Training Thursday: Debbie, Trudy, and Carmen complete anatomy workshop with Leslie Kaminoff!

Welcome back to our Training Thursday feature, where we highlight the ongoing training that teachers are completing as they enhance their knowledge and understanding of the world of yoga!

Today we feature a 12-hour workshop taken by three folks who teach at 4yoga:  Debbie Berry, Trudy Burkeen, and Carmen Herrera.  Debbie, Trudy, and Carmen traveled to New Harmony, Indiana, for this weekend with Leslie Kaminoff.  Many yoga teachers are familiar with Kaminoff because of his anatomy book, a popular choice for teacher trainings. The workshop was organized and hosted by Yoga Think Tank, founded by Shanda Packard of Harmony Therapeutic Yoga.

The August 16–18 workshop drew dozens of participants—fellow yoga teachers, yoga studio owners, and yoga students—and was divided into four main sections:

  1. An Introduction to Breath-Centered Yoga
  2. Shushumna Nadi in Theory and Practice
  3. Healthy Spines: Range of Motion, Support, and Breath
  4. The Sage’s Seat—The Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga, Meditation, and Pranayama

Debbie, Trudy, and Carmen all agreed that the workshop’s focus on breath and on paying attention to students’ individual experience was quite helpful.  For example, Debbie noted

We explored a “new to me” way of breathing especially on the exhale, the “apana,” by initiating the exhale breath from the pelvis and moving it up and out the nostrils like a wave. I also liked that he discussed breath being a pleasant and coordinated shape change and described tightness as a blockage in the shape change.

Carmen highlighted

[Learning] why there’s no single “right way” to breathe—the importance of integrated breathing within the context of our activities.

Trudy mentioned Kaminoff’s connection between the direction of the nose or gaze and the degree of opening in the pose, as a strategy to prevent straining in the pose.  For example, in triangle, if a student cannot gaze up at the thumb of the extended arm, then he or she should only open the arm to match the trajectory of the nose.

All three teachers especially appreciated the workshop’s focus on students’ individual experiences on their mats and indicated that, as teachers, they look forward to guiding students’ experimentation with both their breath and their bodies in future classes. Debbie shared her favorite quotation from Kaminoff: “’In yoga we’re not looking to add anything that is missing from the system. It’s to focus on what is still going right in the body and help unblock what is in the way.”

We look forward to benefitting from what Debbie, Trudy, and Carmen learned when we take their upcoming classes!

Carmen (left) and Debbie (standing, second from right) enjoy dinner with Leslie Kaminoff
Debbie (back row, center-ish) and Trudy (back row, second from right) participate in the workshop
photo credit: Lydia Mann
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Cassandra completes massage therapy training, offers 4yoga discount to new clients!

Today we bring you an unconventional Training Thursday—one that highlights the activities of one of our previous yoga teachers who has now expanded her repertoire to include massage therapy!  

Many of you have missed seeing Cassandra Cantrell-Mohr at the studio, but the good news is that you can now visit her at Suite Zen, where she is offering $10 off a first massage for 4yoga students and teachers!

In May 2019, Cassandra completed her 10-month massage therapy training at the Mind-Body Institute in Nashville.  About her training, she says

Massage Therapy allowed me to deepen my understanding of the body mind connection that we often experience with yoga! I have a more thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology and its applications to yoga, and I love bringing together yoga and massage for a holistic approach to overall wellbeing. 

After becoming licensed in both Tennessee and Kentucky, Cassandra is excited to be offering massage to the Bowling Green community.  To learn more about the types of massage that she offers, check out Suite Zen’s staff page; to book a session with her, call or text her at 270-991-8118.

photograph of Cassandra Cantrell-Mohr
Cassandra Cantrell-Mohr
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Training Thursday: Deb L. and Shigeko complete advanced assisting training at Sanctuary!

Welcome to Training Thursday, the occasional feature where we spotlight the ongoing training that teachers are completing!

Today we look south to Nashville, to Sanctuary for Yoga, where Deb Logan and Shigeko Sleeper recently completed a 30-hour weekend module titled “Getting Off the Mat: Advanced Assisting in the Flow.” This module is one of the five core modules in Sanctuary’s 300-hour teacher-training program, and it was taught by Tom Larkin and Daphne Larkin, Sanctuary’s founders.

We asked Deb and Shigeko about their most substantial lessons from the training, and here is what they each shared:

We learned a wide variety of “assists” that addressed the challenges of helping individual students during a flow class–how to observe students as they practice, how to assess individual situations quickly and efficiently, and how to help facilitate student access to poses during a flow sequence. These assists ranged from simple to elaborate, with and without props, and from hands-on to verbal cueing.

