These meditative thoughts and breathing practices are just a few of what I experienced while attending yoga classes at this very hip, beautifully remodeled, welcoming yoga studio in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. Yes, that's right. You read that correctly. Morgantown has a yoga studio!! And a thriving one at that! Human Breathing Yoga Studio is located on East Main Street (Route 23), just behind the Chiropractic Arts Center, next to the National Penn Bank and in the same building that once housed El Video (remember those days?!). This yoga studio is one amazing place to connect with like-minded community members of various ages; all seeking greater flexibility, toned and strengthened muscles, wellness and insight that is both gentle and rigorous for the mind, body and soul.
I had noticed the big bright yellow YOGA sign from time to time as I would come through town on occasion and kept thinking to myself, "I gotta check that out!" Well, I finally did and I am so thankful I did! Normally, I practice yoga at home with my girls (ages 7 & 3). They love it, which makes me a happy momma, but ... someone usually ends up in my space, on my mat, on my head, or on my back, and the practice ends too soon. By joining a class, I have found a renewed kindle of joy for yoga practice, and can feel the positive energy and vibes within a class full of other yogis. The word yoga means "to join, or unite." So, it only makes sense that this practice would be made even more powerful, more enlightening, and more energetic by joining others in their practice. Plus, I think I try harder while in a room full of peers all practicing the same poses (and they don't end up on my back). ;-)
After my first class I knew that I wanted to highlight this small business on my blog, so I chatted with the owner, Ron Coughenour directly after class about the idea. He was very open to my request (thanks, Ron!). Two weeks later, I showed up with my camera prepared to take a few shots of everyone practicing together, however, Ron asked that I refrain, stating that "it's like taking pictures in church." I understood, and respectfully put my sidekick away for the class. Although, I did manage to capture a shot of the welcome area before class.
Take your shoes off, and come on in!
These two lovely yoginis, Danielle and Kaili, were more than happy and willing to stay after class in order to be my models as they moved very gracefully, fluidly, in sync with one another through a series of poses well known to them. I am so impressed by these beauties. I love their energy and enthusiasm for life. Kaili is an intern at Human Breathing Yoga Studio and a high school senior within the local area. She was the first person I connected with when coming through the door for my very first class. Thank you so much ladies! You are an inspiration!
Ron also took time out for me to stay after class so I could pick his brain about his flourishing business and how it came to be. He explained how Human Breathing Yoga Studio has been established for 3 1/2 years and that the memberships are really the driving, influential force that keep the studio going with a positive growth factor. Besides Ron, there are 3 other instructors: April Showman, Dottie Ruggieri & Jesi Yost, that lead classes here as well. The schedule is brimming with classes throughout the week, and there are different levels of classes aimed at individual needs.
After talking with Ron a bit and hearing his story, I noticed a kindred, teacher's spirit about him, and I told him so. Come to find out, he is a teacher by training and earned his undergraduate education studying English education with a Master's degree in Elementary education. Aha! When I asked how he came to be a yoga instructor, he replied with a shrug of his shoulders, "It chose me." He talked about his wife (while beaming, I might add!) and how she was the one who introduced him to yoga. It became a natural progression for him, and a passion. Other than running Human Breathing Yoga Studio, and teaching classes at the studio, he's also a stay-at-home dad caring for his 8 year-old son, and 18 month-old daughter. Plus, he finds time to teach yoga to "at-risk" high schoolers through a program at Twin Valley High School in Elverson. Kudos, Ron!
These three were so energetic, they even did some partnered yoga for me and my camera!! Aren't they awesome?!! As Ron would say, "Smile, like you like it." :)
Drop-ins are welcome anytime at Human Breathing Yoga Studio. And your first class is free. Sunday morning classes (10:30 - 11:30) are $5. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend attending one or more of the yoga classes offered at this unassuming, welcoming studio filled with happy yogis. :)
I cannot say enough good things about the practice of yoga, the breathing exercises, and the meditation. It's a wellness practice that once you begin, will forever be a part of you. It's a stretch that feels great, and helps you to find your center, balancing life in all aspects. And a great stress reliever!
My warm, kind thanks go out to Ron and his interns, Danielle & Kaili for allowing me the unique privilege of photographing you, interviewing, and just plain satiating my inquisitiveness. Your light shines brightly in this world, and I am grateful to have met you all. I wish you continued success in your business, personal and student life.
"Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity.
We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment."
-~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~-