Town Square Delaware recently sat down with Johnny Gillespie, yoga devotee and founder of Empowered Yoga. The newest center in Glen Mills joins existing locations in Newark, Wilmington and Hockessin Athletic Center.
TOWN SQUARE DELAWARE: So Johnny, why Glen Mills?
JOHNNY GILLESPIE: Well, it’s been two years in the making. I grew up around here, and I live in West Chester. It’s not only close to my home, but about ten miles from each of our other locations. There’s a lot of opportunity to bring our practice to a new audience in Pennsylvania.
TSD: I read an article that listed yoga as one of the nation’s top growth industries. What makes Empowered Yoga different from other yoga studios?
JG: First, it’s important to differentiate between studios and centers. Studios tend to house multiple services under one roof: Spinning, weights, etc. A center is devoted to the practice of yoga.
As for what makes us different, in our centers, we take a methodical approach to human movement.
TSD: What does that mean exactly?
JG: Think of it this way: Points on your body — your ankles, knees, spine — are points along a conveyer belt. This belt runs the length of your body. When a point gets out of line, it throws off the entire system and prevents it from running smoothly. Practicing yoga can realign that conveyer belt.
TSD: You’re not the typical yoga instructor. How did you get your start?
JG: I started as a strength and conditioning coach. I ran, played hockey, lifted weights. Not surprisingly, I was struggling with ongoing pain and stiffness. I took my first yoga class and barely survived it! I was sure I wasn’t going to take another one. Then I got up the next morning and realized I felt better. And I knew I needed to keep doing it.
TSD: How do you see Empowered Yoga evolving over the next five years or so?
JG: We will continue to focus on three key areas:
- Mechanics of movement
- Mindfulness-based principles and staying connected to the ancient roots of the practice
- Meeting people where they are
TSD: Any advice for those who say, “I know yoga’s not for me.”?
JG: [Shakes his head] That couldn’t be farther from the truth. At Empowered Yoga, we are committed to meeting people where they are, in the most safe and effective ways we can.
People often say, “I’m too tight to do yoga.” My response is that’s exactly why you SHOULD practice yoga.
To learn more about Empowered Yoga, visit www.empoweredyoga.com