How Yoga Can Provide a Respite to A Busy Business LifeNov 13, 2022 11:38AM ● By Ceiara Cartony
When living in Florida, it seemed that life never slowed down. I think that the lack of seasonal changes played a huge role in that. Since moving to WNC, I’ve noticed that as the days become colder, a lot of businesses, outdoor activities, and events slow down. This can cue us to slow down in our personal lives as well. My practice of yoga has helped me to learn to soak in the quieter times while they last by taking advantage of the space to simplify my daily routines and reassess my goals, soak in snuggles with my children, and enjoy warm nourishing foods.
The core of a yoga practice involves meeting yourself as you are at the present moment that you gather on your mat, because each day offers something new within your mind and body. We let go of judgment and expectations, allowing ourselves to create space for new self discoveries to shine through. We're meant to come into the practice not to compare or compete with others, but as a community to feel free to move, breathe, rest, express, and explore however we feel is best for our individual authentic being.
Throughout more than eight years of teaching yoga, my goal has always been to support and encourage everyone's own unique journeys through their yoga practice. Since being outdoors has always been a regular part of my life, gathering at a local park to practice yoga, meditation, and connect with the community was everything to me. When my family and I relocated to the Asheville area in 2018, it only took a few months for me to realize that I wanted to continue leading outdoor classes in our new hometown.
Most of my classes take place at Carrier Park in Asheville. There are naturally distractions at the park such as people strolling by or cars driving in the distance; however, when tuning in to a yoga practice, it’s possible to intimately connect with your own breath and movements as well as the nature around you in a way that allows the distractions to simply dissipate. It’s absolutely the best training for our “monkey minds,” meaning it can help us practice calming and steadying unsettled, confused, or restless thoughts.
I have learned to apply the differences within local seasonal patterns to how I practice and teach yoga. I teach a lot less during the winter months because it's a wonderful time to commit to resetting and restoring my body, especially knowing the warmer months are my time to be busier. There are some refreshingly warmer days during the winter season, and I’ll use these to hold “Pop-Up Winter Yoga in the Park” sessions when temperatures rise above 50 degrees.
Practicing yoga in nature provides a liberating experience. It’s about the only place I gather on my mat when the weather allows. Breathing the fresh air, hearing bird calls, watching trees sway, feeling the breeze against the skin, basking in the sun’s rays, and enjoying the shade of the trees in the warmer months all combine to help us recognize the beauty in ourselves when we’re surrounded by the beauty of nature. It allows us to recognize our connection with all living beings.
Practicing outdoors also offers a beautiful dynamic to your practice that you won't find in an indoor setting. I often find myself expressing how well students are doing during balancing postures. Standing on one leg in the grass as opposed to a hard, even surface can challenge and strengthen the body, creating more stability in a yoga practice. It's also more gentle on our bodies; for example, during kneeling poses, the grass is soft and more supportive than a hard floor.
Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to leading all levels of students from absolute beginners to experienced yogis, and I strive to offer classes that are accessible and welcoming to everyone. In a Google review, one of my visiting students said, "Although this was my very first yoga class ever, I didn’t feel lost, judged, or overwhelmed during our session whatsoever. It was a great learning experience and I’m definitely going to look into yoga classes in my area once I get home from Asheville." It absolutely warms my heart and soul to hear feedback that students experienced a welcoming and accessible class. That means I've met my goal and more, forever having an impact on their connection to their yoga practice.
Personally, I believe the practice of yoga is the fountain of youth. I hope to continue leading classes when I'm 103! It’s a practice that is a continuous journey, one that is never meant to end. It's a life endeavor that will continue to support you and reveal new things that you never knew about yourself within your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga can forever suit anyone’s needs, and through practice, we can understand more and more about how to let go of control and trust that we are all exactly where we're meant to be in this beautiful life. If you choose to keep it a priority in your life, no matter what obstacles may come about, yoga will bring you home.
Established in 2019, Yoga in the Park Asheville offers weekly yoga classes at Carrier Park, private one-on-one sessions, private group sessions, and seasonal sessions at Chimney Rock State Park.
Learn more at CeCeYogini.com.