Cat Matlock, owner of West Asheville Yoga, had been looking for a new space for the past three years in order to expand her offerings. Twice, she came close to finding a space, but each time, she says, the deal fell through due to the high cost of real estate in Asheville.
Meanwhile, One Center Yoga studio owner Cindy Dollar says she had felt that some new energy and collaboration was needed at her Coxe Avenue center on the South Slope. She told Matlock she wanted to sell One Center Yoga. And the seed was planted for a potential link between the two entrepreneurs.
The sale of Dollar’s studio was official on August 1. Renamed the Embodiment Center, the revamped yoga space will celebrate its grand opening in October, says Matlock.
“We started having meetings and conversations about what that would look like,” Matlock says. “[Dollar] wanted to sell the business to someone who would honor the space as the home of Iyengar yoga in our community.”
One Center Yoga, which acquired Lillah Schwartz’ Iyengar studio Lighten Up Yoga in 2012, will remain open, and the schedule will stay the same through the end of September, with big changes on the horizon starting in October, says Matlock.
“I want to honor that [the Iyengar yoga lineage], but having only that program is not sustainable,” she says. Matlock will add Vinyasa yoga, dancing, health coaching, therapeutic foam rolling, music events, video creation of local yoga instructors’ classes, and pre- and postnatal yoga programs. She’s also open to any ideas the community has to bring all “five koshas” to the Embodiment Center. The Koshas, roughly translated from Sanskrit as the layers of our being, include the annamaya (physical body), pranamaya (breath body), manomaya (mental body), vijnanamaya (intellectual body) and anandamaya (spiritual body), Matlock explains.
She’s been a massage therapist since 1993, a yoga student and practitioner since 1988, and a yoga instructor since 2001. Matlock leads classes and workshops in the Asheville area and at her current studio. One of the workshops, called Rolling Therapeutics, combines trigger point, massage, foam rolling and yoga.
The Asheville community, she says, needs practices to help balance the body, mind and nervous system. “There are layers of beliefs about ourselves and our world right now, and it feels like scary times for a lot of people, and that is really deep in our nervous system,” she says. “The Embodiment Center will offer everything for all layers of ourselves [the Koshas], with the goal of clearing our inner space so our inner brilliance can shine.”
In the next few weeks, Matlock will run a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for soundproofing the current One Center Yoga studio in order to have music events and multiple classes held at the same time. She plans to offer dance parties and strengthening yoga practices, all in alignment with her overarching vision of a wellness center based on teachings from the Upanishads, a collection of Sanskrit philosophical texts. The vision will encompass Iyengar alignment yoga, currently offered at One Center Yoga, as well as Vinyasa yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, dancing, health coaching, and kirtan (call-and-response chanting and singing).
“There will be many types of classes, workshops and pranayama (breathing exercises) to help our energy body and mind body with meditation and forgiveness practices and prayer work to tap into spiritual practices,” says Matlock, who is a certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
“We are prisoners of our neural system,” she continues. “We need practices to help balance the body, mind and nervous system.”
Matlock says she hopes the One Center Yoga instructors will stay, and so far, she adds, nearly everyone has been very receptive. “I want to keep that root of Iyengar yoga and then want to layer on” — for example, by hosting music events in the larger practice room. She plans to install soundproofing between the practice spaces and add an acoustical tile ceiling in the larger yoga room in September. A concert with the local band Rising Appalachia, which Matlock says has been very supportive, will be the kick-off event for the Embodiment Center in October.
The new center will include therapeutic yoga teacher training that focuses on utilizing foam rollers to alleviate chronic pain. The Embodiment Center will also be a home for a trauma-informed yoga therapy training. Next spring Matlock will join the faculty of international organization Sundara Yoga Therapy, which offers trauma-informed yoga therapy workshops and trainings in the U.S. and Canada for use with traumatized populations. Matlock is a trauma-informed yoga therapist and an advanced instructor of therapeutic yoga for treating anxiety.
Matlock also plans to have a dedicated video recording room at The Embodiment Center to develop an online subscription program. The program, she says, will help instructors develop their own online courses available to the public.
Matlock will maintain her current studio, West Asheville Yoga, in its current form, she says, but plans to find a larger space to include a front reception area with two bathrooms.
Dollar, who opened One Center Yoga 12 years ago, taught in the basement of her home before opening the yoga studio at 120 Coxe Ave. “It just happened. A lot of things came together first, but the bottom line is it just happened. I was happy about the move out of my home,” says Dollar, who always wanted her studio to be a wellness center. There is more to health than just asana (yoga postures), she adds. “I love what we do at One Center Yoga, and asana is a big part, but this is an opportunity under Cat [Matlock] to become bigger in so many ways.
“From knowing Cat,” says Dollar, “she has a lot of energy and is interested in expanding and is good at it. She will take One Center Yoga to places that I could never take it.” Dollar compares the experience to sending a child off to college, saying she will be right there beside the project and won’t let the students or studio down. “I would almost rather have closed it than passed it off just for money or just for somebody to take it,” says Dollar, who confirms that Matlock is the right buyer. “I’m dedicated to the practice of yoga, which includes right livelihood and tending to the students … This is an opening and welcoming opportunity for the whole yoga community. We need to be open-hearted about all kinds of yoga.”
Sundara Yoga Therapy
One Center Yoga
West Asheville Yoga