Rachel Sylvester began practicing dance at the tender age of three and trained in LA under renowned instructor David Norwood before dancing professionally with the prestigious Atlanta Ballet at the Urban Dance Theatre. A severe ankle injury derailed a promising dance career and Rachel turned her attention to Yoga. It didn’t take long for Rachel to fall in love with Yoga and practiced the popular, yet difficult Bikram Yoga for five years. As Rachel’s knowledge and practice of Yoga grew, she discovered a more fluid and dance like form of Yoga – Vinyasa Flow which was a natural progression considering her dance background.
A turning point occured as her favorite instructor left town. Rather than allowing the small group she practiced with to die, Rachel took the initiative to teach the class herself! That unlikely turn of events sparked a new love for Rachel, the love of teaching which lead her to attain her Yoga Certification through the Asheville Yoga Center followed by the Yoga Alliance. Rachel then added a Yoga studio to her existing natural body care business and the challenge began of introducing Yoga to a small town previously unexposed to Yoga.
The early classes regularly consisted of one or two people, but ever so slowly, an interest in Yoga began to grow in Murphy, NC. Again, injury would step in to Rachel’s life and alter her course of direction. This time a serious auto accident left Rachel in constant pain and searching for some relief. An introduction into a relatively new branch of Yoga, Anusara, would be exactly what she was looking for. Anusara Yoga’s focus on the healing aspect of the human body not only relieved her pain, but ignited a true desire in Rachel to help people not only move their bodies, but to do so with precise alignment for the benefit of getting faster results. achel engrossed herself in the practice and studied under some phenomenal teachers, namely John Friend, Gina Minyard, Joe Taft, Stacey Millner-Collins, Kelly Gardner, Sarah Faircloth, Desiree Rambaugh, Doug Keller and Martin Kirk. This was a huge committment considering she lived more than a three hour drive from any of the above named instructors. That effort simply illustrates Rachel’s desire to provide those that practice with her the very best instruction possible.
Today, Rachel’s practice consists of a strong following of beginners to those far more advanced. Rachel truly loves her time sharing the wealth of being and feeling alive. Every body is different and realizing that each body may look different in each asana, Rachel pays special attention to physiology and anatomy and believes in tapping into one’s own unique form in molding an individual feel to those attending even group classes.
Now having taught over 1600 classes and 14,000 people, Rachel exudes confidence in assisting the nervous beginner, the more advanced practitioner, people with injuries to those that yearn to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Yoga.
In Rachel’s classes, one will find a compassion for their body while providing an opportunity to step out of the norm mentally, to be available for change emotionally and to experience an expanding of your heart.
My yoga journey began in Miami, Florida in the early 90s. Knowing that yoga was going to play a special role in my life, I continuously came back to my mat for 20+ years before taking the plunge & diving into a teacher training program. Yoga teacher training was transformative, showing me a true glimpse of just how powerful this practice is and how every body can benefit from this ancient tradition. I love the inner & outer awareness that comes along with a solid practice and I want to help people of all ages learn how to breathe and to incorporate yoga into their everyday lives.
While always unknowingly embracing the philosophy and mind body experiences of yoga, Nancy did not begin any formal yoga instruction until age 30. Some simple rec department classes after the birth of her first child provided that first introduction. Through the years a variety of “exercises” had been dabbled in, and always walked away from. Once she found yoga there was no more dabbling,….. yoga was fully embraced, and always returned to in a variety of forms! In June of 2014 Nancy participated in a nine month program for Yoga Certification from Sublime Yoga and Wellness in Dunedin Florida, and is now a RYT200. Teaching yoga was a natural fit with 30 years of experience in public education. Nancy now knows that the more one learns about yoga, the more one realizes how much one doesn’t know! Moving fulltime to Murphy, while still teaching in an online format for the public school system created the need to find a new yoga community, and once the first class was taken at Blue Moon Elise, home was found!
After first attaining her certification Nancy taught yoga in Clearwater, Florida with a group of teachers, worked with a class of middle school students at the request of the PE department for a series of classes, taught a class for a condo association in Tarpon Springs, and currently teaches the restorative class at Blue Moon Elise.
Nancy loves all forms of yoga, and is constantly trying to stretch her own practice and experiences, and increase her knowledge. Favorite pose?…….(this week anyway) would have to be Balasana, also known as Child’s Pose. The hip opening, back stretch and gentle pressure on the forehead create a fabulous feeling of groundedness and serenity that carries throughout the rest of the day.
Nancy’s philosophy on yoga is that it is attainable for everyone. Two favorite yoga quotes are: “yoga is in the breath, and the space between, the rest is just bending” and “practice, practice and all is coming” .
New to the Murphy area, Nancy enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking in her free time. Exploring with her husband Rick has taken on a new sense of purpose with the discovery that her great grandmother was born somewhere in these mountains. Traveling back and forth to Florida frequently for work also allows her to joyfully squeeze in some girl time with Hali and Regan, their adult daughters and the “granddogs”!