Five years ago, if you had told Beth Bauer that she would be the owner of a health and wellness center on the Long Beach Peninsula, she would have laughed. But yoga changes people; just ask her students. Bauer went to India five years ago as a software executive and 14 months later returned as a yoga teacher and freelance writer. She had every intention of fixing up her vacation home in Ocean Park and then renting it so she could travel the world, but she ran into one obstacle after another. Eventually, she realized those weren’t “obstacles.” They were signs that she was supposed to take another path.
Bauer approached her local Homeowners Association about teaching a Saturday yoga class in their building on a donation only basis, and they graciously agreed. She made flyers and went door-to-door, inviting her neighbors to yoga class. Many people chuckled in surprise, but one person showed up. Then there were two, and three. Soon, she needed more space, so she started teaching classes at the Timberland Library in Ocean Park. Now she teaches eight classes per week, and not long ago, she had a record 16 people in one class! It was apparent that it was time to get a space of her own.
For the past year, Bauer has been dreaming about a “Mindfulness Center” on the Long Beach Peninsula. She envisioned a place where the community could practice yoga, take a variety of health and wellness workshops, and perhaps get a massage, visit with a naturopath, and make like-minded new friends. She inspires to help heal old wounds and encourage them to live a happier and healthier life.
One day, as she was leaving the Ocean Park Post office, she looked across the street and saw a little sign hanging on a fence in front of a house. The sign read, “For Sale, Residential/Commercial.” She half-heartedly thought it would be a perfect place for a mindfulness center, but it was too soon. She didn’t feel ready. Bauer kept seeing that sign day after day, and eventually, a little voice inside her told her to go check it out and that she did.
The owners were inside the house, replacing the flooring when she walked in. They patiently answered her questions and showed her around. She tried to hide her enthusiasm, but deep inside, she knew it was meant to be. The next day she meditated about it and decided to write-up an offer. The current owners didn’t take her too seriously at first. Still, they negotiated a bit and finally came to an agreement. Bauer sold a handful of lifetime memberships to help raise the money she needed, and an angel investor and friend stepped-up with the rest. They opened escrow, and now “Jiva Yoga and Mindfulness Center” is scheduled to open in April.
If the name “Jiva Yoga” sounds familiar, it’s probably because Bauer also hosts the annual “Jiva Yoga Festival” on the Peninsula. This year’s festival will be the last weekend of August, and several people have already signed up even though Bauer hasn’t even opened registration yet. Her up-coming retreat in the San Juan islands sold out in only ten days. It’s apparent that the community is excited to have health-minded activities in their area and appreciate her inclusive approach to yoga. Bauer believes that “Yoga is for Every Body.”
Beth says that the key to success of Jiva Yoga and Mindfulness Center will be to find the right mix of business partners to share the center. She is actively inviting an acupuncturist, hypnotherapist, counselor, Naturopath, and other health and wellness practitioners to share the building. She’s already collaborating with Kelly Marie Dawson from Spokane to join her in teaching a wider variety of yoga classes and workshops at the new center. They will also provide private sessions and remote dial-in sessions for anyone wishing to join in live yoga classes or workshops via the internet. The health and wellness center will also carry a variety of retail items, such as signature label essential oil mixtures, tinctures, salves, cork yoga mats, mindfulness jewelry, blocks, and other health and wellness products.
Bauer says, “I am overwhelmed with the love and support from the community as I launch this new adventure.” She’s witnessing an extraordinary transformation in people, and her excitement about the opportunity to build something positive for friends and neighbors is infectious. Her vision and mission statement for Jiva Yoga and Mindfulness Center is “To improve the overall health and happiness of the community through yoga, meditation, pranayama (breathwork), and other workshops and to establish a sense of community where mindfulness and wellness is a priority.” If you would like more information about the new mindfulness center, you can reach Beth Bauer through her Jiva Facebook page, or on her lifestyle blog at www.thejourneyofbethb.com.