Workshop Opportunity: YOGA 101 w/ Vicky Foster

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Join us for Yoga 101! This one day intensive class will get you started on your way to feeling comfortable on a yoga mat. We will cover the basics of props and yoga etiquette. This class will take you through the basics of yoga postures, alignment, common sequences and will be part asana practice and part question & answer. After you have completed this class you will feel more confident on your mat.

Join Vicky Foster - RYT for this in depth look into how to get started with a yoga practice. The time to start is now..it is never too late to begin again!

Participants that enroll in this course will receive 10% off a class package or membership after completion, so you can begin to use your new found knowledge in any of our classes. This class will be held on December 2nd from 1- 3pm. 

Must pre-register to attend by Wednesday, November 29th! Sign up by Monday, November 27th and receive a 10% discount!

Cost of the class is $22.00

 

Pints&Poses: BristolYOGA @ Studio Brew

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BristolYOGA and Studio Brew are teaming up to bring you a unique Yoga Experience. An all levels Yoga Session with a sudsy reward at the end! $15 includes your Yoga session and your choice of Studio Brew 6 oz beer and Studio appetizer. Only 25 tickets available and pre-registration is required! Sign up early! Ticket required to take class only, invite your friends and family to come and enjoy the brewery, beer and food. Doors open at Noon, come early and stay the afternoon!

$15, BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat) event

NEW CLASS SERIES: Day to Night: A Salutations Series

Led by our own Victoria Hanson RYT-500, who trained in Sampoorna Yoga Center in Goa, India in 2016. This class series will focus on building muscle memory of these classic Hatha yoga sequences to utilize in your personal practice. Sun Salutations are a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses with profound benefits that have been written about for thousands of years. This series builds strength and refines the muscle tissues by building heat in the body. Moon salutations are a modern sequence of restoring poses that are designed to cool the body and aid in quieting the mind and increases the body’s ability to heal and rest. These sequences together are powerful allies to develop in your home practice for life long fitness and well being.

Thursdays @ 4:30pm, OCT 5th - NOV 9th

 

Source: http://www.bristolyogacenter.com/workshops...

Why I Teach KIDS YOGA, by Heather Dotterweich RYT

Five years ago (a year before I started formal yoga teacher training) I went to a 4 day course on teaching yoga to children, at the Asheville Yoga Center. It was fascinating, exhilarating and exhausting. Having been introduced to the practice as an adult, I wanted to find out how yoga and children intersect. The answer was very naturally! Gandhi is purported to have said that if you want peace in the world you need to begin with children. Yoga was making such a difference in my life, I needed to know how to translate it for our younger generation.

Years before I had taught little kids in Sunday School, which on reflection had some similarities to a kids' yoga class: action story telling and quiet times etc. I also taught World Religion in the public school system in Scotland at a middle and high school level. I believe that the desire to share yoga with kids comes from my predisposition for working with young people! However, moving from a formal classroom teaching style, and into a more organic and holistic approach of communicating with children has been a delight. This is the premise of Yoga: integration and unity of the body, mind and spirit, and these lessons of yoga are surely life enhancing no matter your age, ability or background. 

Mindfulness and meditation started to become an integral part of my practice during and after my yoga teacher training. I have found that children enjoy and are naturally attuned to 'being in the moment' whether it's in the middle of an asana sequence, or singing a song, or listening to the singing bowl chime, they tend to have less preoccupations than their elders. Paying attention to the breath is also a great tool to acquire at an early age, and adds much to our yoga practice and everyday coping skills.

I followed up my 230hr yoga teacher training, with a course specifically designed for teaching yoga and mindfulness to children with sensory processing challenges, attention deficit disorders and autism spectrum disorder. Yoga has been shown to benefit this population enormously. With a regular practice in a class and at home, children of all abilities can begin to have a sense of feeling grounded, more focused attention, better body awareness, improved emotional intelligence, more self-confidence, increased self-control and improved communication skills. They also become excellent yoga teachers; instructing family members at home!

I'm looking forward to sharing and investigating lots of yoga poses and movements in many variations that have “real life” application: there's animal yoga, nature yoga, transport yoga, city yoga, beach yoga, insect yoga, cowboy yoga, farmer yoga and so on! Then there's the singing and chanting, we'll sing the Namaste Song. There are percussion instruments to be played, lots of dancing and the creating of new poses. The students will teach and share with each other. There will be some Sanskrit words to learn, and calm and peace to be enjoyed.

We become anything and everything, while actually just being and appreciating ourselves and others. WELCOME TO KIDS YOGA!

 

P.S. I also teach Senior Yoga, but that's a whole other story!

 

Yoga for every BODY with Emily Adams RYT

Have you always wanted to try yoga but are too nervous to take that first step? Or have you tried a class but felt like you needed a little more help to figure out what works for your body? Then Curvy Yoga might just be for you!

A friend asked me to attend yoga class with her for a year but I wouldn't go with her. She was athletic and skinny and I was... well, not athletic and skinny. I was certain that I would be the biggest person in the class and I wasn't sure I would be able to do what was asked. A year later I was still thinking about yoga and finally went to my first class (without that friend!). Attending weekly classes helped me de-stress, increased my mobility, and decreased my shoulder and hip pain. I began to notice and to listen to how my body felt in different poses and throughout my day. I began to take my yoga off the mat and bring more calm to my life. I began to learn to show kindness to myself.

Curvy Yoga is a safe place for you to practice yoga and explore slight differences in poses to find what works for your body. Making slight modifications can sometimes be necessary for proper alignment and safety in a bigger body. It's a place to learn how to use all those props in the studio. It's a place to figure out what to do when your left elbow doesn't reach the outside of your right knee in a twist. Yoga helps you to learn body awareness and you might just begin to understand what that yoga teacher means when she says "what is your pinky toe doing right now?" 

