March Service Project: Building Construction

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IMG_8476We have saved over $20,000 in labor thanks to YOU! Now, more than ever, we need your help as we begin painting and the finishing touches to make this expansion a reality. Please check in with us before and after classes to see what project is happening and how you can help. Together, we are creating a wider sense of community and unity. Thank you!

If you already signed up, we will be contacting you soon. If you haven’t already, please sign up at the front desk! You can also email Wendy at wendy@ashevillecommunityyoga.com.

March Raffle Basket: Asheville Food & Fun

March Raffle Basket

March Raffle BasketThis month’s raffle basket is an exploration of the amazing fun and food that Asheville has to offer. Purchase tickets one for $5 or five for $20 at the front desk for the chance to win! This basket is valued at $355 and includes…

  • Zipline Tour for 2 to The Gorge Zipline
  • 2 tickets for an Asheville Walking Tour
  • $25 gift card to Mellow Mushroom
  • $25 gift card to Mela
  • $25 gift card to White Duck Taco
  • Meal for 2 to Mayfel’s or Lorettas
  • Slab of fudge and ice cream at Kilwins

A winner will be picked at the end of the month!

Zen & Now: NOW OPEN!

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Come to refresh your look with recycled clothes for reduced prices at Zen & Now, where all proceeds benefit Asheville Community Yoga. Please remember that we are always gratefully accepting your donations of gently used men’s and women’s clothes, shoes and accessories.

Winter 2017 Teacher Training Program

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Register today for our Winter 2017 Teacher Training Program! As a 200-hour Registered Yoga School through Yoga Alliance, Asheville Community Yoga’s 250-hour program offers a three-day retreat at Prama Institute as well as scholarships and early-bird discounts to make this next step on your path even more accessible.

[Read more…]

OM for the Holidays: Create Your Fundraising Page

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Rather than collect more material possessions this holiday season, consider asking family and friends to make a donation in your name to Asheville Community Yoga’s expansion fund—a gift that will keep the giving spirit alive for you and many others in our community through 2016 and beyond. [Read more…]

A Practice to Sustain Us for a Lifetime

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Most likely if you are reading this, you know well how vast the world of yoga is. There are practices ranging from the most gentle to the most vigorous, from the most physical to the psycho-spiritual. Truly, there is a style of yoga to suit nearly anyone who is ready to embark on the adventure. And for many practitioners, the adventure of yoga is one that lasts a lifetime. [Read more…]

Congratulations to Our New Teacher Trainees!!!

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Last weekend was a particularly special one here at the studio as we celebrated the graduates of our most recent teacher training program. There was a noticeable buzz in the air, as friends and family came to celebrate these beautiful new teachers with song, ceremony and a potluck lunch. It has been awesome in the truest sense of the word to witness how far these individuals have come, both in personal development and in their ability to articulate and share the many gifts of yoga with each other and the world. We bow in humility to these new graduates, and receive the sweet reflection that these last few years of reworking, refining and developing our Teacher Training Curriculum have paid off, and we are sending some truly inspired, inspiring and high-quality teachers into the world!

Congratulations, Graduates!!! We feel so blessed to have been a part of this experience with you, and look forward to the continuing journey. You are incredible. May the path ahead be lit with the light of truth, inspiration and wisdom.

“Live From Your Heart” by Margaret

Our greatest creative endeavor is to create our own lives. That’s good news and a good deal of responsibility. How would this creative endeavor begin?

Accept where you are. Notice and accept your limitations as well as your unexplored potential. Perhaps you’re a new Mom with your hands full of baby all day, or an older adult with a job and an elderly parent, or you’re living with an illness that drains you. Even if you have only 10 minutes to breathe deeply, sink into one deeply restorative posture and meditate for 2 minutes; that’s OK, begin there. By opening up to the experience of ourselves as we are in this moment, we also open to a path unfolding before us. Your practice will shift throughout your life as circumstances change. The art and science of yoga, itself, is unlimited in its flexibility and potential for creative expression as it weaves itself through the fabric of your life.

Poet, Mary Oliver says “so what will you do with your one wild and precious life?” Allow those words to turn your mind toward awe and gratitude as you imagine the possibilities that arise in a heart filled with compassion and love for yourself. Love yourself into living your dream; your unique version of your one unexamined and precious life, starting now.

