In the tranquil heart of Bella Yoga, amidst the soft murmur of flowing water and the gentle rustle of leaves, there exists a profound sanctuary where the ancient art of yoga finds its most radiant embodiment. At the helm of this serene haven is none other than Michelle Klabon, a remarkable Yoga Instructor and Teacher whose presence is as soothing as a Himalayan breeze and as enlightening as a thousand suns. With a deep-rooted passion for wellness and a wealth of experience in the world of yoga, Michelle has emerged as a beacon of holistic living and spiritual awakening, guiding countless souls on a transformative journey that transcends the boundaries of mind, body, and soul. Join Mystic Mag as we unravel the fascinating tapestry of Michelle’s yogic wisdom and explore the path she paves towards a life of balance, harmony, and inner radiance.
As the founder of Bella Yoga, I saw that you have a very big impact on society and the local community. So, I wanted to ask you, what is the inspiration behind everything?
I wanted to make a positive impact on society. My story begins in 2001 because when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which was essentially crippling me. Every day I had tremendous pain in the joints of my hands and feet. The doctors automatically put me on several prescriptions which I later discovered all had terrible side effects. I was searching for a more holistic form of healing. So, I decided to try yoga.
In the beginning I practiced sporadically as I found it to be very challenging to be consistent as I was working fulltime and raising two small children. However, in Feb 2009, I enrolled in yoga teacher training. During the training, I realized that this was my calling – helping people through yoga. By the time I graduated in May 2009, I had decided to start teaching immediately.
Just six months after graduating from teacher training, I began Bella Yoga Inc. On October 1st, I’ll be celebrating my 14th years in business. Through all the ups and downs over the years, Yoga is what has helped me physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Throughout the years, we’ve aimed to offer the community more than just yoga classes. Bella Yoga enjoys helping those less fortunate. One of the initiatives I started years ago is a program called “Socks for Soles”. It’s right around this time of year when we begin collecting brand new socks for the homeless. People can donate socks anytime by bringing them to the studio. As Christmas approaches, my students and I get together to decorate the socks and then hand-deliver them to the homeless right before Christmas.
In addition, my students and I have traveled to the Denver Rescue Mission numerous times over the years to help serve meals. We also sign up to sponsor a family in need for Christmas. Bella Yoga begins to collect donations for the family in need and then purchases the gifts on the wish list that is provided by the Denver Rescue Mission. We then go shopping, wrap the gifts, and hand deliver the gifts to the family in need before Christmas.
Over the past 14 years Bella Yoga has been serving the community joyously. This has been a journey that has been filled with purpose and a commitment to making a positive impact on society.
Socks for Soles is a unique program that you created. How did you come up with that idea?
Since we had been going to the homeless shelter for quite some time to help serve meals, I felt like there may be something else I could do. I thought about what would be essential during the freezing cold months in Colorado especially for someone who is homeless. One of the biggest necessities is a pair of warm socks. To the everyday average person, socks may not seem like a big deal. But to someone who’s homeless, living on the streets, and facing freezing temperatures, a brand-new pair of warm socks means everything.
Being able to hand-deliver this gift to someone in need is very special because you can see the gratitude on their face. They are so appreciative of something so simple. It’s really nice to be able to do something like that for the community.
What type of services do you offer to your clients?
I offer a wide range of classes: Restorative yoga, which is a very slow and relaxing practice. In this class you do not need to be strong or flexible. We only work on 3-4 poses while either sitting or lying down. We are using props to help support ourselves while in the pose. We stay in the pose for quite a bit of time to allow the body to heal naturally. Gentle Yoga, which consists of lots of breathing techniques as well as lots of yoga poses designed to stretch the entire body. Vinyasa Yoga, this practice will be a bit more challenging with many poses that focus on strengthening and balance. And Finally, Kids Yoga Workshops, for ages 4 to 10. In these workshops I incorporate many things to make it fun: yoga poses, arts & crafts, playtime, story time, and snack time. This a full hour of learning while having fun and making friends in a non-competitive environment allowing children to be themselves. With all the demands of school, homework and sports, kids can experience a lot of stress. I enjoy working with the children and teaching them a healthy way to deal with stress.
Yoga is something that actually helps us during the healing process – holistic healing for the body, mind, and soul. Do you have any memorable stories about clients who used yoga as a tool to truly help themselves?
