Equanimity

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Equanimity

We create balance in our lives for ourselves.  We cannot stumble upon balance – it’s counterintuitive.  Sometimes, we wish we could though – right? Isn’t that why, to some extent, we drag ourselves on our yoga mats – to find some semblance of balance?  If we just allow ourselves to breathe - all our stress, muscular tension, emotional baggage –it will drop away?

We enter our yoga practice full of hope and, yes – maybe a bit of expectation – to feel better, breathe deeper, become more present.  We want to find the gems that are promised through a daily yoga practice, but how often does this feel like some kind of quest?  While we seek to find balance, we come up against stuff that holds us back.  Perhaps it’s your mind telling you a story about your experience.  Maybe, you experience physical sensations that make you uncomfortable.  There’s always that person next to you that is doing something “better” and you spiral away from the strength of your practice and end up feeling less than.  What happened to our balance?

Baptiste Yoga defines equanimity as “meeting life as it meets you, calmly – without drama or fuss.” 

So, the stuff that comes up in our practice – we breathe into that.  The stories that float around in our minds – we watch them and say, “hello.”  With every exhalation, we let part of the story go.  When you experience intense physical sensations, can you be with that; maintain an even temper with your steady ujayii breath?  When you begin to witness your internal dialogue compare to another yogi in the room, can you bring your attention back to your essence; your strength to be present with those feelings and emotions and cultivate the power from within, to appreciate the unique experience you are having in your own body?

We practice meeting ourselves on our mat so that we can cultivate an awareness of ourselves that translates to the circumstances of our lives in the real world.  We might begin to notice how we feed uncomfortable feelings that surface off of the mat.  Instead of acting on a craving, we stay. We work to understand the information the craving acknowledges rather than reacting, and we begin to weather the storm. We try, again and again.

Equanimity is the strength to see ourselves for who we truly are at our core, stripped away from the moment to moment.  In every experience, we learn that we ultimately meet ourselves. When we realize this truth, we set ourselves free.  When you trust you are unwavering in your essence, you can face every circumstance head on.  You have unlimited space in this world to be 110% you.  

How do we create balance?  It begins and ends with our breath - both on and off the mat.

Photo Credit: Wanderlust Photography

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Presently Pissed:  An Uncomfortable Journey to the Now

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Presently Pissed: An Uncomfortable Journey to the Now

"When you surrender to what is and become so fully present, the past ceases to have any power. The realm of Being, which had been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace there is great joy. And within that joy there is love. And at the innermost core there is the sacred, the immeasurable, That which cannot be named." – Eckhart Tolle

I was first introduced to yoga as I imagine many of us were, through the physical practice, the asana.  As I moved my body to create the shapes being described by my guides, my teachers, I listened to them speak of being present and, often as my physical practice goes, I responded to their words with my own internal dialogue. Their words "be here now" playing to the beat of my breath and my thoughts of what was presently happening playing back in my mind.  

Our mind is a beautiful instrument designed to think, analyze, wander, and dream, but it is not always the best for guiding.  Several years after beginning my yoga journey I was attending my second training with teacher Sonia Sumar and Yoga for the Special Child.  We began each day with Sadhana, a morning practice involving meditation, chanting, and asana.  It was towards the end of our week together when we sat in meditation for about 45 minutes.  As I moved through the asana practice that followed I found myself overcome with feelings of agitation,  even anger.  

My day had begun like any other day that week.  Rising before the sun, a quiet walk through Brooklyn while the city that never sleeps was seemingly at a standstill, a subway ride to Manhattan filled with my favorite music ringing through my headphones, and morning Sadhana.  I had arrived on my mat grateful for the opportunity to be a student for another day, to practice a discipline that I loved.  The uncomfortable feelings that arose during my meditation stayed with me throughout the day and when our time was up, I may have very well looked like one of those cartoon characters with a cloud of dust behind scampering feet.  I was out. Gone. In a full speed soul sprint towards anywhere but there with the emotional and mental discomfort. 

I walked through the streets of Greenwich village thankful to be done with the day.  I walked to meet my sisters and mom who were visiting. As we walked the High Line together I deflected.  I was agitated because I was tired, because I disagreed with the material we covered that day, because I was throwing darts at an empty wall of explanation for the feelings that had come up.  The longer I walked, the longer I talked, the more I deflected, the more I removed myself from that situation, and the better I thought I was feeling. 

