HOLDREGE — Stephanie Monthey spoke soothingly as she guided the slow flow yoga class through deep stretches.
“Who said stretching was easy, right?” she joked as the class attempted a particularly challenging pose.
During a moment of meditation, Stephanie read Isaiah 40:28-29 from Scripture. She encouraged the class to focus on strength — places where they feel strong or may need to find strength. She told them not to feel embarrassed when it came to breathing heavily through poses or needing to modify if it became too difficult.
Stephanie has taught fitness classes for more than 15 years, but she’s only been teaching yoga for a month in her new yoga facility, The Studio, 716 Fourth Ave. As a personal trainer, Stephanie has taught fitness and done nutrition coaching at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA in Holdrege. She has helped people who do intense weight training to those who are coming out of physical therapy, and 15 minutes of stretching often wasn’t enough for herself or her clients after their workouts.
“Yoga was really, just across the board, going to help all age groups,” she explained.
It always was her dream to have her own studio, and she had been feeling a tug in her heart to open her own business, she said. Stephanie mentioned the idea to her daughter, Grace, who is a massage therapist, and was surprised by Grace’s response.
“I was giving (her) a massage and then she was telling me that. I was like, ‘I always wanted to open up a yoga studio, too,’” Grace said.
“I was shocked because I was planning to do this alone and just going for it. She said, ‘I want to do it, too,’” Stephanie added.
The pair went through more than 200 hours of yoga training to become instructors. As they prepared to open their facility, Stephanie asked her other daughter, Shelby, if she would be interested in teaching ballet barre classes at The Studio. Shelby had taken 10 years of Cecchetti ballet and always had wanted to do ballet instruction.
“I’ve just always loved dance, and I just kind of infused it with working out. (Ballet barre) is kind of a workout-infused dance class. I combined the two. Something I can kind of create,” Shelby explained about her classes.
After renovating the space, The Studio opened its doors to the public at the beginning of July. The Montheys knew there was a risk opening a yoga studio in a rural community, but they decided to take the plunge.
“Yoga studios are very current and very trending. We just decided we wanted to break the box so to speak,” Stephanie said. “I have found that people want it. ... We have had a really good response from the community. We have been really thankful.”
The family want each of their classes to be unique and different, and that includes what Stephanie calls holy yoga.
“The roots of yoga is Hindu, Buddhist religion. Not everybody practices that during their yoga practice, but the roots are there. With our training, it’s all in the Christian roots of just the Bible. Usually our focus is on Scripture. ... That’s kind of our focus when we do meditation, too,” she said.
The response from her students has been positive with some requesting the verse to look up later or telling her how they connected with a particular verse during the class.
All three women continue to work full-time jobs outside of The Studio, and they work together to teach classes in the morning and evening. Stephanie said the community of Holdrege has been supportive of the new business, and there has even been people from out of town taking in a class at The Studio.
They plan to continue to add different classes to their schedule and to see what their students respond to the best. They will offer private classes and nutrition classes at the facility this fall. The Studio’s schedule is posted on their Facebook page each week.
Each woman spoke about how the business is a dream come true, but it wasn’t one they ever expected to accomplish together.
“ What was so unique was how God did it for us all. He did it all together because we were going to do it separately,” Stephanie said through tears. “It’s like He uniquely weaved it all together.”