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NEW! Aromatherapy Consultations with Jay MacDonald

I’ve had a sensitive nose for as long as I can remember. While I used to think it was a curse, I’ve come to see it as a blessing. Scents and aromas are powerful forces that can bring back visceral memories of people and places, alleviate stress and anxiety, and uplift our minds and bodies.

I am so excited to announce that I will now be offering Aromatherapy consultations at our studio!

What is Aromatherapy? 

Aromatherapy is the holistic + therapeutic application of plant-derived essential oils for enhancing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of the individual.

Essential oils are plant medicine distilled to their purest essence, offering us a form with great benefit to us when used properly. These oils differ in integrity from manufactured perfumes and artificial scents (especially when the oils are organic and clean), with each oil having unique characteristics, properties, and affinities that relate to various human functions.

“Applied to the skin, these essences regulate the activity of the capillaries and restore vitality to the tissues…..but of the greatest interest is the effect of (aroma) has on the psychic and mental state of the individual. Powers of perception become clearer and more acute…..the use of odiferous matter induces a true sentimental and mental liberation….the essential oils free us from the (a challenging emotion) but leave our faculties unimpaired.” (Margaret Maury)

Aromatherapy is a holistic approach to supporting the body’s natural healing abilities, combining various oils or using oils in tandem that support an individuals unique needs. These blends take into account: scent affinities, sensitivities, issues, imbalances to be addressed, and application practices that are practical and accessible for a specific individual.

This personalized approach is what drew me to Aromatherapy! It makes so much sense to treat the individual specifically as opposed to a general, one size fits all approach! Similar to my philosophy on Yoga 🙂

Aromatherapy Consultations with Custom Blend

This consultation will be a collaborative session where a unique blend that will support and encourage your body’s ability to heal itself will be formulated based on the specific needs and desires listed on your intake form.

You will be able to choose between two unique formulas, using your sensory wisdom to determine which resonates with you on a deeper level. We will have a brief follow up a few days to a week later to assess if any adjustments need to be made to your blend. A full write up will accompany the consultation with explanations of the blend and why each oil was chosen, with application suggestions, application options for marma points, and yoga poses to enhance the benefits.

I have chosen the name Puraka as my Aromatherapy brand name, which means inhale in Sanskrit.

Interested in booking a session? Book below.


Studio Calendar

Free e-Course: Somatics 101 | Fundamentals for Beginners

Learn the Secret to Pain-Free Living!

Join Kristin Jackson, Clinical Somatic Educator, in this e-course as she explains what Somatics is and how it works with your brain and nervous system.

The course is broken down into bite size chunks of information that will help you develop a sound foundation of this profound method so you can start feeling better right away.

Kristin will cover:

  • how and why your body contracts to stress and injury
  • what Sensory Motor Amnesia is and why it very likely is causing your pain
  • gentle, enjoyable movements of Somatics to reverse your SMA
  • why typical approaches don’t address the root of your pain, they just mask it
  • simple ways to calm your body and mind so you can be more present and aware
  • how to reclaim your freedom of movement and enjoy life!

Come experience Somatics at the studio from 4 – 5pm on Thursdays with Kristin!

Kristin Jackson is a Certified Somatics Educator based in Waynesville, NC. She’s known for her fun and accessible methods of coaching adults to recapture the kid in them. Kristin discovered Somatics after being hit by a car resulting in a load of soft tissue damage and traumatic brain injury. She knows pain can leave us feeling not ourselves, but anyone can reclaim their freedom in their bodies and lives, just by tuning inward. That’s where the magic lies.

Click here to access this FREE e-Course!

A brief introduction to Kundalini…

Kundalini yoga is over 5000 years old and is the called the yoga of awareness as well as the mother of all yogas, because it encompasses aspects from each type of yogic philosophy.

It was originally only practiced in secret by masters who would choose an apprentice and was later brought to the western world in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan, who wanted the world to experience the magical benefits of Kundalini yoga.

The word Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning coiled snake, which is the energy located at the base of the spine that is normally dormant. When we practice the various aspects of Kundalini such as pranayama (breath work), the Kriya (set of poses), mantra and active meditation, we can awaken that energy and allow it to rise.

When the Kundalini energy rises it carries with it more awareness + self-healing. That is why each class or Kriya is dedicated to a specific intention. The rise in this intense energy has the potential to connect us to our truth within. We all have the answers to all of our problems, we just have to know how to listen to ourselves. Sat Nam (truth is my name, truth is my identity)!

Interested in knowing or feeling more? Join Amber Rae on Sunday May 14th, 6 – 7pm for a Gentle Kundalini class. Head to our class calendar to register. Space is limited.

Meet Tracy, Our Featured Member of the Season!

Tracy has been practicing at Waynesville Yoga Center regularly for about a year and, as of this post, has attended a whopping 199 classes!! That is at least one class every other day! Tracy was one of our January Challenge Winners, making it to 22 classes during the month of January. We love Tracy and her commitment to yoga! If you miss Tracy in class, you’ll be sure to catch her on her Harley-Davidson! 😎  Thank you, Tracy, for being an inspiring part of our community!

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

I first practiced yoga when the Australian Co., who employed me, started a life balance program, which included a gym membership. I took every class offered, yoga being one of them. Hooked!!!

