Mint Hill Yoga

Virtual Yoga for EveryBody

May 21, 2013
by Bettie Shea
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Why We Won’t Ever Offer Heated Yoga

Check out this well researched paper on the topic of the oh-so-popular heated yoga. It addresses scientifically why Mint Hill Yoga will never offer hot classes despite their popularity. Your safety is our primary concern!!!

http://www.yogaclub.us/attachments/On%20the%20Dangers%20of%20Heated%20Yoga%20Article.pdf

October 3, 2012
by Bettie Shea
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The Studio Space is Opening Sunday, October 7!!!

I’ll make this one quick, because I’m so excited, I can hardly sit still to type. Mint Hill Yoga’s new studio space will open to the public for classes this Sunday at 3pm. The first class offered will be Fusion Flow, and it will cost $10 cash only. Doors open at 2:30!! Come early to get your space. I must stand firm at 8 students because with props scattered around it gets very crowded very quickly!!!

Be sure to check the class tab to see what classes are offered daily, and I hope to see you soon!!!!

August 18, 2012
by Bettie Shea
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Coming Soon…A Studio Space!!!

Coming some time in the next month, that is to say, as soon as I can tear down some ugly shelves, paint the walls, and bring in some pretty shelves for props and shoes, I will be the proud owner/manager/teacher of a studio!!! YAY!!!

Located in the Lofts at Mint Hill at 7714 Matthews Mint Hill Road directly across from an addiction of mine, Cottage Yarn(www.cottageyarn.com), and directly next door to Pottery 51(I collect), the new space is sweet and perfect. I knew it the moment I walked in. I knew I had to have it, and that six or eight students would fit beautifully.

I didn’t want a big place. I don’t want to compete with big money making studios. I just wanted to create a small, safe place in Mint Hill where ordinary people could come relax and replinish their bodies and souls, and this space will do that. I know I won’t make lots of money, but that’s okay. To me, that isn’t what yoga is about anyway. If I get enough cash to pay my rent and eventually buy a nice floor for the studio, I’ll be happy.

I’ll let you know when I’m ready to open, and I hope you’ll come visit me. In the meantime, I’ll post photos of every step in the renovations!!!

July 26, 2012
by Bettie Shea
2 Comments

What’s the Point, Anyway?

So, I’ve been stewing. Again.

Those of you that know me are not going to be surprised by that fact, because if you know me at all, you will know that I am a stewer. I get ahold of a thought or an idea in my head and roll it around and chew on it sort of like my dogs in the back yard do with a favorite tree branch or bone. So, I’ll say it again, I’ve been stewing.

About what, you might fairly ask?

About yoga. And what it means. And what it’s for.

So, what’s the point, anyway?

Seldom have I ever seen such a blissful, gentle, personal, even Godly practice be the subject of such controversy. Right wing Christians think it’s a satanic practice, traditional yogis think of it as a largely spiritual , eight-limbed endeavor with the least emphasis placed on asana, athletes think of it as some crazy gymnastics hopping around thing, and I think…I like the way it makes my body hum.

Yes, I said hum. When I haven’t caught an asana class in a while, which has been a lot lately, my body and soul hunger for that familiar stretching sensation, that warmth, and that yummy humming that often arrives softly between poses. In my practice, I try very hard to hear what my body is telling me it needs. Sometimes that means challenging myself with loud music and a swift vinyasa that almost feels like laughter, and sometimes it means gentle, almost sensual viniyoga style motion that swiftly brings me to a place of peace and rest, a place of what Patanjali called “Union” with my soul and God.  There is no single style of yoga that will work for me one hundred percent of the time. Sometimes I need the stretchy, static non-motion of an Iyengar style class. Who knows, with this body of mine? I have complete respect for what it tells me. It’s almost like a craving, like when you’ve just got to have chocolate or you will surely die.

So. I am a curvy yogi. We’ve covered that here before. Many of my students are curvy yogis, or are a little older than the youngsters that often populate studio classes, and many of them have physical limitations, or are sufferers of past trauma, or bad choices, or whatever. I have heard over and over how these people come to my classes because I am not threatening. They feel safe, and accepted, and not the odd man out, so they are free to be themselves and do what their bodies tell them they can do. I feel incredibly honored that they trust me with their self esteem as well as their bodies, and I try very hard to meet them where they are, not where the world thinks they ought to be. My classes are safe places for their souls.

That being said, I have a pretty healthy self esteem, and even I have been bruised emotionally in studio vinyasa type classes full of anorexic, egotistical people in tie dye. I know all too well what it feels like to be stared at as I modify a pose to suit my body, or take child’s pose when I feel my heart rate is too high. I have all too often felt penalized by Western yoga culture for the yogic “union” that my body shares with my soul.

I cannot even imagine telling someone suffering from PTSD, or cancer, or overweight, or whatever, that their goal as yogis should be mainstreaming. I will never tell someone that yoga is about following some silly rules about what poses must go in what order always, or that yoga is only about losing weight and building powerful muscles, or impressing anyone. To do so IS NOT YOGIC, as yoga is a very personal journey that is about so much more than what you can do with your body.

All of this being said, here are the promises that I, as a teacher, make to you, my students, and prospective students:

1. I promise you that I will never teach in a way that makes anyone feel “less than.”

2.  I will make certain you feel safe, both inside and outside your body.

 3. I promise to respect your wishes, and your body, and provide you with skills to help you rest, relax, and become healthy.

