Category: What’s Happening at WYC?

My Heart Is Full – and Ready for the 2021 Chakra Deep Dive!

We just finished our bi-annual “Introduction to the Chakras” four-part series, and my heart is so full right now! I am honored & grateful to be a facilitator for this ancient medicine and thrilled at how ready the world is to receive it. Knowledge of the chakras has always been a powerful tool for growth, healing, and change – and 2020 is the perfect catalyst for this journey!

2021 Chakra Deep Dive (in-person or virtual)The thing I love most about the chakras is that you can look at them through the lens of data-driven science, or you can explore them from a completely woo-woo angle, and both perspectives not only work; they actually compliment one another.

For example, chakra science posits that sound & music can be immensely healing, and that one of the main concerns of the throat chakra is harmony, with oneself and others.

Meanwhile, we find that science perfectly supports this theory: we are still discovering new things about the power of sound and its healing effect on humans.

Meanwhile, almost every culture & religious tradition includes some kind of harmonious worship, believed to be healing for the individual and the group… whether that’s a church choir, Hindu kirtan, Tibetan chanting, Islamic mantras, tribal vocalizations, or Gregorian chants! 🙂

While modern data proves this ancient chakra theory, we also see it echoed in various cultures and traditions across the globe.

2021 Chakra Deep Dive

If you’re looking for ways to be a better human; make sense of the intensity of this year; or just cultivate a little more calm in your life, check out our Chakra Deep Dive! It’s a year long exploration of this ancient science, using the two best books I’ve discovered in my 15+ years of studying the chakras (Wheels of Life and The Sevenfold Journey, both by Anodea Judith).

We’ll meet every six weeks, coming together for some gentle yoga; focused learning; and to support the self-study you’ll do at home in between sessions. Coming together will not only foster a richer understanding of what you’re learning; it offers accountability and helps apply this knowledge to our daily lives.

I’ll let you know which parts of the books to read by each class, and which activities to complete on your own. With six weeks in between each session, there’s plenty of time to both absorb the material – and to see how it shows up in your day-to-day experiences, including relationships.

Intro to Chakras Series

If you’re interested in the 2021 Chakra Deep Dive, but not familiar enough with the chakras to commit, check out our Intro Series. Available as a video + electronic handout, this four part series gives you the basic chakras “pre-reqs” needed to attend the deep dive next month.

And if you’re interested in all of this but not quite ready just yet, no worries! 🙂 We offer the Intro series in-person twice a year and the Deep Dive every January. Let us know that you’re interested in next year’s offerings, take a deep breath, and join us next round! ♥

Chakra Deep Dive In-Person or Virtual

While COVID has brought it’s share of challenges, one of the blessings is that most of us are more comfortable with Zoom and virtual technology. Meaning that you can take these courses from across the country – or right here in town, if you prefer not to attend in-person.

We’ve got 2 in-person spots left for the Deep Dive next month – and plenty of virtual space. If you’re ready for this journey, we’re ready for you. 🙂 For more details, click here – or email us.

 

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.

COVID-safe Yoga Teacher Training

Thank goodness Jay followed her gut: she knew that we needed our outdoor Yoga deck and made it happen when Waynesville Yoga Center first opened. Not only has it been a wonderful space for yoga classes, series, and workshops when the weather is nice… it also provides the perfect space for COVID-safe Yoga Teacher Training.

Everyone wears masks until they’re on their mats – which are spaced six feet apart. In those rare instances that the weather is inclement, we move inside with the fans going, doors open, and masks on. Mats are still six feet apart, and daily extensive cleaning protocols are followed. For those students who are in a high-risk situation – or simply feel uncomfortable joining in person – we offer our 200 hour YTT program virtually.

By implementing these options and safety measures, Waynesville Yoga Center provides COVID-safe Yoga Teacher Training for all.

Small Group Format

covid-safe-yoga-teacher-training

Taking a 200 hour YTT program in a large group is difficult in-person and can feel impossible virtually. Attempting experiential learning on a topic like yoga via a video chat platform is incredibly difficult, especially when there are thirty to sixty people in the class! We learned early on that a max of twelve students per training program provides a supportive, nurturing environment.

