Donate Heart ♥ Healthy During National Heart ♥ Month

CFP_Logo_Large-590x211If you have been affiliated with Sunrise Yoga Studio for a while, you know about our ongoing support of the Clemmons Food Pantry. The Clemmons Food Pantry is a local non-profit organization providing supplemental groceries to residents of Forsyth County in
financial need.  The Pantry serves over 600 families each month on average.

Each month during the FREE Community Yoga Class, we ask participants to bring non-perishable food items to help stock the Pantry’s shelves.  This month, as part of the American Heart Association’s National Heart Month, we hope you will bring heart healthy non-perishable food items all month long for the pantry.  Even one canned good item makes a difference to someone in need.

And, this Sunday, February 16th, is Clemmons Food Pantry day at Ruby Tuesday in Clemmons (Westwood Village Road). Ruby Tuesday is giving 20% of all purchases to Clemmons Food Pantry. They do this every third Sunday as part of their Give Back Program!! Just mention to your server that you are there to support The Pantry and 20% of your meal price goes to Clemmons Food Pantry. Please come out and support this local business and Clemmons Food Pantry.

Visit us this Sunday as well for Beginner Yoga at 1:30 pm and Taking the Mystery out of Meditation at 3:30 pm.  Happy Month!

♥February ♥is ♥National ♥Heart ♥Month ♥

SunriseYoga Graphic Only with heart“Heart disease is far and away the No. 1 killer of Americans, claiming more lives than anything else, including all forms of cancer combined. And despite the perception that heart disease is what happens to older men, the reality is that more women die of heart disease than men. The numbers are stark: While 1 of every 30 female deaths is from breast cancer, 1 in 3 is from heart disease.” (Nancy Brown, CEO,American Heart Association, Huffington Post)

Wow! Those are frightening statistics! So, what do these statistics have to do with yoga?

Research shows that yoga can benefit one’s cardiac health!  According to Harvard Health Publication, “Hatha yoga’s path to balancing the mind and the body involves three interconnected threads: physical postures called “asanas,” controlled breathing, and calming the mind through relaxation and meditation. The three work together. How could this improve cardiovascular health? Getting into the various postures during a yoga session gently exercises the muscles. Anything that works your muscles is good for your heart and blood vessels. Activity also helps muscles become more sensitive to insulin, which is important for controlling blood sugar. The deep-breathing exercises help slow the breathing rate. Taking fewer but deeper breaths each minute temporarily lowers blood pressure and calms the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for generating stress hormones. The postures and deep breathing offer a kind of physical meditation that focuses and clears the mind. Meditation and the mindfulness of yoga have both been shown to help people with cardiovascular disease.” (Read the entire article here.)

We could not have said it better ourselves! But wait, there’s more!

“Chronic emotional stress makes plaque build up twice as fast in the coronary arteries that feed the heart. Stress also causes the coronary arteries to constrict, reducing blood flow to the heart. It makes the platelets stickier and more likely to form blood clots that may precipitate a heart attack.Yoga is perhaps the most effective stress-reduction method ever invented.” This comes from Dean Ornish, MD, founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute (as quoted in Yoga Journal).

How is yoga helping you with your heart health? Let yoga and Sunrise Yoga Studio help you find a healthy heart journey.  And remember, today, February 7th is National Wear Red Day in support of heart health!  See you in the red!

Is Mindfulness Revolutionary?

To be “mindful” is to be attentive and aware.  “Mindfulness” then, according to the dictionary, is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations,  and is used as a therapeutic technique.”

According to a recent article in Time Magazine (The Art of Being Mindful by Kate Pickert), “Mindfulness says we can do better. At one level, the techniques associated with the philosophy are intended to help practitioners quiet a busy mind, becoming more aware of the present moment and less caught up in what happened earlier or what’s to come. Many cognitive therapists commend it to patients as a way to help cope with anxiety and depression.  More broadly, it’s seen as a means to deal with stress.”  The author, a staff writer on health issues for the magazine, was not a regular practitioner of mindfulness prior to writing the article and simply explored mindfulness techniques for this “time when no one seems to have enough time” and when “our devices allow us to be many places at once but at the cost of being unable to fully inhabit the place where we actually want to be.”  She goes on to say, “If distraction is the pre-eminent condition of our age, then mindfulness, in the eyes of its enthusiasts, is the most logical response.”

But is mindfulness, as the cover of the magazine implies (“The Mindful Revolution; the science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture”), revolutionary?  After all, yoga practitioners have included mindful meditation as part of the yoga journey for centuries and the word “yoga” means “union”, the process of finding harmony of the mind, body and spirit.  But, do we incorporate intentional mindfulness in our every day practices often enough?  Do we exercise the “mindfulness muscles” as well as we exercise the physical ones?

Five Steps to Mindfulness Meditation (Adapted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Five Steps to Mindfulness Meditation (Adapted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, an expert in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), suggests the five steps shown above as a starting point for mindfulness meditation.  His studies and those of other scientists, “have been able to prove that meditation and rigorous mindfulness training can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, increase immune response and possibly even affect gene expression.  Scientific study is also showing that meditation can have an impact on the structure of the brain itself.”  Studies are currently underway to learn “whether meditation – and the mindfulness that results from it – can counteract what happens to our minds because of stress, trauma and constant distraction.”

