November 2019: Yoga for Gratitude

Studies have shown that the shape and expression of our bodies can create changes in our emotions. For example, when participants strategically altered their facial muscles – at the direction of researchers – they most often felt the emotion that those muscles normally express.

They weren’t being told to “make a sad face”; they were given very specific, isolated instructions, such as “lift your eyebrows up and towards the corners of your forehead” or “draw the chin back and down 20%”.

And before the series of specific directions had molded their faces or bodies into a classic emotional communication, they were already experiencing that sensation, whether happiness, anger, fear, etc.

It’s pretty phenomenal that, while our bodies reflect our experiences – moment-to-moment – we can use that communication to better support our minds and emotions. Stretching your arms up and out can help you feel more energetic when you’re tired.

Squaring your shoulders and breathing into your heart can foster confidence as you walk into a business meeting. Relaxing your face and eyes can help alleviate tension during the day.

Practicing poses of gratitude in your yoga practice can help you feel more thankful, even when life is challenging and intense:

Gratitude Mudras

Mudras are the sign language of yoga, in which we form shapes with our hands and fingers to express particular qualities. They can alter our attitude and perceptions, while deepening awareness & concentration.

// Anahata Mudra

The most common mudra is the simple act of bringing your palms together in front of your heart. Not only do we typically end our yoga classes with this gesture of equanimity, it’s a commonly practiced form of respect and peace throughout the world.

This simple gesture helps calm the nervous system, focus your thoughts, organize your emotions, and harmonize the entire body! Use it not only when you feel grateful, but also when scared, scattered, overwhelmed or challenged.

 

// Padma (Lotus) Mudra

From Anahata, let the palms open, but keep the thumbs and pinkies touching, forming a flower shape with the hands. In Yoga (and many other traditions), the lotus is a powerful symbol: it’s literally rooted in the mud at the bottom of the river, yet opens into the most gorgeous bloom.

In the same way, we are called upon to show our best selves – to share the most beautiful, radiant version of ourselves – every day. We may not be able to bloom much; life is intense, and full of suffering. But we can always offer up our very best, no matter how feeble that may be, no matter what we’re experiencing.

This is the story of transformation and alchemy that Yoga offers us each & every day.

 

Grateful Pose

While we can express gratitude in any yoga pose, especially those in which we’re folding forward in a pose of surrender, there is actually an asana called “grateful pose”. From cow face pose (Gomukhasana), release the hands to the floor, folding over your legs and bringing your chin to (or past) your knees.

Hold this shape for 30 – 90 seconds, breathing deeply and focusing your thoughts on things that you feel grateful for and bring you joy. Make the pose even more powerful by bringing the hands into Anahata mudra, still on the floor, but pressed together. Switch sides and repeat.

 

Humble Warrior

We normally think of the warrior poses as intense, fiery, challenging shapes – but any true warrior knows that there are times to employ humility and softness! Humble warrior can be very challenging for balance, but is a wonderful way to open the heart & shoulders, stretch the hips and inner thighs, and remind ourselves of the balance between hard and soft.

From Warrior II, bring the hands together behind your back, interlacing the fingers if possible. Inhale, lifting out of the low back and lengthening the spine; then hinge forward over your front leg, engaging your core on the way down. When you feel a deep but safe stretch, hold and breathe deeply for 30 – 90 seconds.

Let the head be heavy, relax the neck and continue squeezing the shoulders & arms towards each other. Keep the legs strong and active, especially pressing into the blade of the back foot to increase stability and balance. To come back up, draw the navel in towards the spine, root the tailbone and roll back up, keeping the hands together until you’re upright. Switch sides and repeat.

Heart Openers

When we feel grateful, our hands instinctively go to our hearts. How many times have you felt a strong emotion of “THANK YOU!” and found that your palms had unconsciously pressed together on their own? This spontaneous mudra is a perfect example of how our bodies, minds and emotions are vitally integrated.

