MysticMag meets with Eva Leobold, the heart and soul behind Blue Moon Yoga, where your well-being takes center stage. With over 25 years of practice and 17 years of teaching, Eva is an E-RYT500, YACEP, CCP, and Reiki Master, specializing in Soma and Prana Yoga, embracing mind-body-spirit connection. Certified in various energy practices, yoga, and meditation, Eva’s classes encompass alignment, pranayama, and spiritual depth. With a background in respiratory care and a creative flair from an art degree, she crafts a space of acceptance at Blue Moon Yoga, welcoming practitioners of all levels and backgrounds into a haven of tranquility.
Can you tell us about the philosophy and approach behind Blue Moon Yoga? How does your studio prioritize self-care and empowerment for its clients?
Our philosophy is one of support, inspiration, and education to help our clients be (or become) their best self. I know this sounds cliché now, but we’ve been doing this since 2002. Blue Moon Yoga is about self-care, transformation, and personal empowerment. It comes from personal experience for me. I started practicing yoga more than 30 years ago as a newlywed with a stressful job trying to navigate life in general. My instructor offered a style of yoga that was good for the body, but even better for the mind and spirit, in a true space of non-judgement where I could let go of others’ expectations and my own stress. While I was “on the mat” I could be myself and after a little time, I trusted that I could be that person “off the mat” as well. I try to carry that into Blue Moon Yoga. We all need a place to go where we can drop our masks, leave our cares at the door, let go of the pressure to have the “right” job, be in the “right” clothes, on the “right” yoga mat and find ourselves again.
Many members of the community, Blue Moon instructors included, are in a place of needing to care for aging parents, perhaps children not yet out of college or high school, and/or grandchildren while still working or navigating retirement and other milestones in life. We can feel as if we are invisible in that “equation”, often putting others’ care and needs before our own. At Blue Moon we encourage you to put that all to the side for a little while and let us support you while you are taking care of yourself. While in classes, we often note practices like breathing techniques, mudras, affirmations, and mantras that can become part of your “tool kit” in navigating life when you aren’t at the studio. Personally, yoga and spiritual practices have helped me navigate marriage, divorce, lengthy illness, job loss, remarriage, and so many other aspects of life. I love to share the practices that work for me with our clients and give them the opportunity to feel great about how they navigate their own lives. We need our practice the most when we think we have no time for it.
Have you heard the adage “you can’t fill a cup from an empty pitcher”, or something similar? The instructors at Blue Moon know this firsthand. We try to check in with clients at class, and outside of class if we haven’t seen them in a few days. Not only about what’s happening physically so we can prevent injury, but also emotionally and energetically. We’re not coaches or therapists, but as yoga teachers and guides, we recognize that the body holds onto stress in the form of tension and tightness. We know that mental and emotional stress is draining. At yoga classes, we take care of our clients with the simple practices of listening, caring, offering props, and gently assisting with permission from the client. We want our clients to know that they matter and are missed if we don’t see them.
Many of our practices include guiding clients into awareness of what their body, mind, and spirit are telling them. We can all get swept up in life, in general, and often we forget to pay attention to the clues we are being given. Being guided into awareness of sensations in the body, awareness of what emotions are bubbling up, and how you are using your breath during practice often leads to finding this awareness when you are at work, or at home. I remember an instance a short time after I first started practicing, before I was teaching, when I was in an important, but stressful, meeting at work, and I just couldn’t focus. I realized I was holding my breath. I brought my practice in and started to breathe slowly and deeply (Full Yogic Breath), and it brought me into a calmer and more focused place. The rest of the meeting was still stressful, but I handled it better than I might have otherwise. It was truly empowering to do that for myself. That’s what we help our clients do, recognize those situations, and tap into the tools they practice on the mat to bring them into that place of empowerment.
Blue Moon Yoga offers a variety of practices, including yoga, meditation, relaxation, and energy healing like Reiki. How do these different modalities work together to support clients in achieving a balanced mind, body, and spirit?
