What students say about Yoga & Sunrise Yoga Studio
A few years ago while training with a local cycling team, one of my coaches suggested trying yoga as a way of increasing my flexibility. It
seemed like good advice and soon I showed up at Sunrise Yoga Studio to learn the basics. Several benefits were evident almost immediately:
my flexibility improved as did my balance and strength. As I continued to do yoga I noticed other benefits as well. Yoga proved to be
calming. In a world of ups and downs and high-speed everything, yoga showed me the value of slowing down and paying attention – it added
much needed calm to my daily life.
Back then, when I started taking classes at Sunrise, I was most impressed by how well equipped the studio was. There were special ‘yoga
walls’ that allowed you to clip in bars and slings for all sorts of stretches and inversions. There were other things too: blocks, blankets,
mats, even Nerf balls! Today, while I still appreciate the props available at Sunrise, I’m more impressed by the teachers and how
knowledgeable they are – they really make the studio a great place. All I can say is that every teacher I’ve worked with at Sunrise has
been excellent. They teach effectively, they emphasize safety and they quickly learn the unique needs of each student. After five years,
this is what has kept me returning to Sunrise: teachers who know so much and teach so well.
Toby Gordon, 2012
I've been practicing Yoga for three years and started coming to Sunrise Yoga about nine months ago. From the beginning I was impressed by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at Sunrise. Both students and teachers go out of their way to make new students feel comfortable; I was pleasantly surprised that all the teachers knew my name after my first class with them!
Sunrise offers a wide variety of classes at all levels and classes are offered morning, noon, and night to suit different schedules. Teachers are highly qualified and extremely knowledgeable about many aspects of Yoga, from poses to breathing to anatomy. Studio owner Valerie Kiser's depth and breadth of understanding is especially impressive and her continued pursuit of knowledge sets a great example for the other teachers.
In addition to Yoga classes, Sunrise offers other activities such as Yoga hikes, a Yoga book club, guest teachers/presentations, special workshops, and comprehensive teacher training. There also are custom Yoga walls in each of the two studio rooms, and a comprehensive supply of props, blankets, and mats.
Sunrise is the total package, recently voted the best Yoga studio in Winston-Salem in the Readers Choice Awards annual survey, and deservedly so.
Melinda Simmons, 2012
Sunrise Yoga studio has the perfect atmosphere for yoga. It is warm and welcoming to new students, providing many introductory classes and workshops. More experienced students can pursue their practice at their own pace, choosing from 3 different levels of advanced classes, frequent workshop and teacher training courses. All of the instructors are well-trained and can adapt poses for individual students’ needs. The studio itself is always clean and well-stocked with props.
The atmosphere in class is relaxed and congenial. We talk and laugh during class, even while concentrating on our poses. Once you’ve become a “regular”, you’ll come to consider your fellow students as friends. I have come to think of them as my “yoga family.” They’ve helped me through some difficult times, sometimes without them knowing it. I look forward to my classes each week, not just for the physical practice, but for getting together with a great group of friends.
Having been a student at Sunrise for 8 years, I have seen the long-term effects of my yoga practice. I have become much more “body-aware”, listening to my body and avoiding injury by backing away from pushing too hard in a pose. Mentally, I have become calmer and less agitated by the small things that used to aggravate me. As I approach menopause, I have remained strong and flexible. A series of yoga poses has gotten me through some of the not-so-good side effects of the hormonal changes that are beginning in my body. And I know that yoga’s physical and mental benefits will also help me get through menopause with grace and patience.
Liz Redding, 2012
Kim's Gentle Yoga class is fantastic. I tried the Gentle Yoga class because of my back issues. Kim has always been very understanding and
helpful with all the different poses, and has suggestions for all kinds of problems or issues we have. For two years now, I have been going
to this class and always feel better when I leave. I have learned ways to relax and relief stress, which I did not know that I had.
Onnie Pleasant, 2012
I have really enjoyed gentle yoga. I leave class feeling taller and relaxed. Kim is an excellent teacher!
Chris Kares, 2012
I am new to yoga and have just finished my second class, but everyone has made me feel so welcome and comfortable. Your studio was
recommended to me by two golf friends. They have high praises for how much yoga has helped them in so many ways.
I am eager to reap the same benefits!=
Judy Darby, 2012
As a public school teacher, I understand the value of making students feel comfortable in class. When students feel comfortable and
supported, they push themselves to new levels. As a yoga teacher, Sandra Wells makes students feel comfortable in class. The support she
gives goes beyond that of a public school teacher, Sandra literally offers support when students need it—in the form of props or alternate
poses. She works as a guide for her class, reminding us to practice ahimsa while we push ourselves to try new poses. But it’s not the new
poses or the release of tension I feel when I leave class that keeps me coming back, it’s the feeling of comfort and support—the
encouragement of Sandra and the rest of my yoga class family.
Lara Overby, 2012
Sunrise Yoga Studio is a place where you can be yourself, experience contentment, challenge yourself, have fellowship with other people,
learn about yoga and yourself, and most of all give yourself the gift of self nurturing. Sunrise Yoga Studio provides an atmosphere for
learning, self-exploration, being in the present moment and all of this is fun! All of the teachers are certified yoga instructors and take
care to make sure that no one injures themselves. The teachers make each and every class enjoyable, challenging, and fun. The emphasis is
on what you can do, accepting where you are in this moment, and there is no competition. The studio provides a warm and welcoming
atmosphere. You can come to one class per week or numerous. There are opportunities to explore yoga at whatever level interests you.