With social distancing guidelines due to COVID, we can only have six folks in our main studio at a time; so for our 2021 program, we’re offering six in-person spots and six virtual spots.

You still get the connection and sweetness of a smaller group, while also having the freedom to choose the format that feels best to you in these uncertain & intense times. And as always, our tiered pricing structure means that the sooner you commit, the less you pay! Click here for details…

Got Zoom Fatigue!?

If you want Yoga Teacher Training via Zoom, that’s fine with us! We understand that every person has a different level of concern regarding coronavirus, and want to respect each of our students’ comfort level. Or maybe you’re joining us from across the country – or overseas!? Six of our twelve total spots are reserved for virtual students.

But our YTT is only virtual if you want it! The other six spots are reserved for in-person learning; and based on how many people we see with Zoom fatigue, they are going fast. If you’re over Zoom and sick of learning & living virtually, snag the final in-person spots in our 2021 program here.

Take the Plunge

Whether you feel comfortable joining us in person, or would rather be a part of our small, supportive group virtually, we’re proud to offer COVID-safe Yoga Teacher Training. Join us in January 2021 for a dynamic, comprehensive, and fun experience! For questions or more information, click here – or email: ytt@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

Indoor Protocols

With cool weather coming our way, and classes moving indoors, it’s important that you review the following before attending class…
1. Teachers and students will be required to wear a mask for the duration of their time indoors, including during the class. NO MASK, NO CLASS.  

*Face shields, neck gaiters and buffs on their own are not sufficient, however you may use one of these items in addition to your mask for additional protection if you choose.*

2. All staff and students must adhere to the 6 feet apart rule at all times for everyone’s safety and comfort.

3. Allow more time for arrival and departure for our classes due to new protocols.

4.  Doors on the side will remain open to allow more air circulation, and the front doors will be propped open to allow hands-free entry.

5. One – way traffic: We have implemented a one-way traffic pattern; everyone will enter through the front porch, and exit down the back ramp.

6.. We have measured out 6 feet between the edge of one mat to another mat. Students will place their mat within the marked parameters. DO NOT MOVE THE MAT OUTSIDE THESE MARKERS. 

7. The fans will need to stay off until further notice to discourage air movement.

8. Mat spaces are numbered 1 – 6 in order of location and ease of access. Students will need to fill in the spaces in order to reduce crossing each others’ paths. Students must enter the studio or prop room the doors that are closest to their mat space.

9. There are 4 mat spaces in the main studio, and 2 in the prop room. If there are 4 or fewer students present for class, the teacher will take the normal position on the stage. If there are 5 or 6 students, the teacher will teach in the doorway between the studio and the prop room so that everyone can see them.

10. Bathroom visits are highly discouraged. However if someone needs to use the bathroom, all contacted surfaces will be wiped down between use for each person. Those who are practicing in the prop room will use the large bathroom attached to that room. Those who are practicing in the main studio will use the small bathroom in the hallway.

11. The water cooler is also off limits until further notice. Water bottles are permitted in class but cannot be filled from our water station.

As for props…

Props will be offered on a limited basis. Students and teachers are encouraged to bring their own props from home. 

If WYC’s props are used, leave all props in the allotted mat space after the class is over. An employee will collect them after the room is vacated.

  • Eye bags will not be used.
  • Bolsters will have a removable cover. Place them gently in the hamper after class to avoid dispelling airborne particles.
  • Any other hard surfaced prop: must be wiped down between each use

Yoga Teacher Training in the time of COVID

yoga teacher training in the time of covidIf you’ve considered taking a Yoga Teacher Training course, take another look at WYC’s 200 hour program. We’re one of the few studios who can offer outdoor instruction, thanks to our gorgeous covered front porch and outdoor yoga deck – both of which overlook the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Our studio is located in the quiet, peaceful, and serene town of Waynesville, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, and attending YTT is the perfect retreat from the crazy, hectic intensity of 2020.

