Nicole Cyrille, owner of Yoga Harmony Nashville (YHN), is an amazing woman. She organized an terrific workshop, with a great turn-out, and has built one of the most beautiful studios I’ve ever been in. She also took all of the pictures below! I had so much fun teaching this class, it doesn’t even seem fair that it’s my job.
Not unlike many yoga teachers, Nicole is also an actress and in her case even a spokes-person. One thing that sets her apart, however, is that she was born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), an acute nerve disorder impacting her ability to walk without discomfort. From what I can tell, it has only served to make her more focused. There are several variations of the disorder, but hers (CMT 1A — the most common) means she overproduces a protein that causes the myelin sheath to fall away from the nerve so that the muscle can’t get fed. It only affects her from toes to knees and fingertips to elbows. For most of people that is where the disease is, but for a few, there are more severe issues. Nicole’s worst-case scenario would likely be a wheelchair and curled-up fingers. When I asked if yoga was helping she replied, “While I’ve practiced some form a yoga for years prior to starting a hot practice, when I dedicated myself to the hot series, my doctors saw improvement…which is supposedly not something they say can happen. At one point they wanted me to put on leg braces because of a pain in my hip area with the IT band, but I refused. I continued to practice every day, and found out that the pain was due to my IT band findingit’s way back to where it belonged. I was improving! And the leg braces would have made me worse.” When she goes to the MDA for her annual check-up, the doctors mostly sit back and ask her to share what she’s learned. They look forward to her appointments because they say she’s helped them better understand the disease they treat.
CMT doesn’t stop Nicole from running a beautiful studio and inspiring an entire community. YHN is located in an up-and-coming neighborhood, surrounded by thrift shops and other funky businesses. When Nicole began building out this corner location to become the sacred space that it is, central figures from the vicinity began showing their support and enthusiasm for what this could mean for the area. Since then an upward mobility vibe has been emanating from the corner of Charlotte and 50th where monthly Friday-night socials bring an eclectic collection of local enthusiasts to the studio for an evening of art, music, food and yoga.
Even though Nicole and I had never met in person before Saturday (90 minutes before my Three Minute Egg®Workshop was to begin) we’ve been talking on the phone for over a year and feel like old friends. We both moved to our respective new homes from LA, so in part I think it’s nice to meet someone from “home.”
If you live nearby, or find yourself visiting anytime soon, be sure to check out Yoga Harmony Nashville. They offer an eclectic variety of classes in a heated room with plenty of parking. Tell ‘em the Eggman sent you. When you’re done you’ll be hungry, so if you like Thai food, seek out The Smiling Elephant. They serve some of the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had. I would also recommend ordering the Chicken Cashew Stir Fry (if you’re not a vegetarian) and anything with ginger.