Yola Johnson

Name & Hometown:

Yola Johnson

I currently live Downriver, on the beautiful island of Grosse Ile, MI.  I grew up in Loves Park, Illinois (about 60 miles west from Chicago) to Polish immigrants.  Yola is a common Polish name and very fitting for a Yoga teacher.  Many of my students will forget and call me Yoga instead of Yola.   

Who or What inspired you to be a Yoga Instructor:

My journey of how I came to be a yoga teacher started when I was very young.  As a child I had stomach and body aches that would hinder my well being in the form of mental fog, numbness of limbs, and depression.  My weight would creep up and drop down like a roller coaster as I could never sustain feeling well..  I was among the many who would try countless diets to see if it would improve my aches and pains.  And moving my body was such a chore from all the pain.  The ice baths, swallowing Ibuprofen like it was candy, and climbing out of bed was a survival challenge.  I struggled for about 25 years on this roller coaster of weight, pain and depression.  

I moved to Arizona on my own (without knowing a single person) to see if I could reduce my stress and live in low humidity to help my body with my aches.  The weather was amazing and the sunshine helped so much after being in the gray skies of Illinois and Ohio.  Reducing my stress helped some, but when I attended my first free yoga class in AZ, this class helped the most.  I was hooked.  I had never felt so good in my own body.  I had no aches and pains immediately following the class.  These good feelings didn’t last long, so I had to return to the class over and over.  I loved that my journey eventually brought me to yoga and I learned a great deal about myself in the process.               

Describe your style of yoga

I was trained in Hatha yoga, however after teaching various ages and abilities, I find that I blend many different yogic styles.  I pull in Kundalini, Power, Yin, Hatha, chair and sometimes different hot yoga poses.  My main focus these last few years is on building strength and balance in the lower body while learning to transition from different poses.  (Example half-moon to warrior 3, to king of the dancers pose)   My students work to balance and transition in these challenging poses, at their own pace and ability.  

What’s your favorite yoga pose ?  

The more I teach I find that my favorite poses change over time.  Right now I am in love with the plank.  All the different modifications and movements are so inspiring to make the plank fun and challenging at the same time. 

What brings you to the mat ? 

A curiosity within myself to learn more about what my body can do.   Also it is the time I give for myself to destress and find peace.   

If you teach, where ? 

I am currently teaching classes on ZOOM.     Prior to COVID-19, I was teaching at:  Yoga 4 Peace, Gibraltar Community Center, a private class in Wyandotte, Perfect Place Drop-In Center, Applewood Nursing Home, and a private class on Grosse Ile. 

How has being a member of YAGD  helped you in your yoga career:  

I just joined YAGD, and then COVID hit…  

Do you have a favorite yoga story, from your teaching experience ?  

Not a single story, but when I have the pleasure of teaching a new student (first timer) and I am able to connect with them in such a deep and profound way that I am able to witness their release of emotions during savasana.  Most students do not understand why they are crying, but I know from experience that the class touched them in such a way that they were able to release, and find the relief that they need.  I love when that happens.  It happened to me years ago and I feel such joy for those students!  

Is there anything else you would like to add ? 

I am a mother of three young kids (11, 9, 5) and a wife to a wonderful husband.  We have a beautiful life filled with travel, kids sports and spending time on the water.  I am blessed to be able to teach yoga but in my spare time I have opened a small catering business with my partner, Dora Witczak, called The Rustic Table. 

The Rustic Table services small to medium groups of people (no more than 75). We offer soups, appetizers, charcuterie boards, sauces and dressings, as well as certain main dishes.  All of our recipes are from scratch, and we are able to accommodate allergies, vegan, & vegetarian.

Not only will we deliver food to you & your guests, but we also have private cooking classes where we teach you in the privacy of your own home!  Our website is currently being renovated, but you can call me at 734-512-8916 for more information.