Above everything else, Sunrise Yoga is the most non-judgmental and compassionate studio that this area has to offer. Come and check it out
for yourself. It will be one of the best things you could ever do for yourself.
Fran Gordon, 2012
After being very ill and having major surgery 5 months ago, my outlook on life changed. I did not want to continue to do the same boring
things day after day. I did not what to wake up one morning with regrets for all the things I didn't do.
I recently read an article that said “busting out of your comfort zone can make you healthier and happier”. Yoga is the first thing I have
tried that is out of my comfort zone and I am loving every minute of it. I am not only stretching my body but my mind. Thanks to all the
great folks at Sunrise Yoga for a great beginning to the second chapter of my life.
Carol Keeser, 2012
Classes at Sunrise Yoga have been all that I hoped they would be and more.
As a beginning yogi I had no experience with which to measure the quality of instruction or facility. From time to time another student who has practiced yoga
elsewhere will say to me that they think both the facility and the teachers are the best they have ever known. All the teachers I have had here are likable, well
trained and helpful.
I had hoped that Yoga at Sunrise would improve my fitness. After almost two and a half years of classes at Sunrise, I KNOW that my muscles are stronger, my posture
has improved some (room for more improvement) as has my balance and also flexibility. I look forward to class and have met a great bunch of folks who are also
Sunrise students and teachers.
As I age, Yoga at Sunrise keeps a spring in my step.
Virginia Lawrence, 2012
Here are a few of the things that I have learned since I "met" Sunrise Yoga:
- You're never too old, or too fat, or too stiff, or too ........., to start yoga.
- You will reap benefits that you never could have imagined.
- Even if you drop out or go somewhere else, you'll always want to return to the Sunrise experience.
Elizabeth Sledge , 2012
Yoga at Sunrise – first I must say that the instructors at Sunrise are wonderful. They are talented, caring, dedicated to yoga and very knowledgeable. As I
continue to get older each year, I find that yoga provides me with being more flexible, more balanced and peace of mind. I can enter the yoga studio with my mind
racing with stress from the day and after a class is over, I am relaxed and more energized. In addition to the yoga classes, I love the yoga wall classes and must
say that “hanging” upside down is a favorite and one I look forward during the class. When I win the lottery, one of the first things I would do is to install a
yoga wall in my home and attend a yoga class every day at Sunrise Yoga. If you have not visited Sunrise, do so today – you will not be disappointed.
Kay Miller, 2012
The impact Yoga has made in my life is tremendous. After 2.5 years of taking classes at Sunrise I can’t imagine my life without yoga. I use so much of what I have
learned on a daily basis at work, at home . . . everywhere. I have reduced my stress levels considerably from the practice of yoga and have made many new friends
too. Yoga is my ‘be kind to me’ activity and I’m so glad I found it and the wonderful teachers at Sunrise Yoga.
Katie Kenney, 2012
I can't tell you how much I look forward to my two classes each week at Sunrise Yoga. It's a great way to exercise your body, mind and spirit in an environment that
is safe and nurturing. I love it!
Larry Schonhofen, 2012
I started yoga classes for the physical benefits. Those benefits have been terrific. Although I am still a novice, I am stronger, more flexible, and my balance and coordination have improved. But there is another benefit that I did not expect; for lack of a better term, I call it focus. I have to pay attention to the poses, to the muscles I am using, to my body's response to the movements. I have to be "present". This spills over into the rest of my life. I am paying attention to the moments; I am more centered. Physically, I may never get past level I, but it doesn't matter. This gift of "focus" surpasses all the physical benefits.
Sally Craven, 2012
I have really enjoyed Kim's Wednesday evening class. My flexibility has improved, and it reduces stress.
Emily Robertson, 2012
Sunrise Yoga is my home away from home. I look forward to each and every class. It gives me a social contact I would otherwise not have.
At almost 82, I am as limber as I was at 40. Some of that is genetic but a lot is due to yoga. I am ever grateful to Sunrise Yoga!
Bee Gwynn, 2012
We are so fortunate to have such a high quality yoga studio with exceptional teachers in Clemmons. As a fairly new resident this is my
favorite discovery in Clemmons. I look forward to the lunchtime class with Valerie each week. I appreciate Valerie's teaching style and
her awareness of each individual in the group. I find it surprising that even a short class can make such a difference in body and mind.
Look forward to doing more. Thanks Valerie and Sunrise.
Charlene Williford, 2012
After my treatments for breast cancer, I thought, what do I do now? I went to the meetings at Cancer Services to be with people that had traveled the same road as me.
Kim was at one of the meetings and did some yoga with us...I thought...this is what's next. The fact that Kim was also a survivor and explained how much yoga had
helped her emotionally and physically, I went to one of her classes. I also took two of my friends, thinking it would fun to do this together. I am now a "gentle
yoga" student, going on two years. We have such a good time...our class is small and we all know each other. Kim is great....she has to be...to put up with me!!!
Shirley Pfaff, 2012
Whether you are attending your first-ever yoga class or have practiced seriously for many years, you won’t find a better studio anywhere
than Sunrise Yoga. The teachers are experienced, well-trained and concerned about each and every student. The atmosphere is welcoming and
friendly. Everyone can experience yoga at his or her own level and pace. Come check it out! You’ll be glad you did.
