Gentle Yoga

This class is taught by:

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.

Susan Stevens

How did yoga come into my life?
I began practicing yoga as a teen in the late 60’s/early 70’s, before it was the “cool” thing to do. Our local Cincinnati PBS TV. Station had a show called ‘Lilias Yoga & You”. I practiced yoga with Lilias Folan, who was quite a yoga pioneer. I took random classes on & off for years. Fast forward to 2007, when I started studying privately with Gia Lupinacci Maxon. Shortly after that, I began attending a teacher-training program in Asheville with Stephanie Keach. I found my passion and my calling! Today, the yoga journey continues!
How do I practice on the mat?
I begin & end each day with a 15-minute silent meditation. This sets the tone for the day, and then provides closure at the end of the day. This introspective, mindfulness practice brings balance to my life. I also have a daily home asana practice that changes like the wind. I do whatever poses and flow feel particularly good to my body in the moment. My practice and my teachings on the mat are simple, gentle, and fuel a sense of well-being.
How do I practice off the mat?
Off the mat, I see life & the practice of yoga as an extension of the philosophical teachings of the yogic yamas & niyamas. Compassion for all beings, honesty, non-violence, and self-discipline are just a few of these teachings. I also try to be an instrument of peace, in hopes that my peace will become your peace, will become world peace.
Why a yoga teacher?
I have always taught something, from swimming lessons to preschool to Lamaze! I have a passion for learning, and then sharing what I know. With yoga, there is always something new to learn, therefore something new to teach. Since I love yoga so much, I just want to share this wellness practice with everyone! Imagine what a wonderful world it would be if everybody got to experience the gift of yoga!
What is my teaching style?
My yoga style is hard to explain in words. Eclectic, is a good description, as my teaching style is very free spirited, and draws from many different schools of thought. My style is playful and ever changing, and I always encourage my students to “make it your own”! I hold special certifications in senior yoga, prenatal/postpartum yoga, and restorative yoga, so adaptations and props are part of all my classes. Gentle yoga is what I practice and what I teach, making my classes safe and accessible to everyBODY! Yogi Bhajan says it all, “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.”

A gentle approach to yoga postures and stress reduction. With emphasis on body awareness and alignment, this class helps you create a healthy and steady practice. Appropriate for everyone: beginners to yoga, recovering from injury or for those seeking a gentle approach on stress reduction. The class is taught with music, props, and at a comfortable temperature.

Upcoming classes:

  • Fri Nov 24 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Debbie Ellis
  • Wed Nov 29 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 01 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Wed Dec 06 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 08 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Wed Dec 13 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 15 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Wed Dec 20 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 22 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Wed Dec 27 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 29 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Wed Jan 03 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens