Training Thursday: Deb and Angie complete Pranayama Immersion

It’s time for another Training Thursday post!  Today, we report on a weekend training completed by two of our teachers:  Angie Jonesand Deb Logan.  Deb and Angie spent April 12–14 at Sanctuary for Yoga in Nashville, completing a Pranayama Immersionwith Jessalynn Hakanson, E-RYT 500, RPYT, LMT.

In their twenty hours of training, Angie and Deb took what one of their fellow trainees called a “deep dive” into pranayama, the fourth of the eight limbs of yoga.  To enhance their focus on the breath, they learned about and practiced different poses (asanas) and hand gestures (mudras).  They practiced both more familiar pranayama like breath awareness and diaphragmatic breathing and less familiar ones like kapalabhati (skull-shining breath), bhastrika (bellows breath), and bhramari (humming bee breath).  They also reviewed healthy lifestyle activities to support both pranayama and asana practice.

Angie appreciated the opportunity to revisit pranayama to which she was introduced by Debbie Marquette, in her 200-hour teacher training program, and by Erica Jacknin, one of 4yoga’s co-founders, in her classes at at yogaLOFT and 4yoga.  She especially enjoyed Jessalynn’s inclusion of exercises to help prepare the body and mind for pranayama and thinking about applications to practicing and teaching Anjali Restorative yoga.

Deb found Jessalynn’s emphasis on the Kundalini breathwork tradition gratifying because she already integrates it in both her personal practice and her teaching and because it synthesizes breath and movement.  She finds that tradition offers “a focus that enables folks to deepen their practice while extending the benefits…[and] helps with mindfulness.”  She also enjoyed the practices not only of pranayama by itself but also pranayama leading into meditation, especially those with effective, gentle visualization.

Deb and Angie will continue practicing what they learned during their time with Jessalynn and their fellow yogis, and they invite you to join them for a class as they share their training with our community.

Photograph of three teachers in front of Ganesh banner at Sanctuary.
Angie Jones, Jessalynn Hakanson, and Deb Logan
Sanctuary for Yoga—April 14, 2019
Photo credit: Lauren Adams
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April (2019) focus and class schedule

April invites us to come along with the buds and blossoms, to be buoyed up on a carefree breeze that delivers happy sounds of neighbors sharing neighborly tidings, birdsong, and children’s delightful cacophony of outdoor play.  Come along and open our hearts with the joy of spring, the tender new life promised to us in the dark, dreary days that are now in the rear-view mirror. 

Lethargy is replaced with energy and inspiration, both of which can be felt and enhanced in poses such as bridge, camel, and cobra as the heart unfurls to beam its light.  We hope you join us this month for a lighthearted, energizing practice!  

April updates and special events:

  • New drop-in meditation classes.  Alice Simpson will offer two Mindfulness Meditation classes during the second week of the month.  Just as with our yoga classes, these sessions are available on a drop-in basis and for our usual $5 class fee.  Whether you are new to meditation or an experienced meditator, please join Alice on Tues., 4/9, at 5:30 p.m. (in the lounge) and on Sat., 4/13, at 2 p.m. (in the studio).  Read more on this post.
  • Yoga@the Museum on Sat., 4/13, 10:30 a.m.  This 70-minute Basics-level class, offered on the second Saturday of each month, meets at The Downing Museum, and Leslie Weigel teaches it in March.  Find out more here and register here.
  • Yin@the Museum on Sat., 4/20, 4:30 p.m.  If you have been looking for an afternoon practice at The Downing Museum, Chie Tanaka provides that opportunity with our third 70-minute Yin class.  Read more here and register here.
  • Meditation@the Museum on Sat., 4/27, 10:30 a.m.  Join Alice Simpson for the monthly meditation class held at The Downing Museum.  No prior meditation experience is required—beginners are always welcome.  Learn more here and register here.
  • Quarterly book club on Sun., 4/28, 1 p.m.  Join Tori near the end of the month for a discussion of this quarter’s book, The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer.  Our discussions are always lively, even if we don’t all finish reading the book, and our snacks are always delicious!  For details, see this post.

