It's official-- I'm moving to Birmingham, Alabama. It's been a hard decision and I've oscillated between total heartbreak about leaving Asheville, NC (which will always be home) and some major excitement at all the new opportunities in a new city. In case you didn't know, Birmingham is called the "Magic City" and I plan to find and take advantage of all the magic it has to offer.

I will be teaching a few special events before I leave town:

Better Backbends Workshop
One Center Yoga
April 26th, 1-3pm

My students often hear me jokingly say in my classes that "Backbends are like candy." It's true-- they can create the same childish, giddy feeling. For many, however, a backbending practice is intimidating and scary. If that's you, PLEASE come to my "Better Backbends" workshop at One Center Yoga and learn how to safely approach a backbending practice with helpful alignment techniques and proper sequencing. You too can experience the joyous, energetic rush that comes from expanding through the front of the body!

Yoga on the Mountain with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC)
May 18th, 2014 10am

Difficulty: Moderate (5-6)
Leaders: Kim Drye from Here Now Yoga and co-leader Michelle Pugliese, SAHC’s Land protection Director.
Cost: Free for SAHC members $10 for non-members
What to bring: Sturdy shoes, blanket, yoga mat, comfortable clothes, water, sunscreen and a pack to carry all personal items.

Join SAHC and Kim Drye for Yoga on the Mountain!

We will hike to the top of Blue Ridge Pastures, lay down yoga mats, and practice our sun salutations among many other poses. Once at the top of Blue Ridge Pastures we will see Bearwallow Mountain and Hickory Nut Gap Gorge, hikers and yogis alike will experience true beauty of the surrounding area and learn why conservation is so important in the Fairview Farming Community.

You don't need to have any prior yoga experience—but please bring sturdy shoes, blanket, yoga mat, comfortable clothes, water, sunscreen and a pack to carry all personal items.

Directions will be sent upon RSVP. Please contact Anna@Appalachian.org or 828-253-0095 ext. 205 if you are interested in attending.

HereNow is the facebook event page for the YOGA ON THE MOUNTAIN event.


In Response to the Article "6 Reasons to Stop Obsessing Over Alignment in Yoga Class"

Below, guest writer and fellow Asheville yoga teacher, Ryan Conrad, responds to the recent article on Yogananymous, "6 Reasons to Stop Obsessing Over Alignment in Yoga Class" .  Ryan maintains a sustained, daily practice of Iyengar-influenced alignment-based yoga, is a doctor of physical therapy, and teaches regular (very popular) classes at One Center Yoga Sundays 10-11:30 (All levels) and Tuesdays 4-5:30 (Intermediate Level II/III). He also is on staff for the teacher trainings at Asheville Yoga Center and assists in Lillah Schwartz's 500 hour teacher training as a mentor. Ryan has been a consistent friend and mentor in my own journey as a student and teacher.  I can't thank him enough for his insight, careful direction and expertise.
Drawing by R. Brook Priddy Conrad
It is possible to have a asana practice that is purely physical, where one sweats, stretches and strengthens the body. However, when one is truly practicing yogic asana within the constructs of ashtanga yoga, or the 8 limbed path to union, the asana can be used as a mindfulness practice that develops one’s awareness. This grants the yogi the ability to practice some of the subtle aspects of yoga such as dharana (concentration, focus) and dhyana (meditation). If a practitioner is fortunate and determined then this path will result in samadhi (profound meditation or union between the observer and the observed). 

Alignment principles can reduce the risk of injury, but certainly do not eliminate them. Injury can occur during asanas if one is not fully engaged in what is happening at the present moment. The key is practicing contentment and acceptance of where your practice is, and what your body is ready for in the present moment while continuing to delve deeper.

Asana is a wonderful place to begin our practice of self study. Asana initially deals with the physical sheath of the self, the annamaya kosha. However, if you set the correct intention and are keenly focused you can begin to observe the way in which the adjusting of the physical sheath requires the mental sheath (manomaya kosha) to participate, and how these adjustments affect the pranamaya kosha (energetic sheath). The adjustments that a practitioner makes are continually in the process of refinement, and become simultaneously more subtle and profound. This builds wisdom, and a greater understanding of our true self while using asana as the platform.

15 minutes is a rather short amount of time to spend of a posture as complex as Tadasana. As a yogi stays in the posture it is important to observe the physical, mental and energetic changes that occur over time. Does the body become heavy or revert to previous habits? Does the mind begin to rebel and categorize the work as “boring”?This yoga stuff is tough work and sometimes understanding how to work with that which is the most difficult can be the most rewarding and insightful in a lifetime of sustained practice.

The concept of everyone having unique anatomy is interesting. I do agree that each individual has had different life experiences and genetics that have created a unique physical and mental body. However, except for a small percentage of people with anatomical abnormalities, people have the same number of vertebrae with similar desired curves of the spine, and a similar shape to the bones of the arms, legs, ribs, pelvis and skull. As a yoga teacher it is important to observe a student’s current alignment to help guide them towards adjustments that will serve their individual needs to resolve pain, promote well-being and allow the mind to focus with less effort.

Yogic knowledge has always been intended to be transmitted from teacher to student. Yoga class can be an opportunity for students to practice with a teacher providing verbal cues, and yes sometimes these alignment cues can be many. However, yoga class deserves to be different than an individual’s yoga practice. When you are being guided by a quality teacher, they can verbally or manually direct the student towards a profound experience where the student gains insight into their blind spots and weaknesses on many levels. That information that the student receives must then be taken and transformed into knowledge and wisdom by practicing what has been taught and coming to their own conclusions through the fires of one’s own practice.

