How the Valley beckoned Black Mountain Yoga

Shelly Frome
Special To The Black Mountain News

If you scan the Black Mountain Yoga brochure on the internet, you’ll find that Martia Rachman is listed as a dual-trained yoga therapist.  

But it’s only when you encounter her willowy presence, inner radiance, and seemingly effortless way of moving that you begin to gain an inkling of the correlation between her work and healing.   

After finding balance through yoga at a young age, Martia Rachman opened Black Mountain Yoga 11 years go.

 “I really believe in a life of balance,” Rachman said. “Back in Mount Olive, Carolina, by the age of twelve both my mother and father had passed away. That’s when I grew up. Having a relationship with God was my outlet. Since I’d been a dancer since I was four, I needed a vital physical/spiritual connection. ”  

When she was fifteen, she befriended a girl from Virginia whose mother had a collection of yoga books. Presently, both young women began learning how to breathe, moving through the given postures, ending with a short meditation.  At the same time, she was even more conscious of seeking a higher and connected experience.

“Why not go as close to God as you possibly can?” she said. “Why not get as close as you can to the richness of life? Otherwise you’re doing a disservice to yourself. ”

As for her subsequent focus on healing therapy, in 1999 she broke a few vertebrae in her back as the result of a car accident. Wearing a brace, relying on her knowledge of Hatha yoga (diet, breath, and optimum physiology), she began to strengthen her gluts, legs and back.

Martia Rachman was drawn to the Swannanoa Valley by the Seven Sisters mountain range and the charm of Black Mountain.

In time, earning her teaching credentials, she began offering comparable classes in Asheville.

“It was then I knew I had the education, personal experience and insight to help people on a one-to-one basis,” she said. “Their body communicates to me what they need. I can help modify their shape. Or change the way they’re walking. Engage muscles that have been underactive. Release muscles that have been overactive. Create balance and stability. And enhance wellness and flexibility of the mind as well.”

Soon enough, the move to Black Mountain became almost inevitable. Between the years 2001 and 2004 she taught classes at the Lakeview Senior Center and the fitness center at Cheshire.

Eleven years ago, the opening of the clinic and yoga center on Montreat Road came about in tandem with her husband Brad, the noted holistic and naturopathic healing physician. All in all, she put the lure of this area this way:

“To find nature and the serenity of the mountains right down the road in Montreat was very powerful. Driving east between exit 55 and 59 you glance over at the Seven Sisters range and you can’t help feeling drawn. Those mountains made me feel I was one of them. Moreover, I want to raise my two girls in a small town. I want them to be able to walk from our home to their dance class at the Center for the Arts and the library. I like engaging comfortably with people on the street and so much more.”

By extension, many of her clients don’t have the option of avoiding the outer hassles and highways and byways and seek the transformative benefit of her approach.

“Some have trouble sleeping,” she said. “Or their difficulties range from back pain to anxiety and depression or just having a hard time from just being out there in the world. On the other hand, some are fiery with constant energy. You have to cage that or you’ll be unhappy. All told, they need a safe, clean, inviting place where they can calm the mind, relax the body and get their life back. There is no competition. Everyone is welcome.  So that’s what my work is all about. Helping my clients get their life back. Then intentional, mindful movement starts to occur. Ease, I’m in control. This parasympathetic state allows you to be here now 100 percent. When you leave, you can make decisions that are beneficial to your life.”