Tell us about yourself:

Hi everyone! My name is Courtney Smith. I moved to Wake Forest about 2.5 years ago with my husband, Philip, and our cockapoo pup (who is a total princess) for graduate school, and we’ve greatly enjoyed living here. I am currently studying to become a counselor and am passionate about all things health and wellness.

Tell us about your yoga journey:

I began my yoga journey around 5 years ago at a studio in Auburn, AL. I knew absolutely nothing about yoga and ended up in a Yin Yoga class. It was there that I experienced calm in my body for what felt like the first time in my life. Flash forward, and we moved to GA where there was not a yoga studio readily available to attend. Because of this, I did not pursue yoga at that time.

It wasn’t until January 2023 when I stepped foot into Piper Moon Yoga that yoga became a huge part of my life. I had just been diagnosed with a debilitating, progressive chronic illness, and I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stressed. I was in the midst of processing the grief that came with my illness that felt much like the waves of the ocean—some moments of grief were small and only made a splash, while some were so overwhelming they would knock me off my feet and send me grasping for air. I knew stress to be the worst thing for chronic illness, so I decided it was time to give yoga another try. Naturally, the first class I signed up for at Piper Moon Yoga was Amy’s Yin Yoga class, and once again I left feeling like my body and mind had space to breathe again. From my first class on I knew I wanted to make Piper Moon Yoga my home. I slowly eased into other classes, first trying Kim’s Relax and Recharge and Hatha Yoga class then moving toward Lisa’s Warriors and Weights and Brenda’s Vinyasa class (talk about a workout!). With each class I tried, there was one thing in common: I left being more connected to my mind and body. I left with a sense of calm, a sense of being in the present moment, and a sense of acceptance for what life was throwing at me.

I have now been a regular yogi at Piper Moon Yoga for a year (literally a year today as I type this!), and I can look back and see the amazing progress that I have made in just a year. I have learned to train my body to breathe through stress and anxiety and have seen the benefits of boxed breathing and humming. I have learned to draw my shoulders back and down and notice when they are gravitating toward my ears in stress. I have been given the space to sit in a pose or sit in shavasana and release the tears that had been pent up for far too long. I have found a safe place in the Piper Moon Yoga community, and it has drastically changed my life.

What’s your favorite pose?

Without a doubt my favorite pose is Dancer—mostly because it challenges me. My body does not currently have the flexibility needed to do an elegant dancer pose; however, I can see my progress each time I try, and it makes me giddy for the day when I will be able step into the pose with more ease. As Kim always says, “you get stronger every time you try.” That is one thing that I both love and hate about yoga—it requires patience, slowing down, and listening to your body. You can start out in a modified version of the pose and barely be able touch your toes, but then one day, probably many months later, you’ll step into the pose with ease. You’ll notice you can stretch further than you used to be able, or you’ll notice your leg is able to lift a little higher. It is exciting and joy-filled when you see those small but mighty wins.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes, if you are on the edge about trying out yoga, I hope to put your mind at ease—Piper Moon is a safe place to try something new. It is a safe place to bring your mess, leave it at the door with your coat and shoes, and have an hour where it is you and your mat. You won’t regret it!