What Do You Want for Yourself This Year?

It’s an exciting time for Main Street Yoga. I have big plans for this year. In November, I upleveled my yoga teacher status to E-RYT 200. That means that I can now provide continuing education to other yoga teachers at the 200-hour level AND that I can train people to become teachers at the 200 hour level. So three of my goals for this year are:

·      Continue my own education toward the 500-hour level,

·      Offer at least 3 continuing education workshops to existing yoga teachers, and

·      Establish Main Street Yoga as a Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance.

I’m well on my way. I’ve already submitted a syllabus and the application fee. As a bonus, I know that these efforts will help me improve my own teaching skills.

I have personal goals as well. I just turned 50, and one of my goals is to not just maintain my good health, but to improve it even further by refining my diet more, improving my morning and evening routines, varying my yoga and other workouts more, and further reducing my stress levels by practicing better self care, including meditation. Fortunately, I have the tools for that as well. In my Body Wisdom course, I am constantly learning, applying and refining along WITH my course members.  

Have you set goals for the new year? I often hear people say: “I don’t set goals”. When I dig a little deeper, I learn that it’s often because they either don’t want to risk disappointment or that they’ve tried (and failed) in the past.
I’ve tried and failed at MANY things in the past, and in doing so I’ve learned a lot about what it actually takes to reach the goals I set. In fact, over the past few years I’ve invested thousands of dollars in the best goal-setting books, courses and coaches. Based on what I’ve learned, here are 5 reasons why you're haven't reached your goals in the past:

  1. You don't establish habits that will lead to your goals. Habit change is an art and a science. Willpower doesn't work. Motivation is fleeting. Your goals are a result of taking consistent action over time – building lasting habits is the key.

  2. You try to do too much, too fast. We should set big goals but take baby steps towards those goals. Unfortunately, the "all or nothing" mentality doesn't serve you when it comes to reaching your goals. The compound effect of small efforts taken over time yields big results.

  3. You don't believe in yourself. Your identity shapes your behaviors which determines our results. Change your identity, change your results. Knowing how to rewire your subconscious is key to changing your identity.

  4. Your environment doesn’t support your goals. Your environment is stronger than willpower. Putting yourself in the right community with the right people is the easiest way to leverage your goals.

  5. You try to go it alone. Again, without accountability you're making it 85% harder on yourself. Join the right community and you're stepping onto a moving train going where you want to go.

These strategies work. I used to “need” coffee every morning to get going and wine every night to wind down. I moved through my days exhausted, stressed out, and a little depressed. Sound familiar? Thanks to Body Wisdom, I now have healthy daily routines and solid self-care practices. I have steady, consistent energy, and I wake up feeling grateful and inspired.

Now I've made it my life's work to figure out why people stay stuck and what really works in creating serious breakthroughs in health and wellbeing. The result is Body Wisdom. Body Wisdom is a healthy lifestyle program that combines the wisdom of Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) with modern behavioral science and group accountability. In Body Wisdom, we learn what works and what doesn’t and we discover the tools we need to create lasting change.

Body Wisdom is a year-long course during which you will learn tangible tools for building habits that stick so that you can finally reach the health goals that have been eluding you. But I’m simply the facilitator. The strength of Body Wisdom lies in its members. And this year, in addition to me, the “head coach,” you also get mentors – six incredible women who have completed a full year of Body Wisdom and are ready to provide their unique insight and expertise to help you get the most out of this program. Here’s what one of our mentors has to say about the course . . .

I was drawn to Body Wisdom because I wanted to wanted to dial into more new habits that would continue to help me become a better version of myself. A year before Body Wisdom, I had lost 30 pounds and was digging myself out of a deep slump after having my second son. Over a year's time, I Zumba'ed my way into shape, cleaned up my eating habits, then slowly took up a yoga practice. I was becoming a better version of my old self. Body Wisdom was exactly what I needed to cultivate even better habits, enabling me to feel even more fabulous than I thought I was already feeling! I'm sticking with Body Wisdom because we continue to learn and share new tactics together! We have the group support to keep the habits going, to troubleshoot fears, hesitations, habits that go awry, and cheer when we get into the groove with a habit! 

If you're serious about reaching your health goals this year, email me at mainstreetyogafmt@gmail.com or schedule a strategy session today. We kick off on January 16th, and we want to hit the ground running.

Let's make 2019 one for the books!


Creating Balance in the Subtle Body

What I love most about the teachers at MSY is their never-ending quest for knowledge. Each of them is constantly honing and deepening her craft through education and experience. In this week’s blog, I’m stepping back to let Jen Sunderlin tell you more about her newest certification, Chakra Therapeutics!

In the spirit of celebration, I’d like to announce my certification in Chakra Therapeutics with Alanna Kaivalya, Ph.D., (the Yoga Doctor). We are more than physical beings, we have so many energetic lines running through us, documenting every moment of our daily life, and our body carries around our story! These subtle channels of energy can express our past experiences, patterns, beliefs, traumas and relationship histories.

To express optimal health and wellbeing, we must consciously work with our inner truth in order to stimulate a healthy mind, body and spirit. When we are out of balance with our truth, the flow of energy can become restricted, often times manifesting into a physical ailment, soreness, or if left unattended, chronic pain. In a Chakra Therapeutics session, I take a deeper look with you to assist in identifying what experiences you have had, or are having, that may be causing uneasiness (dis-ease) within you. By consciously addressing our findings with a unique practice that resonates with you (yoga, chanting, daily activity changes, mantras, mudras, crystals, essential oils – there are many options to discuss!), I can assist you to become aligned with your truth. When we align with our highest self, we are a vibrant expression of our truest and best self!

We have many events in January where you (or your kids!) will have the opportunity to experience and connect to your Chakras.

The kids will have their own fun experience in Energy Explorers at 11:45am on Saturday the 12th! We will use unique movement, our imaginations, music and more exploring and bringing awareness to our energetic systems! The kids will learn about their subtle energies and more about the chakras in a playful and fun way! They can then incorporate the different expressive movements into daily life, having the tools engage with their energetic bodies! We will conclude this creative time together with a balancing exercise to “reel it all in” before they head back out into the world!

You will have a uniquely personal experience uniting with your energies at the Chakra Connection Workshop Saturday the 19th at 5:30pm! This will be an interactive exploration where you will learn the many different ways you can acquaint yourself with your Chakras and engage with them. We will talk about the many tools, yoga, essential oils, sounds, mudras, crystals and more. Then together we will relax into a guided meditation where we will deeply connect to each Chakra bringing our awareness to those that need your attention the most. You can then confidently work with those Chakras using the many outlets we discuss, the ones that resonate most with you.

To experience a deep relaxation and Chakra balancing, you can also schedule Reiki session. At our Reiki or AromaTouch Afternoon Special on Sunday the 13th, you can purchase a ticket and schedule a time! I am also available for private Reiki appointments, just connect with me to schedule your experience!

The end of the month brings the most wonderful opportunity to amplify your energetic system and learn about the Chakras in Illuminated Reiki 1 training! This healing and balancing modality is accessible to anyone and enhances your ability to work with your Chakras and other energetic channels, your mental, emotional and physical bodies! Reiki is an ancient technique and healing art that re-balances then energy field that exists around and within you. This training will focus on Self-Reiki, and after attuning you to the universal energy, we will learn about the chakras, the hand placements and techniques for Self-Reiki, meditation, and much more! How fantastic would that be to access the universal Reiki energy to balance and recharge at any time!

This month brings so many opportunities to connect with your Chakras and other subtle energies channels. If you are interested in a private Chakra Therapeutics session or Reiki appointment, contact me to schedule a time to create a map that will assist in exploring your inner truth. This new year, 2019, is going to be explosive with self-exploration and action! Select the experience that you are drawn to, and I’ll be there, exuberantly waiting for you! I wish you a Happy New Year, enjoy the experience of embracing your inner energy and expressing your true self!




Yoga for All!

This week, I’ve asked Stacey Fox to guest blog about her new class, beginning January 3rd: Yoga for All! Take it away, Stacey . . .

When I first got really into yoga and decided to become a yoga teacher, I got a lot of enthusiastic support, for which I am very grateful. However, many of my supporters also expressed some variation on, “I’m not flexible enough/in shape enough/the right body type to do yoga.” I have always wanted for those people to feel that yoga is truly for everybody and every body, but I know their doubts persist despite my encouragement. 

