Monday, March 18

Brightwater Yoga | Hendersonville, NC

It was a rough day, friends. First off, I got us going the wrong direction for our hike to Looking Glass Rock—a really wrong direction where I discovered my full-on-panic-attack fear of heights in a car. Jafe was a saint as he navigated some gravel road on the edge of a mountain while his passenger had a complete meltdown. And then to discover we went the complete opposite direction we were suppose to... Sigh. We were finally rewarded by a beautiful, foggy hike in Pisgah National Forest to Looking Glass Rock... but yoga was the only thing that would bring me back to some sort of rational thinking. It's hard to discover new weaknesses in yourself.

LOCATION: Waze is my go to for GPS. They were doing construction in charming downtown Hendersonville which also involved some one-way streets. I just trusted Waze and somehow managed to see the sign on the side of the wall saying "yoga." Parking on the street was free.   
STUDIO: This upstairs studio was warm and cozy, like home. The entry way at the top of the old wooden stairs was even decorated like a little parlor. The whole place smelled like the bakery downstairs, which I believe had just started a batch of cookies. Yum! In a through hallway was the check-in desk and some cubbies for your stuff. Your first class is free, but from what I could gather drop-in was cash only and $15. OK, just checked the site—you can pay online before class or pay by cash or check in the studio. When I was paying did I then realize that this was a series class. I would feel bad, but advice to yoga studios... If you don't place dates next to your class, no one will know it's a series class. Even though I feel you welcome me and others openly, it would make things less awkward for the student to have this information before walking in. Once inside the practice space I was greeted by super friendly yogis. This space was big—beautiful wood floors, huge windows, ceiling fans to move that cookie dough scent around—this was good. Inside the practice space was a closet of free props.
CLASS DESCRIPTION: Yoga Basics: This is an 8-week series (oy... class description defines the series, my bad... I only looked at the calendar. Sheepish apologies.) that will introduce students to all Level One asanas (postures) including: standing and seated poses, simple backbends, arm balances, and preps for inversions. This class is designed especially for beginners in relatively good physical condition. Each week will build upon the previous week's lesson.
INSTRUCTOR: Vicki Beilharz (E-RYT500 - RYT500) has been practicing and teaching yoga since 1992. Vicki took her first yoga class one month after undergoing double knee surgery and quickly became an enthusiastic student after experiencing positive results. She continued practicing and teach the Iyengar Method for the next six years and near the end of that time she met John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga. Vicki was intrigued with this style of hatha yoga because of its uplifting philosophy. She became a dedicated student and, in 2003, a certified Anusara Yoga teacher. 
CONTACT: Brightwater Yoga

I regret not taking a basic yoga series class. I'm still considering doing so, to be honest, because to take the time to really discuss how the body should float into these poses is so rewarding. Every time I crash someone's series class I walk away so much more in touch with my yoga. I highly recommend finding a beginner's series in your area.

Vicki started the class talking about a show she had watched about the Amish. One man was interviewed and said something along the lines of not knowing why they did what they did. It was just tradition and you followed it. So much so that their original book they could reference was in German, and none of them knew German. You can see the connection forming to Americans in yoga, right? Vicki wanted us to know to take the time to not only get into the pose, but explain why we do. I knew I was in for a treat.

As we went into our seated position Vicki guided us with a beautiful visual—like Mother Earth we must grow our roots first. I've always thought of it as opposite directions stretching out the spine—which is true, but I like starting out with thinking only of my foundation. We did our three oms and started focusing on breathing. At this point Vicki talked about the male and female side of the brain—which we all have. And how if you breathe out strongly in one nostril that means one half is the acting way of thought. If out the left nostril, your female tendencies are strong—nurturing, rest, repair (the moon). If out the right, your male tendencies are strong—tap into a more energetic part of the brain (the sun). She said this actually alternates ever 1.5-2 hours.

We then went into today's focus, twists! Hallelujah! Before this vacation I had been working a minimum of 12 hours, 6 days a week, for over a month. I was sitting in front of computer a lot, I was stressed out, I wasn't going to yoga, and I was eating like crap. As a result, I'm now with stress baby. Every winter I put on probably 10-15 lbs, evenly throughout my body. I've come to finally recognize it as a seasonal thing and to not get worked up over it. But this winter, thanks to the stress, I gained it all in my belly. My stress baby... feel free to suggest names. :) So I knew twists would be a beautiful solution (and actually was a focus in all our classes, so the world knew I needed to twist myself out). We did seated twists, table top twists, lunge twists, standing twists, standing with a chair twist, back to seated twists, and ending with twists while on our backs. Glorious!

More wisdom from Vicki as we paused before the chair twists: You can get the same result different ways. Like with training a horse—you can dangle a carrot in from of her or you can whip her. Either way it will be hard work and eventually they'll move, but the repercussions of one method builds fear, pain, and injury of some sort. Vicki was in favor of dangling some carrots in front of us (thank you!). She walked around giving adjustments to everyone—at least twice, if not more. Lots of verbal queues and personal encouragement to students who adjusted correctly on their own. Vicki called out poses in sanskrit (which I love—to learn and to be humbled that I don't know a lot after three years). Vicki was an amazing teacher for me, so much so that if I moved to Western NC I'm pretty sure this would be my "home" studio. A gorgeous class, with out a doubt. Thank you Brightwater Yoga + Vicki.


Stairway to Cozy Entrance

Big Beautiful Practice Space

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