Level 1 Yoga

This class is taught by:

Kim Hodge

How Did Yoga Come Into My Life?
Yoga came into my life after a diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. After a nine month relapse, I tried various activities to regain muscle that was lost due to the disease. Repetitive exercises (walking, running. swimming) left me with muscle fatigue. One of the activities I tried was yoga in the early 2000's. It wasn't until 2010 that my practice became a constant part of my life. I attended a local Holy Yoga class and was hooked. The class was offered twice a week, but I soon found myself wanting to practice more. That's when my home practice was born.

How Do I Practice Yoga On The Mat?

Mentally: I practice peace, patience and non-judgement of self. I am a firm believer of "we all have to start at the beginning". My favorite example I love telling to others is that yoga is like a game of Simon Says. Simon may tell us to "close one eye", but we will all look different following that command. Or if Simon Says to "stand on one foot", we will all have variations in how we stand on one foot. The opposite knee of the standing foot may be higher for some. But we are still following what Simon Says. Same thing in yoga. Everyone has their own variation to a pose, so we shouldn't be critical if we don't look like the next person.

Physically: My personal practice consists of Ashtanga and Power Yoga. The longer the hold of the poses, the longer the body has to really relax in to that pose. My focus in my personal practice is strength and flexibility.

How Do I Practice Yoga Off The Mat?

It's a process just as the physical practice. Finding joy, and being more thankful in such a trying world. Finding the blessings in even the worst of circumstances. Learning that although I can't change what takes place around me or to me, I do have control of my reaction to it. So what choice will I make as my reaction.

Why A Yoga Teacher?

I have a hard time with the title of teacher. I feel that we all constantly learn from one another. I may lead you in a direction, but what is important is what you learn about yourself. So in a way, you become your own teacher. The reason I chose this path (or this path chose me?) is my desire to help others no matter what their health circumstance may be. Whether new to the mat, a disciplined practitioner, or recovering from something life altering, I love a safe, playful practice, but at the same time I believe you can't change unless you are challenged. When do we get to experience something challenging, but in a playful environment where we don't have to take ourselves so seriously? I always preach "no yoga envy" because again like Simon Says, everyone is at a different place with their practice. So don't want to be like the next person. Be yourself!

What Is My Teaching Style?

I love it all! I help athletes find the balance between their training and yoga; beginners new to the practice, and a mixed level class. I meet you where you are, and what your specific need may be. And of course I love teaching what I play- Power Yoga, which I do add in to my mix level classes. I am very alignment oriented! No one should leave a class with some type of new pain or injury because the alignment was not right in a pose. That being said, I also encourage that the poses feel good. And I love giving enhancements to help a person relax deeper in to the pose. Always have fun with the practice!

Henrietta Madden

Call me Henrie.
Henrie with an "ie"  is much shorter and I like it. 
How did yoga come into my life?
Yoga came into my life after sustaining a tailbone and shoulder injury while playing volleyball. 
How do I practice Yoga on the mat?
I practice Ashtanga and love each moment of it.    I try to maintain a beginner’s mind, detach from self-judgment and competition.  I practice daily even if the practice is only meditation.
How do I practice Yoga off the mat?
I am compassionate, silly, introspective, fiery, nerdy and sometimes my temper gets the best of me.  BUT each day, I strive to be truthful, compassionate, loving to self and others and help others when it is needed.
Why a Yoga teacher?
From Biology to Physics to Environmental Science, I teach to amazing high school students. Teaching is an amazing experience but one of the most difficult and humbling job EVER!
I teach yoga because I like it, believe in it and am committed. I am first a student and then a teacher.  I teach from love and hope to help people discover the love and strength within through the journey of yoga.
What is my teaching style?
My intention is to create a peaceful practice with mindful breathing and movement.  I offer contemplative classes free of excess chattiness, dangerous poses and loud music. I allow students to explore each pose but offer assistance to cultivate a safe practice.

Andrea Surratt

How did yoga come into my life?

I found yoga as an answer to this '30 something working mom of two' stage of life that I was in about 14 years ago. But the simplicity of a mat, a small space in my bedroom and a few DVDs kept me motivated to return to my mat many evenings. Then came classes at a local gym and cable TV shows that worked with my daily schedule. My decision to teach was prompted five years ago by my best friend who encouraged me to explore teacher training. We were actually walking through church having that discussion! I believe God's nudge led me to Holy Yoga, an international nonprofit Christian ministry that trains yoga teachers. I trained in 2010 with Brooke Boon, founder of Holy Yoga based in Phoenix, Arizona, for my 225 level teacher training and now for the 500 level Masters certification.

