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Talking shop with Lauren Jones of The Source - Yoga 'n More
Lauren Jones was initially skeptical about yoga. She stumbled into her first yoga class by accident. Years later she's now turned her passion for sharing yoga's healing abilities into a thriving business. Jones, a former model, earned MBA degrees from Columbia Business School and London Business School. Meeting her husband, Jeff Maurer of Cape Girardeau, while they were both in business school brought her to this area. The Source -- Yoga 'n More inside City Centre in Cape Girardeau is the perfect blend of her passion and her business background offering several different styles of yoga classes as well as alternative healing therapies.
Q: How did you first become interested in yoga?
A: My first yoga class was by accident, after my father's diagnoses of a rare and incurable form of leukemia. I took adult dance classes to deal with the stress. One day, I went to dance class and it was canceled. The only class available at that time was a yoga class. I was resistant. I thought yoga was a trendy craze and didn't buy into the practice as a valid fitness lifestyle. I attended the class anyway. Even though I went in without the best attitude, I left absolutely loving it. Yoga has been a part of my physical, mental and emotional life ever since.
Q: What motivated you to go from being a yoga class participant to an instructor and then turn your passion into a business?
A: I didn't plan to go from a student to an instructor. I was taking yoga classes at a fitness center, and the instructor decided not to teach there anymore. She recommended to the fitness manager that maybe one of her students would be a good replacement. I was intrigued by the idea. So I attended training and received a registered yoga teacher 200-hour teaching certificate through Yoga Alliance. I continued to pursue other certifications in Yoga Alignment and Anatomy and YogaWall. Later, I had an opportunity to take over the business at Yoga on Broadway located behind Bloom Studio and Photography by Carrie. To improve the environment for students, we renovated a space in the old Rust & Martin building on Tanner Drive into a yoga studio that included new props in addition to a space for children's movement classes, YogaWall training and the Source Barre Method -- used by celebrities like Drew Barrymore to stay in shape. We also offer health-and-wellness service, such as Thai yoga and other types of massage.
Q: What's the best and the worst thing about owning your own business?
A: The best thing is watching people enjoy and benefit from our studio and instructors' guidance. I have observed people from all over Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois challenge themselves, both physically and emotionally. That's the gift of yoga. It strengthens and stretches the body to help us heal from injuries or become better athletes. It also helps people let go of emotional and psychological barriers in class. Seeing it applied by students in their daily life outside of class is truly a joy. Of course, one of the biggest challenges is to determine how best to schedule classes, and we always seek input from our clients on the dates and times they prefer. We then do our best to schedule clients' class preferences with one of our certified teachers.
Q: What are some things that people commonly misunderstand about yoga?
A: Some people think yoga is voodoo, anti-religion or for hippies. It's quite the opposite. Just as in medicine where there are specialties, the same goes for yoga. There are many styles of yoga from the more meditative style, to vigorous flow style, to yoga used to remedy various physical issues like back pain. That's why The Source-Yoga 'n More offers a variety of classes. Our instructors are trained to know which class will benefit you and, if it doesn't, we will recommend which classes may work better for your particular situation. If you are coming off a bad ankle sprain, for example, a vigorous flow class would not be advisable. Instead, we would advise you to take a more suitable class, such a restorative or yin yoga class to assist in healing. We also offer private classes to help individuals on a one-on-one basis.
Q: You have a YogaWall in your studio. How does it work and what specific conditions does it benefit? Are there certain groups of people who are best suited for this equipment?
A: Four instructors are certified by Iyengar yoga instructor Bryan Legere to teach YogaWall, a floor-to-ceiling prop used in many ways -- from practicing inversions to easing back pain. An inversion sling can be attached to the wall for pain relief, especially in our Yoga for the Total Back and Spinal Rejuvenation classes. The wall also has an area where we can attach multiple ballet bars, which are used in our Source Barre Method classes and dance classes for balance and stretching. For yoga, we use the bar to help open up sore shoulders, among other applications. Really, there are few if any restrictions as to who can use the wall. Even those with high blood pressure can use it through modified positions.
Q: Tell me about some of the healing arts services offered at The Source and what sets them apart from traditional medical treatments.
A: Our healing arts services use a holistic approach to assist clients on a mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual level. For example, Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese touch-therapy technique that involves the practitioner "laying hands" on certain areas of the body, while the client is fully clothed and either lying on a massage table or in a sitting position. It is used for stress reduction and relaxation, which promotes the body's self-healing abilities. Reiki is among the growing alternative health fields and is offered in more than 800 U.S. hospitals. It's even endorsed by Dr. Mehmet Oz of the "Dr. Oz" daytime TV show. Thai yoga originates from Thailand. The client is fully clothed and assisted into various postures with a focus on acupressure points. The massage enhances a sense of mind-body connection and is said to harmonize the flow of the body's subtle energies. A session usually takes about 90 minutes (though duration can be significantly shortened).
In addition, the studio offers Energy Healing Massage. Aromatic essential oils are used depending on the energy work/massage. We also offer guided meditation on a one-to-one basis or in a group private basis.