Mar 29 2013

Hometown Yoga Heroes: Kelly Jean Moore

Erica Rodefer Winters

What’s one thing you wish you had known about yoga when you first started practicing?

That teachers, no matter how great, are also fallible people. I wish I had not glorified teachers and studio owners, believing that the yoga community was full of people who had mastered what they taught. That false idea of perfection really set me up for a huge let down and a lot of self-criticism, too… Of course, I can’t blame those teachers and other yogis for being human and in a process, a continuum of refinement. I can only site my own childish fantasies for my disappointment. I now feel at ease with my community because I know we are all on our own journeys and we all are complex beings. The expectation of enlightened behavior is something I have had to let go of, especially in myself.

What’s your favorite pose at the moment? What are you learning from it?

I’m almost six months pregnant right now so every pose is different. My base line is different. To paraphrase the poet Theodore Roethke, I move in circles, and those circles move. I love exploring the animalistic drive to creep through deep squats that lead to starfish-inspired Downward Facing Dogs. At first I resisted my bodies request to move differently. I resisted breaking my own “rules.” At some point I just gave in. What higher guidance could I possibly be subscribing to other than my own inner voice and the voice of millions of generations of mothers and babies echoing through my expanding bones down through the ages?

What’s the best advice someone ever gave you?

When I was a teenager I would come home from school in a tizzy over a boy or some friend drama. I often felt like an outsider and struggled with how the world worked. My mother always smiled and said calmly, “Kelly, this too shall pass.” It is the only truth I know for sure. All things, whether we like it or not, are impermanent. What a relief. Life is not such a big deal after all.

To read more visit:


Feb 26 2013

Hometown Yoga Heroes: Elli Boland

Erica Rodefer Winters
Elli Boland

I had lunch with Elli Boland a few weeks ago. The conversation drifted, as it often does when you get two yoga teachers together, to the business of yoga, success, and how the two fit together (or rather how they do NOT fit together as is more often the case). I furrowed my brow, sighed, and in an exasperated tone said: “I just try SO HARD.”

Elli looked me straight in the eye, and called me out. “STOP IT!,” she said in her uber-cool German accent. She doesn’t mess around.

It really is that simple–in life and in yoga. One of the most life-changing lessons we can learn is to slow down, let go, and just watch as everything falls into place. Elli finds ease in her life, her yoga classes and counseling sessions, and even on her inspirational Facebook pages My Holistic Coach and Agents of Change. She might make it look easy, but it’s the result of years of study and practice.

Here’s what she had to say about it:

What’s one thing you wish you had known about yoga when you first started practicing?

Ha. Nothing really. I only wish I had known how awesome it is way earlier!

What’s your favorite pose at the moment? What are you learning from it?

My favorite poses at the moment are backbends. They always remind me to forgive and trust. They help let go of my inner perfectionist and control freak, and open me right up to love’s presence.

What’s the best advice someone ever gave you?

To slow the f*** down.


To read more visit:


Jan 24 2013

Hometown Yoga Heroes: Trace Bonner

Erica Rodefer Winters

When I first moved to Charleston a couple of years ago I was thrilled that my apartment was only a few miles from Holy Cow Yoga Studio (little did I know that a “few miles” could take up to 30 minutes in Charleston traffic). The first yoga class I went to here was led by Trace Bonner. From the first Downward Dog, I knew I’d found a teacher I’d be able to connect with—this lady says what she means and means what she says. She’s direct, relatable, and funny in a way that comes so naturally I don’t think she even thinks about it—it’s just who she is. This is a quality that, for me, is the difference between a good yoga teacher and a great one. So I wanted to talk more to her about her approach to the yoga practice and find out what makes her tick.
Here’s what she had to say:

What’s one thing you wish you had known about yoga when you first started practicing?

That it is not about becoming flexible. I think in the beginning years of taking yoga I strived toward attaining the perfect posture. However, after some time I realized that it was more about being more flexible in my mind. I slowly let go of the rigidity of things in my life being a certain way. I let go of pacifying my ego’s wants and desires without deeper contemplation. And so, I think yoga has the ability to slowly transform one’s mental suffering.

