Owner & Co-Founder
Hello! I’m Stephanie and I’m a former banker who opened a bakery and now a yoga studio! I initially opened my gluten free bakery, Healthy Girl Bakery, in 2013 after “retiring” from our family’s bank, Farmers State Bank. After starting Vella Yoga, I decided to hang up my apron so I could focus more on our yoga studio and community.
I’ve been a health & wellness nut as long as I can remember and have always loved to move in some form. On any given day, you may see me walking the streets of Cedar Rapids or Marion – very far from where you think I should be! I also have a nerdy hobby of reading everything I can on yoga, holistic nutrition, healthy recipes and Ayurveda (the sister science of Yoga), and love sharing my knowledge with others. I’m passionate about helping everyBODY find health wherever you are, it’s never too late to start!
I knew I wanted to help others in their health journey, so I started my studies and completed my 200 hour Ayurveda training at Kripalu Yoga Institute in 2015. In 2016, I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training with Cloud 9 yoga, and completed an additional 200 hour teacher training with Marsha Nieland at Fusion Studio in 2017. In June, 2018, I completed my 95 hour Holy Yoga Teacher Training. After realizing that I wanted to help people 1-1 with their specific body “projects”, I decided to study & complete my 300 hour training in Yoga Therapy – I’ve loved this training because it allows me to help people more effectively with one on one with whatever they need.
I also attended Joseph Pilates mat training and am very excited to offer this to our Vella students. It’s the perfect compliment to yoga as we strengthen both the core & spine to aid in balance as we age. It’s just one more layer for your mind and body connection.
I share my life with my husband Bryan, my darling daughter Ellie, my two bonus children, Emily & Jayson and our fuzzy four-legged babies, Jack & Pearl.
- What is your favorite yoga pose & why? Wild Thing and Half Moon. Because they are both chest/hip openers, which really allow me to open up my heart & release the tension in my hips. I love the expansive feeling both have when you’re in the full expression.
- What is your favorite food/meal? Definitely Pizza – I swear I could eat Tomoso’s thin crust veggie deluxe OR Lincoln Wine Bar’s Green’s pizza every night!
- What do you like to do when you have an hour of free time? Read. I love to learn, so I’m a geek when it comes to books!
- What is your guilty pleasure? Sitting still and watching a show (not multi-tasking!)
- What is the best book you’ve read & why do you love it? I have SO MANY books that I love, but the book I’ve read a few times is Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. After reading this, I realized that I’m not alone with my quest of perfection and how important it is to let it go!!
- What is your favorite season & why? Summer….I love warmth and sunshine!
- Why do you/should you meditate? It is the moment we can give ourselves to check in and just stop the monkey mind. Breath is a free tool to create peace and calm – even if only for the moment.
- What is your “story” about why you teach/What makes you passionate about teaching? I know that teaching yoga is my purpose. Maybe not the poses themselves, but the “act” of doing yoga. What I mean by that is creating a space that students want to come to. They want to hear whatever is being “downloaded” out of my mouth and being present in the body for just 60 minutes. I teach what I also need to learn. It’s a gift that I absolutely love to give whoever walks in the studio doors!
- What is one thing you want students to know about your
teaching style? I have an alignment based, light-hearted, fun teaching style. I hope you laugh in my class, because in my opinion, yoga doesn’t need to be serious. Why do something if you can’t have fun??
- Do you have a favorite yoga mat or meditation cushion? I love my Liforme Mat and Brentwood meditation cushion.