The next day I woke up feeling completely different, like I had never been agitated or angry at all.  There's something about a new day's sun that can have that effect on your world.  I walked through a quiet Brooklyn, I hopped the subway, I arrived in the studio, I took my seat on my mat, I began my Sadhana.  During our group discussion that followed I shared my experience from the day before. I told Sonia and my fellow yogis about my feelings, but reassured them, and myself, that I felt totally fine today! I must have figured it all out! 

Sonia, looked at me soulfully as only someone who has practiced the discipline of yoga for so many years can and said, " don't just say 'now everything is fine'." She went on to explain and encourage us to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, to explore them.  When we run from them, we are never really giving ourselves the opportunity to let them go.   

I truly believe that the practice of that week, and particularly that morning, had led me to an opportunity to be truly and fully present.  As Eckhart Tolle's words read, a moment of great stillness, of unfathomable peace was rising within me. To reach those moments of peace, of great joy, of tapping into something sacred at our core, we often have to travel through feelings of discomfort.  We have to move past moments of hardship that we pushed down deep and take the opportunity to confront those feelings and finally move past, completely letting go.  

The practice of being present can begin by simply dropping the to do list of your day, of ceasing to create the grocery list for your errand on the way home.  Practice this over and over and over until the internal dialogue begins to quiet and when you encounter something deeper, something fuller, and something possibly uncomfortable, don't run from it.  Stay. Sit with it.  You are being given the gift of finally letting the past be the past to be fully joyful in the present.  

 

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Community Update: Meet Shannon Harrison

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Community Update: Meet Shannon Harrison

You know when someone walks into a room and you can instantly feel their presence? Yeah, Shannon Harrison has that vibe about her.  Shannon first graced Humble Haven with her presence when she came in to take one of our evening power classes.  She instantly greeted everyone around her with a wide smile and, if you were lucky, a warm hug.  

It was on her second visit that I got to chat with Shannon and learn a little more about her and by her third visit I felt like I have known her for years.  Shannon took her first yoga class when she was 15 and began her journey as a teacher last winter, completing her 200 hour training with YogaWorks in February 2015.  Shannon will be joining Humble Haven on Saturdays for Warm Vinyasa, 12pm-1pm. Come flow with her and keep reading to learn more about this fabulous woman.  

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

A: My favorite style of class to teach is whatever the students ask for because I like providing what is essential to them for that day.

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

A: I wanted to share what l've learned because of how it has positively impacted my life.

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

A: lnstinctively (naturally) being (the essence of a person)

Q: What's your favorite yoga pose?

A: Urdhva Dhanurasana

Q: What do you like to do around Richmond?

A: Ride my bike and take trailwalks by the river

Q: What's your favorite food?

A: Broccoli

Q: Tea or Coffee?

A: Momings are coffee, straight up, strong and black. Afternoons are herlcal tea times.

Q: Favorite quote:

A: "l am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may leam how to do it."- Pablo Picasso

Q: Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

A: The energy is positive, the atmosphere is inviting and l'm blessed to join such an incredibly authentic community.

Q: What's your favorite song to practice to?

A: Let's Be Still by The Head and the Heart

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Community Update: Meet Mina Vucic

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Community Update: Meet Mina Vucic

A collegiate athlete, Mina Vucic tried her hand at yoga to explore a new form of exercise to build strength and flexibility.  The strong physical practice of power yoga also gave Mina insight into a new way of living.  When you take Mina's class you are immediately aware of her extensive knowledge of the physical form. She offers distinctively accurate cues to assist in aligning the body in a safe and effective way.  You will also find yourself laughing throughout the class as Mina exudes an upbeat, light energy that is encouraging and empowering at the same time.  We are so lucky to have Mina join us at Humble Haven!  Learn a little more about her as you continue reading.  

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

Power yoga. It was the first style of yoga I tried and the physicality and flow of the practice immediately hooked me. It always leaves me feeling rinsed and renewed. I want my students to feel that too. 

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

Yoga transformed my body in a powerful way after being a swimmer my whole life. I was able to maintain strength but also feel at ease in my body. I became passionate about introducing yoga to athletes and people who have never experienced it. Yoga is such amazing complement to any other form of physical activity. It will help you with what you love, whether it's swimming, cross fit, marathon running, etc. for longer! 

