By DENISE FEDOROW
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Once Margie Bowling began taking yoga classes she strengthened her body, mind and emotions. Yoga made such an improvement in her life that she wanted to share the positive experience with others, so she opened her own studio.
Bowling now operates Natural Movements, where she teaches classes for those new to Yoga up to those who have a lot of experience with the movements and stretching involved.
Bowling has lived in Nappanee most of her life — she moved away for awhile and returned for work and to raise her children — Trevin, 22, Alex, 20 and Sara, 14. She also has a 2-year-old granddaughter.
“She does yoga, too. It’s so cute!” Bowling said with a smile.
Bowling, who has been a certified personal trainer, said she was “really into high adrenaline exercises — the thought of sitting still and breathing sounded ridiculous — so I shied away from yoga. I thought it (exercise) had to be tough.”
She did weight lifting and cardio exercises and it wasn’t until friends said they felt good and strong from yoga did she consider taking it. Her friends own a gym in town and started offering yoga classes. She found she really enjoyed yoga and really saw a difference in her body. She started covering the leadership of yoga classes for a friend but felt something was pulling her to do her own thing.
“A friend said, ‘Gosh, Margie, a lot of people start off in garage studios.’” So she renovated her whole garage, added new flooring, decorated it, and began teaching classes from her home studio.
“But at one point we needed our garage, so I started looking for a place to rent,” she said.
In November 2011, Bowling moved into her current location at 356 S. Main St. in Nappanee and held classes in what is now the front lobby while the studio was getting set up. The lobby and studio are very aesthetically pleasing with candles adding soft light, fragrances, artwork and natural elements. Bowling holds yoga classes on weeknights and weekends. On Saturdays the class is a Power Vinyasa class — based on the teaching of Baron Baptiste.
According to the website for the Baron Baptiste Institute of Power Vinyasa Yoga, Baptiste has been working with groups and individuals globally for two decades training them on the power of yoga “without the mysticism and new age-y overtones.” He was on the coaching staff for the Philadelphia Eagles in the ’90s as the peak performance specialist.
Bowling also offers one-on-one teaching sessions.
“If you’re not sure you’re ready for the class experience I’ll sit down with you and get you comfortable with what yoga is all about; get to know you one-on-one,” she explained.
“I try to get to know everyone on a personal level — even if they’ve been doing yoga for awhile. The big thing about yoga is you get to experience many levels; if someone has physical limits I’m able to modify the class without screaming that out to the class,” she said. “It’s OK to ask questions and to honor your body.”
Bowling also has another teacher, Phil Hansing, a registered yoga teacher of Yoga Bodyworks, who teaches classes in her studio. Phil was Margie’s personal teacher for three years. “He gives so much of his time unselfishly, dedicating his time and energy to support Natural Movements Yoga,” she said. “He deeply cares about the well being of our participants and provides a wonderful service for us,” she said.
Bowling said she does a lot of networking with other yoga studios and will recommend other places that may offer something other than what she does. She continues to study. “I have my nose in a book all the time,” she said. Margie is a “Baptiste-in-training” and will be going to Hawaii the end of February to be trained in Level One of the Baptiste methodology. She hopes to one day become a Baptiste-affiliated studio.
She was first introduced to this method when attending a weekend session in Chicago. “I knew right then and there this was it. It was all about community and empowerment. They were so encouraging and positive,” she said. “They say, ‘You don’t have to be right. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be yourself.’”
She said she’s learning to be her most genuine and authentic self and wants to offer others a place to do the same. The Baptiste method teaches “You don’t have to fix people or control them. I came back from that weekend and saw things so differently. It’s peeling back the layers and getting honest with yourself. What are your thoughts doing to create the reality you’re living?”
She said studying and practicing yoga has brought contentment to her and to her relationships. “This has created the most amazing relationships ever. Yoga teaches stop playing victim and be your most authentic self.”
“There’s a saying in yoga we use a lot in here — ‘What can you take from the mat and use off the mat?’”
She said she tells her participants, “It’s your yoga practice — come in and establish your practice.”
According to Bowling, yoga is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. The classes she offers are cost from $5 to $10 a session or $60 a month for unlimited classes.
“I wanted to offer everyone the same opportunity without price being an issue,” she said. “If you’re doing the right thing, living for purpose, you’ll be provided for.”
Intro to Yoga class with Bowling is offered Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30. All levels with Phil Hansing is offered on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30. The Power Vinyasa class on Saturday mornings with Bowling is from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. All levels with Phil Hansing meets Sunday mornings from 9:30 to 11.
Occasionally there is a “gentle awakenings” class offered on Wednesday mornings.
Call the studio at (574) 354-0591 or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NaturalMovements.