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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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.

August Raffle Basket

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old-style-bicycle-1914-hiThis month our raffle is a BIKE! Valued at $500, Mossy Mountain Bikeworks has been so generous to donate a 2016 Suberbe Classic vintage style bike.
Tickets are sold at the front desk one for $5 or five for $20 and a winner is picked at the end of the month!

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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May Service Project – Can You Dig It?

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Calling all gardeners and landscapers! SIGN UP NOW for our landscaping projects in May!

Although it’s still early to begin planting, there is a lot of prep work to be done to get garden spaces ready. We will have designated gardening/landscaping groups working on specific projects, so please sign up at the front desk and share what your gardening skills and interests are, as well as your availability so we can match you up with the right task. Feel free to email Wendy at wendy@ashevillecommunityyoga.com if you have any questions or wish to sign up. Thanks!

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 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.

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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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new teacher trainees
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.