Jennifer Wallis opened Sparkle Yoga on Nov. 6 in a storefront with a purple and turquoise interior—and, yes, a glittery floor—at 465 South Meadows Parkway. For information, visit www.sparkleyogareno.com.
Every yoga studio has its own specialty or bent. What’s yours?
My specialty, I want to say, is gentle yoga. I definitely am offering that every single day—and restorative yoga. It’s using a lot of bolsters, a lot of props. It’s probably the yoga that’s got the least amount of exercise involved. It’s all about relaxing. It’s all about unwinding.
Why is gentle yoga appealing to you?
What is really important for me, and why I do offer so much gentle yoga, is there are a lot of people out there who have not practiced yoga ever, or in a long time … and they might walk into a yoga studio and be intimidated. The word itself is intimidating. … The reason I brought so many gentle yoga classes on is that I want that newbie—or that person who hasn’t done it for a while—to walk in and see others who are just like them. … That’s the big thing. I want the studio to be open to anybody who is intimidated by yoga. I want Sparkle to just say, “Hey, welcome, everybody! No matter what age you are, no matter what you can or cannot do, please come here, and you’re fabulous.”
So, you have a story about yoga having played an important role in your life. Tell me about that.
I had practiced yoga for about 10, 12 years myself. I thought it was great, but I was not relaxing. I used it as exercise. It didn’t really get to me mentally. … And then I stopped doing it. … This whole time I had a job, a corporate job, and I was successful. I was awesome. I purchased a house, and all these things were great, but I was very unhappy. … Finally, I ended up—long story short—losing the job, which was a blessing in disguise. I had no job, I had no money, and I got sad and more and more upset every day. … Then I went to a yoga class, and immediately something just clicked. That night, I started looking up teacher training. Then, I started my journey. I went to school. I dedicated a whole bunch of hours. I went to class. And, in that time, my life changed so dramatically. … I began to love myself and accept myself, which I had never done, in, let’s say, 40 years.
Does having had that experience allow you to help your students access that type of breakthrough, too?
Absolutely, because even if you’re just using yoga for exercise, it still speaks to you spiritually. I read quotes at the end of class. Maybe one of those quotes is going to resonate with you. … I tell my students, when they come in this room, “Give yourself permission to release, at least for 60 minutes. It’s all about you.” … We have a block in our heads, we’re stuck, in our heads, I mean all of us, hypothetically. And yoga really helps to clear that block—or to bring in clarity, and that’s what it did for me.
Do you have one of those quotes in mind that you’d like to share?
I do. I have so many! I want to share two. One is by Louise Hay, and it says, “It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.” … And then the second one is by Thich Nhat Hanh, saying, “So many of us are comfortable in our own prisons.” We’ve built walls, and we complain, but here we are. … Sometimes we are more comfortable complaining rather than doing something about it.
Your studio is brand new. What do you want it to be like, eventually?
I want people to walk in, and immediately I want them to feel good. I want them to feel the energy. I want them to be happy. I want them to love themselves.