Have you seen more people doing yoga downtown? Meet the movement behind Discover Yoga Fort Wayne

If you’re active on Instagram in Fort Wayne, you’ve probably seen pictures of groups doing yoga in unusual places. Sometimes they’re outside on The Landing in front of Utopian Coffee. Other times they are part of local businesses, like 2 Toms Brewing Company.

It is the project of movement and passion of Chelsea Vona, owner of Discover Yoga Fort Wayne. It is an inclusive group for beginner to advanced yogis with bodies of all types, helping them experience the city and the practice of yoga in a new way. Chelsea Vona

Each month, Discover Yoga has created unique experiences for its participants, often using outdoor public spaces during the pandemic to help residents learn new skills or improve their mental and physical health. By partnering with groups, such as 2Toms Brewing Company, to host classes, they are also attracting local entrepreneurs during the pandemic.

In addition to their weekly Tuesday night $ 15 classes at 2Toms, Discover Yoga Fort Wayne is running free monthly classes this winter in partnership with the Fort Wayne Parks Department at their downtown lodge. The free classes will take place at 10:30 am on the second Sunday of each month from December to February, starting this weekend on December 12.

Entrance Fort Wayne spoke with Vona to learn more about Discover Yoga Fort Wayne’s mission and their plans for a new permanent downtown location in the near future.

Chelsea Vona runs a class for Discover Yoga Fort Wayne.

IFW: Tell us about your journey to becoming a yogi. What made you decide to create Discover Yoga Fort Wayne?

CV: When I was a child, I unexpectedly lost my sister. My father turned to spirituality and tried to get me to meditate and repeat affirmations. I was young and traumatized and thought he was crazy. Years later, I felt very lost in my life and wasn’t sure what to do with myself. While on vacation with my family in Florida, I released a Rodney Yee yoga DVD. I did the same routine three days in a row and finally decided to take my first public class while I was there. The teacher’s name was Stacy, and she made me feel very included, accepted, and set a great foundation for what has morphed into what I feel is my “dharma,” or inner truth.

Chelsea Vona runs a class for Discover Yoga Fort Wayne.

I started practicing yoga for the physical aspect, but yoga has changed my life much more than the physical. It helped me see who I was and how I presented myself, which helped me build a better relationship with myself and with others. It has helped me learn that my mind often lies to me, that my emotions are valid, but I don’t need to let them control me. It taught me to pick up on negative self-talk and turn the narrative into something positive. It gave me the confidence to be myself. And because he has done so much for me, I want to give it to the next one. Everyone should know their own worth, and everyone should have tools to feel good about their body and mind.

Outside of my yoga history, I have danced competitively for 15 years, starting with the Magnet Art Schools here in Fort Wayne. All my life I hated all other forms of training and then I discovered yoga. For this reason, I teach from a light approach. My creative dance style is infused into my yoga sequences, so my classes are like dancing with the discipline of yoga.

Discover Yoga Fort Wayne classes welcome participants of all body types and levels, from beginners to advanced.

IFW: Yoga can be intimidating. Tell us how you are helping more people “discover” the power of this practice in Fort Wayne?

CV: When it comes to yoga, the hardest part can be showing up. But if you have the right teacher, you will find that there is not much to worry about. Ask your studio questions before you go, such as how it helps newbies in the classroom and what it offers when there’s a pose you don’t want to do.

I know there are a lot of images that describe yoga as being for slim and fit women, but that’s not what yoga is. True yoga includes all bodies, races and genders. I will always make it the vanguard of the company. Everyone is welcome; beginner to advanced, we have something for you.

Discover Yoga Fort Wayne classes welcome participants of all body types and levels, from beginners to advanced.

IFW: What plans do you have for Discover Yoga Fort Wayne this winter?

CV: I offer free community yoga every month with the parks department in their lodge. This offering is the second Sunday in December-February at 10:30 a.m. The next class is December 12, 2021.

I also teach every Tuesday at 2Toms Brewery, just outside Fort Wayne. 2Toms is closed on Tuesdays and we use their beautiful private event space. It feels like a real yoga studio. It’s intimate, fun, and the community is great. Not to mention that 2TOMS offers a selection of top-notch drinks, from hard seltzer to craft beers. This class costs $ 15 per session, and 2Toms is offering $ 1 off the draft right after.

Discover Yoga Fort Wayne classes welcome participants of all body types and levels, from beginners to advanced.

IFW: Do you have a brick and mortar studio going on?

CV: YES! We will have a permanent residence at the beautiful Belle Castle located at 420 W. Wayne St. in downtown Fort Wayne. Designed as a private residence, Le Belle Château benefits from exceptional know-how and a unique character. The studio space will feature large windows offering views of downtown Fort Wayne.

Discover Yoga Fort Wayne classes welcome participants of all body types and levels, from beginners to advanced.

IFW: What is your goal for each student who enters one of your classes?

CV: To feel good and take a one hour break. We are so busy in life, worrying about our jobs, our kids, our family and our to-do lists. I like being able to give people a break where they can let go, just for an hour. I want to help them feel good about themselves and remind them that when they take care of themselves, they take care of others. You can’t give your loved ones, your work, and your tasks your all if you don’t give yourself the same respect. You deserve a break, and I like to save space for that.

Come as you are. This is my goal, and I promise to never forget it and to keep working to make it inclusive for all. Not only will it be inclusive for beginners. With over 2000 hours of teaching and five certifications, I bring a significant flow to advanced yogis to challenge. That said, each class will be taught in a way that offers many different modifications and options for all bodies.

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