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Our founder, Bitsy, was searching WNC for all of the elements that had been in place at her yoga studio in New England - a studio that was more than a studio. A community. A place to belong, to have fun, share and make new friendships. She wanted a place to land, on any given day or time, and find exactly what was needed to soothe or feed the soul. After teaching yoga in the Hendersonville area for 7 years, and truly understanding the collective need others shared with her, Bitsy, her family, and friends have decided to launch their own hOMe in beautiful Hendersonville, NC.
Our name is inspired by Ganesha, one of the most popular and well-known Hindu deities. With an elephant head and a round potbelly, Ganesha empowers as the "remover of obstacles" but also resides in support over the realms of wisdom, luck, doorways, household and writing. We love the "trunks up" visual of finding joy through collective wisdom and flow. If we're not laughing, then what are we doing here?
At Laughing Elephant Yoga (LEY) our community colors our canvas, and the more the better. Diversity promotes expansion and every one of us has something to learn from the stories and perspectives of those around us. We proudly welcome and lift up humans of all shapes, sizes, ages, backgrounds, beliefs, orientation and abilities. Truly. When we say you belong here, we mean it.
We are also here and ready for feedback. Open hearts and open [elephant] ears. To be truly accepting of all who enter this hOMe means we want to make sure we are offering classes and services that connect to our diverse community’s needs. So show up and speak up, and we will listen!
LEY is a growing garden, evolving with each season. No one is perfect, including us, which is why compassion, curiosity and a sense of humor is something we want to share with you every step of the way. Thank you for meeting us here – in our collective hOMe..
Yoga is a great way to improve your endurance in other physical activities. After a run, or heavy workout, yoga will help your body relax while stretching, strengthening, and lengthening the muscles you were just working on.
Yoga unites the mind, body, and soul in a way that eases tension, reduces inflammation, and promotes health and well being. Regular practice will help even the newest beginner reach and improve poses, as well as correct posture, calm your breathing response, and improve your outlook on life.
Yoga not only helps improve your body, but also helps with mindfulness and meditation. It is important to take a break from daily life in order to focus on yourself and get clarity. Focusing on your breath during practice is key to staying in tune with your mind and body.
A Yin Yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body - the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes, sometimes longer.
There are many reasons to have a regular yin practice, even and especially if you prefer a faster moving flow. Living in gentle stretches for longer periods of time improves range of motion naturally and organically by allowing your connective tissues several minutes to adapt and adjust. Alongside these long holds comes increased resiliency, sitting with the emotions that bubble up, and deeply connecting with your breath in new and powerful ways.
Yoga Nidra, translated loosely as yogic sleep, is a process that engages a sub conscious exploration of your breath, body, balancing of emotions,
self-healing and a visualization journey. It is a specific type of yoga that promotes rest and restoration through mindful deep sub conscious form of meditation.
Yoga Nidra is a state in which you feel completely relaxed, but able to listen and be aware of the inner world journey via the guide’s verbal instruction. It can be practiced by itself (and for many this serves as their version of meditation) or it can be combined with classes such as Yin, Restorative or a Vinyasa flow class as a part of the yogi’s Savasana. For many who experience anxiety, lead highly stressful lives or have difficulty sleeping, practicing yoga nidra has been found to help.
Restorative Yoga is a style of yoga suited to all. It encourages physical, mental and emotional release and relaxation. It is a practice focused on slowing down, and using props to support your arms, legs and torso in gentle and relaxing postures.
Appropriate for all levels, Restorative Yoga is practiced at a slow pace, moving gently into holds that might last 1-20 minutes. There is a focus on stillness and relaxed breathing. Typical props for a restorative yoga class are blankets, blocks, bolster, strap and eye pillows. Restorative yoga is excellent for people with anxiety, stressful lives, difficulty sleeping, and those who need to slow down and experience stillness.
The Kaiut yoga method is a floor-based practice that utilizes gravity to unwind chronic restrictions in the joints. This practice is most easily comparable to Yin yoga in the sense that it involves long-held shapes and works with the joints. However, there are vast differences between these two styles of yoga.
In Kaiut Yoga, we hold poses and utilize finely-directed micro-engagements to release adhesions in the connective tissue, which both strengthens and opens the joints.
Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. This helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being.
Similar to Yoga, Pilates concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. In Pilates the chance of injury is much lower than with other more strenuous forms of exercise.
Pilates also focuses on the mind-body connection. While doing the various exercises your mind needs to be constantly aware of your breathing and the way your body moves.
This form of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany where he was a carpenter and gymnast. He invented Pilates as an exercise program for injured dancers and soldiers while living in the UK. Joseph Pilates believed that physical and mental health were closely connected. In the 1920's he immigrated to the US and opened a Pilates studio in New York. Originally this form of exercise was called Contrology.
Flow Yoga is a style of yoga practice that includes syncing breath with movement. Flow classes can range from beginner to advanced styles of movement and poses. Expect to move throughout the entire practice, leading up to a restful savasana.
Flow Yoga of all types works to warm the body from the inside to improve blood flow, digestion and cognitive awareness. There also tends to be a nice balance of strengthening and stretching leaving the student feeling energized but centered. There are various types of flow-style yoga. A few are described below:
Gentle/Hatha Flow - These classes are slow paced and gentle in nature. During your practice you will flow from pose to pose using intentional breathing, or pranayama. These classes are great for those new to yoga, and those interested in learning poses, postures, relaxation techniques, and becoming more comfortable with all aspects of yoga.
Vinyasa Flow -Vinyasa is an approach to yoga in which you move from one pose directly into the next. There's a flow to a Vinyasa yoga session, though the specific poses and the pace of the flow vary from one instructor to the next. Yoga Flow can generally be defined as a yoga class that incorporates energetic movement through a series of asanas (yoga postures), by which the student experiences a sense of fluid physical motion. Additionally, most instructors will have a theme for each class and use the sequence and postures to support this.
Power Flow - Power yoga is an intense sequence that specifically focuses on body movements which help in improving cardiovascular output, physical fitness, and tone. Using breath and postures together in strong and rapid sequence improves mental, internal, and external stability.
Kids & Family Yoga is a growing trend these days. Family yoga classes are those that can be experienced together as a family. That includes parents, sons, daughters, grandparents – even aunts, uncles and cousins. In general, family yoga classes often include things like group and partner yoga poses, fun games, and kids/families acting out youth-oriented yoga stories and myths with yoga poses.
Kids & Family Yoga provides a calming and bonding experience for all. It enhances health, flexibility, body awareness and movement for all while improving sleep at home.