Honestly, that doubt is understandable. Look at the cover of any fitness or yoga magazine, or check out the way yoga and yoga teachers are presented in visual media. You probably have a very specific vision in your mind of what a “yogi” looks like: thin, long-limbed, flexible, able-bodied. I’m well-aware that I fit that stereotype, and you might even be wondering what the heck I’m doing teaching a “Yoga For All” class in my clearly privileged body.

While I don’t have first-hand experience living in a larger body, I’ve spent my life commiserating with a dear friend who has always had to navigate a culture that prizes bodies that look nothing like hers. I watched her when we were teenagers as she pushed her body to the limits with exercise and extreme diets. I’ve listened to her and encouraged her as she explained her fears of going to the gym or to group fitness classes for fear of what other people might say and think. She’s finally coming to love herself for the way she is, but it’s taken a long time for this person I love so dearly to work towards recovery from a lifetime of struggling against her own body. 

I know my friend is far from alone in having this kind of struggle, and I know the profound difference yoga can make in healing emotional wounds and bringing a sense of peace and even appreciation about the body one is granted. It’s this experience, combined with my love for my dear friend, that drives my passion to help others who might struggle with their body image or who believe yoga isn’t for them. When I heard that two of the most innovative and compassionate yoga teachers out there today, Amber Karnes and Dianne Bondy, were offering a teacher training program called “Yoga For All” which is tailored to empower teachers for just this specific mission, I couldn’t get myself signed up quickly enough. 

If you aren’t familiar with Dianne and Amber, I encourage you to take a moment to go look them up and then come back to this post. If you do, I’m certain you’ll come back here thinking differently about whether or not you belong in a yoga class. These two amazing women are challenging the stereotypes of the yoga world and empowering other yoga teachers with the tools to make sure their classes are truly inclusive to people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. I am thrilled to be able to bring that kind of yoga class right here to Main Street Yoga Fairmont.

So, what exactly is “Yoga For All”? It’s a class designed for YOU. We’ll slow it down and really experience how to make the pose work for you instead of you working towards the pose. With the use of tools like blocks, straps, chairs, and even the walls of the studio, you’ll have the chance to take charge of your practice and find the variation of the pose that makes you feel both strong and at ease. We’ll break down the asana while we break down preconceived notions of how a particular pose “should” look or feel. Consider it a mixture of workshop and yoga class, where you can take your newfound blueprint for these poses and incorporate them into your practice, both at home and in the studio. Questions are encouraged, and as the teacher, I’ll be collaborating with and learning from each individual student as we work together to make yoga work for you. Chances are good that as you look around the room in this class, no two people will be in quite the same variation of the pose. That’s the goal, really! Everyone will be able to make the practice truly customized to their bodies and abilities. 

Our kick-off class is Thursday, January 3rd at 7:00 p.m. I hope you will come to the studio and see what Yoga For All is really all about! 


Holiday Offerings at MSY!

Christmas and a new year are just around the corner, and MSY is offering up some special events to enhance your holidays and help you transition from hustle and bustle to peace and joy.

First up, on Christmas Eve at 9 am, Samantha Mason will lead us through a Merry and Bright Vinyasa class. During the holidays, we can feel as though we’re being pulled away from our true selves, our center. This light-hearted class will center around breath and balance to help get rooted and grounded so that the rest of your holiday will be merry and bright.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with Kindred Vibes on Friday, December 21st at 7 pm. In this donation-based offering, Elizabeth and David will help you transform your emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical bodies with their gifts of intuitively guided Reiki, crystal healing, aromatherapy, and sound to gently assist you in a truly unique healing journey. No previous meditation experience is necessary for this event as the sound naturally carries you through a deeply relaxing journey of self-discovery. Lay back, get comfortable, and see where the beautiful immersion of sound takes you. Bring a pillow, blanket, and mat if you have them to make your experience more comfortable.

December 30th brings you two special events! At 2pm, Angela, Stacey and Paula are back for another installment of Seasonal Thrive! We’re teaming up again to help you thrive through winter with yoga, Ayurveda, and essential oils. The winter season holds the perfect antidote to the fast-paced mobility of the summer and fall. This is a time to rest, reflect, hold space, vision, hibernate, build your immune system, withdraw some of your outwardly-focused energy and redirect it inward. Unfortunately, the calm, peaceful nature of the winter can also seem a bit oppressive at times, and can leave us feeling weighed down, stagnant, or uninspired. In this workshop, we’ll learn to love winter and use it to our best advantage physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your registration fee of $37.50* covers printed yoga sequences for you to practice at home, printed information regarding foods and daily habits for seasonal and constitutional support, and an essential oil rollerball designed specifically for you. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. *Body Wisdom members receive a 20% discount. 

At 5:30 on December 30th, Pure Bliss Restorative Yoga is back for some mid-holiday comfort and peace. For this special two-hour restorative yoga class, Angela is teaming up with Kindred Vibes and Paula Hatten for a full sensory immersion experience that includes crystal singing bowls, reiki, massage, and aromatherapy. Space is limited to 12 students, so register early! It’s a great gift for yourself or for someone you love.

On New Year’s Eve, join Stacey for our last studio class of the year: New Year’s Eve Morning Practice at 9 am. End the year as you mean to go on – by taking care of yourself and getting zen. Leave the ups and downs of 2018 behind and step into the new year with the intention of more self-care and self-love.  

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Day at MSY without a New Year’s Intentions Workshop. This year we’re in for a treat as Jen Sunderlin leads us through a mindful intention setting process at 4 pm. We will open our energies and heighten our awareness with a gentle yoga practice suitable for all. Bring a journal to reflect, release, and reminisce, discovering the attributes your new year will radiate. Our time together will come full circle with a clarifying meditation, allowing you to step out into the New Year with a newly discovered intention! Yoga and meditation experience are not necessary to attend this event! Please pre-register and feel free to bring crystals, talismans or anything else you'd like for your clarification meditation!

Stay up to date on classes and events at MSY by subscribing to this blog, following us on Facebook and bookmarking our webpage. 2019 is going to be a breakthrough year at MSY with exciting new offerings including Yoga for All (for people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities), Kidding Around Yoga (yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for children), charka therapeutics, and yoga teacher training! More information about all of those is coming soon.

Also, a new round of Body Wisdom is starting mid-January. If better self care is one of your intentions for the new year, make sure you schedule a health strategy session soon!

See you at the studio!

The Gift of Connection

What do you want for yourself this holiday season?

In the conversations I’ve been having, especially with my Body Wisdom course members, I’m hearing that you want less things and more experiences. Your Christmas list isn’t full of the latest gadgets, cashmere sweaters or jewelry. You want connection with family, friends and self.

For weeks, my husband has been asking me what I want for Christmas. I keep reminding him that it’s not just Christmas, it’s also my 50th birthday (on Christmas Eve) and our anniversary (January 2nd). So I went big. I asked for a vacation. We haven’t had a real vacation together since our honeymoon in 2013. Since then, we’ve both opened our own businesses and getting away isn’t as easy as it once was, especially for him. My desire for a vacation isn’t as much about traveling to some exotic location (although that would be really nice) as it is about getting some quality time with him when neither of us are distracted by the day-to-day demands on our time. It’s about connection.

The holidays are the same way. We spend a lot of time fussing over buying gifts for people and making meals and treats for our get-togethers, but when it comes down to it, the holidays are about connection: coming together during a time when we aren’t distracted by the everyday demands on our time.

When it comes to connection – true, authentic, meaningful connection – our society is sorely lacking. Facebook posts and text messages have replaced conversations where we can hear each other’s voices and see each other’s faces. As a result, we not only feel more disconnected from each other, we feel more disconnected from ourselves. After all, we weren’t meant to exist in a vacuum. We were meant to thrive together. 

I see evidence of this at the studio all the time. People who never would have met outside the studio form bonds that extend beyond the studio walls. People who have been out of touch with themselves start to gain insights about their health, their wellness, and their desires. How does that happen? It’s quite simple. We put down our phones; we set aside our daily demands and distractions, and we actually connect . . . with our breath, with our bodies, with each other. We start to realize how disconnected we have been. And it doesn’t take long at all.