Isn't Curvy yoga just like regular yoga? Why do we need it? Because there are people like me who were afraid to go to a class. Because you want to feel safe. Because you don't know that a regular yoga class is going to be just fine. Because you don't know how to do the poses and might get embarrassed. Because you've tried a pose and couldn't do it. Because you don't know how to make the poses work for you.

Join me at my workshop on January 28. We will explore how to love the body you’re in today, learn “how to” modifications to make yoga poses more accessible in any class, practice the options, and then get a chance to try out those new moves in a 45 minute yoga practice. "You can do this!"

Emily Adams, RYT-200 and Curvy Yoga certified teacher, will be leading this fun, instructional and inspirational workshop. We will explore how to love the body you’re in today, learn “how to” modifications to make yoga poses more accessible in any class, and then get a chance to try out those new moves in a 45 minute yoga practice. Lots of options are offered during the workshop so you can figure out what best works for your body.

Beginners are very welcome; no yoga experience or flexibility required.

January 28th 11:30am-1:30p

Cost $25

The Anatomy Of a Wind Chime

Karen McDonald, Yoga practitioner and Spiritual Director shares her thoughts on things that blow in the wind: 

I rescued a wind chime last week. The hushed instrument caught my eye from my rocking chair position on a mountain porch. The “wind-catcher,” the shape hanging at the end of the center string, had become tangled around the top of the chimes so that it was impossible for it to sing and dance in the breeze. Much like a naughty child in a time-out chair, it was in the corner... brooding. As I untangled the wind-catcher, I discovered that someone had replaced what was once a wooden wind-catcher with a cardboard shape. The cardboard did not have enough weight to engage a song, failing to briskly move the clapper (that circular disc that strikes the chimes), causing it to get stuck outside the circle of chimes — emitting only weak, repetitive notes. I had never considered how important it is for the wind-catcher to have a weightiness about it, being substantial enough to pull the clapper in and out, away from the outside edges of the chimes, preventing it from getting stuck in a restrictive pose, never limiting its song. 

This bound wind chime caused me to reflect on my well-worn habit of letting my mind (clapper) muscle overpower my spiritual heart (wind-catcher) muscle. And in those moments of imbalance my song grows faint or boring - hitting only a narrow range of notes. Martin Laird in Into the Silent Land says, “In fact, because our attention is so completely riveted to what’s playing on the big screen of our thinking mind, we can live completely unaware of the deeper ground of the heart that already communes with God.” Being a teacher of the contemplative Christian tradition, I am constantly inviting others to practice the ancient spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer, exploring that deeper ground, the spiritual heart, where gifts and the Giver wait for us.

Do you find yourself too often living from that restrictive placec in the mind where raging thoughts overtake you, trapping you in a small view dominated by feelings and emotions of the moment? If so, I invite you to continue what you may have already begun in your yoga practice; quieting yourself for twenty minutes at a time, using your breath or a holy word or phrase to calm your mind, bringing you home to that space of ease - and oft—forgotten unconditional love. It is from that place that we are taken by surprise; breaking into song and dance as a wilder, truer, Holy wind catches us.


Karen McDonald is a spiritual director, trained in the contemplative Christian tradition by Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. Her practice of yoga constantly enriches her own spiritual journey as a mystical Christian. Her one-on-one ministry of Holy Listening occurs with women of any age who find themselves in an unfamiliar land because of transitions happening in and to them. She has lived in the Bristol area for 34 years. Karen is a regular at Bristol Yoga and delights in her roles as a wife, mother and grandmother. 

Karen McDonald is a spiritual director, trained in the contemplative Christian tradition by Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. Her practice of yoga constantly enriches her own spiritual journey as a mystical Christian. Her one-on-one ministry of Holy Listening occurs with women of any age who find themselves in an unfamiliar land because of transitions happening in and to them. She has lived in the Bristol area for 34 years. Karen is a regular at Bristol Yoga and delights in her roles as a wife, mother and grandmother. 

How do you find a yoga practice that is right for you?

During practice, I can hear my breath mix into the flow of everyone else's in the room. I can push myself to achieve my best pose of the day, or I can find myself honoring my body in a resting pose, and no one pushes me to come out of it. I can feel the engagement of the instructor through hands on adjustments, and when I am in my final pose, savasana, I am completely relaxed. My mind, my body and my breathe are at ease. My soul is at ease. I am home!

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Who is Katie Silcox and WHY do you want to know her?

We are fortunate enough at Bristol Yoga to host teachers from all over the country to teach specialty classes and workshops.

One teacher who will be joining us in the studio this May is a woman named Katie Silcox.

Katie is a tall, blonde woman built like an Amazon Goddess and glows like one too. She is fluent in the Tantra Yoga Tradition as well as the science of Ayurveda and is on a mission to make these ancient practices accessible to the modern man and woman. Her New York Time's Bestseller, Healthy, Happy, Sexy: Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women aims to do just that.

My first exposure to Katie came through her book Healthy, Happy, Sexy. At the time, we were hosting our Yogi Book Club through Bristol Yoga and we had selected her book as the feature for the month knowing she would later be visiting the studio. Initially, I was curious what kind of knowledge would be found in a book titled Healthy, Happy, Sexy, but just a few pages into the book, I remember thinking Katie had chosen the perfect title. Judging the book by it's cover, it was no more intimidating than a Cosmopolitan Magazine advertising "6 Ways to a Healthier YOU" or "10 Tips to Boost Your Bedroom Confidence". These tag lines obviously work for a reason (I mean, who wouldn't mind being healthier, happier, and sexier?) and with a title like this, Katie is appealing to women inside and outside of the yoga community. In the first few pages, with the wisdom of your great, great grandmother and the voice of your closest girlfriend you recognize and trust Katie as she begins to guide you through the necessity of a self-loving, self-care practice in order to find balance in life; something every modern individual needs, man or woman, yogi or non-yogi. Moving deeper into the book you find a wealth of knowledge and information about the complex, ancient self-loving traditions of Tantra and Ayurveda that dig deeper than Cosmopolitan's "Foods to Eat for a Flat Belly" (implying that there is something wrong with the belly you have now) and find instead guidance from Ayurvedic practices for "foods to eat that make your belly happy, and in turn your mind happy, because your belly is amazing and deserves your love just like the rest of you does."

