 20 years. She started practicing yoga over 30 years ago after a back injury in her college days and has never stopped because yoga has kept her healthy and sane.

Jay believes that all of us stay healthier and happier by staying mobile and active as much as we can in whatever form that takes. Come visit her in one of her classes.

What a journey it’s been to our 5th birthday!

At the very beginning <3

When people used to ask me about opening my own yoga studio, I would roll my eyes and shrug it off, laughing, saying, “ I have no interest in doing that….way too much work!” I really believed that and felt that way for many years. It really was much easier to show up to the fitness center, clock in to teach then clock out and leave- sure I had the occasional meeting and net-learning stuff but not really that big of a hassle, right!?

About five years ago, my husband and I bought the former Prospect Hill B&B looking to move his offices into that space. Initially, we were thinking maybe a cafe or small restaurant might go downstairs, but when we realized we would have to renovate the commercial kitchen, that idea was scrapped. My husband suggested one day that I should open a yoga studio and I just looked at him and my immediate reaction was “NO! Too much work!” But the seed had been planted and it started to germinate and grow.

The truth was that after teaching for the fitness center for 14 years, I was starting to feel stuck and little stale in my teaching and that job. It would have been so easy to stay and keep doing the same old over and over again because I did love the people that I taught there and most of them had been in my classes for several years. The thought of leaving that job frankly made me a little nauseous and nervous, but I started to seriously consider what that might mean for me and my teaching career. I decided to investigate and look into some options thinking things will fall into place if it is meant to be- and of course some things did and some did not!

I had worked with and been friends with Leigh-Ann for some years and I knew she had studio management experience in addition to being a yoga teacher. She was also working for my husband at the time and I know she would be in the building already which seemed pretty convenient. I had already decided if she was not in and open to doing it with me then that was a sign that I should not move forward, but as you know by now, she was all in and the yoga center started to take shape!

I had known Jerica for a while through a mutual friend and just had an instinct that she would be a great asset to have for all the back end stuff from a management perspective and she has been a rock star like Leigh Ann. The three of us starting working together and the studio really started to come together and take shape as we made what seemed like a million decisions on paint colors, software, logos, signs, mission statements and values. And just like that, my third baby, the Waynesville Yoga Center was born out of our love of yoga and wanting to bring this to our community!

And a few years into the party, Jake joined our team and Natalie followed soon after. Jake is the smiling face that most of you see every morning when you come in and Natalie is the smiling face behind the scenes like Jerica keeping the WYC machine running smoothly and efficiently! It takes a village, for sure!

Over the last five years, we have weathered a renovation, a flood from our washing machine, and Covid. My prophecy of “too much work” did come to pass on some days. What I did not anticipate, as many new parents can’t, is the joy and happiness that comes with sharing and connecting with others- something that we love so much- so that the hard work is worth it more often than not. We can do hard things and come out richer and wiser for it in the end. Just like with a new baby, the sleepless nights and long hard days are worth it as you get the privilege of watching your new baby grow and change to become themselves.

I am profoundly grateful for my staff and teachers as they have been incredibly flexible and adaptable throughout this process as we navigated some of these challenges and other growing pains. I hear all the time how amazing our teachers and staff are and believe me when I say that I am so thankful for each and every one of them. The community that we have nurtured and fed at our studio is something special and many that come through have commented that they can feel that sense of being welcomed to our space.

Our members and patrons have been the backbone of our studio, steadfast in their loyalty, and they are the reason that we are still here in business serving the community. We thank each one of them from the bottoms of our hearts for staying with us through some challenging times over the last five years. You are the reason that we do what we do and we never forget that!

 

Happy Birthday to us!

With so much gratitude,

Jay

Meet Kirstin, Our Featured Staff Member of the Season!

Kirstin has been teaching AMAZING classes at Waynesville Yoga Center for years! Join Kirstin for Flow and Yin every Thursday at 10:30 AM and for Mixed-Level Flow every other Sunday at 12 PM. Thank you, Kirstin!

Our fabulous Jake interviewed Kirstin! Take a look and a listen in the video below!

Tell me about your experience with yoga: how it began, where it has taken you, and how yoga has impacted your life.