We limit our trainings to a small group, so you get the community connection and small group support that just can’t be fostered on a video chat. For those who are concerned about COVID, every session is recorded – and/or you can join the small, supportive group remotely.

YTT is about so much more than teaching yoga or even deepening your practice! It’s about showing up for – and committing to – yourself. It’s about being your own health advocate and learning more about your body to live a long, disease & pain-free life. And it’s about gaining tools & bandwidth that can also be used off the mat.

Don’t wait! The sooner you commit, the lower overall price you’ll pay. Click here to secure your spot today.

 

“My Yoga Teacher Training from Waynesville Yoga Center is helping me handle this COVID craziness. I am so grateful.” {Tess F., 2019 YTT graduate}

Students of the Month: May 2020

We are excited to announce Mary F. as our Student of the Month and want to recognize her for her dedication to her practice and what she brings to our WYC community! We are so glad to have you and to have helped you along your journey with yoga <3

To help you all get to know her better, she answered some questions for us…..

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

My older sister, Nancy, was the start of it all. She kept telling me “yin” would be great for my back. And then I kept driving by WYC, so I just turned in one day. So in June of 2018 I started my yoga journey. I started with beginner yoga with Sara and I knew immediately that this was for me. In the beginning, it was all about the poses for me. After my sister passed in September of that year  I realized it was more than the poses. It was during a hot stone class (in the little room), during Savasana, that I truly felt her presence. I physically felt a pressure across my right palm.

Yoga has taken me on a journey of discovering myself and allowing myself to be more open. My husband and good friends have noticed I’m more relaxed and walking taller. Along this journey I discovered some toxic elements in my life and knew I had to let go–I was able to and it’s made a difference. This journey has taught me to be more open and allow the energy to come in and to flow through me. And, it has connected me to fellow yogis.

      2. What are your favorite styles / classes?

Just about everytime I leave a class I want to say that’s my favorite!! I do prefer restorative/yin classes because that’s what my body likes. But, I step out of my comfort zone and do slow flow and I love that, too.

      3. What’s your favorite pose and why?

Alright, if I have to be honest, I have come to like pigeon!! Yes, I said “pigeon”. After all the moaning and groaning, I’m finally able to do it and my body has told me it needs it.

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

Sometimes I’m just a “slug” and enjoy doing nothing. I also procrastinate a lot, but eventually get around to tackling things. I enjoy taking rides with my husband, enjoying time and wine with friends and spending time with my cat, Mr. Mouth.

      5. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

I’m a retired Air Force officer; was a middle school substitute teacher for 13 years; and, I was the treasurer of a 300 person Gold Wing motorcycle club.

 

Students of the Month: February 2020’s Dynamic Duos

This month we are proud to feature TWO sets of dynamic duos that we love seeing around the studio: Husband and wife, Tiffany + Justin, and mother and daughter, Gwen + Cassie. You know what they say- those who yoga together, well they generally just get along better 😉

We’re grateful to have these folks as part of our WYC community and honored to have helped them start or continue on their yoga journeys. To help you get to know them  a little better, we asked them to share a little bit about themselves and how yoga has become a part of their lives.

Tiffany + Justin

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

T: I began an “at home” yoga practice in 2009 and attended my first yoga class while living in Greensboro, NC a few years later. As my involvement in the flow arts deepened, it became clear that a strong yoga practice could broaden my hoop dance abilities.

In 2014, I became more serious about regular practice and not only did my hoop skills improve but I noticed significant improvements in my ability to control emotion and thought, I began to experience better rest and more peace.

Since the majority of my yoga practice has been in solitude, I‘m grateful the Waynesville Yoga Center has provided me the opportunity to connect with such a vibrant, creative and loving yoga community! Finally, on New Years Day 2020, after 10 years of subtle encouragement for my husband to give yoga a try, we attended our first yoga class together. 

