This week we have the pleasure of learning about the impact of integrating yoga in one's life with our fantastic instructor Mike Cannon. Mike teaches his Vinyasa Flow every Thursday evening at 7:15pm. Here, students will experience a balanced juxstaposition of guided movements, or flows, and an integration of stillness to calm the mind.
Lift: Hi Mike! So you completed your yoga teacher training here at Lift this past May, but your journey began the Spring 2009.
Mike: I was studying at the College of Charleston, with the intention of going on to med school, when I found myself at a hot, power yoga class by chance.
Lift: That was your first yoga experience?
Lift: How'd that work out?
Mike: Well, I almost passed out but that isn't what stuck with me. My life was haphazardly tumbling down a path I chose without much intention. There was a lot of internal chaos and I was not managing it effectively. Then I took this random class and found the sense of calm I had been, unknowingly, searching for all this time. Wow. Powerful.
Lift: So that's what kept drawing you back?
Mike: Yes, it was this organically found sense of peace and inner calm. A "reset" I needed and wanted and still do!
Lift: What's the most surprising thing you've discovered about yoga since enhancing your practice through the Lift Yoga Teacher in Training course?
Mike: That it is not about what the pose looks like or perfection; that yoga is not only achieved when you can master that really challenging pose. I've discovered that the yoga was there all along, inside of me. The yoga happened when I wasn’t looking for it. Aw, that holds the heart Mike!
Lift: Is this what you share with your students during your classes?
Mike: Well, it's a learning collective for all of us. My intention is to share the yoga through movement and through stillness. I want to impart that yoga can be experienced during the physicality of a flow but also in the shower or when you pet your dog. It's slowing down your reception of stimuli, breathing and being present.
Lift: What is your goal for your practice and/or your classes?
Mike: To further my education of yoga and then fold that information into my interests in medicine, specifically how it impacts mental health and that, in turn, can have a positive impact on the physical body. By training the body and mind to manage stress better, the body then moderates the cascade of stress hormones so it isn't so extreme and wearing. For my classes I want people to know that yoga is for the inflexible and flexible! It's a perfect complement for whatever you are into whether it's running, golf, hiking. It isn't about stretching the hammies. You don't need to "do" or "be" anything. Just come. Just you. As you are. That's perfect and that's all that's required.
Lift: Nice! Do you have any recommendations for us?
Mike: Yes! The book The Body Keeps Score and, of course, the Lift YTT program.
Lift: Ok. Rapid Fire questions. Pose that most intimidates you?
Mike: Handstand. The commitment to inverting.I'm fearful of falling.
Lift: Top place in the world you want to do yoga?
Lift: Do you do yoga everyday?
Mike: Flows? No. Mindfulness? Yes. It's all yoga folks.
Lift: Do you do yoga to music at home when you do it?
Mike: Yes. I have a rad Pandora mix.
Lift: Surprising tidbit about you?
Mike: I play guitar, sing and refinish furniture.
Lift: Love it! Thank you Mike. Namaste.
This week we are sharing a great article that features our very own beloved owner and yogi, Lori Denton and founder, Kim Saunders! This is an excerpt of an article from the online and print magazine called Mindful Studio Magazine. The focus of the article was to offer information to yoga studios on student retention. At Lift we love yoga, our instructors, and our students. Our focus is to provide opportunities for all involved to continue to grow holistically, and to empower, embrace and support one another through mindful practices offered in a variety of ways. The priority of mindful listening to the needs and desires of our students and instructors seems to resonate with all who grace our doors. We continue to enjoy seeing familiar faces and welcoming new ones all the time! It's a beautiful thing and one in which we are all very grateful. Thank you all for helping to make Lift the amazing studio that it is and enjoy the excerpt. Included is the link for the full article and access to a very cool resource! Thank you, Lift Yoga Tribe!
Keeping your community happy and coming back to practice should always be at the top of your studio’s priority list. Retention challenges are something every studio faces, but you can learn from other studio’s successes of how they make their studios enjoyable and keep students returning.