The first time I took a yoga class it was a disaster. And not just because I signed up for it with my boyfriend at the time. The teacher was rigid, and there was no space to be a learner. She criticized every pose I came into, from the very beginning. Apparently I could even do Child’s Pose wrong. I abandoned the class after about three sessions. And the boyfriend not long after. It was more than ten years later that I had the guts to try it again. A friend was becoming a yoga teacher and was offering some free classes. She invited me to come try it, promising that the experience would be different. It was. She taught with grace and humor, and showed me that I didn’t need to be flexible, or already know how to do the poses in order to practice yoga. This sweet woman is still a dear friend and I tell her regularly how much I appreciate the gift of yoga she gave me. I’d been an athlete most of my life, playing soccer and Ultimate Frisbee, and stretching very little. Yoga was the physical balance I needed. I learned over time that it was the spiritual and emotional balance I needed, as well. I have, at times, wandered away from my practice, and every time I’ve come back, I’ve discovered again that I need it for so many reasons. I love what yoga teaches me about my body, about patience and letting go of outcomes. Practicing yoga has helped deepen my spiritual life, which has helped me grow into myself more and more. There always seem to be new levels to get to internally, and yoga has opened those doors for me in ways I’m not sure I could have found otherwise. When I had the opportunity to be part of the first YTT class that WYC offered, I jumped in. I could not have found a better fit for me. The focus on fitting poses to our bodies, rather than forcing our bodies into “ideal” versions of a pose, was like an antidote to my first yoga experience. It gave me a path other than “perfection” to strive for, one that was more about understanding myself. I am deeply grateful to be part of the WYC community, as a teacher and as a student.

What are your favorite styles of yoga / classes?

Honestly, whatever style I’m doing at the time seems to be my favorite. I know that sounds trite, but I mean it. I love paying attention to what I’m drawn to at any given time and following that. I enjoy teaching flow classes, and love Sun Salutations. Yin is wonderful for the deep work, both physical and mental, that it brings. I love the slower pace of Gentle and Restorative classes and the relaxing vibe of them. Recently, I’ve been in the mood for a challenge, and so have been enjoying Iron Yoga and Barre classes.

What’s your favorite pose and why?

That answer probably varies with the day, but in general I always love supine twists. They give me a sense of wringing my body out and I appreciate how small adjustments can target different areas.

What do you do when you’re not practicing yoga?

I write every morning, mostly fiction. I love creating characters and stories and giving them voice. I also take pottery classes, which is beyond fun. My husband and I enjoy hiking and backpacking, especially with our two dogs, Artie and Sam. Said dogs also allow me to accompany them on morning walks or runs, which is a lovely start to the day. After several years of working as a chaplain in healthcare settings, I am enjoying now the different pace of life I have here.

Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I have a vast and eclectic storehouse of song lyrics in my brain, from 80s and 90s music to rap to hymns. When I get started singing, as my husband will attest, it is sometimes difficult to get me to stop until I finish the song.

Yoga for Special Considerations Immersion Workshop

As a yoga instructor, I often hear “I would love to do yoga but I have ______ and I am nervous to try it because of this issue.” Many new yoga students and even seasoned yoga students can have trepidation about practicing yoga if there is a chronic condition or a new injury or development that could potentially change how they practice. 

I also hear from newer instructors that they sometimes get nervous if someone comes into their class and has a condition or injury that they are unfamiliar with and are not sure how exactly to instruct their student to change or adapt their practice in this instance. Even if they are familiar with different conditions or situations, every student is unique and may have more than one issue or special consideration that can make adapting yoga poses a bit more challenging. 

Imagine as a student, having the comfort and confidence to adapt any yoga practice for your comfort and stability. How nice would it be to know that you could take care of yourself no matter who is teaching the class? 

Imagine as a teacher, having the confidence and knowledge to offer options and suggestions in any pose or class that would best serve your students. Wouldn’t it feel good to take care of your students so they feel comfortable in your classes? 

In most yoga classes, there are participants who may need a little extra care and attention during that class. It is important to know why you are offering options to them so you can explain, if necessary, so they understand the point of them and can find what works best for them. Yoga instruction is a collaborative effort between the instructor and the student to find what works best for them. This is why knowing the “why” of what you are teaching is important for your students so they can understand the goal and purpose of any modifications you may offer and decide for themselves what works and what does not work for them. 

It can be a game changer for your students when you have the knowledge and expertise to move them through yoga classes and yoga poses no matter what they may be dealing with on their mat that day in that shape.

