Dec 15 2010

Family Yoga!

Willis Tant

There is a class at Jivamukti Yoga on Sundays at noon that is called Family Yoga.  It is intended to be for all people of all ages and can be shared by any and all family members.  The teachings are simple and useful, there is a sense of fun, and songs that help students easily learn the movements.

It is my favorite class that I have the honor of teaching.  I am often so touched by family togetherness that I am moved to tears.  There have been students who bring in their sisters who visit from out of town, there have been father-son moments, and grandparents and small children who delight us all.  But most regular has been one family, who, come almost every Sunday, because they make it THEIR Family time.  Their time to BE and grow together!  Their time to stretch, and breathe, and SEE each other.  Often they go on a picnic or to the beach or even to the grocery store together afterwards.  But for that one hour, every Sunday, they practice together.   I revel in their beauty every week. 

Last Sunday they were telling me how they invite other families to join them, how they spread the word because they have experienced such value from the practice together.  They inspire me and I am so grateful to their dedication and enthusiasm.  They humble me and are a living example of light.  So may this, my first blog, be a sincere offering to this family who has shown me so much love.  Thank you. 

And thank you for coming to practice yoga together in my presence so many times over.  We invite more Charleston yoga families to join us! And look forward to growing, being, and seeing you more often.

Feb 10 2010

Yoga and Music: To Crank Up or Mellow Out

Harry Dinwiddie

Recently, I received a complaint from a student about the music choice I had chosen for savasana. I had never received a complaint before about my playlists, but this one had said it was not yogic. The song, granted, could be seen as offensive (which I warned the class prior to playing it) but the message was positive and needed, in my opinion, to be shared with the class. The songs I play in my classes are not the soft music with Tibetan bowls or anything played by Krishna Das. My music is typically music I like and associate with. Currently this is a lot of indie rock and a lot of these songs are loud and fast. Occasionally I will throw in some hip hop or a playlist dedicated to 90′s alternative music. But the idea that a song is not yogic to me is ludicrous. Its not the music, the beat or the meaning that is important. Its the focus one has toward the music.

This brought up an interesting topic that is usually overlooked in our practice. That is music’s place in yoga classes. Traditionalists could say that there shouldn’t be any music. Contemporaries could say use it as it adds to the flow of the class. When I started out teaching, I believed in the former and that music deserved no place. Yoga needed a place to be sacred and nature is the most sacred sound. Today though, I see it completely different. Music should be used as it enhances our practice and actually challenges us further.

Yoga has the ability to allow our minds to focus. This actually is a much harder task than even the hardest of poses or sequences. Think of your mind as a muscle and focusing on one object for a certain time requires constant practice. This exercise is often in combat with our monkey mind and any thoughts that pop up to interrupt our practice. An hour yoga class becomes rather difficult to focus the entire time but constant effort and practice allow this focus to sharpen itself.

There are two ways to focus during a class. The first is to focus on one thing. This could be an intention, your breath or your movement in your poses. The idea is to never leave your mat and allow all other distractions to not even be a concern. The second way to focus is to accept and welcome the entire environment around you and allow yourself to move freely through it. It may seem like a farce to say to focus on your environment, but allowing yourself to use all five senses to equally take in everything and be amazed by your surroundings is a way to shift your attention to the present. All distractions than are natural and cease to become distractions. Focus itself than is either attention on one thing or all things.

Music itself than becomes a way to hone your focus. Whichever focus is chosen, music can play a part. If the chosen focus is to concentrate on one point, music is a challenge to not focus on it. Think of meditating. Meditating is great when it is completely silent but a struggle when there are tons of outside noises that can distract. Is life silent? Does the world stop making noises when you want to sit? The answers are no. Meditation and focus require a challenge of sorts to keep us strong in what we want to focus on. Music than becomes a challenge to maintain we keep our focus, so that it may make us stronger in our practice. On the other hand if the focus is drawn to the equality of five senses and the present, music becomes part of our environment. When this occurs, the beat gets into our head and the music takes us. We become a part of the song and it lifts us to whatever feeling it is giving us, whether it is slow or fast.

Usually, I offer a choice of songs for savasana. I ask the class “Happy or beautiful?” These refer to two songs I absolutely love and fit perfectly for final relaxation. They are Sigur Ros’ Festival and Ara Batur. These songs emit the wonderful feelings for finishing a great class. It was these two songs that made me want to use music the way I do and without apology. Songs can lift us, move us and put us in places we are uncomfortable with. It seems like yoga and music are similar in that fashion. Why wouldn’t they be shared together?


Harry Dinwiddie will be exploring mixing music, yoga and art as he will be teaching a new class at Eye Level Art at 103 Spring St. Tuesday nights at 6:30 starting Feb 16.

Jan 19 2010

Benefit Yoga Class for Haiti Earthquake Relief


All of us have been shocked and saddened by the news of a devastating earthquake that struck the nation of Haiti on Tuesday, January 12th. Reports estimate that 3 million people have been affected, with as many as 100,000 feared dead. Many people have been wondering how they can help respond to this tragedy and ease the suffering of Haiti.

On Wednesday, January 20th from 6 to 8 PM, a benefit yoga class will be offered at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. A $10 donation at the door is suggested. All proceeds from the class will go to Partners in Health, an agency that has been working on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. Your donations will go towards vital medical care desperately needed by those impacted by the earthquake.

Yoga, more than just a form of exercise, is a tool for creating harmony, compassion, and peace – both within ourselves and in the world we share. No prior yoga experience is necessary. There will also be a time for quiet meditation and prayer for those affected by this tragedy.

The class will be taught by Matthew Foley, a Yoga Alliance Certified Instructor. Music will be provided by DJ Anwar Staggers.

For more information, please contact Matthew Foley at (803)361-3842 or

$10 Donation Suggested

Type: CausesFundraiser
Network:  Global
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Avery Research Center Ball Room
Street: 125 Bull Street
City/Town: Charleston, SC

Aug 13 2009

A warm welcome from Charleston Yogi!



Hello and welcome to!  We are so excited to introduce this resource to the Lowcountry yoga community, and are happy that you found us!  Are you ready to enhance your yoga lifestyle?

We both know how quickly those day planners can fill up, and how easy it can be to let your yoga regimine slip through the cracks.  That is why we created this site: to make finding the right yoga class at the right time as quick and easy as possible!

So go ahead–click around, see what we have to offer! Not only does Charleston Yogi unite all local studio schedules into one, but we are also here to educate!  We want you to know all about the latest yoga trends and don’t want you to miss out on any exciting yoga events this city has to offer.  And be sure to check back regularly, as we’ll be filling your brains with tips, secrets, recipes and stories  from our local health, fitness and yoga experts who will be blogging with us! 

New to yoga and nervous to give it a try? That’s okay!  We’re here to help!  Under “Yoga Basics” you’ll find everything you need to know to get started!  From descriptions of the different styles of yoga to what to bring to your first class…it’s all in there!  We’ve even included a list of studios that offer free community classes or a free class for first-timers.  By taking advantage of these opportunities, you can explore the Charleston yoga community and find the style of yoga that is right for you without a dime out of your pocket!

So whether you’re a regular yoga junkie, a newbie, or even just a health nut, this is the site for you!  A stronger, healthier and more peaceful you is just a click away!

Peace, love and yoga,

Kara and Megan