Shannon Johnson did, and for several years she’s been helping residents from all around Kosciusko County discover the same through the practice of yoga.
In June, Johnson opened a permanent location where she can welcome and instruct all ages and levels.
Yoga in Bloom is located at 114 N. Main St. in North Webster, next to the Golden Mermaid store in the historic Whitefront Shops block. The former consignment furniture store turned coffee bar boasts a beautiful, dark wood floor that greets visitors and serves as a studio for classes. The room’s soft hue and sparse decoration are meant to be relaxing.
Beyond the studio, Johnson offers both accoutrements to practice the physical aspects of yoga and some to facilitate the karmic aspects.
The term “yoga” is very broad, she explained. For some people it’s a balanced, peace-seeking lifestyle that combines physical exercise with meditation. Others are all about the stretching and cardiovascular workout.
Getting the blood pumping and stretching one’s muscles are universally accepted as ways to keep the body in good physical shape. But bringing one’s mind into the equation makes for a stress-reliving technique that can change one’s outlook on life.
Teaching oneself to relax is a healthful skill in today’s “go-go-go” culture, she points out. Studies show that such stress manifests itself in illness. The practice of yoga, with it’s required focus and deep breathing exercises, can help a person let go of it.
Yoga is also one of the few forms of exercise that can be enjoyed by anyone č young or old, able-bodied or physically challenged. Johnson has taught children, senior citizens, and individuals in wheelchairs. There’s even a program for pregnant women.
Yoga can also compliment other forms of physical activity, such as school sports, she noted.
“It increases body awareness, for one, and calms you down. When kids do yoga, they kind of learn to look at how they’re performing physically but they also learn how to be within themselves in the moment. It’s a simple thing, but it really refocuses you.”
Yoga in Bloom offers a number of basic, or beginner, classes every week, and a few intermediate classes as well. One class is combined, in which she offers students several options for each pose or movements so he or she can choose how much to challenge his or her self.
“At first I just tried to offer everything to see what people liked. Now I have the schedule down to what people want to do.”
Behind the studio, Johnson sells purses made from yoga mats, jewelry that supports an effort to end child sex slavery, all-natural honey that her bees make at home, and other items. And further back, across the patio from Yoga in Bloom’s back door, is the studio of friend and massage therapist Laura Eyer.
Private individual or group classes are also availableč even on location. One customer, for example, has Johnson come to her home weekly, calls over the neighbors and they take class on the lawn during good weather.
Both Johnson and fellow teacher Lindsey Best are certified. Johnson has achieved the 500 level of training, and many yoga students already know her from classes she previously offered at Syracuse and Warsaw fitness facilities.
Yoga in Bloom offers students and customers free parking just around the corner from the studio, on W. Washington St., and behind the studio in a gravel lot as well.
For up-to-date class schedules and information about upcoming special events visit Yoga in Bloom at www.bloomingwithyoga.com.