Written by Emily Glaser | Photos by Anthony Harden
The rewards of Hatha yoga are bounteous and extend beyond the body, and for Stephanie and Sunny Keach, that includes their internationally acclaimed business, the Asheville Yoga Center.
There’s long been healing in these hills.
Before history’s mark carved the long scars of winding roads into our peaks, they were a place of respite. Bubbling hot springs, tucked into a northern valley and cradled in set boundaries of neutral territory, offered a soulful, healthful retreat for Native Americans, regardless of tribe or allegiance, for centuries before the rough footfall of Europeans touched these lands.
In the 1700s straggling bands of Cherokees, hearts still tied to their home, would dig their fingers into the soils and roots of the mountains to pull forth gnarled ginseng. They’d long used the root to break fevers and stanch wounds, but now, traders paid them pennies for the “white medicine,” which they shipped across seas to boost Asian immune systems (among other things).
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Western North Carolina offered cool airs and warm waters to the aging, ailing, and merely disinterested elite in droves, complaining of headaches and hacking coughs and, in the case of one Mr. Edwin Wiley Grove (yes, that Grove), the hiccups. The cures they found in our mountains were so miraculous that many of them decided to make their homes here, founding landmarks like the Grove Park Inn, the Biltmore Estate, and Lake Lure that still define our landscape today.
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