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I met with a writer yesterday for an interview about why I opened a yoga studio and how my life as an entrepreneur has been unfolding. Is it harder than I thought it would be? Hell yes! But is it more satisfying than my previous career? Infinitely so.

My joy, my motivation, both come from my students. Early this morning a student told me that in the midst of a mid-flight panic attack, she closed her eyes and heard my voice gently reminding her to breathe. That inspires me. That is why Peace through Yoga offers real life yoga.

Watching my students flow through sequences with ease and familiarity inspires my own practice and reminds me why I own and operate three neighborhood yoga studios. Within our four walls, we – our teachers and students – share sacred space together. We laugh, we encourage and we celebrate. Ultimately, we venture into the deepest part of ourselves knowing we are safe in one another’s company. It is within this framework I introduce you to Lynn McWhirter and Jill Smith, a mother-daughter duo who made Peace through Yoga in Speedway (formerly Main Street Yoga) their yoga home shortly after the studio opened.

Lynn and Jill can be found every Saturday and several times during the week at yoga classes of different styles and levels. They have a ritual of arriving early, placing their mats close to one another, and chatting quietly as they relax and enjoy one another’s company in the studio.

Eighteen months and 33 pounds ago, Lynn enrolled in our 4-week Beginner Series in Speedway. Today she says, “I feel like a totally different person.” Recently, after a vigorous Vinayasa Level I/II class that included headstands, 56-year-old Lynn marveled at how her life has changed. She is radiant from better health after learning to treat her body honorably. Lynn credits her yoga practice with helping her find peace from her stressful job. “It didn’t happen at first,” she admitted. She laughed as she recalled her first few times on the mat struggling with the poses and balance for 75 long minutes. “But by the second or third time,” she said, “I finally felt like I was getting somewhere.”

In addition to the physical practice, meditation and breath work, Lynn participated in our 15-day Spring Detox Cleanse with Joelle Samples of YinRoot. “The cleanse completely changed the way I eat. I drink nothing but water, not even soda or tea, and I continue to eat the way I learned to eat during those 15 days.”

Jill joined Lynn at Peace through Yoga four weeks after her Mom’s journey began. Jill explained, “I work with firefighters and used to train as hard as they did. Yoga taught me how to listen to my body and know my limits.”

Since beginning a regular practice at Peace through Yoga, Jill has lost 10 pounds and is not done yet. “I hear my body,” she said, “and am losing the weight slowly. I don’t need to do what the guys do in the gym. Now I treat myself better.” At age 34, Jill has achieved a new level of understanding. “Yoga has helped me find that calm. I am more comfortable with myself.”

Yoga has become a way of life for Lynn and Jill. In addition to new dietary habits, they use essential oils for health and home care. They regularly participate in workshops, always exploring and adopting new techniques to improve their lives. Their shared journey has brought them closer together and influences all aspects of their lives. Jill summed it up best when she said: “Before, I focused on what I couldn’t do. Now I focus on what I can do.”

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