Our course was guided by the idea that “Everybody / Every Body is different.” As teachers, our role is to help students find ways to experience the benefits of a yoga practice adapted to their bodies, to their health conditions, and to any other varying circumstances.

—Deb

The biggest lesson I learned from this module is this: if assisting of the poses is done by a trained teacher, the students can feel much more space in the muscles, through the spine, or wherever the pose is intended to help liberate the body. Working intensively for three days both assisting fellow teachers and being assisted by them, I expected that I would have aches and pains at the conclusion. In reality, my body feels much better than before the training.

In my classes, I have done very limited assisting so far, but I will try, with their permission, to assist my students to come to different poses so that they can experience the liberation I experienced during this training.

—Shigeko

In case you were wondering about our studio policy for hands-on assists, it is to provide them only with student consent. We have chips available in the props closet for teachers to provide for students to indicate whether or not they would like to be touched in a class. Of course, students are always able to change their minds at any point during class, as well.

We look forward to practicing with Deb L. and Shigeko in August!

Group photograph of seven participants and two teachers for the "Getting Off the Mat" training module.
Training group for Getting Off the Mat: Advanced Assisting in the Flow
Sanctuary for Yoga—July 28, 2019
From left: Shigeko, Daphne Larkin, Deb
From right: Tom Larkin
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August (2019) pose of the month and class schedule

We are excited to share the August pose of the month and class schedule!

In its third month, the pose of the month is a pose that one of our teachers selects; she then shares her thoughts about and experiences with it in this message. As the month progresses, teachers take up the challenge of incorporating this pose—or variations of it—into their class sequences for all but our yin and restorative classes. Since this month’s pose is also a yin pose, though, it may appear in those classes, as well.

We look forward to exploring this month’s pose with you, and we are grateful to Cre Dye for selecting it and contributing the following information about it!

August’s Pose of the Month: Agnistambhasana
Agni = fire
Stambh = log
Asana = pose

Agnistambhasana—also known as “fire-log pose” or double pigeon pose—is an intense hip opener that stretches the groin and hips (with special stretching to the piriformis) while releasing unwanted emotions like stress, anxiety, and tension.

First things first on getting into this pose: go s…l…o…w……..

When going into this pose, I like to keep the root word “Agni” in mind. In the Vedas of Ancient India, Agni, the two-headed fire god, fueled the sun, the stars, and lightning. Now for those of us with tight hips (usually from sitting at a desk or in a car), we certainly can connect to this fire force when in this pose. That’s why it’s important for us to be nice and warm, relaxed, and centered with the breath as our tether when in this pose. Those with low back or knee injury should use caution or welcome a variation for this fire log pose.

—Cre

Updates and events:

  • Welcome new teachers, Trudy Burkeen and Susan Stanton. We are thrilled to be practicing with two new teachers in August, Trudy Burkeen and Susan Stanton, and we hope that you can join them for a class to help welcome them. To find out more about Trudy and Susan and their journeys with yoga, see our recent website post.
  • Registration open for all three @the Museum classes. Want to practice at The Downing Museum in August? Sign up now to reserve your space! Check out this post on our website to learn more about all three class options—hatha yoga, yin yoga, and meditation—and their teachers, and to find the links to the registration forms. [July 31 update: please note a new date of Aug. 31 for Yin@the Museum, necessitated by the museum’s schedule.]
  • Drop-in meditation classes continue. Alice Simpson offers drop-in Mindfulness Meditation classes in our downtown studio on the second Saturday and second Tuesday of each month for our usual $5 class fee. Whether you are new to meditation or an experienced meditator, please join Alice on Sat., Aug. 10, at 2 p.m. (in the studio) and Tues., Aug. 13, at 5:30 p.m. (in the lounge at the studio). Read more on this earlier post on our website.
  • Book club meeting in September. To preview our September schedule, we want to let everyone know that our roughly quarterly book club, facilitated by Tori Treangen, will meet on Sun., Sept. 8, at 1 p.m. This quarter’s book, selected by attendees at the most recent meeting, is Yoga and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Guide to Finding Joy in Unexpected Places by Sam Chase. We look forward to discussing it together!

For a full list of August classes, please see the calendar page of this site—or pick up a hard copy at The Pots Place. We also post an image version of the schedule each month and the day’s classes each morning on our Facebook page, should you find it convenient to keep up with us there.

Cre Dye demonstrates Agnistambhasana (fire-log pose)
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Welcome new teachers for August!

We are delighted to introduce two new teachers who will be joining 4yoga in August! (Actually, Trudy also taught in July, but we forgot to introduce her properly then.)

Trudy and Susan are looking forward to expanding our teaching staff and to practicing with our community. Please read on for brief biographies of each of them, and watch for their names on the August schedule.


