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!

Meet Christina, Our Featured Staff Member of the Season!

Christina Kirkpatrick is our Featured Member!

Christina has been a member with WYC since 2019 and has been a wonderful part of our yoga community. Thank you, Christina!

Our fabulous Jake interviewed Christina! 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.

I found my joy when I found yoga . I mean really found it. Life came back to me after joining WYC. I was stuck in my daily routine, going back to school and then trauma impacted my family. I have exercised and done yoga for years but never really practiced yoga. I am now in the pose in the breathe in my heart. I am so ever grateful for my yogi family and feel WYC brings me joy. I have decided to choose joy

What are your favorite styles of yoga / classes?

Buti, iron yoga and Restorative, Jake’s and jams

What’s your favorite pose and why?

Plank – I feel so strong when I hold this pose. My whole body is engaged while breathing through each limb.

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

Ride my Harley, lift weights, roller skate, dance, hang out with my friends, hike walk/run play with my family

Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I talk haywoodian, it takes me 30 minutes to say hi. I also mispronounced sits bone and called it shitsbone

But what IS Shamanic Breathwork?

I asked myself this same question the first time I saw it appear on my laptop screen over 5 years ago. Despite any words describing a process that sounded intriguing, I just didn’t know what it really was.

Thankfully I trusted my intuition that was deeply pulling me to experience this dynamic healing modality, and that has since lead me on an on-going journey of “direct experience” that is still unfolding as I share it with you now.

I have found Shamanic Breathwork to be a completely unique experience for each “breather” and each breathwork session I have experienced. I believe this is because it is a process that works directly with – and is guided by – your Self.

Whether you view the Self to be your cosmic Higher-Self, your inner guide, or the central Self of the psyche, all views apply, because all refer to that part of ourselves that knows what we most need in any moment, and is always guiding us toward Wholeness.

Each time I begin Shamanic Breathwork, I know the breath and the music will activate my own inner vision to receive that guidance that I need most.

Through the Shamanic Breathwork process, I have retrieved parts of myself stuck in the past (Soul Retrieval), removed and reprogrammed limiting belief systems & behavior patterns (Extraction and Repatterning), freed parts of myself repressed through self-doubt and conditioning (Lost Power Recovery), and envisioned my future self, manifesting new dreams (Calling Soul Purpose).

Shamanic Breathwork can work for anyone, of any religious path, creed or belief, at any point on your personal path, because it is guided by YOU, and you know what your life needs now. Life is the journey, the ceremony, the Spiral Path of the Medicine Wheel. And it has brought us around to this moment, where my energy extends out forward and back, reaching out to you.

Will you take my hand and join me? Let’s share this walk, this Spiral Path of healing and transformation, together. Click here for details…

 

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 and has taught music & movement for 15 years. She believes that music has the power to stir emotions and connect us to all parts of ourselves, past, present and future.
She has been following the “Red Road” with her Lakota/Celtic teachers for 25 years. She believes we each have the ability and the response-ability to claim our power, heal ourselves, and live in right relation with All Our Relations.

Jay on How Yoga Can Improve the Health, Flexibility, and Mobility of Our Connective Tissue

by Jay MacDonald

     I started to notice that space and freedom in my yoga practice and certain poses was shrinking. It was gradual – over a period of time – so it was not as obvious to me that something was not right in my spine at first. I was in a workshop with Libby Hinsley and she observed in my downward dog that my tailbone was tucked under and my ribs were flaring… as she tried to correct these it was obvious to me that the muscles and connective tissue really resisted any realignment attempts. I worked on these issues for a few months but could not really get anything to hold… my body was fighting too hard to stay as it was for some reason.