4. I promise to provide an encouraging environment where you can be challenged as much as you desire.

5. I promise to continue my personal yogic journey so that I always have something new and interesting to offer you.

6. I promise to smile and laugh with you.

 

 

 

June 10, 2012
by Bettie Shea
0 comments

Oh, Well…

Due to low student response, I have been forced to cancel all Gallery classes until Fall. I hate to take that step, but I am assuming folks are busy with the beach, lake, mountains, and their families until then. That’s completely fine. I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll fire up a new schedule when the weather turns cooler.

Enjoy your summer, but don’t forget to get on your mat at least once or twice a week so you don’t lose all the gains you have made this year!!!!

See you in the fall, and if you need an inexpensive yoga fix in the meantime, you can always catch my Monday night class at Hickory Grove UMC. It’s only $5!

Namaskar!

Bettie

May 30, 2012
by Bettie Shea
2 Comments

It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green…

I am not a skinny yoga teacher. In fact, I am bodacious and full of curves, and am quite short, and sometimes, this seems to put people off. I am not lithe and bendy, I don’t look great in tie dye, and I am forty six years old. Miss Clairol and I have known one another well since I was around thirty three. Only my hairdresser knows what color my hair really is.

 I have had more than one student react in shock when I am the person that steps to the front of the class to lead the way, and many times that way does not include sun salutations or excessive sweat. Sometimes that way is deep stretch, or meditation, or alignment, or therapeutic flow. And yeah, sometimes the way includes tons of sun salutes that make even the toughest yogis break a sweat. It all just depends on who shows up, and what I sense they might need at that particular moment in time.  I don’t ever have a plan, I am always thinking on my feet as I go, and I don’t use a formula.

 Yoga is found not in outward things, like tie dyed yoga outfits or tiny, lithe bodies, or even rockin’ hard fancy arm balances, but rather in unseen things, such as a calm, gentle heart, the keen awareness of God in everyone, and the peace that comes from knowing who and what you really are. Asana is only a piece of the map one needs to arrive at a true state of yoga, and I think people have lost sight of that fact in pursuit of the perfect body.

Much of what is passing for yoga practice today is little more than asanaerobics, and it makes me really sad, because there’s so much more to being a great person than just a great bod.

It is a very difficult thing being different, but I am glad for the opportunity, for I believe it is those very differences that manifest what I have to give.

If you are looking for a yoga experience that isn’t just the same old thing, please come and visit one of my classes soon. I promise to really see you.

 

May 16, 2012
by Bettie Shea
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Gary

 

Almost immediately after I got home and settled from all the Iyengar intensity in our nation’s capitol, it was time to pack my bag AGAIN and drive up to beautiful Asheville North Carolina to study Viniyoga and Yoga Therapy with Gary Kraftsow.

Did I mention that I am really tired? Did I mention that Gary was totally and completely worth the effort??? He has forgotten more in his fifty something years than I will ever know, yet he remains one of the friendliest, most humble teachers I have ever studied with. Sitting at his feet for three days was such a blessing, and one I hope to repeat often.

Gary makes me want to be a great  yoga teacher, not just a good one.  I hope I will be, someday.

May 15, 2012
by Bettie Shea
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The Maitri Conference

Wow.

I was so exhausted and emotionally drained by three solid days of practicing Iyengar yoga I completely forgot to write. That alone should tell you something.

The conference hotel, The J.W. Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue, was plush and beautiful. I don’t think I have ever, in my entire middle class life, stayed anywhere this fancy. The crystal chandeliers in the lobby alone probably cost more than my house. Each.

 

 

 

So yeah, the hotel was fabulous, and the location was amazing. We were within walking distance of the National Mall and all the Smithsonian Museums, as well as some notable restaurants, such as Zatinya and Central Michel Richard. I ate well. No surprise there.

What did surprise me was the quality of all the instructors I had the pleasure to study with. Continue Reading →

May 2, 2012
by Bettie Shea
0 comments

The Washington Adventure

Hello All!!

I leave Mint Hill tomorrow to fly to Washington DC where I will attend the Iyengar Association of the Southeast Maitri Conference. Boy, isn’t that a mouthful!

During that time, I will have the opportunity to meet yogis from all over the globe and study with two of the most famous in the Iyengar tradition, Patricia Walden and Manouso Manos.

My plan is to post a little diary entry each day along with pictures so you can share this crazy adventure with me. This is providing, of course, that my Android phone will allow it, and that my technical skills aren’t as touch and go as my sirsasana!

I look forward to the adventure, and to sharing it with you.

Namaskar.

April 26, 2012
by Bettie Shea
0 comments

Change is Hard

It is with mixed feelings that I tell you I am ending Wednesday night yoga at Hickory Grove United Methodist Church. Our last class will be May 16 at 7pm. Attendance is way way down on a pretty consistent basis, and I don’t want to be away from my family and drive from Mint Hill and have no students. Please know that I love all of you, and you are each special to me, but I don’t want to continue in this way. Monday night yoga at the church will continue as it has been, as attendance there has been consistent, so please feel free to join that group if you would like. I am committed to offering an affordable alternative to yoga studio prices.

Beginning May 24 at 7pm, I will be teaching Fusion Flow at Mint Hill Arts on Lawyers Road. The classes are $10 each if you sign up for a series(plus a $5 processing fee once each series), and $12 drop in. We will practice in the art gallery surrounded by beautiful art and plenty of space, so if you’d like to come, let me know, and I’ll give you all the details. The Mint Hill Arts website is www.minthillarts.org and you can sign up online and pay there with paypal or a credit card.

I want to thank each of you for allowing me to be part of your yogic journey, and especially for being patient with me during my learning process. You have been wonderful, and I have very much enjoyed our time together. Please know this has not been an easy decision. I hope to see you in another class soon.

Namaskar, and all best wishes.

Bettie Alston Shea