"I see this as a service and a way for people to become more deeply connected with internal resources for body, mind, heart and spirit. We are cultivating vitality and energy," the yoga instructor says.
The therapeutic, relaxing class was similar to a restorative yoga class until students were told to jump on the sticky mat and make any noise they wanted. Cammarata described this as raising “chi.” After a minute or two of jumping, Cammarata instructed the class create a circle to feel the “energetic connection” between one another.
Each person in the class smiled at one another.
The 57-year-old combines 20 years of yoga practice, nursing and sleep-recovery education to create the practice she now offers to the Asheville community. She claims the practice improves health and regulates the internal biological clock by combining gentle yoga postures and Qi Gong and breath work for stress relief. A seasoned yogini, her first taste of yoga was 28 years ago when she studied Bhakti yoga in California (Bhakti is a yoga of devotion through meditation and energizing exercises, not the typical western style of hatha practice seen in studios around the country). After discovering Iyengar yoga, she was inspired to add more of her nursing background and therapeutic practice to physical yoga.
“I wanted to do yoga for the heart and focus on healing,” she says. “As a nurse, I already had the physiology and anatomy background, but I wanted to add the wellness aspect.” To her, spiritual essence is number one on her list of things to focus on in yoga practice.
The holistic nurse wanted to find an alternative to medication to heal restless leg syndrome. After researching how to heal naturally and curing herself, she now offers guidance as a sleep recovery educator.
“Calming the nervous system is key,” she says. “As a nurse, I am grounded in evidence-based research. We are powerful biologically, in rhythm and in cycles. The path of yoga can energize vitality — and it makes life so much more fun and interesting.” Cammarata says knowledge is empowering and to make choices based on what one truly needs.
A transplant from California, the instructor lives in Asheville with her husband, a psychologist and Qi Gong instructor. The pair teaches congruently for workshops and lectures. "Asheville has opened us up. There is a sweetness here, and an uplifting, heartfelt, healthy wisdom of the mountains in the people and spirit of the town. I want my yoga class to reflect that."
Cammarata teaches Tuesdays at One Center Yoga, 7:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m., and Fridays at the French Broad Food Co-op Movement and Learning Center, 8:30 a.m.-9:45 a.m. She is also leading a women’s retreat to Bali on June 30. More information can be found at www.mind-bodywellness.org.
Cammarata and her husband will be performing with Lumina, a world music ensemble, on Saturday, Dec.15, at the White Horse in Black Mountain at 8 p.m. $12.
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