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Center marks 5 years

By Staff | Apr 1, 2011

(Chronicle photo by Tyler Miller) Instructor JiJi Beckett Russell helps students Jeanne Fisher and Judy Bradshaw in the warrior pose. Harmony Healing Arts Center will celebrate its five-year anniversary this coming week.

The Harmony Healing Arts Center, at 207 E. New St., is celebrating its five-year anniversary this month. Instructors will offer a free week of classes to the public as a way to thank long-time supporters, and will also be an opportunity for locals to come see what Harmony is all about.

The center offers much more than just yoga, including crystal energy healing, massage therapy and more intimate one-on-one classes.

“Our classes are geared towards the interests of our students as their specific likes and dislikes and personal goals that they may have, as well as what our many instructors specialize in,” said Judy Jenner, a co-founder of Harmony.

Harmony has been around for over seven years now, and its founders JiJi Beckett Russell and Jenner are excited to see that the business has come so far.

“It’s hard to believe we have been in this space for five years now,” Beckett said.

“Seven years ago when we started, we were practicing all over town, at the Men’s Club and even the train station,” Jenner said.

With an average of 15 classes weekly classes and eight instructors, the Harmony family has grown and branched out quite a bit since then.

“We are committed to serving the community, and they have in turn positively embraced us,” Jenner said.

Beckett and Jenner both have a passion for yoga, but different paths led them to become instructors.

“I had a job in New York City as a writer back in the late ’90s, and that’s where I started practicing yoga,” Beckett said. “Eventually I felt more strongly for yoga than my job, and it just seemed like becoming an instructor was the next step.”

“Money was never our motivation,” Jenner said. “I retired and sold my beach house to make the dream a reality. Providing the local area with a place to practice yoga and dedicated teachers was something we felt was important.”

In addition to offering the ongoing Sunday morning meditation and Wednesday night yoga class, the center also offers as many free events as possible each month to bring people in and get them excited about yoga. Since the studio opened in 2006, over 500 free events have been offered.

Jenner said the center’s mission to practice safe and classical yoga while offering classes for students of varying skill level.

“My son is the one who originally pushed me to start practicing yoga, and now I love it,” said Judy Bradshaw, a Harmony regular.

Harmony has had many loyal students over the years, and the retention rate is very high, Beckett said. Some original students are now even instructors.

“I am a communications teacher at Shepherd University and have a busy schedule, and it’s nice that (Harmony) has so many classes to choose from,” said Jeanne Fisher, another regular.

Harmony’s free week of classes will run April 3 through 9. For more information, visit www.ssyoga.org.