PLANKSGIVING [Planks + Thanks]

A strong core is the foundation of a strong body!


Join us for 30 days to plank challenge this November.  We begin with a 15 second plank hold and work our way up to 2 minutes!  If you want more of a challenge we've got your covered - begin with a 20 second plank, working your way up to a 5 minutes!  

Whichever option you choose, this challenge will help you maintain that strong foundation as we enter into the holiday season.  While we’re plank-in we’ll be setting an intention of gratitude. It’s easy to be grateful when life’s going smooth, much harder when stuck in a posture of challenge! Snap a picture of the challenge schedule with your phone so you can participate at home or in the studio. NOV 1-30th

Winners will receive Simply Yoga swag but you have to show us you can rock that 2 or 5 minute plank!

 Share progress on social media with the hashtag #SimplyPlanksgiving or on the
Facebook - Simply Wellness Group!

Yin vs. Yang Yoga

Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with postures that are held for longer periods of time. During this practice you will increase circulation in your joints and improve your flexibility by applying moderate stress to your connective tissues. Yin Yoga is traditionally a more meditative approach and aids in bringing awareness and inner silence – which most of us desperately need in our daily lives.

We can think of the main intention of Yin Yoga to be maintaining or improving the current state of heath to optimal levels. Not to be confused with Restorative Yoga which is designed to take an unhealthy body and hopefully bring it back to normal.


Benefits of a regular Yin Yoga practice:

  • Calms and balances the mind and body
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases circulation
  • Improves flexibility
  • Releases fascia and improves joint mobility
  • Balances the internal organs and improves the flow of chi or prana



Yin yoga can help us tap into our parasympathetic nervous system. You may have heard some of the reasons activating the parasympathetic nervous system is beneficial (stress, tension, blood pressure, sleep, digestion, immune function, hormones, etc)—and that most of us don’t do it often enough. Instead, we spend our days locked in sympathetic nervous system overdrive, constantly being pulled from one overly important deadline to another.



Belly breathing can be a quick and easy way to change this. Pay close attention while breathing from the abdomen and in no time you will notice a significant shift. It may feel like a wave of relaxation washes over the body. The deepest layers of the belly soften, the forehead tingles, and the brain relaxes. It’s as if the whole body takes a prolonged sigh. As you move deeper into a yin practice, the breath slows down significantly drawing you deeper and deeper into this parasympathetic, or relaxation, mode. This is where the internal organs get a chance to catch up on their to-do list (digest, eliminate toxins, heal, repair).


So, what is Yang Yoga?

Yang yoga is a term used to describe the more dynamic and active forms of yoga. Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, and Vinyasa yoga are specific styles that could be included as a yang practice. Yang yoga poses often emphasize strength and endurance, they are active, powerful, and generate heat in the body. The benefits of an active yoga practice can include increased fitness levels and other physical characteristics. A 2014 study in the International Journal of Yoga, for example, found that Hatha Yoga practice increased balance in young adults. It also increases mental and physical endurance.


Benefits of a regular Yang Yoga practice

-        Develops strength and flexibility

-        Releases chronic tension

-        Calms restless thoughts

-        Supports mental clarity

-        Improves circulations

-        Releases toxins

-        Recharges and Energizes

-        Encourages Self-Acceptance


When we practice in an active asana class, we intentionally put our bodies into an intense work-out in order to find physical release. Our bodies are then tired enough to allow us to sit or lie completely still, which in turn allows the mind to also find stillness. This is what yoga is all about – being able to still our bodies, and cease our minds from wandering.


For example: In Vinyasa flow yoga, the movement through a series of poses is synchronized with the inhale and exhale of the breath. Vinyasa has both mental and physical benefits. Physically, sweat expels toxins and re-energizes your body. Mentally, the synchronized breathing relaxes your mind and helps to release any blockage of energy flow throughout your body. It can be as intense or as gentle as you like.


All forms of exercise can be categorized as yin or yang based on the tissues they target. Exercises that focus on muscles and blood are yang, exercises that focus on connective tissue are yin. You’ve heard it before: move it or lose it. The tissues in our bodies must all undergo stress to stay healthy. If we do not exercise our heart it will degerate, if we do not exercise our muscles they will atrophy, if we do not bend our joints they will become stiff and painful. Traditionally, yin and yang are thought of as complementary – not opposites. Thus, balancing your more physically demanding yoga practice with gentle postures can be a way to create balance and harmony.





