Bios

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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.
 
Bonnie

How did yoga come into my life?

In the fall of 1987, I enrolled in Hatha Yoga 1 at Hofstra University because it sounded cool and weird. The next semester I enrolled in Hatha Yoga 2 because I loved how I felt after class. My instructor, Hannah Cerbone still currently teaches at Hofstra! I recall her as a vision of gorgeousness with her asymmetrical 80’s hair, electric blue spandex tights and high-cut body suit. I thought to myself- wow she’s doing something right! I’ve been practicing ever since.

How do I practice Yoga on the mat?

It’s an evolutionary process. Over the years my style has transformed from classic Hatha (Sivananda’s Companion to Yoga was my first book) through Anusara-inspired “alignment oriented” specifics to now pretty much my own thing. I resonate with Tara Stiles and Strala (Radiate Light) Yoga’s concept of “make your own rules”, as I’ve been pretty much doing that all along. My practice and teaching is accessible to all levels and all ages. My favorite props are the wall and bolster but I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself and others beyond the comfort zone. My current working mantra for yoga is “movement as medicine” and I practice what I preach. I have healed minor to major injuries through yoga. My goal as a teacher is to get others to trust themselves and their bodies. As Desikichar said, “The only authentic yoga is the one that works for each person, and there are many possibilities.”

How do I practice Yoga off the mat?

By living consciously and authentically as much as possible, and remembering that I’m human. I’m a middle-age, peri-menopausal mother of two teens, married and together with the same man for 28 years. I’m Italian. I yell. But yoga is my anchor. It keeps me from needing to be peeled off the ceiling. My true passion is combining Catholicism with a progressive spiritual outlook rooted in the principles of Yoga. Om Namah Christaya!

Why a Yoga Teacher?

It’s simply been a natural extension. As a teacher by trade and a practitioner at heart it just presented itself to me. I never planned on being a yoga teacher or having yoga as my “career,” but it seems to be what I’m supposed to be doing, at least for now. We’ll see where it takes me. I’m open to change and growth… Isn’t that what life/yoga is all about?

Gia is known for her creative style, humorous tales and ability to weave the physically challenging with a meditative awareness that takes the practitioner towards deeper realms of self-discovery. Her classes are unique and creative with plenty of Yoga Philosophy, Meditative moments and at times groovy music. Gia’s passion is teaching others how to become their own best teacher while emphasizing that your Yoga practice truly begins once you step off the mat and back into your life..

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.”
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.

We all do yoga all our lives but I think for my bio something different is wanted. In my mid to late teens I practiced Bajiquan and Taijiquan, even yoga once or twice a month. Then needed a change. I spent four years in Western North Carolina at the John C. Campbell Folk School. There I got more into yoga with the help of friends. Work started soon after and on my off time I would venture into a yoga studio. It was mostly Vinyasa Yoga with a Yin class once in a while. I still love Yin or any restorative yoga. I moved to Germany in 2006 to be close to my lady and there I started Ashtanga at a great studio in Stuttgart called Yoga Mitte. I have been doing Ashtanga since. When I was home in Florida I would go to Surya Yoga, another Ashtanga school(may have changed). I now live in Asheville, NC and help Ashtanga set roots here. I have taken the Asheville Community Yoga's 21 Day Intensive Yoga Teacher Training program and am now a RYT 200 hour certified yoga teacher — what ever that means. Also through the years of Ashtanga practice I have found myself in workshops with David Swenson, David Williams, and other Ashtanga practitioners. Having had over 250 hours of training from Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann I consider them my teachers. I continue to do Ashtanga everyday, with one day off a week from asana and no asana on New and Full Moons. Whoo that was a lot about myself.

Jonathan Harrah is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance, which acknowledges the completion of a yoga teacher training with an approved and active Registered Yoga School (RYS).

How did yoga come into my life?

Yoga was presented to me in my college years. A beloved friend suggested that I attend one class to see what it was all about; afterwards I fell in love with it! I enjoyed the postures as well as the enlightenment mentality. It became a part of who I was and where I wished to be. The next thing I knew I was ready to take a leap to become the yoga teacher in order to share this experience with anyone and everyone.

How do I practice yoga on the mat?

I practice yoga with a goal of contentment from my students. I wish to bring my students to a healthier physical state, as well as, a happier mental state. I offer any modification to better my students comfort level and strive to bring the mind to a more serene place of being. Additionally I am always learning new things, especially from my students. They teach me as much if not more than I teach them.

How do I practice yoga off the mat?

Practicing yoga on the physical level is a part of my way of living but it is not alone. I practice many aspects of the yogic life in so many different ways. An example would be learning a new way of thinking and applying it to my daily life. Teaching myself a more conscious way to breathe, but most importantly is incorporating action and reaction in a new light to those all around me.

Why a yoga teacher?

Once I fell in love with yoga and all its wonders I simply wanted to share the experience with others. I want to dedicate my training and knowledge to the community.

What is my teaching style?

My teaching style is of a peaceful nature. As a teacher my aim is to cater to the needs and wants of my students. I strive to meet each need in every way possible. I hope to bring each individual to a custom practice and a more peaceful state of mind.

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.

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.

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