How the gift of yoga changed my life

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It was to be a class or three to stretch my tight muscles ... or, so I supposed

by Gwenn Jones, CPT, CYT

May 18, 2024

The power, the rush, the bottomless bass, the laughter, and the forging of self-confidence – all thunderous and euphoric by-products of my weekly group fitness class. So much so that in the 1990s, I became ACE-certified and began teaching fitness classes in a huge facility just outside my native San Francisco. 

With dance and music full throttle in my family history, I was adept at mixing my tunes, and shortly, all those by-products amplified. Gained was the power of giant choices, all mine to please stoked exercisers.

I worshipped the rock concert-like vibration in my belly, the heat’s voyage through my muscles, and the salt weeping from my pores. All echoed through me every Tuesday and Thursday night. 

Know what I mean?

Steeper steps 

Later, I sweat through a personal trainer certification, literally. The work and the pay were pretty cool. But in 2006, after moving to the Sierra foothills, I dropped into a lovely yoga studio in Auburn, California. It was to be a class or three to stretch my tight teaching muscles after hard evenings of Step and strength classes at a new gym. Or, so I supposed. 

I had no clue how yoga would alter my life, far beyond my body. Yoga is full of the unexpected. Yoga is a gift.

My body splintered. Change was coming.

Meanwhile, my daytime job as an activities coordinator in a senior living community took a toll. Rushing, supervising residents’ travels, and hauling wheelchairs all day ruptured a rotator cuff. Although my biceps rocked, a necessary surgery later repaired the shoulder and partial bicep muscle.

I never predicted all-out love for my yoga sessions. I imagined them more of a necessity. The mind-body commitment was enough. But, I became mesmerized by the oncoming aspects of asana. It’s true what you hear… yes I was “hooked.” Having a superb instructor didn’t sting either.

As I dove deeper into the styles of the practice, I pursued a certification to teach. The time was ripe. 

By 2008, I quit the day job and opened Auburn Yoga & Fitness Studio. Hard work, a business loan, and a great contractor who transformed a gunky old dwelling into a shining star enabled a dream come true.

The point?

Years after a gutted building, a remodel, and a loan repaid, my heart and brain are soothed and filled with gratitude.

I struck gold with a fabulous second-in-charge who is a killer yoga coach of all styles. Some of her tribe travel 40 minutes for her yoga classes. I appropriately dub her, 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘫𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘺.

The change from where I was, to today

There is so much in yoga wonderment. The person I’ve become has enabled patience where anxiety once lived. My soul finds human acceptance without opinion. Choices in friends have a high bar, with opportunists removed. And, my body is strong and mighty. 

I am most grateful for:

★ Our building and its kind character with a yearly ceiling leak that visits on stormy cue

★ Placer County residents and dwellers for hugging us tight year after year

★ Angel donations that kept our sweet door open to allow return from the pandemic

★ Most of all, for every single one of my students

To our many decade-plus practitioners: You are part of the paint on the walls and the southern sun that pierces the windows. I cherish you. I respect your drive, loyalty, talents, and your humility.

As your coach, I adore your groaning and bitching at demanding asanas. I find joy in your enthusiastic chuckles at my reliable sarcasm, particularly when I brat chant, “Isn’t this pose fun?” True, I’m ridiculous but, do remember, laughter is our heart’s medicine.

Thank you all for 16 joyous years of rolling out your mats in my studio.

Thanks for lifting obnoxious dumbbells.

Thanks for reading the newsletters.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

And, thanks so much for your 5-star reviews. 

A true gift of yoga, I thank you all for making Auburn Yoga & Fitness Studio a glorious place to BE. ❤️

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Gwenn Jones, wellness content writer, certified personal trainer (California)
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Gwenn Jones, CPT, CYT — Content writer in Wellness-Lifestyle-Fitness, Gwenn is a 25-year ACE-certified personal fitness trainer, yoga studio owner, instructor and fitness consultant. Grateful to be a native Californian where happily home-based.

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