 What’s your favorite pose at the moment? What are you learning from it?

I have always loved Downward Facing Dog. It remains the most evolving posture I do daily. Something about being tipped upside down and feeling the power of my arms and legs working in unison. I consistently find a deep and prayerful space to watch the breath and mind at play while hanging in there viewing the world from a completely different perspective.

What’s the best advice someone ever gave you?

Truth is one, paths are many. This is the famous teaching from my teacher, Swami Satchidananda. When I was younger I grew up believing that there was one way to connect to my highest spiritual self (God).. And yet, during those years I never bought into that way of thinking. It felt so exclusive, and I didn’t feel God could ever be that way. So, when I met my teacher you can imagine my joy of discovering that it was OK to have varying beliefs, and each one held a valid way of experiencing the divinity of God. I felt a wave of relief that we could each find our own path and they were all equally going to get us to the same place. I continue to share that teaching.

To read more visit:

Jan 9 2013

Hometown Yoga Heroes Series


In 2004, I visited a friend in Seattle, Washington who had gotten into “yoga” and couldn’t wait to bring me to a class.  My only prior yoga experience had been a do-yoga-at-home video that my spine doctor had recommended to help my scoliosis.  I did it twice, got bored, and decided that I didn’t like “yoga.”  Since my friend really wanted me to try her class, I went.  I figured, how could a bit of stretching hurt at all?  However, just a few minutes into the class, I was shocked to learn that this “yoga” was nothing like the video version.  I felt like I was going to pass out and die the entire time- I was miserable- and decided that “yoga,” whatever it was, wasn’t for me, again.

A year after college I moved down to Charleston and was spending a lot of time on the beach.  I still hadn’t lost my freshman 15 (plus the sophomore through senior 15) and I needed a new workout.  My good friend, Ali, suggested I come with her to a “yoga” class.  I remembered my first two attempts and told her I didn’t like “yoga.”  She somehow convinced me to come with her to a class, and I was surprised once again.  Her class was very different from both the video and my Seattle venture.

I ended up trying a dozen other classes over the next few months and realized that even though the titles contained the word “yoga,” they were all incredibly different.  Even when the subcategory names were identical, each teacher created a different experience.  There was one class that I found myself attending every week.  It kicked my butt to the level I needed, mentally and physically.  At the end of the class, the teacher always seemed to have the perfect message that was exactly what I needed to hear to conquer my issues at the time.  I loved it.

A few years went by and yoga had changed my life in remarkable ways.  I would try to influence everyone I crossed paths with to try yoga.  Most people would say they had been to a class or two but didn’t like it.  I would explain how there were many different styles of yoga and tell them that it took me trying at least a dozen different classes before I found what fit me best.  This is what motivated me to start  With teachers writing about yoga from their unique perspectives, it gives practitioners (and non-practitioners) a chance to see the wide range of options available in Charleston.  My hope was that it would help people find their style before giving up on yoga- as I did several times.

As it turns out, there are others who share my vision.  Local yoga teacher and writer, Erica Rodefer Winters shared a similar desire with me recently.  In an attempt to get to know some of what Charleston has to offer yogis from all walks of life, she decided to interview some of the biggest movers and shakers in the yoga community and understand what makes them tick.  And she wants to share their stories with the community, too, so we can all benefit from their collective wisdom!  She’ll be posting the interviews on her blog,, and we’ll also share some here.  It is a bi-weekly series all about Charleston’s hometown yoga heroes.  We hope it will inspire your health and fitness goals, and maybe even entice you to mix up your practice by trying a new class or two in spirit of the New Year!

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year- with lots of sweating!




Hometown Yoga Heroes:

Andrea Boyd

Interview by Erica Rodefer Winters


Jivamukti Yoga is known for its dynamic classes including chanting, lessons from yoga philosophy, and challenging poses set to music. Jivamukti Yoga Charleston founders Andrea Boyd and Jeffrey Cohen have a close relationship with Jivamukti Yoga founders Sharon Gannon and David Life. And one of the things that makes this studio so special is that Jivamukti Yoga Charleston is the ONLY Jivamukti Yoga School outside of New York City. You won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else!