I can think of a woman named Debra who contacted me on Facebook. She shared with me that she had stage 4 cancer. Debra wanted something holistic and something relaxing to help her deal with everything she was going through. When I met her, I immediately decided I would not charge this woman anything to attend classes. I wanted her to attend as much as she possibly could without worrying about the cost.
The first day she came to class, she thought she would not be able to get on the floor, but I assured her that I would help her. Eventually, she was able to get on the floor and get back up without assistance. She was surprised that she could do it. It was beautiful to see her using yoga as a form of healing and therapy. Little by little, her husband started coming to class with her, and it was really special to see them hold hands in their final resting pose.
Debra loved to be involved with our community events at our studio, such as helping me decorate socks for the homeless. Being a student at Bella Yoga, she made friends, participated in fun activities, and felt a sense of community. I think it really helped her mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Sadly, many months later, Debra did pass away, but I did get to know her and her family. I will always hold her close to my heart, a wonderful kind woman who I was fortunate enough to know and be part of her journey through the practice of yoga.
Do you have any kind of help or support from local organizations or government institutions?
No, which is really an interesting question because even though we are NOT a nonprofit organization, mostly all the money goes to rent and all the other expenses to keep the doors open. There usually isn’t any profit left over. In fact, over the past 14 years there have been many times when I have had to use my personal funds to pay the rent. I have done everything I could to keep this studio open, everything from refinancing my home to selling the diamonds to my wedding ring. But I feel very blessed because I never missed a payment and I have never been late.
In 2018, after having my 1st studio for eight years, I decided to take a little break from having my own building. It had been a lot of stress trying to come up with the rent every month and dealing with a management company that kept raising the rent every year.
From 2018 through 2022 I ran Bella Yoga out of a local church part time. I started providing faith-based yoga, teaching yoga with a Christian focus. This was a yoga practice that my fellow Christians really enjoyed as I played Christian music and quoted Bible scriptures through class.
During the 2020 Pandemic lockdown, everything had temporarily closed, including the church, rec centers, and gyms where I had been offering yoga. I decided to do something I had never done before. I offered online yoga for the first time ever. I had already reduced my rates by half when I closed the physical studio doors, going from $20 to $10. But when COVID hit, I lowered the rates even further. I was offering online Faith-Based classes for just $5.
During those eight weeks, when people were at home feeling scared, lonely, and filled with anxiety of the unknown, Bella Yoga was able to provide a sense of community with positive and encouraging words through this faith-based yoga. I had to really step out of my comfort zone. I had never done something like this before. At first, I didn’t think too much about it. Even if I would be able to help a few people by teaching online, it was worth it. But within eight weeks, I was able to reach 400 participants in seven different states and two different countries. Amazing!!
Are you still doing that online?
No, because once the pandemic restrictions started loosening up and people were able to see each other in person and eventually take off their masks. People wanted to be with others physically. So, little by little, it faded away. But during that time, it was pretty special.
What do you like most about your profession?
I always meet the most amazing people. Currently, for example, I have a student from Iran. In her country women are not allowed to do yoga, have opinions, or voice their thoughts, and they have to be covered from head to toe because of the Muslim religion. She decided to leave her country and leave that religion. She now lives in the United States as Christian woman and practices yoga here at Bella Yoga. Prior to coming to our studio, she felt lonely without her friends and family for the past two years.
She has been attending classes here for over a month and she is now part of this beautiful community of yogis who have embraced her as a friend and as a new family. She’s so beautiful. Every time she comes, she says, “Thank you so much, my friend. God bless you. I needed this; it’s so good for my heart and soul.’” She needed that sense of community. This wonderful woman needed a positive and healthy place to find healing and I am so happy she chose our studio.
Here at Bella Yoga, people make friends right away. Students feel accepted and are able to be themselves. Everyone who attends feels a sense of community and finds refuge in this place of healing through the practice and journey of yoga, including myself. I’ve been teaching yoga for 14 years now and I have been in remission for 14 years!!!! I haven’t taken any prescription medication for my rheumatoid arthritis. I can function and move normally, all thanks to yoga. It’s pretty amazing.
I am proud to say that Sunday October 1st will mark our 14th year anniversary in business. I have decided to reopen this beautiful yoga studio. We are having a BIG celebration for our Re-Granding Sunday Oct 1st @ 1pm at our brand-new location.
My Happy Place
Yoga School & Wellness Center
9458 Longs Peak Dr #110
Henderson, CO 80640