In fact, it was this revelation, that just a one-hour yoga class once a week can make a big difference, that lead me to become a health coach. As my beginner students came to me one after another and told me how much better they felt, I thought to myself, “There’s so much more I can do for you!”

To that end, this holiday season, I’m offering you a gift: one hour of my undivided attention –  one-on-one, in person, over the phone, or by video chat – to discuss what you want for yourself this holiday season and in the coming year. And in case you’re thinking that our conversation will be some sort of sales pitch, I assure you, it is not. The purpose is for me to facilitate a conversation with yourself about what you really need to do for yourself in order to achieve health, wellness, and happiness. Yes, many of the people I meet with enroll in my Body Wisdom course, but some do not. As a point in fact, I offer you this message I received just before Thanksgiving from a woman I met with last May:

“One thing that I have done this year that I am so thankful for and I have you to thank is getting my thyroid more balanced. I feel like that that was a wonderful thing for the longevity of my life. It’s a night and day difference in so many aspects of my life. 

I’m sad I can’t attend your classes but I haven’t forgot our little talk. Of all the conversations I have, that one stuck with me.”

So I hope you’ll take me up on my offer – the gift of my time, which I hope will be a gift to yourself.

See you at the studio!


Cultivating Holiday Joy and Presence

This week, I kicked off the holiday season with my grandson, Aiden. On Saturday, we walked through the Celebration of Lights at Morris Park with friends, and yesterday we went ice skating at PPG Place. Aiden is eight years old, and it was only his second time on ice skates. Watching him get his bearings and learn how to move himself (faster and faster) along the ice reminded me very much of watching him walk when he was very new to walking. His mind was totally absorbed in the process. For a brief period of time, he wasn’t thinking about video games. He was only thinking about how to stay upright on his skates. It was the perfect beginning to my holiday season, especially because I’ve set an intention to be more present, more in-the-moment, more mindful this year during the holidays.

I have a confession: During the last couple of years, I haven’t looked forward to the holidays. In fact, last year, not only did I not put up a tree, but I didn’t decorate at all. Looking back, I can see now that part of the reason for my malaise was that I was in a complete state of overwhelm. In that state, I was closed off; I felt distant and separate; “joy” felt like an illusion. The only time I was in the present moment was when I was teaching yoga.  

But this year is different. I’ve done a lot of “work” on myself this past year. I’m eating better and sleeping better. My self care has become my top priority. And I’ve done a lot of “interior” work with meditation and reiki (most of which is thanks to Jen Sunderlin). I’ve let go of a lot of old baggage, resentments, and hang-ups. I’m letting go of the belief that the weight of the world rests on my shoulders. I’m letting go of the belief that I have to have it all together and get it all right all of the time. The result is more joy, more playfulness, more connection, more love.

All of this started with my time on my yoga mat. I think a lot of us come to yoga looking for more flexible bodies, but eventually (hopefully) our minds become more flexible as well. What we do on the mat is simply a warm up for what we do in our daily lives. As a case in point, my yoga practice has changed dramatically in the last year. Rather than focusing on nailing the next inversion or arm balance, my focus has become more mindful, breath-centered movement. (If you’ve been coming to my classes for a while, you might have noticed this.) I’m way more interested in my depth of practice than in my breadth of practice. I’m curious about and ready to face whatever comes up for me. I’m learning to be patient and not force whatever outcome I think “should” happen.

But it’s not easy. Just like Aiden, who at first was happy just to stay upright on his skates but soon became frustrated because he couldn’t skate as fast as another kid on the ice and couldn’t turn in a circle or skate backwards like me, I sometimes get impatient – with myself and with others. During those times, I have to remind myself to come back to my breath, to move with my breath, to let things unfold with the perfect timing of the universe. I feel as though I’m in a constant state of becoming.

So this year, if you feel like it’s time to stop “shoulding” on yourself and be more present, more mindful, more joyful, and start “becoming,” I invite you to spend more time on your yoga mat, more time on the meditation cushion, more time practicing self care. And if you’re not sure where to start, come to Sam’s yoga class on Thanksgiving morning, register for Pure Bliss Restorative Yoga, request my holiday tip sheet or holiday intentions worksheet, or contact me to schedule a strategy session.

As for me, I’m going to put up my Christmas tree!

See you at the studio.

Kick Off the Holidays with MSY!

There’s no denying the holidays are upon us. Whether that fills you with joy or causes you stress, Main Street Yoga has you covered.

To kick things off, join us at 10 am on Thanksgiving morning for a Grateful Thanksgiving Yoga Flow. Samantha Mason will lead us through a slow flow focusing on gratitude (and digestion) to carry you into the rest of your day with a grateful heart, a calm mind, and a body ready to rest and digest.

On Black Friday, let Angela, Paula, Liz and David melt away your physical and mental tension with Pure Bliss Restorative Yoga. This special two-hour restorative yoga class features crystal singing bowls, reiki, massage, and aromatherapy. Space is limited to 12 students, so register early by using the "Tickets" link in the Facebook event or by clicking here.

Join Sheray for flow, yin, and meditation at 9:30 am on Saturday the 24th, then come back at noon for our Small Business Saturday Open House. Angela, Sheray, Jen, Paula, and Kindred Vibes have planned an afternoon of informative talks, reiki and AromaTouch demos, and of course, shopping! All MSY store items will be 20% off. Gift certificates will be available at 2017 rates! Kindred Vibes will have their gorgeous jewelry and assortment of crystals. Paula will have essential oil rollerballs and other DoTerra products. Sheray will have her WV Yoga Girl tank tops and tote bags, and Jen will offer donation-based Reiki sessions!  

If you’d like to approach the holidays more mindfully this year, request my Holiday Intentions workbook. I've created an exercise to help you reflect and get clear about what you'd like to experience this holiday season. Click here to request worksheet and a set of beautiful intention cards you can use to remind yourself of your holiday intentions. 

Perhaps a little more self care is at the top of your wish list this season. If so, you’ll love my holiday self care tip sheet. It’s designed to help you have a happier, healthier holiday season. Click here if you want to prioritize self care this holiday season!

And if you’re interested in practicing better self care in 2019, now is the perfect time to talk to me about Body Wisdom. The next round starts in January; discounts are available if you pay in full before we start, and you can use Main Street Yoga gift certificates toward your tuition! Tell your friends and family that gift certificates can be purchased online through SquareUp or by emailing me at mainstreetyogafmt@gmail.com.

I hope MSY can help you have a wonderful start to your holiday season. See you at the studio!


Fall Back . . . Into Better Habits

Many of us dread the end of daylight savings time. On one hand, it’s totally understandable. All summer long, we reveled in warm evenings that lingered until 9pm. Now we’re faced with cold, dark winter nights that begin at 5pm. BUT . . . what if we could use the end of daylight savings time to instill better habits?

Often with the switch to daylight savings time and back again, we struggle to reset our body clocks to match the clocks on our walls, desks, and wrists. But the end of daylight savings time provides us with an opportunity to align with nature and instill healthier habits: an earlier bedtime and waking up earlier.

On Sunday, November 4th, chances are you will wake about an hour earlier than usual. And on Sunday evening, you’ll most likely want to go to bed earlier. Don’t fight it! Go to bed earlier. Wake up earlier. Your body will thank you.

Most of us go to bed too late; we should be asleep by 10 pm in order to get the best rest and allow our bodies to do the internal cleaning they need to do while we sleep. We also wake too late. Then we rush around in the morning trying to get ourselves, our kids, and our spouses out the door in time, and we wonder why we’re stressed out before we even get to work.

Here are some other really good reasons to wake up early:

1.     Quiet time to yourself. Many people tell me they use the time after the kids/spouse/etc. have gone to bed as their quiet time alone. But by doing that, they’re depriving their bodies of deep rest and rejuvenation that only happens between the hours of 10pm and 2 am. Shifting that time to the early morning not only provides an opportunity for deep rest, but provides that much-needed quiet time during a time of day when it can do the most good.

2.     A positive start to your day. Waking early provides you with an opportunity to start your day in a way that centers you, grounds you, focuses your mind, and wards off stress. Our minds are most expansive in the early morning hours. If you start your day with prayer, meditation, connecting with nature, or any mindfulness practice, you set yourself up for an easeful, productive day.