I caught up with Andrea to learn more about her, the studio, and the yoga scene at Jivamukti Yoga Charleston. Here’s what she had to say:

What’s one thing you wish you had known about yoga when you first started practicing?

I wouldn’t change a thing. I guess if I had to say something it would be knowing about a compassionate diet sooner.

What’s your favorite pose at the moment? What are you learning from it?

At the moment, I am lying down on my teacher’s daybed, which is indeed a favorite pose. I like being with my teachers. What am I learning from it? The details.

A vegan diet/lifestyle is an important part of Jivamukti Yoga, correct? Can you briefly explain why?

Yes, that is correct. Vegetarianism is an important part of yoga, period. Not just the method that we teach. The yoga scriptures state very clearly to avoid eating animals. Eating clean and gentle food is wise if interested in having health of the mind and body—skin, organs, etc., a healthy earth, and earthlings.

It is a feeling decision. Yogis strive to live harmoniously with all other beings to the highest capacity. Limiting the amount of suffering we cause to all—humans included. Kindness and compassion for animals can lead one to feel their own essence, which is the same as that of the animals. It brings great joy and peace to oneself and the atmosphere to not kill gentle, innocent animals. Love has no limits or boundaries, unless we create them.

To read the rest of the interview visit:

Jul 31 2012

7 Steps To Getting Grounded Today


Being “grounded” has become somewhat of a buzz word these days, but what does that actually mean? Well, the actual definition of “grounded” according to the Miriam Webster dictionary means “mentally and emotionally stable; admirably sensible, realistic and unpretentious”. With our fast paced lifestyle and stress mounting upon us due to relationships, finances, job woes, care giving, etc., staying “emotionally and mentally stable” can be a challenge to say the least. This instability can lead to disconnect from our true nature and birth right to happiness.  Leading a life “realistic” and “sensible” is often not on our radar when stress is upon us. We end up living our lives unconsciously rather than deliberately.

Have you ever been driving and realized you lost 5 (or more) minutes of time as if on autopilot? You can be washing the dishes and thinking about your never-ending to-do list or you can simply fly off the handle at the smallest incident. Yup, those are all examples of being ungrounded. Your body and mind are playing for two different teams. Your body is physically present on the earth, but the mind is lost in space.   All our energy can get trapped in our heads without being connected to the physicality of being in our bodies.  This disassociation leads to reactions that are less than “admirable”.  If this describes you, don’t worry!  You are certainly not alone.

Life has so much more to offer us when we reverse the flow of energy that perpetually hangs out in our head.  Being grounded in our bodies puts us in the here and now. The present moment is the place where we are at any given time. That’s reality so why try to escape it? When we are grounded we can fully appreciate all that we are and have in life and feel less stressed and anxious about the greener grass on the other side of the fence. Being grounded in the here and now, allows all the thoughts and daydreams we have to actually manifest and become reality. Our connection to the earth provides the container for abundance freely flow to and from us. Without this container there is nothing to hold life’s gifts. The earth is always here for us offering her unrelenting support and nourishment so enjoy and soften into that space of safety and love.

Yes! You have managed to stay grounded enough to make it to the  7 Steps of Getting Grounded!