When it’s a scorching 99 degrees outside this summer the last thing on your mind is probably stepping into a hot yoga class. But hear me out! The perks might surprise you and have you doubling down on the sweat this season.


If you’ve been working on getting into a full split, the summer months might be the perfect time for you to finally reach your goal. During the winter or in moderate temperatures we usually come into class stiff, and it takes us a while to warm up. This is less of an obstacle during the summer. When temps are high and we are irritatingly sticky from humidity our muscles and joints are actually looser and more flexible before we even step into the room. Use this to your advantage! This improves your flexibility on and off the mat. If you play sports during the warmer months hot yoga will not only improve your endurance in the heat, but it will also decrease your chance of injury. Tell that to your baseball loving husband!



The best way to push toxins out of our bodies is to sweat them out, which we are already doing during the summer – that’s great for your internal organs and your skin! But during the summer we often have more BBQs and parties to attend, which leads to more sugary drinks and greasy foods. Doubling up on the detox will help your body cleanse quicker and leave you feeling lighter – not sluggish.



Why should our technology be smarter than we are? When you practice hot yoga you are actually making your body smarter! Practicing yoga in high temperatures will help you to acclimate to summer’s heat by actually teaching your body to cool itself more efficiently through sweating. How cool is that? It also allows you to develop coping tools like learning to focus on the breath when things heat up, or sit in order to lower your heart rate. And the more that you practice you’ll find that you don’t mind the heat and you’ll actually enjoy being in the sun for all of those outdoor summertime activities.


BONUS: Just one hot yoga class can burn between 500-800 calories, having you looking and feeling great all summer long!

Although we love hot yoga year round, there are a few precautions that you should consider before your summer classes. They might seem obvious, but do not dismiss these as they are very important to your safety.




 + STAY HYDRATED! This is preached constantly, and rightfully so. During hot yoga you will sweat – a lot. This means that you are losing essential water from your body and it must be replenished. It is a non-negotiable. Your body will demand that you to drink water after your class, so you more than likely won’t need to be reminded to do so. Be sure to drink plenty of water before stepping into the room, and take frequent breaks during your practice to drink even more. 

 + If you have asthma or high blood pressure, this is not your class. We offer many other classes during the week that will be perfect for you to breath deep and relax – this is not one of them. Come back for our Restorative Yoga class!

 + Don’t push yourself. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseated at any point during the practice, take a break. Drink more water, or get some fresh air. Your goal is to sweat, not to overheat.

 + Dress appropriately. All of our classes are judgement free, especially this one! You will need to wear tight-fitting clothes, as looser garments trap heat. Moisture-wicking clothes and headbands are best if you own them.

Tips For Maintaining Balance While Traveling

I believe that we’ve all had this experience before: you’re prepping for a big trip and taking care of yourself by eating well leading up to it. Maybe you’re trying to look good for your vacation pictures – and you do! But once you’re finally on that plane all bets are off. You’re eating your toddlers travel snacks, having greasy airport food, and a double scoop of ice cream for dessert because YOLO! And while it’s true that you do, in fact, only live once you’re stomach might not be so happy after a week of non-stop treats. Travel food is not the only issue we run into while on vacation. Our routines change completely and our sleep patterns take a big hit. But there are a few things that we can do to help our bodies adjust and keep ourselves in balance. 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:

It is easy to become dehydrated while traveling because we are typically out in the sun for longer stretches of time and walking more than we are used to. I recommend drinking 2 liters of water the morning before you board your plane. Yes, you will be popping into the bathroom a lot but your body will thank you for prepping it for a day of travel. Once you’ve boarded your plane do yourself a favor and skip the tiny cans of soda which will only dehydrate you. Instead drink coconut water which is loaded with natural electrolytes and eat potassium rich foods, like bananas, which will ensure long lasting hydration. These items can typically be found in airport terminals. Be sure to monitor your water intake throughout the week, which will aid your body with processing those vacay treats and also will prevent additional bloating.

Practice Grounding:

If you’re unfamiliar with grounding – or “earthing” - it refers to the act of connecting physically to the Earth. Usually this means walking barefoot outside, and depending on where you are spending your vacation this could be grass, dirt or sand. Reports have actually shown that this can eliminate jet lag, or at least substantially reduce your fatigue. Kids are so good at this, it’s no wonder they are so resilient! This is especially beneficial if you are travelling through time zones. Grounding yourself after a long flight basically resets your inner clockwork to “local time” on the ground, and thus helps to reduce the jet lag. If you’re going somewhere tropical this will not be an issue for you, but try to do it as soon as possible upon arriving.