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

Body alignment.

What’s your favorite yoga pose? 

Any variation of pigeon. My hips need the love!

What do you like to do around Richmond? 

Explore new neighborhoods. Right now it's Church Hill. Richmond may be small but each area has its own unique vibe and amazing restaurants are always popping up left and right. I can't keep up!

What’s your favorite food? 

Eggs any style. I love breakfast. 

Tea or Coffee?

I'm a bit of a coffee snob, so definitely coffee. Lately I've also been into bedtime tea.

Favorite quote?

Be humble for you are made of earth, be noble for you are made of stars. - Serbian proverb 

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga? 

I love the energy in the studio and I'm excited to be a part of it.  I feel like Humble Haven is investing roots into the RVA community, and that's one of the most important things for me. I can't wait to see what lies ahead! 

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

I like silence when I practice. It's one of the few times in my day when I get it. 

When can you practice with Mina? 

Fridays at 5:30pm and select Sundays at 4pm

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Community Update: Meet Elizabeth Sobka

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Community Update: Meet Elizabeth Sobka

I was fortunate to meet Elizabeth when she attended one of my classes at the studio.  Her presence in the yoga room is a powerful one that delivers a cool, calm energy all at the same time.  When I realized Elizabeth was a fellow teacher, I couldn't wait to take her class and her ability to hold space as a leader is so natural while her cues and sequencing are a reflection of her own exploration as a student.  

No stranger to the Richmond yoga community, Elizabeth has been teaching throughout the area for the past several years.  We are lucky to have join us! Read on to learn more about Elizabeth and then grab your mat and get to her class.  

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

I fell in love with yoga by way of the Baptiste sequence, so I always start there. I like to go beyond that sequence and infuse the practice with other styles of yoga – Vinyasa, Yin, Ashtanga – whenever possible without disrupting the flow. The most important piece is flow.

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

When I find something that impacts my life in a positive way, it’s impossible for me not to share it. That goes for anything – kombucha, fish oil, an amazing massage therapist, you name it. Yoga has had possibly the greatest impact on my life to date, it was a no brainer to start teaching and share that goodness with my community.

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

Slow, fast, slow.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Child’s Pose. I’ve had some profound moments there.

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Walk. I’ve lived in the Fan for 9 years and love how easy it is to walk almost everywhere I need to go – even if I don’t always take the option. I’m a beach person, so I never thought the river was something to get excited about, but recently that’s won me over too.

What’s your favorite food?

Bacon, eggs, and buckwheat pancakes from The Daily. I love breakfast.

Tea or Coffee?

Before 10am, coffee – always black. Afternoon is tea time.

Favorite quote?

“The prize is in the process.”  - Baptiste

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

The other teachers! I’m cannot wait to try out everyone’s classes – especially Restorative.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

“The Lime Tree” by Trevor Hall has been a playlist staple for years. It does that slow-fast-slow thing – it’s like you can fit a whole practice into one song if you only had 4 minutes.  

When can you practice with Elizabeth? 

Tuesdays, 4:45pm-5:45pm

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Community Update: Meet Suzi Rice

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Community Update: Meet Suzi Rice

I first had the pleasure of meeting Suzi during a couple of free classes Humble Haven was offering around the Shockoe Slilp neighborhood before opening.  Suzi had recently moved to Richmond and started working a few blocks from the studio when she walked by and saw the 'Opening Soon' sign.  During our initial emails, I learned that Suzi had just come back to the US after traveling the world, exploring, teaching, and training.  Needless to say, I had to meet her and hopefully be accepted as her friend. 

After a couple drinks and what could have been an endless conversation about why we love teaching, what we believe in, and what seemed like endless shared passions, I felt excited and lucky to have Suzi be a part of Humble Haven Yoga's community and share her giving energy.  Keep reading to learn more about Suzi on and off her mat. 

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

Power Vinyasa because it integrates breath and movement in a powerful, explorative and playful way.

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

I felt like taking a class wasn’t enough. I wanted to learn more and share the transformative power of yoga with everyone.  I felt passionate about inspiring inner learning and acceptance in individuals as so many of my teachers had inspired in me.

