Courtney Oliver offers new class!

courtney.headshotA life-long theatre performer and dancer,

Courtney began practicing yoga with Leah shortly before the doors opened to EYC in 2006. It soon became evident that yoga was a necessary tool for calmness and mindfulness against the daily grind and the fast-paced sprint of the theatre world.

In under two years of yoga with Leah, practicing turned into studying and Courtney started to dip her toes into the wonderful sea of teacher training. In 2009 she began teaching classes and in 2014 she started teaching at the University Club, where she still teaches today.

Yoga not only changed Courtney as a performer, but as a person. Wound tight emotionally, wild socially, and loose spiritually, her yoga practice with Leah opened a door to a safe space that allowed her to ask new or better questions, learn new or deeper truths, and find celebration in her self and her own body. In every body.

Courtney is also soon to celebrate her 20th Anniversary with Playhouse on the Square where she is currently the Director of Special Events, as well as a member of the Resident Company. She works as an actor, a director, a choreographer, and a fight choreographer.

She has been recognized as an actor/combatant through the Society of American Fight Directors and she received her Bachelors degree in Theatre and English from the University of Alabama. She has also received Ostrander Awards for her performance as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray and for her choreography in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Courtney is a wildly avid fan of Memphis in general and, together with photographer Carla McDonald, operates the photography website, FindMemphis.

Courtney is genuinely beyond honored to return to her first and only yoga home and encourages people of all ages, sizes, genders, races, and spiritual leanings to come on in unapologetically and uncover the wealth of possibilities available to you in your own skin and heart through the practice of yoga.

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Foundations of Yoga: A 5-week Course

Foundations of Yoga: A 5-Week Course

This Course is designed specifically for beginners.

The series is progressive, building on skills week-to-week as the student develops strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and confidence.

Classes will emphasize postural alignment and precision in the basic standing and seated poses and end with final relaxation. Shoulderstand will be introduced.

Students will build a solid foundation needed to progress to other classes at Evergreen Yoga. Mats and props are provided. Those with previous yoga experience wishing to refine their understanding of the fundamentals are welcome.

Tuesday evenings, 5:45 – 6:45pm
January 23 – February 20
Course Fee: $60
Teacher: Leah Nichols

Contact Leah with any questions or to register.

You can pay below for 5-Week Course ($60):


You can pay below with Paypal (full-time student discount):

Combat the effects of stress, strain & speed of living

One way to steady your mind

If you peek into a yoga class, you’ll see people doing yoga postures — something along the lines of stretching and exercising.

You know that practicing yoga postures can improve your health. But, what you may not know is this:

There are some yoga practices that don’t involve “posing.” These are mind-focusing activities.

Next time your mind gets ruffled with the stress, strain and speed of life, here is something to try:

Think of something that is elevating…something that you consider positive…something you feel drawn toward — an object. If you’re a visual person, choose a picture or another tangible thing to look at. If you are more drawn to sound, play a song, hum a chant or repeat a positive word (any sound or word you repeat can be a mantra).

A student in today’s class said she recently found some steadiness of mind on facebook – of all places!

She noticed herself lingering over her facebook friend’s posting of landscape photos. She said even the sunlight shining in the picture affected her. She felt her breath deepen and had a moment of what she called, “ahhhhhh.” She stayed with it, and her mind shifted from stress to a focused, quieter place.

Ways to try this:
Find something inspiring or meaningful. (Or try it with any object you can conjure up and see what happens….you never know what might help you shift your focus to a more positive place)

If the first object you choose doesn’t help, try a different one.

Any object you find motivating can serve as a tool for concentration as long as it works to quiet the static in your mind.

The path of practice is open to anyone and everyone, regardless of circumstances.

Inside job



“The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”
-BKS Iyengar


Lately I’ve been thinking about ways to describe yoga. Especially to new people who are asking questions about yoga. What is yoga? Will it help me lose weight? What do you do in a class? Why do you spend so much time teaching/studying/practicing?

When I first started thinking about how to describe yoga to people, my  purpose was to come up with ways to “market” yoga and Iyengar Yoga. I wanted to help people find us, come to class, and introduce them to our practice.

I think about marketing sometimes. As a studio we depend on having students. Without students, there is no studio. And it is no secret that the practicalities of paying the rent, keeping the lights on, utilities and so forth are important considerations.

It is in the “marketing” of yoga where I get stuck. It’s hard to describe Iyengar Yoga to those who have not experienced it for themselves.

Of course, I could quote the benefits of yoga:
relieve stress!
gain strength!
heal from injuries & chronic conditions.

I can cite articles with the scientific research backed by statistics on percentages of people who have achieved relief from pain and calmed their anxiety.

The usual attention-grabbing advertising words do not work here.

But there are benefits other than the surface ones. These are hard to describe.
Common advertising language has no words to describe yoga practice. Sure, the physical benefits attract people, but those who continue to practice over a period of months and years do so because the yoga gives them more than a healthy body.

Those who stick with it find something deeper. I could say “rich, deep, and profound.”

Even these descriptions fall far short of describing what yoga brings. Yoga is the ability to quiet the mind. It helps us provide a deeper experience of who we are — and we turn inward.

After 20 years of practice,  I am just now starting  to crave a deeper connection to myself…

Wanting to shift my attention inward. Wanting to focus less on the externals.

I have not always been interested in this.

It can be scary to go to an unfamiliar place. And spending time with myself and my ever-wandering mind has never souned appealing.

What will I find there? Maybe nothing. Maybe something  I’d rather not see. Or maybe I can catch a glimpse of a new, less external (what am i wearing? how can I be fit?) way of living.

Inner connection has never been on my to-do list. Until now. And I can see that is a process — it comes in stages.

My first stage toward change has been to wish I wanted to.
And in the case of big changes, I am only capable of being willing to want to change.
These stages can last a very very long time before any real work happens.

I find myself in the middle of it now. Maybe you do too.

It helps to hear what others have to say on the subject.

Here’s what John O’Donohue, the Irish poet/philosopher says:

“The body is your only home in the universe. It is your house of belonging here in the world. It is a very sacred temple. To spend time in silence before the mystery of your body brings you toward wisdom and holiness.” – O’Donohue

“The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.” – Iyengar

Easter & Camo

camo.eggWe’ll be enjoying Spring — and hope you will too!

I can hardly wait to spend Sunday with a bunch of my favorite adults and two little kids.

As the CEH (chief-egg-hidder) for our family’s annual tradition, I am ratcheting up this year’s egg hunt.

What could be more fun than watching the kids scavenge for these camouflage plastic Easter eggs? (Look a little closer at photo to the right…and you’ll see how they blend in.)

These camo Easter eggs will inspire hours of family fun at our house!

Can’t you just see adorable smarty-pants tykes and tots beating the bushes (& shrubs, trees, grass, stones) in search of their loot?

I say make them work for their jelly beans!

I haven’t been completely lost to the dark side. There will be a list of where each egg is hidden to make sure no candy will be lost to the elements.

And…of course there will be glittery pink plastic eggs aplenty for those hungry little hands to crack open. We can’t have the wee ones wailing and weeping on Easter!

It must be known that there will be no quick candy fixes around here. Scavenging the yard in the quest for little chocolate bunnies is a rite of passage for all girls and boys.

After each basket is ravaged and examined for the tiniest of eggs, I’ll carry them up to the attic and bring them down again next year — that is, if I can find them.