Saturday, March 14, 2020

Coronavirus Resources and Updates on Therapy with Valerie

Hello Friends! I thought I would take a bit of time to organize some resources and information for people in the wake of recent virus related events.

It is important to know the facts, take this seriously, but not panic (so easy). I would recommend to limit your exposure to information about the pandemic. It is important to be informed but overly engaging in watching videos, discussion, and reading reports does not help you be more prepared. Look to reputable sources (here, here, and here) for information and do not rely only on the news, memes, or online bloggers. Stress disrupts your immune system, your body's natural ability to defend itself. Below you will find some ideas for managing uncertainty, stress, and occupying your time. Remember, a lot of what happens from this point is outside of our control, but how you respond is in your control. We can take care of ourselves and each other and adapt to some new temporary changes.

We all have a responsibility to practice some social distancing during this time. Here is an article describing the importance of social distancing.

The CDC and the State of Georgia have recommended that all workers who can work from home should do so. That said, starting Monday 3/16/2020, all appointments for Cedar Creek Wellness will be offered online only. If you are a current client, please look to your email for instructions on how to access this service. I use a secure, video conferencing platform that can be accessed from any smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

I prefer in person sessions. I initially sent out an email offering those sessions on an optional basis, but as more information has arisen and after looking towards what my , I feel it is a responsibility to only offer this type of session for the time being. A person can be contagious with the coronavirus for several days before they show symptoms. Several of my clients are immuno-compromised or have other health conditions. I truly hope that this is all over-reaction but in the likely event that it is not, I would prefer to know that I did what I could to prevent transmission.

I would like to offer these suggestions for things to do during this time:

Manage your stress through meditation, yoga, time in nature (away from crowds), reading novels, arts and crafts, movies, and cooking for your family.

Utilize mindfulness practices to stay grounded in the present moment. We may not know what the coming months may hold, but we can rest in this present moment. Here are some suggestions:

Take a Mindful Moment - 5 practices for daily life

Mayo Clinic's Mindfulness Exercises 

A Blog post from 2016, Written by Valerie about Mindfulness

Your regular routine may be disrupted during this time. Try to find some routines that involve self-care, connecting with people, and mental stimulation.

Try out Coursera or Skillshare for free online courses, check out my favorite YouTube Channels (Crash Course, Yoga with Adriene , KEXP RadioThe Psych Show)

If you have any questions you can email me at

I look forward to seeing you in person as soon as possible, but until then, see you online. Take Care. ~Valerie

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Yoga Class, Anxiety Workshop, and other announcements!

Greetings Friends!

Spring has got me ready to do all the activities. I wanted to take a minute to share that there are some exciting things going on over at Cedar Creek Wellness.

1. Body Positive Yoga for Women starting Tuesday April 17, 2018 at 6pm. This 6 week series will focus on celebrating what our bodies can do and learning to incorporate joyful movement and awareness into our day to day life through this thoughtful yoga class. Lots of modifications offered. No judgment. Email (info at cedar creek wellness dot org) or call me (706-621-7043) for more info or to reserve your spot.

2. Yoga for Anxiety Workshop Saturday April 28, 2018 10am-12:30pm - Learn about what causes anxiety, how yoga and mindfulness can change your brain, the basics of self care, and end our time together with a restorative yoga class. I'm excited to offer this workshop again! Contact me to reserve your spot. More info on the website 

3. I'm finally approved as an in network provider for Ambetter plans. So if you're thinking about starting therapy or know someone who is, and they have one of those marketplace plans, come my way.

4. Keep your eyes out for the What is Going On Here Podcast. Starting in May, WIGOH is a podcast examining the human experience. Interviews with entrepreneurs and interesting people, monthly "Ask a Therapist" Q&A sessions, and analysis of social work and mental health treatment. Look for it in May 2018.

Ok friends, I've got to get outside and feel that warm breeze for some inspiration today. I hope you're all doing something to love and care for yourself this week, and I am looking forward to experiencing these classes with you all.