Yoga on the go:

You can practice yoga anywhere, and these poses will go a long way in helping you stay balanced while you’re away. During your flight you are likely to encounter neck and back strain. Try a series of neck rolls, and even throw in a seated version of cat-cow stretch if you’re comfortable with your row mates. Don’t forget to breathe with intention, especially if you have travel or flight anxiety!

Once you have settled into your destination, I recommend trying Legs up the Wall to help minimize swelling that can often accompany plane travel. You can also jot down a few restorative poses to do in the evenings while you’re away as a nightly routine. My go to’s are: child’s pose, forward folds, butterfly pose, reclined spinal twists, bridge pose and everyone’s favorite…Savasana.

Stay active:

If your vacation consists of sitting under a beach umbrella for 5 straight days – good for you! Your mental health will benefit greatly! But you might want to break up that time with an excursion or two to keep your body moving which will aid in your digestion and help you sleep better at night. Most resorts or hotels will have access to local tours, so that you can keep active and learn something new along the way.

Essential Oils:

My number one must-have oil for traveling is Theives! You need an immunity boosting blend especially while on a plane and around so many people during transit. I put this on the bottoms of our feet before we leave and reapply a few times on our spines during our flight. Peppermint oil always comes with me as well because it is amazing for digestion. My family will try any type of local food and it is not always friendly to our stomachs. Stress can make you nauseous and flying can give you motion sickness; peppermint oil can help with all of those unfortunate issues. And if I were going to pack one more (but let’s be real, I typically travel with an apothecary) it would either be Lavender or Chamomile for promoting relaxation at night before winding down. These are great to add to your nightly yoga sequence. You’ll be sleeping better on vacation than you do in our own bed!


We often say that we “need a vacation from our vacation” because traveling is stressful and we’re trying to pack in as many adventures as possible while we’re exploring a new location. I am a believer that you should listen to your body! If it is telling you that it needs to hit the reset button in order to adjust back into your routine, you should help it out. There are many ways to do this: getting adequate sleep is essential, schedule an extra day at home before heading back to work, and, my personal favorite, book a thai yoga massage to enhance your energy flow! Combine all three of these and you’ll feel like you got a bonus vacation!

written by: Ashleigh Flynn (a fun-loving local mom, lover of vegan food, health advocate, student of nutrition studies and free-lance writer).

The Benefits of Meditation & Yoga for Seniors and Their Caregivers


As of July 2015, the number of American citizens who were 65 and older grew to 47.8 million, or 14.9 percent of the total population. Meanwhile, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 34.2 million informal caregivers have provided care to an adult aged 50 or older over the previous 12 months. One reason that there are so many caregivers could be because the cost for senior care is exorbitant; many people can expect to pay $320-$350 per day just to keep their loved ones in a nursing home. Perhaps even more shocking is that the American Geriatrics Society predicts that there will only be one geriatrician per every 4,000 senior citizens within the next 15 years. Suffice it to say, getting older in the United States can present seniors and caregivers alike with lots of harsh realities, and therefore, a lot of stress. While these aren’t foolproof strategies against aging, many people have found that yoga and meditation are beneficial for their bodies and their minds, and help them cope with life’s difficulties in a calming, low-impact way. Here are some tips to get started with these practices.



Yoga has been around for a long time. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit yuj, meaning “to join” or “to yoke together.” Many people interpret this as the union of mind and body. Yoga is divided into eight branches (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi). Each provides different health benefits, which might include decreased back pain, better balance, and improved stress management. Since elderly people may suffer from osteoarthritis or may have sustained injuries in the past, yoga is an optimal exercise option, because it’s a low- to moderate-intensity workout. Just some of the perks of yoga for senior citizens include reduced anxiety, better respiration, increased flexibility, and lower blood pressure.



One of the basic components of yoga is its tendency to help people focus and feel more centered in their world. That’s essentially meditation. Although it shouldn’t be thought of as an empirically-tested medical prescription, meditation has been shown to help people suffering from a variety of ailments. These might include asthma, depression, headaches, chronic pain, and certain cancers. Meditation can be beneficial for caregivers. If you’re an unpaid caregiver, your workload might entail holding down a full-time job, raising a family, and caring for a loved one who may or may not be separate from your family. That’s a ton of responsibility. That’s why meditation is suggested to caregivers to control pain, help them sleep, lower their cholesterol, and simply let them feel content and at peace while they juggle so many roles.


