Healing arts at Cashiers Valley Fusion
By Lisa Gray Youngblood
Photos by Chelsea Cronkrite
Mary Abranyi, the founder and owner of Cashiers Valley Fusion Yoga and Wellness (“CVF”) has a philosophy on life. It’s better together. She does not mean this in the trite way of a greeting card. For Mary, it goes much deeper. It is about integration, fusing all parts of a person, mind, body and spirit. With each part informing the other, a spiritually mature person will be ethical in business. A driven person will be mindful of health even as she pursues a demanding career. It is no different for a community. It, too, is more than its individual members. At its best, fully integrated, it is a collective designed for the betterment of all.
Mary did not always think this way. When she was first introduced to yoga in her twenties, she fell in love with what it could do for her body. After a few years, she fell in love with what it could do for her mind. After many years, she fell in love with what it could do for her spirit. This is integration in action. It does not happen overnight or accidentally. It is a process and a personal journey that takes time and commitment.
Because this journey is different for everyone, CVF offers multiple avenues for exploration, including yoga, meditation, massage therapy, skin care, energy healing (Reiki), life coaching, a salt room, infrared sauna, group and individual Pilates sessions and an array of journaling classes and workshops. Although designed to be used together, any one of these could be the beginning of a life changing adventure.
Each of the yoga instructors has a unique niche, ranging from Vinyasa to Yin, Yin/Yang, Yoga Nidra and specialty classes for those managing Parkinson’s Disease. Some teachers lean toward gentle, slow Vinyasa for a more meditative practice while others opt for more vigorous and physical practices. Mary encourages clients to try multiple teachers, for each offer something different. “We often find what works best by exploration,” she says. “Like logs floating down a stream, we want to avoid getting jammed at the edges. Stay with the flow. See where it takes you.”
The massage therapist, Tim O’Brien, offers equally well-rounded services, including Swedish massage, deep tissue, Thai, reflexology, Hot Stone and aromatherapy. In addition, Tim practices Esalen Massage, which is an inward journey rather than a therapeutic treatment, and one that offers a return to a natural state of balance. Among many other health benefits, massage can decrease anxiety, ease menopause symptoms, enhance immunity and promote circulation.
In July, CVF opened a Salt Room, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Salt Therapy has been used to treat the symptoms of colds, flu, allergies, asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, bronchitis, sinusitis, sinus infections, eczema, rosacea and neuropathy, among others.
The Infrared Sauna, also a new addition, is designed to improve heart health, soothe sore muscles, relieve joint pain, promote relaxation, improve sleep and fight off illness. Infrared heat is healthy for all living things as a naturally occurring output of the sun without the harmful UV rays.
High quality skin care can improve the way we feel about ourselves and stand as a commitment to overall health. Tamara Tomczak, the skin care specialist, has over 20 years of spa experience and offers a full-service skin care experience.
Perhaps what makes CVF most unique is the focus on the inward journey and working with one’s own mind. The Life Coaching and Journaling offerings are meant as tools for self-discovery. Jessie Borino, a certified life coach, seeks to support individuals who are experiencing loss or navigating a major life transition. The Journaling Specialist, Barbara Banks, a life coach, therapist and yoga Instructor, explains that a journal can be your soul friend. “It is a place where you can be your whole self and still be accepted.” Barbara employs several journaling techniques as holistic, in-depth psychotherapy and self-discovery tools. Studies have shown that journaling can accelerate the therapy process, lower blood pressure, decrease stress, help manage depression and anxiety, improve memory, increase problem-solving skills, and ignite and increase creativity.
Energy and Sound Healing use life-force energy to remove blocks, stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal, re-balance and improve over-all well-being. Individual Reiki energy healing sessions are currently available and monthly sound healing is soon to be added to the schedule.
CVF also offers a variety of workshops throughout the year. The current series focuses on plants as medicine and nutrition, both holistic avenues to health and wellness.
Finally, CVF has a Lifestyle Boutique featuring a sustainably curated collection of home goods, wellness and beauty products, apparel, jewelry, books, gifts and more. The store is open Monday through Saturday.
For detailed information on services and service providers or to make an appointment, visit www.fusionyogaandwellness.com.