Zen's Den in the Local News- April 3, 2018
North Coventry >> Tricia Reedy Jones believes everyone should have access to a yoga class.
To help make that possible, Reedy Jones has opened Zen’s Den Yoga, which shares space with Body Go Fitness at 1033 South Hanover Street, North Coventry. Zen’s Den Yoga opened in February.
Reedy Jones currently teaches two classes per week, but it is the fee structure for the studio that sets it apart. Zen’s Den classes are donation-based — meaning class members pay what they can afford. Her suggested donation range is $5 to $20.
“The idea of the donation-based business model is that yoga then becomes available and affordable to anybody — not just those that can afford to pay a $15 or $20 fee per class,” she said about her new studio.
Reedy Jones uses the term “conscious donations” to describe her business model.
“People give what is affordable to them in their budgets. The idea is that maybe one week you can give $5, another week $15 — but you’re making yoga a regular part of your life. Those who can give more can help sustain the business for those who can’t,” she added.
Reedy Jones has been teaching yoga for more than 10 years. Her background includes in home and personal coaching for seniors and those recovering from eating disorders. When Reedy Jones and her husband relocated from Maryland to the Pottstown-area 11 years ago, she began teaching yoga classes at the Pottstown and Spring Valley YMCAs.
In her mind though, was the idea of either a non-profit or donation-based yoga studio.
“Not only because I wanted yoga to be accessible, but for me to have yoga as my way of providing service to people,” she said.
In her research, Reedy Jones found that Zen’s Den is the only donation-based yoga studio in Montgomery County. She said she talked with a couple of non-profit yoga studio owners in Philadelphia and Virginia who had set fees for classes, but that see people shy away from paying $8 or $10.
“The more I thought about this donation-based studio idea, I felt like this was something I really wanted to spearhead in this area,” she said.
Reedy Jones emphasized that she isn’t offering free yoga classes, but a model she believes makes the practice of yoga affordable for everyone.
Since opening in February, Reedy Jones said she is attracting clients who might not otherwise be able to attend a class, “mostly limited income older adults and young working professionals who are on a budget.”
She also has a commitment to reaching seniors, low income residents and other under-served populations to offer yoga — but who don’t have transportation or other means of accessing it.
“If the people I am trying to reach who don’t have access aren’t coming to class, then I may need to go to them,” she said, adding that some of the donations that come in may allow her to take yoga out into the community.
Some of the physical benefits of yoga, which Reedy Jones called a “connection of the physical body with the mind” include: strengthening and stretching the muscles, reduced blood pressure, reduced heart rate, reduced anxiety and depression and insomnia.
Reedy Jones currently teaches two classes per week — both on Thursday evening. The first is a gentle/beginner class designed for students at all levels. The class is described on the website as a “calming, stress-relieving yoga class to help you stretch and strengthen the body gradually.”
The second class is an intermediate flow class, which Reedy Jones described as more “physical.” According to the website description, students “can expect a great cardiovascular and strength building workout while finding balance and calming in the mind and nervous system.”
Reedy Jones received her yoga certification initially through YogaFit, and has completed a 200 hour training through Power Yoga Works. Once she completed that training she began reaching out to area yoga studios.
Among those she reached out to was Rachel Newby, who owns Body Go Fitness. Newby liked what she heard about Reedy Jones’ business model and said the two “clicked” right away.
“Pottstown is a little bit of a yoga desert. I’m hoping we may be able to open it up to people who might not normally do it,” Newby said, adding that she is a firm believer in the benefits of yoga for everyone.
“People don’t like to admit they don’t have the budget for fitness. Of all the modalities of exercise, however, yoga is the most accessible — it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.”
Zen’s Den Yoga offers two classes on Thursday evening, the gentle class from 6 to 7 p.m. and the intermediate flow class from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. Reedy Jones said she is looking to add more classes later this spring.
Zen’s Den Yoga and Body Go Fitness will host an open house on Saturday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free fitness and yoga classes will be offered, as well as refreshments. Those attending are asked to bring a canned food item as a donation.