 

Join Lynda Saffell and I July 8th – 10th for this incredible immersion workshop to broaden your knowledge of a wide variety of special considerations and how best to adapt your teaching, classes and poses to best serve your students needs and see to their comfort! You will be so glad you did!

Interested to learn more? Check out the deets here!

How to Address Chronic Pain

Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that 126 million U.S. adults (that’s more than half of the adult population) live with chronic pain. The temporary nature of acute pain helps us deal with it (ie, don’t use that finger: the cut is still healing).

However, chronic pain – lasting longer than 3 months – can foster depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and more, as we seek to manage the interruption in our activities of daily living over time.

People with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop depression. “Experiencing depression, mood fluctuations, anxiety, altered perceptions and cognition, and emotional instability are all commonly associated with chronic pain.

This is a result of the perceived stress that impacts the body on a physical and chemical level.” In addition, chronic pain makes it hard to get restorative sleep, which can then increase pain.

Fortunately, current data demonstrates that there are a lot of practices, tools, and resources available to us to manage chronic pain and the stress that accompanies it. These practices have no side effects and, in many cases, have been proven to be even more effective than pharmaceuticals!

What are sustainable, accessible things you can implement to reduce chronic pain and cultivate long-term overall wellness?

1. Yoga, Especially Restorative & Gentle

Gentle and Restorative Yoga help release stored tension from the tissues. Restorative Yoga in particular uses props to support the body, creating a sense of safety for the nervous system and allowing the brain to rest from the bracing & hypervigilance common in chronic pain. Gentle yoga can safely increase the range of motion in the joints, reducing stiffness

In the joints, muscles, and connective tissue, Yoga can increase the flow of fresh blood into the cells, while enhancing the release of metabolic waste. This increase in nourishment and cleansing functions within the tissues can help heal the initial chronic pain injury, while also addressing the snowball effect of secondary pain and limited mobility.

Various studies have demonstrated that yoga helps reduce pain perception, decrease inflammation, and improve mobility among people with a range of chronic pain conditions. Yoga can rebalance the body’s chemical response to pain, releasing feel-good hormones while minimizing stress and tension.

2. Pranayama & Breathwork

Pranayama (aka “breath control”) and breathing practices can have profound impacts on the body’s experience and perception of pain. Our muscles hold tension and guard as a result of chronic pain, and in turn further aggravate the pain itself. Diaphragmatic, deep breathing has an extremely therapeutic effect on chronic pain by profoundly relaxing the muscles and reducing this pain cycle response.

In fact, the National Institutes of Health found that yoga and pranayama “harmonize the physiological system and initiate a relaxation response in the neuro endocrinal system. This consists of decreased metabolism, quieter breathing, stable blood pressure, reduced muscle tension, lower heart rate and slow brain wave pattern.”

Researchers have demonstrated amazing correlations between Electroenchephalography (EEG) patterns and breath patterns: slow breathing increases the α waves in the EEG, and adding feedback of breath sounds further significantly increased it from baseline.

“Diaphragmatic breathing is probably the single most valuable thing that a patient in chronic pain can learn on the road to recuperation.”

3. Meditation

“Meditation and pranayama, along with relaxing yoga poses, can help individuals deal with the emotional aspects of chronic pain, reduce anxiety and depression effectively and improve the quality of life perceived.” The positive impacts of meditation go beyond relaxation within the muscles and impact the deepest layers of our nervous system.

Research shows that meditation uses neural pathways that make the brain less sensitive to pain and increases use of the brain’s own pain-reducing opioids. Meditation is free, and the only side effects you’ll have to worry about are feeling blissed out or possibly dozing off. Meditation is incorporated in almost every Yoga class: usually in the form of savasana, or “corpse pose”, at the very end.

4. Myofascial Release & Massage

Therapeutic massage & bodywork may relieve chronic pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing tense muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress & anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.

Massage lowers heart rate & blood pressure, reduces stress, increases relaxation, reduces pain & tension, improves circulation, helps balance hormones, improves immune function, and much more.

It can be especially effective in reducing chronic pain – both the source of the pain itself, as well as the snowball effect of emotional & physical tension due to the initial cause.

If you suffer from chronic patterns of tension that come from old injuries, scar tissue, and/or compensatory muscle / soft tissue fatigue, give your body the attention it needs to heal with myofascial release or massage.

