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House of Jai Celebrates 'Victory of the Soul' Through Judgement-Free Yoga

By Kelly Church

House of Jai Yoga is a yoga studio on the upper east side of Manhattan offering beginner, intermediate and advanced yoga classes across many different styles. Jai, an exclamation of happiness, directly translates to "victory of the soul." The studio encourages this feeling of victory through yoga, inspiring students to be their true selves when practicing yoga. The studio wants all students to feel confident, and free from judgement.

"Some say that the body is governed by one's state of mind," studio owner Erin Fogel said. "How we feel inside is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves and how we perceive the world around us. We all strive to be our best, but in this often chaotic city, it is easy to let stress and the opinions of others get the better of our ability to find our calm."

The studio offers all types of yoga, from baby and me classes to dharma yoga that practices inversions, backbends and hip openers. Vinyasa classes are offered for beginners, all levels, and a class specifically for advanced students. A yoga basics class is also taught for those who are new to all types of yoga.

House of Jai also has classes that are catered to kids aged two to four, a teens class, and a tweens class, for those in the in-between ages. Students can also take guided meditation and mat Pilates at House of Jai. For Fogel, though, every class has one thing in common: breathing exercises.

"Any valuable yoga practice begins with the reminder to breathe to fill the body with nurturing oxygen in order to remove any senses of hyperventilation we acquire with shallow, upper chest breathing," Fogel said. "Calming the central nervous system reminds the body that it can again become open to trusting itself to support your muscles and joints in order to strengthen itself."

Fogel believes "real yoga is for everyone," and that New York residents can find their place at House of Jai. One of the great elements of yoga for Fogel is that there are limitless ways to move and opportunities to improve.

"Yoga has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined," Fogel said. "It was hard to get started. I was indeed intimidated by the classroom setting and the levels offered in the studio I started in. It was a little bit 'sink or swim,' but I kept swimming. I realized that as I began to link my breath to my body, [magic] started happening."

Fogel doesn't want members at House of Jai to feel that sink or swim feeling that she did. She has noticed that many students will go to a class that fits their schedule, not their abilities. Because of that, the studio works hard to accommodate students at all levels, to encourage improvement and provide a "sense of ease" when they show up at the studio.

To sign up for a House of Jai yoga class, visit houseofjai.com.

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