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Pandemic Offered Time for Florence Woman to Become Yoga Instructor, Open Studio

When the pandemic hit, Allison House made the most of her time in quarantine pursuing her passion.

“I was served an ad on Facebook that was for an amazing yoga studio in Houston, Texas offering teacher training fully online,” House, 24, of Florence, said. “I couldn’t believe it!”

House signed up and began the first round of training. In yoga you can be certified at multiple levels, each just a deeper journey into the practices of yoga. She successfully completed the 200-hour yoga teacher training. 

“I can definitely say that was thanks to the pandemic, otherwise an interactive-online teacher training would never exist,” she said.

House, who works with people who have developmental disabilities at an agency in Cincinnati, recently opened her own yoga studio. Asana Chameleon offers gentle yoga. 

“That is not to say it isn’t challenging,” House said. “We are so used to the go-go-go attitude that taking things slow can be a serious challenge. The poses themselves can be difficult. Staying still in those poses is incredibly difficult,” she said.

According to House, “gentle” is simply used to describe this type of yoga to set it apart from the sweat-inducing yoga many have all come to know. 

“We offer steady, deliberate flows that will challenge the body and mind while truly leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated when you leave,” she said.

Asana Chameleon client Allison Turner says her experience at the new yoga studio in Florence has been great.

“I liked that the studio was simply focused on yoga and not like a gym,” Turner said, “which is mostly what you find around here. I do yoga for my back mostly. I get super stressed, and it really hits physically. Yoga helps me a lot. I was really happy to find a studio that was small and focused simply on the yoga and the instructor was fantastic.”

House said she first got into yoga when she had a client who enjoyed yoga with his father at home. 

“Once he moved into our group home I wanted to continue that practice for him so I found a local studio that offered us a great deal for me and him to attend together,” she said. “This was when I lived in Middletown, Ohio. I was just mesmerized by how much he seemed to enjoy, how well he could participate, though he was very immobile, and just how transformative it was.”

It didn’t take long before House got a membership at that same studio and began attending multiple times a week by herself and with her client. That is when she first desperately wanted to truly go down the path of being a yogi. 

“I really wanted to provide that same space for others,” she said. “However, yoga teacher trainings are very demanding and it was not something I could physically do while working two jobs and trying to make it on my own.”

When she moved down here to Northern Kentucky, she didn’t have a studio to attend and fell out of the practice. She began to just strictly do yoga in her living room while following videos. 

"I will say this was the time period when I realized yoga could be something peaceful and adaptive, not just something to get strong and flexible and compete with the other yogis in the class,” she said. “I began to really enjoy the practice for the meditation, solace, and peace it could bring. It really became far more of a moving meditation than an exercise. Things stayed this way for a while.”

Then, the pandemic hit. She signed up for the online training with the Texas studio.

“During this training I learned more and more about the deeper practice of yoga, off the mat,” she said. “I can easily say I fell in love with it. Yoga is so much more than the physical practice.” 

“Once again my desire to provide this space for my community started really burning bright. It has all happened pretty fast. I just knew that once I got certified I would want to start teaching. So I found this beautiful, cute little space here in Florence. It is perfect. Quiet, intimate, everything I would want for my own private studio.”

House said she opened Asana Chameleon because she felt Northern Kentucky needed a yoga studio here in the area that was focused on providing the space for those who aren’t as interested in the exercise of yoga, but rather the practice. 

“Physically, yoga asana (the physical practice) trains our body and our mind to center itself and find peace,” she said. “It is always going to build strength and mobility, but we don’t have to go hard or go home with yoga. That is a very westernized version of what yoga is. Yoga is about coming to yourself, uniting body with mind, and finding peace. And that is what Asana Chameleon is here to provide. An intimate, private space offering yoga to quiet to quiet the mind.”

Leading classes has been a dream come true, she said. Since she is still working her other job, the studio’s opening has been soft. 

“I hope the future of our studio will allow for us to hold space all week, so those on any schedule can attend,” she said. “As we grow, we hope that this will be the case.”

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-Melissa Reinert, RCN contributor

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