J:  I started practicing yoga about 5 months ago. Right away I noticed a desire to be better in all areas of my life.  I quickly realized, ’there’s something to this’  and ’m currently in the best shape I’ve been in a long time and am seeing constant progression. And that goes for my mind, body and soul.

     2. What are your favorite styles / classes?

T: First off, I have to say, I’ve not been to a yoga class I didn’t like, especially at WYC. I’ve tried them all and each have significant benefits. However, my most favorite are Buti, DEEP and Flow + Sweat.

J:  Warm Slow Flow/Power Core Yoga.

     3. What’s your favorite pose and why?

T: Balasana or Child’s Pose and Malasana or Yoga Squat are my favorites because I feel so well grounded to and supported by the earth while in these poses. 

J: Savasana… it’s the most challenging.

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

T: Currently, I’m blessed to be a stay at home mom of two amazing children, Layla Rose, 5 yr. and Stephen, 19 mo. I adore family time, though especially love attending concerts with my brilliant, passionate husband! I also enjoy performing, teaching flute lessons and teaching hoop fitness classes. 

J: I’m filled with joy being a happy husband and proud father, as well as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments, where I absolutely love helping my clients with their short and long term financial goals. 

     5. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you

T: I was a level 8 gymnast as a child, have a Masters Degree in Flute Performance and Pedagogy and I love to sing and dance!  

J: I was in a touring band for 4 years playing keyboards in 200 shows around the country every year.  My current band Sanctum Sully was mentioned in Rolling Stone Magazine in 2018, and I recently released an album on vinyl LP for the first time.  Music is a huge part of my life.  


Cassie + Gwen

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

G: I think it is a very fun experience. I was a gymnast at a center in Asheville and the teaching plateaued so I began to regress and was still wanted to maintain my flexibility and increase my skills, so when my mom approached me with yoga I was very excited to give it a try to see if I liked it. Since I joined WYC I have achieved more flexibility, have lots of fun and it makes me happy.

C: My journey with yoga began October 2019 with Waynesville Yoga Center. As a mother I was searching for something for an activity to do with my daughter Gwen that we could enjoy together being active while getting to have fun and spend time together so after several weeks of trying to figure out something a child an adult could learn together Yoga was what kept coming to mind so I approached Gwen with this idea and she was more then excited to give it a try. So I did my research online and Waynesville Yoga was the winner and after joining I could not believe it had been here in town for these last several years and all we were missing out on. It has had a positive impact on my life it has helped reduce anxiety, promote good sleep, strengthen muscles I forgot I had, increasing my flexibility among many other benefits.

2. What are your favorite styles / classes?

G: My favorite classes are definitely Buti and Fascial release.

C: My favorite style class is BUTI! I have known about Yoga for years and had started practicing some over the last eight years at home but I had never heard of this style until I attended Kayla’s class.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and continue to I like traditional yoga is incorporated with cardio burning dancing/workout AND the music your burning calories while having fun- which is hard to find. The Hot Stone Restorative is another favorite of mine.

3. What’s your favorite pose and why?

G: I like the Tree pose because it challenges my balance.

C: My favorite pose is the child’s pose I find it the most comfortable and relaxing and beneficial at stretching back muscles.

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

G: I love having play dates/sleepovers, I like playing with my little cousin, Star. I love traveling especially Tennessee and Lake Chatuge and definitely the beach. I love to swim so much!😁😁

C: While not at yoga, I enjoy shopping locally on main street and trying out different foods on the menus at our local restaurants around town. I spend summers at Lake Chatuge at a little lake cabin we have there and enjoy going to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and staying at cabins there and relaxing in the hot tub.

5. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

G: I use to think I would never like Volley ball🏐. Then I went to Volley ball camp and absolutely loved it then I joined my school team ( GO HCA 🐾) and it was amazing.😃😃👍👍

C: I am a career student and am currently working on my third college degree. My first was in Massage Therapy.  I used to practice massage here at both local gyms as well as the Balsam Spa at the Waynesville Inn, then I went back for an Associate Applied Science in Medical Assisting and worked as a CMA (AAMA) and the Balsam Center on the Adult Recovery Unit where I would lead a yoga session for those who wanted to attend and most found it therapeutic in their recovery. Now I am currently finishing my nursing degree and will be an RN May 2020.

