From mat to meaning

From mat to meaning

From mat to meaning
June 06
21:10 2017

Kayla Henson | Staff Writer

On a foggy Monday morning in Denton, most residents are bustling around town to get to work or summer classes. Yet, a distinct group of people slow down their morning and stretch with the sunrise.

At Inspire Yoga, members are encouraged to leave their shoes and troubles at the door as yoga instructors like Nancy Nelson guide them gently to their mats. Essential Oil diffusers spritz the humid room as members mingle and stretch until class begins.

“Just show up and breathe,” Nelson said calmly as her students settled in. “That’s the only thing you need to do this morning.”

Nelson, a Denton native, has been teaching yoga for five years and still views each session and student as a unique experience.

“Once I get [the students] into their general shape, I’m just trying to guide them inwards,” Nelson said. “The yoga practice just looks so different in everybody, and yet we’re all one through yoga. It’s not about what you look like it’s what is happening internally.”

Combining a Vinyasa/Hatha yoga flow combination with a scented room and a positive environment, Inspire Yoga focuses on truly inspiring its members to adopt yoga as a lifestyle, not just a workout.

Wendy Benne, a kindergarten teacher at Savannah Elementary, knows what she learns on the mat carries on throughout her daily routine.

“It’s not an activity, it’s a lifestyle,” Benne said, glowing after the 75-minute session. “Mental calmness and awareness is vital to any lifestyle, and this can be accomplished through yoga.”

Benne is one of the many members who quickly joined Inspire Yoga once they opened their second location in Denton in 2015. Originally based in Highland Village, the company saw Denton as ideal to open another studio with the town’s growing interest in yoga.

For some, like public relations senior Alana Speed, Inspire Yoga has altered their entire thought process, including life plans.

Speed began practicing yoga a year ago and instantly became “addicted.” Her career aspirations went from working for an advertising agency to opening a nonprofit yoga studio for children.

“So many kids grow up with anxiety and don’t know how to express it,” Speed said. “I think kids need to hear that they are important and that their self-worth should mean something to them.”

Speed is currently completing her yoga teacher training certificate this summer with Nelson as her mentor. The certification requires 200 hours of training, workshops and observing classes.

“It’s like every weekend [of training] I leave learning a little bit more and changing a little bit more too,” Speed said.

Though yoga classes can be intimidating at first according to Speed, she reassures newer students to “just show up and keep showing up” to guarantee results.

In addition, Inspire Yoga now offers all-level classes to avoid competition with others or themselves, particularly in the upper-level classes.

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions about yoga, especially with those Instagram yoga accounts,” Nelson said, laughing. “People assume they have to be super flexible or do cool arm balance things but not everybody can do that. But they’re all getting their own personal benefit from it.”

Nelson, along with the other instructors at the studio, teach their students and trainees that yoga is a lifestyle and a unifying experience.

“Inspire has taught me that I mesh really well with people who are different than me,” she said. “Our message is definitely about unity among diversity.”

Denton’s diverse community is the “perfect” location for the program the studio offers, according to Nelson.

“I feel like people who practice yoga have a different view of unity and they understand that we’re not all the same and that still works,” Nelson said. “I think that’s something that our world desperately needs.”

Featured Image: During a morning session at Inspire Yoga Monday, June 5, students work on their crescent lunge pose. Katie Jenkins

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Kayla Henson

Kayla Henson

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