How do I practice on the mat?
...with gratitude. I bring it to the mat each time I practice. I am truly thankful for yoga in my life, and especially for my teachers. I need the flowing movement, intense expression, breath and stillness that yoga brings. Sometimes my worries follow me to my mat; and over the course of a practice, they are brought into perspective. I believe this is the Holy Spirit working in my life.

How do I practice off the mat?
Right now, I am working on seeing details of my life and strengthening them one at a time. That feels like yoga to me. I look for the fruits of the Spirit in others as well in myself...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And when I fall down, in life and in yoga, I am learning to consider the experience as part of the practice.The same is true when I'm serving others through my work in the public sector. Yoga helps me balance against the unpredictable nature of life.

Why a Yoga Teacher?
When you are given a gift that changes your life, you want to share it, right? You want to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! The gift is the personal practice available to each of us. Teaching just lets me celebrate in community with participants, again and again, the gifts of breath, movement, strength, and peace. Every practice is new and different.

What is my Teaching Style?
Creatively challenging and accessible. I enjoy lengthening poses and exploring balance, but we cover lots of ground in this flow style class. You will learn what poses feel like, as if you practiced with your eyes closed. And for every Holy Yoga class, I develop an original scripture meditation from the Bible. That is where I draw my strength. That is what I want share. Your heart never leaves feeling empty. Namaste.

Bonnie Berry

You’re not from around here…..
I get that a lot, and it’s true! I am a Southern California native transplant. My husband grew up in Hickory, NC and when our daughters were ready to start school, there was no question we were moving and growing our own roots to raise them in Hickory, NC.
How did yoga come into my life?
As a child, teenager, and young adult, dance, cheerleading and athletic sports were always my focus. When I was pregnant with my first child, I bought a Prenatal Yoga DVD and loved it.  I was very intimidated to practice yoga in a studio setting.  I started attending yoga classes at my gym.  They were good and I loved the feeling I had after the classes, but I felt like I needed more. Once I had the courage to try a class at a local studio, I was hooked. The energy of the people in the room and the elevated level of instruction captivated my soul and I’ve never looked back.
How do I practice Yoga on the mat?
Yoga came into my life in my late 30’s. My connection to yoga has always been more than the physical practice of asana (postures). I left every practice with a sense of calm and clarity. Don’t get me wrong, I love the physical nature of yoga, but that’s not the only reason I roll out my mat. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there is always somewhere to go, taking your practice to the next level and learning. When I step on my mat as a teacher it is always with a servant mindset to the students who paid to attend my class. My focus is on their needs, how they feel that day and what they’re in the mood for.
How do I practice Yoga off the mat?
My new way of being is to live the eight-limb path of yoga. It is a journey of change and evolution. The beauty of combining the postures, mindful breathing and meditation within my personal yoga practice is a gift. My daughters are my mirror and remind me every day what thoughts, ideas and behaviors I need to change in order to grow into a better human being. "Be the change that you want to see in the world."  Ghandi
Why a Yoga teacher?
I believe yoga is a gift to share with others. I am deeply honored to stand in front of a class as a teacher, but always with a student mindset. I learn from each and every person that walks through the door. Watching students learn, challenge themselves and achieve growth is pure joy.
What is my teaching style?
I bring a laid back, flexible style to my classes. Based upon the student level, mood and other unknown factors, I adapt to their needs. I want everyone to feel respected, appreciated, unique, and above all, have fun. I reinforce the connection of breath and movement, allowing students to feel comfortable practicing at their own pace so it is serving them. That focus also affords the opportunity to move inward and gain a deeper understanding of the mind, body and spirit connection. At the end of the day it’s not about my style, it’s about yours.

Debbie Ellis

I am from around here…
I grew up in Arcadia, NC playing in the creeks and working on our farm. From there to college, graduate school and living in Charlotte, Atlanta, and the Washington DC area. Later my husband Bill and I retired to Hickory. Along with yoga, I enjoy gardening, kayaking, hiking, playing the Native American flute and crocheting.

How did yoga come into my life?
Yoga first came into my life as a calming moving meditation during a stressful life transition. For most of my life I was active through sports, walking, running, or working out at the gym, but yoga felt different. Yoga grounded me in wholeness and opened a path of self-discovery and transformation. Yoga continues to support a desire to live in my body and nurture it for healthy movement as I age. Incarnation takes courage and yoga is a source of courage as I seek to embody and live my soul’s purpose.

