Starting Yoga Business Wasn’t Much of a Stretch For Couple

We Yogis is a family affair for Trip, Arden, Graham, Diana, and Grayson Rodgers of Highland Park. (Staff photo: Allison Slomowitz)

On April Fools’ Day, Diana and Trip Rodgers mixed two unlikely elements at their Lovers Lane yoga studio: poses and happy hour. No joke.

“What else mixes worse than yoga and beer?” Diana asked with a laugh.

Actually, the concept pours into an overarching one at We Yogis: Yoga for all — be you old or young, curvy or thin, athletic or sedentary.

Besides, offbeat themes — such as a trust-building couple’s workshop on Valentine’s Day and the local-brew trump card from earlier this week — are apt to draw in shy clients, too.

“There’s a stigma guys have with yoga,” Trip explained, “and really, it’s a terrific workout.”

People of all ages are welcome at the couple’s sunny, upbeat studio, including seniors, babies and toddlers who arrive in strollers and on hips for lessons with their mothers, and special-needs children who learn to hold poses via songs, storytelling, and games.

“So much of their lives are spent in therapy,” Diana said of clients in the “Special Yogis” class. “Yoga is something they can come to as a fun activity, yet it’s still offering so many benefits.”

Some customers bring relatives on a whim. Others, including ’tweens, show up with friends for themed, age-specific classes and events, such as a “glow-stick party,” complete with dance music, slated for Friday evening.

Child care is even provided for “future yogis” (and yes, virtually everything on the studio’s menu has “we” or “yogi” worked into the name).

“I really wanted to have something where kids are welcome,” Diana said. That way, “it’s role modeling; you’re showing them the importance of exercise at an early age, and they’re not just left at home while mommy exercises.”

She and Trip are parents to Graham, 3; Arden, 6; and Grayson, 9. And home, in fact, is where the Rodgerses’ story begins.

Diana, whose background is in public health, began offering free yoga three times a week last summer at the family’s Highland Park home — or their garage, more specifically. Before long, the grassroots yoga group was large enough to spill onto the driveway. When We Yogis opened in September, it had a built-in client base.

One exercise-reluctant man lost 15 pounds in three months. Another newbie, Amy Gray, started showing up at 6 a.m. every weekday.

“The studio and its wonderful instructors have made a positive change in my life,” Gray said in an email. “As challenging poses are introduced, instructors remind everyone in the class that yoga progress is made in decades and to be patient with your body.”

And patience isn’t just for the young.

“Everything yoga does is about increasing balance and flexibility and strength,” Diana said, “which are all things you lose when you age.”

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