Editor’s note: The following Q&A is one of several featured in this week’s Wellness, Part 2 issue.
Whitney Shroyer, a certified yoga instructor, co-owns Purna Yoga 828 in West Asheville. He is also a local DJ, performing at several venues around town, as well as on Asheville FM. He speaks with Xpress about self-care, music’s role in health care and the respect he has for the history and tradition of yoga.
How central is yoga to your pursuit of wellness?
Asana and pranayama keep me flexible, smooth out my physical misalignments and keep my nervous system on an even keel. But it’s the “mind-body connection” created by a complete yoga practice that’s central to my ideas of self-care. The longer I’ve studied yoga, the more the artificial distinction between “thinking me,” “physical me” and “creative me” dissolves, and the more integrated I feel in all aspects of my life and in the world around me.
What role does music play in wellness?
I don’t listen to music while I practice or play music when I teach. For me, music erases the distinction between the mind, body and spirit. When music connects to me as a listener, I have a physical, emotional and intellectual experience all at once. Music changes mood, affects the nervous system, inspires movement, evokes memory. It enlivens the core energetic self — it gets you in your soul. Music is its own wellness practice.
What are some common misconceptions that people have about yoga and its relationship to wellness?
There’s a common misconception that yoga is on one hand just exercise, and on the other hand an empty New Age embrace of bogus enlightenment. But for me, a yoga practice is an ancient Indian system of spiritual growth and evolution with both practical and esoteric goals. As a teacher, I work to stay aware that yoga is a tradition I have adopted that has millennia-old roots that need to be tended and respected.
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