What do you REALLY think about yoga?

30 Day Yoga Challenge at Sunrise Yoga Studio, ClemmonsThe beginning of a new season, new year, new contest is a good time for renewed commitment and dedication.  We take the time to reflect on where we are and where we would like to be.

For those of you who have been practicing yoga for a while, it is also a time to consider what yoga REALLY means to you.  Does it mean one thing to you when you tell others about it but something different when you are in a 90-minute class that is pushing you?  Do you think positively about it when you have less back pain and more mobility but not so positively when you have to force yourself to brave the elements to get to class?  Are there times when it is more checklist and challenge than a channel to a healthy lifestyle?

You aren’t alone!  Author, blogger and yogi Dave Ursillo describes his love/hate relationship with yoga in this blog post.  But, in the post he also says, “Yoga is a practice and engaging in that practice reflects your state of being back to you like a mirror. It shows you where your head and heart are at, right now. Yoga allows you to open yourself up if you’re feeling too closed off — maybe a bad day, maybe some stresses on the mind, maybe you’ve just forgotten that people are everything and that’s why you’ve felt so isolated within yourself lately.”

The verb “practice” is “to perform or do repeatedly in order to acquire skill or proficiency”.  Notice it mentions nothing about acquiring a love for something!  But to “engage” is “to attract and hold fast”.  So, are you just practicing yoga or are you engaged?

At Sunrise Yoga Studio, we are currently involved with a 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  We are very excited by those who have chosen to participate and we hope that, at the end of the 30 days, you have developed not only a deeper commitment, but an engaging practice.  Let us know how we can help!

Come and discover meditation…it’s not what you think!


A meditation class explores different techniques of how to focus the mind. Also included are the practices of asana (physical postures), Pranayama (breath control), mudras (hand gestures) and guided meditation.  It can be a guide to learn how to relax, strengthen the body, and aid in a sitting practice.  Develop the techniques for using the breath to calm the mind.

Gwen McLaughlin will lead Taking the Mystery out of Meditation this Sunday, January 12th, 3:30-5:00 pm.  You will be able to ask questions in a safe environment and learn how meditation can benefit a healthy lifestyle.

So come and discover meditation…it’s not what you think!

Learn more about this class.


Yoga is Out of This World!


According to a recent NASA study, astronauts in space can grow up to 3 percent taller during the time spent living outside earth’s gravity. That means that a 6-foot-tall person could gain as many as 2 inches while in orbit. That gain is short lived, however, and once the astronauts return to Earth their height returns to normal after a few months.

So, what does that mean for those of us who are earthbound? And why might this be of particular interest to yoga students? Well for one thing, this speaks volumes about the effect that gravity has on our spines. Fortunately, the practice of yoga can help you counteract this spinal compression and create more space without the expense of orbiting the earth.

Ever notice that certain poses can actually make you feel taller? Or that once you have stretched one side of the body, it feels “longer” and maybe even “lighter” than the other? Could it be that yoga students, like the men and women in space, are simply accessing “space” in their spine that is already there?

Decompressing – or lengthening – the spine with yoga frees us up to move with more agility and a wider range of motion. That increased mobility can lighten the spirit while promoting better overall health for the entire nervous system.

We have long believed that yoga is “out of this world” and this study supports that theory.  And remember, while all of the classes at Sunrise Yoga will offer this benefit, we have two classes specifically geared to Back Care (Thursdays, 11:30 am-12:30 pm with Kim and Saturdays, 11:00 am-12:30 pm with Karen).  You can learn more about all of our classes HERE.  And, on December 28th, Karen’s Back Care Class will be FREE!!!

Restorative Yoga = Deep Relaxation . . . Ahhhhh


Elaine Round Teaches Restorative Yoga
at Sunrise Yoga Studio


Participant, Ginny, had this to say after discovering Restorative Yoga:

“After Restorative Yoga class, I slept better than I’d slept in months.
I wish I could go to Restorative every night.” 