During the time I was reading Healthy, Happy, Sexy I was living a particularly hectic life with a packed schedule that was pulling me in every direction but together. You've probably heard the saying "running around like a chicken with their head cut off." Well, that was me. This was right around the time I had developed a stress fracture in my wrist from overuse. My lack of self-care in my daily routine left me with no energy and a serious sweet craving to make up for the sweetness that was missing from my life. I finished Healthy, Happy, Sexy recognizing areas of my life in which I was self-medicating out of self-loathing and creating imbalance in my life with a new resolve to get grounded in a daily practice of self-loving. 

Katie later came to the studio for a three day weekend sharing more wisdom and knowledge from Tantra and Ayurveda for finding balance, even highlighting some of the notes from Healthy, Happy, Sexy. She is even funnier in person, living true to the humor and wit that shines in her book and her strong self-care practice speaks for itself through her presence. Each day of the weekend, Katie shared a different asana practice for balancing subtle energies of the mind-body and body-mind.

I remember the Friday evening class specifically. It was a class designed for bringing clarity, for cultivating stillness in the mind. The asana practice was all-levels, accessible by every practitioner. The breath work used in the practice was equal-ratio breathing, matching the length of your inhale to the length of your exhale. Closing the practice, the entire room was still. I remember feeling clear and grounded in a way that I had never really before. Leaving the studio, Katie requested that we observe silence to preserve the stillness and peace generated. Walking out to my car, I remember seeing and feeling the brightness of the moon like never before. My senses seemed to be incredibly sensitive, but I think it was more the stillness in my mind, the absence of the running dialogue going on in the background of my life, that was allowing me to indulge more in the natural world around me.

Katie's practices have since inspired in me the value of self-love, self-compassion and living a life in balance. When we take the time to take practice self-care and balance ourselves with the ebbs and flows of life, we are more available to experience the every day magic in our lives.

If you know you could use a little more balance in your life, Katie is going to be with us again the coming weekend May 6th - May 8th sharing more of her magic, wisdom and guidance.

 

Presented by Marcy Hullander

 

Feature Teacher: Heather Dotterweich

Fairly recently, I asked the question to one of my classes, "why do we come together to practice in the community?"

 

Many voices came forward, expressing reasons why they come to share in their practice; some of those reasons being to build connection, others being that they just wouldn't practice on their own. 

 

One individual shared "I learn better in the community."

 

This was a response I felt really captured the value of practicing in community. By practicing in a community, we become more than just our own experience. Within a community, lessons can be shared, explored, and even developed further so that new discoveries are made furthering the development of the community.

 

In order to see this kind of development within a community, however, the mindset of the forever-student must be present. We call it the "beginner's mind". The individual that, no matter how long they have been practicing, is able to maintain their "beginner's mind" and always come to their practice with intention to discover is the individual that will continue to stimulate and elevate the growth of the community. 

 

At Bristol Yoga, we are fortunate to share space with one particular individual who approaches more than just her yoga practice with the "beginner's mind", reminding us the value of approaching each day with the wonder of curiosity and intention to discover. 

 

This luminary individual is Heather Dotterweich!

 

1. When and how did you find yoga?

I first encountered a formal yoga asana class about 11years ago in the old Bristol Ballet studio, above the Blackbird Bakery. The teacher had spent 2 years in an ashram and was very fluent in her use of Sanskrit, but what felt more foreign were the positions, (basic asana) that my body was being asked to move into! However, an excellent teacher, and a growing awareness that I was connecting with something deep inside, kept me coming back to class.

 

2. Why did you choose to pursue teaching yoga?

Teaching comes fairly naturally to me, and I'd taught High School 'World Religion' in Scotland. However, I never set out to be a yoga teacher. It wasn't until year seven of practicing that the thought started to take root. So I spent the following year visiting lots of studios, doing various weekend courses, and talking to teachers to try and discern if this was right for me. Eventually, through a recommendation I found Lydie Ometto's Yoga Teacher Training school at Inner Sea Yoga in Johnson City. I graduated and began teaching 3 years ago, and that's when the learning really began, and still continues!

 

3. When and how did you come across mindfulness practices and what drew you to explore and teach mindfulness?

Several years ago I noticed more and more the numinous moments in life, where everything seemed to move beyond space, time, words and even thoughts, and I was left with a sense of just being. Often it would be times when I deliberately slowed everything down, and just paid attention: hanging laundry outside, watching a bird, a sunset, and the result was delicious! This experience is common to everyone, when we allow it! I then noticed that the term “Mindfulness”, (bringing awareness to the present moment) kept coming up, and realized that this is what I'd been accessing! I knew a little about meditation and assumed it was beyond me! Lydie talked about it's important connection to yoga, during my teacher training and we practiced a little. But it wasn't until I investigated further: seeing Mindfulness and meditation as a common thread running through the major religions, read some neuroscience research showing it's benefits, listened to several 'how to' courses, attended workshops and read some books, that I decided it couldn't be ignored! Most importantly, I tried it out, and I'm really pleased I did, now it's an integral part of my life and yoga teaching.

 

4. What have you learned from your mindfulness practices and your yoga?

I've learned that it does not make life's struggles disappear! But instead, makes life more doable!! I know my body better, my mind better, I have a deep compassion for myself, and all my foibles. There is a natural honoring that unfolds, and a sense of interconnection with all sentient beings! It's very liberating. It's been a paradigm shift!

 

5. What are you doing when you aren't teaching?

Cooking Indian food, reading Indian novels, watching British Murder Mysteries and documentaries. Reading about and doing yoga/meditation things. Hanging laundry outside, sitting under the cedar tree, dancing around in the house and singing, drinking coffee. Generally helping kids and husband around home, being very attentive to the cat! Going off on mini adventures.