Try a Moving Loving Kindness Yoga Pose: Goddess

Stand in Goddess pose with your feet wide, toes pointed away from center, arms extended at shoulder height. Bend your knees and elbows and sink down, breathe deeply to energize your heart and hips. Imagine gathering the strong nourishing earth energy up into your legs and hips, expanding it out through the conduit of your arms and fingertips. Reach overhead to gather the light filled wisdom of sky energy and press your palms to draw it down the central channel of your body to arrive at the sacred, silent space of your heart. Pause there to reflect on the question “What will I do with my one wild and precious life?”

February’s Teacher of the Month!

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Liz Ridley is our beloved “Teacher of the Month!!”

“I am just amazed that I have been chosen as Teacher of the Month as Asheville Community Yoga. Here I am – a Tai Chi teacher out of so many yoga teachers!! I love Asheville Community Yoga with all of my heart. It feels like a second home to me and it is the place where I receive my spiritual nourishment – due to all the good vibes that all of you leave in your wake here!

About 20 years ago I read a book by Chuck Norris about martial arts. I loved the idea and philosophy behind it – that it was a way of life – the way of the spiritual warrior. But I knew that I didn’t want to do anything where I would be getting HIT! The Universe answered my desire when I walked into a gym where Sifu Mark Small was teaching a Tai Chi class. I knew right then and there that I had my answer. Sifu Small is still my teacher today, and although I have may other teachers in my, he is still my rock.

Tai Chi gives me so many things. A form of physical exercise that gives grace, beauty and balance. A form of exercise that is a meditation. An exercise that is so good for my body. Tai Chi gives balance in body, mind and spirit. It is good for the heart, strengthens the bones, and relieves stress. There is also a wonderful sense of family and community!

I love to share Tai Chi with others and make it accessible to them. I especially love to teach beginners. I teach classes in such a way that if someone comes one time and never comes again, they leave with a sense of appreciation for what Tai Chi is all about. And if they keep coming week after week – all the better! My wish as I teach my classes is that any good energy and strength that my students get from my classes is put back out into the world to do good. I feel that my teaching is the small part of what I can do to make the world a better place.

Thank you for choosing me as Teacher of the Month. I hope to see lots of you in classes as the year goes on. Remember that coming to class can mean a one time foray into the world of Tai Chi and Qigong – or the beginning of a life of practice!

Thank you so much Liz!!! We feel blessed to have you among us.

Come check out Liz’s class, Thursdays at 4:30pm!

November’s Teacher of the Month!

If you’ve been around the studio Saturday mornings, you may have noticed a lovely new face among us – Lea McLellan has joined our team, and we are so lucky to have her!!!

“As some of you know, I moved from Boston to Asheville just a few months ago — I feel so blessed to have joined this warm, welcoming Asheville Community Yoga family! Teaching yoga is what I love to do. It is such a gift to be able to guide my fellow yogis through their practices and I am filled with gratitude for all of the students who show up each week and open themselves to this beautiful tradition.”

Come check out Lea’s level 1&2 vinyasa flow class on Saturday mornings from 8:30-9:45am! She is also adding a new class to our schedule starting this month, Hot Power Flow level 1&2 on Thursdays from 8:15-9:30pm!

Lea has a way with words, as well – check out her blog: leamclellanyoga@wordpress.com
Lea, we are blessed to have you here and look forward to sharing more and more yoga with you!!!

You are WONDERFUL!!!

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

By Margaret Kirschner, November 2013

Thanksgiving is in the air and it’s the season to cultivate the attitude of gratitude! Remembering to be grateful can be beneficial to our health, not only during the month of November, but always!

Why is it so easy to forget this simple practice?

Most of us take advantage of the luxury of knowing we have food to eat and a place to sleep, and we forget to take time to notice the abundance of gifts that surround us and fill our daily lives with blessings that cannot be bought. Cultivating the attitude of gratitude is a profound, life-affirming practice that we’re reminded to explore especially in November, the season of Thanksgiving.

