I. You. We.

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I. You. We.

Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am. I am. I am. Happy you are. Healthy you are. Holy you are. You are. You are. Happy we are. Healthy we are. Holy we are. We are. We are. These words, this mantra, repeats over and over in my mind as I do the dishes, sweep the floor, send my end of day emails, check the weather, and pack my things. I’m preparing to visit my friends Mari Elise (or as I like to call her MeMe) and Bruce and their kids in Louisville for a couple of days and like clockwork I’m insistently cleaning the house, doing the laundry, running to the store, and making preparations to leave my family for a week plus when it will, in reality, be less than 72 hours. I guess you could say I am a nervous traveler and the need to clean my house before leaving it is a way for that anxious energy to be exhausted, something I’ve learned about myself over the years and come to accept and even appreciate. The biggest difference is that today, instead of my to-do list running through my mind, a mantra replaces it. Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am. I am. I am. Happy you are. Healthy you are. Holy you are. You are. You are. Happy we are. Healthy we are. Holy we are. We are. We are.

I first learned this mantra from my teacher, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, when I studied to become a Prenatal Yoga Teacher. When practicing this in class, we were instructed to place our hands over our hearts as we repeated the mantra for ourselves, then hands move to belly as it is repeated for you, and hands split over heart and belly for we. If I’m being honest, I forgot this mantra during my own pregnancy, feeling drawn to others or different forms of meditation, but just like so many of the teachings from Gurmukh, this mantra would make its way back to me and  bring me light when I needed it the most.

Between December 2016 and February 2017, I lived in darkness, going through a series of surgeries, health scares, and hospitalizations with my then 10 week old son. While I was fully present to my surroundings, I was not present to my own experience. A fellow teacher and friend, who also studied with Gurmukh, reached out to me and reminded me of this mantra. Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am. I am. I am. Happy you are. Healthy you are. Holy you are. You are. You are. Happy we are. Healthy we are. Holy we are. We are. We are. The first night we returned from the hospital my husband and I sat with our baby in our arms and repeated this, holding our own hearts, our son, and each other. It became our nightly routine until we were able to peel back the layers of fear and worry that had enveloped us like layers of an onion.  Time and these words made me able to see my son, husband, and self presently again.

Lessons from your teachers are not fleeting; they are always there, just some times more at the forefront than others. If you are lucky to have good teachers, the kind that make a profound impact on your life by simply being themselves, their teachings live through you and inspire others.

I met MeMe in Northern Virginia while we were at a mutual friend’s, her extended family’s, birthday party.  MeMe happened to work in Old Town Alexandria, just blocks away from the yoga studio where I had recently started teaching. She very bluntly, which I would later learn is her way of showing enthusiasm, said that she would be in to take a class. From that point on MeMe would continue to show up for me both as a student in my class and also as a friend. She was the first yoga teacher I mentored after she completed her teacher training and she was one of my earliest students at Humble Haven Yoga when I opened my doors in Richmond.

When I made my transition to Richmond, MeMe was setting down roots in Louisville with her husband, beautiful step children, and a baby on the way. I was lucky to visit her while she was pregnant and only a matter of weeks before her baby girl, Stella, was born. When I left MeMe after that trip, we excitedly talked about what it would be like next time I came to visit. Just as most plans in life, those plans we made back then were altered, but in a way that no one anticipated.

Stella was born with a heart condition that caused her, not long after she was born, to go into cardiac arrest. I will never forget reading those words from one of my dearest friends. Her typical, straightforward enthusiastic words blurred and muddied with unknowns. As a friend and mother, I wanted to fix it. I wanted to make the hurt and worry end. I saw and felt my own pain in Mari Elise’s journey, but I remembered the words that had pulled me through those layers. I texted Mari Elise those words - Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am. I am. I am. Happy you are. Healthy you are. Holy you are. You are. You are. Happy we are. Healthy we are. Holy we are. We are. We are. Hundreds of miles away from each other we sat and chanted those words for Stella.

I was once asked by another teacher, “what is International Yoga Day?” And the question caught me off guard. The literal answer that it’s a day declared by the UN to build awareness about yoga and spread its practice didn’t seem fully appropriate for some reason. Maybe because Yoga is so much more than a day or hour on a mat to me, it’s a way of living. Maybe it’s because I see how Yoga has been the guidance from darkness to light in my own life and the connecting element between my own life and others. As I sit here days away from International Yoga Day and hours away from meeting Stella for the first time, I am able to feel gratitude for my own experiences and how they gave me the words and movement, to get back to feeling, first for myself and then for others.

Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am. I am. I am. Happy you are. Healthy you are. Holy you are. You are. You are. Happy we are. Healthy we are. Holy we are. We are. We are. These words - taught to me by my teacher, passed on to other students, absorbed by our babies. I’ve heard them spoken in English and Arabic and their meaning understood without speaking at all. I, You, and We are the same. That is the Yoga and that is what I celebrate this International Yoga Day.

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About Ayurveda (meet Bretton)

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About Ayurveda (meet Bretton)

We are so thrilled and honored to host Bretton Keating and her Introduction to Ayurvedic Cooking workshop! Ayurveda actually translates to a “science of life” and is often referred to as the sister science of yoga. It is an essential part of the yoga practice, fusing a fully integrated mind-body health system. Due to the magnitude of the effect food has on our bodies and lives, my teacher, Yogrishi Vishvketu, says that our yoga practices actually begins in the kitchen! Learn why in this workshop fusing movement, meditation, and food! Bretton, an Ayurvedic Cooking graduate of the Turiya Wellness Center in Mysore, India, will cover concepts such as doshas (body types), how to find your dosha, the characteristics of 15 commonly used spices, along with five recipes.

Learn more about Bretton below and join us on Saturday, March 3 from 2-4:30pm.


Bretton grew up with a love of movement, particularly through dance. Her first experience of yoga was in middle school, and the practice has since become the one, non-negotiable constant throughout every change. She began assisting classes in 2012 and started teaching yoga in 2013. Yoga and meditation practice help Bretton dust the filters of everyday life to reach the heart of what truly matters. She strives to share the practice as imparted by her teachers, to enable students to discover mind-body connection and the potential to move with greater freedom. Based in California but with East Coast roots, Bretton recently returned from a year spent overseas, where she furthered her studies in yoga, Reiki, and Ayurveda in India, and taught on a yoga and meditation retreat in Cambodia.

In addition to 200-hour yoga teacher training, Bretton is certified to teach Kids Yoga, Kids Zumba, and Barre. She is also a Reiki healer (Usui method, Levels I/II), and completed Levels One & Two of Ayurvedic Cooking at Turiya Wellness Center in Mysore, India. In her free time, Bretton loves to cook and hike with her puppy, an Indian rescue dog.