That’s a great question. The beauty of the practices is that they can work separately or together so clients can really choose what they resonate with. Let’s use the example of yoga, meditation, and relaxation. We often weave them together in one class/session because they work so well together. Yoga postures help to release physical tension from the body. The meditation aspect of the practice is usually guided with a suggested focus, like the breath or a mantra, to release mental tension that often comes in the form of overthinking or worry. Relaxation is most often practiced at the end of a session when the body and mind are ready to release even more. Sometimes this manifests as tension from the muscles, thoughts that we no longer need to be thinking, or even emotions that are stuck in the body and mind. Many clients have reported to me that during relaxation at the end of practice they can let go of fear, or anger, or other emotions that they had been carrying through the day without even realizing it. Some yogis think this is the most important part of the practice because it’s when the body-mind-spirit integration occurs. Overall, this release of physical, mental, and emotional tension leads to the feeling of being “uplifted” in spirit. I define this as a sense of inner peace and happiness, or even joy, that comes from the practice as a whole. It may also be accompanied by a sense of mental clarity.
While a group yoga class can help accomplish this and can be a complete method of achieving balance in body, mind, and spirit, the addition of other practices may help you maintain that sense for a longer or go deeper into their subtle energetic body. While we offer group reiki experiences and sometimes include reiki in a yoga class, the addition of an individual Reiki session weekly, or even monthly, can help with a deeper sense of relaxation and allows the client to choose a more personalized approach. The more we can personalize an experience together, the more able we are to offer the client specific practices to support and empower them outside the studio. The client can choose the practices they are comfortable with, and we hone their skills together. For example, we can explore a specific emotion and how it’s connected to the chakra system, where it may be held energetically in the body, and either simply offer reiki or add some additional personalized practices. Practice, in general, then becomes deeper, often leading to better experiences in yoga class and group experiences. As with anything in life, the more you practice and become comfortable with a technique, the more it becomes second nature to use it “off the mat” so to speak.
Aside from reiki, we have other complementary practices like yoga nidra, chakra balancing, crystal energy sessions, ceremonies, and personal rituals that can help to bring about the body-mind-spirit balance if yoga, meditation, and reiki don’t resonate with a particular client.
Could you explain how Reiki works and its benefits for individuals seeking relaxation and stress relief?
The short answer is that we really don’t know “how” Reiki works yet, we just know that it does. Reiki is a combination of the Japanese words rei and ki. I’ve been taught that while Reiki has many layers of meaning, in its simplest definition, Reiki means universal energy. Rei means universal and is the idea of spiritual wisdom or consciousness. Ki means energy, specifically, the intangible energy that animates all living things. Scientific theory calls this energy a biofield and it is described as a field of electromagnetic energy that surrounds every living thing.
Each of us has a reserve of free-flowing energy (Ki), which can get depleted, restricted, or imbalanced. When this happens, we may feel exhausted and irritable, or get sick or injured more easily. As a Reiki practitioner, I become a channel for this universal energy and direct it to the client while they simply relax. There is a pattern of hand placements that may be used, but most often, I allow myself to be intuitively guided. Reiki has its own intelligence and will move not only to the place where it’s being directed, but also to other places in the physical and energetic bodies that need balance. A session can help clear the energetic pathways in the body and help energy flow freely. As the Ki begins to flow, clients may feel relaxed, peaceful, and calm. After the session, they may feel refreshed and energized as if they’ve had a good night’s sleep. Some of the benefits my clients experience include better sleep, less pain, better mood, mental clarity, better digestion, less anxiety, and they believe they even experience speedier healing when ill, or post-surgery.
The process itself promotes relaxation, especially at Blue Moon, where the room is set up with a table warmer, blankets, soft lights, and soft music; all of which promote a relaxing experience. Because Reiki isn’t governed by time and space, sessions can be in person or distant, meaning the client can relax at home if they will be more comfortable there or live far away, and we can work via phone or video conference.
Personalized empowerment sessions are offered at Blue Moon Yoga. What can clients expect from these sessions, and how can they benefit from co-creating an individual program with you?
Because it is a bespoke program, the Personal Empowerment Program is always evolving to meet the needs and desires of the clients. It also evolves as I learn more (I never stop learning and looking for beneficial practices for my clients). We start with a consultation to dive into the client’s intention and expectations for a program. Once we get an idea of the intention of the practice, we discuss the modalities and practices that support the intention. Together we create a bespoke practice that works perfectly in their life situation. Everything is customizable and can be adjusted as the situation requires. Usually, a program would be several sessions over a period of several weeks or months for clients who are looking for deeper transformation than group classes or an occasional reiki session can offer. It can also be a great support system for people going through something impactful in their life. To be clear, this is not therapy, or life coaching, it is a program of spiritual practices that can work alone or be complementary to therapy and coaching to help people tap into their energetic resources and feel empowered about how they are navigating life.