Wow – that’s quite a testimonial!  Restorative Yoga is a practice of only a few number of poses that are held for a longer period of time than a typical yoga practice. The poses are very simple yet very effective in reducing stress. Yogis developed these poses over many years, but science tells us that, under the conditions set in Restorative Yoga, immediate effects on heart rate, blood pressure and brain activity are possible. Complete muscular relaxation and comfort are emphasized to achieve a quiet state of mind and body. Many props such as blankets, eye bags, and chairs are used.

The instructor of Restorative Yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga is Elaine Round.  To deeply understand the physiology of relaxation, Elaine has studied with Roger Cole, an internationally recognized, certified Iyengar yoga teacher trained at the Iyengar Yoga Institutes in San Francisco and Pune, India. She says,

“Restorative yoga class equals 90 minutes of intentional, deep relaxation.
Think of it as a mini vacation without the sand and salt water.”

At Sunrise Yoga, we now offer two levels of Restorative Yoga.  Experience with yoga is not required to participate in the Level 1 Restorative class.  Experience with yoga and with Restorative Yoga is required to participate in Level 2 Restorative class.  In December, Level 1 Restorative will take place on Sunday, December 15th from 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Level 2 Restorative is the following Sunday, December 22nd, from 3:30 – 5:30 pm.

As the year ends with lots of activity and busyness, take time to relax and, if you have not yet tried Restorative Yoga, make plans to attend the December class.  To see all the classes offered at Sunrise Yoga, visit our web site.  To learn more about Elaine, read her bio here.

Congratulations to Our Newest Yoga University Graduates!

Sunrise Yoga Studio - Yoga University

2013 Yoga University 200-Hour Teacher Training Graduates at Sunrise Yoga Studio

Class of 2013 Yoga University 200-Hour Teacher Training Graduates
Front row:
Julie Dunton, Valerie Kiser, Sally Bolin

Back row:
April Liner, Jessie Rymarchyk, Tracy Walin, Jane Reed, Myron Coulson, Frances Hayes

CLASS OF 2013!

Since 2009, Sunrise Yoga Studio has offered in-depth study programs through its Yoga University for students who desire to deepen their study of yoga beyond our weekly class offerings. Two of these programs, the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program and the 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program offer opportunities for registration through our affiliation with Yoga Alliance. Sunrise Yoga Studio is a Registered Yoga School (RYS) with Yoga Alliance.

Our Yoga University 2013 Class of 200-Hour Teacher Training participants completed their written and practical exams this past week.  The year-long program consists of 11 weekends over 11 months immersing the students in the essentials of safe, confident and compassionate yoga practice and the fulfilling yogic lifestyle.  Each weekend session blends practice, lectures, discussion, reading assignments and homework in core subjects.

This year’s 200-Hour Teacher Training graduates are:

Sally Bolin, Myron Coulson, Julie Dunton, Frances Hayes, April Liner, Jane Reed, Jessie Rymarchyk,  and Tracy Walin

Sunrise Yoga has four options within Yoga University.  Learn more about Yoga University here.

Thanksgiving Schedule at Sunrise Yoga!

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving Schedule

Wednesday, 11/27: 9:30-11 am Level 3 – Valerie
Wednesday, 11/27: 6-7:30 pm All Levels – Valerie
Thursday, 11/28: 9-10:30 am All Levels – Becky
Friday, 11/29: 10-11:30 am All Levels – Kim
Saturday, 11/30: Normal Schedule
Sunday, 12/1: Normal Schedule


Locks & Keys . . . An Attitude for Surviving & Enjoying the Holidays

lock and key“In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.” (Yoga Sutra I.33, Translation by T.K.V. Desikachar)

There are two Yoga Sutras that address “maitri”, which is Sanskrit for “friendliness”. One is Yoga Sutra I.33 (see translation above) – and one translator (I cannot remember where I read this) suggests that even if we never practice yoga again, that we at least practice this as a way of life.  In a post in The Yoga Sanctuary, Bonnie Yonker suggests the analogy of locks and keys as a way to interpret this sutra.

Bonnie says, “In this sutra, Patanjali says that there are only four kinds of locks in the world. The four locks are: sukha (happy people), dukha (unhappy people), punya (the virtuous), and apunya (the wicked). At any given moment, you can fit any person into one of these four categories.

