I am back in Charlotte after a truly wonderful weekend in Asheville studying the Viniyoga method with Gary Kraftsow as part of my 300-hour teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center. While I was there I had the pleasure of staying in a friend’s Airbnb apartment and it was the best Airbnb experience that I’ve ever had. I basically want to move in. 🙂
I’m looking forward to sharing details with you about the weekend training, as well as the Asheville Airbnb in this post. There’s even a giveaway for a two-night stay at the end so be sure to read through!
Our training began at 10:30a on Friday so I was up early to finish packing and to get Finn fed and ready for preschool. Dorie was so kind to offer to come over and drop Finn off at preschool so that I could get on the road and not be late.
I arrived in Asheville right at 10:30a and dove straight into our first session with Gary Kraftsow. It was an introduction to Viniyoga Asana Principles and the Biomechanics of Asana.
Here’s the description of what we covered on Friday:
“Āsana is a means or a tool to help you understand and transform your present condition, not a goal nor an end in itself. In Viniyoga, the function of āsana takes precedence over the form, and we utilize the breath to initiate movement. Both form and breath can then be adapted to best serve the goals of the practitioner. We will begin by exploring the core principles and purposes of the five different directions of movement in āsana: forward bend, backward bend, lateral bend, twist, and axial extension. Learn about “release valves” in āsana and how you can use yogic tools to replace dysfunctional movement patterns with healthy ones.”
In the morning session we covered the intro to Viniyoga, forward bends and back bends and finished with a practice.
We broke for lunch at 2p and I walked over to Elements Real Food for a smoothie bowl and to answer some emails.
Our second session of the day was a continuation of The Biomechanics of Asana and we went over lateral bends, twists and axial extension. Once again, we finished with a practice.
After a quick stop into Trader Joe’s to get a few things for the weekend, I checked into my friend Kat’s Airbnb apartment. I’ve known Kat for almost 15 years but we hadn’t seen each other in almost 10 years. We have kept up online and she’s one of those people who you just pick right back up with so it felt like no time had passed. Kat and her husband Benji finished their basement a year or two ago and converted it into the coziest apartment. I was so grateful that it was available for my training weekend!
Kat, Benji and I walked down to Gan Shan Station to grab dinner and had a great time catching up. After dinner, I spent about an hour going through my notes from the day’s training and typing them into a document on my computer before turning in for the night.
Training didn’t start until 10:30a on Saturday so I was able to enjoy a leisurely start to the day.
Rainy and gray weather made for the perfect day to spend inside learning. Our Saturday morning session was Form Adaptation in Asana.
“The goal of āsana is to serve the practitioner, not the posture. Study the use of repetition and stay in āsana practice, and how to adapt the forms of the āsana to serve the functional needs of your body.”
I grabbed lunch at Whole Foods and zipped back up to Kat’s apartment for lunch. It’s less than a mile away from AYC!
Our afternoon session was Breath Adaptation in Asana.
“Krishnamacharya once told Gary that if you are not using breath in āsana, you are only doing calisthenics. Explore the importance of coordinating breath and movement in an āsana practice, the use of the directional flow of breath, and how breath initiates movement in āsana.”
The practice that we did to end the day was one of my most favorite and most powerful practices ever.
I thought I would go out for dinner on Saturday night but my brain was just so overloaded with information (in the best way possible) and it was wet and cold. I decided to relax at the apartment and order sushi delivery through Postmates. My sushi was from Zen Sushi and very good. I would 100% order from there again. I was in bed before 10p. I slept 9 hours and it was magical.
I thought I might go for a run on Sunday morning after Kat and her husband shared with me an awesome run from their neighborhood that takes you up the mountain and past the Grove Park Inn but ultimately decided I’d rather have another slow start to the day. I spent a little over an hour going through my notes from Saturday and transcribing them into the document on my computer. Spending this time with my notes and in reflection of the sessions really helped the information to sink in.
Our final session was The Art and Science of Sequencing.
“In Viniyoga, we say that sequencing should be effective, efficient and elegant. A well-sequenced āsana practice is logically ordered, context specific, manifests an intention, incorporates the tools related to the intention, and provides maximum functional benefits with minimal risks.”
We finished with a practice and closed the weekend training at 2p.
I realize that I haven’t offered a lot of commentary about what Gary presented, what I learned and what my thoughts are on the training. Honestly, it’s because I’m still processing all of it. This is a very positive thing. I am so grateful that I decided to do my 300-hour yoga teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center. The opportunity to study with these experienced teachers is incredible and I’m deep in a space of inquiry and reflection right now.
I may write a post with my top takeaways from my weekend studying Viniyoga with Gary, or I may not. I need to spend more time with my notes and time practicing and teaching some of the principles that I learned over the weekend.
THE BEST ASHEVILLE AIRBNB
Most of you know that I have mixed feelings about Airbnb and have had mixed experiences. I have stayed in some awesome Airbnbs and some that are just so-so (including a few in Asheville). I get asked about Asheville activities and accommodations a lot so I’m thrilled to share with you the BEST Asheville Airbnb with you!
Kat and Benji’s basement apartment is amazing! They call it the Boho Haven on the Hill and I can confidently say that it is a haven. I wasn’t kidding about the wanting to move in part. 😉
Here are some of the highlights of the apartment:
- Located on a hillside in a quiet neighborhood.
- Less than a mile from Grove Park Inn. One mile walk or $6 Uber to downtown.
- Neighborhood restaurants and bars are even closer. (And Asheville Yoga Center is less than a mile away!)
- Super cozy and clean. Beautifully decorated.
- Private with a separate entrance.
- Gorgeous private patio.
- Mountain views (especially during winter when leaves are off of trees)
- Kitchenette with local coffee, tea, microwave, toaster, fridge, silverware and dishes.
- Dual shower heads in the walk-in shower.
- Soft fluffy white towels and robes are provided.
- Comfy bed.
- The coolest, friendliest hosts who are always down for chatting and offering local recommendations. Kat and Benji are super dialed into the local scene and can give great suggestions for everything from hikes to restaurants.
How about a photo tour?
Looks amazing, right? It is! If you’re interested in booking, do so sooner rather than later as high-season dates go FAST!
TWO-NIGHT STAY GIVEAWAY!
There are so many benefits to visiting Asheville in the off-season. It’s SO much easier to navigate downtown and get into the incredible restaurants without the crowds of the high-season. There’s also snow fun at Wolf Ridge or Cataloochee just up the road, fireside beverages at the Grove Park Inn Great Hall, hot tubs at Shoji and much, much more!
Kat and Benji have graciously offered a FREE off-season two-night stay for one of my readers. Book before March 31. Subject to availability. Must pay cleaning fee.
If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below telling me why you want to visit Asheville! I’ll pick a winner on Thursday so hurry up and enter.