If you said “yoga”, you would be at least partially correct! The common denominator is Sunrise Yoga Studio’s founder and owner, Valerie Kiser!
Long before yoga had entered Valerie’s mind, she was a classically trained dancer! But the dancer, a talent usually associated with a more creative nature, started her career after college in information technology as a computer programmer in the very structured world of banking.
So, how did this dancer/programmer find yoga (or perhaps the better question is how did yoga find Valerie?)? If you’ve been around Valerie more than once, you know that behind her calm and friendly demeanor is a brain that is moving at warp speed with an energy level to match! While still working as a programmer, Valerie was also serving as a group fitness coordinator and personal trainer at a local gym.
In between training sessions and aerobic classes, Valerie noticed the gym would soon be offering yoga classes. Sign me up, she thought! I’m flexible! I can do that! Valerie says she, like many, had the misconception that yoga was all about the poses and knew little about the full body, mind, spirit connection that is truly yoga.
After a brief hiccup . . . it’s tough to do yoga while recovering from an appendectomy . . . her yoga journey began. And what a journey it has been! She began teaching yoga in 1999 and is a YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) through The Yoga Alliance. She became a yoga therapist in 2006 as a natural progression of teaching yoga and her desire to help students on a more personal level.
Valerie’s love of learning, her love of yoga, and her desire to help others through health and well being, kept her going as she spent five years traveling from Clemmons to Arlington/Fairfax, VA, and back, all while still working full time as a computer programmer, to acquire her advanced teacher training and yoga therapeutics certifications.
Valerie has completed a 1200-hour Advanced Teacher Training and Yoga Therapeutics certification from Sun and Moon Yoga Studios in Fairfax/Arlington, VA with JJ Gormley. Valerie is an IAYT-certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). Valerie is also a Certified Prenatal Yoga instructor, a Relax and Renew Advanced Trainer ® (Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater), an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, an Elise Browning Miller Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer and an iRest Teacher Level II (Yoga Nidra). Valerie teaches Cardiac Yoga ® (Cardiac Yoga is a registered trademark of M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D. and is used with exclusive permission). Valerie is a 500-hour experienced registered yoga teacher (500 E-RYT) and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) through the Yoga Alliance. Her first teacher training was completed with Cindy Dollar, an Iyengar-certified teacher in Asheville, NC.
Fifteen years ago, Valerie left behind the information technology profession and opened Sunrise Yoga Studio. At that time, Valerie was the entire staff, teaching in a single classroom. Now, not only does Valerie have a wonderful staff of instructors at Sunrise Yoga, and a beautiful, well-designed studio, she is also is also the director of the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training Programs and offers 200 and 300-hour programs that are registered with Yoga Alliance and continuing education courses.
Additionally, Valerie is also the co-owner of ECYT (East Coast Yoga Therapy – an 815-hour program that certifies yoga therapists), a program designed to educate and empower yoga teachers in the art and science of Yoga Therapy as a means to promoting the health and well-being of yoga students. In June 2018, ECYT was awarded a Certificate of Accreditation through IAYT (The International Association of Yoga Therapists) and is 1 of 32 accredited schools in the world.
One might think it a bit crazy to ask what Valerie does when she isn’t working! If you have read this far, you might wonder when this dynamo sleeps!
Being the well-trained yogi that she is, Valerie follows the growth, balance, peace mindset (That’s even part of the Sunrise Yoga logo!). Valerie lives this out by enjoying being married to her husband, Jonathan (They’ve been married 20 years!), loving on their dogs, Casey and Louie, traveling and being outside. She recently took her first hot air balloon ride while on a trip to Arizona!
Valerie is also fortunate to have her mom nearby and her mom is a Sunrise Yoga student. Taking classes six days a week, Frances is like daughter, like mother!
You can find Valerie at the studio . . . a LOT! Seriously, Valerie teaches all levels of classes from Chair Yoga to Level 4 Yoga, Cardiac Yoga® to Yoga Wall, and special classes like her Wednesday night Select Your Study Sessions. Find Valerie’s classes through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
You can contact Valerie by emailing info@SunriseYoga.net.
What?!? You’ve practiced yoga for a month, a year, a decade, and you find yourself up against the “wall”. Not the yoga wall! The wall of progress. The wall of no improvement. The flat wall known as a plateau. Ugh!