    Fast forward to a 200 RYT weekend, I felt an electrical shock in my upper back and neck as I looked forward to jump from Down dog to mountain pose (just a standing forward fold). Then began the fun of dealing with a pinched nerve in my neck at C-7, which I was able to calm down by working with my knowledge of yoga and the awareness that my head position had drifted forward of my neck and my shoulders had also rounded forward… I did lots of massage, Restorative yoga, and any poses that would release my head and neck… all of which helped but I still felt the tension in my body fighting me every step of the way. I did get better slowly, but I still felt that I could do better but was not sure how to go about it. It did not escape my notice that the  tucked tailbone and the upper cervical spine issues were related but I was not sure which issue to address first or what area of the spine to start with… it was frustrating in that I would see improvement and start to feel better but it seemed to easy for my body to get pulled back to the poor posture and position of the pelvis and neck.

     I remembered that Tara Scarborough had been to a Myofascial Release seminar and when I asked her about it, she said that it was awesome and she offered to do a few practice sessions with me. Of course, I took her up on it and in the first session I was surprised at how gentle and unaggressive the work was on the body.  I did have a few monkey mind thoughts of “this is not doing anything” or “this is too easy” but I found as I started to relax that my body started to unwind itself and it was the wildest feeling… at the end of that session I stood up and my tailbone was untucked and I felt several inches taller. I did a few more sessions with Tara and I was shocked at how effective the sessions were, considering that they were not painful or uncomfortable at all. I started to experiment with trying to recreate the releases on my own so I could start to “hold” the releases so my body would not rebound back into the old patterns. She and I worked together to find some that worked and I played around and found some on my own that helped. 

     I stopped doing the sessions with Tara, no idea why, and I did keep getting better but I should have done more sessions just to keep the momentum going in my body. Tara reached out to me a few months later, and mentioned that she wanted to go to the MFR seminar again as a refresher and asked if I wanted to go…something told me I needed to go, so I signed up and we went together this past April to the John Barnes Myofascial Release 1 in Kentucky. It was a magical experience and just reaffirmed to me how amazing this technique was for releasing deeply held patterns of tension and compensation in our bodies. We did postural assessments and I noticed some things in my hips and pelvis that I think had been going on in my body for a long time. We spent all weekend practicing different MFR techniques and it was incredible to feel the effects of those in our bodies. It felt as if my body was reorganizing itself in the best way. By the time I came back from that weekend, I was even more hooked on the benefits of MFR and wanted to share my experiences with others. 

     Anyone would benefit from the knowledge of how our connective tissue and fascia can get stuck in holding patterns where the tension in the body can create all kinds of restrictions and limitations with movement over time. It has been life-changing for me and I look forward to sharing my own experiences and knowledge as Tara and I explore the fascial system and how it impacts our overall health and well-being in our weekend immersion on connective tissue this May. 

How Yoga Can Improve the Health, Flexibility, and Mobility of Our Connective Tissue

by Tara Scarborough

Focused in my parvarita uptavista konasona (revolved seated wide angle pose), I breathed and listened to the teacher’s cues, moving slightly and then it happened.  Uncontrollable tears.  I continued to breathe through it, eyes closed and then I looked down and I was spread out over my revolved leg, almost completely touching it.  Far deeper than I had ever been before. I knew I had experienced what is known as an “emotional release” in yoga but I now know that experience was truly a fascial release.

Fascia is a form of connective tissue and indeed is the most widely spread connective tissue of the body.  It weaves through the body as one large interconnected network surrounding every cell, every muscle, every organ.  At times it is very fine and threadlike and at times it is broad and dense and thick such as locations like the thoracolumbar fascia in the low back.   Fascia brings support to the tissues of the body but it’s not a rigid dense support such as other forms of connective tissue, like bones, or cartilage .  Fascia should glide and move easily but when it is exposed to trauma, whether that trauma is a single traumatic event or repeated microtraumas it begins to become rigid, solidifying and “freezing” those tissues ultimately causing pain and dysfunction.

As connective tissue, fascia is also thought to hold those traumas–emotions, memories, pain.  So that experience I had while in that yoga pose, was quite literally the release of emotions trapped in the fascia.