At any point in time in a practice a posture is correct and incorrect until the practitioner is able to practice in an uninterrupted state of samadhi. Then the practice becomes completely correct. Until that time there is always work to be done and a greater awareness of the self that can be gained. This, in my opinion, makes an alignment-based practice truly a practice of the curious seeker that is dedicated to building greater wisdom. 

Thanks WWC

I cherish every opportunity to drive out to Warren Wilson College, especially when it's an opportunity to teach.  On Saturday, Feb 15th, I taught a "Feel the Love" workshop on the campus focused on using a back bending practice to cultivate compassion for yourself and others.  It was such a treat and thank you to the participants for your courage and effort.  

Partner Yoga Pictures from 2.14 at One Center Yoga


About Partner Yoga

From the Mountain Xpress website found here now.:

Not into candlelit dinners? Try partner yoga this Valentine's Day

Kimberly Drye, left, and Alex Moody practice partner yoga at the Biltmore Estate. Photo courtesy of E. Whitney Photography
How will Asheville’s health nuts and wellness aficionados spend their Valentine’s Day? Well, aside from crafting homemade, raw, vegan, gluten-free, kale-infused treats for their sweethearts (OK, maybe nix the kale), many couples will stretch their limbs and open their hearts at one of the partner yoga workshops offered at nearly every studio in the area. 
Local yoga teacher Kimberly Drye gives us some insight as to why so many Ashevillians are choosing to spend their V-days on the mat. She also shares some fun poses you can practice with a friend or significant other at home. 
Mountain Xpress: In yoga classes, we often hear teachers talk about "opening our hearts" In what ways can this statement be interpreted and understood?
Kimberly Drye: The expression "open your heart" has both a physical meaning of expanding the chest and an emotional/spiritual meaning of cultivating compassion. The heart in yoga refers to more than the beating organ in your chest, it refers to your heart center — the space within your consciousness for love, specifically unconditional love. 
Because we believe the mind and the body are connected, we often will focus on backbends or chest openers to remind ourselves of this aspect of our beings — the part of ourselves that can love fully and unselfishly. It's not that the act of doing backbends makes you unselfish or more loving — thats not the point. Rather, when we approach the practice with the intention of opening both the physical and spiritual heart centers, then it works. 
A partner class helps to open your heart by forcing you to be more aware and thoughtful as you support and encourage your partner and also learn to rely on them for support. We often practice yoga to be alone and to turn inward. A partner class is an opportunity to practice bringing the skills you've created in your own practice to the surface in your relationships with others. 
A big difference between a partner yoga class and a regular yoga class is having to touch one another. How can touch and becoming comfortable with touch positively influence our yoga practice and our lives?
So much is conveyed in a touch. It's a transference of energy and emotion — which is why I think so many of us are wary. In today's world, it's easy to get wrapped up in all that is scary and unknown. It can often be easier to shrink away. I hope my class is a reminder that there are safe places to explore connection, that there is so much to be gained from reaching beyond yourself into someone else's space and inviting them into yours. There will be some discussion in the beginning of the class of how to create safe boundaries in your practice during the class and in your relationships with others in general. 
What are some simple partner yoga exercises that couples and friends can do at home?
There are so many! It's so fun to approach your practice with the help and support of someone else — just like approaching any other goal in life. I personally like when someone is taught how to adjust my pose, so that I get just a little bit deeper stretch or awareness when I am in it — like when someone pushes my hips back in downward facing dog or simply holds my legs still while I work in handstand. My ultimate favorite partner pose is when someone lies backwards over my back in childs pose and then we switch, so we each get a supported experience of opening up in a backbend and curling in during a forward fold. 
What can people expect from a partner yoga class in terms of poses, activities and tone?
The tone of the partner class I'm teaching will be fun and playful. Sometimes partners and couples classes can be focused on intimacy with a lover or spouse. My class will be focused more on inviting someone into your space for connection in a friendly way. The poses will be accessible for all levels. Some of the class will be learning how to adjust your partner's poses to offer them extra support or enhance their stretch, and part of the class will be you and your partner in a combined pose. 
Anything else you want to share about partner yoga and the yoga-love connection?
Partner yoga is rich with metaphors about how to approach your relationships and connections with others — how to offer support and be supported, how to set boundaries, how to reach beyond yourself without fear. Most importantly though, I want this class to be a chance for people to be playful within their practice. Having a buddy can really make things more fun. 
Kimberly Drye is an Asheville-based yoga teacher. Learn more about Drye and her classes at herenowyoga.com. Still looking to make some Valentine's Day plans? There is still time to register for Drye's Valentines-inspired partner yoga and heart-opening classes this weekend. More info here.


Love + Yoga All Weekend Long

Check out all these loveydovey yoga opportunities coming up this weekend with HereNowYoga. There's currently only one spot left for the Salt Cave, so sign up for that today! Still space in the Partner Yoga class at One Center, email me if you're interested in the Warren Wilson workshop. Much love to everyone, 
Happy Valentine's!

Partner Yoga

Feel the Love Workshop
Warren Wilson College
Saturday Feb 15th 3:00-4:30pm
Lower Fellowship Hall
Learn to cultivate compassion in your yoga practice with meditation techniques and heart openers

Love Cave:
 Restorative Yoga & Breathwork 
in the Salt Cave 

February 16th, 2pm 

 Come stretch the body and expand the breath with some gentle heart openers, taking in all the soothing benefits of the negative ions in Asheville's Therapeutic Salt Cave. The salt air calms the nervous system and reduces inflammation. Coupled with gentle yoga and an emphasis on pranayama (breathwork), you're in for a truly blissful experience.  Call 828.236.5999 to reserve a spot, space is limited.

10 Eagle Street, Asheville, NC 


What if our Practice was our life?

What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer, our words?
What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being. 
~Ganga White

Thanks to local teacher Amanda Hale for a little morning inspiration today.  <3 <3 <3