Getting down with yoga

Published 12:37 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Editor’s note: BizLine is a weekly feature highlighting local businesses serving Washington and Beaufort County. This week’s BizLine reaches out to Down Dawg Yoga of Washington.

Since it’s across the street from the Turnage Theater, one might say Down Dawg Yoga is perfectly positioned.

Connie Cipriano, owner of the studio, often mentions the Turnage when giving directions to the storefront at 143 W. Main St., Washington.

Down Dawg’s show is all about finding a harmony of mind and body in this quiet, former retail space.

“I want people to feel comfortable being here,” said Cipriano, who opened the studio in September.

Down Dawg Yoga awaits its next class Tuesday in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Originally from Maryland, by way of Charlotte, Cipriano moved to Washington in 2006.

Asked what brought her here, she replied, “Just the desire to live near the water in a smaller town.”

She started practicing yoga in the mid-1990s, and began teaching in 2006 at Hilton Head, S.C.

After moving to this river town, she quickly realized Main Street would be a good location for a yoga studio.

“I just put that in the back of my mind and played around with it for a while,” Cipriano said.

She opened Down Dawg Yoga amid trepidation just after the passage of Hurricane Irene, and the storm nearly changed her plans.

“I was toying with the idea of not opening,” she said, “but I did, and people still came.”

Each of Cipriano’s classes ranges from five to 11 students, with an array of ages and both sexes.

“It’s a great mix,” she said. “I’m so pleased.”

And she’s trying to counter the mistaken impression that yoga is solely for women. The message seems to be getting through: recently she had three men in an eight-member class.

“It’s really to bring yoga to everyone,” she said of her business.

Down Dawg Yoga offers yoga classes Tuesdays through Saturdays, and specific times are posted on its front door or on its website,

Classes are $12 per person, per session.

The 75-minute instruction is for people ages 15 and up.

Participants are not required to buy mats, but they are asked to wear comfortable clothing that isn’t too loose — the kind of apparel one would wear to a gym, Cipriano related.

No special equipment is required.

“All you need is bare feet,” she said.

She also teaches yoga at Lifestyles Medical Fitness Center in Washington.

“The benefits of yoga are just unlimited,” she said.

Cipriano’s fellow Down Dawg Yoga instructor is Michelle Shipley.

“She is someone that cares about people a great deal,” Cipriano said.

Future plans for Down Dawg Yoga include branching out with tai chi, belly dancing and meditation instruction.

Starting Friday, aikido martial-arts classes will begin there at $10 per class.

Incidentally, the name Down Dawg is taken from a yoga position called the downward-facing dog.

Cipriano said she took the position and “Southernized it” when seeking a name for her enterprise.

For more information, call Cipriano at 704-819-8875.

If you would like to nominate a local business for BizLine, call 252-946-2144, extension 230, or email