 

6. What are 3 things you hope to learn or explore in the future?

I don't have any real clarity about the future. I do want to continue with my practice, which I hope will involve gaining more insight, but just really being open to the moment!

I'm presently enjoying teaching the students at Morrison School, and am excited to be sharing at Bristol Yoga again. I want to continue being a loving witness and support to my husband and children's unfolding life journeys, and to love and have curiosity about anyone and everyone everywhere!

 

We are so pleased too announce that Heather will be returning to share her practice with the Bristol Yoga Community starting in May on Tuesday Nights at 5:45 PM for Mindful Flow. If you need inspiration to connect with the present moment sooner than that, she will be sharing her Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop this Saturday, April the 16th at 2:00 PM!

 

 

Feature Teacher Presented by Marcy Hullander

Spring Recharge and Renew Retreat

Do you ever find yourself feeling uninspired? Drained? Feeling as if you have been running 100 MPH with no end in sight? Sometimes, when we are in the thick of the race of our lives, we can’t see just how hard we are working. We become so accustomed to a certain pace, it isn’t until we stop, step back, and consciously slow down that we realize just how fast we have actually been moving.

Spring season is already here and with this seasonal shift can come a sense of heaviness, dullness, and lethargy. According to Ayurveda, also known as “the science of life”, the sister science of yoga, spring is a season where excess elements of earth and water are present (think: “April Showers bring May flowers”). Earth and Water combine to create mud, a substance that is cool, sticky, and heavy. The combination of earth and water present in nature influences our mental and physical bodies creating a sense of heaviness, dullness, and lethargy; it manifests in knowing you have a to-do list 3 pages long but all you really want to do is take a nap.

If you are already feeling this way, feeling burned out and in need of an adult spring break, the temperature is only getting warmer and the intense heat of summer can be especially energy-zapping for some. For this reason, spring time is the perfect time to rev-up your self-loving rituals and treat yourself.
For this reason, we at Bristol Yoga have created the Spring Time Recharge and Renew Yoga Retreat hosted at the Art of Living Retreat Center in Boone, NC. Tucked away in the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, this is a retreat for women geared towards helping you to re-connect with your inner goddess, recharging your emotional, mental and physical body and renewing your sense of purpose. When we connect to our divine feminine energy that is rooted in self-love, we can then harness the power of that love and align with our divine nature, finding a space in which we can nourish, nurture and sustain ourselves.

As if you needed any more convincing, here are 5 other reasons why the Recharge and Renew Yoga Retreat needs to be scheduled on your Spring Calendar.

  1. You will Deepen Your Yoga Practice
    This retreat will include daily guided Asana practices allowing you the opportunity to practice in a new environment and connect with your practice on a deeper level.

     

  2. You will have the opportunity to Detox Digitally
    Of course you have access to your personal electronic devices, however, being tucked away in the mountains gives you the perfect excuse to not respond to your email immediately.

     

  3. You will Eat Healthily
    The Art of Living Retreat Center will be providing fresh, delicious Ayurveda-inspired vegetarian meals prepared by a talented chef.

     

  4. You will Discover New Adventures
    Included in this retreat is a guided nature walk, creative workshop building yantra art as well as journaling practices and exploring self-care routines.

     

  5. You will forge Deeper Connections with Yourself and Those Around You
    This retreat is geared towards helping you to connect with YOU. When we are able to develop a deeper connection with ourselves, we operate from a more authentic place and in turn can deepen the connections with those around us.

To find out more about the Spring Recharge and Renew Yoga Retreat, check out the Bristol Yoga Center webpage at http://www.bristolyogacenter.com/retreats/ and even visit http://artoflivingretreatcenter.org/event-registration/?ee=171 to book your stay!

Feature Teacher: Nicole Dyer

Yoga means “to yoke, or unite,” to bring together in harmonious union. According to Sharon Gannon, co-founder of the Jivamukti yoga method, yoga is actually our natural state from which we, over time and with experience, drift away.  Much of what is learned through a yoga practice is how to re-unite the mind, body, and spirit, returning to our harmonious, natural state. Once we learn to live in union with our selves, understanding every facet of our own being, we can begin to live in harmonious union with those around us.

One member of the newest members to our Bristol Yoga Community lives this idea on and off of her mat. There is a saying in the yoga community that “one does not practice yoga for themselves, but for those around them.” This individual lives her yoga not only to find harmony within herself and her own life, but also to bring harmony to her community. As owner of White Birch Juice, promoting and educating her community on the value of a healthy lifestyle is a priority, and as a yoga teacher, this individual knows that a healthy lifestyle is not limited to the physical body, but includes your mind-body, emotional-body, and spirit-body.

Not only that, but this individual also knows in order for a person to live a truly, all-encompassing healthy lifestyle, they must also be in harmony with the life that surrounds them.

And this is why we at Bristol Yoga are so thankful to have Nicole Dyer as a member of our teaching community teaching others how self-love is actually a selfless practice.

Here are a few questions we asked Nicole to help you get to know her loving and generous spirit.

  1. What brought you to yoga and made you choose to pursue teaching?

  • Yoga came to me about 4 years ago. Once I started practicing I realized how I hadn't ever really taken the time to slow down and unite mind, body & breath. I was dealing with a small injury at the time, and saw the huge impact my practice had on my body, leaving me with no pain and left me constantly looking forward to being on my mat again. The moment I realized Yoga was so much more than learning poses, or asanas, and much more about loving yourself in order to give love to those around me, I wanted to share that feeling with others. I saw an incredible impact in my life on the way I started "responding" instead of "reacting" and wanted to share this with others too. This whole, new world started to open up for me and that was about the same time that huge changes in my life started (leaving my jobs to start my own business, become a Yoga teacher), and I really wanted others to have that same opportunity in their own lives. I then decided to go through a teacher training in Asheville; that is where I really learned that yoga is SO much more than simply calling yoga poses.