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Why YTT?

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Why YTT?

Over the years I've been asked why I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). From where I stand now, the answer is obvious - fate, kismet, destiny. Or as yogis say, dharma. However at the time and even months after graduating, I had no answer. I just felt pulled. With no intention other than to learn about this thing that made me feel so good. Every so often after someone asks that question, they follow it with their own curiosities about YTT. For some, YTT is purely educational and never about teaching. For others it's an investment in self-exploration and growth. And others still, it's a healing modality to infuse into their current profession. If you've ever felt that pull, keep reading as a few of Humble Haven's teachers share their own thoughts on their YTT journey (all taken at different times throughout the world).


Why did you decide to enroll in your 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT)?

- I wanted to learn how yoga works - physically, mentally, emotionally. My practice had reached a point where I needed to know about the process and the history in order to grow. I had a lot of apprehension about starting a teacher training - Was my practice where it should be? Had I been practicing long enough? Was I ready for the emotional and mental commitment? I tried to get answers, but in the end I just felt called to this experience. It wasn't something I could rationalize, it was something I felt drawn to that needed to be explored and felt. – Rachel

- I received a nudge from a friend that made the suggestion to enroll. After realizing that I would already be attending a retreat in Costa Rica immediately after training, I figured why not! It was also a decision made during a transitional time between jobs and not feeling fulfilled in my work/passion pursuits. It felt like a necessary time to foster some self-discovery and self-reflection, no less during the coldest months of the year on the east coast. Four weeks in sunshine and sharing the experience with an incredibly supportive community felt a little too wonderful to pass up. Now I know, listen to the nudges and keep an open mind.  – Allison

- After experiencing the benefits of yoga in my own life, I knew I had to share with others. What I didn’t know then, was how much I was going to learn about myself after becoming a teacher. - Margo

- After being a swimmer my whole life, I turned to yoga for physical relief in my body and quickly noticed the positive impact on my life. I was intrigued by YTT because I wanted to understand how to deepen my practice and how to share the practice with others. Wellness and fitness had always been important parts of my life and I was passionate about learning how to positively impact others. At the time, I couldn't imagine teaching yoga. I never thought I had "what it takes" but the idea of challenging myself in a new way was exciting. – Mina

How long had you been practicing before your YTT?

- 9 years -Aimee

- I practiced on and off since high school, but only seriously for about a year. – Rachel

- I enrolled in my YTT after practicing yoga for about 2 years.  - Julie

- ...about 3 years before I went to level one and 5 before I did my YTT. - Margo

- 2-3 years - Mina

- I'd been practicing for about 7 years. Honestly, it could have been the first day of my yoga practice and it would have been worthwhile. It's such an amazing way to enhance your own personal practice even if teaching is not on the horizon. - Jennie

Was YTT what you expected it to be?

- No. It was like the internet - It made me realize how little I know. There are so many layers. All I think I really knew before training were asana and pranayama. I still, after practicing, reading and studying for over 21 years feel like I know so little. 200 hr training is a doorway. It is transformative in ways you will never know and may not be conscious of at first. The practice fundamentally changes you from the inside out, your brain, your DNA on a cellular level. The training will bring things to your awareness that you would never know otherwise. -Aimee

- Not at all! But that's the beauty of it, isn't it? The first time we stepped into the studio together, we learned we needed to drop our expectations to be fully open to the experiences we would be having. YTT was one of the hardest, yet best things I've ever done. I've never felt more challenged emotionally and physically, learned so much, or been so sore, but I've also never felt so full in spirit and love. I left each weekend not just with my cup overflowing, but with it growing in size. - Rachel

- My YTT was so much more than what I expected it to be.  I anticipated it would deepen my physical practice (and hopefully show me how to teach others how to "do" yoga), but I had no idea about everything else!  Who knew that the asana practice is only one piece of the yoga puzzle?  The physical and mental challenges (as well as breakthroughs) of my training were astounding and an experience that continues to shape my yoga practice and teaching to this day.  -Julie

- It was more.  I did not anticipate the depth of friendships developed.  I did not anticipate the health and awareness of body I achieved.  I did not anticipate the steadiness of mind. - Jennie

Has your practice changed since completing YTT? If so, how?

- It has definitely changed my practice.  I now practice with a deeper purpose and intention every time I step on my mat.  I am able to connect so much more of my practice to how I live my life outside of it.  Yoga is not just a bunch of a meaningless postures - it's a lifestyle. - Julie

- Completely, and especially over the past year. I am still very strongly attached to a vinyasa-based practice, but my body's needs have changed over time and I have started to welcome more yin/restorative practices. Some days I need the power and heat, and other days I need straight up horizontal rest...and that becomes my practice for the day. There's never an ounce of regret when I show up. Fully packed class or self-practice in solitude, the experience is completely different every single time and I love that. I just try to listen and honor it all and remove any pressure surrounding what I think I should be doing or practicing. – Allison

- Yes, my practice changed greatly. Oddly enough, not in the way I thought. I figured I would be doing more experienced poses and levitating off my mat by now. What happened though was more adaptions, modifications, self-care, and self-compassion. – Margo

Have YOU changed since completing YTT? If so, how?

- In so many ways. I woke up to things I didn’t want to see and am probably living more authentically than ever. It does that. This practice isn’t easy on so many levels. I think if you are even considering teacher training you must listen to that teacher, the one always present, the best teacher ever, the knowing, and explore your dharma, the unfolding of your life in a more conscious way. -Aimee

- I am more open to sharing my experiences, on and off my mat. I feel more connected to the community that surrounds the yoga practice, and I feel compelled to share and grow within that community instead of outside of it. I am more honest with myself and those around me, which is a truly freeing feeling. -Rachel

- I have changed.  I feel more calm and confident in who I am as a person. – Julie

- Well I'm still me, but I've absolutely evolved in big ways since completing YTT. The practice has helped me to become more in tune with my body (especially off the mat) and has been the catalyst in every way possible to pursue more fulfilling work - even if that's meant I've had to say no to a lot of things along the way. For awhile after training, I felt very isolated since all of us were from various parts of the world, so it was hard to relate to others about my experience, lifestyle choices, and so on. Suzanne's haven is the first studio where I actually began teaching consistently, and she, as well as the community, have surely contributed to my sense of belonging and personal growth. Finding my voice, watching me simultaneously struggle and grow and supporting my journey for however it evolves. My gratitude has grown tremendously. – Allison

- I found my voice through teaching yoga. A voice which is truly my own, uncensored and unapologetic. Connection to that true part of self is a gift that will continue to give to myself and to others. – Margo

- More than I thought possible. I started to approach my practice with a new sense of self-awareness and intention.  I had a newfound appreciation for how yoga can help you connect with people on a real level. I learned and experienced the power of vulnerability and the art of letting it be. The knowledge I gained in YTT and the experience changed how I live my life and the lens through which I view it. I came out full of compassion, gratitude, and excitement.  – Mina

- I have. I find that I am less quick to judge and more quick to forgive real or perceived wrongs. My life is grounded in response rather than reaction.  - Jennie

What was the best part of your YTT experience?

