“You have to get uncomfortable to create any change,” Melissa Paz maintains. Erin Joosse adds that Source Yoga’s brand of yoga is more than a workout; the studio’s classes provide people with opportunities for personal growth, self-inquiry, and transformation.
Erin and Melissa’s partnership dates back to 1998, when both women were students in the University of New Mexico’s dance program. After successfully collaborating on their Senior Honors Dance Concert, Erin and Melissa kept in touch after graduation. Each found her way individually to yoga, first as a practice, and then, as a vocation.
By 2005, Erin was living in Seattle and interested in opening a yoga studio. Melissa, now in Tacoma, reached out to her about opening a studio in the South Sound, and they agreed to partner up once more. By the summer Erin relocated to the area and they opened Source Yoga’s first location in North Tacoma. They opened a second location in University Place in 2011, after building a loyal following of clients who appreciated Source Yoga’s beginner-friendly atmosphere and hatha yoga classes.
Melissa and Erin’s emphasis on personal transformation through exceptional yoga is what keeps Source Yoga an award-winning studio. In addition to being voted the Best Yoga Studio in the South Sound for four years in a row, Source Yoga was also included in Western Washington’s Top 10 Best Yoga Studios in 2013.
Source Yoga specializes in exceptional yoga, hosting a team of carefully-selected, highly-trained instructors who can ensure students are both safe and challenged, whether beginners or advanced yogis. Source’s instructors have more than 200 hours of training under their belts, and pursue continuing education credits to further refine their teaching methods. The studio prioritizes training yoga teachers and students both, cultivating a learning environment for all of its members.
With such skilled instructors, students can expect to work in Source Yoga classes. But that work doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, Erin and Melissa stress. They encourage their students to approach the physical practice of yoga as an entry point into opportunities for deeper personal transformation, including mental and spiritual growth.
One example of how yoga offers opportunities for transformation is Source’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge, a month-long commitment to practicing yoga at least once a day. Students can support each other in class and online, through the Source Yoga Facebook page.
However, Melissa and Erin are careful to point out that the challenge is not just about attending 30 classes in 30 days. Rather, it is a personal journey for students to look at themselves through the prism of yoga. And while some participants approach the challenge as a means of increasing their physical strength, many others see it as an opportunity for increasing their devotion to the practice and an opportunity for self-inquiry.
Other opportunities include yoga workshops and retreats, as well as weekly classes designed specifically for families, children, prenatal and postnatal students, beginners, and those looking for a more challenging physical practice. Source also offers gentle, restorative yoga and teaches students of any level how to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into their practice. “We are the only studio in the area that offers programs specifically in Mindfulness practice, including an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction series,” shares Erin. “We really see how Mindfulness, or in other words, self-awareness, makes a difference in not just student’s experience on the yoga mat, but really in their lives and relationships.”
All of Source Yoga’s classes focus on a basic, flowing style of hatha yoga, a style that emphasizes connecting mind, body, and breath. Even though both Erin and Melissa have practiced yoga for more than 20 years and hold multiple certifications, they both enjoy teaching Basic Yoga, where they can enjoy watching newcomers fall in love with yoga: “It’s fun to see people catch the yoga bug.”
Source Yoga’s non-dogmatic approach to yoga, both philosophically and spiritually, provides new students, dedicated yogis, and experienced instructors with opportunities to transform themselves, body and mind, advancing themselves towards increased “Health, Vitality, Joy.”