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

Accept yourself.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Half-pigeon

What do you like to do around Richmond?

I love walking around the city and stopping in coffee shops to chat or read.

What’s your favorite food?

Sweet potato anything                                                                    

Tea or Coffee?

Both. A dirty Chai is my jam.

Favorite quote?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

I am infinitely grateful to be included in building an incredible and inspiring community of like-minded people and sharing good vibes and transformative energy.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

Anything that creates energy and I don’t know the words to.  While I love music in class, I get out of my head when I hear songs I know.  In my self-practice, I practice without tunes and focus on by breath forcing me in the moment.

When can you practice with Suzi? 

Wednesday mornings 7:30am-8:30am and Thursday evenings 6pm-7:15pm, both Hot Power. 


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Community Update: Meet Margo Buchanan

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Community Update: Meet Margo Buchanan

You know those people that you meet and quickly realize that you have, 1. definitely met at some other point in your life but just can't quite put your finger on when, and/or 2. were certainly destined to meet at some point and time.  Margo Buchanan is one of those people for me.  It could have been the gaggle of mutual friends that connected us thanks to the wonderful world of social media or the instant connection we made over our passion for power yoga and all that it can teach those willing to become a student of it.  

I admire Margo's thirst as a yoga student and discipline as a teacher to remain a student of the style she loves so much.  If you haven't had the opportunity to flow with Margo yet at Humble Haven...what are you waiting for? Step in, she will meet you there! Keep reading to learn more about this amazing teacher we are happy to have be a part of this community.  

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

Heated Power Yoga because the practice is challenging both physically and mentally and the heat is great added detox.

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

Just the very thought of being able to be part of someone else experiencing the type of journey I have had through practicing yoga gives me goosebumps. 

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

Don’t hold back.

What’s your favorite yoga pose? 

Wheel. I can always count on wheel to give me energy and heighten my mood.

What do you like to do around Richmond? 

I love that Richmond always has a new restaurant popping up. I can be easily be found at one of them.

What’s your favorite food? 

Chocolate 

Tea or Coffee? 

Coffee (with a blueberry scone on the side )

Favorite quote? 

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” - Charles R. Swindol

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga? 

More than anything, I am excited about being a part of a community in my neighborhood full of amazing people sharing relentlessly with each other. 

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

While I love music, I prefer practicing without. Listening to my breath and that of others during practice is a part of what makes this practice meditative and heightens my awareness to what is going on in my body and mind.

When can you practice with Margo? 

4:30PM Thursdays and 4PM Sundays


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Community Update:  Meet Rachel North

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Community Update: Meet Rachel North

You hopefully have had the chance to practice with Rachel already since the studio has opened, but if not, it's time to get to her class, and fast.  One of the things that I have learned from Rachel is that she's the perfect balance of power and play.  You will find yourself pushing to your physical edge while simultaneously feeling at ease mentally.  This balance is hard to come by, but so natural in Rachel's teaching. Keep reading to learn more about Rachel and what she is like on and off the mat.  

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

I love teaching Power Flow because it is the style of yoga that I originally connected with.  Its messages of empowerment and physical and interpersonal strength can be so impactful for a practitioner. 

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

Yoga made such a difference in how I am able to live and I want others to experience that.  

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

Keep it simple. 

What’s your favorite yoga pose?  

Savasana – sometimes it’s the hardest!  

What do you like to do around Richmond?  

Take advantage of the river and the craft brewing culture that’s growing quickly! 

What’s your favorite food?  

Anything in the realm of a vegetable. 

Tea or Coffee?  Coffee 

Favorite quote?  

It ain’t the heat. It’s the humility.  –Yogi Berra  

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?  

I’m so grateful to be a part of the community – the space is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and I can’t wait to help bring more power flow to Richmond.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?  

I prefer to practice without music – it helps me to stay present!

When can you practice with Rachel? 

Tuesday at 6PM and Thursday at 6AM

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Community Update: Meet Marisa Atula

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Community Update: Meet Marisa Atula

As human beings, we all have unique journeys that bring us to this present moment (literally as you read this blog post, right here, right now).  For those of us that have chosen a path to become lifelong students in order to teach, it is no different.  Many teachers that I meet are practitioners of one lineage of yoga (Integral Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga), but every now and then I meet teachers where many lineages speak to them as students. This has been my own personal experience as well because it is my true belief that our asana, or physical, yoga practice is a translation to allow us to interpret the unified principles behind what yoga really is.  