3.     Time for exercise. A little extra time in the morning is the perfect opportunity to take a walk, do a little yoga, or indulge in a full-blown workout. You’ll shake off the dull energy of sleep, reduce stiffness or soreness in the body, rev up your metabolism, and set your energy level for the day.

4.     Jump start your productivity. Sometimes all we need to do to dive into productivity mode is to accomplish one small task. Something as simple as making your bed can catapult us into a day checking things off our to-do lists. If you don’t have a to-do list, make that your jump-start task. Other things we can do: meal plan or meal prep for lunch or supper; respond to an email you’ve been putting off; put away dishes from the night before.

So . . . if you struggle to wake up early, if you’re a night owl who longs to be an early bird, embrace the end of daylight savings time! Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you. And you might just end up a more productive, less stressed, healthier version of you.

And if you need more help than this blog post can offer, contact me or schedule a free health strategy session.

See you at the studio!

The Truth About Pumpkin Spice

In West Virginia, we get to experience the glory of all four seasons. Even if we favor one and complain about another, we have to admit that each is beautiful in its own way. Yet the transitions from one to another can sometimes wreak havoc on our bodies, especially if we’re not armed with the knowledge and the tools to make those transitions smoother.

Each season has its own qualities. Summer, which will be over in a matter of days, is hot, sharp, bright, oily, and humid. Fall is cool, light, dry, rough, windy, and clear. Winter is cool, very dry, light, rough, hard, clear and mobile. Spring is heavy, oily, damp, slow, cloudy and stable. If we want to create balance in the body and mind, we can do so by eating and engaging in activities that bring balance to the dominant qualities of each season.

But first, it’s important to take time to release the qualities of the previous season that have accumulated in our bodies. Because of the sharp contrasts between summer and fall and between winter and spring, these two times of year are the most important times to consider a cleanse.

Some people cower at the word “cleanse,” and with good reason. All too often, that word is associated with very aggressive or restrictive programs that deplete the body. By contrast, a simple ayurvedic cleanse is all about nourishing the body and the mind. An ayurvedic cleanse can be anything from a one-day digestive reset to a 21-day mind/body retreat.

This fall, I’ve decided to lead, for the first time ever, a simple 7-day ayurvedic cleanse designed to help us release the heat and humidity of summer so that we can approach the cool, dry conditions of fall free from congestion, with a bolstered immune system and improved digestion.

So what does this cleanse entail? Two to three days of “easing in:” eliminating foods and beverages that commonly cause an exacerbation of digestive and immune issues. Two to three days of a “mono-diet” consisting mostly of an easy-to-digest, traditional ayurvedic dish known as “kichari,” a blend of rice, beans, and spices that bring balance to the body and mind. Then two days of “easing out,” gradually returning to a normal, but hopefully healthier, diet.

During this time, we’ll be taking plenty of time for rest and relaxation, which allow your body’s energy to feed the deep tissue layers and nervous system. We’ll also learn practices like self-massage, which helps loosen impurities and stimulate your lymphatic system (your main line for detox).  

How do you know if you should cleanse? Well, we can all use it now at the change of seasons, but if you’re experiencing any of the following, you should seriously consider joining us: sinus congestion, acid indigestion, puffiness/water retention, red skin inflammation, irritability, gas or bloating, diarrhea, constipation, dry skin, anxiety, achiness, lethargy, brain fog.

Autumn Reset” starts on September 30th. It’s open to everyone and free to Body Wisdom members. Because I’ll be providing you with supplies like kichari ingredients and oils for self-massage, registration for Autumn Reset will end on September 24th so that I have time to order and receive your supplies. The best part about this cleanse is that you won’t be doing it alone. You’ll have the support and guidance of the other members of the group to lean into if you need it.

So what about “pumpkin spice?” Where does it fit in to this discussion?

According to Ayurveda, the holistic wellness system known as yoga’s “sister science,” one of the easiest ways we can bring balance to the body and mind is by eating foods that are in season and cooking with herbs and spices that have qualities that are opposite to the season. Pumpkin spice fulfills both those recommendations. Pumpkins are in season in the fall, and the spices (specifically cinnamon, ginger, and cloves) are warming spices that complement the coolness of the season.  

The problem with the ubiquitousness of pumpkin spice is that it’s almost always full of artificial flavors and refined sugar. So if you’re a fan of pumpkin spice, stick to the real stuff and sweeten with raw honey or pure maple syrup!

If you’d like to learn more ways to support your body and mind this season, register for “Seasonal Thrive!” I’m teaming up with Stacey Fox and Paula Hatten to teach you how to use Ayurveda, yoga, and essential oils to thrive through autumn. Stacey and Paula have both emerged as mentors in the Body Wisdom group. We refer to Stacey as “Siri” because of her encyclopedic knowledge and spot-on advice. Paula is a board certified counselor and our resident DoTerra guru.

If you register for Seasonal Thrive!, you’ll receive $6 off Autumn Reset. (Just email me at mainstreetyogafmt@gmail.com for an invoice.)

I truly hope you’ll consider joining us for both. My goal in everything I do, whether it’s teaching a drop-in yoga class or working with my long-term Body Wisdom members, is to help you learn more about yourself so that you can feel your best year-round.

See you at the studio!

Reiki FAQs: What, When, Where, Why, and How

If you follow MSY or attend classes at the studio, you’ve probably seen or heard the “reiki” quite a bit. Perhaps you’ve been curious about it but are hesitant to try it. Or maybe you’ve even experienced it and are still curious! You might even wonder whether you can learn how to use reiki. So I’ve asked our resident reiki master (and my personal reiki practitioner), Jen Sunderlin, to shed a little more light on reiki: what it is, how it works, and why we need it – now more than ever.

Gracious as always, Jen agreed. And here is her response . . .

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a holistic healing practice that works on every layer of your body and aids the powerful healing ability we all possess by helping us align with healing energy. In Japanese, Rei means “universal” and ki means “life energy.” Reiki connects us with the universal life energy that is found in all living things!  The Usui System of Reiki healing applies this energy through light touch, moving it to assist in correcting any imbalances.

How Does It Work?

Quantum physics shows all matter has a vibration and our intentions can affect this field of vibration. If energy is not flowing smoothly in the body it can create blockage or stagnation in certain areas. This blockage can create a physical response in the body that translates as pain or ailment. It can also show up mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

A Reiki practitioner uses intention and hand positions to channel energy that shifts vibrations in the body in order to bring balance and harmony to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being!

Why Do We Need It?

Life is moving so fast most days! That makes it easy to overlook or ignore pain, inflammation, soreness or other messages your body might be trying to send you. In addition to physical symptoms, these messages could also come in the form of anxiety, depression, anger, a frantic feeling or just a general disconnect you might feel in your everyday life. Ignored or unnoticed for too long, your body’s warning signs can manifest into bigger problems, including autoimmune and other chronic disease.

What Happens In a Reiki Session?

When you arrive for a reiki session, you will lie down, fully clothed, on a massage table. The practitioner will guide you into relaxation and then begin to move quietly around you, directing reiki energy to balance the chakras (your main energy hubs) and cleanse your aura. She might lightly place her hands your head, joints, and feet, depending on where she is intuitively guided. Whatever else happens is up to the universal reiki energy!

What Will I Feel During a Reiki Session?

Other than the placement of the practioner’s hands, you might not feel anything. If you are sufficiently relaxed, your breathing might slow and deepen, your blood pressure might lower, and emotional calming or releasing might occur. You might fall asleep! Many people report seeing light or colors. Some feel heat or cold from the practitioner’s hands. Some experience a relief from pain. Everyone’s experience is different, and you might experience different sensations with different practitioners. Sometimes the effects are cumulative as well, so that each time you receive reiki, the benefits and sensations increase as your body becomes more accepting of and attuned to reiki energy.  

When Can I Try It?

Main Street Yoga offers a donation-based “Rest & Recharge Open House” on the first Friday of every month from 5pm til 7pm. Just walk in during those times to experience a reiki session! This is a great introduction to receiving reiki with each session lasting approximately 20 minutes. We also offer Tarot readings and the AromaTouch hand technique (an aromatherapy hand massage).

What If I Want a Private Session?