Seniors & Caregivers

Since there are so many benefits to yoga and meditation, it might not be a bad idea to set up a meditation room in your own home. Some tips on getting this space just right is to declutter it so that it’s airy and open, put it in a place you love going to, and add some indoor greenery like a fig tree potted in a woven basket. Put on your favorite music, light candles or scent diffusers, and hang mirrors or paint the walls a hue that relaxes you. Caregivers and seniors alike could retreat into this space whenever they feel overwhelmed or need to seek out quiet and solace.


Other Activities

Meditation and yoga are excellent features of a healthy lifestyle, but you don’t have to stop there. Sometimes, it’s fun to branch out. Other activities you might do to stay mindful and alert include reading, gardening, and taking walks. Not only will they keep you calm, but they’ll also work you out – in both body and mind – so that whether you’re a senior or a caregiver (or both), you’ll be fit and sharp for years to come.



Harry Cline is creator of and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

Nourish Charlotte Partnership

Doesn't this look yummy?! It is.

nourish food.PNG

Thanks to so many who came out to our Nourish Tasting event in February. Beginning Monday Feb 19th we'll receive our first order from Nourish Charlotte. Each week you guys have the opportunity to order with Nourish by noon on Thursday for delivery the following Monday. The kind folks at Nourish can help you choose what to order. They have customized menu options for just about anyone. Plus, you're not obligated to anything......

Before placing an order, if you haven't tasted their awesome food pick up a meal from our cooler. See how tasty healthy can be!

Learn more about Nourish Charlotte HERE


Where are you?

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"Stop measuring days by the level of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence." - Alan Watts

Where have you been?
Are you showing up authentically to your life? You might be thinking, "What does that even mean anyway?”


It means you're connected in meaningful ways to others, not electronically
- It means you breathe deeply, free from short anxious breaths
- It means you're living with purpose, not just going thru the motions
- It means you're showing up to every moment, your mind isn't 1000 miles away


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If you haven't been living a presence-filled life, yoga can help. Yoga isn't just great for body, yoga helps calm the mind by calming the body.

We're hoping to see your smiling face around the studio soon!

Opening Update

We're counting down to our new home! We're really close.

But we've hit another snag we feel warrants our careful consideration. It's regarding the wiring of our new electrical panels. We want you to know we're doing our due diligence to open in a timely manner but without cutting any corners.

Our last class in the Loft is Wednesday Aug 23rd. We'll announce our opening date just as soon as we have our all clear for occupancy.

Our journey to 4625 Wilkinson Blvd has been one with lots of twists, turns, ups and unfortunately downs. We can see how our journey as a business and as a community isn't about arriving to one destination but rather an unfolding of newness. A new address yes, but also new beginnings, new relationships, new energy, new opportunities.

Memberships For All

We're excited! Are you? We're making some changes and this one has us pumped. We know you want to come to yoga like every day right, but your life just doesn't always allow such bliss. So we've created 3 simple levels of memberships:

Flex - 4x/ mo (for the yogi that wants to come weekly. maybe you use supplement your training schedule or home practice with a in-studio class weekly. Or perhaps you travel often and know you'll just not make it in much but want all the benefits of being a member and community involvement. whatever your reason, this level of membership is flexible.)

Growth - 8x/ mo (for the yogi that's ready for more. you're ready to commit to growth but can't make it more than an couple of times a week. you're life may not allow jumping all in to an unlimited membership even though we know you want to. this middle-of-the-road membership will help you grow regardless.)

Commit - Unlimited Yoga/ mo (for the yogi that's committed to practice in-studio and often. you're ready to dive into community and all that comes with it. this level of membership will be your diving board to plunge into all things yoga.)

Each level is priced with your budget in mind. All offer generous benefits you're unlikely to find at any other studio. Check out our MEMBERSHIP page for more details.


We obviously believe in the power of words we speak into our lives and words spoken over us. Our thoughts become words and words, actions. We also believe in living with intention. July 14th we're inviting YOU to meet with us in our unfinished home to write affirmations on our unfinished walls. They'll be painted and sealed the following week!

July 14th 6:30p at 6425 Wilkinson Blvd Belmont.