2. What does yoga mean for you?

  • What does yoga mean to me? I am always reminded of a quote one of my teachers shared with me, "You are perfect, absolutely perfect inside, but there is much work to be done." It is the constant reassurance that we were all born with this "blueprint" this makeup of who we are deep down, and it remains there in perfect form. As we pass through the journey of life, it becomes harder to see it, feel it and know it. By practicing yoga, slowing down and being still, listening, we can unite the mind, body and breath to get closer to original form of ourselves. By doing the work, and delving into ourselves for that deeper sense of knowing our being, we get closer to ourselves. By incorporating the poses, breath work & meditation I am able to come to this place of stillness and cultivate LOVE:) Without doing this, for me it is hard to take care of others, or continue to roll with whatever life likes to throw at me. Yoga for me is truly being present in the space between what has happened and what will.


3. Being the owner of white birch juice, how does yoga influence your work?

  • Yoga influences my work with White Birch Juice on a day to day basis. In terms of running a new, small business, I don't think I could imagine doing it without the outlook I have cultivated now. It helps me cope with stress, finding balance between work, relationships & what is really important. Like I mentioned before, I am grateful to have learned this way of finding balance and "responding" instead of "reacting," whether it’s simply being mindful and taking 3 deep breaths before doing anything else, or maintaining morning meditation so I can think clearly and calmly throughout the day. 


4. What are you doing when you're not teaching or making delicious juice?

  • When I'm not juicing, I am either practicing yoga, spending time with friends, cooking, being outside, especially rock climbing. I discovered climbing just this year and have been amazed how it is so similar to yoga, physically & mentally. "Yoga on the rock," its incredible!


5. Of all the places you have been in the world, where is your favorite place? And Of all the places you have not been in the world, where do you dream of going? 

  • Something about Peru, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I was there with my best friend from NH and it was just breathtaking. We lived in a small village called Ollantaytambo for several months volunteering. Bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu was probably the most breath-taking view I have ever seen. I really would love to visit New Zealand one of these days :)
     

If you need a little help bringing yourself into union, join Nicole on Tuesday afternoons at 12:15 PM for our 45 minute Flow-N-Go class and grab one of her freshly made juices from the fridge afterwards! The rest of your day will surely be charged with more awareness of your wellness.

 

Feature Teacher Presented by Marcy Hullander

Feature Teacher: Ashley Boyer

Many people desire to begin a yoga practice, but hesitate because of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and/or anxiety. Stepping onto the mat for the first time can be an intimidating experience because of the expectations one builds in one’s mind, specifically about the asana (physical) practice. It isn’t until later in the journey that one realizes this is where the practice begins. As one continues to step onto the yoga mat, becoming more familiar with the physical practice, one begins to understand that yoga is less about the shapes the body makes and more about the connection one builds with oneself. As one’s practice continues to evolve, one realizes that the practice is not confined solely to the yoga mat, that it continues off of the mat, that the practice and the posture never ends.

This is much the case for one member of the Bristol Yoga Teacher Community. This individual serves as an example to all practitioners about the true nature of a yoga practice, that it is more than touching your toes. First coming to the Bristol Yoga Community as a student, this individual, as a glowing momma finely-tuned to her internal compass, chose to follow her instincts and enrolled in the Bristol Yoga Teacher Training Program originally with no intention of teaching. Being a full-time lawyer, mother, and wife as well as a representative for the growing Rodan and Fields community, who could blame her? Fortunately for us at Bristol Yoga, this radiant being chose to take her balancing act off of the mat joining the teaching community.

This joyfully infectious individual is… Ashley Boyer!

Here are a few questions we asked Ashley to help you get to know a little more about why we love her.

1. How did you find yoga and what inspired you to pursue teaching?

  • I did yoga sporadically, as in once a year may be, until Spring of 2013 when a family friend told me about a lady named Victoria Hanson teaching yoga out of her living room once a week.  It was near my house so I contacted her, showed up, and I was hooked. It was totally random, but I trusted it, followed through, and showed up to this stranger's home for yoga.   I followed Victoria to Bristol yoga once a got the nerve to finally go :)  It was August of 2013, and I was pregnant with my second child.  Again, I fell in love, not just with yoga, but with Bristol Yoga Center.  I am twelve hours from my home base, and since moving here, I never really found my niche, my people. From August to December 2013, I came to yoga anytime I had the chance.  I felt a change in perspective in me, a shift, a space that I had never discovered or that I had lost years ago.  At 9 months pregnant and about to pop, I pulled the trigger and signed up for teacher training.  I had no plans to teach; all I knew deep down in my gut was that I needed to know more about this thing and these people that were changing my life.  My husband is the hero in this story as to pursue this crazy gut feeling, he had an infant and 2-year old to handle. Me doing yoga or finding yoga would not have happened without his unwavering support.  I will stop there as the tears starting to form is preventing me from answering these questions. :)
    I pursued teaching after the teacher training because that training gives you a gift.  To keep that gift alive, I have to share it.

2. As a mother, a lawyer, an R&F rep, AND part time yoga teacher, how does your yoga practice manifest in your daily life? What becomes your daily practice?

  • Yoga in my daily life shows up more in the mundane, the day-to-day living.  My home practice is meditation on my mat or in the bathroom when I have a few minutes between life happening around me.  YOGA IS LIFE. LIFE IS YOGA.  It is so much more than asanas; it has changed my life and is my life perspective in everything from changing a diaper, talking to a client about her case and options, leading my RF team, being a wife, a friend, a human, a soul in this world.  I honestly don't see how I made it this far in life without it. 