Do you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, a place to lay your head at the end of the day, a warm blanket, adequate clothes, and an ability to be upright and mobile? Pause and take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are truly blessed by the simple things. Then reflect on what it took to grow the trees that provided the lumber to build your roof and house, the people, sun, water, transportation it took to make the food available for your purchase and eating pleasure, the talent, insight and specialized skills by so many to provide you with so much. The miracle and mystery of being born, being alive and aware in this moment, able to take in these words through your eyes and comprehend their meaning is a priceless gift. The breath that you are receiving right now is a precious miracle!

Gratitude can be cultivated; it simply takes practice. Stop and notice all that is right and good and you will surely notice that the whole universe flows with gifts that open at your feet and fill you completely with love and support. When you come to your yoga mat and stand in mountain pose, feel the earth rise up to meet your feet and say a simple thank you to your toes, sweep your arms out and up smiling as you lift your gaze toward your thumbs, bring your head back to neutral and close your eyes to receive your gift of awareness of this breath, this moment, this miracle of being alive.

Get Passionate About a Home Practice by Margaret Kirschner

As summer winds down and the kids return to school, my life seems to get busy fast.  The lazy days of summer are replaced with a full schedule, my house feels cluttered, my body reminds me that I haven’t stretched nearly enough in weeks, my mind is easily distracted and my yoga mat slumps in the corner of the room, seeming to mock my slacker attitude.   I feel as if I’m chasing life around rather than participating in life.  I make time for an occasional yoga class with the result being a clear, calm and energized feeling on my way out; but it’s time for me to get passionate about my home yoga practice.

But how do I take that feeling from the yoga center and transfer it to my home?  I realize that I need an attitude adjustment.  I’ve made the decision to put my self-care front and center.  I’ve noticed that when I take good care of myself, it increases my capacity to be with discomfort without freaking out. Those knee-jerk reactions while driving my car, that anxiety while waiting in the dentist’s chair, and that incessant inner- critic can all be observed and felt without judgment; which brings me a healthy sense of self-awareness.  If I can see myself clearly without judgment, I can live with others with more compassion and patience.  That’s proof enough for me that yoga works.

When it comes to yoga, consistency is more important than intensity.  I know that practicing for 10 minutes every day is more beneficial than a weekly class of 90 minutes.  But there’s one thing I know about myself (and I’m pretty sure you’ll recognize yourself in here too), I have a tendency to get in my own way.  So I’ve listed my common obstacles and the solution that I will apply when my “monkey mind” jumps in to distract me once again (note that both my obstacles and my solutions are all in my mind).

I’m too busy.  I can do 10 minutes of yoga today.

I’m overweight.  Ignoring my body will not help my self esteem nor help me return to a healthy weight.

I’m too old.  Everyone else is getting old too.  I am aware of my attachment to an idea that yoga asana needs to be practiced in a certain way.  I can practice in a new way.

I’m rehabilitating an injury. My physical limitation will teach me how to respect my limits while allowing me to explore new movement possibilities.

I’m a recovering perfectionist.  I will throw away the media influences and just move and feel, breathe and release, observe and allow whatever reveals itself to be my perfect “teacher of the day.”

I’m too tired.  Yoga gives me more energy than it expends.

I can’t afford it.  It costs nothing to reach and breathe.  I don’t need special clothes, a sacred space, props or even a mat.

Now that I’ve exhausted all my typical excuses, it’s time to make a plan.  Instead of muscling through poses in an attempt to reach some impossible idea of perfection, I’m going to find 10 minutes of joy in my simple yoga practice at home.  I’ve committed to a daily 10 minute practice ( in writing on my calendar) with a different focus each day to keep things fresh.

  • Monday: a morning wake-up sun salutation flow to jump start my week.
  • Tuesday: a mid-afternoon core strengthener sequence to empower my will.
  • Wednesday: One stress-less restorative relaxing pose before bed.
  • Thursday: a fun, funky flow set to my favorite music after work.
  • Friday: a “peak pose” to inspire me to reach further.
  • Saturday: a “my body rocks day”.  I listen to guidance from my body and just move, breathe and feel.
  • Sunday: An “align and refine” sequence to help me focus on form.

I promise myself I’ll show up in this precious moment, breath by breath, in the body I have right now, in the wonderful, messy life that is unfolding for me today.  Just do more yoga, y’all.