We can hit a proverbial wall in many aspects of life. Career. Relationships. Parenting. Weight loss. Creativity. And, it’s easy to give up, quit, stop, throw in the towel, when that “wall” shows up. Your friends, maybe even your yoga instructor, will tell you to look at how far you’ve come, to consider how things would be if you didn’t practice yoga. But, you still feel like you’ve failed and there’s no future progression for you.
Guess what! You aren’t alone!
Jessica Stickler, writing for Wanderlust, says, ““How does one overcome plateaus in yoga practice?” I thought to myself, ‘I have no idea.’ The more I thought about the question, the more I doubted my ability to answer it. I have been practicing for a modest amount of time, around eight years or so (and teaching for seven of those!), so I have ducked, dodged, hail-mary’d, ignored, and confronted many a plateau.” She goes on to outline three ways she has overcome the “wall”: the bull (work on it EVERY SINGLE DAY), the fox (find a way around the difficulty and then come back to the initial spot of frustration), and the sloth (Just keep going!).
Plateaus are inevitable. In fact, they are evidence that you ARE practicing yoga! A “wall” or plateau may actually be a nudge to try something new or different or to approach your everyday routine and practice with new eyes/perspective.
Senior Pure Yoga instructor, Sonja Rzepski, and Kay Kay Clivio, head of Pure Yoga’s teacher training program, recommend the following to push through a plateau:
1. Try a different style.
If your usual practice is a sweaty vinyasa, spend some time learning more about the logic of alignment in an Iyengar class, target your connective tissue and deep muscular release with Yin yoga, or try a new energetic approach with Kundalini yoga. Rzepski recommends sticking with it for four to six sessions before returning to your preferred or go-to classes. The idea is to look at your practice through a different lens, one that might trigger insights that will help you move past your plateau.
2. Book private sessions with your favorite teacher.
“Generally group classes are packed and there is no time for the breakdown of poses or to ask questions,” says Clivio. Getting closer to your source of inspiration will only make the fire of determination burn brighter. Three to six one-on-ones should be sufficient, per Rzepski, though you may want to continue them.
3. Explore the mind-body connection.
Asana (the physical practice of yoga) was originally conceived simply as a way to prepare the body for meditation. Try moving beyond the physical and explore the nuances of the breath or meditation (try the Headstrong meditations in the Equinox app). You can also learn more about the chakra system, the sister science of Ayurveda, or stack your nightstand with books on yoga philosophy. (Two Rzepski recommends: Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar and Healing Yoga by Loren Fishman.) “Learning more of the science of yoga can improve the depth of any practitioners postures,” says Clivio. “Not just seeing the postures as shapes and forms but a means to balance the energetic body.”
4. Dive deeper.
Move further into any aspect of the practice that inspires or challenges you. If you love inversions, take a workshop. Or, sign up for a retreat. This can give you renewed enthusiasm that will carry you past a plateau. Rzepski also recommends keeping a yoga journal to record and acknowledge your daily impressions and experiences. You may be making more progress than you think.
5. Get off your mat.
Karma yoga (the practice of service to others) is important, but often overlooked. Lose yourself in unselfish action by volunteering or simply look for opportunities for kindness and good deeds.
A plateau or “wall” may be telling you your body needs a break. “Consider taking a few days off from the physical practice of yoga and allow your body to rest. This is a great time to explore the more mental and philosophical aspects of yoga, such as the yamas and niyamas,” says Karen Costa of doyoudoyoga.com. She also recommends “going deeper” . . . “if your yoga practice feels like it’s turned on cruise control, one of the best ways to shift that energy is to deepen your practice. Perhaps this is a sign that you’re ready to transition from being a student to becoming a teacher.”
With the variety of yoga classes offered at Sunrise Yoga, if you find yourself on that plateau, consider trying a different class or a different instructor. Add in some Quieting the Mind classes, or explore Valerie’s Select Your Study classes. Take Karen’s Level 2 Flow class to move your regular yoga class to a more fluid, musically driven practice. Join Bill Smith in his
Sound Immersion workshop. Visit with Valerie and other yoga instructors in the FREE information session and class for the upcoming Enrichment and Teacher Training sessions. Ask Valerie about one-on-one training. Try conquering the “wall” with yoga wall classes.
