Elena first came to yoga in 2001, when she was searching for a way to become healthier and more at peace after the death of her mother. She is a 200-hour certified Kripalu yoga teacher, a 100-hour certified TIMBo (trauma informed mind body program) facilitator, and a 200-hour graduate of the Asheville Yoga Center’s teacher training program. She is also pursuing her certification as a life coach with the Coach Training Institute. In 2008, Elena volunteered at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for over a year, and this experience catapulted her into the world of health and healing. Then, her study of yoga took her to India where she spent several months in 2010 and completed a month long course at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. More recently Elena has been exploring the intersections of mindfulness and yoga. So, in 2016, Elena completed a 5 day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive, and she will be attending a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy training at the end of 2017. A life long learner, she is always continuing to expand her knowledge, consciousness, and self-acceptance. She attends approximately two meditation retreats a year. Elena also teaches trauma-informed yoga to veterans at the VA hospital in Asheville. She enjoys empowering others to find their own self-healing by leading classes that place an emphasis on one’s inner experience and by coaching clients towards their highest, most authentic goals. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Boston University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Loving Kindness Meditation (All are Welcome)
Tuesdays from 3:00 to 3:45 pm
Meditation is the practice of withdrawing the external senses as a way to slow down and be with our own experience and awareness in the present moment. It’s a way of shifting from the doing aspect of the mind into the being aspect of the mind. This class generally begins with a seated guided meditation that includes a heart opening such as self-compassion or loving-kindness. Then, class includes time for a walking meditation. And finally, class will close with about 10 minutes of silent seated meditation. The beginning of the class includes self-compassion or loving-kindness because these two practices are a powerful way to create new positive ways of being with oneself. Self-compassion is a guided practice that includes being kind to oneself, practicing mindfulness, and connecting with our common humanity to others. Loving-kindness comes from the Buddhist tradition and is the practice of opening one’s heart to oneself and others through the repetition of phrases like “May I Be Safe and Protected”.
Gentle Yoga (Beginners Welcome)
Wednesdays from 2:15 to 3:30 pm
Appropriate for all students, this is a gentle, safe, and soothing yoga class that is designed for anyone who may think that they are too out-of-shape, depressed, old or un-flexible to do yoga. This class is designed to turn on the relaxation response by using deep yogic breathing combined with slowly flowing coordinated movements and stretches. Towards that end, time will be taken at the beginning of each class to get grounded and practice focusing on the breath. Students are encouraged to listen to their own bodies and take the class at their own pace. If you are new to yoga, would like a gentle introduction, or are working with an injury or personal challenge, this class is a good place to start.