3. When you're not lawyer-ing, repping for Rodan and Fields or teaching, what are you doing?

  • When I am not lawyering, marketing for R&F, or teaching, I am with my husband and two boys.  They are my world.  Legos, diapers, tents, skinned knees, messy, crazy little boys.  I also love to read and with the pace in my world, I am in love with audible and library books on cd :)

4. What is a book/quote that has found its way to you that continues to hold true in your life?

  • I have too many books and quotes to list.  Right now, I am all over some Brene Brown and Marianne Williamson.  My go-to daily read is the Bhagavad Gita.   One of my favorite quotes that inspires me is,   “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

5. What do you hope to teach others through yoga?

  • I never thought I would teach, but teacher training rocked my world and woke me up.  I hope to teach others that the light is within them; it is not found anywhere but here in you.  For years or may be all my life, I held the subconscious or not so subconscious belief that I will be happy when ....(I graduate college, I live here, I don't live there, I finish law school, I get married, I have X number of bedrooms, I move home to Louisiana, I leave here, I get this job..etc.) Yoga, or me finding yoga and allowing it to change my life, changed my life.  I want to show people that if I can find it or strive to live yoga, they too can find that undisturbed peace within themselves.  Come as you are where you are.

If you need help bringing balance into your life or are new to the practice and are just becoming acquainted with your mat, join Ashley on a Saturday morning at 10:00 AM for Yoga for Everybody. This loving momma has a smile that can put any anxieties at ease.

 

Feature Teacher Presented by Marcy Hullander

Feature Teacher: Amy Davis

For many individuals first stepping on to the yoga mat, the relationship to the practice is purely physical. For some of these individuals, it may even stay that way, however, for the others, it does not take long before their relationship with their practice begins to evolve and take root somewhere deeper.

These individuals who feel their yoga beyond the musculoskeletal layer and experience their practice on a more subtle level can be described as “seekers”. A seeker is someone who does not settle for the norm, who does not conform to an externally-imposed standard, who is instead willing to shine bring light into the darkest of places seeking out what beckons to their most subtle level of being. Seekers are willing to take the necessary risks to answer the calls of their hearts’ deepest longings embracing the discomfort that may come from vulnerability, uncertainty, and questioning.

At Bristol Yoga, we are fortunate and thankful to share community with one particular individual whose bright seeking spirit speaks to our inner child reminding us to always remain curious and never stop exploring.

This beautiful glowing individual is Amy Davis!

Here are a few questions we asked Amy to help you learn why her presence is vital for your individual growth.
 

1. When and how did you find yoga and what made you decide to pursue teaching?
- I was very lucky to find yoga when I was still young--I started going to yoga classes regularly when I was fifteen. . . I realized then that yoga practice is a very special time--it gives your body and your mind a break from all of the simple forward, back, up, down of day-to-day life so that you can be something else, something more free like a pigeon, warrior, mountain, goddess, wild thing. Since then, no matter how inconsistent or lazy my practice sometimes has been over the last fifteen years, yoga has ALWAYS been a part of me, a basic fact of my existence. 

I decided to pursue teaching after college. As can happen to English majors, I had little direction and a lot of free time after graduation. I had been leading my friends for years with help from my David Swenson Ashtanga book. Teaching was fun, and I wanted to learn as much about yoga as I could, so I did some research and applied to Asheville Yoga Center's RYT 2000 program in 2009. I was excited for classes to start, but I didn't know that going to yoga school would be one of the best decisions I would ever make. Over the nine months of training, I starting becoming a real person and growing a soul. Teaching wasn't my number one reason for going to yoga school, but once I graduated, I was passionate about sharing yoga with others. 

 

2. What have you learned from your yoga practice?
-I've learned so much from my yoga practice, but what comes to mind is learning how to be uncomfortable. Yoga has taught me that both growth and routine can both be massively uncomfortable at times, but that discomfort is where the magic happens if you stay present with it. I used to hate pigeon pose; I resisted it in every class and had to force myself to practice it at home. Then one day, I was listening to my then-new Fiona Apple CD and she was singing something about being good at being uncomfortable. I thought if I could learn to be good at being uncomfortable, I could rule the world! Nothing would be awful! So pigeon pose became discomfort-practice, and I really sank my teeth into it, and over the course of...say...a decade, pigeon has become one of my favorite poses and a source of major physical and emotional release.

 

3. What are you doing when you are not teaching?
- When I'm not teaching, I'm usually at Kil'n Time! I'm very lucky to have a job that lets me be creative and help other people tap into their creativity (I promise, I will drag it out of you). Otherwise, I like to play with clay sometimes, read, and Instagram pictures of my cat. 

 

4. You are known around the studio and beyond for your creativity and artwork, what would you say your art means to you?
- I'm going to be very candid about my answer to this question! I am creative all day at work, even if I'm not painting something (and I rarely get to paint anything), which rules! But sometimes by the end of the day, I'm usually tapped. One day last year, one of our regular customers saw me working on a canvas painting for our weekly canvas class. "That's beautiful," she said, "but, Amy, what would you paint if you were painting something for yourself...to express yourself?" And I really couldn't think of anything--I spent the next week having a small breakdown and wondering who I was! I still haven't come up with anything concrete. So right now, I guess what my artwork means to me is an opportunity to figure out, as I'm making something, the answer to that question--what would I make for myself?

 

5. Speaking of artwork, what can you tell us about the artwork you are going to be featuring in the Bristol Bizarre Art Show at the end of this month?
- Turns out that something I would make for myself is clay hands, lips, eyes, and hearts for Bristol Bizarre. My friend Case is running the show, and she came up with the loose theme of a freak show/circus. I started with the idea of making clay dishes in the shape of hands with palmistry maps on them, and they turned out really cool! From there, I decided to focus my pieces for the show on body parts. I have hands with henna tattoos and knuckle tattoos (some with six fingers), eye pendants in different colors, lips with lip rings painted on, a couple of feet, some hearts, and one ear. I'm still working on everything, but I'm having a ton of fun with this theme and helping Case get the show together. Everyone should come out! Monday, February 29th at O'Mainnin's Pub from 8-12. 

 

6. What is something you hope your students take away from your teaching?
- What I most want my students to take from my teaching is that it really is THEIR practice, even if they're practicing in a big room with a lot of people. I want them to learn to respect and love their bodies, find their edges, and learn how to sit with themselves despite sometimes being uncomfortable. My home practice is the most vital part of my yoga life, and I want to empower them to have the tools to take yoga home with them and truly make their practice their own. 