Susan Vaughan, 2012
Sunrise Yoga Studio has been one of the greatest gifts of my recent move to the western Piedmont. I've attended several levels of classes, with different teachers,
and they have all been deeply satisfying. I feel, at once, welcomed into a warm and supportive community and challenged to strengthen and refine my practice. The
individualized instruction I have received at Sunrise has given me the confidence to move past perceived limitations in a mindful way. I look forward to continuing
to deepen my study of yoga, following the guidance of my lovely teachers.
S. Allen, 2012
Comment for the Prenatal Yoga classes:
We had a drug-free, immensely peaceful birth at a birthing center, and I'm certain that yoga helped contribute to the whole natural process of things.
Lisa Kiang, 2012
I am so grateful for Sunrise Yoga. I really never knew how wonderful I could feel (inside and out) after each class.
Yoga at Sunrise, with the expert staff, is the best thing I have ever done for myself.
Deborah Wesley, 2012
Sunrise Yoga is truly one of the gems of Clemmons. I feel fortunate to have a serious but not stuffy studio close to home. Your instructors are top notch.
They don't try to impress students with they can do; instead they impress upon us what we are capable of doing - with practice, of course! And I love the
space with lots of natural light. So thank you, thank you, thank you.
Rebecca Boyd, 2011
One of the best things I have ever done for myself was start practicing yoga at Sunrise over a year
and a half ago. I have a stressful job and yoga really helps me manage that stress and live a much better life.
Katie Kenny, 2011
Last night’s class was won-der-ful! I had never experienced a yoga class and this one was super special. Although
my knee was acting up and we had to accommodate to that in class, this morning I got up and could walk without feeling
my knee! I’m not saying it’s good as new, but it is better than when I walked into class. Thank you! Also, I had
been routinely waking up at around 3 a.m. and my mind would ‘go, go, go’. I would think of all the things I have to
do, all the things that I had done, and on and on. Last night, I was watching TV and fell asleep – fully dressed!
I slept through the night without waking up at 3 a.m. I am convinced it was your soothing voice and mental change
of direction that you encouraged during class.
Thank you once again, a new yoga convert:
Carmen Aceves, 2010
Yoga has been such a great experience for me. My mom forced me to go to one of the free classes during the winter and
since then I have been hooked. The staff is so attentive and ensures that each pose is comfortable and does
modifications as necessary. I have been to other yoga classes and have never had an experience like Sunrise Yoga. Now
that I am pregnant I plan to continue attending yoga classes on a regular basis to stay relaxed and fit. Yoga helps me
stay in the moment and not dwell on things that are going on at work. Thank you for everything that you and your staff
do every day!
Chelsea Newman, 2010
When I first started yoga, I was very "stiff" and not flexible at all. I was having a lot of discomfort in my hips and did not really know why. I went to my physician and he was not sure why either and suggested physical therapy.
While I do believe in physical therapy I really wanted to get into to taking yoga classes.
Not long after I started my classes I realized how "inflexible" I really was, but Kim, Dave, Karen and Valerie made me feel good about what I could accomplish in each class.
Just about every night ( for the last 6 months) I had to take 2 ibuprofen in order to sleep, because of my hip discomfort. Not long after I started yoga and working on doing hip stretches I no longer needed to take ibuprofen in order to sleep. I am even sleeping better! I enjoy yoga so much. It helps me to really relax through breathing exercises. I recently started Level 2 classes and enjoy going back and forth from Level one to Level two. I am really proud of myself to be able to keep moving up.
Thank you Valerie and all the staff at Sunrise Yoga!
Michele Kelley, 2010
There are not enough accolades to describe what an impact it has made on my yoga practice and on my life beyond the mat. The teachers and the
students have become my extended family. The quality of the teaching surpasses anything I experienced in my "on and off" yoga classes before I came to Sunrise. Valerie
is a joy to have as a teacher and friend. I am learning so much more from her than just how to practice a pose. Even though I have to remind myself constantly, I
am learning to "be here now, in this moment" both during yoga class and in my everyday life. I am learning to accept where I am "now" in my practice rather than
worrying about where I want to be ( even though I do still lament the fact that I can't yet do a handstand). I am noticing a decrease in the aches and pains I used to have.
My flexibility has increased as well as by balance. I take most of my classes from Valerie, but I wouldn't miss
Dave's Sunday afternoon class and Kim's Wednesday Yoga Wall Class. I have been addicted to the Wall ever since Valerie had it installed and now we
have a weekly class to practice poses with the support of the wall and the straps......great fun!!
I have lost count of the number of years I've been a yoga student here, but I think this is my fifth year, and as long as I am able to walk, I will be coming to class at Sunrise Yoga.
Nancy Drugan, 2010
Being Present in the Moment:
I am so glad to hear this phrase in every class I take at Sunrise Yoga Studio. Even after 7 plus years of classes it is the
first thing I should remember, but it is also the first thing I forget! A big “ah-ha” moment for me happened on my way
home from class one night. That night we happened to be working on four point staff pose (which I haven’t mastered yet) and
I remember thinking “I hate this pose”, I may have even said it out loud. Then I realized I didn’t hate the pose, only the
fact that I couldn’t do the full pose! I let that thought ruin any enjoyment or benefits of my practice because I wasn’t
present in the moment. It seems strange to make yourself practice being present in the moment, just as you would practice a
pose. I have learned that the benefits from practicing both are many! Probably why my weekly class is the fastest 90
minutes of my week!