Patanjali gives 4 keys to open these locks. He says that if we always keep these 4 keys with us, when we come across any of these four locks, we will have the proper key to open it. The four keys are: maitri (friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (delight), and upekshanam (disregard). Patanjali reminds us that there is a Yogic way of approaching all people, no matter what behaviors and attitudes they may be exhibiting at the moment.”

As we approach the holiday season and its frequent companion “hyper-busyness”, let’s agree to always have our keys close at hand.

Spotlight on Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio, Clemmons, NC

Sunrise Yoga is proud to offer two Chair Yoga classes each week.
Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so that they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand for a long period of time (or at all) or who lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to reclined positions.

Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures are retained, no matter the stance of the practitioner. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and backbends. In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, reduction of stress, better sleep, and a sense of well-being.

In addition to its benefits for physical well-being, Chair Yoga also provides a great social outlet and place to make new friends. These classes are appropriate for those with MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, cancer survivors and other conditions or those who want a slower paced class.

One regular participant, Vicki Jones, has this to say about the Chair Yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga:

“Seven years ago, the MS Society and Sunrise Yoga Studio offered class sessions for MS patients to let us see how we would benefit from yoga. I am still attending these classes and they are truly beneficial for me!

Many times, I come into class using a cane to assist me with walking. I feel so good after class, however, that I have no need to use it as I leave. The many different stretches and moves we do in class help me move, walk and feel more limber. I ALWAYS feel good after class and I would recommend yoga for anyone!

And as an added bonus, I have made many wonderful friends with the other students and the instructors.”

The class is open to students who use walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.  Learn more about Chair Yoga and other yoga classes available at Sunrise Yoga HERE.

Today is 11-12-13!

Nov2013Calendar copy

Today is not really a phenomenon but isn’t there something both calming and fascinating when there is order of this sort?  Most humans have an aversion to change and yet are often easily bored.  Routines can develop into ruts without new elements of change.

But change can sometimes feel awkward, clumsy and at times even disruptive and frustrating. And yes, this positive change leaves us occasionally longing for that which is old and familiar, even though admittedly not as good!

These feelings are neither new nor unique. Doing something we wouldn’t ordinarily do, or performing a familiar task in a different way, often results in discomfort. When we experience those feelings on the yoga mat, we call it tapas.

For example, imagine the instructor saying “your next pose is Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) without a block”. Within a nano-second, you might find yourself thinking “but I always use a block, I can’t do it without a block, I need that block for balance, I don’t want to do the pose this way, this doesn’t feel right….” Sound familiar?

Where are you on this interesting day of numerical order?  Are you in a “calm” place in your yoga practice but open to new and different or does your routine need a nudge out of the rut?  Extend your limits in at least one way today!

Can You Ever Learn Too Much About Yoga?

Cindy Dollar

Cindy Dollar, Certified Junior Intermediate I Iyengar Yoga instructor

Did you know that the challenges yoga instructors face in their own yoga practice are no different from the challenges that yoga students encounter regardless of their level of experience?  Finding the “sweet spot” in some of the poses, exploring various ways to approach the asanas – both physically and mentally – and being challenged to tackle the ones that are a bit out of reach require work and effort.

Working with an instructor helps you “see” through someone else’s eyes, what you cannot see for yourself.  Whether you are just beginning a yoga practice, or have studied for years, that may sound familiar!  If you are not in a yoga class at the moment, come give our instructors a try!  And if you are participating in a yoga class, maybe a yoga workshop would serve as the “eyes” for seeing yoga in a fresh way.

Cindy Dollar, owner of One Center Yoga in Asheville, NC, author of the book, Yoga Your Way, and Certified Junior Intermediate I Iyengar Yoga Instructor, will lead her annual workshop here at Sunrise Yoga Studio on November 15th-17th.  Instructors from our studio will be attending as will instructors and students from all over the Triad.  And, just so you’ll know, Cindy has a teacher, and also works to refine her physical practice and strengthen the mental discipline that is associated with yoga. And her teacher has a teacher, and so on and so on.

So beginners, take heart. Whether you have taken one class, or one thousand, the process is the same. And, we all look to mentors and instructors to help us along our way as we discover the many rewards that yoga has to offer.

Learn more about and register for all or sections of Cindy’s Weekend Workshop HERE.