Peace and Namaste in the Lowcountry

This post has been inspired by the upcoming tickets Emily and I have for the James Island County Park Starlight Yoga . It takes place in the center of the Holiday Festival of Lights , this Wednesday, December 9th. Tickets will still be available at the gate, if you're interested!

Angela:
When I first moved to Charleston about five years ago (I can't believe that it's been that long!), I was surprised at how many yoga studios I saw around town. You name it, it was here; Community yoga, Baptiste yoga, Bikram yoga, Prenatal yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Hot yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Jivamukti yoga...and the list goes on. Before moving here, I had really only practiced yoga at my regular gym, as part of cooling down after a hard cardio workout. I was curious to find out what all of the hype was about. Since I was new to the area, didn't know anyone, and seemed to have plenty of time on my hands (I'm not a big fan of socializing as a party of one), I decided to try it out. I started with a Groupon for Charleston Power Yoga. After that first class I couldn't decide if I was hooked or going to die, but one thing was for sure, this wasn't my old gym's afterthought of a yoga class!

I think that we must take the time to pause and take a big breath during this hectic time of year. Yoga helps to keep the soul centered. There truly is something magical about being forced to stop and concentrate on your breath. Being pregnant, I have found a great solace in my prenatal yoga practice (Holy Cow Yoga has a great class). As my body is changing and I'm anxious about becoming a parent, I find some peace in laying it all out on my yoga mat.

So much of living in the Lowcountry and the lifestyle here can be centered around the beauty of the environment that surrounds us everywhere. I was at a complete stop in some traffic last week and began to be frustrated, thinking about everything on my 'to-do' list, when I looked up and just took a minute to breathe. The view was amazing. It's crazy how no matter where you are here (with a few exceptions of course) that if you just take a moment to look up and breathe, you will be comforted by the beauty of the Lowcountry.

View from my car while stopped last week.

View from my car while stopped last week.

Whether you are a yoga enthusiast or have never tried it before, here are a list of some of my personal favorite events that occur around town:

  • YogaPop - a whimsical night of yoga, live music, entertainment, shopping, and community fun held several times throughout the year!

  • Charleston SUP Safaris offer SUP Yoga- basic paddleboarding instruction and a full-on water yoga class. Several paddleboarding companies around the area sponsor this type of yoga.

  • Yoga at the Beach - Folly Beach Yoga with Serenity Tree Yoga instructors allow you to wiggle your toes in the sand, breath in the salty air, and connect to the relaxing waves of the ocean. Several of our beaches offer yoga classes such as these.

  • Walk and Restore Yoga at McLeod Plantation - lead by yoga professionals, this restorative walk leads participants along short walking loops stopping intermittently to stretch, relax, and practice restorative yoga.

Emily:
Oddly enough, my first experience with yoga in the Lowcountry was also through a Groupon, but it happened to be my first experience with yoga, ever! I visited Jivamukti (now, Satsang) in Mt. Pleasant, where they played Michael Franti, lit incense, and turned the temperature up a bit, while we moved through all of the poses. Since then, through my years in Charleston, I’ve experienced yoga in many different formats:

  • Bendy Brewski- Yoga for beer lovers. A casual environment (read: local brewery) to enjoy an hour long class followed by a pint or flight. $15 pays for both. Class frequency slows down a bit through the winter, so always check their schedule for times and locations.

  • East Shore Athletic Club- Where I should go more often, since I’m a member. Classes offered many times throughout the week, but I prefer the morning beginner class on Johnnie Dodds for a good stretch to start my day.

  • Serenity Now- Yoga for all levels. This studio has a gorgeous mural on the wall that at the end of the day, centers me and takes away all of the day’s distractions. My friend Janeen and I find it easier to make it to this class during the winter nights, when our calendars aren't quite as full.

  • Bikram Yoga- Hot yoga. If you’ve never taken yoga before, this may not be the place to start, but can be enjoyable, if you read up on everything you’re getting ready to experience; simple poses, high heat. Cautionary tale from yours truly, who did not do her research and ended up dehydrated and aching hours after exiting the class.

  • Senior Center Yoga- Ok, so this isn’t one I've been invited to join, yet, but my Mother-in-Law attends frequently. If you ever saw her get up from the floor, with the same ease as a teenager with my one year old nephew, you’d be impressed at her flexibility and inspired to participate.

Bendy Brewski yoga at Holy City Brewing, the day after our friend Stacey's bachelorette party. Bold move. Photo credit: @hugerlove

Side note: Angela is always calling me her most 'hippie' friend and yet here she is talking about yoga, calmness, and peace. I love it.

Looking forward to Starlight Yoga on James Island this week. Hope you can join!

Letters of Gratitude - Our Personal Thanks

Today, we've decided to share our individual letters of gratitude. It has been a wild year for both of us, and as we wrap-up this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we thought, "what better blog this week, than our own personal letters to the Lowcountry for you; our supporters, followers, and fellow neighbors?". Thank you to each and every one of you for following our posts and supporting us! 

