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Yoga wall part of expanded studio on Columbia’s Devine Street

A yoga wall – think ropes and harnesses – will be part of an expanded fitness studio that recently opened on Columbia’s Devine Street.

Fit Columbia and Fit Yoga have moved to a 1,000-square-foot studio at 2927 Devine St. That is across the street from the studio’s previous location and more than double its size, owner Angela Yong said.

Yong will offer small yoga and yoga wall classes. The wall – a West Coast trend that is starting to gain some traction in bigger East Coast cities – allows participants to hang upside down or receive support for positions that might be difficult because of injury or sickness, she said.

“Very few people walk in unbroken in some way,” Yong said, whether it’s a shoulder injury, a ruptured disk or they’ve had a Caesarean-section delivery. And some yoga poses are just plain difficult for anybody.

With the Iyenger rope wall system, “you can get into Warrior 2 (yoga pose) and there’s no pressure on your knee.” Or folks with carpal-tunnel syndrome can strap a harness to their waist and do yoga’s downward dog pose without worrying about their wrists.

Intimidated yet?

Yong hopes customers won’t be.

Her goal is to create intimate classes, often made up of families or groups of friends, to make participants feel at ease.

“That formula has really worked for me. People are intimidated to go into yoga studios if they’ve never been before,” she said. “Your grandma would be equally comfortable as your child to come (here) and work out.”

In fact, Yong said she has customers in their 80s who use the wall to hang upside down for therapeutic reasons, such as reducing swelling in joints and relieving back pain.

She also works with younger clients. Yong, who previously taught athletes at Hammond School, is partnering with nearby Epworth Children’s Home to train young men in order to build their confidence to try out for sports teams and teach them to work out safely.

Yong, a fitness trainer for more than 16 years, also offers traditional yoga classes and personal training to individuals and small groups.

“You can’t take a cookie-cutter approach to fitness because everyone is different,” she said.

Also happening on Devine: Britton’s clothing store at 2818 Devine St. will host an Eileen Fisher celebration Friday and Saturday to celebrate 30 years of carrying the designer’s clothes in the store. Britton’s was one of the first stores in the nation to carry the clothing line. The event also will be a preview to Fisher’s fall collection.

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