Barbara James, E-RYT200, and Debra Young, LPC, CCHt, RYT500 began a friendship when they met in their 200-hour yoga teaching training in 2005 in Charlotte, NC. While their visions were different — Barbara wanted to teach yoga in a studio or gym; Debra wanted to enhance her counseling practice with the addition of yoga — their love of yoga and the emotional healing it allows drew them together. Even though Barbara and Debra lived about 40 minutes apart, over the years they discussed teaching yoga together. And while they met weekly for a spiritual study and meditation group, distance and full schedules kept the co-teaching dream at bay.

In 2010, Debra attended a 10-day professional training and retreat with Jon Kabat-Zinn in Sweden. The same week, Barbara attended a yoga-for-cancer teacher training at the Duke Integrative Medicine Center in Durham, NC. Both of their trainings involved long periods of silent meditation. When they returned and spoke about their experiences it was clear that meditation had burst their hearts wide open. Also, they both now believed that mindfulness meditation was not an optional practice; it was something critically needed and something they wanted to share with others. In 2011 Debra and Barbara together attended a silent meditation retreat with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. After that experience, they started a second weekly gathering for meditation and dharma sharing. They also co-taught in some of Barbara’s classes in 2012, Barbara teaching postures, and Debra closing the practice with a long meditation of empowering or healing visualizations.

When in 2013 Debra moved from her home of Charlotte, NC to Rock Hill, SC where Barbara lives, talks about teaching together became serious. They formed an LLC called Living Yoga in February, 2014, with the idea that by living their yoga, they are creating peace “one breath at a time”. Living Yoga will offer yoga and mindfulness-based workshops, retreats and charitable service.

What Yoga Means To Us

Living Yoga: Mission, Vision, Core Values

To live joyfully and compassionately, through the practice of mindfulness.

Each breath, thought, step or action we take in mindfulness contributes to a more compassionate and peaceful world.

Core Values:

  • Yoga is about becoming your truest self – kinder, more compassionate, more joyful.
  • Yoga is healing.
  • We believe that doing yoga is living yoga.
  • Since yoga is a way of living, it can be practiced by everyone.
  • Our actions and teachings are an expression of our living yoga.
  • By living yoga we not only heal ourselves, we heal the world.