For a full list of April classes, please see the calendar page on our website or pick up a hard copy at The Pots Place.  We also post the day’s classes each morning on our Facebook page, should you find it convenient to keep up with us there.  

Studio reminders:  

  • Leaving belongings outside of studio space.  To allow yourself and your classmates to focus on your practice, please leave all personal items—including phones, shoes, and purses/bags—in the kitchen or the hallway.
  • Accessing studio if front door is locked.  If the front door is locked when you arrive, you can still join us for class: come around to the back door of The Pots Place (look for the blue building and bright blue door) and ring the buzzer.  The teacher will unlock the door remotely for you to enter through the pottery studio.
Photo of flowering tree and daffodils at arboretum.
Spring at the Baker Arboretum
March 30, 2019
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Enjoy an April @the Museum class!

Does the arrival of spring have you searching for beautiful outdoor spaces? Look no further than the Baker Arboretum and The Downing Museum! Come join us for an April yoga or meditation class at the museum and stroll the grounds of the arboretum while you’re there!

Whether you are already a fan of practicing at the museum or looking for a first class to experience in this lovely environment, we hope that you can join us in April; please see details below, and use the links to register. *

  • Yoga@the Museum:  join Leslie Weigel for this Basics-level practice on Sat., April 13, at 10:30 a.m. by registering here.  Our basics classes incorporate asanas (poses), breathing exercises, and awareness linking the breath to movement.  They focus on alignment, offer modifications to help students at varying levels of experience, and are moderately paced.
  • Yin@the Museum:  Chie Tanaka offers our third afternoon Yin practice at the museum, on Sat., April 20, at 4:30 p.m. Register here.  Yin yoga works the deeper layers of connective tissue to improve flexibility and hydration of the joints and tissue by using longer, deeper holds of specific, tailored poses. It often targets the lower back and hips, and it can also promote deep release of stress and tension from both body and mind.
  • Meditation@the Museum:  join Alice Simpson on Sat., April 27, at 10:30 a.m. to explore several meditation techniques, including mindfulness, guided, mantra, walking, and listening meditations.  We welcome both beginners and experienced meditators to this monthly session; register here.

* Please remember that, to respect the space in the art gallery, participants must pre-register for the @theMuseum classes.  In addition, if you register and later find that you cannot attend, please let me know immediately so that we can offer that space to another studen

Realize, too, that cancelling right before the class meets or no-showing prevents other students from being able to attend.  Please help us serve our community by honoring your registration commitment or by providing substantial advance notice if you absolutely cannot.

Daffodils at The Downing Museum with landscape in the background.
Daffodils at The Downing Museum
March 30, 2019
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Two new Mindfulness Meditation classes each month!

Beginning in April 2019, Alice Simpson, RYT 200, will lead two monthly sessions in mindfulness meditation at the 4yoga studio on Fountain Square. Each class will last 70 minutes and is offered for the studio’s usual drop-in fee of $5. No prior registration is required for either of these studio meditation sessions. 

The primary focus of each class will be the actual practice of mindfulness meditation (e.g., body scan, single focus breath, candle, sound, mantra, metta, and guided visualization). Most gatherings will include a reading, a mindfulness lesson, and time for reflection on our experiences.  We will study all nine attitudes set forth in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living and engage in a 10thattitude of Curiosity, i.e., Self-Inquiry.

We welcome new and experienced meditators alike.  After all, one of the Nine Attitudes of Mindfulness is having a Beginner’s Mind, and we are all beginners on this journey. 

Please join us in this openhearted and transformative process. We will practice the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. and the second Saturday of each month at 2 p.m. 

Mark your calendars now.  We hope that you can join us for one or both of our April studio sessions!

  • Tues., April 9, 5:30 p.m.  (The Tuesday class will meet in the lounge because a tai chi group meets in the studio at this time.)
  • Sat., April 13, 2 p.m. (The Saturday class will meet in the studio.)