Namaste~ Valerie

Friday, February 2, 2018

February Self-Love Challenge

You may have noticed all the pink and red flowers, candy, stuffed bears, and the like everywhere. Its February, the month where we talk about love and romance, go on dates (hopefully), and show some love! I want to challenge you to love yourself like that. #fallinlovewithyourself

All through this month, I will be sending out love and positivity to people and reminders to love yourself! Lets give ourselves the love, compassion, and kindness that we deserve. Lets stop saying things will be better when...and say things are pretty good right now. That doesn't mean you have to stop working on goalz, but it does mean stopping being so had on yourself. Stopping the shame, guilt and blame that we put on ourselves. The constant thought of how we aren't good enough or we will deserve love when we get to whatever the next outcome. I want to challenge you to love yourself exactly how you are right now. Today. Love yourself with those uncomfortable feelings, that anger, or extra pounds, with those mistakes and flaws. It's all part of what makes you unique. It's what you bring to this life. The good and the not as good. Its all you, so lets embrace it.

I've designed a series of mantras for the month. Starting on Monday Feburary 5, I will post 1 journal prompt/mantra per day. If you chose to journal, it is a super short self reflection, that will take literally 10 minutes. You can look at it and write about it any time throughout the day. You can even just think about it. If you want to maximize the impact, you can write in the morning about how you can utilize this thought through the day and then in the evening, write a reflection on how it went. Whatever level you want to do is up to you. Pick your bus stop as we like to say in yoga classes.

Throughout the month, I will be posting articles, meditations, and encouragement for you to take in.I will hop on Facebook Live to lead some meditation and ramble about my thoughts if you want to see that. For those in the Athens Georgia area, I will be available for individual sessions, and of course you are all invited to attend my yoga class on Wednesday Mornings at 11:30. There is group meditation and yoga class scheduled for Tuesday Evening Feb 27, to help solidify the month of self love or just to celebrate February being over. I hope you will join me.

Follow along and #fallinlovewithyourself

Monday, June 12, 2017

Beginners Yoga starting July 6!

Coming in July!

Have you heard about how amazing yoga is? Have you been wanting to try it but don't know where to start? Have you been wanting to improve your understanding of the philosophy and foundational teachings of yoga? Do you just want to come to the yoga room and hang out with me? Whatever your reason, put these dates on your calendar. I will be teaching this 4 week series designed to break down both the philosophy and physical practice of yoga. Classes will be on Thursdays in July from 6pm-7:30pm. You can attend all 4 classes or just one. It's up to you. Classes will roughly formatted to be 45 minutes of discussion/information and 45 minutes of physical practice. No yoga mat required (cause we have some you can borrow) or bring your own mat. Descriptions below:

July 6 - Intro to Yoga: Not Just Exercise. This class will start with a discussion of yoga as a spiritual practice, introduction to the philosophical teachings of yoga. The physical practice will include an intro to downward facing dog, cobra pose, and the warrior poses, wrist strengthening sequence with individual modifications and adjustments will be offered.

July 13 - Mindful Awareness, Pranayama (Breathing), and Restoration: learning to breathe with our whole lungs, focusing our mind, and learning how to relax. Concepts of mindfulness and meditation will be introduced with a focus on "how to" actually do these things. Practice will include structured breathing exercises and discussion on why we need to learn how to breathe. Physical Practice will be a sweet restorative practice, focused on relaxation, and releasing tension in the body.

July 20 - Developing Balance: the science of why yoga works, and standing balancing poses. Presentation on the recent science of why yoga works for healing trauma, anxiety, and depression. Discussion of the practice of non-attachment. Physical practice will include standing balancing poses such as the classic tree pose, the warrior poses, and other poses that don't require you to get on the floor.

July 27 - Mantra, Sun Salutations, Vinyasa, and Maybe a Headstand: We will explore what is a mantra, how to decide on a mantra, and how to use mantras in your day to day life. This class will be much more focused on the physical practice of linking breath with movement (Vinyasa), and doing several poses in a sequence. Opportunity to try an assisted headstand will be provided with lots of instruction and support.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's stopping you?

"I'm not flexible."
"I went to a yoga class once but I wasn't good at it."
"I don't have a yoga mat."
"That's not my scene."

These are common things I hear when I invite people to go to yoga with me; whether it is to attend a class that I am teaching or just go to one with me. I constantly tell people about yoga and invite them to practice with me because I have lived the healing power of yoga. I am dedicated to this practice and I have seen how it changes lives.