Trudy Burkeen, RYT 200

Although Trudy is no stranger to 4yoga, having been a longtime student, we want to introduce her as a yoga teacher. Trudy completed her 200-hour teacher training with Susan Polk at Be Happy Yoga and Salt Cave and believes that yoga should be available for everyone in the community. Her own 14+ years of practicing yoga began when she took a beginner’s class one January; since then, she has gained strength, flexibility, and balance. In fact, her yoga practice has helped her prevent a major surgery that doctors indicated that she would need. Trudy says, “yoga has been my medicine and my reward.”

Off the mat, Trudy is a Bowling Green native; she is retired from the Warren County school system and has been married to Phil for 34 years. They have three children and a 13+ year-old dog, Daisy: oldest daughter, Sheena, is married and lives in Lexington; son Grant is married and also resides in Lexington; and youngest daughter, Christine, lives in Bowling Green.


Susan Stanton, RYT 200

Susan begin practicing yoga 20 years ago to complement her lifelong study of dance and teaching. After 8 years of Ashtanga, she took her first Vinyasa class and was hooked as the movements of the flow not only felt like home but also helped ease the stress of her role in the corporate world. In addition to her RYT-200, Susan is certified in Mat Pilates and is an advocate of coupling the two disciplines to achieve the perfect balance of core power and increased flexibility. 

She loves the strength of mind, body and spirit she has gained from yoga and truly believes the practice will reward those committed to showing up, quieting their minds, and surrendering to the process with a greater connection to themselves and the world around them. 

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Practice Yoga or Meditation at The Downing Museum in August!

Looking ahead to your August schedule? Why not make time for a hatha yoga, yin yoga, or meditation class at The Downing Museum?

Whether you are already a fan of practicing at the museum or looking for a first class to experience in this lovely environment, we invite you to sign up today; see details below, and use the links to register. *

  • Yoga@the Museum:  join Shigeko Sleeper for this Basics-level practice on Sat., Aug. 10, 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.
  • Meditation@the Museum:  join Alice Simpson on Sat., Aug. 24, 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.
  • Yin@the Museum:  welcome Chie Tanaka back to teaching the Yin class at the museum, on Sat., Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m.—join her by registering here.  [Please note a the new date, necessitated by the museum’s schedule.] 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.

* Registration requirement: to respect the space in the art gallery, participants must pre-register for all of our @the Museum classes.  In addition, if you register and later find that you cannot attend, please notify us know immediately so that we can offer that space to another student. 

Registration deadline: to allow us to prepare for the @the Museum classes, registration closes at noon the previous day or when the class reaches capacity, whichever occurs first.

Cancellation policy: participants who cancel the day the class meets or no-show prevent other students from being able to attend.  Therefore, please help us serve our community by honoring your registration commitment or by providing at least 24 hours’ advance notice if you cannot.

Beautiful planter in The Downing Museum parking lot
July 27, 2019

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4yoga participates in WKU Staff Senate’s Woo-Sah Wednesday

On Wednesday, July 17, Heather, Leslie, and Angie set up a table at a wellness event hosted by WKU’s Staff Senate. This four-hour, pop-up event in the Downing Student Union provided opportunities to talk with WKU staff members about the benefits of yoga and meditation and to share options to practice at our studio and at The Downing Museum.

Heather notes that she enjoyed talking with members of the campus community about yoga and seeing them “light up when we told them that it was only $5 with certified teachers.” She also heard from many participants that they were surprised that yoga was not included in the campus wellness program.

Several participants told Angie about the anxiety and stress that they have been feeling with the budget challenges on campus. They indicated that they were looking for healthy strategies to help them manage the changes in their work areas, whether seeing co-workers lose their jobs or taking on more responsibilities themselves to meet their units’ ongoing needs.

We awarded three pairs of gift certificates to randomly chosen folks who signed up for our email list, and we hope to see both those staff members and several others at future classes. Thank you to the Staff Senate for inviting us to participate!

Leslie demonstrates Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
photo credit: Heather Kessler
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Training Thursday: Angie joins Debbie, Frances, and Chie with 500-hour credential!

After a nearly five-year journey, we are delighted to announce that Angie Jones has completed her 300-hour teacher-training program through Sanctuary for Yoga in Nashville and earned the 500-hour Yoga Alliance credential!

Angie’s primary teachers for this training were Daphne Larkin and Tom Larkin, who co-founded Sanctuary in 2004. She was also fortunate to learn from two other Sanctuary teachers for modules in yin (Elizabeth Stewart) and meditation (Danny Brewington). The studio’s teachers page includes bios for all of these talented people.