When I first met Marisa Atula, this shared experience is one that I felt really connected us. Beginning her journey as a teacher, Marisa completed her 200 hour certification through CorePower Yoga in 2013. In 2014 she ventured to India, earning her 300 hour certification at the Anand Prakash Ashram under the guidance of Yogrishi Vishvketu. She is also a Holistic Health Coach, certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  

I personally am excited to learn from Marisa and practice with her. Learn more about Marisa below! 

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

I enjoy teaching many different styles but restorative may be my favorite. Many people are moving so quickly and have so much going on, that stress can completely take over. I love being able to provide students the space and tools to fully release their tension. 

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

Quite simply, I wanted to deepen my knowledge and share with others the amazing tools that have been so beneficial to me.

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

grounding, nurturing, encouraging

What’s your favorite yoga pose? 

There are too many to choose! Currently I’ve been loving fish pose (matsyasana). At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but with the intense heart and throat opening, backbend, crown stimulation, and ab stretch it can be refreshingly intense. As a health coach and wellness nerd, it gets extra love for the fact that traditional text calls it the "destroyer of all diseases".

What do you like to do around Richmond? 

I just moved back to Richmond after 8 years away…so I’m enjoying rediscovering the city! So far I’m reminiscing in quality coffee shops, farmers markets, and moseys in the Fan. 

What’s your favorite food? 

too much to choose from! usually it’s organic, seasonal, and local

Tea or Coffee? 

non-dairy latte in the morning, herbal tea in the evening

Favorite quote? 

There are two: the cliche but profound “be the change you wish to see in the world” and the following from Christopher Poindexter: “tonight I lifted my hands & worshiped the moon for no reason other than it was there. some things are just that simple & they should never, never be made complicated."

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga? 

It was very obvious upon meeting the owner Suzanne and walking into the space that this studio has been built with intention. The vision of the studio is clear and honorable and Suzanne is genuine.  It’s name rings true...with the beautiful architecture of Shockoe Bottom and loads of pure light flooding in, the space is truly a haven. I believe it will provide a safe place for students to practice humbly, free of judgement. I am humbled to be able to teach in this space and look forward to connecting with all friends of Humble Haven!

What’s your favorite song to practice to? 

It’s impossible to pin down one song! Music, especially when practicing, can inspire so many different emotions. So my preference changes with the practice, season, and general mood. That said, lately these have been on repeat: Sky With Hand by Blue Sky Black Death, So Long Lonesome by Explosions In The Sky, and Devi Prayer by Craig Pruess and Ananda

When can you practice with Marisa? 

Sunday at 5:30pm, Restorative. 

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Community Update: Meet Laura McNeill

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Community Update: Meet Laura McNeill

While Laura is not new to the Richmond yoga community, she is new to Humble Haven Yoga and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her be a part of the family.  Since starting her practice over a decade ago, Laura has gone on to complete both her 200-hour and 500-hour teaching certifications, as well as teach over 1000 hours within the Richmond community.  

I first met Laura when I took her class.  I was instantly drawn to her teaching style as it incorporates the fluidity so vital to vinyasa yoga, but also carries an undertone of intensity integral in the power practice.  Laura's connection to the practice of yoga and her students was undeniable.  By the time the hour class was over, I felt as if I knew Laura.  Read more about what Laura brings to the yoga room and what she shares outside of it.  

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

My favorite class to teach is a Vinyasa Flow class because its primary focus is on the breath and seamlessly flowing from one pose to the next in perfect unison with the breath. I believe that unlike many physical pursuits, yoga is a lifelong, sustainable practice and that yoga is truly for everyone.

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

I wanted to teach yoga so that I could share and spread this incredible practice with others. I was also drawn to the sense of community that comes with yoga and the people that are a part of it.

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

light hearted, challenging and informative

What is your favorite yoga pose?

My favorite yoga pose is Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). This pose sends energy and strength through every muscle!

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Walk, walk and walk some more from the Fan to Carytown to the Bottom and back! I also like to explore all the new shops, breweries, and restaurants that Richmond has to offer.

Whatʼs your favorite food?

Avocados.

Tea or Coffee?

