Spreading good karma: yoga offers solace through tribulation

Spreading good karma: yoga offers solace through tribulation

Spreading good karma: yoga offers solace through tribulation
July 28
01:20 2016

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighbywater

Like most nights on the Square, it’s a busy Monday night.

Music can be heard on open-mic night from LSA Burger’s roof. Performers play music on the streets as dog owners stroll with their pets and bikes glide. Young and old frantically pace from one end of the street to the other in pursuit of more Pokémon to add to their collections – typical scenery.

Through the hustle and bustle, however, a sense of peace and quiet reigns over the courthouse lawn. While many people on the Square are going about their evening, one group on the lawn tries to break from their every day obligations.

Karma Yoga goes about its weekly Yoga on the Square session, but at the heart of it is someone who has been with the group since its inception: Tiffany Johnson. A co-founder of the group, she has been helping fellow Dentonites escape the craziness of everyday life, even if her own daily experiences aren’t a walk in the park.

“Yoga provides more than just physical benefits,” Johnson said. “It’s about getting out of your head and into your body. There are so many studios or gyms out there that offer yoga, but at a serious cost. We aren’t out here to nickel and dime the community, we’re out here to help people in whatever way we can.”

Jessica McReynolds practices yoga with about 50 other people on the Square in Denton. McReynolds started Karma Yoga in March 2015 with Tiffany Johnson. Kristina Uresti | Staff Photographer

Jessica McReynolds practices yoga with about 50 other people on the Square in Denton. McReynolds started Karma Yoga in March 2015 with Tiffany Johnson. Kristina Uresti | Staff Photographer

Johnson and her best friend, Jessica McReynolds, started Karma Yoga in March 2015. Although they became quick friends, their common obstacles brought them together to help assist people who face challenges or want a healthy means of escape.

Johnson started doing yoga around six years ago as a means of not only finding an outlet from school and work, but to help her health. She faces an ongoing battle with anxiety and depression that she’s been able to fight with the help of yoga. Now, she wants to share her experiences with those around her.

Remedial routines

Yoga has been known to help build muscle strength, perfect posture, help lower blood pressure, but it has also proven to lower body stress, a contributing factor to anxiety and depression.

“A lot of people think yoga is all about the physical postures, but it goes so much deeper,” Johnson said. “Yoga is the medicine that got me off anti-depressants. It’s taught me to be in the present moment and to just relax. I might have a full-time job to pay student loans, but I have Karma Yoga to fill my heart.”

Tiffany Johnson leads a group of about 50 people in yoga poses at Karma Yoga on the Square in Denton. Johnson cofounded Karma Yoga with McReynolds in March 2015. Kristina Uresti | Staff Photographer

Johnson, a 2010 UNT graduate and Denton resident for the past four years, said she’s always loved Denton and wanted to give back to the community in an unprecedented way.

So, with the help of McReynolds, Johnson made it a goal to ensure people are able to feel the same benefits yoga gives her at an affordable price.

“I wanted to share with the community that yoga is selfish, and that’s really a great thing,” Johnson said. “The hardest part of doing yoga is rolling out the mat because you are rolling out 60 minutes to just forget everything and take care of yourself. Self love isn’t practiced enough, and it’s the tools you learn on the mat, like patience and compassion, that you take off the mat.”

One of Johnson goals, through Karma Yoga, is to make sure that everyone, no matter the personal battles they face, knows they are welcome. Johnson and McReynolds clicked instantly under this shared mentality.

Common compassion

Over two years ago, McReynold’s husband passed away. After this, she began to fully immerse herself into yoga, seeking deeper into the delicate art for the most complete experience it has the potential to provide.

She and Johnson met when they were training to be yoga instructors, and she said she knew they were destined to start this practice for others who might contend with similar, tremulous battles. Or those who may just want to experience something new.

“You don’t need $120 a month to do yoga. You should be able to do it anywhere, wherever, whenever,” McReynolds said. “And Tiffany felt that way to.”

McReynolds was originally hesitant to undertake a business venture with her best friend, but ultimately found the wherewithal in shared compassion.

“I think we both just wanted to make a difference with someone who cares, too,” she said.

Johnson and McReynolds strive to make their practice areas safe and affordable, but they also put effort into making each session fun. Karma Yoga partners with different businesses around Denton, such as Audacity Brewhouse and Harvest House, to shake up the scenery by way of practicing yoga in unorthodox places.

The duo incorporates these businesses to attract clientele so they stick around. It’s a way for them to give back to the community they say has given so much to them.

“Since we do have so many partners and participants in the community, you’re never really alone,” Johnson said. “Whenever I’m out, I always run into fellow yogis or people I’ve met through Karma Yoga just because as a community, we all stick together. We embrace each other with open arms because we all know just how crazy life can get.”

About 50 people practice different poses at Karma Yoga on the Square. Karma Yoga was started in March 2015 by Tiffany Johnson and Jessica McReynolds. Kristina Uresti | Staff Photographer

About 50 people practice different poses at Karma Yoga on the Square. Karma Yoga was started in March 2015 by Tiffany Johnson and Jessica McReynolds. Kristina Uresti | Staff Photographer

One person who has participated in Karma Yoga classes since its start and is now training to become a Karma Yoga instructor is Clair Jameson. Jameson, who works a full-time job in corporate America, said she needed a way to balance her work and her outside schedule.

Although yoga itself can be challenging to start, she said the group and its instructors allowed her to open up and be herself, which is one of Karma Yoga’s main goals.

“Yoga just gives you permission to completely be yourself,” Jameson said. “It’s not like how you see it in the pictures, where people are trying to pose for the perfect Instagram photo. It’s real, and these ladies help you open up doors to new possibilities because they’ve most likely been in your shoes.”

While Johnson still faces some hardships, she said being able to share her love with others who may also be going through tough times is one of the biggest rewards to her. Even though she may not be able to make it to every event or assist every yogi, she hopes that people are getting something out of Karma Yoga to help better their own lives.

“I always tell people that I’m not trying to tell them how to live their life, I just want to be their guide,” Johnson said. “Yoga is designed for you to find yourself. And, honestly, at the end of the day, it’s about what yoga has done for your life now, not what’s going to happen in the future.”

Featured Image: Tiffany Johnson guides about 50 people through different poses at Karma Yoga night on the Square. Kristina Uresti | Staff Photographer

About Author

Reporter

Reporter

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Latest Issue of North Texas Daily

Social Media

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

NT Daily TV

NT Daily TV

Sidebar Middle Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @kayleighbywater: Public service announcement:You have 7 MORE MINUTES to apply to the @ntdaily for the spring!
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @spencer_kain: Read my review of #Coco up now on the @ntdaily website!!https://t.co/VAGoxSATdS
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @TexasTribune: A speaker event that featured Donald Trump Jr. did not net UNT nearly as much money as the school claimed it did. https:/…
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @kayleighbywater: Today is the last day to send in applications for the spring semester of the North Texas Daily! Make sure to fill out…
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Ad