Any yoga poses that open our hearts increase feelings of gratitude and connection. However, because they also tap into the vulnerability that’s necessary for connection with others, they can feel dangerous. If you have unresolved emotional experiences or a history of trauma, move gently in and out of heart openers, recognizing that they may bring up fear.

An example of an active heart opening pose is camel, in which the lower body is solid and supported by your shins on the floor, while your upper body is reaching up and back, opening the heart, throat and front of the shoulders. If you know or practice camel, be sure to engage your belly muscles the whole time, to protect the low back and hips. You can even bring the hands together in Anahata mudra, using only core muscles to hold yourself up.

A more gentle version is a reclining heart opener, in which you lie on a bolster, allowing the arms to extend out to the sides for a long, gentle stretch. The head and neck are supported by the bolster, and the legs are shaped around it in a way that is comfortable for the low back and hips.

Turn the palms up to encourage a stretch in the fascia of the chest throat and breathe deeply, focusing the mind on safety and surrender to goodness. If you experience discomfort in the pose, you might need to a) change the position of your legs; b) adjust the bolster under your body; or c) replace the bolster with a folded blanket.

Just before coming out of the pose, focus completely on gratitude and blessings for 10 deep, slow breaths.

Take Away

Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects who did not.

Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

Making time each day for gratitude is not only a proven way to feel happier and more fulfilled; it can also make you more productive, emotionally steady, and mentally focused. Use these yoga practices to increase gratitude in your life – both on and off the mat!

 

Leigh-Ann Renz offers yoga + massage at Waynesville Yoga Center

 

Leigh-Ann Renz is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and part of the management team at Waynesville Yoga Center.

Join Us in Our Month of Gratitude!

When we shift our attention to gratitude, we invite love, acceptance, and patience into our lives, towards ourselves + others. When we make the time and allow ourselves the space to slow down, we can gain clarity and perspective on how we are acting and reacting to the world around us.  While yoga can certainly help you cultivate gratitude, we’ve put together a couple of exercises that might also bring about more positivity in your life. 

Keep a gratitude journal

Whether you want to do it daily or weekly, write down three things you are grateful for. It could be about a person, an experience, or just a moment in time. Add this to your routine by logging your thoughts over your morning coffee, before you start your workday or before going to bed. Some days it might be easier than others to acknowledge what it is you appreciate, but slowly you’ll see that writing them down will have you feeling more positive in general.

Write a letter of appreciation

Pick someone in your life that you want to express your appreciation for. Maybe you’ve had a rough go at it together lately, haven’t seen in a long time, or someone you feel has brought light to your life. If you have a hard time with words, perhaps choose a poem that touches on how you feel.

Set a gratitude alarm

Set an alarm and when it goes off, take 5 minutes to engage in a gratefulness mediation, jot down a list of things you’re grateful for that day, take a quiet walk to reflect or choose a song to play and dedicate your thoughts to someone or something for the entirety it.

Turn a moment around

In moments of frustration or anger, see if you can stop and counteract it with a smile and gratitude. Kids ruin your new rug? Forget eggs at the grocery store? Stuck in traffic? Take a few breaths, invite a moment of stillness, and see if you can turn it around.

Dedicate your yoga practice to someone

At the beginning of your yoga practice, choose someone you’d like to dedicate it to, sending them love and light for that hour of your day. Perhaps they’re someone who needs some strength right now, someone you care for deeply, or simply a kind acquaintance.

Use the hashtags #NationalGratitudeMonth and #Waynesvilleyogacenter in your posts this month about Yoga + Gratitude, tag us, and be entered to win some cool merch or class packs!

Fascial / Fascia: Is It a Facial? Or Exercises for the Face?

Sorry, we know some of these anatomical terms can be confusing!

Fascia is the web of connective tissue inside of our bodies. It’s like the white stuff inside of a tangerine. Just like each section of a tangerine is separately encased in that white webbing, that also connects the whole fruit together – fascia surrounds each section of our bodies (muscles, organs, etc) and is connected to every other section.