I moved home and took every yoga class the Fitness Center offered. This is when I discovered Power Vinyasa and the real work began!!

Yoga led me to a fit and healthier body. I started lifting weights, so I could build upper body strength in order to properly complete the plank series especially repetitive chaturanga to plank poses and challenging yogi push-up series. It also led me to clean eating.

Reducing stress has become super important to my well-being and a goal. Every yoga class successfully gets me out of my head, at least for that hour, life seeps back in shortly after, but I feel the release I just experienced counts for something instead of continuing to build….I cannot imagine my world without yoga. Yoga feels good to my body, I thrive on the challenging poses, it takes soreness out of my muscles from lifting, relieves my stress-induced headaches, and reminds me how to breathe deep and slowly.

What are your favorite styles of yoga / classes?

Fave styles are Power, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga. Fave classes [at Waynesville Yoga Center] are Vinyasa Flow and Myofascial Release although I love them all!

What’s your favorite pose and why?

My favorite pose is crow, kakasana. I achieved it, which took 2 years and each time I do it I feel awesome because I’ve still got it!!!

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

If not in a yoga class, I’m lifting weights, walking the hills of my neighborhood, and preparing my own vegan organic meals.  A treat is sipping a cab sav outside with my feet up on a fire table enjoying delicious vegan food.

Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I ride a Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 motorcycle.

Meet Tara, Our Featured Teacher of the Season!

Tara has been a student of yoga for almost 25 years. Tara is a registered nurse having worked in pediatric ICU, now pre and post-operative care, is a licensed massage therapist, and is John Barnes trained myofascial release (MFR) therapist and specializes in this gentle modality of freeing fascial constrictions. We are so grateful to have Tara on our team!

Our fabulous Jake interviewed Tara! Take a look and 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 first became interested in yoga after my firstborn, so that would be 28 years ago! I was just stressed and not adjusting to motherhood well and I knew I had to do something. I started with doing tapes with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden. After about a year of a home practice, I took my first yoga class and was hooked with the different energy that a class provides vs. doing tapes.

What are your favorite styles of yoga / classes?

I was fortunate that my first teachers came from a varied background and so I was introduced to many different styles and lineages including Iyenger, Anusara, and Ashtanga. I also was introduced to restorative yoga early on in my yoga path. I can honestly say, I enjoy them all and they all have a time and place both long term and short term. What I mean by that is that in any given week what your body and psyche need can be different as well as looking at the larger phases of your life.

What’s your favorite pose and why?

Oh, easy. I LOVE down dog. It has so many benefits going on from hip opening to shoulder strength to elongation of the spine. It feels soothing to me.

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

Well, if I’m not working in my second and third jobs of nursing and massage therapy, you most likely will find me outdoors doing many things I love including hiking, whitewater kayaking and mountain biking. You also might find me taking a post lunch nap with my dogs. 🙂

Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I think many might be surprised to find out I was a cheerleader all through high school. LOL

Meet Bonnie, Our Featured Member of the Season!

Bonnie has been with WYC since the early days. We adore having her in class and having her in our yoga community is an absolute treat! Thank you, Bonnie!

Our fabulous Jake interviewed Bonnie! Take a look and 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 was a jogger in my 30s and 40s and started aerobics in my 50s. My journey with yoga began in my 60s and has become an essential part of my life as I am now in my 70s and approaching the milestone of 80 in 2023. Yoga has definitely helped me physically with flexibility and balance. Also, as an artist, it provides me with time for reflection and sometimes I even get an idea for a new work of art. I also tend to get myself overextended with volunteer work, family etc. and yoga helps me slow down and think about what is important.

What are your favorite styles of yoga / classes?

I like flow classes as think this helps me maintain good mobility and planks etc. are strength building.

What’s your favorite pose and why?

In my early yoga days, I would say half moon. Today, I would say it is between pyramid and camel…I can still achieve these poses.

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

Work in my stained glass studio making panels and other works of art featuring stained glass. Also, involved, as a volunteer, with HART theatre as a Past Board President and Fundraising Chair and Planned Parenthood as a past Board Chair. Another favorite activity is walking Lake Junaluska.

Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I lived in Cuba for 2 years and my daughter was born there.

Breathing Out into the Deeper Day

Trees don’t go to therapy when they lose their leaves.” – Star Wolf

Like golden leaves in the shortening days of Autumn, life’s circumstances prompt us to adapt and change. Our SBW workshop planned for early October has been transformed by the expected winds and waters of hurricane Ian. Those winds of change have landed us into late October, offering an opportunity to breathe into the deeper days of Autumn.
All of life moves in cycles, and from light to dark, from full to empty, Nature is preparing for the Death that is an essential part of the Rebirth that must follow. We humans are not separate from these cycles.
Modern life has perhaps made it more challenging to notice and connect to our natural rhythms, but with intention we can invite in the space to enable our participation in these natural cycles to benefit our personal growth.
Join us for Yoga & Shamanic Breathwork on October 29 from 1:30-5:30pm. This sacred journey takes you deep within, supports your release of what no longer serves you, and helps you connect to your higher heart and supportive energies for grounding your next steps.
As the shifting winds now aid the release of the year’s leaves from the branch, our breath and our awareness can support the changes we need to make in our lives. With deep exhale, let’s help each other move with ease into who we are ready to become!

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



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,