Health in brief: Asheville Yoga Center hits the market, website tracks impact of opioid crisis in Buncombe

BLISS BIZ FOR SALE: The Asheville Yoga Center's two buildings, brand and other assets are on the market. Founded in 1997, the company offers classes and yoga teacher training and certification. Photo courtesy of AYC

Sightings of yoga-mat-toting fitness junkies are few along South Liberty Street lately. The pandemic has curtailed in-person operations at the Asheville Yoga Center and other health-oriented businesses in what Melissa Driver, AYC’s general manager, calls the city’s “wellness district.”

But like many other enterprises, AYC has shifted much of its programming online, offering over 40 classes every week. Some of the students who have recently enrolled in AYC’s two yoga teacher trainings, which have continued virtually, would not have been able to access the training in its previous format, Driver says. 

In-person programming has also resumed in a limited way, with outdoor classes meeting almost daily. Although Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent Phase 2.5 order permits fitness facilities like AYC to restart indoor programming at reduced capacity, the company has chosen to watch and wait a bit longer before taking that leap, Driver adds.

Now the business — including its brand, two buildings and yoga boutique inventory — is looking for new owners. The transition is the next step in changes brought about by the divorce of the company’s founders, Stephanie and Sunny Keach, which was first announced last year, according to Driver.

Jay Lurie of The Real Estate Center is handling the sale.

Mission doctor urges men to get prostate screening

September is prostate cancer awareness month, and Dr. Quinton V. Cancel of Mission Urology shared some tips with Xpress:

  • “After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 191,000 men will be diagnosed and more than 33,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2020, making it the second-leading cause of cancer-related death behind lung cancer. Even though 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, most of those men will die with prostate cancer rather than from it.
  • “Those at greatest risk include African American men, men older than 60 and men who have a first-degree relative (brother, father, son) with prostate cancer.
  • “The screening for prostate cancer consists of two items: a simple blood test called the prostate-specific antigen and a digital rectal exam. Both tests are required for proper screening.
  • “Strategies for treating prostate cancer range from active surveillance (monitoring only) to definitive treatment with robotic surgery or radiation to other options in between. This is a personal decision that should be made once you have been thoroughly advised and understand the risks and benefits of each option and have discussed it with your loved ones.”

New on the scene

  • A new Henderson County program got underway at the beginning of this month to provide peer support services within 72 hours to people who have experienced an overdose. Peer support specialists from The Free Clinics work with county Emergency Management and local emergency departments to identify and meet with affected individuals, as well as those who have recently been released from detention.
  • Dr. Aneela Cox joined Integrative Family Medicine to provide primary care services that include nutrition, mind/body connection and movement-based therapies in addition to conventional medicine. Cox is also a certified yoga instructor who received her training through Asheville Yoga Center in 2016. 
  • Pardee UNC Health Care will open three new clinics in Brevard offering urgent care, physical therapy and orthopedic services staffed by providers from Southeastern Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, a department of Pardee Hospital. Located in the former Rite-Aid building at the corner of N.C. Highway 280 and New Hendersonville Highway in Pisgah Forest, the clinics will begin seeing patients on Wednesday, Sept. 16, after a private ribbon-cutting ceremony that morning.
  • With funding from the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, Eliada expanded the area in which it provides foster placement services to include Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. Eliada says its goal is to keep children entering the foster system in their home counties and near their natural supports.
  • Dr. Christina McCabe joined AdventHealth Medical Group Family Medicine at Mills River, where she will provide primary care for all ages.

Five-star review

The Charles George VA Medical Center joins 265 hospitals in receiving the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ highest rating — five stars. Based on consumers’ assessments of hospital performance on measures such as how well doctors and nurses communicate with patients, how quickly staff responds to call buttons, how well they explain medications and the overall cleanliness of the facility, the ratings reflect responses collected Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.

Website boosts awareness of opioid epidemic

When a grieving parent approached Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger looking for ways to help raise awareness around opioid-related deaths, she spurred a change in how data and public records intertwine. Using public information from death certificates, the Sheriff’s Office, and Buncombe County Emergency Management Services, Reisinger and his team used geographic information systems to help tell the story of the opioid epidemic in Buncombe County.

 “We use GIS every day to help us track parcels of land, create street maps and help connect our residents to their parks,” said Reisinger. “By harnessing the same technology, we can tell the story of our friends, neighbors and loved ones who we’ve lost to this cruel and unrelenting epidemic. That story, we hope, will help raise awareness and connect people in need to resources that are available.” 

VISUALIZING A CRISIS: A website developed by the Buncombe County Register of Deeds using public data illustrates the rate of fatalities stemming from opioid overdose over time in Buncombe County, as well as other information. Screen capture from website

 The website pulls publicly available information such as trends over time and demographics to show how deaths from opioids have impacted our community and who they’ve affected. In Buncombe County, the majority of overdoses since 2010 have occurred primarily in white males between the ages of 20 and 39. The website shows the occupations of those who have died: psychologist, electrician, chef, homemaker and more.

Deputy Register of Deeds Miranda Stewart, who pulled this project together, shared more about the process: “Using data specific to Buncombe County helps us better understand where and how our community has been affected. Although state data is useful, it can take up to a year or longer to receive, making it difficult to understand if current policies and programs are helping in the community we have the privilege to serve.”

 In addition to charting patterns and demographics, the website also provides connections to support. “One thing we want our community to be able to take away from this is that these were individuals whose lives mattered,” said Buncombe County opioid response coordinator Amy Upham. “And, secondly, that help is available. Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers, MAHEC and Vaya Health all have resources to help if you or someone you love is wanting to enter treatment.”

 The project can be viewed at and is best viewed on a larger screen with an up-to-date web browser.


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2 thoughts on “Health in brief: Asheville Yoga Center hits the market, website tracks impact of opioid crisis in Buncombe

  1. 3rdworldyoga

    Yoga is the ultimate symbol of frivolous American behavior. All the people are white, and you get the impression that it’s “white-body stretching”. White people have to stretch their bodies more. For every stretch, the cost of living goes up in the area. Ultimate Yoga is when the Yoga room has wallpaper showing starving children in 3rd world nations. This provides the stretcher with the ultimate challenge of doing a serious random stretchy movement while looking at starving children.

    • froscari

      You’re way out there 3rdworld. It’s great how you lump all white people together into one big pile aloof and ignorant mass. You have no idea who’s giving to what causes and working in other ways to make the world a better place. For every stretch the cost of living goes up more? Where did you come up with that? So we can add yoga along with hotels to the idiot’s list of why it costs a lot to live in Asheville. Tell us more, I want to know what you know. Thank you for the enlightenment.

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