Join our Yogathon!

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From 10 am Saturday, October 14th until 10 am Sunday, October 15th, Executive Director Michael Greenfield will be leading 24 hours of various yoga practices at Asheville Community Yoga. This event will raise funds for our wellness expansion project, incorporating a third studio space, healing arts space, Zen & Now thrift shop, health-conscious cafe, and childcare!
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September Raffle Basket: Fall for Asheville!

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This month’s raffle basket includes goodies from all around Asheville to enjoy as you head into Fall! These local businesses were so generous, donating $440 worth of items!
The basket includes:
  • 613cf3cab1b00efe528e4fb771bd1ac8--asheville-north-carolina-biltmore-estateArtwork by MariLou Solares
  • Meal for 2 to Loretta’s or Mayfels
  • Asheville Brewery Tours for 2
  • 2 massages at the WNC School of Massage
  • Delivery from Eden Out
  • $50 Gift card to Mellow Mushroom
  • 2 quarts from Ultimate Ice cream
If this sounds like something you’d like to win, tickets can be purchased at the front desk: one for $5 or five for $20.
Thank you so much to the incredible businesses who have donated these items and to all the students who purchase tickets to support the studio! This is an important piece of the puzzle to keep the center sustainable and ensure we can continue to offer the programming that benefits our community!

Seva Yoga ~ The Art of Selfless Service

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Ways You Can Help in Our Community

Seva Yoga is the art of selfless service and is at the core of our mission here at Asheville Community Yoga. Through our commitment to serve our community here and reach out to the greater community of Asheville and beyond, we are making yoga and wellness more accessible.

Here are some ways in which you can also practice Seva at Asheville Community Yoga:

  • Volunteer! There are endless ways to help out through volunteering. We are always looking for additional help at Zen & Now, with landscaping and expansion projects, and folding towels, straightening up the props, or sweeping the walkways
  • Raffle Donations – Do you or your business have a service or product to donate to our monthly raffle? Our raffles provide a great way to get your name out there to thousands of people while also generating donations for the center. It’s a win-win! To participate in the raffle, please contact Lauren@ashevillecommunityyoga.com
  • Community Offerings – Do you have a service you would like to offer to the members of the community? 100% of the proceeds from the donations of services go to the Expansion Project and have been a big help in creating our new space! Please contact Liz@ashevillecommunityyoga.com to share your services with other members of the community.
  • Smile Amazon – Do you regularly order items from Amazon? This is a simple, yet very helpful way to practice Seva Yoga. Please go to Smile.Amazon.com and choose Asheville Community Yoga as your charity. We will receive .5% on every purchase you make from Smile.Amazon.
  • Zen & Now – Shifts are available for people to work at Zen & Now, our pre-loved clothing store. If you cannot work a regular shift, you can always come in a bit early for class or stay after class and help straighten up the racks, return clothing to the racks from the dressing rooms, etc. Please email Lauren@ashevillecommunityyoga.com for additional information and feel free to check in with a staff member whenever you wish to help before or after classes.
  • Service Projects – Each month we have a service project where we gather as a group and practice our Seva. Sometimes that includes doing a big project here at the center, other times we step outside of Asheville Community Yoga and reach out to the greater Asheville community to help other non-profits or engage with groups with special needs and requests for assistance. These have included Manna Food Bank, Homeward Bound, HelpMate, and many others. Please email Wendy@ashevillecommunityyoga.com if you have any suggestions of worthwhile service projects for the future or wish to be included in a current service project.
  • It’s the “little things” – Our practice is so much more than just stepping on and off the mat to move, meditate, and breathe. Cleaning your mat and blocks properly, taking time to fold your blanket neatly, and replacing the props in an orderly way are just a few of the many ways you can help out whenever you come to practice. With our new landscaping, there are always weeds to pull and plants to water. Please check in with a staff member for ways you can practice Seva.

