Mona Ceniceros, owner, Sun Moon Yoga Studios, Mankato.
Influence upon yoga teachers can come from many directions. Yoga students worldwide recognize the “rock stars” of the yoga world—those who influence by way of prominent exposure through the media.
Then there are the yoga teachers with a quiet, more humble approach. These dedicated instructors serve hundreds of people in their communities (many of which are rural) with a passion for yoga and a strong desire to help their students.
“These studio owners who offer classes that help people with back pain, depression and stress are providing a grassroots health resource in their communities,” says Mona Ceniceros, owner of Sun Moon Yoga in Mankato and director of Sun Moon Weekend Intensives Yoga Study.
Ceniceros says yoga can be shared in a wide variety of settings—health clubs, senior centers, community education, and private studios. The goal of Sun Moon’s Weekend Intensives Yoga Study is to provide self-development for yoga students of all levels. Students seek personal enrichment and often find themselves brimming with new ideas.
Janine Gustafson, a graduate of Sun Moon’s Yoga Study, says she first enrolled in the workshops to gain a better understanding of yoga. But on the 90-minute drives between Mankato and her home in Okoboji, Iowa (pop. 820), a new idea began to form.
“By the end of the training, I was thinking of opening my own studio,” she says. Just a few short months after she had finished, Yogata yoga studio in Okoboji was in business. “Mona is a very inspiring woman,” she adds.
The Weekend Intensives consist of a 200-hour curriculum. Students commit to eight weekends, starting in either the spring or fall. It is one of the most established programs in the upper Midwest five-state region. For this reason, the intensives draw students seeking self-development from the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.
Those who have opened their own studios say one of the best components of the weekends is the welcoming community fostered by Ceniceros. During the workshops, students can’t help but to bond through discussions, practice and free time spent browsing through books and other materials at the studio.
Deb Swanson, who owns Way to Yoga in New Prague (pop. 6,400), says talking with others at the weekend intensives left her with a better knowledge of yoga and what it means to people. She had thought about opening a yoga studio before she attended the weekends, but the idea solidified after the Yoga Study.
“The experience encouraged me and told me I was on the right path,” she says.
Swanson has taken ideas from the workshops to help create a unique studio in a town where yoga opportunities had been limited to a few classes at a fitness center. She’s happy with her decision to open her own business, and is grateful to Ceniceros and the Yoga Study for helping her decide what goal she should strive toward.
“I love doing this. I’m getting so much great feedback,” she says.
Sun Moon Yoga is located in Mankato, MN. 507.387.6600. Visit www.sunmoonyogastudios.com