Teacher Feature ~ Heidi Kaurin-Smith

Heidi teaches Begin every Wednesday night at 7 pm.

Favorite pose and why?
Child's pose with a block under the heart.  It immediately reduces stress as an act of surrender.

First introduced to yoga?
After the birth of my twins, yoga helped strengthen my abs and low back, helping me recover from pregnancy and carrying around two growing babies.

10 words or less on why you love yoga?
It creates a strong connection between mind and body.

How does your practice make you stronger?
Through asana my body teaches my mind what is going on in the background of my thinking life.  I can digest my issues while strengthening muscles.

How do you remain grounded outside the yoga studio?
Morning quiet time - first thing out of bed.

Advice to beginner yogi?
Everyday! Small commitments over time can show big shifts.

Mantra or intention?
Don't move the way fear makes you move.  Move the way love makes you move.  Move the way joy makes you move.

Biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor?
The have it all together or figured out.

One healthy food you swear by and why?
Eggs - great source of protein


Yogi of the Month ~ Rachel Ackerman

Confessions of a Reluctant Yogi
by Rachel Kaye Ackerman

I do not have a magical, love-at-first-asana yoga story.  After an hour of intense, shaky postures and stretches, I panted with exhaustion, horizontal at last.  Everyone else seemed blissed out in the final resting pose, savasana, but I failed to catch that vibe.  I was too busy breaking out in hives.

All over my body, angry welts puffed out in protest.  I resisted the urge to scratch and inspect, loathe to disrupt the serenity of the sculpted yogis around me.  If hell is a quiet and motionless place, I had somehow stumbled upon it.  As soon as possible, I snuck away, vowing never to return.  The hives never returned either, dissipating within a few hours.  Whatever triggered them remains a mystery, but my response was unequivocal fear and avoidance.

Flash forward fifteen years and fifteen-plus pounds.  In a stroke of serendipity, my workplace offered lunchtime yoga.  With equal parts hesitance and desperation, I unfurled my mat again.  A sedentary lifestyle had done me no favors; I was as weak and wobbly as ever.  I abhorred boat pose with a venomous passion, and my trees toppled with all the grace of a drunken toddler.  Sweet savasana could not come soon enough.  It didn't take long, however, before the twice-a-week, thirty minute sessions became a refuge from my stress.  The stretching, the exhaustion, and the soothing voice of my instructor took me to a place of deep calm.  Despite my notorious aversion to physical challenge, I kept dragging myself back to the mat~and yoga kept offering compelling reasons to stay and deepen my practice.

Prior to yoga, I noticed my body for primarily negative reasons: pain, discomfort, disgust.  I hoarded tension in my jaw, my shoulders, and my back.  I became a regular at the chiropractor's office.  At times, my neck was so out of whack, I couldn't turn my head to speak to someone in the back seat of a car.  Shielding my knobby knees and freakish toes from public scrutiny, I refused to wear shorts and sandals for years.

These days, my naked toes make regular appearances at Yoga Story, and I appreciate how their extraordinary length roots me to the earth.  I relish feelings that never registered before:  energy coursing through my form, the exquisite release of relaxing muscles, the cleansing detox of dripping sweat.  My spine has grown supple; my chiropractor has become a stranger.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for a healthy body that still knows how to grow stronger, more flexible, more fluid, and more alive.

Buoyed by yogic meditations on a off the mat, my gratitude even extends to the lesson of those long-ago hives.  As an educator, I know discomfort and challenge serve as powerful learning catalysts~provided one responds with a growth mindset instead of fear.  Before my yoga journey began in earnest, however, I did not apply that understanding to my own flesh.  Now, I live this lesson daily. I am committed to a lifelong yoga practice. Now, at age 43, I am stronger in mind, body, and spirit than ever before.




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