A program may include group practices like yoga class and group reiki or yoga nidra experiences because there is always a benefit to group practice to support the body, mind, and spirit. For individual sessions, we may include individual reiki, yoga nidra, and yoga, but I emphasize more personal and interactive energetic experiences like ceremony, ritual, and crystal work, for example. The client is a partner in the process as we co-create the process and the results. For example, we might do a session that includes crystal energy work and crystal gazing. In another session we might do an oracle card reading and an intuitive session that looks at their akashic records, or their energetic timeline. We may co-create rituals and ceremonies for the client to practice at home, including energy practices, self-care, affirmations, mudras, or mantras to support their intentions. I might suggest Tapping and the client will help me create the “script” of affirmations to speak while doing the practice. Sometimes we include energy clearing of a person’s home, and I’ve even worked with clients to remove deep attachments of negative energies that were affecting them.
One of the benefits of co-creating a program with me is personal empowerment and confidence from knowing that the practices you’ve chosen are creating transformation. It reminds you of how powerful you really are. In addition, the client chooses the practices, so they could choose things they are comfortable and familiar with, or they could experiment a little and try something new. I can help them personalize each practice, and we schedule time to check in so they can ask questions, celebrate wins, or adjust the practices as needed.
Your studio emphasizes the idea of helping clients “find their center” amidst life’s chaos. How do you guide individuals in their spiritual and energy practices to achieve this sense of balance and inner peace?
This is probably the most challenging question to answer because it is unique to each client, and it’s also about intention. The simple answer is that in group classes, we guide them in yoga posture, meditation, and breathing practices so they experience the feeling of being centered and calm, even if only for a few minutes during relaxation. It also brings a sense of feeling grounded. Once people have experienced it, they can become aware of when they are not feeling that way, whether in class or outside the studio. Many of the practices can be done anytime, so remembering one that can be practiced “in the moment” can create that sense of calm. But all yoga studios can do that and for Blue Moon, it’s more than that. This is where intention comes in. Our intention is to support the client with practices as they move through life. We remind them that we are all learning and the best thing they can do is give themselves some grace. We may be a few steps further along on the journey, but we won’t leave them behind, we’ll offer them the information and practices we have in case it will help them. We also make mistakes and often share how we re-ground, or recenter.
We offer several styles of class and several types of energy work so people can find what they feel best about. Because it can often be about repetition of practice, we try to make sure people find the classes and teachers that they resonate with. Some people need or want a physical practice to feel centered while others feel more centered when they are practicing relaxation and meditation. Some people need both. We suggest that clients try different teachers and different styles of class so they can find the one (or several) that brings them that sense of fewer thoughts, clearer thinking, and some stress relief in the body. The more often they practice at the studio and reinforce that feeling, the easier it becomes to achieve it at home, at the office, or anywhere else.
We get to know our clients. We check in, hear about their lives, share, and make sure everyone feels seen to the degree that they are comfortable with. Not only does that help us support them in class, but it helps us make recommendations for events like Shamanic Healing, Sound Healing, Manifestation workshops, Tapping, Cacao Ceremonies, and others based on what they might enjoy.
We also offer information that helps navigate the day. As the studio name suggests, we pay attention to the moon. The moon can be thought of as affecting our inner landscape and subconscious mind, in essence our patterns of behavior and inner thoughts and emotions. We let the clients know what moon phase we are in, and when we are having events like eclipses. I’m not an astrologer by trade, but when I teach, I let everyone know what sign the moon is in and any planets that are retrograde also. It can be easier to stay centered and not get swept into the chaos when you know that people around you are more passionate because the moon is in a fire sign, or that you might not be feeling focused when the moon is in an air sign.
Everything we do is offered with kindness, compassion, and without judgement. At Blue Moon, we are living in the same chaotic times as everyone else, so we share what we learn from our own teachers and guides. While the practice of yoga is our origin, we continue to learn, grow, and incorporate different modalities and energy practices so we all have a “spiritual tool kit” to draw from in many situations. When I was studying meditation, many years ago, I was taught the Pali term “kalyana mitra”, or spiritual friend. I’m told that kalyana means good or beneficial and mitra is the root word for “maitri”, which means kindness. And my Sanskrit name (given to me by one of my teachers) is Premakashi, which means Shining Divine Love. I think being a good spiritual friend and holding our space and practices in divine love is what really makes a difference in helping our clients feel grounded and centered.
If you would like to find out more about Blue Moon Yoga, visit https://www.blueyoga.net/index.html