  1. Develop a loving relationship with your feet! Appreciate and show some gratitude for these body parts that connect us to the earth and take us where we need to go everyday.  Show your feet a little love with a massage with your favorite lotion or oil. Get a pedicure! Why do pedicures feel so good? Not because we know our feet will look pretty, but because loving out feet is grounding.
  2. Turn OFF the technology! Take a break and disconnect periodically from your emails, facebook, twitter and all that jazz. I’m not sure why it’s called “surfing the net”. That phrase implies some level of groundedness. Technology keeps is in our heads not in the here and now of our bodies. Disconnect to Reconnect.
  3. Stop, Drop and Breathe! Ok, not the drop part unless you really want to, but breathe. Connecting to and slowing down the rhythm of your breath is the quickest way to ground you in the present moment. Feel your breath come into to your body, graciously expanding your lungs and leaving your body taking with it anything that is not needed.
  4. Set a grounding affirmation. Using the power of affirmations can help you develop a more positive outlook on life and get you out of the negative self talk that traps us in our heads.  If you are going to “talk” to yourself you might as well have life-affirming thoughts. Here are some suggestions for grounding affirmations. The earth nourishes and provides for my needs. I am safe and loved. I trust in my body. I am grounded.
  5. Get some exercise- Walking,  dancing, yoga, tai chi and swimming are examples of how you can energize your feet and legs to feel more grounded and present in your body.
  6. Get Dirty. Literally touch the earth. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot in the grass, dirt, etc. Repot that plant your have been meaning to do or plant the herb garden that has been on your to-do list. Whatever it is, connect with the earth in its truest form.
  7. Be a Mountain. Mountain pose, the foundation of all standing yoga poses, is very grounding when done with intention. Plus, you can do mountain pose anywhere and not look like a crazy person…Warrior II in line at the grocery store? Maybe not…

Stand with your feet slightly apart and parallel to each other. Put your mind in your feet and their connection to the earth. Press all parts your feet equally into the earth (or your shoes). Allow the muscles of your legs to firm giving yourself a gentle hug. Draw energy up from the bottoms of your feet into your belly and send the energy back down into the earth. Breathe and stand firm in all that you are in this very moment.

In these times of the world moving so fast our feet barely get chance to find their ground I hope you find these tips helpful!

Peace to All!

Leigh Crowder MOTR/L, PYT-C

YoPro Therapy

Mar 4 2012

A New Home for Yoga in West Ashley


The Yoga House of Charleston is Opening March 12th!

A spacious, welcoming new yoga studio is opening its doors at the corner of Sam Rittenberg Blvd. and Ashley River Rd. in Charleston. The Yoga House of Charleston will offer an array of styles and has the mission of communicating and providing the benefits of yoga to the broader Charleston community.

The Yoga House provides one roof, under which Charlestonians can improve cardiovascular fitness, strength & flexibility, and balance, while at the same time reducing stress, achieving enhanced mental and emotional health, and enabling relaxation and renewal.

Sound too good to be true? Not according to co-owner Thomas Glenn of West Ashley.  Glenn – an avid yogi, runner, and management strategy consultant – says yoga not only helped offset the stress of his high-pressure career consulting to Fortune 100 companies;  it also became a replacement to his normal gym routine. “One of our more rigorous classes is a comparable workout to a five-mile run and powerful upper and lower body routines – all rolled into one.”

Yoga is not just for those wanting an intense fitness regimen.  Other classes offered at the Yoga House are much slower paced and focused more on deep breathing, stretching, and restoration of major body systems. Some classes also offer a spiritual element.  In a sense, the Yoga House is working hard to offer something for everyone at every level of fitness or yoga experience.

The Yoga House will feature a monthly four-week beginners’ series, perfect for those new to yoga or needing a refresher course. Studio director Ashley Gayle says this class will introduce students to yoga and also point those completing the course to other Yoga House class styles that meet their individual goals. “We are trying to create a yoga family here. Our goal is to help make yoga accessible to everyone. More importantly, though, we want to make yoga relevant to everyone.  We’ll be extremely attentive to our student’s personal goals.”

Class styles offered at the Yoga House include beginners/basic classes, yin, restorative, Anusara-inspired ™, heated and non-heated vinyasa flow, hot yoga, prenatal, baby & mama, and Jivamukti-style. The studio also offers an array of yoga-related retail items for sale, as well as select local art and jewelry.

The Yoga House opens its doors Monday, March 12, and will be hosting a donation only, pay what you will, full day of yoga open to the public on Saturday, March 24. All donation proceeds will go to the MUSC Children’s Hospital™.  The studio will offer a back-to-back-to-back sampling of each of its classes and each of its instructors from 8am-5pm.  Register online for this charity event at

The Yoga House is located in Crossroads Center at 1836 Ashley River Road, next to Total Wine and across from Barnes & Noble.  The studio is open Monday-Sunday and will be offering nearly 40 classes per week. For inquiries, visit the website, email , or call 843-608-0368.

