A fledgling yoga program began within the walls of Washington Regional’s Exercise Center, and slowly people began to come an try this form of Mind Body Wellness program.
We grew from a couple classes per week to a couple classes each day.
In the back of my mind, I still had a faint glimmer of building a yoga center with the student in mind. But, I had to be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I had to build trust and understanding with the citizens of Fayetteville. I had to build confidence within the banking sector.
Free Yoga for Fayetteville and Beyond
One process that helped me build understanding about the benefits of yoga was public television. There was no YouTube back then, but there was public access television. Friends encouraged me to start a free yoga show on Fayetteville’s Community Access Television station. Today we call it Fayetteville Public Television.
I had never been on TV or even filmed myself teaching yoga.
Still, my dear friend Bob Emmenegger got me started. Bob was a retired TV advertising agent. And, lucky for me, he was willing to coach me. With his help, I created a 25 minute show that invited people to try yoga. He told me, “Just talk to the camera like you are Mr. Rogers. Invite people to join you right there in their living rooms.”
I started filming in 1997 at C.A.T. Later, I moved the show to Jones Television. Finally, the state PBS station (AETN) picked it up. Through AETN, it still airs today.
23 years of free yoga for people via TV, and now on YouTube too!
A Dream Comes True
Over the next 7 years, yoga grew and so did I. I became more comfortable living in Fayetteville and getting to know more and more people.
But, I still dreamed of building a yoga center.
I made it a point to meet the then president of one of our local banks. John Lewis was the president of the Bank of Fayetteville. I made an appointment to meet with him and share my idea of building a yoga center. We talked, and I could tell he appreciated my idea and vision. He suggested I create a business plan, and come back once it was done.
At this point, it was 2004 and there was money available to women in business from the Small Business Administration (SBA). When I came back to John with my business plan, he encouraged me to apply through the SBA as well as the Bank of Fayetteville. By some stroke of luck, I was approved for a loan! At last, I could build my vision of a yoga and wellness center in Fayetteville.
John Lewis is now deceased, but I’ll never forget that he believed in me. He took a chance on my crazy idea and helped make my dream come true. I owe him much gratitude for his contribution to my journey.
I built the Arkansas Yoga Center in 2004 and opened it’s doors in 2005.
A short three years later, Vogue magazine contacted me. It was 2008 and they wanted to feature the yoga center in their September edition alongside 4 other studios from the East and West coasts.
I really think Vogue chose AYC because, at the time, they couldn’t believe there was yoga in Arkansas!