Holly White, 2010
Sunrise Yoga has been so rewarding for me. I love the classes and hate it when I can't get there. Each teacher is unique
and talented in their own way and provide safe, insightful information to the class as we learn and grow together. I must
add, I have the "loudest" creaky knees in the room, which has contributed to some humorous moments in Yoga class. I love
the calming effect of yoga and learning how to clear my mind and be in the moment. Thank you for your friendly, fun,
Edie Amerando, 2010
What are you looking for in a yoga studio and from yoga teachers? If you are looking for an inviting, friendly
non-judgmental, non-critical, accepting, and caring atmosphere, then Sunrise Yoga Studio is the place to be! Sunrise Yoga
Studio is like the sun. It's bright, airy, warm, energetic and loving. All of the teachers are expertly trained to help
with whatever physical issues you may have and as there are 4 levels of classes, you can find the right class for yourself.
Classes range from beginning level to advanced, from flow classes to restorative classes, and there's even a Yoga University
if you would like to study yoga at a more in-depth level. I have taken yoga on and off for over 35 years and have never
found a yoga studio like Sunrise Yoga Studio. Be good and loving to yourself and come to a class. You'll never want to
Fran Gordon, 2010
Sunrise Yoga Studio is not like other places to “do yoga”. At Sunrise, it’s like belonging to a healthy extended family.
The yoga is amazing and my personal favorite is the amazing yoga wall that allows me to try and do poses that would be
impossible without this support. I have deepened my practice and learned much more about yoga at Sunrise. My body is
stronger and feels younger even as I age. My health has improved and I just can’t say enough about Valerie. To say she is
a talented teacher doesn’t even begin to explain her attention to detail in poses, her constant striving to add more and
deeper understanding of yogic principles for her students and most of all her own countenance. Valerie is a caring, kind,
hardworking and gifted teacher who embodies all that makes Sunrise Yoga the place that you want to keep coming back too.
Gail Curtis, 2010
The Ultimate Yoga Studio . . . Sunrise Yoga!
I began taking classes at Sunrise Yoga because a friend invited me to a free session 6 months ago. I had been taking
Yoga on and off for a few years at the local Y and considered myself to be pretty adept at it. I cannot tell you how much
difference there is in the teaching at Sunrise and how much I have learned. Every single instructor is so knowledgeable
and concerned that each student is executing each movement in the correct way. The small class sizes and individual
instruction is amazing. I cannot express what a difference Sunrise has made in my life and I am so thankful my friend
invited me to try it.
Katie Kenney, 2010
I have found my practice at Sunrise Yoga to be a wonderful and safe way to continue rehab after extensive shoulder surgery
a few months ago. While recuperating from surgery and undergoing daily physical therapy sessions, I was able to utilize the
breathing techniques I had learned at Sunrise Yoga to significantly ease the pain…my therapist even commented on my
breathing and how well I tolerated the post-surgery exercises! Interestingly, many of my therapy exercises and yoga poses
have been very similar. Valerie is very knowledgeable regarding anatomy and physiology so I have felt comfortable and
confident in trying to “re-learn” the once-easy poses.
Yoga practice at the Sunrise studio is enabling me to make a quicker, safer, and more complete recovery. This is important
to me since my job as an environmental specialist entails lots of outdoor hiking and climbing while carrying equipment. I’m
so appreciative to the instructors for their encouragement as I work to regain my strength, range-of-motion, and balance.
A sincere thanks to Valerie and the staff at Sunrise! Yoga.
Melissa Rosebrock, 2010
I am 28 years old and have had 10 years of back pain due to gymnastics injury. I have been going to Sunrise Yoga studio for
1 year now and have noticed a huge difference in my pain level. Valerie, the Sunrise Yoga studio owner, as well as the
other instructors at Sunrise are amazing! They are all very knowledgeable of my injury and help me adapt each of the yoga
poses for it. Not only has yoga been beneficial in my back pain, but also my life. Yoga is not just something you do for
few hours a week, but it is life changing in your personal life as well! If you have never tried yoga before you should
definitely try Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC! I guarantee that you will love it!
Dawn O'Reilly, 2010
As a Physical Therapist, and as a new Mom, I really wanted to find an activity where I could "get away" and do something
good for myself. Yoga is an excellent way to build strength, flexibility, balance, and relaxation into your day. I
encourage my patients that ANYONE can do yoga, no matter your age or activity level. The people at Sunrise Yoga are so
friendly and welcoming. This has been a great choice to find my "me time"!
Kristie Parker, PT, 2010
I have been studying with Valerie for almost 10 years, since before Sunrise Yoga first opened its doors. As a longstanding
Tuesday night practitioner, it has been great to see the Sunrise community grow, change and excel.
The most important concept that I have learned from yoga is 'ahimsa' [the principle meaning ‘non harming’]. It is so easy
these days to get too busy, set unrealistic expectations and to get caught up in the rush that we are really getting to the
point of being detrimental to ourselves. Slowing down and realizing that less is better is a difficult task. Valerie often
will tell us that we should approach a pose gently and that moving 'any amount' is our goal for the moment.
I have tried to apply doing 'any amount' in the other facets of my life. That may even mean that I may miss a class for
other responsibilities or that I may not get the book read for book club but I keep trying.
To me ahimsa is not only a concept of avoiding harm but also one of accepting life as it is, and trying to make the best
choice in each moment to bring a calm positive force into my life.
Deirdre Bland, 2010
I could never choose my favorite instructor from the staff of Sunrise Yoga. Each of them has unique personality and style.