Both.

Favorite Quote.

“You were born with potential.

You were born with goodness and trust.

You were born with ideals and dreams.

You were born with greatness.

You were born with wings.

You are not meant for crawling, so don't. 

You have wings. 

Learn to use them and fly.” Rumi

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

I am excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga because it is in the Bottom, it is heated and it will offer a fresh, new perspective.

Whatʼs your favorite song to practice to?

Angelʼs Prayer sung by Amy Ippoliti

When can you practice with Laura? 

Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30AM! 

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Community Update:  Meet Anna Strahs Watts

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Community Update: Meet Anna Strahs Watts

There are a million "things" that play a part in making a dream become a reality.  Over the past several months I've realized that its often the items that were low on the priority list that are consistently now at the top (throat clear...storage). However,  its been my experience that the people who play roles in this "dream becomes a reality" transformation are above and beyond the most important. 

One of the things that I loved about 13 S 13th Street was, not just all the thirteens, but the people that I got to work with. The minute I walked into our now studio, it felt warm. Loved. So, when one of these prized members of "Humble Haven build out team 2016" introduced me to his friend who happens to be a yoga teacher, I had to listen.  

I'm lucky that my architect keeps such good company because it's what allows Anna Strahs Watts to be a part of the Humble Haven family. When Anna and I first sat down over coffee, I realized that while our paths to becoming yoga teachers were not identical, they were parallel in many ways and I knew there was so much that I could learn from her and so much she could share and teach a community of students.  

Read a little bit more about Anna below and come practice with her soon! 

What is your favorite style of class to teach and why?
I love vinyasa because it’s like dancing on a mat.  It’s so easy to get to a space in my head where the rest of the world melts away – the ultimate quiet time.

What made you want to go beyond just practicing yoga and start teaching?
I wanted an opportunity to learn more about the craft I was spending so much of my personal time invested in, and I love being able to share something that has changed my life with others.

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

What’s your favorite yoga pose?
Right now, Pincha Mayurasana (forearm stand) – because I can be upside down without putting pressure on my cranky wrists!

What do you like to do around Richmond?
All the things! Go to other people’s yoga classes, hit the trails at Forest Hill Park, eat gluten free muffins at WPA Bakery, hang out in my girlfriends living rooms. Love the VMFA and Lamplighter and random walks with my camera.

What’s your favorite food?
Probably chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  (I’m being serious.) I also love straight off the farm eggs… the ones with the bright yolks.

Tea or Coffee?  Tea. Definitely decaffeinated tea.

Favorite quote?
Stewart Brown
founder, National Institute for Play

"Most people think that the opposite of play is work (especially in the corporate world) but the opposite is boredom or even depression. To me, play is what you're passionate about doing. You want to do it because it's enjoyable and you want to keep doing it because it brings you joy. But play is a ton of effort.”

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?
Mostly because of the community – a group of likeminded people turning up the heat in and out of the studio J

What’s your favorite song to practice to?
This definitely depends on the day, but I always love Jubel (Klingande). I think the minute this song starts my shoulders start moving away from my ears.

When can you practice with Anna? Wednesday 6am-7am Warm Vinyasa

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Community Update: Meet Allison Walton

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Community Update: Meet Allison Walton

Have you ever met someone so genuinely nice you wish you could bottle up their energy and sprinkle it out into the world so every one could share in the joy that single person possesses? That person is Allison Walton and I am so glad that she is a teacher of yoga.  

Despite both growing up in Richmond and both attending Virginia Tech at the same time, Allison and I's paths never crossed until recently.  After connecting through the magical world of Facebook and realizing that we worked and lived within just a few blocks of each other, we finally got to sit down and get to know one another.  I know that you too will catch her contagious, positive energy after getting to know her. Read more about Allison below and come practice with her at Humble Haven soon! 

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

Vinyasa. It’s meditation in movement that encompasses creative freedom and self-expression, allowing us to surrender the ego and release all that does not serve us. 

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

The decision to pursue yoga teacher training took place during a very transitional, but beautiful time in my life. After latching on to the practice while living in NYC and a slight nudge from a dear friend and mentor, I took the leap. As a teacher, you’re always learning, growing, and refining to create your own authentic and unique style that is far more rewarding than words can even begin to describe.