Kim Saunders, the founder of Lift Yoga and Body in Alpharetta, Georgia, focuses on the little things to help with the studio’s retention. She understands ‘life happens’ and some students will leave the studio for a few months. The trick is making sure they come back to your studio. Even the littlest things, like parking, can help.
“Because we provide such a unique combination of extremely talented teachers, large and beautiful studios, and abundant parking, this brings people back, time and time again,” said Saunders. “Parking is a rarity in Alpharetta now and it is a non-issue for us. We want things to be friendly, meaningful and easy.”
Lori Denton, the owner of Lift Yoga and Body, said Kim’s variety of programs that she built into the studio is what always keeps people coming back. “I was talking to one of our members just the other day who had started out coming to power classes and unfortunately had been in a car accident that injured her shoulder,” said Denton. “Instead of having to give up her practice entirely, she switched to more restorative classes until she had recovered and built enough strength to return to the power and sculpt classes.”
The variety of classes ultimately kept this member at the studio.
Lift Yoga and Body uses data to observe what classes are popular, days of the week and class times that are trending, and more. However, Denton warns owners not to get caught up in the data when making decisions. “I learn so much by talking to our members. We have one class that if I went purely off of the data, I may decide to cancel that class because of low attendance,” she said. “However, when I talked to the students after class, I realized that some were our most loyal members.” - Mindful Studio Magazine, September 11, 2019 post
Lift: Hello Kember, you gorgeous soul you. How did you discover energy healing and work?
Kember: Energetic healing fell into my lap in 2012. My mother-in-law went through a training and told me about it while showing me how a pendulum works. Intrigued, I immediately signed up for my first level of training. I trained first with a program called Healing Touch for about a year. Most recently I completed Level 1 of Bioenergetic Healing in which I plan to continue to pursue. There are many different types of energetic healing and they all offer beautiful qualities. Lots to learn!!
Lift: Where did you learn about chakras?
Kember: I learned about the chakras during my first weekend of training in 2012. I found and read the book “Wheels of Light” and continued to learn from there. What always stood out to me about the chakras is that I can FEEL them; I can feel the energy of the chakras swirl under my palm. Pretty incredible. Yeah it is!
Lift: How do chakras impact a person's daily life?
Kember: The chakras are an integral part of us and are effected by everything going on around us externally, internally, physically and emotionally. For example, if someone is having financial troubles, this impacts the root chakra, the center of stability, security, and groundedness. The energy in that area starts to become sticky and, perhaps, stagnant. This can move then into physical issues - perhaps adrenal fatigue or even some digestion issues. Other chakras can also be affected in the process, in this situation maybe the solar plexus and heart.
Lift: How can people tell if they could use help with their energy?
Kember: If someone is feeling particularly stuck or heavy, a feeling of general fatigue in the mind and body, that’s a good indication to give the subtle body, as well as the physical body, a good look. Some just report feeling "off". Have you ever teared up when laying in savasana after a good yoga class? Oh Yeah. I often get the question, “What is happening, why am I crying out of nowhere?” That surge of emotion comes from an energetic release - stagnant energy that has been broken up and then has started to freely flow again. The days following a release may bring more ease and space for the spirit. Well that's comforting!
Lift: So how can people get help with balancing their energy? What can one expect following energy work?
Kember: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle physically, mentally, and spiritually is the big piece of keeping energy balanced. Movement is truly medicine and keeps the energetic body flowing. Of course life happens and shifts will occur and shake things up a bit. Having an energetic healing session, or any other body work, is a beautiful way to get things moving. (Feel free to check out my website - www.kemberyoga.com - to find out more info on setting up an energy healing session with me!) As far as how it will impact someone, it is different from person to person. With some clients there have been immediate sensations, immediate shifts in energy that was felt in the body and often times that creates a release of emotions, followed by a feeling of lightness. For me personally, I typically don’t “feel” sensation within the body during a session (as a client, not the practitioner), but will start to feel shifts in the following days. The saying is true - energy flows where intention goes. Healing can and will be happening even if we don’t “feel” it.
