South Asheville – Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Interestingly, the meaning of yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means to yoke or unite.
Was Jesus pointing to the union of body, mind, and spirit within ourselves just as the essence of yoga is to yoke together the body, mind, and spirit in order to achieve union with the divine? Laura Tennyson, a local yoga teacher, elaborates, “Embracing the eight limbs of yoga enables us to connect the body and the mind through the breath, movements, philosophy, and meditation. The ultimate goal is the union of the individual spirit with eternal consciousness and remembering that we are pure source energy, limitless, and enduring.” Perhaps there is more to yoga than improved flexibility, strength, balance, and posture.
Perhaps, if it is infused with spiritual significance, yoga can unite oneself with the divine and provide rest for the soul.
Laura started teaching yoga in February of 2016 and taught in Virginia, Maryland, and Costa Rica before starting to instruct yoga classes at Asheville Racquet Club’s South location in August of 2022.
Laura creates a non-judgmental and inviting space that seems to lure people in and keep them attending regularly. She describes her style of teaching as “Hatha yoga with deep breathing exercises, reiki-infused adjustments, and anatomical queueing to provide a deeply meditative and expansive experience for her students.” She says that she “channels” for each class, explaining that channeling is allowing inspiration to come through based on the needs of those in the class.
That’s why no two classes are ever the same. She also infuses her love of astrology and Chinese medicine into her teaching and highlights the different muscles, joints, and meridians that are activated by certain postures. During postures, she elaborates on why stretching a particular muscle is beneficial to the whole or why allowing a certain meridian to flow freely is imperative. She brings awareness to the inner body by pinpointing sensations and offering soothing guidance to release and fully relax into postures for their maximum benefit.
She also correlates tightness in muscles and joints to unresolved emotions. She says, “Emotions that are too intense to process are tucked into sturdy body parts like joints and muscles. We do this automatically to allow ourselves to continue functioning during the emotional situation. The knees are depositories for grief, the hips for betrayal, and the shoulders for the trauma of others. This phenomenon has been documented for thousands of years through Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine studies, as well as yogic practice. Bringing attention to these joints through deep stretching allows the stored experience to be released by bringing energy to them.” When Jesus mentioned those who are weary and burdened, was he referring to the burden of our past that is stored in our bodies and minds? What if releasing the rigidity in our bodies and minds invited the divine to permeate the whole self and unite into an overall lightness of being? Could it be that loosening the tension in our bodies and minds creates space for the divine to flow through us, allowing us to experience a sense of ease and unity?
I had tried yoga numerous times over many years, and I can only attest to my own personal experience. Attending Laura’s yoga classes spawned a curiosity within me to figure out why her style of teaching was effective while other teachers seemed to lose my interest. The biggest draw to her teaching style is how informative she is. For me, being able to assimilate the sensations within my body into something palpable is empowering.
Oftentimes, after her class, I find myself researching muscles, meridians, or postures to expand my own knowledge. Through the practice of yoga, I became receptive to new and diverse perspectives. As I wrote this piece, I dove into various spiritual texts that explore the theme of yoking, and to my amazement, I discovered that the concept of uniting is not only present in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the teachings of Jesus but also in other sacred texts such as The Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Gita, and The Quran. As I piece together my own personal puzzle, I am mindful that my journey is unique, yet I hope to ignite a sense of curiosity within you that may lead to your own exploration. My deepest desire is for all of us to find repose for our souls.
Laura Tennyson teaches yoga at Asheville Racquet Club South, and she also offers private yoga, reiki, reiki certification, health alignment consultations, human design readings, and coaching. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.