My journey began in 2001, when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I had trouble functioning normally as my hands and feet ached every day. Simple everyday tasks such as brushing my hair, getting dressed and even walking were difficult. After extensive research, I decided to try yoga. My diagnosis with RA at a fairly early age led me to yoga because I didn’t want to be dependent on medication for the rest of my life.
I was just fascinated by yoga and how it made me feel. I had just begun to incorporate yoga into my schedule. I was attending classes at the 24 Hour Fitness where Jenn Stewart was teaching. She was the teacher that resonated with me. I liked her style of teaching and felt that I could relate to her. Her classes were challenging but very well put together. She always began with a dharama talk about something that pertained to that season or that day. It was a great way to start the class. We then spent time on mediation/pranayamas. From there we moved into our physical practice/vinyasa. It was always a challenge. Some poses I found easy, but others I found to be almost impossible. I was always flexible but never strong. My balance was fairly good, but I was horrible at being present. Training my mind to just let go and to enjoy my practice was my biggest challenge.
I soon began to crave yoga. I think I started by taking one –two classes a week. But that soon wasn’t enough. I wanted and needed more. But my crazy hectic life as a wife, a mom of two, and an owner or a heating and air conditioning business was so incredibly stressful. I was desperately seeking a way out of this non –stop hectic life. Then all of the sudden, in January of 2009, Jenn Stewart, announced she would be doing her very first Yoga Teacher Training in Feb 2009 at Asana Studio. I really wanted to do it but I kept finding excuses why I shouldn’t: money, being away from my family, and just the guilt of doing something for me. Today, all of those reasons seem so crazy to me.
I decided to sign up for yoga teacher training and I almost backed out at the last minute. But Jenn and my husband both convinced me to go for it. So I did. I began training in Feb. 2009. My very first day of training was a Susan Merrell’s house in Golden, CO. I was so excited to meet new people, be away from home, learn more about yoga, and just be amongst good energy. Yoga teacher training filled a huge void in my life. I was so lonely. I had been working in the home by myself since 2004. While being home all this time I running a business (answering phones, creating the schedule, dispatching calls, taking care of all the bookkeeping, advertising, accounting, payroll, human resources, picking up supplies, permit applications, and accounts payable/receivable.) But in addition to all that I was raising my son Vincent. He was home with me from the day he was born until he was 2 and half years old. It wasn’t until spring of 2007 that Vincent began preschool with only 4 hours a day. We began Vincent with only half days of school and eventually moved him up to full days.
In the fall/winter of 2009 my son finished at that school and that is when I began my teacher training. My training was Feb 10, 2009 through May, 16, 2009. During these fourteen weeks of training I began to transform my body, my spirit, and my mind. It’s true. In every way, I was no longer the same person. I went from yoga once to twice a week (feeling guilty) to five to six times a week (feeling like a deserve this.) I went from feeling broken, worthless, and lonely, to whole again. Through the practice of yoga the LORD GOD revealed to me my purpose in my life and how he wanted me to bless others.
I remember my very first time teaching yoga was on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009. This was part of the requirements to graduate from teacher training. In the beginning of training that seemed so scary to me. What would I do for sixty minutes? However, as time went on, and I began to prepare for this day, sixty minutes was no longer a big deal. I had a lot to say and so many great poses to work with. I could not wait to teach. That day was so amazing. I felt confidant, strong, and ready to be a teacher. The class went great. There were thirteen students and I got such great feedback after class.
So by the time I graduated from my yoga teacher training in May 2009 I was more than ready to begin my career. I started by just substituting for different teachers at Asana studio in Golden, CO, mostly for owner Susan Merrill who was in the process of opening up a second location for Asana. I jumped at the chance to teach whenever asked to because I was so excited. I just wanted to get the experience. I soon began looking for a steady job with steady classes. So I applied at the City of Commerce City. I was hired immediately. I began with one class a week and soon was teaching 3 classes a week. Once a week at the City of Commerce City Recreation Center, and twice a week for the family center in my very own neighborhood. How crazy was that?! It was just meant be.
But one job wasn’t enough. I soon searched for a second job to get more steady classes. I applied at 24 Fitness and was also hired immediately! I began with one class a week at 24 hour Fitness, then two classes, and finally three classes a week. So I was now up to six classes a week.
Then in Oct 2009, I began my own business, and Bella Yoga Inc emerged. I was teaching at Universal Tae Kwon Do, Thornton, CO. Owner Michael was kind enough to allow me to use his space for a small fee. I taught there three classes a week as well and was now up to nine classes a week.
Then I heard a rumor that the City of Northglenn was in need of a yoga instructor. I was traveling there about three times a week for my daughter Angelica’s swim team practice. So I applied and I was selected as their top applicant. I taught three classes a week as well for the City of Northglenn. So by Oct 2010 I was now teaching twelve classes a week and teaching all over the place. I had built a crazy schedule for myself but doing what I love. So I decided no more traveling for me! In Oct 1, 2010, I took a huge leap of faith and opened up my very own yoga studio in Henderson. Bella Yoga was located at 9459 Longs Peak Dr #126 for eight years. Those eight years were very challenging as I struggled every month to pay my rent. But I learned to lean of the LORD and trust in him through the ups and downs.
On Sept 30, 2018 to decided to close the doors to my yoga studio so that I can reach more in need. On Tuesday, Oct 16th, Bella Yoga relocated to Living Hope Lutheran Church located in Commerce City, CO and continued to offer classes there through March 2022. It is here that Bella Yoga began to offer Faith Based Yoga. This was something I had in my heart for a very long time. Finally I could 100% authentically be myself. Sharing the gift of yoga and ministering to my students about the LORD.
My faith based yoga classes consist of Christian music, bible scriptures, and lots of words of encouragement to my students. It is such a joy to be able to share the gift of yoga and freely be able to talk about GOD while doing so. Worshiping the LORD while teaching is the most wonderful feeling. I believe that our talent is a gift from GOD to us and what we choose to do with that talent is our gift back to GOD.
From 2018 -2022 I taught weekly classes at various locations such as Living Hope Lutheran Church, VASA Fitness The City of Commerce City, Reunion Coffee House, 24 Hour Fitness, Belle Creek Family Center, Chuze Fitness, YMCA, Summit of Peace Lutheran Church, as well as the Denver Rescue Mission, and many more.
Today I have over 13 years of experience in teaching, over 6000 hours of teaching experience, over 13 years in business, and I have completed 5 Yoga Teacher Training and am about complete my 6th yoga teacher training. I am able to teach others to become yoga instructors, giving other people the opportunity to learn more about yoga and most importantly pass on this gift of yoga. As best of all, it has been over 13 years since I have taken ANY prescription medications for arthritis. I have been in remission for over 13 years due to my very consistent practice of yoga. GOD is so good!
On Oct 1, 2022 I reopened the door to a beautiful Brand New yoga studio in the Derby, Commerce City area. I have since left every single job to focus on my new location and devote my full attention to this beautiful new studio.
I continue to share the gift of yoga! I hope you will join me on this continuous amazing new adventure. Hope to see you in class soon. Namaste.
Michelle Klabon (ERYT)
Bella Yoga Inc. (RYS)