Fascia was not widely studied until relatively recently and is opening up a whole new world as an incredibly important connective tissue, and not just the “covering around a chicken breast” as was taught 25 years ago.  Join Jay and Tara for an immersion weekend on how connective tissue affects the health of the whole body and how yoga can affect the health, flexibility and mobility of the body

Interested in a deep dive into How Yoga Can Improve the Health, Flexibility, and Mobility of Our Connective Tissue with Tara and Jay? Register here for an immersive weekend!

Doing Power Differently

A few years ago, we had some major remodeling done in our house. The job was done on time and on budget, which is apparently no small miracle, even pre-covid. One of things I loved most about the whole process was that the head contractor was a woman.

She communicated well; they showed up when they said they would; and I loved how her female boss energy led the projects, how she oversaw all of the individual components and how they each had to be sound enough to earn her final seal of approval.

However, after the work was complete and the dust had settled, I started noticing that some of the work was sloppy. Kitchen cabinets catawampus; toe kicks leaned against the cabinet baseboards instead of secured; hot & cold water knobs reversed; a wonky electrical outlet… that sort of thing.

I placed some calls and got the cabinets & toe kicks fixed, but I was told not to make a fuss about the other items. We should just be grateful that it got done on time and on budget; let it go.

It’s the same tired message I’ve gotten my whole life as a woman: don’t make a fuss; don’t be disagreeable; you’re making a big deal out of nothing; you should just be grateful.

So I did what I was told and let it go. And over the years, we had to call in more & more repairmen to have random things fixed: electrical wiring that was a legit fire hazard. Flooding and water damage under the sink due to improper installation.

None of these things, isolated by themselves, are truly big deals (#firstworldproblems). Life happens. But they add up over time, in stress, inconvenience, cost, and time.

I was asked repeatedly – from the various folks called in to fix these installation issues – “who did this?! Who did this job originally? This was not done correctly from the get go”.

The last time I was asked that, a few months ago, something in me shifted; and I wondered “Does the truth have to be nasty? Does it have to be a pissing contest? Our contractor needs to know that these things were done incorrectly, under the banner of her name, and communicating that doesn’t have to be ugly.”

I called her right then & there and, sure enough, she was immediately gracious, concerned, and responsive: “I’m so sorry to hear that. I absolutely want to know; thank you for telling me. How can I make this right?”

My answer was that I’d love for her to come over for coffee, and we could look at the items together. I made it clear that I didn’t want this to be a complaint. I respect her as a woman, both personally & professionally, and I know she would want to know about these ongoing issues. She agreed and came over for a walk through conversation a few weeks later.

What if we – men and women – choose to do things differently, on our own terms?

We made sure to hone in on what was installed incorrectly by her crew, versus normal wear & tear caused by our usage over time, and agreed upon which repairs she would cover, in order to do right by the job and her name. A few weeks later, she and her crew came over and fixed all of the items, quickly and smoothly. They were gracious and calm.

I tried my best to stay vulnerable, authentic, and kind – while still being honest – and to convey that this wasn’t a pissing contest or any type of ugly complaint. They met me in the same manner; and I made sure to thank her sincerely, several times, for being willing to handle this in a peaceful, constructive way of integrity.

I’m not sure if she feels as good about it after the fact as I do; but to me, this small experience felt like a monumental shift of flipping the script we’ve been handed. Of doing power differently.

Flipping The Script

This is what the upcoming Yoga and Myth series is all about: examining the programming and “software” that’s been installed into our systems by default, by our family of origin & our culture.

That we have to leave a nasty review online if we’re dissatisfied with a job. That we have to approach conflict or disagreements with our weapons out and teeth bared.

That it’s a dog-eat-dog world, in which competition and stepping on others to get to the top of the ladder is the only way to succeed. That happiness is measured in titles or possessions.

What if there are different ways of defining success, happiness, satisfaction, power? What if we – men and women – choose to do things differently, on our own terms?

What if we decide which software makes the rules and runs the show, both internally & externally?

If you’re curious (or maybe even hungry) for more, check out Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesser. It’s one of two books we’ll be working with for Yoga & Myth, an 8 part series that uses the power of mythology, archetypes, and yoga to examine some of these unconscious ways of being in the world – and exploring if we want to try doing things differently.

