Yoga as a Lifestyle

Yoga For People Heroes Series 
Amanda Jones

Yoga awakened me. Getting out my mind while focusing on the poses was, for me, the quickest trip to mapping my soul. In fact, I didn’t really know who I was until yoga helped me release the stress, anxiety and past emotions that were collecting in the corners of my being. I soon started feeling light, and my lifestyle started reflecting that. The things that weren’t working in my life started manifesting themselves, allowing me to separate from them. I feel like my life got set back onto its true path; and work, weight, money, and even love stopped resisting me.

I got really hardcore into yoga last year. I had been a gym rat before that, but that never served me on the level that yoga has. I feel that yoga contains a spiritual element, which I can only describe as being encouraged to recognize the perfection already inside of you. It encourages me to see life through a prism of positivity, and be aware of my own emotions, and the needs of those around me.

Ever since I found yoga, I’ve been inspired to study schools from hatha to Bikram. I particularly enjoy Yoga For People founder Santosh Maknikar’s flow yoga, which saved me when, following my divorce, I was struggling to find my financial equilibrium. I could no longer afford $100+/month for Bikram yoga, so Yoga For People’s donation-based classes allowed me to continue my practice. I fell in love with the idea of making yoga available to anyone, no matter their situation, and that’s what Yoga For People is all about. So, I’m so grateful Santosh invited me to come aboard.

bwshotwebI’ve been a journalist in Utah for about 7 years now. I’ve worked in print, radio and TV. I wrote for The Salt Lake Tribune’s niche magazine, “IN,” for three years, intermittently hosting radio shows at Millcreek Broadcasting, as well as TV shows at Park City Television. I filled in as a host for KUTV 2News This Morning, and eventually started working there full time. I now produce, report and host segments for KUTV’s various newscasts and shows. This year, I started my own blog as an ode to my newfound passion for authentic living. Now, volunteering with Yoga For People is an added bonus to my day, and has already enriched my life so much through seeing the joy yoga brings to others.

I taught my first yoga class two weeks ago at the Road Home. The environment was a bit chaotic, with children everywhere, but that element made the meditation THAT much more rewarding. The teens and women in the class were so open to the practice, and really took my instruction to breathe to heart; I think they valued the information in my instruction that, if you can breathe and be calm on your mat, you can breathe and be calm anywhere. Especially in a few-frills, little-privacy environment like the Road Home. And I can’t TELL you the joy it brought me to see the clients’ relaxed faces during and after meditation. It reinforced what I know about yoga; it strengthens the body, and eases the mind.

Judging by the feedback, the clients enjoyed it, too, which tickles me to hear!

“I just wanted to let you know that the yoga class went really well!  The residents loved it and were talking about it a few days after.  They are really excited about the upcoming one. Thanks again for being willing to do this for the residents.” – Alicia Gates, Road Home Volunteer Coordinator

monkYoga For People is doing so much good in this community. The practice is more than a workout, it is a reinforcement of one’s incredible value in this world. And for me, it has become a lifestyle. If I can be the person everyday that I am on my mat: Calm, non-judgemental, open and strong, the world is a better place. And I believe that can apply to everyone.


Amanda Jones
South Salt Lake, UT