The fascia in our bodies is like a spider’s web: it connects every part. That means that tension in your feet can literally cause headaches (yes! that’s true!), because pulling on one part of the web impacts every other part.

If an insect gets stuck in a spider’s web, the spider can feel that impact from any other part of the web, because that pulling is felt throughout the whole thing.

Fascial Yoga is a practice that focuses on creating harmony and relieving tension in this web of connective tissue. Because the fascia surrounding our muscles is anchored in the ligaments and tendons, we can relieve tension; decrease pain; move better; and increase our overall bodily function by working with the fascia.

At Waynesville Yoga, we weave Fascial release into Yoga in several formats:

// Fascial Release and Renew, which is a Level 1 / 2 class that focuses on releasing tension and opening up blockages in the connective tissue of your body. It’s a unique blend of restorative, yin, and traditional yoga poses with gentle, hands-on release techniques based on the John Barnes system of Myofascial Release (MFR).

It can be incredibly relaxing, and is a powerful tool in self treatment of chronic pain. MFR will also compliment and enhance your traditional yoga practice by opening fascial lines that may have you “stuck” in your current practice.

// Fascial Flow, a vinyasa style class with mindful movement to loosen up and release chronic holding patterns throughout the body, including the fascial system.

// Merge Flow, a specific type is a unique movement therapy that emphasizes making fluid connections within your fascial system. With Merge, you can train, heal or recover by identifying healthy movement patters that support your structural integrity. Think of these movements as a massage for your central nervous system- helping you establish balance within your fascia.

And more… keep an eye on our main calendar and pop-up schedule for classes – and when you see “fascia” or “fascial” on the schedule, now you know what that means!

 

Ever Tried Creative Visualization?

For those of us who experience four seasons, we’re no stranger to the October shifts. As we watch the leaves change colors, or maybe experience an early frost, we start anticipating the new routine of bundling up, indulging in warm foods + beverages, and perhaps spending less time outdoors.

For some of us, it brings on a feeling of change and contemplation. Where was I this time last year? Where do I want to be this time of year next year? And how do I get there- be it in regards to our mental health, physical well-being, habits, finances, relationships, etc.

Well since you can’t google the answer to these questions, the best way to find them is through stillness. Firstly, it’s important to remember that your life is a work of art. Every year you write chapters of a story, and while you can’t go back and rewrite chapters, you make decisions everyday that write the next one.

So perhaps trying some creative visualization can help guide you forward through the season and incite a ‘click’ of clarity when it comes to your goals.

Think of a goal that is important to you. It can be a long-range or short-range one. Write down the goal as clearly as possible in one sentence. Underneath that, write “Ideal Scene,” and proceed to describe the situation exactly as you would like it to be when your goal is fully realized.

Describe it in the present tense, as if it already exists, in as much detail as you wish. When you have finished, write at the bottom, “This, or something better, is now manifesting for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned,” and add any other affirmations you wish, and sign your name.

Then sit quietly, relax, visualize your ideal scene at your meditative level of mind, and do your affirmations. Keep your ideal scene in your notebook, in your desk, near your bed, or hang it on your wall. Read it often, and make appropriate changes when necessary. Bring it to mind during your meditation periods.

One word of warning: if you put it away in a drawer and forget about it, you are very likely to find one day that it has manifested anyhow without your consciously putting any energy into it at all.

(This exercise, and others like it, can be found in Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.)

Teacher of the Month: Amber Kleid

This October we are celebrating Amber Kleid as Teacher of the Month! Amber has been teaching at WYC since we opened in 2017 and is known to deliver some super yummy Hot Stone Restorative + Slow Flow classes. She offers insightful wisdom in a relaxed environment to help ground you, always offering modifications that are best suited for YOUR body. So if you haven’t had a chance to take one of her classes yet, register now- as they tend to fill up!