September Teacher of the Month: Elena Mansour

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image1-3For September we have chosen Elena as our teacher of the month!
Elena is generous with her time, donating multiple classes a week and even coming in to sub classes sometimes as well!
She has been immersing herself in her study of yoga for over 15 years and is someone who is constantly learning and growing. You can almost always find her coming into the studio with a couple books in hand, always planning the next workshop or retreat she will attend to keep growing her knowledge of yoga!
A true practitioner, Elena takes her practice off her mat and into the world. In her free time, Elena offers trauma-informed yoga to veterans at the VA hospital in Asheville.
What was the experience with yoga that got you hooked?
I visited the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for the first time in 2002, when I lived in Massachusetts. At the time, I was dealing with the grief of losing my mother, while still in my mid-20s and was looking for the meaning to my life. After that visit, I thought, “Oh, so this is how healthy people live.” Yoga and a healthy lifestyle were so foreign to me back then & yet, it was what my soul was craving so deeply, as my depression had me questioning the meaning of my life. Up until then, I had thought that the key to happiness was external achievement, and my whole world was crashing down.  Attending yoga and being immersed in a yogic lifestyle helped me see that I wasn’t locked inside of a solid wall of misery. In fact, I began to see more clearly that my path involved healing myself and then helping others to heal. So, in 2008, I went to the Kripalu Center to complete their yoga teacher training and within 6 months, I returned to join their volunteer program for a year, which is when my life trajectory began to change for the positive.
What inspires you to continue yoga?
Growing up, my mind had a tendency to worry, get anxious and focus on the negative. I have always been hard on myself and was often my own worst critic. Yet, yoga has taught me how to come into my body, befriend my body and be my own best friend. Yoga has taught me what it means to practice self-care. And much of the magic of yoga is because it slows us down and brings us into the present moment, while also building mindful awareness. So, I have found that the best way to calm my mind is through yoga practices that utilize my body. Of course, I still get stressed and anxious at times, but yoga has given me the tools to be with these difficult emotions. Now, I’m no longer spending so much time ruminating, reacting and practicing negative self-talk. Instead, I’m able to notice what’s happening, which gives me more distance and space from my usual patterns.
What is your favorite pose?
Baddha Konasana – reclined bound angle pose with a bolster under my back & blocks under my knees. I often lead this pose in classes because I love how it’s a safe way to open the heart while feeling supported by the ground. I’ve also noticed that when I come into this pose, I feel a strong softening into my body and generally the urge to let out a few deep audible sighs.
If you could just share one practice that has helped you the most, what would it be?
Alternate nostril breathing with holding. I like to inhale to 4, hold to 4 & exhale to 8. Alternate nostril breathing helps to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain & is deeply relaxing.
What is your current or all-time favorite song or artist for a yoga playlist?
Shamanic Dream by Anugama
How did you find Asheville Community Yoga?
I found ACY through word of mouth & had never been to a completely donation based yoga studio before. It was love at first site.
What inspired you to become a Yoga & Meditation instructor?
Sharing what I know. Yoga has helped me to transform myself from being completely identified as a “depressed person” into someone who is moving forward with her dreams. It’s not an easy or linear path, but I feel it happening and growing stronger with time. I teach because I know that others can transform in this way too. For example, I teach at the Veterans Hospital of Asheville in their inpatient mental health unit. I enjoy teaching to this population because most of the patients have never experienced yoga before. So, it’s exciting to offer the students an experience that allows them to find relaxation and relief in their bodies. Many people with trauma have come to see their bodies as a threatening place to be. Too see a look of calm on someone’s face who may be dealing with PTSD, anxiety, or depression creates a sense of warmth in my heart around making an impact. I truly believe that we are all here to make an impact in this world.
We encourage you to treat yourself to a class with Elena! You can join her on Tuesdays from 3:00-3:45pm for Anxiety Releasing Yoga and for Gentle Yoga on Wednesdays from 2:15-3:30pm.
Elena – Thank you for being so generous with your time and being so honest and down to Earth. You’ve touched the lives of many people and the world is a better place thanks to you following your passion of yoga and sharing it with others.