- The community. It's amazing that none of us really knew each other before YTT, yet we all felt so open and comfortable to share our experiences and practices. Throughout the experience, we knew we were in it together. No matter what we were all feeling, we always showed up (and continue to show up) for each other. I've never felt so close to a group of women. – Rachel

- The best part was getting to know all of my fellow YTT classmates.  Even though we are all in different parts of the country, we continue to share our yoga journeys with each other, offering up stories and support when needed.  It is a bond that will never be broken. – Julie

- Sharing vulnerability with others. Knowing I was not alone and being fully accepted by others. – Margo

- Learning. I know that seems vague, but after college it was one of the things I missed most. Studying and immersing myself in a topic that I cared about. Learning and feeling like I was expanding my mind. The whole training felt like an investment in myself and I was seeing the pay-off along the way. With that I'll add-- being challenged. It felt so good (uncomfortable but good) to be seeking out something that I didn't feel came naturally to me at the time. I loved learning from the journeys of my fellow trainees and seeing the growth in myself as a teacher, practitioner, and human being. – Mina

- I have loved the process of both teacher trainings.  I enjoyed the way my mind expanded and my heart evolved.  In my most recent training, I truly found the love of sisters in yoga.  Each and every woman with whom I studied is connected through a place of knowing.  It is that place within me where I shape shifted in to the woman I am proud to be today and saw my "sisters" do the same. - Jennie
 

Do you have any regrets about your YTT?

- Not one. -Aimee

- None - the experience was honest, challenging, emotional, and amazing. I wouldn't trade the experience I had for anything else because it was just what it was supposed to be, even if it wasn't what I had expected or thought I wanted it to be. - Rachel

- None, whatsoever. – Allison

- That I didn’t do it sooner. Sounds cliche- but it’s true. I thought about doing it so many times and always made excuses. It wasn’t until a friend signed up and convinced me that there was never going to be a perfect time. - Margo


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Community Update: Meet Camille Heller

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Community Update: Meet Camille Heller

After reading Camille’s resume, I had high hopes (and admittedly high expectations) for the first class I took from her. From her multiple Baptiste Power Yoga certifications, additional continuing education trainings, and years of teaching, she no doubt brings a lot of experience with her. That first class most certainly did not disappoint. Camille is a Power teacher through and through, inside the practice room and out. She is no nonsense and all business...in the best possible way. Direct, intentional, and powerful. While somehow managing to balance all that power and intent with a kind and supportive energy.

After many years teaching and thriving in NYC, Camille and her family recently transplanted to RVA. We are thrilled to welcome Camille to our roster of Power teachers and to Richmond! Practice Hot Power with Camille every Tuesday evening from 6-7:15pm.

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

I love teaching a hot, sweaty flow, driven by a well-curated playlist. I find that moving vigorously is the best prescription for getting students out of their heads and into their bodies and that music can add such a grounding element that invites and encourages freedom of movement.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

Yoga was and continues to be a mode of meditation for me. I felt so fortunate finding a way to move my body that took me out of my head- out of what things “looked like” and more into HOW things felt. I was able to find a way to disconnect from my mind in a way to allowed and invited me to truly connect to and with my body. I knew that this was something I needed to share with others.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Powerful, Fiery, Fun

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Triangle Pose

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Explore!! Being brand new to the area, exploring is KEY!. My husband and I are very much into fitness and eating (usually in that order, LOL) and are loving seeing all that Richmond has to offer.

What’s your favorite food?

Anything plant based, followed by down home, authentic Asian food- Korean, Thai, Filipino, Vietnamese

Tea or Coffee?

STRONG coffee in the morning, decaf chai with almond milk later on.

Favorite quote?

“I will hold myself to a standard of GRACE, not perfection.”

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

I am eager to be part of something bigger than myself, to be part of the process of creating of something phenomenal through action with a community.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

TOO many to list, but my top 3 are: Lace by Random Rab, Maybe Now by Blyne, Baba Hanuman by Krishna Das

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Community Update: Meet Emma Jeffery

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Community Update: Meet Emma Jeffery

The first time I met Emma Jeffery, it was before the sun had come up on a Thursday morning when she came to Humble Haven for her first class.  I remember thinking that Emma exuded a confident ease, a sense I still get any time she is around.  

Throughout Teacher Training, that confident ease showed up in the form of thoughtful questions, eager to gain insight, whether that be from her own self study or from the knowledge and experience of those around her. Emma has a seriousness about her that shows up in her dedication to her own personal practice, as well as, her presence as a teacher. Emma also has a playfulness that comes from her ability to give herself and others space to let things be as they are.  Her care and kindness for everyone (humans and animals alike) creates an encouraging and empowering environment to practice in. Take Emma's class on Thursdays, 6-7:15pm and learn more about her below! 

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

Either Power or Restorative. I know, they are two completely opposite ends of the spectrum but I think that’s what draws me to them! I don’t think I have ever practiced a style of yoga that I did not like but both power and restorative take me to a place on my mat that I really can’t get anywhere else. For me teaching yoga is a constant opportunity to learn from my students and at the same time share my passion. The feeling after a really great sweaty power class or a particularly serene restorative class is total bliss.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

I’ve always thought about taking a 200 hour training but when I found humble haven and the Baptiste style flow there was no turning back.. I needed to know more and I knew this was the right time and most certainly the right place.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Balanced, encouraging, fun

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Resting half pigeon… that full IT band stretch you can only find in a deep pigeon is the absolute most.

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Anything active and /or social.. which seems broad, I know, but Richmond is such a great city and I like exploring all that it has to offer (preferably with an old or new friend nearby). I love the food, music, and exercise scene here!

What’s your favorite food?

As a fairly recent vegan convert I am completely in love with the options that Richmond has to offer. It seems like every week I am finding a different vegan restaurant or food to try. My ‘flavor of the month’ is Fresca on Addison.. they have a lentil burger that will change.your.life.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee in the morning’s tea at night… please don’t make me choose.

Favorite quote?

"Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you're knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on."–Hillary Clinton

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

HH has become my home away from home and the women that teach are some of the best that I’ve every learned from and practiced with. It is such an honor to teach at this studio and I am so excited to share my passion.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

This changes weekly, daily, even hourly.. I love music and combining two of my favorite things (music and yoga) is my preferred way to spend time. If I had to choose I would say my favorite song right now (at this very second…) to practice to is Outer Space by G (feat Genevieve).

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Community Update: Meet Tarole Harris

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Community Update: Meet Tarole Harris

The first time I met Tarole was when she came to my noon Yoga Build class just a few months ago. She had driven up from Charlotte, NC to check out some local Richmond studios as she prepared to move to Richmond full time in August. Her impressive resume as a personal trainer, yoga, and spin instructor was not all that made Tarole stand out.  From the minute you meet her, you are drawn to her high energy and supportive spirit.  Moving from Hawaii to North Carolina and now to Richmond (with a couple of stops along the way), her dedication to her passion of working with others in the wellness community is apparent. 

I'll never forget when Tarole told me that she was moving to Richmond only to turn right back around to teach one more class at her home studio in Charlotte and then returning to Richmond.  Her dedication to the communities she works with combined with the fact that I was sore for 3 days from her 30 minute Yoga Build demo, made me realize she was a perfect fit for Humble Haven. If you have already taken one of Tarole's classes, you know how interested she is in getting to know you and her new home here in Richmond.  Get to know her a little better by reading her teacher spotlight below and then come practice with her Wednesdays 8-8:45pm and Thursdays 6:15-7pm for Yoga Build.  

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

I love teaching yoga with weights the most. Being a personal trainer, weight training of any form is very important to me and with Yoga Build, you get the best of both worlds!

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

I love helping people change their lifestyle for the better. If I can inspire just one person to make a healthy change, my goal will be fulfilled. 

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Fun, energetic, sassy.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

It's a toss up between dancer pose and any pose where I'm upside down (headstand, handstand, etc) :)

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Having just moved to the city, I haven't had much time to explore. So far I've enjoyed walking my dog around my neighborhood and learning about the area.

What’s your favorite food?

Fresh Asian cuisine of any kind.

Tea or Coffee?

Huge fan of both, but I must say I drink way more coffee than I should!

Favorite quote?

"It does not due to dwell on dreams and forget to live." -Albus Dumbledore

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

From the moment I stepped into the studio I felt welcomed. In my opinion, it's important to have a community vibe in the workplace and with HHY, I felt just that. I'm excited to be a part of a growing yogi community that practices not only the fun part of yoga, but the true meaning behind the practice as well.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

Yoga Build - anything I can dance to. Vinyasa flow - anything from Trevor Hall.

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Community Update: Meet Andrea Gruber

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Community Update: Meet Andrea Gruber

It doesn't take long after first meeting Andrea, to realize that this is someone who lives yoga.  She is honest, humble, and mindful in all aspects of her life. Whether it is the food that she prepares for herself or those she cares about or the commitments she adds to her schedule, she is intentional with each step.  

Andrea first started coming to Humble Haven Yoga in August of 2016 after relocating to Richmond from Charleston, SC.  After practicing with us regularly, we were lucky to have Andrea join our first 200-hour teacher training program.  Andrea moves with admirable grace on and off her yoga mat and her steady energy and teaching style encourages her students to do the same.  Her intense-yet-easy presence gives you the confidence that she is right there with you, whether that is in conversation or as you are exploring your personal edge in a Hot Power class. I look forward to learning more from Andrea as a teacher on and off the mat. Join her for class, Thursday 4:45-5:45pm, Hot Power Yoga and learn more about her below. 

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

My favorite style of class to teach is Hot Power with intentional breath & movement cues; while guiding a class through tension/release flow and backbending focused on spinal health and heart opening. Breath to movement pairing allows one to connect deeper with their body and be in that present moment. And who doesn’t love a good backbending series to rid the body of toxins? Ok, not everyone does. But it is my hope I can guide fellow yogis so they are able to approach the series with ease, gratitude, and an open mind. And maybe one day even like backbending!

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

I loved the time I dedicated to my practice and the tools I learned on the mat for life outside the studio. Moving deeper into my own practice, I was eager to learn more and share that knowledge with others.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Peace, fire & balance

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel)

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Riding bikes & evening river outings

What’s your favorite food?

Cornichon pickles

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Favorite quote?

“Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” E.V.

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

Teaching at Humble Haven Yoga will be such an honor. I’m most excited about continuing to be a part of a growing community that extends support and love for fellow yogis throughout each step of their journey.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

It’s Alright 2 Cry by Francis and the Lights

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Community Update: Meet Rachel Knight

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Community Update: Meet Rachel Knight

I remember when Rachel Knight (aka "Virginia Tech Rachel") first started coming to the studio in June 2016.  As an attempt to remember her name, I associated her with a t-shirt she wore on one of her first visits.  Virginia Tech is also my alma mater (Go Hokies!) so this was an easy association, but turned out to be an unnecessary one as Rachel quickly became an integrated part of the community.  As a practitioner, Rachel really showed up; immersing herself into the community whenever possible and we got to know her beyond just where she went to college. 

When our first teacher training rolled around, Marisa and I held an open house to meet anyone interested in joining us and answer any questions.  Rachel walked through the door that evening, list of questions in hand! Rachel's thirst for learning transfers from her mat to an informal open house to diving head first into her first Yoga Teacher Training.  It's what makes you know that when she's present in any situation, she's with you 100% and it's what already does and will make her an amazing teacher.  Read more about Rachel on and off her mat below and practice with her Fridays at 5:30pm and Saturdays at 9:30am.  

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

Hot Power! I love how the power practice combines tension and ease, allowing the practitioner to approach challenging postures with grace and calm focus. I find it so cool that the same practice can be both strong and relaxing at the same time, leaving you totally mentally and physically refreshed.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

Once practicing regularly started influencing the way I live off my mat, I realized that yoga was not just something I do at the studio. Yoga has flipped my world upside down in the best way, and shown me how to accept my true self. I want to teach so that I can help people find what makes them strong and so they can let go of what doesn’t.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Let it go.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Ardha Chandrasana, Half moon pose

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Kayaking and exploring local restaurants

What’s your favorite food?

Any kind of cereal

Tea or Coffee?

Both! I’m a fan of any hot drink.

Favorite quote?

“In this place of love all things are possible.” - Baron Baptiste

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

The community at Humble Haven is so special. When you’re here, you’re with family -- it truly is a safe and welcoming space where you are loved no matter how you show up.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

Explosions in the Sky is my all-time favorite band for powerful instrumental tunes.