Mar 1 2012

We Say Outdoor, You Say Music


Local Preventative Wellness Non-Profit Event: Outdoor Live Music, Oysters, Auction

On Saturday, March 3, we offer our response to the popular Charlestonian question: why don’t we have more live music outdoors in this beautiful weather? We invite guests to get bOYSTERous on Bowen’s! Listen to live jamgrass band, Green Levels, while enjoying afamily-friendly atmosphere with local oysters, beer, silent auction, and raffle items. Proceeds from this event fund the Charleston-based preventative wellness and character development non-profit, Yoga Benefits Kids (YBK). Register on or

Thisinvitation has appeal for everyone. Want to bring your children? Wehave face painters. Love live music but don’t eat meat? We have vegetarian eating options, locavores. Not sure if you will enjoy the live music? Give it a whirl; we bet this social scene will have yousinging and swaying in no time.

Getaway from the busyness of downtown during the Wine + Food Festival near the beach! The fun happens from 2-5p at Bowen’s Island Restaurant. And no need to wait until Sunday for this event. We have special permission from Robert Barber himself to get bOYSTERous on Saturday, March 3.

Support Charleston County School District’s YBK mind and body wellness programs. Cost is $25.00 for adults. Kids 12 and under are FREE. Older kids cost only $10.00. Advance ticket purchase is preferred but not required. If you cannot attend, please go to and donate to our cause. Just $50.00 affords one child yoga for a school year. $10.00 buys one child a yoga mat.

Sponsors include: Blue Turtle Yoga/ECO Fitness, Cupcake, Earth Fare, Island Fitness Studio, Itz Fitz Jewelry, Matt O’Hara Builds


AboutYoga Benefits Kids

Themission of Yoga Benefits Kids is to improve the strength and flexibility of children’s minds and bodies. We enhance kids’ mental,emotional, and physical health through the use of movement, stress management, and the connection between the brain, body, and breath.By collaborating with like-minded organizations, Yoga Benefits Kids creates a diverse community by providing our youth with tools thatdevelop confidence and courage to create healthier bodies, make better decisions, develop stronger relationships, and become more successful. Find us at: Charleston Development Academy, Memminger Elementary, North Charleston Elementary, and Sanders-Clyde.

Feb 17 2012

Holy Yoga-PMS!


Embrace the Time of the Month, Ladies!

A majority of women can relate to the time of the month right before their menstrual period, where irritability, anxiety, depression, and cravings for sweet and salty foods are extremely heightened.  There is an awareness of water retention in the body, perhaps bloating, acne, and fatigue.  Yes–PMS!

I have been battling old Aunt Betty every month with Flip Chocolate Pretzels and lots of naps and there just comes a point where the mind and body are tired of fighting the natural the rhythms of the feminine cycle.  If you search “PMS,” you will find tons of studies of which foods to eat and not to eat, exercises, traditions, etc., which may absolutely be helpful and life changing, and I encourage you to explore those.  But I want to share with you a discovery as someone who has been experiencing PMS every month for the past 18 years.

During this time, there is a battle going on with my mind and body.  I am sharp with my tongue and become easily irritated, then go through this vicious cycle of feeling guilty because of the feelings I am having…ladies, you know the cycle.  My husband can simply look at me and I immediately jump into defense mode.  What is that?

I decided to ask God to help me understand my body in the way He created it, to give me wisdom and insight to the root of my PMS.  Besides my estrogen and progesterone levels changing during that time, creating a significant flux, deep down there are issues in my tissues.  I researched the Bible about women’s cycles and discovered that in Leviticus 15:19 it says, “Women were set apart for seven days.” I thought to myself, “I want to be set apart from life for seven days to rest, cleanse, replenish, and then enter back into everyday life.” Of course, I shared this with my husband; he was not so keen on the idea, however!  In our culture, we just don’t take the time for ourselves to replenish.