However, they all share some very important qualities - an enthusiastic appreciation of yoga, tremendous concern and
respect for their students and a professional level of preparation for each and every class - beginner, intermediate or
advanced. What could be better? I am blessed to be a part of this lovely community of yoga practitioners.
Susan Vaughan, 2010
I've started taking the chair yoga and absolutely love it! It's very relaxing and peaceful and Kim is an excellent teacher.
I practice it at home with my grandchildren and they love it too!
Kitty Hilton, 2010
Quality instruction is so important in developing your yoga practice, whether you’re an expert or taking your very first
class. The instructors at Sunrise are all highly qualified and seem to instinctively know when a student needs and wants
personal attention, and when they do not. Through their compassionate and skillful tutelage, I have achieved much more
than I thought possible.
Cathy Howe, 2010
Comment for the "Yoga Arms & Abs" home practice audio CD for sale:
I don’t know about anybody else but it can be tough to initiate and maintain a good home yoga practice. I tried the “Abs
and Arms” CD from Sunrise Yoga Studios and instantly fell in love. Not only is there two 30 minute practices, it is all the
poses that we tell ourselves we need to practice. I find it easy to integrate into my day and have been using this CD in
the mornings before work. There is an advantage of it being a CD instead of a DVD. I have attempted to practice with DVDs
but have a hard time turning my head while trying to do the pose because the DVD does not give enough detailed instructions.
This CD however, makes it easy to just focus on your practice because there are clear meticulous instructions and Valerie
Kiser’s expertise to guide you. After just two days of integrating one of the 30 minute sessions into my mornings, I was
able to hold poses longer and bring the skills into practice in the classroom.
Christy McClure, 2010
I have been very pleased with all level of classes. All of the instructors that I have taken classes with seem very
knowledgeable and dedicated to teaching (teachers-in-training included!). I have found that all of you guys have your own
teaching styles, yet you all are excellent instructors!
Peggy Danka, 2010
The Sunrise Community has been amazing for both me and my mother. My dad has even been to one class! Everyone in the class,
including the instructor, has always been incredibly nice and friendly. I have had experiences at other yoga studios where
the other students are kind of snooty...especially to people who are just starting out. The instructor whose class I have
gone to most frequently, David, is the best. He is very attentive and patient. He corrects my form but not in a way that
makes me feel embarrassed or stupid. His meditations at the beginnings and ends of classes always stay with me for a long
time after I leave the studio. Every time I go to yoga at Sunrise I feel refreshed, balanced, and mentally ordered. And
maybe a little sore the next day! I know I have only been going to classes for a little while, but my experiences couldn't
have been better, and they have given me the desire to go on and learn as much as I can, but at my own pace. In short,
Sunrise is the perfect place to go for a physical and mental overhaul that combats the things that stress me out and make
Suzanna Ritz, 2010
Comment for the home practice audio CDs for sale:
I am happy to tell everyone that it is great to have the Power Yoga CD (my personal favorite) to do when I cannot make it
to class. I took it with me to St Kitts this past week and did it in my hotel room. I also have the Chakra Salutations CD
that I also enjoy.
I find that as long as I do a yoga practice 3 times a week I eliminate any back or body pain. I don’t know if this will
work for others but I have tried everything from acupuncture to massage therapy and the yoga is the one thing that helps me
Valerie you are heaven sent for me! Thanks for all you do. To me you are the greatest!
Jayne Sharpe, 2009
I got an email notice that my class card was expiring within the week. I had 5 classes left and decided to use them all in
one week. I was a little bit afraid it would be too much. It ended up being Monday night, Wednesday morning at 6:30 (!),
Thursday night power flow, Friday fun class and Saturday morning flow. I felt better after that week than I had felt in
months. Instead of feeling tired, I felt mentally refreshed and physically energized. I wish I could do it this way every
week. When it comes to yoga, I think more is better!
Sally Manner, 2009
Thank you so much for providing such a lovely space in which your students can practice. You are a wonderful asset to our
community and I highly value the time I get to spend at Sunrise Yoga. I sing the praises of you and your studio
to anyone who will listen and I feel that if I can pass along the story of my experience it may brighten someone else's life.
Amy Reynolds, 2009
Comment for the home practice audio CDs for sale:
Take Valerie along with you on your next business trip or vacation; that's what I did to keep peaceful in the midst of a busy conference week. Valerie is tiny, but a tad too big to stuff in my suitcase, so I did the next best
thing: I uploaded her Chakra Sun Salutations CD to my iPod and brought along my MP3 speaker and yoga mat. It was easy and convenient. The hour-long session that includes a full shivasana worked out perfectly; her gentle (though disembodied) voice was the next-best thing to being in the studio!!
Judy Isaksen, 2009
I have been practicing yoga for about 15+ years now. Over those years, I have waxed and waned in my commitment and practice. Over the past 6 months, I have rededicated myself to a healthy lifestyle and as a result my yoga practice has taken a much deeper meaning to me. I am practicing more both at home and in the studio. I feel stronger in body and spirit than I have in years. Sunrise Yoga and Valerie have played a major role in this change. I have experienced many teachers during my 15 years of yoga, but by far Valerie is the best. Valerie not only helps in my practice of yoga, but the yogic spirit she radiates and shares with her students is remarkable. Soon I may be taking a class every day! I love the yoga wall and look forward to the new yoga studio! Thanks Valerie for all you bring to all of us!