In addition to these new, drop-in classes at the studio, we will continue to offer the monthly Meditation@theMuseum class at The Downing Museum.  Please note that space in the Meditation@theMuseum class is limited, and that class requires pre-registration using this link.

Alice framed by the front window of the 4yoga studio
Jan. 2019
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March (2019) focus and class schedule

Change is upon us:  in March we change the time, change the season, and celebrate change at 4yoga as we welcome new students and teachers!  To learn more about Brandy Foulkrod, Carmen Herrera, Heather Kessler, and Deb Logan, the four teachers joining us, check out this post.

How do you deal with change?  Are you a pessimist who complains, an optimist who expects the situation to improve, or a realist who adapts to what is happening in the present moment?  We would probably all agree that the realist has the healthiest response. Fear of the unknown and lack of trust in something greater than ourselves are usually what keep most of us from adapting to changing circumstances and yielding to the changes we must make in our lives. 

Your yoga practice can be a very positive grounding resource to keep you stable in times of change by making your body your friend and using your breath to still the mind. This is a great month to add a class or two to your yoga practice for the grounding benefits as well as having the opportunity to meet the new teachers. 

March updates and special events:

  • New class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.  Heather Kessler will offer a pair of afternoon Basics classes each week—if you enjoy a 4 p.m. practice, please join her on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Yoga@the Museum on Sat., 3/9, 10:30 a.m.  This 70-minute Basics-level class, offered on the second Saturday of each month, meets at The Downing Museum, and Shigeko Sleeper teaches it in March.  Find out more here and register here.
  • Meditation@the Museum on Sat., 3/30, 10:30 a.m.  Join Alice Simpson for the monthly meditation class held at The Downing Museum.  No prior meditation experience is required—beginners are always welcome.  Learn more here and register here.
  • Yin@the Museum on Sat., 3/30, 4:30 p.m.  If you have been looking for an afternoon practice at The Downing Museum, Chie Tanaka provides that opportunity with our second 70-minute Yin class in February.  Read more here and register here.

For a full list of March classes, please see the attached schedule or the calendar page on our website—or pick up a hard copy at The Pots Place.  We also post the day’s class(es) each morning on our Facebook page, should you find it convenient to keep up with us there.  

Fountain Square Park
Feb. 26, 2019
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Welcome new teachers for March!

We are delighted to introduce four new teachers who will be joining 4yoga in March! They are looking forward to expanding our teaching staff and practicing with our community. Please read on for brief biographies of each of them, and watch for their names on the March schedule.


Brandy Foulkrod, RYT 200

Brandy Foulkrod

After her first yoga class, Brandy was pleasantly surprised at how great she felt—she quickly knew yoga was an amazing self-discovery of the body and mind.  Brandy completed her RYT 200 program at Be Happy Yoga and has completed additional training in yoga for addiction and recovery, a program called Y12SR.

Brandy loves teaching a gentle yoga practice and sharing the possibilities for students to calm their mind and welcome movement and meditation into their day.  She plans to continue her yoga training with a dream of becoming a Yoga Therapist.  She has lived in three states and two countries, has been married for 19 years, and has two children and two dogs.  She notes, “life’s been an adventure, and I’m loving the journey!”


Carmen Herrera, RYT 200

Carmen received her RYT 200 credential from Harmony Therapeutic Yoga in 2017 and is currently working on her RYT 500, also at Harmony.  She has been teaching yoga for over 15 years and is is certified as a 200-CYT through 2020 with Aura Wellness Center. Carmen feels very grounded in the healing and transformative nature of yoga as she has and continues to experience it in her life.  

Carmen Herrera

“My approach and interest is in the healing nature of yoga, its transformative nature as a proven means of cultivating mindfulness, connection, and inner peace while building strength and flexibility. Yoga is beautiful song our hearts sing each time we practice, connecting us to the Light, our Infinite Source, and to each other.”   Although she enjoys practicing various styles, Carmen is most in tune with an explorative, somatic style of yoga, seeking to make yoga available to many, in the style of teachers like Tirumalai Krishnamacharya; his son, T.K.V. Desikachar; Leslie Kaminoff; and BKS Iyengar.  