I offer private reiki sessions at Main Street Yoga ranging from 30 – 90 minutes.  Visit https://squareup.com/store/illumination-healing-llc to see my full range of offerings. You can email me at illuminationhealing8@gmail.com with questions or to schedule.

Can I Learn How to Do It?

Yes! If you find you love Reiki and would like to learn more about this energy healing, I’m teaching Illuminated Reiki Level 1 on Saturday, September 22nd! In this training you’ll learn the history of reiki, about the chakras, types of meditations to enhance your intuition, hand positions used during a session. You’ll be attuned to the reiki energy, enabling you to practice on yourself, your pets, your family and friends. You’ll receive a guide to take home, and more! Joining together with a group of others to learn this healing art is a healing experience in itself!

I hope you’ll join me for one or all of these opportunities to experience the gentle, universal reiki energy! If you have any questions, please email me at illuminationhealing8@gmail.com. I’d love to assist in bringing you harmony and illumination of your entire being!

Much Love,


Extreme Self Care

Mondays are self care days for me. That’s a non-negotiable. That’s not to say Mondays are a “day off” for me. Every small business owner knows that days off don’t really exist. There’s always something to be done. But every Monday, before I dive into bookkeeping, blog posting, updating the website, or mopping the floor at the studio, I make sure I do something for me.

Sometimes, that’s just staying home in my little bubble recharging with some time alone. Once a month, it’s trip to see my favorite chiropractor, Dr. Leonette at Enliven Wellness. Also once a month, it’s a massage with my favorite massage therapist, Courtney Dicken at 39 North. Sometimes it’s reiki with Jen Sunderlin. Sometimes it’s AromaTouch with Paula Hatten. Sometimes it’s taking a yoga class with Stacey Fox. Sometimes it’s a sound bath with Kindred Vibes (although that’s usually a Friday thing). Every once in a while, it’s a float in one of the pods at Spa Oasis. But today it was something completely different.

Today it was cryotherapy.

I’m always drawn to natural, holistic wellness treatments. But I never thought of cryotherapy as that. I thought it was just to help professional athletes recover quickly from hard workouts.

“Cryo” came into my awareness a couple of years ago when my brother-in-law, who lives near Dallas, Texas, told my husband he had started getting cryo treatments on a regular basis. My husband, a runner and coach, became obsessed. When I was looking for a space for my yoga studio, he insisted he was going to buy a cryo unit and put it in the studio. I thought that sounded crazy, especially because my husband had never had a cryotherapy treatment.

That changed in February. He went to visit his brother and made sure he visited the cryotherapy center while he was there. That served to stoke the flames of his obsession with cryo. I listened to him go on and on about it, but I still wasn’t convinced.

Coincidentally, in March, I went to Mexico for a working retreat with Cate Stillman for yoga health coaches. One of my fellow coaches just happened to be married to one of the two main distributors of cryotherapy units in the United States. She educated me about the difference between the full-body electric units her husband distributes and the liquid nitrogen units that my husband was familiar with. My interest was piqued a little more after talking to Megan, but as someone who abhors the cold, I still wasn’t convinced my husband needed daily access to one.

So what changed my mind? A podcast.

Recently, Cate Stillman interviewed Megan’s husband, Kevin, about cryotherapy. Cate, who has Reynaud’s and is obsessed with biohacking, has been experimenting with cold showers and cold plunges since I started her course over a year ago, so she was pretty stoked to talk to Kevin. Kevin went into ALL of the benefits of cryotherapy, which do include quick recovery for athletes, but also things like:

·       quicker healing post-surgery or injury

·       increased blood circulation

·       boosted energy and immune system

·       reduction in pain & inflammation

·       treatment of autoimmune conditions

·       relief from nerve pain

·       releases endorphins

·       decreased fatigue, anxiety, and depression

·       tighter, healthier skin

·       improved sleep

·       boosted metabolism

So I got really excited! I went to my husband and said, “We have to get a cryotherapy unit!” He looked at me and said, “No kidding.” Then I went to see my aforementioned favorite chiropractor and after he gave me monthly tune-up, I asked him what he thought about cryotherapy (alternative therapies are kind of his thing), and he said, “I’m so glad you asked!” Turns out he loves it too.

So I had to try it.

And I did.

I found the closest cryo to Fairmont, which, by the way, is in McMurray, PA, and I emailed. The super helpful woman who responded told me they currently had a Groupon offer, so I got my first session really cheap and I headed up there this morning.

As I waited in the waiting room, my excitement turned to nervousness. I REALLY hate the cold. So when the lovely woman came to take me back to the cryo room, and she told me that the maximum amount of time in the unit, which produces temperatures below -200 degrees, was 3 minutes but that some people prefer to start at 2 minutes, I said, “Yes, that’s me. Two minutes, please.”

So I stripped down to my underwear, put on some socks and booties to protect my feet and toes and a pair of gloves to protect my hands and fingers, and I stepped into the unit with my head sticking out the top. The fog from the liquid nitrogen began to fill the chamber, and yes, it was cold, but not nearly as cold as thought it would feel. The woman who was there with me explained that that was because the cold was very dry (sort of like the difference between 100 degrees in the desert and 100 degrees in the Everglades). She continued talking to me throughout the experience and before I knew it, the two minutes was up.

And I was disappointed.

I totally could have handled 3 minutes! I can’t wait to do it again! Afterwards, I felt exhilarated. And I can’t wait to see how I sleep tonight.

So now that my husband and I have both experienced liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, our next move is to try the electric units, which truly is full body cryotherapy (head and all). The closest one I found is in Columbus, OH. A quick Facebook message to Megan confirmed that, so now I have to convince my husband to leave town for a day (not an easy thing to do – he’s a small business owner too).

What does all this have to do with yoga? Well, I believe the more tools we have in our wellness toolbox, the better off we’ll be in the long run. Yoga is one of those tools, but there are others, and I intend to make use of as many of them as I can. I hope you will too. At Main Street Yoga, we currently offer health coaching, reiki, AromaTouch, and sound baths as well as yoga and meditation. And my hope is that we’ll be able to offer more in the future.

So my question to you is: Would you try cryotherapy? And if my husband brings a unit to Fairmont, would you use it? I know Dr. Leonette would.

See you at the studio!


August at MSY!

If you’re wondering where July went, you’re not alone. It flew by! But summer isn’t over yet, and MSY has full slate of special events to help you make the most of these longer days while they last.

We’re kicking off the month as usual, with our Relax and Recharge Open House. Take some well-deserved time for yourself! Bring a friend who would love to relax with you. This event is donation based. Come in anytime between 5:00pm - 7:00pm. Recharge during a Reiki session; relax while enjoying the DoTerra AromaTouch hand technique, or gain insight with a Tarot card reading!

On Sunday, August 5th, we’re going Back to Basics! Whether you're brand new to yoga or a seasoned yogi, this workshop will help you find your way into or fine tune the most common yoga poses, offering adjustments and assists. At the end of class, I’ll take requests for poses we haven't yet covered. This is your chance to ask, “What’s up with this pose?” Nothing is off limits!

After rave reviews from her last I Am Fabulous! class, Board Certified Counselor and DoTerra guru, Paula Hatten, is bringing the class back for those of us who missed out. On August 11th at 2pm, learn to use essential oils to release blocked emotions and start living your best life. Paula will guide you through a series of essential oil applications to help you release emotions. Then choose two rollerballs to go home with to continue your emotional journey. We know you’re fabulous, and after this class, you will too.

Whether you’re brand new to inversions or already incorporate them into your practice, you won’t want to miss our Intro to Inversions workshop on August 18th at 2pm. Stacey Fox will teach you the tips and tools to practice inversions safely and effectively. We'll warm up with a short flow intended to get your body ready to get upside-down. Afterward, we'll talk about alignment and practice getting into headstand, forearm stand, and handstand. Plenty of assistance and modification is available for each pose, including our FeetUp trainer that allows you to experience the benefits of headstand with zero pressure on the head and neck.

August 18th is a double header! At 6pm, Jen Sunderlin and Paula Hatten will present a Chakra Workshop. They’ll walk us through an in-depth look at each chakra and discuss how to identify imbalances, how they manifest as physical symptoms, and what to do about it! We’ll learn how to balance the chakras using essential oils, yoga asana, mantras, crystals, music and more! After our discussion, we will relax into a chakra meditation, then you can make an essential oil blend rollerball to help the chakra that is speaking to you most! Additional chakra rollerballs will be available for a special price of $8.00 at this workshop only.