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

An emphasis on: music, exploration and breath.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

I currently have three. Dancer, pigeon and wheel. A combination of hip openers, heart openers and back bends are yoga umami for me. 

What do you like to do around Richmond?

Discovering all of the wonderful hidden gems, because there are now so many of them! Lamplighter, Subrosa Bakery, NaNin, Rosewood Clothing Co, Harvest Grocery + Supply, Ellwood Thompson’s, Saison and Deep Groove are a few local favorites that are near and dear to my heart. Whether it’s sharing a good meal, glass of wine, shopping local for new home goods and pantry staples or flipping through vinyls on a Sunday afternoon, I just adore the incredibly supportive and progressive community that exists here.

What’s your favorite food?

Now that’s a loaded question. Those that know me well understand my obsession with avocados. I’ll find a way to put them in and on nearly everything. I also love a good stack of banana pancakes with the works every now and again. And speaking of Subrosa, their morning buns and pistachio & sour cherry croissants are golden. Really, I could go on and on.

Tea or Coffee?

Herbal coffee and matcha lattes are my morning vices.

 Favorite quote?

Your path is yours alone. It's not to be understood or tamed and needs no reasoning. The path is the service of the heart. Worthy of every adventure of rising, falling, and shining. – Stephanie Birch (@stephynow)

 Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

Suzanne's vision for Humble Haven Yoga is a dream. It is truly going to be such a magical and sacred space, filled with so much warmth, love and good energy. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this exciting journey and look forward to sharing my love of the practice with this amazing community. Can't wait to meet and practice with all of you wonderful humans!

 What’s your favorite song to practice to?

I go through phases of favorite songs, so it all depends on my current mood and whether I'm looking to dial it up or down. I enjoy creating playlist upon playlist to align with the change in seasons or to connect with the energy of the practice. Recent appearances include:

 Brownlow, Lapsley

Young, Vallis Alps

Bill Murray, Phantogram

Cigarettes and Chocolate, Chet Faker

Husks and Shells, Volcano Choir (savasana quencher)

When can you practice with Allison? 

Tuesday & Thursday 7:30-8:30PM - Warm Candlelight Vinyasa 

Sunday 10:00-11:15AM - Warm Vinyasa


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Community Update:                     Meet Aimee Yowell

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Community Update: Meet Aimee Yowell

If I had a choice, I would have every conversation face-to-face but sometimes distance and time doesn't allow for that and we are lucky to have technology that connects us with friends, family, and sometimes complete strangers.  I first started talking with Aimee Yowell via email and then luckily over the phone.  It didn't take long for Aimee to change from a stranger to a friend.  The first time I reached out to her, we ended up chatting for almost an hour and I probably could have talked to her the whole afternoon. 

I was first connected to Aimee by a mutual friend and colleague.  The more we got to know each other the more excited I have become to open Humble Haven's space to Aimee and her teaching. She will be joining Humble Haven come January when we open our doors in downtown Richmond, VA.  Continue reading and get to know Aimee even better.  

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

Vinyasa, it is a moving meditation to the breath, a dance with the divine. It doesn’t get much better.

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

I just loved yoga, I was thinking of opening a studio around a decade ago,  and thought it might be a good idea to be prepared to sub in case a teacher didn’t show. I started getting several offers to teach and discovered I loved it, and haven’t looked back. I guess it was my dharma. … and the unfolding of my life.

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

Meditative, fluid, rhythmic

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

Savasana, isn’t that everyones?

What do you like to do around Richmond?  

Walk, explore the river, admire the historic architecture and century old trees.

What’s your favorite food?

Besides coffee, probably Italian

Tea or Coffee?  

Love both, especially green tea, but strong dark coffee is like water to me

Favorite quote?

Martha Graham, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through another medium and will be lost.”

Why are you excited to teach at Humble Haven Yoga?

Suzanne, the owner, has wonderful intentions. She is genuine, and holds each of her teachers and her studio as a sacred space so that we can be true instruments, vessels, and connect to that oneness of being, of the humanness and divinity within us all, plus, the studio is such an amazing space to practice and teach in!

I hope my teaching enables each student to find and connect to their own unique, divine light that has never been and will never come again, and through the opening of breath and asana they will fuel that light and allow it to shine brighter, and most authentically.

What’s your favorite song to practice to?