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

Oh gosh…long story short, my first yoga book was “The Idiot’s Guide to Yoga” back in the ’90s and I practiced to Rodney Yee VHS tapes!  Fast forward to 2013 when I was diagnosed with Lupus.  I needed to find something that would help me stay strong and focused on my health and that’s when I began my daily home practice.  I’d be lying if I said yoga only impacted my life physically because there are so many great and valuable lessons I’ve taken away over the years.  The biggest being forgiveness.  Also compassion and patience.  Oh, I can’t bring myself to kill spiders any more.  Little dudes have every right to be here too, as creepy as they may seem.  

      2. What are your favorite styles/classes?

Well, if I took a hot yoga class I’d be the girl who slips on her mat and busts out her front teeth, ha!  So… I really love slow and challenging movements.  I relish getting into my body and feeling each muscle move and then relax.  It feels so powerful to have that kind of control and ease at the same time.  

      3. What’s your favorite pose and why?

I’d have to say Half Moon / Ardha Chandrasana.  It took me a long time to master it so I have mad respect for the shape!  There’s something about being so vulnerable and strong in the full expression that I find it very exhilarating.  I’m still working on adding Bow Pose to Half Moon but with patience and practice that will come too 🙂 

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

Drink coffee, make artsy stuff, cuddle with my kitties (Jolly is stealing half of my chair right now) and spend as much time with the Hubbs as I can.  When our schedules allow it we hike and take “Sunday” drives to explore WNC.  I belong to a photo club and a few writer’s clubs. I tried a storytelling group but apparently, my story was too “fresh” for the likes of them and I was directed elsewhere, ha!  I took it as a compliment! 

      5. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

Once upon a time at an Oktoberfest, I dressed up as the Saint Polly Girl and volunteered to be hypnotized as part of a group.  So, floating around on the interweb is a video of me Kung Foo Fighting in a wench costume.  Enjoy.

Student of the Month: September 2019

Please join us in celebrating our Team Member of the Month: Jann F.! I’m sure many of you have seen Jann in the studio, as she attends a variety of classes on the reg. We’re grateful to have her as part of our WYC community and honored to have helped her start her yoga journey, as well as support her continued learning as a part of our Yoga Teacher Training in 2019.

To get to know Jann a little better, we asked her to share a bit about herself and her journey with yoga…

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

My yoga journey began just two short years ago when WYC opened. I thought I would give it a try and am now there at least 5 days a week. As a new empty nester, I was looking for something to do for “me” and was also looking for a way to stay in shape. I am halfway through yoga teacher training at WYC and have realized that it is just a glimpse into the world of yoga. Yoga has had a huge impact on my life because it has become a lifestyle for me. I feel better mentally, physically and emotionally and have enjoyed sharing my yoga journey with others.

  1. What are your favorite styles / classes?

I enjoy a variety of classes. In a typical week I attend a combination of mixed level flow, Buti, Barre, yin, HIIT and an occasional restorative class.

  1. What’s your favorite pose and why?

My favorite pose is Utkata Konasana: Goddess Pose. This pose helps us to connect tour inherent inner goddess, finding a common space with this powerful feminine energy. The alignment of the pose helps with the alignment of feelings. I also enjoy this pose because of its benefits including stretching the hips, groin, and chest; toning and strengthening the core, quads, and inner thigh muscles; and increasing circulation.

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

When not practicing yoga, I work as an RN at Silver Bluff Village and am a clinical nursing instructor at Haywood Community College. I enjoy sports, traveling, Peloton, and reading.

  1. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

Something unexpented about me: I never thought I fit the mold of a true “yogi” although I’m not really sure how I thought a “real” yogi looked or acted. I have come to realize that anyone can and should be a yogi. Yoga itself is as individual as each of us.