How do I practice Yoga on the mat?
Often when I practice yoga I experience a sense of worship and connection to my body and creation. Practicing yoga is like the experience of being immersed in nature. Both creative flows and standard yoga flows (like sun and moon salutations) interest me. I enjoy standing on my mat in my home practice and letting a flow emerge as my body and mind enter the conversation with my breath. Sometimes I dance and wiggle my practice to drum beat to remember yoga is a living unfolding practice. Healthy alignment in physical poses, interior experience, the unique journey of my body, and spiritual transformation are important to my yoga practice.

How do I practice Yoga off the mat?
Off my mat I practice yoga by bringing attention to breath, or specific breathing exercises as I sit at a stop light or take a break. Standing in checkout lines I do mini balance poses and abdominal engagement for core strength. No mat needed for a Sun Salutation in the drive way, rest stop or airport! There are little a-ha moments when the intentional movements on my mat are alive in my body as I reach down to plant a seed in my garden or stretch out to pull a weed. The more I practice yoga, the more I experience an arising of beauty in my everyday life, yoking my mind, body and spirit to source. There is a blessing I say at the end of most classes. “May the seeds of peace, presence, beauty, truth, loving kindness and steadiness grow in us as we move on our mats and move in the world.” Yoga teaches me to nurture these seeds on my mat and manifest this way of being in my life off the mat. Every moment is ripe with opportunity to nurture these seeds.

Why a yoga teacher?
Like many others, I went to teacher training to deepen my practice and to be with my dear friend Judith. With her encouragement I began teaching. Yoga brings me transformation, peace and grounding amidst the ever changing flow of life. I teach out of a desire to live yoga, and to share yoga with others on their unique physical, emotional, and spiritual journey. Mark Stevens speaks of yoga as a process for awakening the truth of one’s being, to an abiding sense of equanimity amidst the shifting tides of daily experience and the seasons of one’s life. He writes that yoga is not a practice of attainment; it is an unending process of self-discovery and self-transformation. Yoga teaches us a way to consciously participate in the constancy of change. Breath by breath we evolve along our unique path. That speaks to me, as I inhale and exhale, moving with the breath, yoking body, mind and spirit. I teach what I most need to learn and find blessing in beholding beauty shining in each person’s yoga practice. And maybe if I teach I’ll finally learn left from right? That brings me to Rumi - “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.” Teaching yoga is about that for me.

What is my teaching style?
My teaching style honors all the many reasons students come to yoga – physical healing, emotional healing, relaxation, building strength and flexibility, and spiritual transformation. Inspiration and reflection are invited with poetry and other readings. Ahimsa, doing no harm, guides class design as I honor the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems of our amazing bodies. Connecting breath to movement, exploration of poses, and intentional movement into and out of each asana are important. I seek to create safe welcoming space for everyone through well designed classes, clear instructions, and modifications for different body capabilities. My classes encourage students to honor where they are while exploring their growing edges of self- discovery and transformation.

Taylar Hoffman

How did yoga come into my life?

Yoga came into my life when I was in college at UNCW. I took my first yoga class at the school gym when I attended UNCW. One of my good friends had done yoga all through high school, and she encouraged me to go with her. I was instantly hooked, and have never looked back! I loved the physical aspect, and as I continued practicing at the school and at a local yoga studio, I began to become curious about the mind and spirit benefits yoga had to offer.

Why a Yoga teacher?

Honestly, being a teacher was never my intention, even when I signed up for 200 hour teacher certification. I wanted to learn more about the philosophy of yoga and how I could bring my on the mat yoga practice off the mat and into every aspect of my life. After completing training, I felt a pull to try teaching. I wanted to be able to share the practice of yoga with others. Yoga is such a rewarding treasure, to be able to guide others in not only a wonderful physical activity, but also help strengthen people’s spiritual practice of yoga as well.

What is my teaching style?

Recently completing training, I’m still finding my style, but if I had to describe it in one word I would say it’s organic.

This class will introduce Vinyasa (or a flow class) which links every breath to a movement as you transition into each pose. The intention for this class is to provide students the opportunity to weave a series of poses while using the breath to move mindfully.
This style allows for a lot of variety and provides individuals coming from a beginner class an opportunity to learn new poses and advance their practice. This class is appropriate for all levels.