 

September Student of the Month: Brandon Dombrowski

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image1 (1)For September, our Student of the Month is Brandon! He is both a dedicated student and trainee in the current teacher training program here at the studio!
You can find Brandon at the evening warm classes almost every day of the week. The moment he walks in the door, he has a smile on his face, looking so content to just be at the studio.
Not only does Brandon always take the time to check in and ask how each staff member is doing, he always stays after and volunteers to help clean up the studio at the end of the night.
While Brandon hasn’t lived in Asheville all that long, he’s become a true member of our community and it feels like we’ve known him a long time!
What was the experience with yoga that got you hooked?
Like a lot of people, I started going to yoga as a physical practice, a way to improve strength and flexibility. Shortly after starting, I was reintroduced to my breath, that was the hook. Being able to consciously breathe for 60 or 90 minutes straight has tremendous healing benefits for me. It allows me to get out of my own way and just be . Once I felt this relief I was hooked :)
What inspires you to continue yoga?
I continue to practice because I want to become the best possible version of myself. I know that yoga has increased my ability to be present and this is where I prefer to be. I can see, and feel, the endless benefits of my practice and that to me is super inspirational.
What is your favorite pose?
Savasana!! Hands down… and arms down, and head down, and legs down.
What is your most challenging pose?
Sitting comfortably in Lotus and relaxing my mind
What is your favorite time/place to practice?
Clearly, Asheville Community Yoga is my favorite place and the best time for me to practice is when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
How has yoga changed your life?
In so many ways, we should sit down and talk if you’re interested . I feel most importantly I have more love and compassion for myself and others. Instead of drowning my fears and guilts with drugs or alcohol I am able to notice that happening and let it pass. I give myself forgiveness for terrible things that have happen in the past and focus my energy on the present. I love myself more and am much less afraid to be myself instead of continuing to wear a mask.
Do you have a favorite yoga book or video?
P90X Yoga, dare you to try it.
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Loving, sensitive and expanding.
Is there a recurring theme that runs through your yoga practice?
Focus on the breath and feel and presence. I still battle an overactive mind a lot .
If you could just share one practice that has helped you the most, what would it be?
Gratitude, think of 3 things you are grateful for every morning and know that you are blessed to have these things or people or experiences.
What is your current or all-time favorite song or artist for a yoga playlist?
Xavier Rudd – Follow the Sun. This song brings me to a happy place filled with great memories of a beautiful soul that will always be cherished in my heart.
What is your mantra?
Well, I didn’t have one until right now. From now on it’s going to be : believe in yourself
Do you have a passion other than yoga you’d like to share about?
Certainly, I’m passionate about moving towards a completely sustainable existence. I want to live in harmony with the rest of creation. Let’s use our intelligence to help our ecosystem, our planet, the universe instead of just taking and leaving it looking ravished and polluted and barren. I’m passionate to spread more awareness and love.
How did you find Asheville Community Yoga?
I found it on google. It was the first place I came when I moved to Asheville in November. It happened to be a couple miles from where I was going to be staying and was offering an evening class. It was meant to be. Not so much that I found it as it found me.
Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it?
I’m not sure, I think maybe I can relate most with the caterpillar. For my whole life I have been living on the ground layer of my existence crawling around, vulnerable, glutinous, eating too many leaves. I have recently sheltered myself into my cocoon: hiding from the rest of the world, being scared and not helpful to the rest of existence … I hope that this awakening I’m feeling is my transformation to a butterfly🦋. I love butterflies!
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a yoga class?
Definitely a few times I’ve been twisting into a pose and something slipped out my backside. Luckily it wasn’t a disc in my back:)
Do you have a favorite class you like to attend? 
Any class where the wonderful ms Wendy is teaching. I love being in her presence, hearing her beautiful, loving and healing words. Her gentle class may have been the best hour of my life, but for some reason I find myself hooked on her hot flow on Tuesday’s. Do it!
Thank you, Brandon for sharing your practice with us and always stepping up to help the center in whatever way you can! We appreciate you!