 

I can’t change stop the war in Ukraine or on the global stage, as much as I wish I could. But I can try to walk my talk and practice peace… in my own heart, mind, and relationships. There’s both an incredible surrender of control – and an incredible claiming of the power I do have – in that acceptance.

It certainly felt good to put this into action with the contractor, and I hope doing power differently felt really good to her too. It’s the best we can do to try and change the world.

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.

For more information about Yoga & Myth, click here.

Pranayama, Mudras, and Bandhas

by Candra Smith

Pranayama- Prana (life force) Ayama (expansion) is the fourth limb of yoga and the precursor to more subtle forms of a yoga practice. It is said that if one can control the breath, then one can control the mind. Through the practice of pranayama, the nadis are purified and as a result, the skin glows, the voice becomes melodious, the eyes sparkle, and higher levels of consciousness are revealed. From a scientific perspective, the body temperature lowers improving immunity, the breath slows, blood pressure lowers, the diaphragm is utilized massaging the organs of digestion, the vagus nerve is soothed, and the parasympathetic nervous system is pacified. When done correctly in combination with the retentions, bandhas, and mudras one can begin to tap into the true benefits of a yoga practice.

Interested in a deep dive into Pranayama, Mudras, and Bandhas with Candra? Register here for an immersive weekend!

Meet Jerica, Our Featured Staff Member of the Season!

Jerica Rossi is our Wizard of Oz behind the curtain!

She supports WYC in scheduling classes, workshops, retreats, she runs the marketing for emails and social media, and she makes sure our community is taken care of! And she does all of this from several states over! We are so excited to have Jerica as our Featured Staff Member of the Season. Thank you, Jerica, for everything you do!

Our fabulous Jake interviewed Jerica! 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.

My love for yoga began while I was interning at a sustainable living center in Thailand, where I was learning earthen building and organic farming after college. One of the other interns offered morning sessions in this gorgeous cob building as the sun was rising- and I remember feeling like I’d never been taller and more present; it felt like it’d cracked me open to more joy and strength. Since then, my mat and practice has always been somewhere to turn and I’ve loved taking it around the country and world on my travels, as it’s something that I feel enhances my embrace of a place. I moved around for the majority of my twenties, so yoga was also a place to feel at home while exploring and something to share with new friends along the way. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself interested in the philosophical side of yoga, energy work, Ayurveda, chakra healing, and expanding my flexibility. It’s a journey that will always be unfolding.

What are your favorite styles of yoga / classes?

I’ll take my yoga yummy, relaxing, challenging flexibly, or explorative. Hot yoga has been a great medicine during the winter, and restorative during the planting and harvesting seasons, but a fluid vinyasa with some great beats is my dessert- ya know, when you’re really IN the rhythm.

What’s your favorite pose and why?

I was a headstand junkie as a kid, and have always loved hanging about in Tree Pose, but ultimately it’s Goddess Pose. I love rocking it out and stretching my hips. It’s a pose that makes me feel like I’m aligned with my power.

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

My partner and I live on a homestead and sell organic produce – so we’re always getting in the soil, going to market, trying a new dish in the kitchen, finding a way to process whatever we have that’s about to go to waste, or planning a little getaway. We live along a creek in the forest, so creek walks, wildcrafting, forest bathing and hammocking are always in order- unless I’m busy at work on the computer for Waynesville Yoga Center 🙂

Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I speak Indonesian and have lived, traveled, and studied on several of the archipelago’s islands. Around 23, I became fascinated by Jane Goodall and the great apes, which inspired me to go to Sumatra to see the critically endangered Orangutan. One of my fondest memories in Indonesia was hiking through the dense jungle, nervous that I might not catch a glimpse of the elusive creature in the wild. I began repelling down a waterfall and when I looked up there was a mama and baby on a limb watching me with their big ole human-like eyes- and then kissed. It was magical.

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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

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

    – Steve S.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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 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.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

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

    – Michelle G.C.

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Waynesville Yoga Center
274 S Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786

828.246.6570

hello@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

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