In addition, Angie benefitted from the expertise and knowledge of two guest teachers who visited Sanctuary from their home studios to provide weekend training modules:

Angie joins three other 4yoga teachers who hold the RYT 500 credential: Debbie Marquette, Frances Strickler, and Chie Tanaka. Specifically, Debbie is an E-RYT 500, where the “E” stands for “experienced” and indicates the teacher has taught for a minimum of 2,000 hours since completing teacher training.

Congratulations to all of our teachers for their ongoing professional development—our entire community benefits from your sharing of what you learn!

Yin Intensive Training Group
Sanctuary for Yoga
May 2015
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Independence Day weekend: 7 opportunities to practice!

Will you be in Bowling Green for the 4th of July holiday weekend?  If so, we invite you to join us for any of these 7 classes at the studio!

  • Thursday, 7/4: 9 a.m. Mixed with Debbie Marquette  (We welcome all students to Mixed-level classes, where the instructor provides options to allow everyone to have an accessible but challenging practice.  As is our tradition, this is our only class on the holiday itself.)
  • Friday, 7/5:
    • 9:30 a.m. Gentle with Trudy Burkeen
    • 5:30 p.m. Yin with Deb Logan
  • Saturday, 7/6:
    • 9 a.m. Basics with Debbie Marquette
    • 4 p.m. Basics/Restorative with Deb Logan
  • Sunday, 7/7:
    • 8:30 a.m. Spiritual Warrior with Cre Dye
    • 4 p.m. Basics with Shigeko Sleeper

All 4yoga classes are drop-ins, the class fee is $5, and props are available at no additional charge.

If you have any questions about our classes or would like help selecting the best fit for you, check out the class descriptions, drop us an email (4yoga.me@gmail.com), or send us a message on Facebook.  We look forward to practicing with you this weekend!

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July (2019) pose of the month and class schedule

As we welcome July, we are excited to share its pose of the month and class schedule!

In its second month, the pose of the month is a pose selected by one of our teachers; she then shares her thoughts about and experiences with it to our community.  As the month unfolds, teachers take up the challenge of incorporating this pose—or variations of it—into their class sequences for all but our yin and restorative classes.  

We look forward to exploring this month’s pose with you, and we are grateful to Debbie Marquette for contributing its information!


July’s Pose of the Month

Utkatasana (OOT-kah-TAHS-anna)

Utkata = powerful, fierce

Asana = pose

Utkatasana is a standing pose in the backbending category that strengthens the feet, ankles, calves, thighs, hips, and spine while stretching the shoulders and chest.  We commonly refer to Utkatasana as fierce pose, chair pose, and awkward pose.

All of the common names are easily understood when we practice this asana.  The full expression of Utkatasana asks us to take the awkward position of standing firm with knees bent as though sitting in a chair, engaging the core muscle while softening the tailbone, and lifting the arms and chest upward with fierceness and purpose.  It quickly become obvious that this is a heat-building, character-building pose of great intensity.

And it’s just that bit of intensity and awkwardness that I experience while practicing Utkatasana that makes me feel vulnerable and transparent.  If I look closely, I see that the pose mirrors my values and attitude toward life.  Taking my practice off the mat, can I stand strong in awkward, intense situations while lifting and opening my heart to the circumstances that surround me?  That is the real practice.

Join the 4yoga community this month as we explore the challenges and rewards of Utkatasana through healthy alignment, modifications, and variations.

Namaste,

Debbie M.

July updates and events: 

  • July 4th class with Debbie Marquette.  In town on Independence Day?  Join Debbie Marquette at 9 a.m. for our traditional mixed-level holiday class.  Please note that, although this will be the only class on the holiday, the schedule for all other days remains the same.
  • Registration open for all three @the Museum classes.  If you would like to practice hatha yoga, yin yoga, or meditation at The Downing Museum in July, sign up now to reserve your space!  Check out this post to learn more about all three classes and their teachers. Or, if you’re ready to register, follow these links: Yoga@the Museum, Yin@the Museum, Meditation@the Museum. Please note that registration for these classes closes when the class is full or at noon on the day prior to the class, so be sure to register early to ensure you can join us.
  • Drop-in meditation classes continue.  Alice Simpson offers drop-in Mindfulness Meditation classes on the second Saturday and second Tuesday of each month for our usual $5 class fee.  Whether you are new to meditation or an experienced meditator, please join Alice on Tues., July 9, at 5:30 p.m. (in the lounge in the back of the building—because tai chi meets in the studio at this time) and Sat., July 13, at 2 p.m. (in the studio). Read more on this earlier post.

For a full list of July classes, please see the calendar page—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.  

Fountain Square Park
June 30, 2019

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