It takes the body longer to unwind and reprogram if it has been out of alignment for a long period of time, meaning multiple sessions will help you avoid a rebound effect where the muscles and or connective tissue go right back after only one or two sessions.

5. Other Practices

There are a host of other nourishing, supportive practices you can implement to reduce chronic pain itself and the negative impacts it has on the mind, body, and spirit. These include goal setting, mindfulness training, sleep routine, and behavioral therapies. See below for recommended reading and resources.

How Can We Help?

At Waynesville Yoga Center, we offer many modalities of healing that can help you manage your chronic pain, such as:

  • daily yoga classes with seasoned instructors who can offer modifications & props to best support you and your pain
  • virtual programs, such as Yoga for Back Care, that you can access and benefit from at home
  • Myofascial Release, Massage, and Bodywork to reduce pain & inflammation and address the root causes of chronic pain

Contact us for details: 828.246.6570 – hello@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

Recommended Reading

Yoga For Pain Relief, by Kelly McGonigal
Yoga Nidra, by Richard Miller
The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk
Waking by Matthew Sanford

References

Harvard Health
Mayo Clinic
London Pain Clinic
Very Well Health
Healthline
Cleveland Clinic
National Institutes of Health
Augusta Pain Center
AbleTo

The Magic of Props

by Jay MacDonald

My earliest yoga practices were largely prop-free mainly because the classes were taught in spaces that did not have props available… the hardest parts of those classes were the first five minutes in Sukhasana (which is horribly misnamed as “easy sitting pose”) and is basically a crossed-legged sitting position, which is an alternative to lotus pose. Those first 5-10 minutes of class, usually dedicated to centering and breathwork, felt like 5-10 hours because I was so tight and stiff in my hips… I just could not relax at all. There were other poses that I probably could have used props in, but this is my most vivid memory of pre-prop yoga.
Fast forward about 5 years or so, and as I attended my first YTT classes in a studio that had more props as options, I started to see the immense value of props. However, my ego seemed to feel that props were only necessary when I was in dire pain and pretty much had to have them for basic comfort. Using props almost seemed like I was giving in to weakness or settling for a lesser version of the “real” pose. Fortunately, over time, I began to see how flawed that logic was and eventually realized how valuable props could be in many different ways!
My attitude around props has completely changed and now I own a yoga studio with every prop you could imagine! I have firsthand experienced the value and enhancement that props can bring to my own yoga practice, and I love sharing that knowledge with our students and members. We tend to talk ourselves out of the yummies or extras in most things we do and deprive ourselves of the full and enhanced experience those yummies and extras can bring to anything we do!
Now I have a blast getting creative with props and thinking outside the box for fun and different ways to use them in order to offer a different experience in the body of the same pose that can now be felt in a completely new way. As Vanda Scaravelli says “We are using the pose to get into the body and not using the body to get into the pose.” So knowing this, it makes so much sense to give ourselves the gift of props for comfort, ease, and clarity as we connect to our bodies and our breath.

I often say “there is no prize for suffering in my class” and by that, I mean that it is pointless to force our bodies into painful shapes just for the aesthetics of that shape. Vanda also says,” Don’t sacrifice theinstincts of the body for the glory of the pose.”
Props are usually the missing piece when it comes to newbies really being able to relax and enjoy their first yoga class and wanting to slide out a side door and run for their lives! Join me for this deeper dive into the fun of props and how they can make or break your experience of many poses in yoga!