How about you?  Are you using mindfulness meditation to help yourself be more present and less distracted?  Do you need assistance in developing this practice further?  Sunrise Yoga frequently offers classes in mindfulness meditation with the next one taking place on Sunday, February 16th from 3:30-5:00 pm.  Gwen McLaughlin will coach you into finding ways to make this practice a part of your routine.  Learn more about Gwen and the rest of the Sunrise Yoga staff here.

What is the Community Yoga Class at Sunrise Yoga and why is it FREE?

Sunrise Yoga_ITM2530 Hi Res with Valerie Kiser instructingYoga teaches us the importance of helping others. We support and participate in your community through activities and donations to the Clemmons Food Pantry, For Katie’s Sake/Winston-Salem Foundation, National MS Society, American Heart Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, Make A Wish, SECU Family House and Meals-on-Wheels. Since 2004, we (YOU!) have raised over $26,000 to support these local charities!

Additionally, once a month, we offer a FREE yoga class to everyone in the community. This class is a perfect opportunity for those who are brand new to yoga to find out what yoga is all about! It’s even more fun if you bring a friend! Each class includes a brief introductory discussion about yoga, yoga poses, breathing practices, and relaxation techniques.  This is our way of saying thank you to such a supportive community!

No pre-registration is necessary for the Community Yoga Class – just show up. Plus, anyone who attends the Community Yoga Class will receive a 10% discount on the purchase of any class card (Purchase must be on the day of the free class only.)! We encourage Community Yoga Class participants to help us continue to support our community by bringing non-perishable food items to donate for the Clemmons Food Pantry.

Our next FREE Community Yoga Class is Sunday, February 2nd, 3:30-4:30 pm with Cathy Howe.  The March FREE Community Yoga Class will take place Sunday, March 30th, 3:30-4:30 pm again with Cathy.  Still not sure?  Watch this video to learn more about yoga and about Sunrise Yoga Studio.

Wednesday, January 29 evening classes update

Wednesday, January 29 evening classes:  we will be open!  6-7:25 = Beginner Yoga with Kim.  6-7:30 = instead of Level 4, this will be Levels 2-4 so anyone beyond a Beginner level can join Valerie.  7:35-8:30 PM = Yoga Wall with Kim.

Why Would I Want to Hang from a Wall?!?

Yoga class photos - 037 Yoga class photos - 053If you are a regular at Sunrise Yoga Studio, you have likely had experience with our yoga walls!

Yoga class photos - 059

Yoga Walls are special props that can be used for many types of poses from standing poses, back bends, forward bends, inversions & more. The Walls allow you to move deeper into poses, to understand alignment more in depth, and to simply be more playful in the practice of yoga.

But how does it work?  And if you have not used the yoga wall, what is it and why should you consider yoga wall?

At Sunrise Yoga Studio, Iyengar yoga is emphasized.  Iyengar yoga places emphasis on alignment and introduces the use of props. Yoga props provide support, confidence, and relaxation and assist students in practicing poses that they might not have been able to do otherwise. When the yoga wall is utilized, it provides support, aids in balance and is appropriate for those brand new to yoga as well as those who are quite experienced with yoga.  The support of the wall in training ultimately allows poses away from the wall to be more precise while the work at the wall helps students access and develop deep core muscles.

Benefits from using the yoga wall include improved flexibility and increased strength. The yoga wall is used in all levels of classes at Sunrise Yoga, from chair yoga to Level 4 yoga.  In other words, it is for anybody and all abilities!

Want to learn more?  We offer a monthly yoga wall class with Kim.  This class usually occurs on the last Wednesday of the month from 7:35-8:30 pm.  Come join Kim this Wednesday, January 29th, and hang out with us on the yoga wall!

“Viveka” = Discernment


“Viveka”, a Sanskrit word translated as “discernment” is an important concept in the study of yoga. So what is viveka and what does it mean to your practice?

Viveka refers to our ability to comprehend details that are not easily evident, or things that we cannot see. For example, when you are on the yoga mat, how can you tell if your feet are aligned properly if your eyes are closed? Or, for students who are practicing in headstands or backbends, how can you establish correct alignment in body parts you cannot see? (And remember – we live a lifetime without ever seeing them all!)

In order to “discern” these things, we must learn to turn our focus inward, concentrate on the details, and develop an ability to detect with senses other than the eyes.  When you are doing that on the yoga mat, it’s called Viveka.

Discernment can be a tall order for the beginner student, but as we grow in our practice and develop our body awareness and our ability to turn our focus inward, the challenge becomes easier.  Learning how to sort through the invisible details when you are on the mat, by honing your skills at discernment, will not only improve the quality of your yoga experience, it will also improve the quality of your experiences off the mat.

2014 Yoga University Enrollment Deadline Approaching!

Sunrise Yoga Studio - Yoga University Teacher Training Certification Program


Since 2009, Sunrise Yoga Studio has offered in-depth study programs, through its Yoga University program, for aspiring yoga teachers and dedicated 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 300-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.  These programs immerse the student in the essentials of safe, confident and compassionate yoga practice and the fulfilling yogic lifestyle.  Participation requires yoga studies for at least two years and a desire to deepen the yoga practice. Prior mastery of the poses is not required. This program is designed for everyone regardless of age, size, or fitness level.

Not quite ready for certification but still want to delve further in yoga studies?  Within the Yoga University program we also offer Independent Study and the 3-Month Enrichment Program. In these programs, we open certain classes of the 200-hour Teacher Training and 300-hour Teacher Training to students with at least 6 months of yoga experience.

Watch this video highlighting current and past participants of Yoga University!

In order to participate in any of these, registration is required and the deadline to register is January 31, 2014!  Have questions?  E-mail us at


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