 

–Jann F

5 Tips to Stay Diligent with Your Yoga Practice

Finding it hard to get to the studio on the reg? Or sticking to your home practice while juggling work, family, fun or travel? It happens! Sometimes life has us looking in another direction and – before you know it – you haven’t touched your mat in weeks.

I’ve gone through phases of squeezing in a practice twice a day to maybe once every few weeks; but without fail, every time I return to my mat and start feeling the physical and mental benefits, I’m in disbelief that I’d abandoned something that makes me feel so good (and so balanced).

I often come across articles on how to stay diligent with your practice: Have good habits! Wake up early! Stay consistent! Make it a priority! Uh yeah, I’m going to need something a little more concrete than that.

I figured out that the key to staying diligent with MY yoga practice, especially while traveling and constantly changing scenery, is to find ways to stay excited about it. So here are my tips to keep your EXCITEMENT to practice alive:

Make an adventure out of it

I throw my mat in my car and drive somewhere I’ve never been: a grassy park, a beautiful garden, the bank of a canyon or usually near a body of water, as I find it invites a
sense of calm. By making a mission of my practice, it becomes a fun reward for setting off and discovering something new. Settling onto my mat in these places also feels like a way of honoring and embracing little slices of the world that we sometimes walk right past: a grassy spot behind a barn, near some cool formation of rocks or under a tree that’s older that most people you know. Maybe bring a journal and see what comes through in your post-practice clarity.

If you’re looking for a quick jump-off in the Waynesville area, check out the cemetery, one of the nooks in Vance Park, something along Pigeon River or head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Get a playlist together

Am I craving a pump-me-up power flow? Or do I want something to quiet my mind while I melt into restorative poses?

Putting together a playlist before I start helps me set the vibe for what my mind and body needs that day and is also a good way to time my practice. Hop on YouTube or Spotify and chose a pre-made playlist, or use the opportunity to discover new music, artists or genres.

I bounce among desert / psychedelic rock; Afrobeat; Indian drumming and sitar; or Indonesian gamelan. Sometimes you end up creating the ultimate zen zone and are ready for a nap; other times, you end up in a one-woman dance party, ready to slay the day.

A playlist is just one piece of ambiance you can prep for yourself. Light some candles or incense, dim the lights, pump up the volume – all these help set the mood around you and enhance your sense of place and presence.

Feel good in the clothes you’re practicing in

Have you ever bought a pair of yoga pants that make you feel all sucked in and supported? Or a top that adds a little pop of color to your look? Little things like this get me excited to hit my mat. It’s not about looking sexy per se – but it’s about feeling good in your own skin. Read our blog on What to Wear to Yoga if you’re looking for some tips!

As a sun worshipper, I prefer a hot day in a bathing suit top + some linen pants, flippin’ my dog as a tanning tactic more than a yoga pose (who said you can’t multi-task during yoga!).

Find a buddy and make plans for after yoga

Whether it’s meeting at a studio or coming together for an informal practice, I find that making plans for AFTER yoga makes sure I actually make it to my mat. Having a yoga buddy can keep you accountable if you’re looking for consistency in your practice and can also invite some fun! (Don’t have a buddy? Go to a class, smile, introduce yourself to people, be kind and maybe someone will want to be your friend.)

Maybe you want to sit on the front porch at Waynesville Yoga and have a chat over tea; head over to Mad Anthony’s for a cold brew or snack; have a picnic; get a couples’ massage; or better yet- maybe you and your friend decide to go on a yoga retreat together and make a fun trip out of it!

Find YOUR mat + keep it in eyesight

I’ll practice in the sand, on the grass or a rug if I have to, but I’m a BIG fan of the feeling and smell of my mat (yeah, whatever, I like the smell of rubber and hope it never goes away).

For awhile I was using this old, worn down mat that hadn’t withstood the test of extended backpacking trips: tossed in dirty bus storage and ripped up by cute dogs all eager to say what up. It had no grip or support – and was really only great because it folded up so small.