Upcoming Events

Oct
7
Fri
5:30 pm Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Oct 7 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
Stretch, Flow + Sip with Jake Join Jake for this fun BYOB Friday evening event which will have you moving to a theme playlist or  band. Expect head-bobbing in addition to your asanas. September 9:[...]
6:00 pm Yoga Sequencing Magic (Immersion... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Yoga Sequencing Magic (Immersion... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Oct 7 @ 6:00 pm
Yoga Sequencing Magic (Immersion Workshop) @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
This immersion will cover many techniques and tools that can be implemented to create yoga sequencing magic for asana practice. Students will learn about guidelines from certain lineages of yoga (e.g., Power, Ashtanga, Yin, etc.),[...]
Oct
9
Sun
5:30 pm Full Moon Restorative Yoga with ... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Full Moon Restorative Yoga with ... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Oct 9 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Full Moon Restorative Yoga with Live Music + Meditation @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Join Jake for this relaxing Sunday Full Moon Restorative practice. Enjoy the sounds of singing bowls, guitar + the sea drum. This class will be held inside, supported by bolsters and blankets. Cost: $22 drop-in or[...]
Oct
21
Fri
5:30 pm Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Oct 21 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
Stretch, Flow + Sip with Jake Join Jake for this fun BYOB Friday evening event which will have you moving to a theme playlist or  band. Expect head-bobbing in addition to your asanas. September 9:[...]
Oct
29
Sat
1:30 pm Yoga & the Shamanic Journey with... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Yoga & the Shamanic Journey with... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Oct 29 @ 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Yoga & the Shamanic Journey with Shamanic Breathwork @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Join Kirsten and Leigh-Ann for a deeper dive into using Shamanic Breathwork to explore our inner realms, help deepen our spiritual practice, and clear the chakras. In this sacred circle we will strengthen our connection[...]
Nov
4
Fri
5:30 pm Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Nov 4 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
Stretch, Flow + Sip with Jake Join Jake for this fun BYOB Friday evening event which will have you moving to a theme playlist or  band. Expect head-bobbing in addition to your asanas. September 9:[...]
Nov
5
Sat
1:30 pm Wheels of Life: Deep Dive Into t... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Wheels of Life: Deep Dive Into t... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Nov 5 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Wheels of Life: Deep Dive Into the Chakra System @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
Each chakra has its own tone, feel, essence. None of them is any more valuable than the others; yet, when each chakra is strong and clear, they harmonize together in a beautiful system of balance.[...]
4:00 pm Yoga & Myth: Going Deeper @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Yoga & Myth: Going Deeper @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Nov 5 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Yoga & Myth: Going Deeper @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Yoga & Myth: Going Deeper Our brains are wired to interpret the world around us through myth, archetype, and storytelling. It’s why we continue to gravitate to the narratives of movies, books, and TV shows,[...]
Nov
11
Fri
6:00 pm Yoga for Aging Gracefully (Immer... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Yoga for Aging Gracefully (Immer... @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Nov 11 @ 6:00 pm
Yoga for Aging Gracefully (Immersion Workshop) @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
In this immersive workshop, we will discuss how our bodies age and specifically how yoga for aging gracefully can improve and preserve our strength, mobility & flexibility as we age. This support keeps us staying[...]
Nov
18
Fri
5:30 pm Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center
Nov 18 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Juice + Jams with Jake @ Waynesville Yoga Center | Waynesville | North Carolina | United States
Stretch, Flow + Sip with Jake Join Jake for this fun BYOB Friday evening event which will have you moving to a theme playlist or  band. Expect head-bobbing in addition to your asanas. September 9:[...]
  • “My experience during my YTT at WYC has not only increased my confidence on the mat but has opened up endless possibilities and opportunities for a courageous, confident, and grateful life off the mat. “

    – Teresa F.

  • “Jay met me prior to class to help me polish my yoga teaching skills. I really appreciate her willingness to meet and teach me to make me a better instructor.”

    – Brooke H.

  • “When I first began practicing yoga, it seemed like the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I bought a few books but still didn’t feel like a real student of the practice of yoga. When the 200 hour YTT was offered, I saw it as the perfect chance to really expand my knowledge. I have come to realize that with this deep dive into the practice of yoga, I have a strong knowledge bank that will allow me to continue to expand my knowledge of yoga for years to come.”

    – Jann F.

  • “After my first private session with Amber my body felt so good! Because of her guidance and personal assisting I highly recommend working with her.”

    – Barbara B.

  • “I waited years looking for the right yoga teacher training program and WYC was definitely the reason why. I’m absolutely convinced I could not have found a program that was more creative, inclusive, or supportive. I would definitely attribute that to the meticulous design of the curriculum and incredibly talented teachers you brought in to lead so many cool facets of the course. You drew in some of the most amazing students with all this awesomeness and I’ve been so thrilled to learn alongside them this year so thank you, thank you, thank you for every last delicious bit of it.”

    – CJH

  • “Jay is a wonderful yoga instructor; has great variety in classes; is always dependable (there and on time); is kind and understanding; and always available to answer questions and give additional instruction if necessary. She is calm and classes are enjoyable no matter the challenge.”

    – Myndie S.