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Community Update: Meet Bekah Holbrook

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Community Update: Meet Bekah Holbrook

Can we all just take a moment and acknowledge the zen firework that we all feel in our hearts after taking one of Marisa or Mackenzie's restorative or vin/yin classes? Needless to say the bar has been set pretty high when it comes to putting teachers on the schedule to offer these energetically harmonious classes.  That bar was seamlessly met the first time I took one of Bekah Holbrook's classes. 

I first heard Bekah's name when our fellow yogi and friend, Anna Strahs Watts, was in a bind and needed subs for a 9pm and 12am class. Yeah, you read that correctly, 12am.  Since Anna is one of the most helpful and reliable friends and teachers I know, I gladly scooped her 9pm and she informed me her friend Bekah was teaching the 12am class. My very-much-a-morning-person brain immediately thought, who is this super hero, Bekah?! I soon learned of and got to experience Bekah's unique ability to combine alignment based instruction with a consistent focus on presence and body/spacial awareness. I'm thrilled she will be sharing and teaching at Humble Haven.  Come practice with her on Wednesday evenings in Vin/Yin 8-9pm and read more about her below. 

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why? 

I love teaching alignment-based restorative classes. We rarely take the time to slow down and tune in and I love that restorative classes give people the tools to calm the nervous system, quiet the mind and gently and safely move the body.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching? 

I felt this inner tug to start teaching yoga. I remember sharing that feeling with my sister as sort of a secret desire. I went through some major life changes that were really emotionally challenging and thought, now is the time to do this for myself. Teacher training was a two year process of transformation, healing, and learning that self love isn't selfish. I love teaching because it allows me to share the tools yoga has to offer help us live our lives more fully, compassionately, and with love.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say? 

Calming, mindful, empowering.

What’s your favorite yoga pose? 

I love trikonasana!

What do you like to do around Richmond?

I love spending time on the river with my boyfriend and our two dogs, treating myself to a dirty chai at Blackhand coffee, and playing music with friends.

What’s your favorite food? 

Sweet potato anything.

Tea or Coffee? 

I wish the answer was tea, but it's coffee.

Favorite quote? 

This quote encapsulates what I am trying to do through yoga and mindfulness practices. "Give me a candle of the Spirit, O God, as I go down into the deeps of my being. Show me the hidden things, the creatures of my dreams, the storehouse of forgotten memories and hurts. Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name. Give me freedom to grow, so that I may become that self, the seed of which You planted in me at my making." -- George Appleton 

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga? 

I'm excited by the opportunity to meet and work with new students and to offer alignment-based vin/yin and mindfulness classes in a hot power studio setting.

What’s your favorite song to practice to? 

I actually prefer to practice in silence! But if I had to choose one it would probably be Om Arya Sumati Dharma Dhara Hūṃ by Osel.

 

 

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Community Update: Meet Gina Settimio

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Community Update: Meet Gina Settimio

The first time I met Gina, we were sitting at a table at En Su Boca among mutual friends swapping stories how each of us was connected and how we got to that particular moment of meeting.  It was in this first conversation that I learned of Gina's love for hot power yoga.  Since moving to Richmond, Gina had yet to find a yoga home.  It was spring of 2015 and I was hunting for a potential space to open Humble Haven. When I shared the vision and offering for the studio, Gina was my first big supporter of a downtown location.  A downtown resident herself, she saw a need for a heated practice space.  Luckily, for us both, the stars aligned on Humble Haven's current location. 

When Humble Haven opened their doors, Gina jumped right in and became a part of our work exchange program, learning the ins and outs of the studio.  After strengthening her practice and presence in the community for the first year, Gina joined our first 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. Gina is a powerful presence in and out of the studio.  She has become an integral part of our Humble Haven family.  Practice with her on Tuesdays at 6pm while she steps in for Rachel North and read more about Gina below.   

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

Hot power.  Baptiste style is what my 200hr training was focused on.  Watching the fluctuation of energy from class to class is pretty cool.  The same power sequence could be taught in 10 different classes and the challenges, personal victories and the focus of the room will rarely be the same.  The fluidity and personal change going on inside one room is crazy to watch and feel, not to mention the heat of the room preparing the muscles to stretch is clutch.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

After seeing the benefits as well as the challenges yoga had on me both mentally and physically, I wanted more.  When the teacher training program was announced it just made sense to sign up, like the obvious next step.  I think the decision to not only do the training but wanting to teach had a lot to do with timing as well as Humble Haven being such a supportive/rad place filled with so many knowledgeable and down to earth teachers.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Just be here.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Currently, Ragdoll – the tension release in the neck is incredible.

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Listen to live music, river activities, eat at all of the amazing restaurants and attend open houses.  Richmond has so many unique neighborhoods that open houses are a fun way to check out (and dream about) the different architecture and character that adds to why Richmond is so awesome. 

What’s your favorite food?

Caprese with balsamic.

Tea or Coffee?

Hot Chocolate, always.  Tea when I’m sick and coffee on hard days

Favorite quote?

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  – Plato

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

Humble Haven has a such special place in my heart, the energy is electric and the feeling of happiness is contagious when you step inside the space.  I’m somewhat in shock and honored that I get to experience the studio not only as a forever student, but also as a teacher alongside so many individuals I admire. 

What’s your favorite song to practice to? 

Anything, Head and the Heart.

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Community Update: Meet Jennie Ray Hart

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Community Update: Meet Jennie Ray Hart

I had the pleasure of getting to know Jennie Ray soon after we opened our doors at the beginning of 2016 and she has been gracing us with her supportive, fun-loving, strong presence ever since.  If you have practiced in one of our early evening classes or Saturday morning, you have probably practiced alongside Jennie.  Her dedication to being a student of yoga is noticeable and her dedication as a teacher is no different. Jennie has completed two 200-hour teaching certifications and is well versed in Vinyasa, Power Vinyasa, and Restorative practices.  We are excited to have her join our team of teachers where she can continue to share her thirst for learning from both her fellow teachers and students.  Read more about Jennie below and practice with her on Monday evenings during Warm Power Basics, 8-9pm.

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

Vinyasa flow and Power. I love movement with breath.  It’s like a dance.  The Power practice allows us to dedicate the merit of our strong energetic efforts toward something or someone. Meeting that “edge” with all that we have, helps us be all that we are and at peace with all that we do.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?  

The practice of yoga is more than the mat work for me.  Teaching is a deeper way to “live” my yoga.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Nurture the alignment!

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Tadasana/Mountain...the pose from which all others are formed.