Then I made the switch to a Jade lightweight mat, which were the first green and non-toxic yoga mats on the market. No longer was I slipping around when I went on my hot yoga kick or feeling my bones touch the floor below my mat during savasana.

When picking a mat, consider what you need. Do you travel and want something lightweight? Do you want something thicker to support you? Do your hands and feet tend to get really sweaty during your practice? Are you tall and need a longer mat?

Figure out what type of mat will best fit your practice lifestyle, then head to a store like REI where you can actually touch the options. You might come across great deals online – but I wouldn’t purchase a mat unless I’ve put my hands on it and feel confident that it’s a good fit. Then, keep that puppy in sight! I know if it’s in my line of vision i’m more likely to roll er’ out and maybe just stretch a bit.

Follow these tips, pick a mantra that speaks to you, and you’re sure to keep not just the magic of your yoga practice alive- but the magic of life and presence.

 

Jerica remotely handles marketing + management for Waynesville Yoga Center. When not working, she can be found embracing whatever place she’s found herself in, embarking on an adventure, or contemplating life while perched in tree pose. Taking classes at WYC has helped her develop a stronger dedication to her yoga practice and has led to an obsession with heart openers. 

 

take it off the mat!

While yoga is magical and amazing, on many levels, I’m way more blown away by its applications in my life off the mat. I appreciate what it does for me physical, mentally and emotionally – of course – but I’m amazed when I’m able to take my practice into the world around me.

In the summer of 2001, I was in Brooklyn for my cousin’s wedding. I had only been practicing for a few years and was somewhat obsessed with Cyndi Lee’s (now closed) Om Yoga studio.

I was in my early 20s, and it was an exciting adventure to take the subway to Manhattan, find the location (in the days before smart phones) and climb the narrow staircase to the studio.

As I made my way into the lobby, I heard this piercing noise: one of the building’s fire alarms was ringing in full blare. I thought to myself “Oh man, there’s no way they can have classes with that all that noise. Damn! I’m gonna miss my chance to practice at Om Yoga” – but there was someone smiling calmly at me from behind the front desk, as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

When I asked if the class was still happening, she confirmed that it was, took my payment and got me pointed in the right direction, never once addressing the still-clanging alarm. I honestly was so stunned by her utter lack of response to the noise that I just followed her lead and got settled on my mat.

The instructor had the same attitude and demeanor: he acknowledged the noise and apologized for it, but never once indicated that we wouldn’t have the class as planned. We did the entire hour-and-a-half practice with that fire alarm ringing the whole time. The teacher raised his voice to be heard, and none of the other students seemed put off by the experience in the least.

I must have tuned it out, because I distinctly remember “waking up” after savasana and thinking “Oh wow, that alarm’s still ringing. Huh….” And that was it… I had a great class at my dream studio and walked back down those steep stairs into the hustle and bustle of the city.

When I was initially learning yoga, my very first teacher used to hold informal classes in her home – or sometimes, at her family’s store in Ybor City, a party neighborhood in Tampa. I literally learned yoga over the sounds of cars honking, music blaring, bass buzzing, people laughing and screaming. My teacher used to tell us that it was a perfect environment to practice in, because it would help us tune more deeply into our bodies, into ourselves.

I never learned to expect quiet from my yoga practice, and I’ve found that this expectation has served me well off my mat. Life isn’t quiet. Our minds aren’t quiet. Even in the most beautiful, epic scene in nature (which of course abound in our WNC community), our monkey minds are chitter-chattering away: ruminating about the past, dreaming and planning for the future, processing and solving problems we’re experiencing.

The whole point of yoga is to help us find the quiet within – no matter what’s happening. We might be calm and at peace; we tune into the beauty of that gift. We might be disrupted, upset, scared, angry, riding the waves of our emotions; we draw on our practice to tune into the quiet and the answers within. We might be practicing yoga in a serene space, and we enjoy that quiet. Or we’re in the middle of our practice and we hear the sirens of an ambulance – a barking dog – people chatting in the lobby – or construction noise.