As essential as it is for the seeking spirit to explore the burning questions of their inner child, it is equally essential to know how to come home to themselves in order to find the answers they seek. Amy can show you how to do just that on Monday nights at 7:15 PM in her Candlelight Vinyasa class. Join her and learn the depths of discovery that exist within you!

 

 

Feature Teacher Presented by Marcy Hullander

Fostering Connection for February

February is a month reminding us to cultivate connection, connection to ourselves and to all of those dearest to our hearts. We live in a society that utilizes technology to encourage connection, ironically, however, it seems we are more disconnected than ever. Technology is constantly competing for our attention with social media, emails, cell phones, and the latest and greatest iDevices. It may appear that we are cultivating connection by staying up to date with people in our lives via social media and our cell phones, but in fact, we are only distracting ourselves from the present moment, developing a relationship instead with our cell phone or social media account (you can literally train the keyboard of your phone to adapt to your texting lingo and have you ever noticed how your social media account knows all of your favorite links to browse?), and missing out on opportunity to connect with ourselves. When we miss these opportunities to connect with ourselves, our ability to connect with those around us suffers as well.

In order to function in today’s society, utilizing technology is pretty unavoidable. In fact, technology has made many good things possible, like bridging the gap between families separated by distance, enabling a more free flow of information, and creating more broadly shared communities of interest. However, there are ways to make the digital world work for you, and not the other way around, so that you can in turn build better connections with the people around you.

Here are a few tips to incorporate technology into your life in such a way that it does not disrupt your quality of life.  

  1. Establish Sacred Times
    Being mindful, make clear, conscious choices about when, where, and how you use technology in your day. Determine sacred times and spaces where you allow yourself the opportunity to “disconnect” in order to truly connect with yourself and others. For example, declare any time you are on your yoga mat a sacred time to truly spend with yourself free from technology, establish “technology free time zones” during your morning and bed time rituals so you can mindfully prepare for and unwind from your day, or ban technology from the dinner table and use that time to connect with your family and loved ones.
     

  2. Make a practice of using technology Mindfully rather than Automatically
    When new technology develops, we learn how it can connect us to loved ones, how it can help us manage our lives, and also how it can distract us. Bring awareness to what is motivating you to reach for your phone at any given moment. Are you bored and just distracting yourself? Or is it truly necessary for your job? Get clear about your intentions behind the use of your technology and even establish times FOR using technology. For example, reserve time(s) in your day specifically for replying to emails so that you can truly give them your full attention, or even reserving similar times in your day for some literal face time using your iDevice or skype network to connect with loved ones.
     

  3. Make the most of Face-to-Face Connections
    Yes, technology has helped us to maintain connections that might have otherwise been lost, but it still does not replace real, in-person connection. When you have the opportunity to share space with another individual in your life, turn off your notifications from your device or turn on airplane mode and give yourself and the other person the space to truly connect with one another free from distraction.

    Applying your mindfulness practice to your relationship with technology can serve to enhance your daily life by allowing you the space to connect more deeply with yourself as well as those around you. If you find yourself still struggling to master your relationship with your device, maybe even consider downloading one of the new mindfulness apps for your phone. Moment is an app for iOS devices that tracks the amount of time spent on your device (Moment Family monitors screen time of any family members with the app on their phone for parents looking to enforce daily limits) and a similar app is available for Android devices called BreakFree. Establish goals for yourself to spend less time on your phone overall, or with specific apps throughout your day and move forward into February with the intention to foster more meaningful connections with yourself and those around you.

 

 

Presented by Marcy Hullander

Feature Teacher: Lizzie Hall

Last week, we talked about the necessity of individuals in a community who drive the evolution of the whole through their hunger for life and knowledge. Just as essential as these fiery individuals are to a community are also the Earthy individuals who maintain stability and steadiness. These fiery, go-getters need the self-loving wisdom that comes from the Earthy, grounded individuals of the community in order to avoid burning out. The dynamic between these two types of individuals is the natural harmony of Yin and Yang, or Shiva and Shakti.

The Earthy individuals of a community are those that teach us about sustainability. If you have ever tried to give your max, give 100%, for an extended period of time, then you’ve probably experienced what is commonly referred to as “burn out” (this might look like curling up in your bed with all your favorite junk food and a marathon of your favorite TV series on Netflix).  Sustainability, not just on the mat, but throughout your entire life, is about taking time do find rest and allowing your body to recover. At the core of sustainability is the practice of self-love.

We are fortunate at Bristol Yoga to have one particular individual in our community who is well-skilled in the art of self-love. This individual is so highly tuned in to her own inner-compass that she intuitively knows what her body needs and what her spirit craves. Not only that, but she doesn’t hesitate to nourish those needs. This individual is essential to our community teaching others how to trust and love themselves.

This soft and warm-hearted Earth momma is… Lizzie Hall!

 

Here are some questions we asked Lizzie to help you see just how dear she is to our hearts at Bristol Yoga.

1. When and how did you find yoga?
- I found yoga when I moved to Bristol 2 years ago at Bristol Yoga and I’ve been going ever since.  There’s no family like it in Bristol.
 

2. Why do you practice yoga?
-  I practice yoga whenever I need to come back to myself, whether that’s physically, mentally, or spiritually.  I gives me the tools I need to take care of myself and others.
 

3.  What is your favorite form of asana? (Vinyasa, restorative, gentle, yin, ashtanga, etc.)
- Yin yoga is my favorite form of Asana because it’s what my mind and body seem to need the most.  It gives my mind time to reflect and my body room to move and really sink into the postures.
 

4. What does yoga mean to you?
- To me, yoga is about knowing that I’m worth taking care of myself and that it’s important to take time to calm my thoughts and take care of my body.
 