If you’re troubled by low back pain, as many of us are (myself included), you won’t want to miss my Yoga for Low Back Pain workshop on Sunday, August 19th at 5pm. In this workshop, we'll address the causes of low back pain and explore strengthening poses to prevent it as well as stretches to relieve it.

Kindred Vibes will continue to offer Crystal Reiki Sound Baths on Fridays at 6:30 pm. Check our Facebook and website events for specific information.

We also have a few changes to the schedule this month. “Lengthen & Strengthen,” formerly on Thursdays at 7pm, have been discontinued for the time being. A second “Morning Flow” class has been added on Tuesday mornings at 9am. Bookmark our calendar to stay up to date.

See you at the studio!



July at MSY!

We may be in the middle of a heat wave, but the studio is nice and cool and there are plenty of ways to chill out at MSY in July. If you need more suggestions on how to keep cool, check out my last blog post, “How to Thrive in Summer with Ayurveda.”

Before I start gushing about all of our special events this month, I’d like to point your attention to a new class. In mid-June, we added a Morning Flow class on Wednesdays at 9 am. The response has been great! Start the day with some mind/body integration. We start slowly with a few yin poses and a gentle warm-up, then work our way into an all-levels flow that will leave you feeling aligned and energized. Check it out on July 4th. That will be our only class on Independence Day.

Now on to our special events!

We kick off July on First Friday with our Relax & Recharge Open House. Take some well-deserved time for yourself! Bring a friend who would love to relax with you! Come in anytime between 5pm - 7pm. Recharge during a Reiki session; relax while enjoying the DoTerra Aromatouch hand technique, or gain insight with a Tarot card reading! This Open House is donation based. We look forward to seeing you there!

On Saturday, July 7th, Sheray will offer “Exploring Kundalini” at 8am. Kundalini yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. It’s a dynamic, challenging, and powerful tool that is designed to help you make the changes necessary in your life to reach true inner peace. Kundalini yoga uplifts the spirit, calms the mind, and brings balance to the entire body.

On Sunday, July 8th at 6pm, I’m teaming up with Kindred Vibes and Paula Hatten for another two-hour Pure Bliss Restorative Yoga This is a full sensory immersion experience that includes crystal singing bowls, reiki, massage, and aromatherapy. End your weekend in a state of pure bliss! Space is limited. We have 4 spots left. Register today!

Paula Hatten is taking over MSY on Wednesday, July 11th at 7pm for a special “I Am Fabulous” class. Come learn how to use essential oils to release blocked emotions and start living your best life. Paula will guide you through a series of essential oil applications to help you release emotions. Then choose one of two rollerballs to go home with to continue your emotional journey. Register on Paula’s SquareUp page.

Bring the kids to MSY on Saturday, July 14th for Superhero Yoga and Rollerball! Jen Sunderlin and Paula Hatten are planning a fun kids Superhero yoga and essential oil rollerball event! The kids will have a blast exploring their superpowers in superhero yoga, then they’ll learn how to enhance their superpowers using a custom essential oil rollerball that they create at the end of class! Purchasing a ticket is valid for one child and one rollerball, additional rollerballs will be available for sale during the event. Pre-register online.

It is with great excitement that I announce that MSY yoga teacher, Jen Sunderlin, will begin offering Reiki training on July 28th at the studio! Reiki is a safe and effective energy modality that is beneficial to everyone. Reiki re-balances the energy field that exists in and around our bodies. A balanced energy field assists in healing on many levels. Learn the healing practice of Reiki in this Illuminated Reiki Level 1 training. Open your energy channels allowing universal energy to flow more deeply and freely through you. You will learn self-Reiki, hand placements, about the chakras, meditations, and receive the Reiki level 1 attunement and certification. Pre-registration is required. If you have questions about this training email Jen at illuminationhealing8@gmail.com.

Kindred Vibes will be in the studio for Crystal Reiki Sound Healing on July 13th, 20th, and 27th! Keep an eye on our calendar and Facebook pages for more info.

Finally, my next round of Body Wisdom starts on July 10th. I buckled down in June and got myself fully certified as a yoga health coach! Yoga health coaching combines the ancient wisdom of yoga and Ayurveda with modern behavioral science, group support, and good old fashioned common sense. If you’re ready to uplevel your physical and mental wellbeing, if you’re ready to commit to better self care, schedule a health strategy session with me this week. If you’ve already had a strategy session and you want to talk about enrollment, schedule a 20 minute conversation with me this week.

See you in the studio!

How to Thrive in Summer with Ayurveda

This is my 49th summer. I graduated high school 31 years ago. Nevertheless, when school lets out for the summer, I still get that ahhhhhh feeling of relief. It’s summer! Time to chill out, slow down, and relax.

No matter our age, we feel it. Our bodies know it. Our minds know it. And yet, as adults, we so seldom do it. We tell ourselves, “there are things to be done!” And we try to squeeze the most out of every day, which, with about 15 hours of daylight, is a lot. So we end up stressed out, angry, emotional. Our digestive systems get out of whack, and we can’t seem to understand why.

According to Ayurveda, the answer is pitta. Ayurveda identifies 3 biological energies called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata is ruled by the elements of air and either. Pitta is ruled by fire and water. And kapha is ruled by earth and water. Each season of the year is ruled by a dosha, and summer’s dosha is . . . you guessed it . . . pitta.  Particularly the fire of pitta. When we add to the heat of pitta by increasing our physical and mental stress, summer can go from ahhhhhhh to ughhhhhh pretty quickly.

So what should we do to balance out the fire of pitta? Here are a few simple suggestions.

1.     Don’t add fuel to the fire.

Avoid or reduce foods and beverages that increase heat in the body: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fried foods, acidic foods, meats, grains, nuts, beans. You’ll know if you’ve had too much: your skin will get oily; your body odor will change; you’ll feel heavier; you may develop canker sores, bladder infections, yeast infections, and skin eruptions such as acne.

2.     Dowse the flames.

Increase cooling foods: leafy greens (including the ones growing in your yard like dandelion and plantain), melons, cucumber, summer squashes, coconut, mint, cilantro, fennel, and aloe vera. Visit the farmers market and eat what’s in season.

3.     Increase kapha dosha.

Get thee to a body of water! I’m not talking about baking in the sun on the concrete beside a pool. I’m talking a river, a creek, a pond, a mountain lake: somewhere where earth meets and mingles with water, somewhere where the breeze is blowing in the nearby trees, somewhere that invites you to put down your phone and forget your to-do list. If that’s not possible, walk barefoot in the grass in the evening, then treat yourself to a cool footbath on the back porch. Throw in herbs, rose petals, or your favorite essential oil.

4.     Take a siesta.

There’s a reason why siestas are taken in places with a hot climate. Chill out in the shade when the sun is highest and hottest. If you can do that in a hammock, all the better. Enjoy the sun in morning and in the evening. Exercise or do outdoor chores in the a.m. Connect with family and friends, play or enjoy light activity in the p.m.

5.     Underschedule yourself.

Summer is the perfect time to say no. Practice saying it to yourself. Do I want to sign the kids up for back-to-back camps all summer long? No. Do I want to go shopping as a form of entertainment? No. Do I want to go to this event simply out of FOMO (fear of missing out)? No. Practicing on yourself will make it much easier to say no when family and friends ask you to do things you really don’t want to do. Use your time to do things you WANT to do simply because you enjoy them. Bonus points if you use your time to do nothing. (OH! That should be its own number.)

6.     Do nothing.

Yep, that’s right. Do nothing. If you know this is something you would really, really struggle with, start by doing nothing for a minute. Each day, increase your “nothing” time by another minute. Taking a little time out of each day to do nothing is one of the best somethings you can do for your body and mind. If you need practice, come to a restorative yoga class where you can do nothing for an hour with other people doing nothing for an hour. Which leads me to . . .

7.     Change up your exercise routine.

If your go-to mode of exercise is go hard or go home, you can balance pitta dosha by going easy and going home. Trade power walks for slow or moderately paced walks; trade running for swimming; trade power vinyasa for a gentle class, yin, or restorative. You can still get a hard workout in once or twice a week, but use the rest of the week for easy and moderate exercise of the body and the mind.

