Nicole MarkNicole Mark

When I was 19 and almost turned my car around in a tunnel so I wouldn’t have to drive through it, my psychiatrist diagnosed me with panic disorder. Over the next few years, I saw several therapists, and some were very helpful. In 1999, I stepped on a yoga mat for the first time on the advice of the “oddball hippie” therapist. As a ballet and modern dancer, I felt great doing asana–out of my head and into my body and breath. But during my first savasana, I had a panic attack. It was as though my brain’s computer did not compute "relaxation." It felt good, but so wide open and spacious that it scared me. My anxiety and depression became more and more debilitating, so I tried yoga again. You know that t-shirt that says, "I just came for savasana"? Well, I went back to my yoga mat with more and more regularity over time, but I went for the asana! It took years, and is sometimes still hard, to let go and experience deep relaxation.

I love moving with the breath and also holding poses. In my adult classes, I combine thoughtful sequencing, healthy alignment, and a teaching or idea drawn from Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism, or something else I've found inspiring to create welcoming, appropriately challenging, and non-competitive classes accessible to all levels. My classroom is informal – questions, mindful comments, and light hearted joking are all welcome. To that end, I emphasize the qualities Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön who encourages us to cultivate in our practice and in our lives precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go.

Registered with the Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT 200 level, my training includes a 90-hour alignment-based teacher training with Mona DeFrawi at Quantum Yoga and Wellness in Baltimore (2004) and the 230-hour Veda Vinyasa Teacher Training at the former Open Heart Yoga School in Carrboro (2011). I'm currently enrolled in Ti Harmony's Path of Yoga mentorship program and slowly completing my 500-hour advanced studies training at Carolina Yoga Company, too.

Over the past five years, I've completed additional anatomy training with Ray Long, MD, LifeForce Yoga for depression and anxiety training with Amy Weintraub, Yoga for Athletes training with Sage Rountree, and Yin Yoga training with Shala Worsley at Asheville Yoga Center. In 2014, I received mantra initiation from guru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma, the “Hugging Saint”).

I'm eternally grateful to all my teachers, on the mat and off. Lorraine Treger, my first yoga teacher in Baltimore, suggested that I take a teacher training. Will Walter of Charm City Yoga introduced me to the Bhakti path when I enrolled in a series on mantra and kirtan. Ti Harmony, my main teacher, has helped me improve my asana practice, understand where energetic blocks might exist, and through his example and openness to questions, continues to teach me to be a better teacher.

Styles practiced :
Bhakti, Family, Flow, Gentle, Hatha, Kids, Kirtan, Power, Restorative, Vinyasa, Yin,