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Walk my Whoodle, Rayven, and listen to live jazz whenever and wherever I can.

What’s your favorite food?

Anything from Kim Baker’s cookbook Workin’ it in the Kitchen

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Favorite quote?

“Never draw conclusions that can’t be changed” E. Zaller

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

HHY is my yoga home.  I am looking forward to giving to others what has been given to me; Space to grow.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

The sound of my Ujjayi breath!

 

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Community Update: Meet Melanie Tran

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Community Update: Meet Melanie Tran

Melanie Tran has been a member of the Humble Haven community since we first opened and a supporter of Humble Haven from even before then.  Melanie and Suzanne met in Arlington, Va while Melanie was practicing at a studio where Suzanne first started teaching.  The stars aligned when they both realized that they would be relocating to Richmond and could continue their yoga journey together .  Melanie has been a friendly face at the studio, helping us keep it all together during the busy evening rush for the past 18 months.  Join her on Sundays at 11:30am as she steps inside the classroom as one of our newest teachers.  

Learn more about Melanie below and come practice with her Sundays at 11:30, Hot Power with Music. 

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

Power – I love that it offers balance in the mental vs. physical and edge vs. ease and non-attachment to the past or future with a focus on the present.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

I wanted to be able to share how life-changing yoga was to me with others. The lessons learned in your practice 100% align with lessons that can be applied in life.

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Direct yet supportive

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Trikonasana/Triangle pose – that side body stretch is EVERYTHING when you’re sitting at a desk all day.

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Eat at all the restaurants, drink all the coffee, visit all the craft breweries, and frolic around river!

What’s your favorite food?

That’s a tough question…I can’t name one favorite food but I love any dish that masters the perfect umami flavor.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee all the way – French pressed black coffee (I love trying locally roasted beans) or an almond milk dirty chai from Black Hand.

Favorite quote?

“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it”

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

The energy of the community and sense of openness at Humble Haven is so unique and refreshing and the fact that I get to be a part of that is such an honor.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

Right now – I love practicing to anything by Odezsa.

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Guest Teacher: Meet Justin Blazejewski

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Guest Teacher: Meet Justin Blazejewski

We are so honored and excited to host guest teacher Justin Blazejewski at Humble Haven Yoga for three awesome events! Justin will be in studio the second weekend in July for ARToga (a fun fusion of painting and yoga), Yoga Nidra (a deeply relaxing meditative practice), and VEToga (a donation based practice to raise awareness and funds for Justin's nonprofit providing healing arts to veterans). Read all about Justin's journey below and learn more about the classes he's hosting at Humble Haven!

Justin’s introduction to yoga began in 2007 while he was searching for different exercises that would help with a back injury he sustained while serving in the Marine Corps. Soon after his first class he dove into a daily yoga practice, quickly realizing the physical benefits of yoga when his back pain began to disappear after only a couple of weeks.

Justin was in his 4th year of monthly travel to Afghanistan and Iraq as a government contractor when he devoted himself to a daily yoga practice.  Over the last 10 years he served as a communication engineer with a total of 41 temporary duty assignments.  After years of constant travel, Justin realized the effects of the war zone were taking their toll, but he also noticed how the benefits of yoga were offsetting these effects.

During the first year of his yoga practice he observed how yoga helped heal the physical, mental and emotional burdens he carried traveling in and out of war zones.  In 2008 he attended his first yoga/kirtan retreat in Bali, Indonesia, which proved to be the turning point in his spiritual practice. Soon after, Justin began to find clarity, calmness and intuition in his life. This led him to find his Guru, Sri Dharma Mittra at a small humble yoga studio in the heart of NYC. He immediately enrolled in the "DMY Life of a Yogi" teacher training to solely deepen his practice of yoga and self-healing. After graduating from the 200 hour teacher training program, Justin immediately realized he was given a gift. A gift he could share with those around him, especially those who were carrying similar burdens of war. Since 2008 he has completed his 200, 500, and 800 hour Dharma Mittra Yoga, Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra, and Acro Yoga teacher trainings.

His mission is to help others and share the powerful healing benefits of yoga and meditation. He strives to share yoga to those who need it most in life, especially his brothers and sisters of the armed services and veterans who still carry the encumbrance of war with them every day.

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Guest Teacher: Meet Atticus Mooney

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Guest Teacher: Meet Atticus Mooney

We are so excited to introduce our next guest teacher, Atticus Mooney. This radiant beam of light will be visiting Humble Haven on June 16 to lead a Sound Healing Workshop. Atticus curated this workshop to heighten your awareness, restore your energetic balance, and rejuvenate your state of being on a cellular level via a 60 minute asana class followed by a 60 minute soothing and meditative sound bath.

Atticus believes magic lies within the grey area of transitions and unknowns that propels us into transcendent opportunities for self-reflection, connection and growth. Movement and sound are her portals to spirit; as a formally trained dancer, an intuitive and yoga teacher she synthesizes her understanding of form and appreciation of the formless to curate transformational events. As a 500-hour RYT she facilitates yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings internationally; she has taught for the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art, the Kennedy Center and US Botanical Gardens in Washington, DC. She is the visionary founder of bhAva, a community organization that aims to promote conscious connection with substance-free dance parties, Mayan cacao ceremonies and sound healing meditations. Additionally, she is the founder and producer of Ecstatic Dance DC and Baltimore, chapters in a global network of free form conscious dance communities. No matter the form or place, she continues to to be amazed by the power of the human body and spirit. 

The workshop she is bringing to Humble Haven is open to all levels of asana and meditation experience. Crystal singing bowls, which correlate with the chakra meridians in the body, are utilized to guide participants on a deep aural journey.

We are so excited to host her and attend this workshop ourselves! Let's spend the evening together feeling electric and radiant.

Read her full bio below and reserve your space now! 

 

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Community Update: Meet Lindsey Patton

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Community Update: Meet Lindsey Patton

The first time I had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey, I instantly felt happier. Her energy and presence is so bright and upbeat that it's impossible to walk away without some of that rubbing off. After spending a bit more time with Lindsey, I have witnessed that bright light shine in her teaching and in her own practice. She is truly a passionate student of yoga and enthusiastic about sharing her teachings. Within her classes, that brightness shows up in her encouraging words and her excitement shows up in the form of arm balances and inversions. Best of all, that is all balanced with a grounded energy and warm spirit (both from Lindsey and her sequencing).

We are very excited to warmly welcome Lindsey to the Humble Haven team! You can practice with her every Monday evening from 6:45-7:45pm for Warm Vinyasa 2!

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?

