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McHugh brings changes to Full Circle Yoga

VIENNA – Since buying Full Circle Yoga a year ago, Cheryl McHugh has added classes and yoga techniques.

And McHugh plans to bring more programs to her Vienna business in The Shops at Grand Central, Garden Level.

Full Circle Yoga was founded about 13 years ago by Lori Tofaute, McHugh said. Tofaute moved her Bikram yoga studio to 1515 Grand Central Ave., Suite 10, eight years ago. Tofaute still teaches Bikram classes at Full Circle Yoga.

With Bikram, or “hot yoga,” participants do the same 26 poses at a room temperature around 104 degrees with 40 percent humidity, McHugh said.

McHugh has added Vinyasa style yoga, gentle yoga, beginners yoga and Hatha yoga to the Bikram classes. Vinyasa can use different poses that flow from pose to pose and link together, McHugh said.

Gentle yoga has a slower pace flow. Beginners covers the basics of yoga. With Hatha yoga a person holds a pose; there is no flow of poses.

Proper breathing technique is a big part of yoga, McHugh said. A longer exhale in breathing helps a person to relax.

Pre-natal yoga classes on Tuesdays are a gentle way for pregnant women to relieve pain in their hips, McHugh said.

Full Circle Yoga has heated and non-heated rooms. The temperature in heated rooms is 90-104 degrees.

“Some people don’t like heat,” McHugh said. The heat helps to warm up the body, especially the muscles.

Heating a room isn’t necessary to warm up the muscles, however, because movement will do that, McHugh said.

It is important to maintain body awareness – how you are feeling – so as not to push your yoga workout too far, she said.

Benefits of yoga are improves flexibility, releases stress and strengthens the person physically and mentally, she said.

Full Circle Yoga also offers TRX, or total body resistance exercises, to improve strength and flexibility. “This is not yoga,” McHugh said.

Through the use of “suspension trainers,” or straps, that hang from the ceiling, a person uses his or her own body weight to stretch the muscles. McHugh has been teaching TRX for five years and yoga for 10 years.

McHugh, whose maiden name is Stout, is a 1993 graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School where she played on the 1991 state champion basketball team and on a state runner-up volleyball team.

She graduated from Glenville State College in 1998 with a degree in sports management and played on the Glenville volleyball team.

She returned to Parkersburg in June 2013 after spending three years in Cincinnati attending classes and working with large yoga centers.

“I love it,” she said of being owner/instructor of a yoga studio. “We have so much in the works.”

McHugh plans to start yoga teacher training next year. She is bringing Katie Silcox, a nationally recognized yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, writer for Yoga Journal and a senior teacher with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, to give workshops at the newly renovated Full Circle Yoga Oct. 16-18.

On Sept. 2, Katy Knowles will visit Full Circle Yoga to instruct at a Power of Yoga workshop. This will explore the connection of ancient techniques for breathing meditation and yoga to our modern world.

McHugh is trying to bring yoga techniques and other health-conscious programs to Wood County from what she experienced in larger cities she has lived in, including Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

She was among the many people who attended the Wanderlust Festival at Snowshoe resort in Pocahontas County June 5-7. Described as a “celebration of mindful living,” Wanderlust featured yoga and meditation instructors, musicians, speakers, artists and chefs in the mountains.

Several teachers and students from Full Circle Yoga attended Wanderlust.

“Doing yoga in the mountains is nice,” said McHugh. Similar Wanderlust festivals are taking place this summer in Colorado, British Columbia, Vermont, California and Quebec.

“We promoted Wanderlust,” McHugh said.

Another activity McHugh brought to Parkersburg and Marietta this summer (June and July) is City Silence. Anyone is invited to gather at the Point Park amphitheater in Parkersburg or Muskingum Park in Marietta on Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. to sit quietly in a group setting for a half hour. Although there is no talking during the session, you feel connected to others in the small group, she said. Just concentrate on breathing and relaxing.

“We also have a Sacred Sisterhood Circle of beautiful women that meet once a month to join hearts and connect to this beautiful life we all share,” McHugh said. “Each month has a different theme that opens up for discussion in a safe, non-judgment environment.”

Yoga instructor Erin Green said yoga has improved her flexibility – demonstrating how easily she can place her palms on the floor while not bending her knees. Before taking yoga classes, Green could not touch the floor with her fingertips.

Green described TRX as a good component to yoga. It builds arm and body core strength, she said.

Green advises starting slowly with beginner yoga classes with poses that will carry over to more advanced classes.

For more information go to fullcircleyogawv.com.