5.  What are you doing outside of the classroom?
- Outside of the classroom I’m a Middle School teacher who meets students where they are.  I think my yoga philosophy is directly connected to my middle school classroom because I think everyone deserves to have someone meet them where they are.
 

6.  What is your spirit animal and why?
- My spirit animal is a sloth because I have a natural tendency to want to hibernate and take things slow.
 

7. Where is your favorite place to go when you need to relax?
- When I need to relax, I love to get a chai latte and enjoy doing nothing at all for just a little while.
 

8. Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, passage, or verse?
- My favorite verse is John 15:5 because it talks about union with God and that resting in his love is enough.
 

9. What do you want your students to know?
- I want my students to know that yoga meets you where you are.  Come as you are and you will find what you need.

 

If you know you’ve been working hard, or you have a case of the “Mondays”, and you could really use a reprieve to help re-charge your batteries to tackle the rest of your week, give yourself permission to bask in Lizzie’s warm and loving Earth-momma presence on Tuesday nights for her Mindful Flow at 5:45 PM.

 

Feature Teacher presented by Marcy Hullander

Feature Teacher: Jenny Nichols

Have you ever met anyone with a real appetite for life? You know, those people with the glow of eagerness in their eyes, eagerness to love, eagerness to learn, an eagerness to go, see, do, experience. These people are essential to a strong community. The people that are passionate about living and loving, they are the ones that serve to evolve the community and help it to continue to grow. The bright flame burning in their bellies that makes them hungry for knowledge is what inspires the spark in those they come into contact with driving them to do the same.

We are fortunate at Bristol Yoga to have another of our more recent members of the teaching community be this kind of person, the kind with the bright fire in her belly driving her to go, do, see, and learn all things. However, what makes this particular individual so special is more the fire burning in heart that inspires her not only to share all of her wisdom with the community, but to also love each individual so strongly.

 

This beautiful, bright spirit is Jenny Nichols! Here are a few questions we asked Jenny to help you see why you need to know her!

 

1. What brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?
- I have been practicing consistently since January 2011. I came to yoga to recover from my ultra-marathon trail races (distances over 26.2 miles). I was a member at the Bristol YMCA and utilized the Y to cross train, and noticed yoga was on the schedule. I came to Chelia Hopkins power yoga class and was immediately hooked. I started to venture to Asheville and Boone to several of the yoga studios there to experience all different styles of yoga and learn all I could.  Adriel and Victoria were also two of my first teachers during that time. 

 

2. Why do you continue to practice yoga?
- First and foremost, I'm always a student. Yoga is SO HUGE. That was the awesome gift of my teacher training, having the realization I was just now starting my journey and there is SO much to learn. I'm so excited about that! Also my personal practice is incredibly important to me - I feel it keeps me grounded and anchored. I feel taking classes for myself and practicing yoga at home daily is the "Windex" for my perception, it keeps my thinking clear and unclouded. 

 

3. What inspires you to teach yoga?  
- I love how happy doing yoga makes me feel, and I derive much fulfillment and happiness sharing that gift with others. 

 

4. When you are not teaching, what are you doing?  
- Raising two boys, I own a handmade jewelry and accessories business http//:www.mountainprimadonna.com, race direct a couple of charity road races in the tri-cities, and I love to trail run in the mountains. I have a blog about my running adventures http://jendenichols.blogspot.com

 

5. What inspired mountain Primadonna and what continues to inspire your artwork?  
- Mountain Primadonna is inspired by that duality that I feel every woman possesses: strong, adventurous, and tough as nails; whether it's taking care of a family (which is not for the faint of heart and an endurance event in its own rite), getting dirty/muddy running trails, sleeping under the stars while camping or finding fulfillment working in the dirt growing a garden, while also embodying the softer, divine feminine side. I feel every girl possesses that dualism.
I gain inspiration for my art from my yoga practice, spending time in nature, the kind people I meet every day, and the lessons I learn. I think many times my art is reflective of where I am in life and what is in my head that particular day I make jewelry.

 

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
- I would go to Nepal and trek amongst the 8000m peaks in the area. I am just drawn to them, and would love to experience the culture, visit some temples and have great adventures on top of the world. 

 

7. What are 5 things you cannot live without?
- 1. Coconut oil ( hey, i'm a yoga teacher! I have to say that! But seriously it has so many awesome uses) 2. My Manduka Eko-lite mat, 3. My running shoes 4. Ways to creatively express myself 5. Books

 

8. What is your spirit animal?
- The bear.  They are such beautiful strong and LOVING creatures. (Think BEAR HUG! :)) My brother Todd passed away in 2007 in a mining accident and he loved bears. When I run in the mountains near Damascus, spring, summer, and fall I see black bears and have never had a negative experience (they always run away). I'm never fearful at all because I feel it’s my sign that my brother's spirit watches over me and protects me. Honestly, when I see a bear my heart swells and I feel happy because it reminds me of Todd. He was an amazing person. 

 

9. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your practice?
- Gratitude for impermanence. Life is constantly in flux. I used to really HATE that life would up and change on me, and it caused me so much suffering. Now, I'm thankful for getting to ride the ride, thankful for ALL it's experiences, lessons and teachers. This journey of life is such an amazing gift. I find myself now excited to wake up and see what each day brings, even if it's hard times. You can always choose to find the good and keep moving forward because things are constantly changing, THAT’S SUCH A WONDERFUL GIFT.  

 

10. What do you want your students to know?
- 1. Love yourself 2. "It's yoga PRACTICE, not yoga perfect." Just showing up – wow, THAT’S DOING THE WORK! That's all we need to do, just the best we can each day with what we have to give that particular day 3. Take your yoga off the mat, and share it with others.

 

This momma is just the bear hug you need anytime the weight of life starts to get a little heavy. If you find yourself lacking the spark you need to finish out your week, come see Jenny in the classroom on Thursday nights for Power Vinyasa at 5:45 PM and get your fire blazing!

 

Feature Teacher presented by Marcy Hullander