Congratulations to Our 200 Hour Teacher Training (YTT) Program Graduates!

As our first class of Teacher Training (YTT) draws to a close, I understand why CJ uses the word “delicious” to describe the program.

The students have all worked so hard, Congratulations to Our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program Graduates!both in a practical manner, diving deeply into Yoga lineage; learning the logistical aspects of teaching; and doing the difficult work of getting clear about the direction of their lives!

Now, they get to enjoy the satisfying, nourishing fruit of their of all their hard work. They’re prepared and confident to teach, in whatever location & style that most resonates with them. Many of them will go on to claim their 200-RYT through Yoga Alliance.

They’re stronger and more balanced, both physically & emotionally. They’ve deepened their practice and have a sense of where that will take them next. They’ve cultivated a different perspective about their life’s trajectory overall, gaining insight and wisdom about the journey.

Jay and I are so proud of each and every single one of them. We can’t wait to see how their Teacher Training (YTT) experience continues to enrich and support their goals going forward, both personally & professionally. And we’re honored to have been on this journey with them.

The next program starts in January. Click here for full details – or here to see why you should pick our program over other options.

 

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.

Why Choose Waynesville Yoga’s 200 Hour YTT?

200 Hour YTTWhy should you pick our 200 Hour YTT program?

:: Calm :: avoid the traffic & intensity of the city; and get your 200 hour certification in the calm, tranquil mountains of Waynesville, North Carolina

:: Great Value :: more affordable than any other Yoga Teacher Training we’ve found in the Southeast

:: Real Yoga for Real Bodies :: our course is accessible & realistic for all ages, body types, and levels of experience. We believe that yoga belongs to everyone

:: No Dogma :: while we honor the lineage of yoga’s knowledge & philosophy, we don’t endorse or teach any dogma or religion

:: Practice Teaching :: Get lots of practice – and gain confidence – actually teaching yoga

:: Small Group :: With a max of 14 participants accepted, you can count on a supportive, intimate group – which fosters learning and builds your confidence

:: Sustainable Schedule :: We meet once a month from January – October, offering a reasonable pace to absorb & integrate the information – and keep up with daily life!

:: COVID-safe :: We will continue to follow the governor’s recommendations for COVID-19 protocols, doing our very best to keep you safe – and comfortable!

200 Hour YTT Schedule & Pricing

Fridays: 6 – 9 // Saturdays: 9 – 6 // Sundays: 9 – 5

2022 Dates: January 21 – 23 || February 18 – 20 || March 18 – 20 || April 22 – 24 || May 20 – 22 || June 17 – 19 || July 22 – 24 || August 19 – 21 || September 16 – 18 || October 14 – 16

14 Students Max:
// 1st 4 people @ $2,250
// 2nd 4 people @ $2,500
// final 6 people @ $2,750

200 Hour YTT Syllabus

// Anatomy & Physiology
// Nutrition
// Yoga Fundamentals
// Philosophy, Ayurveda, Tantra
// Ni/Yamas – Ethics – Sutras
// Chakras, Vayus, Mudras
// Yoga for Trauma & Chronic Pain

Buti Yoga® >> Yin >> Vinyasa Flow >> Hot Stone Restorative >> Myofascial >> Yoga for Seniors >> Pre/Post Natal >> and so much more!

Details / More Information

For program details: click here – or contact us: ytt@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

Feeling confused about YTT options? Check out this article on 6 Tips for Selecting a Yoga Teacher Training Program

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

    – Christine G.

  • “Jay is 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.

  • “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

  • “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.

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

    – Steve S.

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

    – Hayley P.

  • “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 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.

  • “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.

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

    – 2019 YTT Student

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

    – 2019 YTT Student

  • “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.

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

    – Michelle G.C.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

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

    – Kristen, B

  • “I 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

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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