In her quest towards wellness and healing through yoga and holistic means, Carmen gained a valuable first-hand education while assisting a Naturopathic Doctor for 5 years, knowledge which she applies in her own life and weaves into her yoga classes.  


Heather Kessler, RYT 200

Heather Kessler

Heather Kessler completed her RYT 200 training at Harmony Therapeutic Yoga and also holds a Masters in Education. With 15 years of experience teaching elementary and middle school, teaching comes naturally to her. Heather brings a unique energy to her class through the use of music and movement, and she looks to balance both strength and mindfulness in her classes.

Heather has seen the benefits of yoga firsthand in recovering from back surgery and in working with her special needs daughter. In addition to the many physical benefits, yoga has also given her great strength mentally, and she is eager to share these benefits of yoga with others. 


Deb Logan, RYT 200

Deb Logan

Deb Logan has been practicing yoga since 1971. She has studied Hatha and Kundalini yoga, as well as Ayurveda, throughout the US and UK, and Europe and India. Deb has taught children’s and prenatal yoga and earned her RYT 200 at Harmony Therapeutic Yoga in 2016.

She has completed continuing education courses in anatomy and meditation, and recently completed 60-hour Yin Yoga teacher training in Goa, India (2018). She is currently working toward her 300-hour training at Sanctuary for Yoga in Nashville. Her ongoing studies include workshops in pranayama, somatic yoga, and yoga philosophy.

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Register for a March @the Museum class!

We are delighted to announce that March will provide three chances to practice at The Downing Museum:  basics yoga, yin yoga, and meditation.  Whether you are already a fan of practicing at the museum or looking for a first class to experience in this lovely environment, we hope that you can join us; please see details below, and use the links to register. *

  • Yoga@the Museum:  join Shigeko Sleeper for this Basics-level practice on Sat., March 9, at 10:30 a.m. by registering here.  Our basics classes incorporate asanas (poses), breathing exercises, and awareness linking the breath to movement.  They focus on alignment, offer modifications to help students at varying levels of experience, and are moderately paced.
  • Yin@the Museum:  Chie Tanaka offers our second afternoon Yin practice at the museum, on Sat., March 30, at 4:30 p.m. Register here.  Yin yoga works the deeper layers of connective tissue to improve flexibility and hydration of the joints and tissue by using longer, deeper holds of specific, tailored poses. It often targets the lower back and hips, and it can also promote deep release of stress and tension from both body and mind.
  • Meditation@the Museum:  join Alice Simpson on Sat., March 30, at 10:30 a.m. to explore several meditation techniques, including mindfulness, guided, mantra, walking, and listening meditations.  We welcome both beginners and experienced meditators to this monthly session; register here.

* Please remember that, to respect the space in the art gallery, participants must pre-register for the @theMuseum classes.  In addition, if you register and later find that you cannot attend, please let me know immediately so that I can offer the space to another student

Realize, too, that cancelling right before the class meets or no-showing prevents other students from being able to attend.  Please help us serve our community by honoring your registration commitment or by providing substantial advance notice if you absolutely cannot.

Daffodils at The Downing Museum
Feb. 24, 2018
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Book club meeting: The Surrender Experiment on Sun., 4/28, 1:30 p.m.

In January, our book club met to discuss Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul—we were intrigued by Singer’s ideas in that book and decided to read another of his books, The Surrender Experiment, for our next gathering.

We will meet to discuss The Surrender Experiment on Sunday, April 28, at 1:30 p.m. in the lounge. Tori and 4yoga have each purchased one copy of the book and shared them with our community via the studio’s version of a little free library (the gray bookshelf in the hallway). If one or both of those copies return, feel free to borrow them. If you’d prefer your own copy, affordable paperbacks are available locally at Barnes & Noble and online at your favorite retailer.

