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Changing Lives with Griffin Power Yoga
by Cody Moore, photography by Kayla Broadway

For the past 11 years, Jonesboro resident Courtney Griffin has devoted countless hours of her time to both practicing and teaching yoga in different parts of the world. Today, Griffin owns and operates Griffin Power Yoga, a diverse yoga studio located in the heart of Jonesboro.

Before opening Griffin Power Yoga in September, Griffin recalls one of the main reasons she decided to pursue her yoga journey and take it on as a full-time career.

“In 2011, my life was a mess,” said Griffin. “I was divorced, in an unfulfilling relationship and was just really needing a big change in my life. I was depressed, unhealthy and scared.”

Living between Detroit, Mich., and Effingham, Ill., at the time, one of her close friends recommended she attend a yoga boot camp in Austin, Texas, with yoga instructor Baron Baptiste. Griffin had been half-heartedly practicing yoga and was desperately seeking something that had the potential to shift her life in a positive direction.

“It was the most powerful, life-changing thing I had ever done, aside from having children,” said Griffin. “It was from that training that I learned I was living my life through a lens of false beliefs about myself that I had developed in my childhood. Needless to say, I was intrigued and frightened at the same time. I knew that in order to really have a big change in my life, I was going to have to do a lot of hard work.”

By 2015, Griffin had completed a 200-hour power vinyasa training, a 500-hour vinyasa training and received her Tier One Baptiste Certification. Her yoga trainings took her to beautiful places like Africa, Mexico and Costa Rica. Throughout the process of receiving her certifications, she found her true calling in life. She also began to see a positive change in herself, as well as in her personal relationships.

“Through my yoga training, I learned how to heal my relationships with my children, my family and friends,” said Griffin. “I am now happily married to my best friend, who happens to be my ex-husband and the father of our three children. It’s crazy, I know; but when you really, really learn to believe in yourself, anything is possible. This is what inspires me to stay in yoga.”

In 2013, Griffin moved back to Jonesboro to help her daughter, Stevie, and son-in-law, Corey Leonard, with their new twin girls and 14-month-old son. Griffin worked for both St. Bernards Health & Wellness and Nirvana Hot Yoga in Downtown Jonesboro before following her grandchildren to New Orleans in 2014. There, Griffin worked as a yoga instructor for Free to Be Power Yoga.

In May 2017, after commuting between New Orleans and Jonesboro, Griffin permanently moved back Jonesboro to settle down with her family and prepare for the birth of her fifth grandchild. She taught at Nirvana Hot Yoga before deciding to open her own studio and introduce the Jonesboro community to the yoga practice that changed her life.

“Jonesboro yoga seems to be centered around hot yoga or yoga done in a room at 100-plus degrees,” said Griffin. “We are not a hot yoga studio. We do heat the classes, but the power vinyasa flow is designed to build heat from the inside out by linking ujjayi breath to movement. Our studio is state-of-the-art with radiant heating panels in the ceiling and the most amazing yoga floor that is cushioned to protect the joints. We do not have mirrors, either, and this requires students to really be in tune with where their bodies are in space.”

Griffin Power Yoga offers multiple classes a day, such as the heated power vinyasa flow yoga, non-heated flow yoga, gentle yoga and restorative yoga.

“The heated power flow is a dynamic class linking breath to movement, while the non-heated flow is a little slower but still links breath to movement without the heat,” said Griffin. “The gentle yoga is a slow flow to move your body with restful poses added. Restorative yoga uses props such as bolsters, blankets, straps and blocks to get your body in a restful pose so you can release and relax.”

Griffin Power Yoga also offers a variety of yoga merchandise for guests to purchase while visiting the studio.

“We carry an excellent array of yoga mats and accessories,” said Griffin. “We are the only studio in Jonesboro to carry Lululemon gear in our store.”

Since opening her studio, Griffin has given Jonesboro’s yoga community a safe space to express themselves and open their minds to multiple types of yoga.

“The response from the community has been so great,” she said. “We continue to grow, and our students are learning new ways to practice. Everyone seems to really enjoy what we are up to here at Griffin Power Yoga.”

How would you describe Griffin Power Yoga to potential students?
We are truly a diverse yoga community. On any given day, you will see A-State students, professors, retirees, business people, moms and people just having fun together. We laugh a lot here in the studio and try not to take ourselves too seriously.

What are the health and fitness benefits of yoga?
The benefits include overall increased muscle strength and tone, increased flexibility and stability, improved respiration, energy and vitality, weight reduction, improved cardio health and athletic performance. Yoga can also reduce stress through meditation and breath awareness.

What is something about yoga that the public might not know?
There are two really important things:
1. You do not have to be flexible to do yoga or know the poses. It is a practice, which means you simply learn as you go.
2. It is not a religion and was never a religion. There are no gods or idols except whatever you as an individual choose to believe. I was raised in a Christian home, and now, because of my yoga, have a much deeper walk in my own personal faith.

What classes would you recommend for first-time yoga students?
We offer several options for the beginner. Basics is offered twice a week, and you will learn names of poses, how to modify for your body and little tidbits to make your practice more fun. The non-heated flow classes are great if you don’t want the heat but feel that you still want to move. Gentle and restorative yoga are slower and easier and are great for everyone. Our Sunday evening restorative class is usually full of students or business people looking to unwind.

Where can the public find a schedule of Griffin Power Yoga’s weekly classes?
We have our own Griffin Power Yoga app, which is available in the smartphone app store. Our app gives the full schedule while also allowing students to book classes or workshops and pay for them on their smartphone. Our schedule is also available online at griffinpoweryoga.com, where you can book and pay for classes, as well.

What brands do you carry in your boutique section?
We carry Lululemon, Liforme, Manduka and Jade yoga mats and gear. Our boutique also has a really eclectic mix of bracelets, shirts, sweatshirts, books, water bottles and yoga clothing.

What are some of the best-selling items in your boutique?
Lululemon and Liforme yoga mats are some of our best sellers. The Peace, Love and Griffin Power Yoga sweatshirt is a big hit. We are looking to carry more lines of yoga clothing, as well as after-yoga loungewear, in the new year.

Where do you see Griffin Power Yoga in the future?
Oh, wow. I see us growing and being a big part of Jonesboro. Yoga is such a great tool for getting to know yourself on a much deeper level, and when you practice with others, you create friendships that last a lifetime.

What is the most rewarding part of owning Griffin Power Yoga?
Meeting so many interesting and great people. I have lived in Jonesboro on and off for 33 years, and this studio has connected me to the public in a much bigger way.

Griffin Power Yoga is located at 1115 S. Caraway Road and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Saturday from 8-10:45 a.m. and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. To stay updated about monthly specials and to view a detailed schedule of classes, find Griffin Power Yoga on Facebook, visit griffinpoweryoga.com or download the Griffin Power Yoga app.