Gentle Yoga

This class is taught by:

Susan Stevens

How did yoga come into my life?
I began practicing yoga as a teen in the late 60’s/early 70’s, before it was the “cool” thing to do. Our local Cincinnati PBS TV. Station had a show called ‘Lilias Yoga & You”. I practiced yoga with Lilias Folan, who was quite a yoga pioneer. I took random classes on & off for years. Fast forward to 2007, when I started studying privately with Gia Lupinacci Maxon. Shortly after that, I began attending a teacher-training program in Asheville with Stephanie Keach. I found my passion and my calling! Today, the yoga journey continues!
How do I practice on the mat?
I begin & end each day with a 15-minute silent meditation. This sets the tone for the day, and then provides closure at the end of the day. This introspective, mindfulness practice brings balance to my life. I also have a daily home asana practice that changes like the wind. I do whatever poses and flow feel particularly good to my body in the moment. My practice and my teachings on the mat are simple, gentle, and fuel a sense of well-being.
How do I practice off the mat?
Off the mat, I see life & the practice of yoga as an extension of the philosophical teachings of the yogic yamas & niyamas. Compassion for all beings, honesty, non-violence, and self-discipline are just a few of these teachings. I also try to be an instrument of peace, in hopes that my peace will become your peace, will become world peace.
Why a yoga teacher?
I have always taught something, from swimming lessons to preschool to Lamaze! I have a passion for learning, and then sharing what I know. With yoga, there is always something new to learn, therefore something new to teach. Since I love yoga so much, I just want to share this wellness practice with everyone! Imagine what a wonderful world it would be if everybody got to experience the gift of yoga!
What is my teaching style?
My yoga style is hard to explain in words. Eclectic, is a good description, as my teaching style is very free spirited, and draws from many different schools of thought. My style is playful and ever changing, and I always encourage my students to “make it your own”! I hold special certifications in senior yoga, prenatal/postpartum yoga, and restorative yoga, so adaptations and props are part of all my classes. Gentle yoga is what I practice and what I teach, making my classes safe and accessible to everyBODY! Yogi Bhajan says it all, “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.”

Mariela Jennings

Where am I from?
I grew up in New Jersey and moved to Hickory in October of 2006. I am a mother of twin 15 year old boys and a hairstylist for the past 28 years. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and making people, not only look good, but feel good too.

How did yoga come into my life?
I met Bonnie through the hair salon about 7 years ago. She started practicing yoga and she kept inviting me to go with her, I have always had a curiosity about yoga, but was afraid to try it. I finally joined her for a class and loved it! I watched as Bonnie went through her teacher training and thought it very inspiring. After going through a rough few years, I started on a journey of self care and self growth. As always, Bonnie was by my side. On New Years 2017, I told her that I had decided that I wanted to go through yoga teacher training. I felt that there was so much that I was missing within. That spring, Bonnie let me know that everyoneYoga was offering a training program, through Open Studios, and I signed up! That was the scariest and best decision that I have made in a long time. It became the hardest, most inspiring and knowledgable six months ever, and I met some great people along the way. The rest is history!

How do I practice yoga off the mat?
I believe in treating others with compassion and understanding, practicing non-judgement, mindfulness, honesty and self care. Every night, before bed, I meditate and practice gratitude for what my day has brought, what I have and for the people in my life.

Why do I want to teach?
While I originally went through this journey for self growth, I have been asked by many friends and family, when I will begin teaching. Though I never intended to teach, I do love making people feel their best and I do love to share my passion with others. This is an additional step in my journey to self growth and facing my fears outside of my comfort zone.

What is my style of yoga?
Since this is the beginning of my yoga teaching journey, all I can say is that I’ve really enjoyed a gentle practice. Just because it’s gentle, doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging. To me, it is a practice that is suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced. I look forward to being an inspiration to others, as my mentors have been to me.


A gentle approach to yoga postures and stress reduction. With emphasis on body awareness and alignment, this class helps you create a healthy and steady practice. Appropriate for everyone: beginners to yoga, recovering from injury or for those seeking a gentle approach on stress reduction. The class is taught with music, props, and at a comfortable temperature.

Upcoming classes:

  • Wed Dec 12 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 14 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Sun Dec 16 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm with Mariela Jennings
  • Wed Dec 19 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 21 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Sun Dec 23 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm with Mariela Jennings
  • Wed Dec 26 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm with Susan Stevens
  • Fri Dec 28 9:30 am - 10:30 am with Susan Stevens
  • Sun Dec 30 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm with Mariela Jennings