Vinyasa, with an emphasis on breaking down inversions and arm balances.  I like to guide students through a nice flow to connect movement with breath, then challenge them to explore options outside of their comfort zones.  Inversions are scary for everyone when first exploring the sensation of being upside down.  I enjoy breaking down this fear barrier and making inversions safe and accessible for all shapes and sizes. 

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?

I’ve always had a lot of respect for my teachers who helped me develop my practice and get to where I am now.  After becoming a Health & Wellness Coach in 2016, I realized my love for yoga and helping others would pair nicely with my new career path.  Timing met opportunity for me to complete my teacher training earlier this year and to pursue my desire to teach others.  

If you had to describe your teaching style in 3 words or less, what would you say?

Let’s get upside-down

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Pincha Mayurasana AKA Forearm Balance

What do you like to do around Richmond?

I enjoy trying new local restaurants, going to concerts, and boating on the James River.  

What’s your favorite food?

I love Japanese food.  I can’t ever turn down sushi or fried rice.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Favorite quote?

“Your positive energy and vision must be greater than anyone’s and everyone’s negativity. Your certainty must be greater than everyone’s doubt.” — Jon Gordon, The Energy Bus

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

I love the staff, students, and styles of yoga offered at Humble Haven, and how I immediately felt welcome. The studio schedule offers a great balance of power and restorative classes, allowing each student the privilege of giving his or her body what it needs.  I am so excited and thankful to begin my teaching journey at Humble Haven!

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

Gooey — 

When can you practice with Lindsey?

Mondays @ 6:45pm

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Community Update:  Meet Amy Walter

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Community Update: Meet Amy Walter

Joining Humble Haven in April 2017 to lead the workshop and YTT training course, Basic Anatomy for Yoga Teachers, Amy Walter comes to Richmond for the Northern Virginia / DC area with a wealth of knowledge to share. Read on to learn more about Amy, her background, and why you should take advantage of her being in Richmond April 8 & 9.  

Amy Walter is a vinyasa yoga instructor, a specialist in the muscular system, and a yoga anatomy instructor.  Amy’s passion about how the human body moves is contagious.  Her anatomy workshops for yoga teachers and students are dynamic interactive explorations of how the body moves and works in asana. She teaches with an appreciation for the diversity and individuality of each human body and how, with the proper modification, anyone can practice and benefit from yoga.

Amy has worked as a specialist in the muscular system since 1995. She began as a personal trainer and became a Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Specialist in 2003.  MAT addresses joint mobility limitations by improving muscular function via highly specific isometric exercise. Amy has practiced yoga for over 20 years. She was inspired to teach after taking a power yoga podcast from Philip Urso in 2009.  Power vinyasa yoga spoke to her, but the thought of teaching was way outside her comfort zone.  In spite of her fear she followed her intuition and completed a 200-hour registered yoga teacher certification in 2011.  She is now completely certain she has found her calling.

Amy’s extensive training in the muscular system and biomechanics comes from a number of exercise physiologists and physical therapists including Greg Roskopf, Gary Gray, Dr. David Tiberio, and Tom Purvis.  Amy conducted a complete cadaver dissection under the supervision and instruction of Gil Hedley in March of 2015. She is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT 500) and an Experienced-RYT 200. She has completed Level 1 and Level 2 Yoga Bootcamps under Baron Baptiste, yoga anatomy training with Ray Long and multiple advanced teacher trainings with Deborah Williamson, Philip Urso and Stacy Dockins.  She currently teaches in Northern Virginia.

Credentials and Trainings: 

  • RYT 200, 2011
  • ERYT 200, 2013
  • ERYT 500, 2015
  • Cadaver Anatomy 2003, 2004, 2015
  • Baptiste Level 1 Bootcamp, 2010
  • Baptiste Level 2 Bootcamp, 2011
  • Certified Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist, 2003-present
  • Resistance Training Specialist Program, 2003
  • Fellow, Gray Institute for Functional Training, 2007

She has studied under Ray Long, MD, Gary Gray, PT, Greg Roskopf, MS, ExSc, Baron Baptiste, Philip Urso, Deb Williamson, Stacy Dockins, Paula Baake, and Tom Purvis, PT

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LINC - Philip & Areatha's Story

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LINC - Philip & Areatha's Story

To ignite the celebration of community surrounding FlowFest, we are offering donation based classes the entire week before FlowFest (starting 06/20). All money raised will be donated to LINC, a Richmond based non-profit dedicated to helping cancer patients, survivors, and their families with the business side of cancer.  Please join us for any of the donation classes next week in support of this wonderful organization (you are welcome to donate whatever you are able, no maximum or minimum). Below is Keith's story, one example of the tremendous gift that LINC offers.

 Phillip’s daughter, Areatha was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the young age of 31. Areatha was strong and brave, but she knew her life was coming to an end, and she turned to LINC to draft life-planning documents and to make arrangements for the custody of her 6-year-old daughter, Myana. Myana’s biological father was completely absent from her life, had a violent criminal history, and didn’t have a permanent address.

 During Areatha’s illness, it was Phillip who took Myana to school, made sure she did her homework, and tucked her in at night. Areatha knew that he was her best option to provide Myana with a stable and loving home in her absence. Aretha’s biggest concern as she battled her cancer was Myana’s well-being, so she talked to Myana’s father, and they all agreed that after Areatha passed, Phillip would file for full custody and Myana’s father would sign a consent form. It was a tragedy that a bright and happy little girl would grow up without a mother, but the biological father’s agreement to allow Myana to remain in the care and custody of her grandfather provided peace of mind to the family prior to Areatha’s passing. 

However, just days after Areatha lost her battle with cancer and Phillip and Myana were consumed with grief, Phillip was shocked to find out that Myana’s father had filed for custody.  All of a sudden, they were embroiled in a difficult custody battle. With nowhere else to turn, Phillip called LINC even though we usually do not get involved in contested custody battles.  Because we knew this family, we felt strongly that we had to get involved to make sure that Phillip’s relationship with and ability to care for Myana were accurately portrayed to the court. LINC knew that Myana’s best interests would be served if Phillip had an advocate to help him through the custody process. 

Because Phillip couldn’t afford a lawyer and didn’t know the first thing about fighting for custody as a third party, LINC put a call out to our network of talented attorneys to find someone to take on the case. Within a few hours of sending out the request, we found an attorney who was willing to take the case. That attorney put in the many long hours of work it took to prove Myana’s father an unfit guardian, all pro bono. 

We are proud to say that Phillip won the custody battle, and Myana is safely and happily in the care of her loving grandfather. Areatha, Phillip, and Myana didn’t have to fight this battle alone thanks to LINC and our network of attorneys, and we will be here to make sure that the next family doesn’t have to either. 

