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Meet Our February Student Ambassadors: Nichole and Graham

By February 1, 2023No Comments

At HYA, we are lucky to have so many couples who practice together! Some set their mats up next to each other, others pass children between them so they almost never practice together, and some are non-traditional couples with blended families and they move mountains to maintain their practices. In honor of Valentines month, our student ambassadors are one of those couples: Nichole Civiello and Graham Lawing.

They occasionally get to practice together, but more often have to switch off to take care of their two children. You will see them in many different classes, rocking whatever style of yoga they have chosen today. As Nichole explains, this is the anniversary month of when they met!

“We were set up! That sounds pretty funny, but it’s the truth,” Nichole said. “Thirteen years ago this very month, February, by a friend of a friend to Graham and one of the only people that I knew at that time. I had just moved to Asheville from Pennsylvania. We went on our first date February 16, 2010. Over the years we have figured out that we were at quite a few of the same festivals around the country before knowing each other. Like standing in the same field but in different parts, perhaps even walking past one another and not knowing… it’s crazy but true. 

“Fast forward seven years, we eloped downtown on Wall Street on New Years Eve, I was seven months pregnant with our son, Ashton. Then two years later we welcomed our daughter, Ada. We live here in AVL Asheville without much family to help, so we often pass the kids off here at the studio so that we both can get a class in. We really have to work together to make it all flow.”

HYA: When did you first start practicing?

NC: 14 years ago

GL: 10 years ago

HYA: What is your favorite style?

NC: That’s a tough one. I truly have an appreciation for all the styles. Before HYA, I practiced Ashtanga yoga consistently for years. I really enjoyed the intense physical demand and ever challenging pace. Here at HYA I try to take as many different classes as our schedule will allow right now. I typically practice 4 times a week. Power flow and slow flow are great, but honestly it’s Hot 26 that’s my favorite. Hot 26 really parallels Ashtanga in similar ways for me, the intense physical demand and ever challenging pace seem to be my jam.

GL: Power Flow is my favorite right now. I like getting a good sweat in and anything that helps with flexibility and endurance, I’m here for. I also say, a good core class is a favorite as well. It’s a game changer to my practice and daily life. I like to practice at least 2 times a week.

HYA: What is your advice to a new student?

NC: It will always be hard, but it will begin to feel more natural the more you practice. Do it for you, friend!

GL: Be open to trying different classes and different teachers until you find something that feels good for you.

HYA: What makes you love HYA?

NC: This community of people that frequent all of the classes and the teachers. Seriously, I’ve probably chatted you up at the water fountain, next to you on the mat, or the locker room… I’m a talker when I feel comfortable. The energy in class is why I come, it really does elevate the experience.

GL: HYA still has the small town vibes! I really like the variety of times on the schedule and the teachers, so many awesome teachers.