Your “wall” is a message to you. Be in tune with you. When you stop and let the “wall” speak to you, you will find that the wall was of your making all along.
And, by the way, remember the “wall” you scaled to just get started with yoga? That “wall” was HUGE compared to the “wall” you think is in front of you now!
We are here to help. Send us your thoughts and/or questions to info@SunriseYoga.net.
If you have had any heart issues, have you also had anxiety, particularly about being active with/after heart issues?
The American Heart Association says, “After any illness, it’s normal to feel afraid and unsure of the future. You may be scared because you don’t know what lies ahead, or because you feel less control over your life. Every heart patient has some degree of fear, but if your fear is overwhelming, it can prevent you from getting well and staying well.”
Additionally, the National Center for Biotechnology Information in a report on a clinical trial study noted, “Anxiety is highly prevalent among patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), and there is growing evidence that high levels of anxiety are associated with worse prognosis. However, few studies have evaluated the efficacy of treating anxiety in CHD patients for reducing symptoms and improving clinical outcomes. Exercise and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to be effective in treating patients with depression, but have not been studied in cardiac patients with high anxiety.” They go on to state, “There is growing evidence that exercise may have beneficial effects on anxiety. Epidemiological studies have observed an inverse relationship between exercise and anxiety.”
And another study, this one by Jean-Christophe Chauvet-Gelinier, MD, PhD, and Bernard Bonin, MD, reported in Science Direct from the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, offers “For rehabilitation to be effective in heart disease patients, they need to have a rather good psychological status.” And the Psychiatric Times underscores that “catch 22” with “Women and men with heart disease who perceive themselves as disabled and unable to perform their usual activities are three times more likely to report anxiety (Nickel et al., 1990). In a one-year prospective study of individuals with heart disease, Sullivan and colleagues (1997) explored associations of anxiety with self-reported physical function and activity interference. Findings indicated that those who report higher levels of anxiety also report higher levels of physical disability. High levels of anxiety affect functional status after heart surgery as well. In a randomized clinical trial with 156 participants, greater perceived tension/anxiety level at four weeks predicted decreased self-reported activity for both men and women (Ruiz et al., 1992). Relationships between anxiety and quality of life have also been empirically examined. Anxiety related to decreased functional ability after myocardial infarction has been found to substantially reduce quality of life among survivors and their families.”
Una McCann, M.D. is a psychiatrist and directs the Anxiety Disorders program at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She compares the reaction to a sudden heart attack as being like post-traumatic stress disorder:
• You’re likely to be shocked by your near-death experience and extremely hesitant to do the things you used to do.
• You might constantly relive the life-threatening event, and avoid the activity or place associated with the heart attack.
• Recurring anxious thoughts may impede your ability to get regular sleep.
• Your thoughts about what lies ahead may be extremely negative and cause a drastically foreshortened outlook of the future
She goes on to address anxiety management by saying, “The goal is to keep the patient from placing too much concentration on anxieties about the future that are impossible to control, and help the patient focus on the present. Anxiety management may encompass relaxation exercises, sensory focusing, and yoga techniques.”
Most heart patients are advised to exercise and be physically active because exercise can make the heart muscle stronger. The Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center, in their guide to the overall benefits of exercise for patients with heart failure suggest a combination of flexibility, cardiovascular/aerobic, and strength training. In their commentary on flexibility, they note, “This type of exercise involves slow movement to lengthen the muscles. Flexibility exercises include stretching, tai chi and yoga. They are also used before and after exercising to prevent injury and strain. Benefits include better balance, range of motion and better movement in your joints.”
There can be a large gap between being advised to be active and feeling confident enough in your health to actually become active. A heart patient may submit to cardiac rehabilitation because it is prescribed/mandated by the physician and occurs in a health services environment. But what happens after cardiac rehab ends? If any anxiety about physical ability exists, what options can a heart patient pursue for exercise and physical activity?
Before beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician, whether you are a heart patient or not. If your physician clears you to begin activity, we have a suggestion for you! There are many activities you could pursue, but, at Sunrise Yoga, we have a class geared specifically to with an existing heart condition and for those who are seeking increased heart wellness!
This class, held on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, is a gentle yoga class led by Valerie Kiser, owner and director of Sunrise Yoga and a certified instructor for Cardiac Yoga® (Cardiac Yoga® is a registered trademark of M. Mala Cunningham , Ph.D. and is used with exclusive permission.).