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LINC - Keith’s Story

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LINC - Keith’s Story

To ignite the celebration of community surrounding FlowFest, we are offering donation based classes the entire week before FlowFest (starting 06/20). All money raised will be donated to LINC, a Richmond based non-profit dedicated to helping cancer patients, survivors, and their families with the business side of cancer. Please join us for any of the donation classes next week in support of this wonderful organization (you are welcome to donate whatever you are able, no maximum or minimum). Below is Keith's story, one example of the tremendous gift that LINC offers. 

 Keith contacted LINC for help with several legal issues in preparation for an upcoming surgery to remove cancer from his left leg. Client Services attorney Cris Gantz drafted his life planning documents and advised him on employment and family law issues to ensure his affairs were in order.

After receiving an update from his doctor about his treatment options, Mr. Chantree made the brave decision to have his leg amputated from the knee down to remove his cancer. Prior to being diagnosed, Keith worked a physically demanding job and needed a special type of prosthetic to return to work which would cost over $30,000 out of pocket.

Keith’s insurance denied coverage of all three parts of his prosthetic telling him that he could use crutches for the rest of his life to achieve mobility. He was distraught and needed some guidance to appeal the decision. He called LINC for help and Cris referred him out to The Virginia Bureau of Insurance who was able to advise him on the process and prepare for his appeal and negotiations with his employer.

Keith completed his appeal and successfully got his insurance plan to cover 100% of the cost. The provider will get reimbursed for the prosthetic and the client saved $30,000; Keith can return to his old job and continue with the same earning potential as before his diagnosis.

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Mindfulness:  An Appreciation of Being

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Mindfulness: An Appreciation of Being

Many of us tend to go about our day on autopilot, acting unconsciously or habitually without awareness of what we are doing or why. We just react. Our energy is invested in fixating on the past or focusing on the future, skipping right over our current state of being. We may try to dodge our emotions, avoiding the time and space needed to feel and experience what's going on in our bodies. To just be in our own bodies. 

Because don't we already have too many things to worry about? With our minds already so full, how do we even find time to be mindful? 

I prefer to call mindfulness a way of being. An appreciation for whatever state we happen to be in, without attachments, labels or judgments. That allows for much more leverage in what we're actually experiencing, so that those feelings that we typically try to dodge-- the doubts, fears, confusions, guilt, shame, etcetera – have purpose and meaning in our lives. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being caught up in those moments of discomfort; for it’s in the time of discomfort that we find comfort, when we acknowledge exactly what we’re feeling and why so that we can release it. 

In yoga, our breath is the foundation for a mindful practice. It allows us to slow everything down in the brain in order to create space between thoughts and actions. It helps us to practice patience in transition and stay in the flow. A mindful practice does not fixate on a certain destination. It's an exploration through movement and breath where we get to venture into the workings of our minds -- the sensations, thoughts and emotions. More dance, less straitjacket.  


Of course we will wobble and stumble and fall completely out at times, but if we have that breath – that mindfulness – as our anchor and stability, then we can move through this dance that allows us to be okay with whatever comes up along the way. We may surprise ourselves, finding moments where we notice changes in our bodies or a deepening in our practice. Maybe a pose on one side of our body feels completely different on the other, and that’s okay. Maybe we nailed a posture yesterday but can’t quite get there today. And that’s okay, too. Whatever happened five minutes ago or whatever will happen five minutes from now does not matter. It's where we are right in this very moment that matters most. 


Mindfulness doesn’t strive to look or be a certain way, nor should we. If you are frustrated, be frustrated. If you are ecstatic, be ecstatic. Let the mind ebb and flow, just like your practice. Yesterday, you were where you were supposed to be. Tomorrow, you will be where you’re supposed to be. And in this very moment, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. 
Breathe, feel and appreciate it all.


Inhale, exhale.  Inhale, exhale.

 

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Original State

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Original State

About an hour into a conversation about restoration someone asked, “well wait…what IS restoration?”. After a lengthy pause, the elicited answers came up quite interesting and diverse. Some instantly associated restoration with sleeping while others associated it with exercising. Some needed alone time while others cited quality conversation and connection. Many in the group agreed that those simple, daily reminders helped keep them restored - like drinking plenty of water or maintaining good posture. Throughout the investigation into restoration it became clear that there wasn’t one simple answer. And not all the answers rang true for everyone. 

 By definition, restoration is the act or process of returning something to its original condition. As a sentient, modern, and adult human being, this may seem like a daunting and laughable task. How do we possibility return ourselves to our original condition? And what does that mean? Is our original condition simply infancy or childhood? Or is our original condition that happy, peaceful place we were before life happened? Whichever it is, consider it. Consider your original condition. Void of heavy thoughts or responsibilities. Finding joy and excitement in the tiniest things. Behaving entirely free, without focus or worry about what you look like or how you are perceived. Focused on finding the good. How now, with responsibilities and expectations and the buildup of life, do we return ourselves to that place? With the newness of life worn off, how to find wonder again in it?

 It is undeniable that the longest relationship of your life will be with yourself. And just like every relationship, the one with self deserves and needs to be cared for and nurtured. Spending time in restoration allows you the opportunity to nurture yourself. To hear your own thoughts. To appreciate your own subtleties. To help restore your energy. To help reshape your relationship to everything. 

 Instead of hustling and worrying so hard that you need a weeklong vacation to turn off and reboot, what if you took 10 minutes of everyday to do something restorative. Or approached every situation from a calmer, more balanced place? Answer that original question for yourself - what is restorative for you? And how to you infuse more of that into your life?

 Try a group activity where there is little to no chatter, like a yoga or meditation class. Take a restorative yoga class. Take walks by yourself. Go grocery shopping with headphones in and mellow music playing. Read a book at a coffee shop you have never been to before. Exercise. Have your own private dance party.

 Make your home a sanctuary. Create a space that feels clean, clear, inspiring, cozy, and fresh. So that when you come home from your responsibilities and obligations, you come home to a haven, a place of happiness and peace.

 When alone by default, whether in the bathroom or on your commute, avoid your phone. Resist the urge to call or text someone or check social media. Pamper yourself in a lengthy bath with nourishing scrubs or oils. Journey into nature. Journal. Breath.

In any of these occasions, allow yourself to be fully present. Steep yourself fully in whatever you have chosen as your restorative practice. Sit with yourself through any silence, through any stillness. Be fully immersed in yourself, no matter how silly or awkward it may feel. Breathe into your renewal. You just may find yourself seeing the newness and joy once again.

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