Team Member of the Month: Michael Edwards

Please join us in celebrating our Team Member of the Month: Michael Edwards! Most of you have taken one of Michael’s powerful yoga classes – or perhaps practiced with him. We are grateful to have Michael’s strong, supportive and friendly presence in the studio – and honored to have him on our team.

To get to know him a little better, we asked Michael to share a bit about himself and his yoga journey…

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

I was first exposed to yoga at six years of age. I was at the YMCA [in Asheville] and in the sauna was a guy sitting in lotus pose doing something weird with his stomach. He was pulling in the sides and just leaving a ridge of muscle down the center. I knew he was doing yoga and I was fascinated. I was determined that I was going to be able to do that one day (still a work in progress…).

For many years, I read books and tried to practice on my own, but it wasn’t until a friend opened the Effective Living Center in Waynesville in 1995 that I was able to receive formal instruction. My first teacher was Kripalu-trained and emphasized alignment and very long holds. I immediately fell in love with the practice and with the physical and mental changes it initiated in me.

For the first 12-14 years of my practice, I focused on getting stronger and more flexible (and maybe a little more peaceful), but then Candra Smith changed all of that when she showed me that yoga is a way to live life. I now do yoga in an attempt to remind myself that every moment is a precious resource and that my responsibility is to honor each one in a sincere attempt to make the world better in the only way I can: By changing my heart to align with the loving intentions expressed in the Yamas and by living as if my own happiness and well-being depended directly on the happiness and well-being of everyone else.

Yoga is a huge part of my life and a big portion of what makes me uniquely me.  I am incredibly grateful to all of my teachers and fellow practitioners for their help on this journey.

2. What are your favorite styles / classes?

I love hot/warm flow classes with an element of challenge to them. I always try to maintain a slow steady breath throughout my class, but I’m a little disappointed if I don’t lose it at least once! 🙂

3. What’s your favorite pose and why?

I love inversions of all types – especially handstand. I love the challenge; I love the rush of fresh blood to my head and I love looking at the world from a totally different point of view.

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

As my vocation I work as a purchasing analyst for a medical kit packer; I’ve been doing that for about 24 years. It’s nothing I ever thought I would do as a career, but it’s complex enough to be challenging. I love to read, cook, listen to music and play role-playing games (my current addiction is Dungeons and Dragons Online).

However, my most important responsibility and the source of my greatest joy is to be the very best husband I can to my sweet and lovely wife Kimberley and to be the cool grandpa to Piper and Heidi.

5. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.

The first time I saw female fireflies I thought they were fairies. The male fireflies are the ones we are all familiar with. They’re greenish yellow, bright and they blink on and off as they make their wandering way from the ground to a high point on a branch etc. Their pattern of blinking identifies them to the females of the same species.

Females however, are a very faint blue. You can only see them if it’s very dark; even the smallest bit of light renders them invisible. The first time I saw them was at Coleman’s Boundary on a moonless night under a thick canopy of trees.

They don’t blink and they fly directly from the ground to their chosen male. When I saw this I had a moment where I believed they really could be fairies, but soon figured out what they were. I still believe there something magical about them though…

If you haven’t yet taken a class from Michael, click here to find his current schedule…

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

    – CJH

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

    – Michelle G.C.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

  • “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.

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

    – CJH

  • I 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 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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • “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

  • “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.

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274 S Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786

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