Yoga helps me accept what is, without knowing what’s coming next. Sometimes it’s gentle and pleasant; sometimes it’s intense and loud. By learning how to stay present with my body and my breath on my mat, I’m more equipped to handle the unpleasant, unknown or intense experiences that life hands me. Yoga helps me enjoy the calm and quiet – and save that nourishment up for the disruption, which is always inevitable in this impermanent, ever-changing human experience.

 

Leigh-Ann Renz offers yoga + massage at Waynesville Yoga Center

 

Leigh-Ann Renz is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and part of the management team at Waynesville Yoga Center.

THANK YOU!!

THANK YOU for adding infrared sauna to the list of reasons I absolutely love Wavnesville Yoga Center! Knowing that I no longer have to travel all the way to Asheville for this healing modality is so encouraging!

Initially, I didn’t understand how different infrared was from the saunas I’d used before at the gym or the spa. I rarely lasted more than a few minutes in those, always finding it hard to breathe and feeling completely exhausted afterwards. So years later, when I was struggling with severe chronic fatigue and arthritic pain everyday, it surprised me when my doctor actually recommended I try infrared sauna therapy.

I realize that not every doctor endorses – or even knows about infrared sauna. If someone carries any specific diagnosis or uses medical devices, then they should get cleared by their own doctor; I’m just grateful that my doctor knew it was safe for me – and that they recommended this deeply healing modality.

From my first session, I remember being impressed by how gentle and uniform the heat from the infrared light was all over my body. My sessions were always private, and I was grateful I didn’t have to “keep up the stones” like in a steam sauna.

Frequently, in too much pain to exercise, the fact my body could get such a great sweat just sitting still was an integral part of my healing at that time. Still, I’d say the key motivation for me to keep using infrared sauna for years came from the extended benefits that would carry me for several days following a session.

The increased circulation from such a great sweat significantly brought down my inflammation and pain levels. I would also see improvements in my skin, gut motility and insomnia for a few days as well, which I attribute to the boost in detoxification that infrared light influences.

I could go on, but I really just want to say again how much I appreciate WYC making this amazing investment so that I can get back to having infrared sauna be a special ongoing part of my health regimen.

-Chris H., Sylva, NC

// Ready to try it for yourself!? Click here to snag your infrared sauna spot!

What is Shiatsu?

Zen Shiatsu (“shee-ott-soo”) is soothing, yet effective, bodywork that treats not only muscles, joints, and nerves – but also bio-electricity energy within the body (known as qi, or chi = “chee”). A shiatsu session includes gentle rotation of limbs, stretching of muscles, and stimulating points along the Chinese medicine meridians of the body, from the head + face down to the toes and fingers.

Shiatsu can be especially effective for managing chronic pain, insomnia, stress, depression, anxiety, headaches, past injuries, and many sub-clinical symptoms that may disrupt daily life (e.g. digestive issues, seasonal allergies, sleep disturbances, minor aches and weaknesses).

Shiatsu complements medical treatments for more serious diseases, including managing the symptoms and side effects of many medications.

Shiatsu can be experienced both on a massage table – or a padded mat on the floor. Many people like that you do not disrobe for a shiatsu session: it is experienced clothed, without oil. Many people who find traditional massage too vigorous or invasive experience shiatsu as a calming, welcome alternative. It brings the body into a relaxed state to encourage self-healing.

Waynesville Yoga Center is excited and grateful to welcome Raymond Johnson of Mountain Zen Shiatsu! He’ll be offering Shiatsu sessions at WYC on Tuesdays, 12 – 8 PM and Sundays, 10 AM – 4 PM. To experience Raymond’s calm, healing presence – and to see how amazing shiatsu can make you feel, book a session with him now: 828.246.6570.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

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

    – Michelle G.C.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

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.

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Waynesville Yoga Center
274 S Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786

828.246.6570

hello@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

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