  • “Since I started taking classes at Waynesville Yoga Center, I can now go down the stairs ‘normally’, instead of one foot at a time. I’m really pleased with how these classes are helping me.”

    – Carol L.

  • I signed up for YTT thinking I had time to myself to focus on me, but the world has other plans. It’s still the best decision I’ve made, and I am so grateful that what I have learned has come to me at a time that I can apply it to so much real world trauma. This YTT has been a saving grace!

    – Kim T.

  • “WYC YTT has given me such tremendous depth in my practice of yoga on and off the mat. I’ve loved seeing my evolution this year as I learned all the ways I can add yoga to my home and work life. I started just expecting to build a stronger personal practice, but now I am so excited to see where this will all take me in the years to come.”

    – 2019 YTT Student

  • “That special moment when your body, mind and spirit blend into a yummy synchronized yogic OHMMMMMMM……..yeah, YTT has given me like a hundred of those so far! You guys are awesome!”

    – 2019 YTT Student

  • “One of the things I have loved about the program is that we are not just learning how to teach certain poses; I have been learning things I didn’t even know I could learn about yoga in general, including about the subtle energies, how they tie to both anatomy and the philosophy of yoga.”

    – 2019 YTT Student

  • “I haven’t felt this good since I got my puppy, ten years ago!…”

    – Steve S.

  • “Amber is an incredibly gifted instructor, particularly when it comes to yoga. She is calming, thorough, and provides that extra-added touch of essential oils, gentle adjustments, and themed practices. I love that Amber’s yoga classes are dynamic and she’s taught moves in her classes that I’ve never done in 15 years of practicing yoga. She’s a breath of fresh air in the yoga scene. I highly recommend her!”

    – Christine G.

  • “Jay is an always-patient, highly skilled teacher who makes everyone feel welcome and able to participate. Her class is always a joy and rewarding.”

    – Barbara S.

  • “YTT provided me with the tools and knowledge to deepen my own yoga practice and help others with theirs. This program challenged me in unforeseen ways and I am so thankful to have experienced this journey with such incredible teachers and fellow students. It was truly a life-changing experience.”

    – Hayley P.

  • “Amber, you’re an incredible teacher! You are a natural at creating flows that challenge and inspire your students.”

    – Michelle G.C.

  • “What has set the program apart for me, as well, is the approach to teaching that encourages us not to focus on a “perfect” pose, but rather perfecting a pose within our bodies and the bodies of our students. This means everyone’s expression of a pose will be slightly different, and there is such beauty in that. It runs counter to so much that we are taught elsewhere in life.”

    – Kristen, B

  • “I woke up one morning and realized I was 60 years old, that I could live well into my 80s and that I had to do something to improve my strength and stamina if I wanted a good quality of life. I was caring for small grandchildren periodically, and it exhausted me.

    As soon as I saw Waynesville Yoga Center was opening, I came. I am so thankful to Jay for a place where I feel safe, not self-conscious, and where I can attend classes that benefit me without feeling in competition with anyone else. Restorative and Yin have improved my flexibility and meditation skills; Beginner Flow, Flow Level 1 and Gentle Chair Yoga have increased my strength and balance and also challenged me, as has Barre and Balance!

    I feel better than I ever have – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have met so many new friends. All of the instructors I have had are wonderful and willing to share of themselves. Thank you, Jay, your endeavor is making a tremendous difference in so many lives!”

    – Terri M.

  • “Jay takes time to answer questions, to give help when needed in performing movements and is a gentle, calm person which helps my yoga experience.”

    – Anita S.

  • “With all of my health issues, I never would have believed I could ever learn to teach yoga. WYC’s Real Yoga for Real Bodies built my confidence as a leader, reminding me that my journey is my strength, and I will actually be a better teacher because of the challenges I’ve experienced. Thank you so much for creating a program that encouraged us to bring the beauty and the beast through this incredible transformation.”

    – CJH

  • “Thank you all so much for offering this. It has truly been a gift in my life and I am very grateful to be part of this class!”

    – Kristen, B

Our mission is to provide a safe and accepting space where students can learn, heal, grow - and have fun! We work to create peace in our world, communities and families by first creating peace within ourselves.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

We'll send special offers, yoga articles, event information, and more - directly to your inbox!

Visit Us

Contact Us

Waynesville Yoga Center
274 S Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786

828.246.6570

hello@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

YogaFinder.com          

Schedule