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117. Souls, Spaces, and Soul Spaces with Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene

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Soul Yoga owner and teacher Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene sits down with us at the studio this week, sharing how (and why!) she runs the most soulful yoga studio in the city.

More about Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene

She tells us what she learned from taking classes at every single yoga studio in Cleveland before starting her own, and how she recognized she needed to create a space that said more than just “you’re welcome to be here” to students and instructors. It had to say “we’ve been expecting you. We’re prepared for you.” It’s a small shift in mindset that has made a world of difference.

She designed every bit of the studio to support anyone who walks in the door. Her “soul space” markers, for example, relieve the anxiety of picking a spot to lay down your mat. And they double as a gentle way to tell instructors if you’re comfortable with hands-on assistance. There are so many more little details she shares (too many to cram them all into this summary) — the one about the flooring she picked with her kids in mind is so touching.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

[01:00] How Ylonda started teaching yoga classes: “I wanted something to do while my son was at preschool for 3 hours and I didn’t want it to be grocery shopping. I also didn’t want to feel guilty about being unavailable when my kids needed me.” We also talked about how she incorporates mindfulness into her own routine as well as her kids’ routines.

[06:10] The significance of music in her yoga classes, not merely as background noise but as a part of the entire experience. Plus the classic quote she recalls from her parents: “we bought you this cello and now you’re teaching yoga??”

[07:55] What Ylonda learned from going to every single yoga studio in Cleveland; her self-driven journey to find a place where she felt like she belonged. Here we got into her power moment of recognition about where she was at in the “who’s supporting who” equation. And the difference between “you are welcome here” vs “we’ve been expecting you and we’re prepared for you.”

[13:30] What are “soul spaces” and “soul powers” at the studio? Ylonda’s concerted efforts to make space for you in class so you don’t feel like you have to take space from anybody else. And the natural gifts that Soul Yoga teachers infuse into their classes.

[20:17] Wow, what a discussion here about intention and impact. This is where we talk about the significance of the floor at the studio, the intention of involving kids in the business, and letting them see us as people who are learning and making mistakes just like them.

Learn more about Ylonda & Soul Yoga:

 

For years, Ylonda has taught a powerful, yet harmonious fusion of a yoga practice rooted in tradition mixed with her undeniable musical talents. The result has built an empowered following and a community that sparked the manifestation of Soul Yoga well before its physical location.

Her journey has challenged her to live authentically in spaces she fought her way into, so that she could empower others without fear or bias. Ylonda lives life with a fierce love, strength and fairness. Her purpose is to help as many people, regardless of skin color, gender, religion or sexual orientation to see their self-worth, greatness and strength.

She is the embodiment of the mission and values of Soul Yoga, and her true hope is that by continuing to share her gifts in this community, she will empower others to embrace and share their own.

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Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene sits down with us at the studio this week, sharing how (and why!) she runs the most soulful yoga studio in the city.
Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene
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