Tori will facilitate our discussion of the book and the drawing for a door prize. We will conclude no later than 3:30 p.m. so that anyone who would like to attend the 4 p.m. yoga class will be able to do so.

If you are able to bring a vegetarian snack to share, please do—we will provide a selection of hot tea along with cups, plates, and utensils. We look forward to seeing everyone and discussing the book in April!

Studio copies of The Surrender Experiment (now in circulation)
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Beskha brings yoga to The Hive!

Have you heard of The Hive? Did you know that Beshka teaches yoga there twice a month?  Read on to learn more about this amazing Bowling Green center and Beshka’s service to its community!

Beshka describes The Hive as “a local resource center and hang-out spot for adults with disabilities and their families or support systems.”  You may have noticed that it has recently taken up residence on the Bypass, in the building that formerly housed WKU’s ALIVE Center.

Beshka has volunteered at The Hive since the day that it opened in 2017, and she currently offers two yoga classes a month.  She notes yoga’s benefits to both the clients and their family members:

This is a population of people who frequently have diminished physicality and coordination, who love to be social but often don’t have the opportunity to socialize in a group setting, and who also may have never learned much needed calming techniques. The families of the adults with disabilities have highly stressful lives and are often on tight schedules and budgets, so many would never consider taking time out or spending money to do something for themselves. Our yoga class offers a time for everyone to drop the stress for a little while and breathe. I love teaching yoga inside our studio, but it is so humbling to step into the stressful world of doctors and disabilities and be able to see a mom’s face finally relax, to see someone with limited mobility try something new, or to see someone non-verbal meet new friends because of our yoga class.

Although yoga is now very popular at The Hive—it has even been voted #1 Best Activity by the members!—it took time and patience for the class to build to this level of success. Beshka remembers,

this isn’t a population that typically likes change. When we first started…no one had ever done yoga, and it wasn’t easy to convince them to give it a try. For several weeks I would show up and they might groan or just flat-out tell me “no” [and that] they didn’t want to do yoga. I would always persistently push them to give it a try. Once we would begin, the group would usually lose their focus. But we kept on and on until finally we turned the corner and they came to love and look forward to their yoga Mondays.

In considering some of her favorite experiences with this class, Beshka mentions learning from a student who is blind:

Each body is unique in its own way, [and] I’ve taught yoga to people who are in wheelchairs, pregnant, terminally ill, etc., but I had never taught yoga to someone who has never had sight. This young man was in incredible shape and was so engaging and bright that it was halfway through class before I realized he was blind. He was amazing, and the experience made me think about every word I said and what I wanted to convey to someone who has never seen yoga asana. He was my teacher that day.

Based on her experiences, Beshka encourages all yoga teachers to find ways to be of service to their communities beyond the studio.  She tells us,

as yoga teachers we have a gift of being able to teach/remind people to breathe and come home to their bodies. Teaching yoga at The Hive opens me up to deeper levels and therefore teaches me, so I get so much more. I hope everyone is able to find someone or a group to be of service and just share your gift of yoga.

To learn more about The Hive and the services that it provides to our community, please check out its website or Facebook page.

Beshka teaches yoga at The Hive
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Yoga for osteoporosis: Dr. Fishman’s method

In some of our recent Gentle classes, we have been discussing how to practice yoga safely after receiving a diagnosis of osteoporosis. One topic of conversation has been Dr. Loren Fishman’s study that revealed promising results for people who practiced 12 yoga poses daily.

For an overview of the project and its poses, check out the 18-minute video of Dr. Fishman explaining the study, an instructor cueing the poses, and models demonstrating variations of each pose. You will likely see several poses that you already do in many of your yoga classes!

To read a more detailed explanation of the research project and its results, see this article from a 2016 issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation.

Edited to add (2/6): Angie has also communicated with her physical therapist and learned that working with a physical therapist can be helpful, even if osteoporosis is not causing a specific problem. The PT can assess current movement patterns and provide advice about the best way to exercise.

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