I have been taking classes at Sunrise since January, and the very first night of class, another student told me that
the studio was a 'very easy place just to be'. I have found her statement to be very fitting of the staff, students,
and classes here. Participating in classes at Sunrise has provided a steady flow of 'ah-ha' moments--and I find that my
spirit is less restless these days as a result of applying what Valerie has taught both with her words and actions.
I really didn't think I could take yoga because I have limited range of motion in my right hip, but I loved the concept of connecting body and mind. I wanted to give it a try. After some physical therapy in which I did gain a little bit of flexibility I was encouraged. Fortunately, a friend had taken classes with Valerie and said she was gentle and very understanding, so I took the plunge and signed up. It has been really beneficial for me physically, mentally, and spiritually. Learning how to stand up straight, how to breathe for relaxation, and having a scheduled time for meditation have all helped me feel better, and meanwhile I have also gained strength and some flexibility. I may never be photographed for Yoga Journal, but who knows? Maybe I will! Valerie and her classes have been such a blessing for me.
Lisa Wishon, a United Methodist Church minister
I am a veteran yogi and have studied several yoga traditions with many teachers. Classes at
Sunrise Yoga are enjoyable, informative, safe and very effective. We are indeed fortunate
to have Valerie and her staff in our area. I look forward to taking full advantage of all
that is offered at Sunrise Yoga. Please tell all of your friends and neighbors.
About 10 months ago, I decided that getting older did not have to mean that I would continue
losing the flexibility that I had in my younger years. I saw an ad that Valerie had placed
and decided I would try yoga. At that point, I did not know anyone who was involved in yoga
classes. My first yoga session of 8 weeks was restorative yoga and I was hooked. I would
leave restorative yoga feeling so relaxed, no stress and just "plain" feeling good about
myself. During restorative yoga, we learned to relax in the moment and to have our mind
in class rather than thinking about the world outside.
I feel that yoga has helped my body deal with the "hot flashes" that some of us start to have
in our later years. I have greater strength in my upper body (which is helping my golf
game), it has made me more aware of how I stand, how I sit and to relax with using the
breathing techniques from class. The restorative poses that I learned in my first session
of legs up the wall and bent legs on the chair really do work. There is probably not a
week goes by that I do not share some type of yoga pose with a friend or co-worker. Yoga
has become a part of my life.
I started taking yoga for my back. I have scoliosis, and after having two surgeries (one to put rods in and one to take them out) my back muscles were incredibly tight and weak. I was desperate to find something that would help to stretch my muscles out and increase my flexibility (which is nearly non-existent). Yoga has helped do just that; I am able to get through a day without lots of pain, and I can stretch more than before. Yoga has also helped me be more aware of my body and its uniqueness. Even though my poses don’t look like most people’s, I am learning what they should look like for my body.
So often we think about exercising to help sculpt or shape our bodies and improve our cardiovascular system. Yoga does this along with so much more! It helps me stay healthy and energized. I love the idea that the poses work parts of my body that I never consciously took care of before. For instance when I am doing poses like twists I am stimulating my kidneys and liver and massaging all the muscles up and down my spine. I am caring for my body on the inside as
well as the outside and it's amazing how wonderful I feel after a yoga class.
Several years ago I began taking yoga classes to improve my flexibility. While I have become more flexible, I have discovered so many other benefits from practicing yoga. I have never found a better stress reliever than yoga. The breathing techniques, the focusing on the present moment, and the overall terrific feeling I get following my practice helps me deal with the complexities of the day. And my overall posture has improved significantly. Even as I sit at work in front of my computer or while driving in the car, I'll often be reminded of drawing my shoulders back and balancing my body and I instantly feel better.
Sunrise Yoga Studio is a great place to practice yoga. There's a wide range of classes to choose from and many different days and times they are offered. I love the flexibility of trying different classes with different instructors and the people that go there are wonderful.
A co-worker of mine recently commented that I have become much more centered. I attribute this fully to yoga. I have regained flexibility that I had lost. What surprised me was the physical strength that I am gaining. I just love it!
My initial attraction to yoga was the gains in flexibility I thought I could have. I
quickly found that the benefits of yoga were much more than bending over to touch my toes.
Yes, I have had great gains in increased flexibility, increased strength, and improved
fitness levels. But more importantly, I have gained an overall sense of well-being and an
improvement to my quality of life. The mental benefits have included the ability to treat
myself compassionately which was the turning point for me to get a handle on my depression
and weight issues.
I view myself and others more compassionately. I am less competitive and don’t set myself up
for failure by comparing myself to others any more. I have less frustration overall in my
life due to the internal focus I have found. I take better care of myself; I sleep better;
I eat better all due to the turning point of taking yoga classes. For the first time in my
life, I am comfortable with myself from the outside in and from the inside out.
As a personal chef, I am on my feet for long hours during my work day. Classes at Sunrise
have helped me to develop my own “mini-practice” that I perform when I get home from work
that counteracts the negative impact, and reduces the back and foot pain that I had been
experiencing. Overall, my posture and balance have improved, and I am learning to accept
and work within the limitations of my body to avoid injury.
Yoga at Sunrise is my time for me each week, and the classes energize and de-stress me. I
find I am much more focused and my mood improves dramatically when I attend classes
regularly. Taking classes several times a week increases my strength and flexibility and
allows me to experience the postures through different instructors’ perspectives.
At 87, my mother has arthritis in her back and knees and was beginning to stop doing things
because of her pain. Having always been an active and independent person, she had begun to
get depressed about her health situation. Since working with Valerie at Sunrise Yoga and
beginning water aerobics, she gets up and down from a seated position with much less effort.