With Valerie at your side, you will practice yoga poses, breathing techniques, as well as mindfulness and relaxation. All of these activities are supported by information from the American Heart Association, and Harvard Health Publishing says, “What’s good for the mind also tends to be good for the heart.”
They continue, “The mind-calming practice of meditation may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease, according to a scientific statement published in the Sept. 28, 2017, Journal of the American Heart Association. Experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades and found that meditation may improve a host of factors linked with heart disease — making it worth including in an overall program for ongoing heart care.”
Let Valerie guide you into a healthier heart, healthier you! Start with Cardiac Yoga® and, if you want more, Valerie can assist you in finding other Sunrise Yoga classes to suit your needs.
Questions? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net!
Have you wondered what Flow Yoga is all about? Have you tried it?
Yogapedia defines Flow Yoga, also known as Vinyasa Flow Yoga, as, “a style of yoga where the practitioner moves gracefully from one pose to the next and the class, or practice, becomes almost like a dance. Generally, each movement in to or out of a posture is made on an inhalation or exhalation, so the yoga unites the breath with the movement in a choreographed sequence. The flowing movements may be combined with some longer holds of certain postures.”
“Flow classes string poses together to make a sequence. The sequence may be fixed, as in Ashtanga in which the poses are always done in the same order, but most of the time vinyasa teachers have the discretion to arrange the progression of poses in their own ways,” says Ann Pizer in her Introduction to Vinyasa Flow Yoga article on verywellfit.com.
Our expert in Flow Yoga at Sunrise Yoga Studio is Karen Hoglund. Karen’s creativity and love of music combine to create a fun but challenging Flow Yoga experience.
At Sunrise Yoga, Flow Yoga is offered every Saturday morning, 9:00-10:30 am, at the Level 2 experience level. It is a more aerobic style class that improves strength and endurance. In this class, the poses are linked together with the breath. There is much more fluid movement involved and thus, the pace in the class is quicker.
If you aren’t already in our Flow Yoga class at Sunrise Yoga, try adding this style of class to your practice. You can register for the class through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Questions about Flow Yoga? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information. We would love to hear from you!
Every office needs some glue . . . meet the glue at Sunrise Yoga!
Amber is our Office Manager who works weekday mornings. Amber completed her college education at Western Carolina University with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education (BK). She taught preschool special education in the North Carolina County Public Schools from 1998 until 2015.
“I love the sand beneath my feet and in between my toes. I am a sea turtle advocate and love my tattoo,” says Amber. She loves the beach and the mountains, spending time with friends and family, writing and taking pictures of landscapes, especially sunrises and sunsets (She took the beautiful beach photo in this post!).
Amber began yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga in March of 2016. Practicing yoga has helped guide her on her journey to live mindfully in the present and with a grateful heart. Yoga is an important part of her overall health and well-being. She is very excited and happy to be a part of the Sunrise Yoga family!
You can tell by Amber’s big smile that she is “young at 💜!”
Send a shout out to Amber to info@SunriseYoga.net!
Gwen started practicing yoga at home. It wasn’t long before she realized this form of movement would be a part of her life on a daily basis for the rest of her life.
With its ability to engage the mind as well as the body, she feels yoga creates a balance which is calming and regenerative. At Sunrise Yoga Studio she found she was able to practice yoga to a more fulfilling degree. Gwen wanted to become a teacher to deepen her knowledge and to be able to share the joy and insight yoga brings. She believes that practicing yoga allows a person to be fully present in the moment, something to which we can all aspire.
Gwen sees the world through the eyes of an artist. She studied art and psychology at SUNY Oswego and owns Rowensea Glass, where she creates beautiful stained glass works of art.
Please let Gwen know if you would like to try one of her classes. Email her at email@example.com.
Kim and her husband, Lynn, have a new little cowgirl in the family, their granddaughter, 6 month old Emersyn, and they are looking forward to entertaining and educating her at their “mini farm”. On the farm they have horses, cows, chickens, dogs, and a miniature donkey, all wonderful things for “Lolly” and “Pop” to show off to Emersyn!
Kim teaches Chair Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Back Care Yoga, Level One Yoga, and All Levels Yoga at Sunrise Yoga. You can find her teaching schedule here.
