About 3 years ago Asheville businessman and long time spiritual seeker/yogi Michael Greenfield decided to do his Karma Yoga in a big way. He ignited his passion, and demonstrated love for his community by donating and renovating a warehouse building, and working his personal charm to solicit as many donations from corporations and individuals that he could, to found Asheville Community Yoga (http://www.Ashevillecommunityyoga.com ) . FREE YOGA signs were popping up all over town like mushrooms in the Fall. “If you build it, they will come” seemed to be Michael’s idea …. and come they did!
Asheville Community Yoga seems, from this writers point of view, to be a thriving community of Yoga Teachers, Artists, and Healers who are in service, like Michael, to bringing this ancient healing art to the masses. Though the mushroom-like phenomenon of the FREE YOGA signs has long been harvested (and hopefully recycled), the spirit of Free Yoga for the people lives on at ACY.
Like any good Yogi (and businessman) Michael and his capable volunteer staff of Yoga teachers and students continue to evolve the model of how generosity can be sustainable. ACY now offers 6 to 12 week special series classes, workshops Yoga Teacher Trainings and Yoga Immersion experiences for affordable set fees. The regular weekly schedule of classes remains available on a donation basis (and no problem if your donation is what you can find lost in the sofa cushions ).
This weekend Kaoverii Weber, MA , RYT500 , who teaches regularly at ACY and has founded her own school of Yoga Subtle Yoga (www.subtleyoga.com) offered Yoga For Substance Abuse a two day wokshop that is also part of the advanced Yoga Teacher training at AYC.
Having taken a special interest in how Herbal Medicine can be used to treat stress and trauma, and knowing the effects of self-medicating these dis-eases with destructive habits ranging from illegal substance use, to overeating and overuse of TV, and electronic media, I was keen to study with Kaoverii. (Besides I took her Yoga Nidra class a couple of weeks ago and giggled the whole time until I delightfully reached a state of complete pampered bliss.)
The sister did not disappoint with the presentation this weekend !
Kaoverii’s thorough and scholarly treatment of this subject, clearly reflects her committed and compassionate work, along with husband Brett Sculthorp MSW, CSAPC, also a presenter. The couple have co-founded Sarva Health an organization devoted to provide yoga training to enhance community health.
The Yoga Therapy was simple, yet profound. A combination of self massage, tapping, yoga poses, and purposeful trembling, called “Neurogenic Shaking” was presented to us in an approximately 45 minute class twice over the weekend. The science behind it is, in a nutshell, that release of stored trauma (which can lead to and perpetuate substance abuse) is experienced by exhausting somatic storage spaces in the muscles, fascia, etc. through holding poses and trembling to a point of fatigue not to exceed our own personal control. Yes it is all related to the Fight or Flight brain response, but it goes much deeper (literally), into the brain stem, where our vegas nerve takes on the little known 3rd “F” in the Fight or Flight family …. “Freeze”.
There were so many other rich moments throughout the weekend, like the correlation and discussion of the famous “12 Steps” of A.A. and the ancient precepts of the Yamas and Niyamas (yogic principals that guide one in a righteous life.)
One thing is for sure dear reader. Asheville Community Yoga has a wealth of incredible talent doing good work. (Be sure to come out to the next fundraiser Saturday, January 12 The Chocolate Social and find out more about the upcoming Yoga Immersion and Teacher Training.
And if you have never been to a yoga class in which you are wiggling, laughing and releasing your past while laughing at the future, you really must make taking a Subtle Yoga class one of your new year’s resolutions !
OM SHANTI OM