Her balance and posture have both improved, and she is stronger overall. And, most
importantly, she has better attitude about her health - she is learning to accept the
things she cannot change and work on the things she can.
Liz Redding: about her mother, Anne
Yoga has been a whole refocusing for me. It has led me to an inner peace I didn’t think I’d have as a cancer survivor.
Yoga is a gift that I give myself. I’ve said that yoga came and found me, instead of the other way around. I’ve been learning about and practicing yoga for only about 9 months, and I often wish I’d begun as a much younger person. However, I think it’s likely that in my 20’s or 30’s I wouldn’t have been ready to learn the lessons that yoga has for me now, a woman in my 50’s.
The physical practice challenges my body to, literally, reach new goals. I’m learning to be much more aware of my physical strengths, as well as my limits, and to work towards finding that “aha!” moment in each pose when I discover that I really can go just a little further, just a little more – make a seemingly insignificant adjustment in position and really feel the change in my body in the pose.
My physical practice has led me to look at places within myself, too. At the beginning of class as we center our bodies and minds, and in closing as we are in Savasana, being intentional about quieting my mind and being “in the moment” is such a valuable, even precious, time for me. That beginning centering practice allows me to slow down my physical body long enough to listen to what’s going on inside my head and begin to get back in touch with my inner self. Then, to be able to quiet the noise of all the stresses, problems, and demands of the day, to feel them almost float away, and to begin to get in touch with what’s really in my heart – that’s what my yoga practice is giving, and teaching, me.
I started taking yoga classes for the stress-relieving benefits. But once I got into it, I
quickly found that my strength and flexibility improved. The strength gains surprised me
most of all … I thought I had to go to the gym to lift weights to gain strength. But I now
feel stronger than I did when I was going to the gym 3 days per week.
I also feel centered and in touch with myself. I have been able to achieve things mentally
and physically that I didn’t know I could achieve. The classes are held in a fun and
relaxed environment. There is no pressure and no competition. The studio provides a
serene, relaxed place after a stressful day. Each class provides an hour and a half of
focusing on myself that I don’t get to experience any other time during my hectic day.
Yoga has been more than just another fitness class for me. It creates a deeper mind/body
connection. I have a greater sense of peace and ease than I did prior to taking yoga. I
have also gained greater body awareness. The stress reduction benefits have helped me in
dealing with coworkers, the public (as part of my job), and family.
I enjoy taking classes at Sunrise Yoga because of the true focus on yoga. They have a
large availability of props to assist me with poses that are challenging for me. The
teaching staff is very knowledgeable.
My husband says I am happier after yoga class.
I have regained flexibility I had lost from running 3-4 days per week. From working with my
aging parents, I have learned the importance of staying flexible throughout life. I have
also improved my body alignment with activities such as weeding in the garden and picking
up heavy objects.
Although I have not been an athletic person, yoga classes are easy to
follow and give me a good workout. I am much more aware of my posture,
and learning good body alignment and mechanics has made gardening
easier. I am more balanced with daily activities: for example, I am
conscious of not overusing my right arm to carry groceries. The biggest
change I've experienced from yoga is sleeping much better. Even when I
do have nights where I struggle to fall asleep, I practice a breathing
technique I learned in class that puts me right to sleep!
My kids were in the high
school band, so you can imagine how many band concerts I sat through. The bleachers are
hard, uncomfortable, and without back support. Normally, I would shift around for
2 hours during a concert with back and backside pain. After having been a student
of yoga for some time, I sat through my first concert without any
discomfort and with good posture. Why do I take yoga classes? because I like the way it makes
Yoga gives me complete sense of wellbeing. The practice in yoga of focusing the mind is
very helpful. When I find that my thoughts are no longer jumping around in Savasana (corpse
pose), for example, it feels good to not be a worry-wart for a change. The classes have
been a fully positive experience. I enjoy that I can do my best at my own level and not
compare myself to others in the class. I leave feeling positive about life: the problems
are still there, but I can handle them better. I feel like the classes are tailored to me:
Each class is adapted to who is there that day.
Yoga is a comfort and a way to treat my body as a friend not an enemy. It is not about
appearance; it is never negative. I have learned focus and to lose nagging thoughts while
practicing. Yoga is a place where I can surrender the ego and be myself. I love that it
is non-competitive yet I still challenge myself but not to the point of hurting myself.
Yoga is the ultimate act of self-love. My yogic practice colors and textures every aspect of
my life, allowing me to remain calm, and peaceful, and caring in a world that is often
hectic, and noisy, and uncaring. When people ask me what my secret is, I tell them it's no
secret and it's no mystery; it's yoga!
Yoga is beneficial and improves the quality of my life. It gives me a better attitude to deal with the 'stuff' in
life that I can't control.
I went walking last Sunday morning with a friend of mine. She is very fit, active, health conscience, etc. We walked
for a little over two hours. My friend
e-mailed me yesterday to say that she was still sore!! Wow, I didn't feel a thing because I went home and did yoga
I sleep better, have better posture, am more patient with people, and have learned how to breathe correctly.
Sometimes I'll think about not going to class because I'm too tired or too busy, but then 5 minutes into class
I am soooo thankful I came!
I can always tell a difference between the nights I go to yoga class and the nights I don't.
I sleep so much better after yoga.
It is a great stress relief. I have increased range of motion in my joints with yoga. I
feel that my movements are comfortable and not ‘locked’. Yoga has helped emotionally and
spiritually. I am aware of my movements and alignment more. It helps me relax during the
day when I am most tense.