Under Construction

Its officially official.  Our new space (and the Juice Bar) have left the permitting stage and are under construction! When you think about it, we as people are all 'under construction' for the duration of our lives. We are always learning, adapting and growing. The great news is a yoga studio-wellness center isn't. It has an end date!

As it stands we are slated to begin our first classes in our new permanent HOME the first week of August. Only about 6 weeks away! Catch a class in the Loft this summer while you can.

Beginning next week we'll host a few fun contests to make our waiting all the more exciting. What do you think our new space will look like?  What do you think it will smell like? What colors do you think you'll see? 

#transition #gypsysummer #comingsoon

Transitions - The Loft

The time has come to say goodbye to our current space. No April Fools. We've come to a season of TRANSITION. The space between one place and the next. The in-between. The season that's both the end and a beginning. Transition is a part of life. However, not often a favorite. Like moving your fridge, transitions can be messy. Once cleaned up and sorted we can emerge better having journeyed through the transition.

This summer, dive in and transition with us. We'll be exploring all aspects of liminal space; honing our equanimity skills (ability to maintain a steady state amidst chaos) giving lots of practice to those pesky transitions between postures.

We guarantee you'll emerge better having journeyed with us.



Beginning June 5th we'll be holding classes in 10 Catawba's Loft. We'll be in the same building, just around the corner! It'll be our home until we move into our new space this August. Some things to know:

  •  You can park in '10 Catawba Parking'.
  • We're inside the wood doors, up the stairs to the left.
  • You'll need to bring a mat & water (if you'd like to purchase a mat shoot us an email and we'll deliver one 25% off to the class.)
  • Our schedule will be kept up to date online & the Tula app.
  • We'll be creating our own heat. All classes will be held in a comfortably warm room. Don't worry, we can still keep it on the cooler side for those that prefer.
  • We're going cash-free. Please register online prior or plan to pay electronically.

Simply Yoga Is Closing....

So long, farewell. We have enjoyed our time in the heart of this beautiful city. Yep, it's true, very soon Simply Yoga of Belmont, LLC will close its doors, for good. The last four and something years have been an adventure here in this little alley. We've seen growth and change, both positive and some not so much. We've also watched yoga grow on our side of Charlotte and like to think we had a hand planting it. We will miss this alley and our neighbors as we say goodbye. Our deepest gratitude to you, students who've shown up faithfully for us.


You didn't think you'd get rid of us that easily?

The truth is a new place to do yoga is coming to Belmont, just down the street on Wilkinson Blvd, located beside I Love Juice Bar!!! Opening as an entirely new business, you'll recognize us as, Simply. - a community centered on holistic healing - offering yoga, wellness, AND massage. Simply. will be a place where anyone can come to relax, connect & practice while immersed in love & kindness.

The same great instructors you've grown to love are coming along, one in particular in a little different way than you might expect. Sue-Ann Keistler, will be coming alongside me as an additional business partner. With well over a decade of personal training and yoga instruction experience we have around 25 years combined experience in the fitness-wellness industry.

But that's not all...

We'll have 2 well sized massage rooms, one for our beloved Gaoness Yang! She will set up shop offering massage & Thai Therapy. In the second massage room we welcome Paper Lotus Massage, husband & wife team, Chris & Kristyn Brazzell.

Additionally, you'll begin to see other fitness classes pop into our schedule. Remaining centered on offering a variety of yoga class styles we'll also offer Barre and fitness/yoga fusion classes.

Oh, and you know that Hot Yoga we've been promising?

Well we weren't able to install our panels in our current space. We're installing incredibly healthy infrared 'thermal therapy' heat panels in our beautiful new studio.


What You Need To Know:

- Your current Membership & Class Pass is good with our new business.

- Our pricing will remain the same as it currently is posted.

- Your favorite yoga classes will remain.

- The new wellness center will be located beside the Juice Bar. (not sharing a space)

- We'll have ample, well-lit, close-by & safe parking.

- We will continue using Tula for class scheduling.




Check out our Membership page for all the details and benefits of joining our community. Unlimited Membership is for those yogis that believe in the power of possibility by committing to growth on their mat. These yogis come almost daily into the studio and take every chance to move beyond both on and off the mat. These yogis want to be active participants in a growing & vibrant community centered on holistic wellness. These yogis get maybe a little too excited over new yoga gear, oils and mats. These yogis want to share their passion of yoga with others. If this is you but can't quite work the monthly draft in your budget, consider joining our work-exchange team! Shoot us an email to inquire. We hope you'll join us!