May’s Students of the Month: Pat McLaurin and Paul Harris


One of the most frequent comments we get when people walk into the studio is “Wow, these flowers are AMAZING!” <strong>This month, we would like to honor Pat McLaurin and Paul Harris as our Students of the Month. These incredible volunteers are responsible for keeping us always surrounded with beautiful blooms!

Here’s what Pat has to say about the flowers, her practice and her yoga-buddy-for-life, Paul:

“We’re honored to be chosen as Students of the Month! We have so much enjoyed sharing the energy of love and joy that flowers emit with Asheville Community Yoga. It really fills me up to see people enjoying them.  Not surprisingly, we adore gardening. We are members of the Rose Society and Arboretum. We enjoy the Biltmore Estate for ideas on a very regular basis with our seasonal pass. We also are ballroom dancers and also love West Coast Swing.

After being married 7 years, Paul just decided one day to join me at a yoga class. I was shocked. At Paul’s first Restorative Yoga class, his response was: ‘I was made for this!’

Paul and I deeply appreciate the philosophies of Buddhism and cherished bringing the ‘Loving Kindness Tour’ of Buddhist relics to Asheville last year. The tour is meant to bring the energy to compassion around the world. To see so many people touched by the energy of the relics was a peak life experience for both of us.

We were both reading the same book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama when we met in 2000. We both felt that was a wonderful sign—that and the fact that we met at sunset on Valentine’s Day on a beautiful beach.  Paul was a speech pathologist for over 30 years in the same school in the Michigan school system. He worked with special education students. My first career was as a RN in Omaha NE and then medical equipment sales. I’ve studied energy healing and natural medicine for the last 20 years and most recently have studied epigenetics and how nutritional supplements can help optimize our gene expression.

My favorite yoga book is Matthew Sanford’s ‘Waking.’  I love ‘triumph of the human spirit stories’ and his is one of the best.  Matthew became a paraplegic at 14. His deepest desire was to full inhabit his body again—and despite huge obstacles, does exactly that and becomes a yoga teacher and inspirational lecturer and writer. He’s a hero in my book. It’s so easy to focus on the obstacles we all face as we start our yoga journey. Matthew says, ‘I’ve never seen anyone truly become more aware of his or her body without becoming more compassionate.’ In yoga we learn to embody patience and compassion with ourselves and others. That’s what we are here for.”

Pat and Paul, you bring so much life and spirit to the studio, with your regular presence and practice as well as with the landscaping and flowers. You truly help to make this place what it is, and we are so incredibly grateful.