 

September Volunteer of the Month: Mary Grace Wynn

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FullSizeRender (1) (1)This month we are honoring Mary Grace as our Volunteer of the Month!
Mary Grace is in the studio multiple times a week for classes and has been volunteering to support the center as well!
She lends her skills at Zen & Now, with both general upkeep of the store and with their social media. If you love the displays at Zen & Now, you most likely have Mary Grace to thank! She truly excels when given artistic tasks and has helped give the shop its boutique vibe.
What was the experience with yoga that got you hooked?
For a while I have practiced yoga at home in a very simple manner so it wasn’t until I attended my first gentle yoga class at ACY​ that I was hooked. Yoga to me had never been a spiritual experience for me until that first class at ACY. By the end of the class I felt a deep connection and k​new I had to come back for more!
What inspires you to continue yoga?
​At the end of every class, I thank myself and my community for bringing me back to my mat. I’m inspired to continue practicing yoga because of how connected I feel, how at peace, and how balanced I feel after I practice. Even if I’m at a difficult place emotionally or a positive place emotionally I always find peace in the practice.
What is your favorite pose?
​I really enjoy traditional savasana. For me, it is always calming and allows me to embrace whatever is going on at the time. ​Very restorative pose.
What is your mantra?
I have two that I was introduced to at ACY that I constantly use. The first one is breathing in “​I love you​”​ and then breathing out ​”​​T​hank you​”​. ​My other favorite is the Metta Meditation that Jodie introduced me to. Whenever I feel like my mind is going a thousand miles an hour, this meditation always helps me stop and spread positive energy towards myself and others. ​
How did you find Asheville Community Yoga?
​A very close friend brought me to my first ACY class and I will be forever grateful! ​
What inspired you to begin volunteering at Asheville Community Yoga?
​I have always loved the idea of ​selfless devotion​. Volunteering at ACY allows me to give back to a community that pours so much into my life. ​It’s such a beautiful community that I love being able to support it in small ways. Since I’ve started volunteering at ACY, the act has become a very important habit in my life.
Mary Grace – Thank you for donating your time and artistic talents to the studio! You are always so sweet every time you walk in the studio and you are a joy to be around. We are so happy to have you here as a member of our community!

 

Ongoing Garden Project – Weed, Water, Plant

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Our Gardening Project is ongoing, so if you see a weed – pull it! If you find a veggie or an herb ready to harvest – feel free! If you’d like to donate plants, help with watering, or have any other way of adding more beauty to our outdoor  Please email Wendy@ashevillecommunityyoga.com if you have any questions. Thanks! Please dress for gardening, bring your own gloves and tools if you have them, and don’t forget your water bottle!

WORK DAY! – Saturday, September 9th 11 am & Sunday, September 10th 3 pm

Come help plant mums and other fall flowers. We will also be spreading mulch. We really want to get everything planted before the hurricane rains come through on Monday and Tuesday, so we’d really appreciate your help!  Please bring your own trowel and garden gloves if you have them! Email Wendy to sign up to help with this!

WISH LIST:

Mums, herbs, fall flowers

TO DO LIST:

Weeding & Deadheading – Please feel free to pull weeds from any of the berms and to deadhead flower blossoms

Featured Artists – Our Creative Staff!

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Throughout the next few weeks, you will see the fabulous creative talents of our staff here at Asheville Community Yoga, as we display their beautiful work. Please check out the lobby of Studio B for the latest display featuring “A Peek Into the Magic Garden”, a collection of 16 canvases created by Lauren Cox, photographs by Ryan Tibbs, and Wendy Mallett, as well as the beautiful and always popular work of community member Marilu Solares, now available on wood canvases. Check it out!

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July Student of the Month: Wayne Scank

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WayneCongratulations to Wayne for being the July Student of the Month! Wayne is one of our most consistent students, at the studio multiple times a week without fail. Trying out everything from Meditation to Yin, you’ll find him in all different styles of classes. Every time he leaves the studio it’s almost a guarantee that he’s folded towels and brought a full basket of them into the studios. He’s the type of student who will do these acts of service without being asked. He’s helped with all sorts of projects around the studio and we’re so lucky to have him as a student at Asheville Community Yoga.

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