Tag Archives: Asheville Community Yoga

The power of awareness.

13 Oct

Yesterday in my restorative yoga class at Asheville Community Yoga, something incredible happened. In restorative yoga, there are a number of supported poses that we do in order to reach a state of deep relaxation. Even though I’ve been going to the class since last year, I’m just starting to get back into going regularly again. In terms of my restorative class though, I often find that once I’m able to make myself go to class I remember why I started going in the first place. As well as being able to deeply relax after a busy week, yoga is another activity that I do completely for myself. It has no other purpose other than helping me to relax and making me happy.

Restorative yoga is made up of a number of supported poses. The final pose is called shavasana, or corpse pose. During shavasana, my yoga teacher leads us through a guided meditation in order to reach yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is a “sleep-like” state in which you reach a state of deep relaxation. During the yoga nidra yesterday, as my yoga teacher was guiding us through a meditation, he reminded us to become aware of what was happening around us. He urged us to become aware of ourselves, our bodies, our breath, and our thoughts. During the awareness exercise, a dog started barking outside. After a while, my yoga teacher instructed us to become aware to the dog barking outside. A few minutes later, the dog stopped barking, and my yoga teacher told us to become aware to the fact that the dog stopped barking as soon as we focused our awareness towards it.

Even though the fact that the dog stopped barking as soon as we were made aware of it doesn’t seem like such a big deal now, it was an incredible experience in the moment. It helped me better understand the power of awareness and why it’s such a key tool in yoga. As I was talking with my yoga teacher after class, we both were still amazed at the experience with the dog. I think it’s one of the coolest moments I’ve experienced since beginning restorative yoga. The awesome thing is that now my yoga teacher and I (and everyone else in the class yesterday) are able to share that moment, and no one is able to take that experience from us. It’s made us more connected, even if we may never see each other again. We have that shared experience, and I bet that for many of us, that moment will stay with us for quite a while.

Become Aware.

25 Mar

I went to my first early morning meditation class today at Asheville Community Yoga. Even though it was raining most of the day, it was nice to be leaving campus before much of the campus was awake. I love the quiet that comes with the rain in the mountains, and I’m happy I got to experience it “by myself” this morning. There were only me and 3 other people at ACY for the early morning meditation (not including Michael, the instructor), which was actually kind of nice. For the first part of the class, we spent time “waking up our bodies” so that when we sat for meditation we’d be awake and focused. The beginning exercises felt good, especially the stretches and the movements that allowed us to make our bodies feel as comfortable as possible (like massaging our neck and back).

We then sat down, and we began by counting our breaths. We’d inhale and count 1-2-3 and then count again on the exhale. After about 5 or 6 breaths this way, Michael rang a bell in order to signal the beginning of our meditation. Michael said that we’d sit and meditate for 20 minutes, and then the ringing of the bell would indicate the end of the meditation. Michael reminded us throughout to concentrate on our breath when we started to get lost/when our mind began to wander. In the beginning, I thought that 20 minutes of sitting and breathing would feel like forever. However, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Though I did have to return to counting my breaths a good bit, the experience was quite eye-opening.

Through the simple act of sitting and breathing in and out, I became more aware of myself….more aware of my body…and more aware of the world around me. It was a great way to start my morning, especially since I felt refreshed and prepared to begin my day of studying and homework. I can’t wait to go back in a week!

I hope you all have had a happy Sunday.