Lift: What are things people can do to keep their chakras or energy in balance? Are they the same?
Kember: Chakras are energy, yes, but they are part of the subtle body, that entire energetic field surrounding the physical body. It’s like currents in an ocean. They are flowing their own way but still very much a part of the ocean in its entirety. The methods to keep them balanced and abundant are simple; eat fresh, colorful foods, practice yoga (asana, breathwork, meditation), practice self care and self love, go outside, MOVE! Movement is incredibly important. Movement MOVES energy.
Lift: How does yoga help with this balance?
Kember: Yoga, and I mean yoga in its entirety not just the poses we see in class, hits it all to balance mind, body, and spirit. Pranayama, breathwork, like Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) is for balancing the ida and pingala energy channels. Yoga is balance. We will practice Nadi Shodhana and learn more about it in the PLAYshop.
Lift: Any "go to" yoga poses you like to keep you in balance?
Kember: Though it has taken me years to improve my balance, I have always loved Garudasana/Eagle Pose. There is something about wrapping everything so tightly toward the midline - it electrifies my third eye and crown chakras. Ohhhh! Love it! I also return to Balasana/Child’s Pose frequently in my practice or just in my day. This shape is home base and a chance to quickly ground and arrive home to the sanctuary of the Self. There is something so powerful about connecting third eye and heart with Mother Earth. Well, She does beckon connection doesn't She?
Lift: What will be discussed at the workshop?
Kember: I’m calling this a PLAYshop because we are going to play with energy using gentle yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation - sense energy, feel it, maybe see it. We will also discuss how to protect your own energy field, and how to set up protection for your loved ones as well. How beautiful!
Lift: How can people integrate information from the workshop into their lives?
Kember: Once we have the awareness of our energy (as with gaining awareness with anything), we can begin to piece things together when things start to feel off. An example would be feeling like you’re not being heard, like no one is listening. Doing things that stimulate the throat chakra can help break up the stagnancy of the energy in that area, which could then lead to break through as to how to handle the current situation and a better flow of communication. That is very poignant this day in age. Love it!
Lift: Kember this is amazing and we cannot wait for fellow Lifties to have this mutual, amazing experience. Thank you! Namaste.
Kember: You are welcome! Namaste.
Lift: Amy you have been a yoga instructor since 2017. How has your yoga practice evolved?
Amy: My meditation practice has probably grown the most since becoming a teacher. I meditate every day, usually twice! I have become more gentle with my physical body and I allow myself to rest and take breaks or make modifications whenever I want or need. I find a lot of comfort in surrendering to the mat and allowing my practice for that moment to unfold organically. Yes! Surrendering to one's mat yields all kinds of joy when the burden of self-expectation is removed. Powerful!
Lift: What do you draws you to heated yoga?
Amy: I'm always cold so I am naturally drawn to heated yoga! I love how the heat helps loosen up the muscles and creates that feeling of detox. Heated classes push me to point where my body can rest easier in savasana and have a more successful meditation practice afterwards. Detox! So good.
Lift: What should new, hot yoga students expect and how should they prepare for the class?
Amy: First, come hydrated and stay hydrated before, during and after the class. Also, I recommend coming early to the class to set up and adjust to the temperature. Take time breathe in the heat. Third, be very gentle with yourself and take as many breaks as your body needs. It can take a few classes to acclimate to the heat and it's important to check-in with your body via sitting pose or child's pose whenever you need. Students should expect to get a yummy, physical practice, to sweat out toxins, and feel amazing afterward!
Lift: Please tell us about the new roller class and what our Lifties can look forward to experiencing!
