Our mission and history
You Call This Yoga (YCTY) is focused on helping the physically challenged and under-served improve their quality of life with yoga.
We accomplish our mission by hosting events, teaching public and private classes, leading wellness seminars, producing TV shows and online videos, as well as by furnishing educational materials and grants for teachers who then provide community service in return for their training.
History of You Call This Yoga
Dr. Howie Shareff was an energetic practicing dentist, recreational athlete and community volunteer until arthritis changed his life. Howie noticed changes but didn’t know why. He sought to maximize his wellness and quality of life. Fortunately for Dr. Shareff, one of his patients became a yoga teacher and recruited him as a student.
Planting the Seeds for an Adaptive Yoga Practice
Although Dr. Shareff experienced muscle tightness (as many adult men do), he adapted the yoga poses to what his body could best manage. The additional benefits of a regular yoga practice, such as the acceptance of oneself and others, and relaxation of the mind, helped Dr. Shareff to gracefully deal with his physical limitations.
Inspired to help Baby Boomers and Seniors stave off the effects of injury, aging and stress, in 2006, Dr. Shareff launched a yoga DVD program for beginners. He believed that these age groups and younger could become the seeds of their own health care reform.
Over the course of the next three years, two major surgeries ended Dr. Shareff’s dental career. Yoga was Dr. Shareff’s primary pre-surgical preparation and adjunct to rehab.
In 2008 Dr. Shareff received certification to teach Chair Yoga (yoga taught while seated on a chair). To him, this was the path toward healing society, believing that one didn’t have to contort their body for hours at a time, but rather- sit with awareness and balance.
Finding a Name
Adding to the complexity of a new business was acquiring a good name. The field of yoga was saturated with businesses. After several variations, You Call This Yoga (YCTY) emerged. The name stemmed from the smiling question or statement you might ponder when observing Dr. Shareff’s slow-moving or long-held adaptive yoga poses.
For Dr. Shareff, when you practice any safe, mindful pose with awareness of your breathing, then “You Call This Yoga.”
You Call This Yoga: Open for Business!
You Call This Yoga was converted to a non-profit organization in 2010 to clearly demonstrate the original intent of creating yoga programs for the healing of our society. Currently, the three primary areas of You Call This Yoga’s educational programming are:
- Chair Yoga (seated)
- Restorative Yoga (rejuvenating)
- Hatha Yoga (gentle mat)
All of YCTY’s classes are easy-going, and participants can expect to experience a gentle, deep, inner exploration into yoga movements and breathing exercises.
Putting yoga into practice
Dr. Howie Shareff has taught chair yoga to help improve post-operative healing at the Duke Cancer Center, at meetings of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Lupus Foundation and Diabetes Support Groups to help attendees gain strength and improve breathing and balance. He has also provided programming to reduce the risk of falling to senior citizens through the City of Raleigh and stress management to the faculty of Wake Technical Community College.
Currently, Dr. Shareff leads a team of dedicated teachers who teach yoga to people from diverse backgrounds, skill sets and life conditions to improve their quality of life.