Kim came to yoga hoping to improve range of motion after breast cancer treatments. She found that yoga brought her so much more than physical flexibility and strength. The awareness and peacefulness that she found with yoga encouraged her to deepen her practice.
Kim completed a 330-hour teacher training program at Triad Yoga Institute and began teaching in 2008. She graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and is now a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT500) with Yoga Alliance.
If you have had any classes with Kim, leave her some love here on the blog or send her a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunrise Yoga Studio’s founder and owner, Valerie Kiser, definitely has a passion for learning! She has pursued certifications and education in many aspects of yoga not only to deepen her own understanding and practice but to share that knowledge and experience with others.
And because she wants yoga to be better understood as more than a means to becoming more physically flexible, Valerie makes sure Sunrise Yoga offers a variety of classes for all levels of experience and for all body types. While Valerie personally teaches many of the classes offered at Sunrise Yoga, she particularly enjoys the Select Your Study classes offered weekly on Wednesdays 6:00-7:30 pm.
In the Select Your Study classes, the topics vary week to week and could include things such as specific pose work or pose type, a therapeutic theme, a particular part of the body, or more! These classes are wonderful places to learn something new or dig a little deeper in your yoga practice.
February’s Select Your Study classes included Making Friends with Handstand, Heart Opening Yoga (for Valentine’s Day!), and Flow Yoga. And on Wednesday, February 28th, Valerie will cover Yoga for Golfers! And coming in March, Strength Training for the Yogi (March 7th), Level 4 Handstands & Backbends (March 14th), Chakra Sun Salutations (March 21st), and, since Spring brings some not so nice things, Yoga for Allergies (March 28th).
Valerie welcomes your suggestions for future classes. Is there something you would like to know more about that would help you in your yoga practice? Is there an area in your life where a yoga connection could be explored? Send Valerie an email (email@example.com) with your topic ideas and questions! We like making yoga fun. We like variety. And we want to help you be passionate about learning!
Select YOUR Study and fuel YOUR passion for learning!
Yoga has brought balance to her life as well as the ability to honor time for herself. Sandra shares those with all her students through her teaching. Sandra is a former triathlete, marathoner, and competitive cyclist who still enjoys running and cycling.
As such, she found that Yoga brought balance to her body as well as her mind. Her particular interests are for sharing her love of yoga with kids and families. Sandra says she teaches yoga because she wants to share the tremendous benefits yoga has to offer for the physical body and for the mind. She wants students to have fun and to enjoy the sense of community during her classes.
Sandra also enjoys using yoga to communicate with locals on mission trips in which she participates. Sandra has participated in Hands of Hope NC mission trip to Dominican Republic.
She is a Level 2 Radiant Child Certified Instructor and has completed the 330-hour teacher training program at Triad Yoga Institute. She has also completed a Certification program for Prenatal Yoga. She has completed the Triad Yoga’s 500-hour teacher training program.
You can find Sandra at Sunrise Yoga on Mondays for Levels 1 & 2 Yoga. Check the schedule for a time that works for you!
Karen became a student of yoga in 1999, eventually receiving her 330-hour yoga teacher training certificate from Triad Yoga Institute in 2004 and her 500-hour certificate from Triad Yoga’s Vidya program in 2008. In January of 2017 she began her 1000-hour certification program to become a certified yoga therapist with East Coast Yoga Therapy.
Karen’s challenges with her back (scoliosis) have taught her how important good alignment is and how yoga can strengthen the body while reducing pain. She is inspired by music and ancient traditions so her flow classes often have playlists geared to the sequence, sprinkled in with the occasional myth, and all classes are interwoven with pranayama, asana, and short meditations to hopefully bring us into balance and add a little peace into our lives.
Karen is registered with Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level (RYT500).
If you don’t already follow Karen on Facebook, look her up! She is currently posting a series of meditations that began January 1st and will continue through January 21st. You can also find Karen on Friday leading this week’s Quieting the Mind class (6:00-7:30 pm) which will be a New Year’s Walking the Labyrinth Meditation, open for all levels. In this class, you will set your intentions for 2018 in a meditative walk of the labyrinth to release what is no longer serving you, encouraging restoration, rejuvenation and transformation.
Questions for Karen? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org