See my post on my journey to yoga

I went a panel discussion about diversity in yoga this week at the Avid Bookstore. It was inspiring and got me asking myself, how can I make myself more accessible to students. How can I continue to share the gift of yoga with others? If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I always want feedback on how I can be better for those around me.

I took away 2 big points from the discussion at Avid. One: It's not always about the physical practice, the asanas. Sure I use pictures of me doing various challenging yoga poses to draw people in but that's not the point of my classes. If you want to come to class as an exercise, that's great. It is good for your physical body. But please know that yoga is more than bending and stretching. It is about focusing on the present and the experience of "yolking" the mind, body, and spirit. I hope that I bring that to my classes.  Google yoga and you will see tons of beautiful fit blonde white women doing impossible arm balances. I love these images. I double tap them constantly on Instagram. I love seeing people doing really challenging poses. I was awestruck when one of my teachers pressed up into a headstand while talking and teaching the other day. It was amazing to see a body be that strong. But please know that this is not the end goal of yoga. You don't have to even want to do a headstand to try yoga. You don't have to be fit, or flexible, or really be anything but willing to show up to get something out of yoga. I have sat in child's pose for 20 minutes in a yoga class before. It was still a powerful experience. I learn something every time I go to a class, whether it's about the poses, teaching, or myself. I hope I bring that to people who practice with me.

The other point was the elitism in yoga. It's marketed "to people that are already chillin." People who can already afford extra, whether it be through time, money, or physical ability. I thought this was a good point. It really got me thinking about the ways that I perpetuate this stereotype. My yoga room is on the second floor of a building that is not handicap accessible. This already sets me up in the "able-ist" category. I also teach from a place of privilege as a white cis gender person and as someone who has the luxury of going to yoga in the first place. I totally acknowledge this. I don't know what to do with that knowledge, other than say, I am aware, and I love yoga so much, that I hope that this part shines through more than anything else. To me, Yoga is an important practice that can help people live more whole lives, heal from trauma, and connect with themselves and others. I can ramble on and on about this stuff, express all my guilt of being privileged or whatever, but the bottom line is, please just try a yoga class (online, in person, from a book) and see what it can do for you. Let go of how you think it is supposed to be and just try it. If you read this post to the end, you're either my friend already, or you're interested in yoga on some level, but whatever is holding you back from coming to a yoga class, please let it go.

Get on the floor and start breathing. Maybe go to a yoga class. Maybe you will even chose to practice with me. Namaste, my friends.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Updates on yoga classes!

Hello Friends!

Things have been a little hectic over at Cedar Creek Wellness. I'm starting a new adventure with a local women's residential recovery program, which I am very excited about. I have been doing training and meeting lots of new people but it has been cutting into my yoga time. Classes at the office have been on hold. But don't worry, starting in April, we will get back into the swing of things.

Saturday classes at No. 3 Railroad in Arnoldsville have been ongoing. Starting this month (March), our good friend Lydia will be co-teaching these classes. We are going to alternate each week with her leading this Saturday's class at 9am on 3/18. She completed her teacher training at Chattanooga Yoga School in 2015. She teaches an accessible Vinyasa style class incorporating traditional aspects of Hatha yoga with strengthening poses of Power yoga. Catch Lydia working at Athens Community Counsel on Aging when she isn't riding her bike around the eastside and teaching yoga. I'm excited to have her teaching with me. I hope everyone will continue to attend that class. Bring a friend!

Starting in April:

Monday 9am at Cedar Creek Wellness Vinyasa Flow class Starts April 3, 2017

If there is another time or day that you would be interested in taking a class with me, let me know and maybe we can schedule something.

Namaste Friends,


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Office, New Classes

Hello! I'm excited to tell you all that I have moved into a new office. I moved into the women's room that was previously occupied by Rachel Mapp, The Life Doula. We had partnered in 2016 to offer yoga in her beautiful space. She has moved on to other adventures and so I moved into her space full time. It is upstairs from the original office. I will be expanding my groups and yoga classes so stay tuned for updates about that. Currently, there are two classes on the schedule. Mondays at 1pm and Thursday at 6pm. If you have a time or day that would be convenient to come practice, let me know and I will be happy to try to work out a class at that time. I hope to see everyone's beautiful faces in the newly redecorated office space!