I have found a supportive, caring community at Sunrise Yoga. I don’t feel anonymous and
have gotten to know people here. I have always felt comfortable here and enjoy the smaller
classes with personal attention. I try to use the relaxation and breathing techniques that
I learned in class in daily life as well. My shoulder problems from a year and a half
ago are much improved. I have become very aware of her posture and body alignment;
I am more aware of places in my body where I carry tension. And I am even more aware of
balancing movements in daily life so that I am not always right-dominant.
I have a bone density scan done every two years. During this last
two year period, the only change I made was to start weekly yoga
classes. I just got the results back from the test, and my bone
density actually increased from two years ago! I attribute that to
the weight bearing and strength-building yoga poses I’ve been doing.
Steve [her husband] and I have both really appreciated having you as an instructor. You have such
patience for those of us who are new to yoga but want to learn! By example, you teach all
aspects of yoga.
I think the biggest benefit to me is the flexibility. I tend to get very tight in my quads,
hamstrings, and upper back when riding my bicycle. As much as I know better, I just don't
work on my
flexibility very much on my own. Going to a class, especially one like yours, where we
really focus on position and relaxation into stretches has been wonderful for my overall
flexibility, addressing some issues I was beginning to have with my quads, and generally
getting me to relax. The other thing that I am beginning to
notice is a balancing of antagonist muscles. I think that most people tend to overdevelop
one set of muscles which leads to injury. Yoga is helping me with this.
As a teacher and belly dancing performer, I find that dancing and yoga work together very
well. They make each other better through the flexibility, balance, and coordination I
gain from each of them.
The biggest benefit that I have received from being in the class is the increased
flexibility. Prior to participating in the class, I had reoccurring back problems
(pain, stiffness, etc.) especially after longer or more intense bicycle rides.
While I occasionally still have some problems, they are not nearly as frequent. In
addition, there are a lot of exercises that we do in class that I can use outside of class
if I do have problems. I would definitely say the class has helped.
Yoga is such a part of who I am now, it's like breathing - I couldn't do without it.
The first time that I noticed the specific benefits of yoga, I was at work and bent over to
pick up something off the floor. When I sat back upright, I realized that I wasn't in pain
from that movement. I had been taking classes for only about 4 months.
I absolutely love the atmosphere at your studio. It's about personal experience, growth, community and triumph in the
practice. Thanks again for such a great place to come.
Comment for a Kids Yoga Birthday Party:
I can't say enough good things about my son's birthday party at Sunrise Yoga, it was a wonderful experience from
beginning to end. Sandra went the extra mile in every way, including meeting with my son to get a feel for his
personality and what he liked best about yoga. The studio makes a lovely and peaceful party setting. We were able to
enjoy birthday cake outside in the courtyard area, which was very pleasant. The yoga portion of the party was
absolutely incredible, the children were totally focused and intent from beginning to end.
After practicing yoga once a week for the past 7 weeks, I have already noticed a difference
in my posture and I feel stronger in my back. I am a cyclist, and I notice this improvement
in that I can ride more in the drops of the bike without discomfort.
If I don't take time to care for myself, I don't care for my family very well. Yoga has
helped me deal with some anger management issues and I have a better attitude. Valerie,
I'm glad I found you! You have helped me to think about things in a different way and
taught me how to deal with stress by using things I learn in class!
Along with the obvious gains in flexibility, lower stress and overall muscular strengthening,
Yoga has brought me to a place where I see things around me differently. I’m far less
likely to be bothered by trivial issues that may pop up throughout my day. I am more likely
to focus on only those things I know I have control of; not worrying about things that are
out of my reach. I also have become increasingly aware of the need and benefits of taking
time out of my day for me.
Yoga has increasingly become a way of life for me – I take it with me wherever I go.
Nowadays I can’t imagine the thought of only practicing Yoga once a week. Even though Yoga
once a week is better than none at all, you still miss out on many of the benefits Yoga can
provide; as well as the chance to deepen your own practice.
Yoga saved me! It saved my ballet and aerobics ravaged joints, restoring flexibility I thought was gone forever. It helped me manage stress, lower my blood pressure and lose weight.
When I first started going to yoga I had many of the same misconceptions as a lot of people. I thought of yoga as a lot of meditation and chanting and definitely something that I would not be interested in pursuing…however my friend talked me into going and I fell in love immediately!! I have suffered from severe allergies and awful migraine headaches for many years and was hoping to find some form of a stress reliever that would help me cope with the migraines. Very shortly after start yoga I noticed a reduction in the number of migraines I was experiencing as well as overall less stress and muscle tension.
After several months of practicing yoga at least twice a week summer came, vacations started, and my life got increasingly busy. I decided that I needed to take a break from yoga until I had more time…HUGE mistake!!!! After only a couple of weeks without yoga I noticed my headaches gradually increasing in frequency, intensity, and duration. I kept putting off going back to yoga by making excuses like… “I want to wait until I know I can go every week” or “ I still have too much going on” or “I just can’t afford it right now.” Well, I found out that I couldn’t afford NOT to go after a weekend long migraine that left me basically incapacitated. The next Monday I returned to yoga and have immediately seen a decrease in my overall stress levels and once again a drastic reduction in my headaches. For anyone who makes excuses about why not to try yoga…remember that no matter how tired you are, how little extra time you have, or how short you are on money…you simply cannot afford not to take care of yourself!!