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 CharlestonYogi.com. 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, SpoiledYogi.com, 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:
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: http://spoiledyogi.blogspot.