The Yoga Underground, a local yoga studio, is seeking to help individuals find deepened spirituality as they use yoga to connect with their bodies and inner selves.
Owner and creator Brittany Andrews started the yoga studio in 2008 with the goal of creating the deeply spiritual and connected community she longed for. Additionally, she wanted to give those who were not a part of Utah’s predominantly Latter-day Saint community a space to feel they belong.
The studio practices yoga that focuses on “freedom and options,” according to its website.
Andrews said the students are invited to come and practice yoga “as they are.” Through small steps, the students can learn how to move their bodies in a way that is intuitive, focused on the breath and connected to the body, she said.
Andrews said her hope is that those who come to The Yoga Underground will “walk away feeling a little bit more like themselves.”
BYU student Ellie Draper is a receptionist and student at The Yoga Underground and said practicing yoga there was life changing. What began as a part of her journey to overcome physical health challenges became a healing, spiritual practice.
“The introspection that yoga and mindfulness and meditation taught me helped me draw closer to God and my Savior,” Draper said.
Draper detailed her struggle to focus during her prayers despite her best efforts and desires to connect with God. When she learned about meditation and yoga as a way to quiet her mind and visualize her prayers, she said her connection to her inner self and God improved.
Although she practiced yoga before working at The Yoga Underground, Draper said her experience in this environment felt different for her. She said it was “unlike any studio I’ve ever been to.”
Draper commented on how there are no mirrors at the studio and how the way the instructors teach allows for complete introspection, eliminating the potential for comparison or feelings of inadequacy.
Tiffany Hoehne, a holistic health coach and yoga teacher from American Fork, Utah, completed her yoga teacher training at The Yoga Underground. Hoehne said her focus in teaching yoga is to invite students to make the practice exactly what they need in that moment.
Hoehne described the deepened spiritually she experiences through this practice of “getting into your body.”
She said her definition of spirituality is a connection to self, others and something bigger than herself. Hoehne said through yoga she increases her connection to self, improving all of the other aspects of her spirituality. In her experience growing up in the Church, Hoehne said she was taught ways to listen to the Spirit.
“I remember hitting a point where those things didn’t work the same and for a long time, I had a lot of self-judgment around that,” she said.
But she found that different practices, such as yoga, helped her discover different aspects of her beliefs. Hoehne said that learning to listen to her own intuition in turn helped her to listen to God.
At a Monday evening class at The Yoga Underground there were all types of people — young and old, individuals and families — all dressed in varying types of clothing. Some went right to a spot in the studio and set up their space and many greeted the class instructor like an old friend. Christine Wright, yoga and meditation instructor for over 15 years, led the Gentle Yoga practice.
She guided the students but always reassured them to take as much time as they needed in every pose and to move in whatever way felt good. At the end, while students were in savasana, she reassured them that they “have all the answers already inside” of them and closed with the mantra, “I am safe. I am grounded.”