As individuals with our own inherent biological energies living in area that experiences a full range of seasons from hot, humid summers to cold, snowy winters, it’s important to recognize that we can support our bodies and our minds with a few simple seasonal changes. If you’d like to learn more about living seasonally, balancing the doshas, or the yoga lifestyle (aka Ayurveda), email me at mainstreetyogafmt@gmail.com. You can also meet me on the mat every Sunday evening at 6:00 for a pitta-balancing yin yoga or restorative yoga practice.

See you at the studio.

Meet the Newest Addition to MSY!

My name is Samantha Mason and I’m super excited to be joining the Main Street Yoga team!  Let me tell you a little about myself.  I’m a Marion county native and a registered nurse working at Ruby Memorial in the neonatal intensive care unit.  I have a husband and an ornery dog named Captain.  When I’m not working, I enjoy being outside, walking my dog, hanging out with my husband, running, traveling, and most recently, gardening. 

I got into yoga as a means to aid in my running.  I had dabbled here and there before, but it never really stuck. I don’t know why.  However, a little over two years ago, I found someone on Instagram who connected running and yoga, and to her the two were like peanut butter and jelly: better together.  So I thought to myself, this may help me get stronger, have less stiffness after runs, and decrease injuries. I bought some of her streamable classes online and gave it a go, and boy oh boy was I pleased with how I felt!  I kept telling myself that it was all of the physical benefits I was reaping that kept me coming back for more, but it was totally a shift in how I felt mentally as well. 

Luckily, shortly after that, Main Street Yoga opened up, and I had a studio to go to! (Well, once I got over feeling self-conscious and nervous and all of that nonsense.)  Once I started going to classes regularly, I began to feel like a new person both physically and mentally. It was also a nice way to meet new, like-minded folks.  The longer I kept going, the more I knew that this was something I was so passionate about that I wanted to learn more and share it with whoever was willing and able!  So I signed up for yoga teacher training last year and began in October of 2017.  

I completed my 200 hour training at Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, NC this past April.  Throughout my training, I got a bit of exposure to many different styles of yoga, meditation, and pranayama, and I feel so lucky that I get to share my love of yoga and newfound knowledge with all of you. 

I’ll be teaching a class that I call “Lengthen and Strengthen” on Thursday evenings from 7-8 pm.  The beginning of class will most likely still have some residual heat left from the 5:30 warm yoga class, which will be perfect for focusing on static postures and holding positions to really stretch the muscle bellies. Think of it as yin yoga without all the props and with shorter holds. We will then begin dynamic movement and go through some sun salutations and flow our way through different asanas (poses) while really focusing on linking the breath and movement to create a strong bond between our mind and body while building muscle strength at the same time. 

I’m a fan of breath work (pranayama), meditation, and laughter, so I may pop in one or more of those elements here and there throughout the class.  I have yet to be drawn to one particular style of yoga and I think my classes are just a collection of bits that have resonated with me from all of the various styles and teachers that I have been exposed to.

My hopes are for you to leave feeling happy, of course, and also light yet strong in both body and mind and feeling accomplished in your own personal goals and desires.      

See you at the studio!

Investing in Yourself

I’m at a bit of a crossroad. I am almost finished with my Yoga Health Coaching training, and I should be fully certified in June. And rather than looking forward to relaxing a bit, satisfied with this accomplishment, I’m excitedly asking myself, “What’s next?”

Since enrolling in 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2015, I’ve been on this path of investing in knowledge, investing in education that will benefit the people in my community. The by-product of that, of course, is that it has benefitted me – my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. So in a way, I’m using my personal evolution path to inform the next stages of my professional development. What works for me will work for others too.

It hasn’t always been this way for me. Years ago, I had a sense that at some point I would want to teach yoga, but at that time, I was still stuck in the patterns that many of us find ourselves in. We want to look better, feel better, be better. And we want to get there in the fastest way possible. So in typical American style, we buy things. We consume. Whether it’s the coolest new beauty or fitness gadget on the infomercial we got sucked into watching or a new supplement that will help us lose weight without dieting or exercise, we spend money on things rather than investing in knowledge and support.

When I think of all the gadgets and supplements I’ve bought over the last 20 years, not to mention make up, hair color, tanning, manicures and pedicures, I realize that had I saved that money, I could have taken a month off of work and paid for yoga teacher training in a gorgeous, exotic location, started this journey a little sooner, and been much better off, perhaps even avoiding the adrenal fatigue that set off my autoimmune disease. On an even smaller scale, had I skipped the hair color and pedicures, I could have afforded quite a lot of yoga classes.

Oh, well. Not much I can do about that now. The point is that I’ve seen the light. Spending doesn’t work for me anymore. Investing has replaced spending.

But money isn’t the only thing we have to invest. With any endeavor of personal or professional growth, there is an investment of time, and usually that is the more difficult investment to make. People often tell me, “I just can’t seem to find the time to come do yoga.” And my response is always, “It is difficult to find the time. It’s not as difficult to make the time. Carve it out. Make whatever arrangements you need to make. Put it on your schedule and make it non-negotiable.”

The same is true for investing time in personal or professional development. There’s never a “perfect” time where the stars align, time and space open up, and you have all the time in the world to do the things you want and need to do. It just doesn’t happen. Take it from me. I had this idea that once my kids were grown and out of the house that all of that would happen. But guess what. Other things fall into those spaces of time and we can end up feeling even busier than we were when “Mom’s Taxi” was in service.

There’s another time scenario more akin to “spending” money. In the unusual circumstance where you do happen to have the time to pursue personal development, we sometimes find ourselves “wasting” time doing things that don’t benefit us. Exhausted from work, we come home, eat too much of the wrong stuff, collapse on the couch and binge-watch Netflix. We wake up tired, grumpy, achy, and maybe a little angry that we did this to ourselves. All of that carries over into our day, perhaps affecting the people we live and work with, which makes us feel even worse.

If any of this sounds familiar, if you’re thinking it might be time to start investing instead of spending or wasting, if you’re ready to make some changes in your lifestyle that benefit your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, talk to me. I’d love to help. Book a free strategy session with me and we’ll figure out what your next steps should be.

See you soon!

Spring Cleaning

It might be snowing outside right now, but for the past two weeks, I’ve been in spring cleaning mode. I’ve donated NINE tall kitchen garbage bags full of clothes. (I know that sounds ridiculous, but apparently I’ve been reluctant to part with any of my clothes for the past 10 years and my husband still had some clothes from the 90s.) I’ve also been clearing out everything from chemical-laden cosmetics to empty boxes that I’d saved for some potential purpose that never presented itself.

I’m on a roll, and I can’t tell you how liberating it is get rid of things I no longer need and simply open up space for the sake of opening up space as opposed to opening up space to make room for something else. Space is addictive – the more you have, the more you want. And at the same time, it frees your mind. That’s one of the things I love about the studio. I’d love to go with a full-on KonMari tidying marathon, but my schedule (probably like yours) doesn’t really allow for that. So I have to do what I can when I can.

My spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to my home. I’m also smack in the middle of a 21-day digestive cleanse. Last week, I eliminated meat and dairy from my diet. (For what it’s worth, no one was more surprised than me that I’ve been able to go 9 days without cheese.) This week, I’m adding more alkalizing dark leafy greens, sprouts, and microgreens. I had an amazing massage with reflexology with Courtney at 39 North to move some lymph and support my liver and kidneys. Next week, I’ll add more fermented foods for a natural boost of probiotics. It’s a gentle cleanse because, once again, my schedule doesn’t exactly permit me to shut down for a few days.

Why a digestive cleanse? Think of it like switching out your winter wardrobe for your summer wardrobe. What we eat during winter should look a lot different than what we eat during summer. The fact that we can obtain just about any food we want at any time of year doesn’t mean we should be eating strawberries in November or an abundance of root vegetables in July. We should eat seasonally, like our ancestors did. And in between seasons, sometimes we need to open up some space and get rid of things we no longer need.

Our inner space isn’t limited to the physical body either. With a change in seasons comes a change in mindset, and it’s a great idea to slow down enough to recognize and acknowledge that shift. It’s a shift in mindset as well as in energy. Winter is dark, cold and introspective. Summer is bright, warm, and gregarious. If we don’t pause to honor that shift in energy, we risk ending up edgy, spacey, anxious, or restless.