Live drumming can be very nice. There are so many artists I love to practice to. Some of my favorite aare Al Green, America, Aretha Franklin, Bahramji and Maneesh De Moor, The Beatles, Bill Withers, CSNY, DJ Drez, Ben Leinbach, John De Kadt, TJ Rehmi, to name a few. I taught a class to all Prince music once for New Years.  Sometimes its tamboura, sometimes its jazz, funk, blues, rock, or reggae. That’s the beauty and freedom of vinyasa. 

When can you practice with Aimee? 

Tuesday and Friday 6am-7am, Warm Vinyasa (room heated to 85 degrees)

  

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Yoga for Every Body

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Yoga for Every Body

In the words of Sonia Sumar, “By letting go of our fears and negativity, and learning to see the best in ourselves and others, we can provide a powerful impetus for positive change.  It is through this ability to go beyond preconceived notions and external appearances that we can transform our lives and those of our children.”

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Yoga Teachers. We're Human Too.

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Yoga Teachers. We're Human Too.

My yoga crush didn't turn to love instantly, it took several years to take a once a week practice to a "I'm not going to feel normal until I roll out my mat and sweat my ass off" every day kind of practice.  And, maybe like many of you, it took finding a teacher that I really jived with to want to take my practice to the next level.  During this stage of my yogi life, I assumed all yoga teachers rolled out of bed, rolled out their mat, and naturally looked like this:

But it's just like I tell my new students, all of us took our first yoga class at some point.  If you think that the guy next to you in class that's standing on his head and touching his forehead on his toes has always been able to do that, you would likely be wrong.

For my students that look at me like I have 5 heads when I say "WHEEL POSE", and yes I say it in all caps, I do mean it and I do mean YOU can do it.  For my students who think standing on your head or your hands seems impossible, trust me, I've been there and a lot of times, still am. 

The truth is, our physical yoga practice IS hard.  Most of us are actually born extremely flexible, but we have to work to keep that flexibility throughout our lives, just as we do our strength. It's the willingness to let things be messy and not "perfect" that makes us better yogis.  Embrace the idea of instant forgiveness, let it go (this idea was not original to Princess Elsa) and just be in the moment whether that moment is a totally radical, out of body experience or an unexpected fart you will surely pretend like you didn't hear much less release. Be patient, be accepting, the change will come. 


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Where in the World is Humble Haven Yoga?

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Where in the World is Humble Haven Yoga?

The last time I wrote something for Humble Haven Yoga was in June 2013. I repeat. June 2013. Lets be honest, this is probably more startling to me than it is to you. The scariest part is, I had to literally sit back and think what has happened between then and now. Where have I been? What have I accomplished?

I assume if you are still reading this, I've gotten your attention. So here are a few highlights from the past (almost) 2 years.  

1. I got married. My name is no longer Suzanne Lovern, it's now Suzanne Burns.  For those of you who have met my husband, you know that I had to marry him in order to keep my friends.  If we were ever to break up, they would likely have picked him over me. To put it more simply, he's awesome.

2. I went to Africa. Kenya to be exact.  It was part of the whole wedding package.  Africa, more so the people in Kenya, changed my life.  There are a million places that I want to travel to in this world but I am declaring right now that I will return to Samburu. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. 

3. I learned, A LOT. My 200 hour teaching certification was my gateway drug.  I have wanted nothing more than to learn more, absorb more, experience more ever since completing it.  I like to think that there has been someone or something guiding me along my training path because I have been lucky enough to find remarkable women to learn from. 

4. I quit my job, well, one of them.  This update could also be called "I reprioritized".  I took a step back and realized I have one chance at this lifetime and I'm going to enjoy it.  I'm lucky enough to have found something I'm passionate about while I am still in my twenties (I pinch myself everytime I say this out loud or think about it).  There's only so many times you can ask yourself "why am I not focusing 100% of my energy on what I love most?" before your soul, gut, heart, whatever speaks loudest to you, takes over and calls the shots.    

There are a lot of moments, steps, and happenings, that got me to this place and more to come on all of them as well as any adventures that come my way in the future.  So to all of my loyal Humble Haven followers, near and far supporters, believers, and even doubters, stay tuned for what's next. I'm looking forward to the ride ahead.  In the meantime, enjoy the snapshots below. 


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