I contemplated being “set apart” and realized “set apart” means to be holy or sacred. I have been teaching Holy Yoga for years, connecting my faith with my practice, but did not connect this aspect of myself with God until now.  WOW–the time of the month is holy?  Yes–it is a time for purification and we need to celebrate and relish in RESTING.

Meditating on the idea of my cycle actually being holy and sacred, I remembered reading this interesting passage from “The Psoas Book” by Liz Koch: “A young girl begins her cycle of bleeding between 9 and 16. Insecurity, shame and embarrassment are often associated with menstruating. The feeling of one’s body being out control can feel scary. Our culture has no ritual for assimilating or celebrating the profound changes in a young girl’s life when her body begins to bleed. Tradition, religious and sexual taboos add what is already an extraordinary experience.”

I started to reflect back to the reactions and feelings of my cycle beginning and sadly, remember the shame and insecurity that so often takes root in heart, mind, and body.  There are certain places in the body that hold this tension.  When our emotional tensions begin to manifest in our physical bodies, it leaves certain places tight and tense, which can cause monthly cramps in the low back or abdomen.  Liz Koch also states that, “fear is always sensed through the psoas muscle and so it is through sensing the psoas that we can release old fears.”

Are you wondering what the relationship between the psoas and fear is? She expands, “rather than the cramps occurring from within the uterus it is often a contracted psoas muscle that presses on the reproductive organs; constricting blood circulation and impeding, possibly irritating the nerves that enervate both the muscle and specific organs.”  When we let go of old fears surrounding our sexuality and embrace this time instead of resisting, our muscles, specifically our psoas which attaches from T12 vertebra and wraps to the front of the femur bone allowing hip flexion, relax and let go. The relationship between mind and body reveals itself during our monthly cycle because we are super sensitive and aware.

This month I decided to experiment by releasing my psoas muscle in pigeon pose during my PMS week, to see if the letting go of this muscle reduced my severe cramping. Ever since I had my children, I have suffered severe cramping, been hospitalized twice, and was prescribed 800mg of ibuprofen every four hours for the first two days of my cycle. I am thrilled to share that this month, I had one day of moderate cramping with one dose of Alieve and was not laid up in bed for two days! I resumed my everyday activities pain-FREE! So, my physical body totally benefited from releasing my psoas. My inner body experienced a release from fears of not feeling worthy or accepted. As my head and upper body melted prostrate before God in pigeon pose, my breath labored through the discomfort of my hips; as my muscles relaxed, my breath softened and my heart surrendered to the Truth in Psalm 139:12-17.


Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
      At night I’m immersed in the light!”

It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!


How do we embrace this time of month ladies?

  1. Accept this time of rest.
  2. Take time to set yourself apart.
  3. Explore and surrender your fears.
  4. Meditate on Truth.
  5. Practice Restorative and Deep Yoga stretching.
  6. Write in a sacred journal.
  7. Connect with other women and God, because when—SHAME AND FEAR ARE DIMINISHED and BROUGHT INTO THE LIGHT, healing happens from in the inside out.
Rachel Glowacki
Instructor at Holy Yoga


Jul 20 2011

Healthy Technology for Your Kids


A team of mothers,writers and artists have put together the very first kid yoga application for the iPad. Based on the original yoga lesson plan written by Rachel Glowacki (M-HYI), children can learn and practice yoga at their own pace. In this fast growing tech world, it’s an engaging tool that helps guide children toward making healthy physical choices as they grow older. If you have children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren or any relationship with a child, download and try out this app.  Various studies around the world have shown us that exercise not only improves our physical health, but our mental health too.  If we can help children form positive exercise habits at a young age, when they become adults it won’t be necessary to fall into harmful damage control diets and fads. Talk with children about the importance of being healthy as they grow, and how yoga can benefit them at all ages. Visit to read more about the creators of this fun pocket yoga app available on Apple’s iPad and iPhone/iPod, the Android, and now Barnes & Noble’s NOOK color Reader’s Tablet.