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.

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.


Jul 19 2011

Yoga at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park!


The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Yoga at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park! Join us for a yoga experience at one of Charleston’s bestviews of the waterfront with instructor Carolyn Gunn Strickler. Suggesteddonation of $5, and yoga mats available upon request. Classes will be held July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 25, and every Thursday in September, from 6:00pm-7:00pm. (Blog intro from

“When I practice yoga I feel whole, I feel nothing is beyond my reach. I feelbeautiful, strong and perfect, and fortunate that I am me. My love for yogabegan during a hard time in my life. Yoga trained me how to navigate throughlife’s obstacles with grace. When yoga entered my life, I finally becamecontent with who I am, and realized that I already have everything I need. Mymind and body felt connected, and I felt more connected to all living things on earth.

Art heals us. Yoga is art. It gives us the opportunity to use creative expression and freedomthrough movement to nourish our body and mind. When we practice yoga on and offthe mat, we are practicing the art of love: self-love, love for all beings, and love for the earth. Yoga enables us to unlock our true creative potential, and live a happy and healthy life. It encourages us to show up to life. Through yoga, we can discover and create the masterpiece of ourselves. Yoga hasgiven me the strength to live the life I dreamed of living, a life full of happiness and love. I want to help you live a life full of compassion, self-acceptance and inner peace. With love and commitment, yoga can helpyou transform, transcend and become yourself. No matter where you are in yourlives, yoga will bring you back toward balance and peace. Let the poses open your heart and the flow uplift your soul.” – Carolyn Gunn Strickler

About the City Gallery at Waterfront Park: The City Gallery at Waterfront Park,owned by the City of Charleston and operated by the City of Charleston Officeof Cultural Affairs, is a venue for contemporary artwork that is new, vital and innovative, with a focus on broadening Charleston’s arts outlook.  The City Gallery provides access to the visual arts foreveryone in Charleston, S.C., visitors and residents alike, by offering exhibits that are all admission-free. The City Gallery is located at 34 Prioleau St. in downtown Charleston, S.C.,and gallery hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.  For more information, please call ore-mail the City Gallery at (843)958-6484 or

Feb 1 2011

Staying Balanced

Natasha Alexandra Akery

One of the biggest difficulties people face when going to a yoga class is balance. We often spend a lot of the time trying not to topple over, which takes away from our ability to be present and really enjoy the full benefit of the class. A helpful tip for staying sure on your feet is using the force of opposite directions. Let’s look at a couple different poses to see how this works.

Warrior I

Keep your right foot planted and step the left foot back, turning it to a forty-five degree angle while bending into the front knee. Square the hips and lift the arms up above the head, setting your gaze forward. Your central opposites are the left foot behind you and the right foot in front of you. Bend deeply into the right knee while grounding through the outer edge of the left foot into the floor. The force of going forward and also backward is what sets the balance and keeps the stance strong.

Tree Pose

Keep your left foot planted and lift the right, setting the sole of the foot on either the side of the left calf or inner thigh above the knee. Press the palms together at heart center. Your central opposites are the left foot on the floor and the crown of your head. Ground down through your left foot. You can better feel the sensation if you temporarily lift your toes off the floor. Reach the crown of the head up toward the ceiling, lengthening the spine and lifting your torso from sitting heavy on your hips. The force of pressing down and lifting up sets your balance and reduces instability.

All poses have upward and downward directions and most have a forward and backward directions or right to left. Whether you are at a yoga class or practicing at home, explore the opposites of various poses. Instead of fighting them, use their momentum to further your practice and increase the integrity of the poses.

Jan 11 2011


Mark Knowles

With the start of a new year Yoga Teachers, Philanthropists, Preachers, Smokers, Drunks, and maybe some normal people make lofty ideas, create great plans, and write these little blogs.  These “Spiritual Geniuses” regurgitate a few old positive wafflings like “Empower Yourself, Take Control of Your Destiny, or Get Ready to Realize your Full Potential!”  We embark upon a few things which we are sure will either 1) change our lives or 2) change the world.  I’m reminded of a saying “Know how to make God laugh?  Tell him you plans.”  If you’re like most people, God’s in stitches right now.

We spend a great deal of time deciding how our plans will effect others.  How if we could just practice yoga 6 days a week we’d make the world a better place.  We could volunteer at the soup kitchen a little, THAT would certainly make a difference.  AND we’ll go to church/synagogue/temple/mandir/shack/woods more often. 

Now, you might  ask, what’s wrong with that?  I’ll tell you.

It’s what WE want to do, not God’s will.  Please, when I say God, plug in your version of the Divine.

This means a few things.  It means that whatever plans we create are driven by: अविद्य(avidya-ignorance of true self),   अस्मिता (asmitā-ego) राग (rāga-attachment to pleasure),  द्वेष (dveṣa-aversion), अभिनिवेष  (abhiniveṣa-attachment to physical form/fear of death).  These are the पङ्च क्लेष paṅca kleṣa.  The 5 obstacles to yoga.

We may even say “God, show me your will, and I’ll do it!”.  How many times do we decide what God’s will is for us?  We try to fix an ego with an ego.  There are some beings who were so open, so receptive to the Divine’s will that they were able to truly be instruments for His plan.  Joan of Ark got explicit instructions.  Lord Buddha knew he was going to die and how, yet he knowingly ate the food that would kill him.  The great Yogi, J.C. was also such a rare gem.  They’re no different from us.  They just listened harder.   

Mahaṛṣi Patañjali says in his  yoga sūtra ईश्वरप्रणिधानाद् वा॥२३॥ ( īśvarapraṇidhānād vā- By COMPLETE surrender to God you attain His identity).  It’s known as the one step method to attain yoga, but it’s really difficult to do that.  So there’s the 2-step method(practice and non-attachment), the 3-step method(intense spiritual practice, self-study, and then surrender), and of course the favorite अष्टाण्ग (aṣṭāṇga) 8-step method.  If youre like most people you don’t recognize any of these except the last one…see?  Most of us would rather do the more difficult thing that we’ve created as God’s will than surrender.  8 steps, or 1 step.hmmmmm

This New Year try this, DON’T DO ANTHING.

A great Teacher of mine once said “NOTHING in God’s world happens by accident”, so what do I need to change? 

And if you must pray, at least listen for the answer.

ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः

om śānti śānti śāntiḥ