Emily:
This past Friday, as our flight landed at the Charleston airport after a few great days with family in New Orleans, I was overwhelmed with happiness to be home. While our adventures frequently take us all over the world, that are spectacular in their own right, I can’t seem to get enough of the Lowcountry. It's hard to beat sunsets, bridge walks, dinners at our favorite restaurant, or evenings in with Trevor and our dog, Miles. It doesn’t matter where we travel, we’re always inundated with questions about the Lowcountry. These are the three most recent and popular:

  1. What’s the temperature like this time of year? High of 70 today
  2. Do you have any plans for the holidays around town? Starlight yoga, annual favorite things party and cookie exchange party with my girlfriends, Lowcountry Libations holiday party at Frothy Beard Brewing, watching the downtown Christmas parade with my colleagues, and more
  3. How are the homes selling there? Here’s a market report, but I’ll give you a hint, they’re hot

These answers typically result in another question: When can we visit? Luckily, our home has an extra bedroom that stays pretty full (it should have its own calendar). In the past month, my best friend from my hometown and my dad and his wife have visited. So, while I may live 5 1/2 hours away from my hometown and some of my family (Hi, Everett's and Bowman's!), which is difficult during the holiday season, we are grateful to live in a place where people love to visit.

If you would have asked me six years ago where I would be today, I highly doubt my prediction would come anywhere close to where life has taken me. Though it’s come with the hardest day of my life, when I lost my mom a little less than 3 years ago. It’s also come with the best day of my life, when I married Trevor. Moving to the Lowcountry was the best decision for my life, at the time, that pointed me in the right direction. I spent 5 wonderful years working at a dedicated non-profit, my best friend moved here with her kids from our hometown, I started a new career with the support from an amazing company and colleagues, my dad moved an hour closer to be in Asheville, my husband's family is right around the corner, I have met the best people in our community and continue to meet more through this blog and other outlets, and I get to wake up every day with my husband and dog in our house we made a home. So, thank you Lowcountry. You’re everything I ever dreamed of and some of what I could have never conceived and for that, I am so incredibly THANKFUL.
 

Emily and Trevor's Christmas tree, "Shorty", coming in at 9+ feet. Decorated by family on a fun, Sunday afternoon.  

Emily and Trevor's Christmas tree, "Shorty", coming in at 9+ feet. Decorated by family on a fun, Sunday afternoon.  

Angela:
What a year!  This ride called life has really started to speed up. I caught myself giving out unsolicited advice to a girlfriend in her 20s yesterday on how if I had known in my 20s how wonderful everything will work out in my 30s, I could have stressed a little less and enjoyed my earlier youth a little more (Mom, Dad, you were right). This year especially has been a 'year of change' for me.  I moved into a new full-time career, traveled extensively with my husband David, and together we decided to start a family. As I begin to move into this next exciting chapter in my life, I'm finding overwhelming support from places that I never expected. Neighbors, colleagues (from past and present), girlfriends, clients, and my new family gained through marriage, have made my support system here strong. Moving here five years ago and only knowing one person (Hi Kristen!) was one of the biggest leaps of faith that I had ever taken. Good news, so far all has turned out to be amazing and I give all credit to you Lowcountry, the friendly people that make your communities here great, and this beautiful environment that I enjoy daily. There is something truly spiritual about sipping coffee on my front porch swing (almost year round due to our very mild weather) and watching the sailboats float by.

I especially love showing properties and seeing the beautiful communities full of charm and character through my client's eyes. It's like my first day in the Lowcountry all over again. The "ohs" and "ahs" when I drive folks around Hampton Park, the twinkle that Sunset Park will bring to a first-timer's smile, the silence of approval experienced when eating your first Zia Taqueria taco or Moe's Crosstown Burger. All of these experiences are what make me truly grateful to call this place home.

Lowcountry, I feel that I should let you know that there are a few places where my life changed that will always hold a special place in my heart and connect us forever:

  • Folly Beach on 13th E. Street is where my husband loves to surf and where I have made a great group of friends who constantly show us support and love
  • O-Ku where (exactly three years ago) David and I met for our first date. It was followed by the most delicious homemade poptarts at The Belmont and ended with a kiss on the cheek goodbye in the Charleston Visitor's Center Parking Deck
  • Hampton Park where I walked my dog Tater for miles and miles daily contemplating life, if I was on the right path, if I was happy with the woman I was growing to be, and wondering if I would ever have a family of my own
  • Riverland Terrace where David and I have made a home and are preparing to fill it with love for a little one on the way

So, as we move into the hectic holiday season, I hope that we can all pause for a moment and take in the magic that exists within each of us and our community. Cheers to you Lowcountry! Today and everyday I pause to give THANKS to you.

 

Angela and David, Christmas tree shopping, in short sleeves, no less.  

Angela and David, Christmas tree shopping, in short sleeves, no less.