So during this change in seasons, which in West Virginia waivers between capricious and volatile, take some time to work on your energy body. Get rid of what you no longer need and open up some space in your energy channels. Yoga is always a great way to do that, and this week, we have two special events geared specifically to that goal.

At 7 pm on Thursday, Sheray will introduce MSY to Kundalini yoga. Kundalini is the energy that coils at the base of the spine. It’s creative, spiritual energy the generally remains untapped. Kundalini yoga is practiced with the intent of tapping into that potential energy and moving it through the central energy channel (the spine) up and into the brain. The Kundalini practice includes meditation, mantra, and breath work, as well as a physical practice to leave your entire body buzzing with awareness.

On Friday at 5:45, Kindred Vibes is hosting a Crystal Reiki Soundbath Meditation, which is every bit as amazing as it sounds. The best part is, all you have to do is lay on the floor and immerse your senses with essential oils, energy work, and the beautiful sounds of crystal singing bowls, chimes, drums, and toning. Soundbaths are deeply relaxing experience that puts you into meditative state perfect for healing journeys. The vibrations of the crystal singing bowls affect the body at a cellular level to reduce stress, reconnect the body, mind, and spirit, as well as restore, balance, and align the chakras.

So this week, take some time to open up some space and recognize and acknowledge the change in seasons and how it affects you. And if you need a little guidance, you know where to find us.

See you at the studio!

Deep Listening

On Saturday morning, I received the following Facebook message:

Good morning, Angela. I owe you an apology. I was pretty wound up when I arrived at your studio and I went on and on and on and on . . . you never got a word in edgewise. I’m feeling a little self-conscious about it this morning and wanted to say “I’m sorry.” Sometimes I just need to remember to reel myself in! lol (and then other times – remind myself to open up! lol) . . . . thank you for your patience with me and just being your wonderful “you.”

My response was simply this:

“No worries at all. You provided me with an opportunity to practice my deep listening skills.”

She thought that was funny, but I wasn’t being facetious. I was totally sincere. It’s a skill I’m working on, a “growing edge.” I was introduced to it in my health coach training, and it’s changing the way I show up in the world.

This was one of three opportunities I had to practice this skill this past weekend. The second occurred that same night when I was able to sit with someone I talk to daily, usually in a rushed, hurried, distracted way. But Friday, she came into the studio and we sat face to face on the floor with no cell phones or other distractions and she looked me in the eye and told me what was going on in her life. It was such a different experience for us, that I was the one who felt compelled to send a message about it later to tell her how much I enjoyed it.

The third opportunity was quite deliberate. In my coaching group, we practiced something called “circling.” In circling, each person has an opportunity to speak for a set amount of time (we chose 10 minutes, which is rather on the short end for this type of exercise, although when you’re speaking, it seems like a very long time). While the speaker is speaking, the other members of the circle maintain open body language and focused attention on what they are hearing. Listeners pay full attention to the sound of the words and the body language the speaker exhibits while abandoning habits such as planning their next statement or interrupting the speaker. It is active rather than reactive listening.

Circling encourages insight for everyone involved, and it’s a powerful experience for several reasons. First and foremost, we’re not used to being heard. Quite often, a speaker will start to cry before she utters a single word. The tears are as much a response of gratitude for the opportunity to be truly heard, and fully supported by the group, as they are a response to the subject matter.

Deep Listening is a way of hearing in which we are fully present with what is happening in the moment without trying to control it or judge it. We let go of our inner clamoring and our usual assumptions and listen with respect for precisely what is being said, and what is not being said. Effective listening requires a contemplative mind: open, fresh, alert, attentive, calm, and receptive. And it can be cultivated through instruction and practice.

The beautiful thing about deep listening is that we don’t have to be listening to another person in order to practice it. We can practice it with ourselves, and yoga provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. Each time we step onto the mat, we have an opportunity to listen deeply. As we move through a yoga practice, each pose is an invitation to be fully present with what is happening, to be in the moment. Vinyasa teaches us to be open, fresh and alert. Slower practices, like yin and restorative, require more attention, calmness, and receptivity. Yoga is indeed an exercise in active listening.

Practiced enough, we naturally take this ability that we’ve cultivated on the mat out into the world with us. Deep listening becomes our “off the mat” yoga. And other people notice. It feels different to talk to someone who is fully present, someone who isn’t formulating a response or just waiting for his or her turn to speak.

Margaret J. Wheatley says, “Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.”

This week, I invite you to take some time on your mat to sit and listen. The teachers at MSY are here to help you. You know where to find us.

April Showers Us With Opportunity

Spring is in the air and teachers at MSY are ready to bust you out of the winter doldrums!

We’re starting April off with two new class series. On Monday, April 2nd, Stacey Fox introduces us to a “Fresh Perspective.” Every Monday in April, Stacey will encourage us to have some fun while building strength. This all levels series focuses on inversions, which, in more ways than one, offer us a fresh perspective!

Our next series starts the very next day! On Tuesday, April 3rd, Sheray begins her “Happy, Healthy Spine” series. Each Tuesday in April, we’ll work on backbends, heart openers, and twists. This class is an all levels vinyasa flow. We'll work together to create support in the spine using core work, backbends, and heart openers. Twists will also be a component of this series to create space within the vertebrae.

With both these series, you’ll gain the most benefit from attending every week, but you are welcome to just drop in whenever you are able.

Friday, April 6th is our monthly reiki clinic. Judy is back from cross-country tour and anxious to get back to doing what she loves: giving reiki and reading tarot. Suzie and Jen will also be on hand for reiki, and Paula will be offering AromaTouch and iTOVi scans. Paula will also be offering a workshop or two this month, so follow her Facebook page and watch for events.

On Friday the 13th, Jen Sunderlin will offer a timely Mantra & Mudra workshop. A mantra is a word, phrase or sound that is repeated in order to increase mindfulness in meditation. Mudras are hand positions that also increase mindfulness during meditation and can affect the flow of energy in the body. In this workshop, Jen will teach you how to use mantras and mudras in order to derive inspiration, creativity, healing and wellness within your mind and body.

We get a double dose of Jen this weekend, as she is back on Saturday the 14th for another Date Night Yoga & Massage workshop. This couples’ class has been getting rave reviews, so if it’s been on your wish list, register today. This light-hearted partner class is appropriate for all levels and for all types of couples, so if your love isn’t up for it, grab your BFF, your daughter, your mom, or anyone you’d like to have a little fun with. Jen will lead the yoga practice while Paula leads us in a relaxing hand massage. Each couple receives a doTERRA massage oil blend to take home, and afterwards we’ll head down to Joe N Throw for a complimentary beverage of your choice.

If self care is high on your list of priorities, don’t miss Angela’s Body Wisdom free talk on Sunday, April 15th. This class introduces you to the REAL yoga lifestyle: aligning your daily habits with the rhythms of nature. Whether you want to lose weight, eat better, sleep better, function better on a daily basis, reduce common aches and pains, or simply dive deeper into your already healthy lifestyle, you’ll walk away with two habits you can start using right away to begin your shift into feeling better in your body. 

Last month, Sheray traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to submerse herself in Kundalini yoga. This month, she’s bringing Kundalini to us! Kundalini is a dynamic, challenging, and powerful practice designed to uplift the spirit, calm the mind, and bring balance to the entire body. Utilizing “kriyas” (a series of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a specific outcome), Kundalini combines breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra, body locks, and postures. In this workshop, Sheray will discuss the history and technologies of Kundalini yoga and guide us through a beginner’s kriya.

Sheray has another treat planned for us as well! Meditate & Paint is back on Saturday, April 21st. This workshop is simply about exploring your own creative energy. You'll be creating your own masterpiece inspired by yoga and meditation. Dress comfortably - no new clothes. Sheray will provide everything that we need for the event. 

Finally, Kindred Vibes will hold sound healing meditations on April 7th, 20th, and 27th. If you haven’t experienced this yet, set an intention to make it to one or more of these this month.

Bookmark Main Street Yoga and follow us on Facebook for the most up to date information on what’s happening. If you’d like to get these blog posts sent directly to your email, fill out the “subscribe” form at the bottom of this page.

See you at the studio!