JOY OF YOGA
Joy Of Yoga is a warm and welcoming studio. We offer Hatha yoga classes as well as Vinyasa, Open Level, Basics, Meditation, Yoga For Athletes, Donation Based Classes, Yoga for Mental and Emotional Health, Prenatal, Gentle, Chair, Senior, and Restorative Yoga classes. Our classes are for every body. We offer many alternative solutions to healing as well such as Massage, Reiki, Theta Healing, Sound Healing, Card Readings, Nutritional Coaching, Life Coaching, Consciousness Coaching, EFT, Essential Oil Classes and so much more.
Through the years of teaching yoga and owning a studio, I’ve heard a lot of yoga stories and most of them contain a component of searching. Searching for mental, physical or emotional well-being, flexibility, strength, weight loss, the list goes on and on. I land there eventually too, but my story begins with curiosity about spirituality, or so I thought. I was living in Portland, OR when I first heard of yoga and heard that it helped to raise awareness, consciousness and spirituality which intrigued me. Looking back, though I don’t think I would have said it at the time, I was searching too- looking for an escape from all the limiting mental chatter that used to consume me. Portland is a magnificent and stunning place for many reasons but the one that endears me to it the most is the culture, and it’s vast resources and practices that cultivate consciousness and spiritual connection.
So I added a yoga class to my coarse load that year at Portland Community College. The teacher was in her 70’s and had created her own yoga manual complete with stick diagrams for the course. I remember her being very knowledgeable and passionate about yoga but feeling disappointed after the course because the class was too slow and I was bored. And I was no closer to enlightenment! I was 21, need I say more?
So then I figured I needed to get a more direct line to enlightenment, get closer to the source, find another path that would get me there sooner. I turned to Buddhism. For years after my first experience with yoga, I studied Buddhism. I read all the books, I went to any lecture on the subject I could find but I could never cultivate a meditation practice. I had no teacher and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t have had the patience.
Fast forward to 1999, my daughter Ava is 4 months old, I’ve graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Environmental Science and a minor in Business Administration, and I decide that I want to be close to family again. Ava, her father and myself move back to St. Louis. I was stressed out, I had a newborn, I had forgotten how conservative the Midwest can be and I was broke. I was drawn to give yoga another shot. I just had a baby, hadn’t worked out for over a year and while in Paschimottanasana (a simple seated forward fold) in my 1st class ever in St. Louis, and my first class in 5+ years, the teacher leans over and asks, “what’s wrong with you?”. I was stunned and didn’t know what to say, so I said the first thing that came to my mind, “I just had a baby.” I guess my hamstrings were unusually inflexible. I remember feeling so confused about what prompted that question, and still do.
I was done with yoga.
When I look back at that decade of my life that follows this decision, I consider it to be one of the most challenging and heart breaking times of my life. I was in an abusive relationship, I felt totally alone and constantly in survival mode which created a lot of shame around not being a good enough mother for my daughter and a ton of stress And then the subsequent shame and fear that coincided with wanting a divorce but not wanting your child to be raised in a single parent household and being worried about how I’d make ends meet. I weighed my options and ultimately decided that a single parent household was better than an abusive one and left. I borrowed money from my Grandmother to purchase a home 5 doors down from where I lived with her father and we co-parented from separate households on the same street for years. I decided to go to Real Estate School and get my finances together. I eventually married again, had my son Luciano, and for the next 10+ years I think I'm living the “American Dream”. It takes me a long time to realize that it’s not my dream.
So now I’m in the make lots of money, buy a big house, drive a nice car, killer workouts everyday, doing way too much mode. Then a friend suggests that we do a 30 day yoga challenge together at a local studio. I decline. I tell her that I really need to be challenged physically and sweat during my workout, I don’t have time for anything else. She laughed and said I had no idea what I was talking about. So I went, purely for the physical workout and was excited by how challenging it was!
This same friend coaxed me into a Teacher Training. Again, I declined. I had no interest in teaching yoga, I hadn’t even ever given it any thought. This friend is very persuasive though, clearly. We did our Teacher Training together at Southtown Yoga with Mitchel Bleier and in November of 2012 I completed the program. Within a month, a friend of mine who owned a Tae Kwon Do studio in mid-town called me up. We hadn’t talked in a while and were just catching up when he mentioned that he’d really like to offer yoga in his studio to help subsidize his rent but that he didn’t really want to have anything to do with the running of it. Basically, he wanted a yoga teacher in his space who could run her own business. I couldn’t believe it but it was just too obvious that I would have to say yes.
One day, about a year in, one of the 2 teachers who taught classes there with me, approached me about opening a studio. A space had become available in her neighborhood that she thought would be perfect for a yoga studio. It was. Neither of us felt we could take it on solo, so we partnered and opened Joy of Yoga in south city. Three years later, I turned in my Real Estate license and decided that I’m going to send the message to the Universe that I’m serious about yoga, I want to make my passion my career. The Universe is behind me, I can feel it. It’s not the lifestyle I had, but I feel peaceful and aligned. After I turn in my Real Estate License, I start to feel this overwhelming call to expand. I know yoga isn’t the only path toward freedom on higher levels of awareness and I want to offer more, I want to open a Healing Center.
So I find a location that supports this new vision in terms of space and location, and 4.5 years after opening my doors for the 1st time in a Taekwondo studio by SLU, I open my doors for the 3rd time to Joy Of Yoga, A Center For Healing in Brentwood. I opened myself up to the flow and the universe created something so much more expansive than anything I could have ever conceived. Your Universe always wants more for you, remember to Dream Big!