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Live Be Yoga Archive

Live Be Yoga: 6 Lessons Learned from North Carolina’s Thriving Yoga Communities

The team uses the tools of yoga to dive into difficult conversations on diversity, discovers yogic intentions at the Gaia Herbs farm, and gets salty for self-care.

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg are on a road trip across the country to share real talk with master teachers, explore innovative classes, and so much more—all to illuminate what’s in store for the future of yoga. 

6 Things We Learned as We Made Our Way Across North Carolina

Communities Can Come Together to Tackle Real Talk

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Local instructors and activists Kelley Carboni-Woods, Jasmine Hines, and Grace Millsap organized a night of yoga and discussion surrounding tough topics—like assault and inclusivity—facing the Charlotte community right now. The intention was not to solve anything immediately but to begin the conversation and discuss how to support each other and make changes. It was inspiring to see studio owners, teachers, and students sitting in a circle, in the same room for the first time, using the tools yoga provides to face these challenges head on. This was a powerful evening of taking yoga off the mat and into our lives. 

Check out our dispatch from the panel, and scroll through the Live Be Yoga Instagram or Facebook feeds for video interviews with these amazing women. (Also, this was the first of four summits; head over to the Amplify & Activate Facebook page for updates on the next one.)

Community Organizations, Like Amplify and Activate, Make an Impact

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Jasmine Hines, yoga teacher and activist, created Amplify and Activate to teach others how to use yoga to amplify the aspects of yoga culture that hurt people, activate the yoga teachings within so we practice yoga off the mat, and make our communities what we want them to be. “If we’re practicing on our mats, we’re wasting our time if we’re not using it in other ways to help reduce the harm that’s committed [in our communities],” she said. Check out our social media posts featuring Hines and Millsap discussing more about Amplify and Activate’s mission and how you can implement your yoga into your community. 

Many Yogis Don’t Feel Welcome in Traditional Studio Settings

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We were honored when Carboni-Woods invited us to her community class, located in a Charlotte-based art studio. This yoga class is for yogis who have not always felt welcome at traditional studios because of their body sizes, abilities, or skin color. Kelly taught a class that was inspiring, reminded us to “celebrate ourselves,” and offered options for different body types and abilities. The class felt supportive, inclusive, and sacred. It’s beautiful to see yoga teachers, such as Carboni-Woods, hosting classes that create a space where all can feel safe and welcome. We hope mainstream studios can learn something from them. 

Salt Therapy Is a Much-Needed Oasis After a Month on the Road

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Salt caves are known to balance health and energy, as well as activate our own self-healing powers. It is known to assist in the healing of many ailments, particularly respiratory issues and inflammation. Offering stillness and the opportunity to heal, balance, and realign, Asheville Salt Cave was an oasis in the midst of our travel life. It is home to a rare type of salt cave known for speleotherapy, a healing method that mimics the microclimate of natural salt caves by providing just the right moisture in the air in combination with 20 tons of salt imported from around the world. Read more about our enchanting experience at Asheville Salt Cave here.

Gaia Herbs Shares Yogic Intentions and Business Practices

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We rolled up to the Gaia Herbs farm—located in Brevard, in the southwestern Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina—and it looked like we had driven into Jurassic Park. The abundance of lush greenery made it seem tropical. We had the privilege of touring the 250-acre farm and manufacturing center with Ric Scalzo, herbalist and founder of Gaia Herbs, and Slim Miles, manufacturing operations manager and Ayurvedic guru. Not only did they bestow endless amounts of knowledge about the farm, their practices, and medicinal plant wisdom, but they also shared the passion they have for their work and their employees. 

“Ultimately at the end of the day, we’re selling constituents—but we’re also selling an intentional vibration, and that vibration is love,” Miles told us as we finished the tour. Gaia Herbs has some of the highest testing standards on the market and puts the most concentrated and pure plant magic into every holistic item they create. They truly love what they do and made us believers in Gaia Herbs products.

With Its Strong Yoga Community, Asheville Is a Gem

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Neither of us had ever been to Asheville before, but since day one of our tour, people have raved about how much they love Asheville. Now we know why! Not only is it located in the lush Appalachian region, known for hiking and waterfalls, but it is filled with unique and high quality restaurants, health and spiritual shops, art galleries, and all-around alluring bohemian vibes. The yoga didn’t disappoint either! We were able to take classes at both Asheville Yoga Center and Hot Yoga Asheville. Although the styles of the classes we took at each studio varied, we loved their intentions of real yoga and regard for student safety. Each studio also created a strong sense of community. Our hearts were in yogi heaven in Asheville. We will be back!

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Greg Brenton

Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.