Amy: The RAD roller class is so yummy and juicy. Think of it as a deep tissue massage you control! This isn’t a yoga class but compliments any style of yoga practice. It is also great for athletes, runners, people who stand or sit a lot, really everybody! There are different sizes of balls used to roll different areas of the body. There is also a tool called Axle and one called Helix. These are more or less the next gen foam rollers. They are designed to get deep, create traction, and work out any areas of fascia that need a little attention. We focus on about two areas of the body per class. Eventually I’d like to teach some longer workshops where we can roll the whole body. The class never seems long enough! And the "fascia" is the thin, sheet of connective tissue that stabilizes and connects all muscle, organs, etc, right? Yes! Very good! So caring for the fascia makes a huge impact on the body overall? Yes!!!
Lift: Amy, what do you wish to impart on your students when they leave one of your classes?
Amy: I hope students walk out of my classes feeling more connected, refreshed, peaceful, and full of joy. I hope they experience a peace that surpasses all understanding and are able to come back to that feeling off the mat in the midst of chaos. That’s a pretty tall order and takes time, so at the very least I hope they don’t regret coming! It’s an honor to teach every class and I learn way more from the students than they do from me.
Lift: Thank you Amy. Namaste.
Hello Friends! Welcome to the new Lift blog. We have decided to share insights on some of the amazing aspects of Lift including Q and As with our instructors, students and details of the new classes and events to come! That being said, each month we will be spotlighting a student! Every month the instructors will collaborate on a student who they feel embodies the essence of being a yogi! It’s not about being the most flexible or the one able to do the craziest poses. It’s the kindness in which the individual approaches Lift, their fellow yogis and their own journey. It’s an acceptance and surrender of themselves in their own personal yoga practice and the tenacity to show up, continue to grow, learn, fail and succeed in that practice. With that said let’s meet our first Student of the Month Vin!!!
Lift: Vin, please share with us when and how you were first introduced to yoga?
Vin: I grew up in India where yoga originated (Lucky Duck) and it is well known but, unfortunately, the majority of the population do not practice it. I started playing tennis at age twelve and the warm-up routine included simple yoga stretches.
Lift: That is amazing! So what keeps you coming back to yoga?
Vin: I feel good physically and emotionally after each class at Lift. The teachers are great and I feel like I’m part of a community of like-minded people. Yoga actually helps alleviate my tennis-related joint pain in my rotator cuff and hip. It’s pain management without medication!
Lift: Do you do yoga every day?
Vin: I do simple stretches everyday but don’t have a formal routine at home, which is why I attend classes at Lift as often as possible. Just the act of being conscious of your breath everyday is a good yoga practice! Sitting cross-legged on the floor instead of lying on the couch while watching TV or listening to music is another example. We love it!
Lift: Are there any poses you are scared/nervous/hesitant to try?
Vin: I can’t do a headstand without support against a wall. I know it can be achieved with some practice but I haven’t made the effort. Against the wall counts as a headstand!!!
Lift: What are your "yoga essentials" for before or after yoga? Do you grab props, essential oils, have favorite color to wear, or do you just show up with a smile?
Vin: I try to eat a couple of hours before the class or have a light snack an hour before. And a smile of course!
Lift: What is the most surprising thing you've found so far, about you and your yoga practice or about yoga in general?
Vin: Yoga has helped me manage physical injuries as well as emotional stress. I was initially skeptical like most people but am a believer now! It’s good stuff, right?
Lift: Is there one place in the world you where you would like to do yoga?
Vin: I have been fortunate to have visited many beautiful spots in the world and have many more on my bucket list. One spot that is very high on the to-do list is Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Lift: Do you have any recommendations for the Lifties to explore outside this month?
Vin: My favorite , local, hiking spot is the Roswell Mill Waterfall via the Vickery Creek Trail at Roswell Mill. That is a great suggestion and close to home too!
Lift: Last question, do you have a goal for your personal yoga practice?
Vin: Stay healthy in body and mind. Be thankful and joyful…it can be contagious! Yes!
Lift: Thank you Vin. Namaste.