On the mat // Green yogis in Linden Hills

Devanadi Yoga, a new studio near Lake Harriet, is a trailblazer in the local yoga community.

The small 525-square-foot studio, tucked behind the Bruley Center on West 43rd Street in Linden Hills, is the first yoga studio in the state to be certified by the Green Yoga Association for its environmentally friendly efforts.

The studio’s green practices include using non-VOC paint, controlling the thermostat to keep the building energy efficient and encouraging students to walk, bus or bike to class.

Tanya Boigenzahn Sowards, studio director/owner of Devanadi Yoga, said being green is “core value of the studio and it ties back to the yogic philosophy of doing no harm.”

“Minneapolis frequently ranks as one of the top green cities in the country, and minimizing our impact on the environment is important to us and our clients,” Boigenzahn Sowards said.

She has nearly 15 years of experience teaching yoga and is certified in several styles including ParaYoga, Ashtanga, Prenatal and Restorative, among others. She is one of only nine people in the world certified in ParaYoga, one of the fastest growing yoga styles in the country. Founded by Rod Stryker, it blends many ancient teachings from classical styles of yoga and Ayurveda. Each class includes chanting, meditation and pranayama (breath work).

The studio’s name is derived from the Sanskrit words “deva,” which translates as a free and shining being, and “nadi,” which means river, channel, nerves or pathways. Boigenzahn Sowards chose the name as a way to recognize all of the traditions she’s been studying over the years — yoga, Thai Yoga Bodywork, Ayurveda and energy medicine.

There’s been a big surge of interest in yoga recently with new studios popping up all over the Twin Cities. Colorado-based CorePower Yoga has been expanding at a fast pace since entering the market and now Life Time Fitness has opened a new yoga and Pilates boutique in Uptown.

So when asked what sets her studio apart, Boigenzahn Sowards said she’s focused on developing strong relationships with her students.

“We’re smaller,” she said. “My big commitment is that I want to know all of the students. We’re committed to building community, having people feel comfortable here, helping [them] grow their practice and identifying [their] needs.”

Classes range in size from 12 to 15 students.

Devanadi Yoga offers a wide variety of classes, everything from gentle yoga to Inner Fire Vinyasa, a more fast-paced class with advanced postures. People from a wide range of practice backgrounds, including beginners, are welcome at the studio, Boigenzahn Sowards said. Fall classes begin Sept. 13.

As for advice for newcomers to yoga, she said it’s important to be patient.

“One thing is that you have to give it some time,” she said. “You have to be willing to give yourself at least three months. Ideally, you’re doing yoga three times a week. If you’re doing other things, you got to fit it in. Be consistent and just show up and be open to whatever comes.”

In addition to classes, the studio offers teacher training programs and many wellness therapies, including Thai Yoga Bodywork, which is designed to stimulate the flow of healing energy in the body. Compared to a traditional massage, the practitioner works with the client on a variety of yoga-like stretches and does deep massaging.

“There should no goal other than that you want your client to leave feeling happier and more refreshed,” Boigenzahn Sowards said.

She got into Thai Yoga Bodywork on the West Coast after she got laid off during the dot-com bust. When she returned to Minnesota, she was one of the first people to offer the healing therapy.

Boigenzahn Sowards lives near the studio with her husband Jason Sowards (one of the brewers featured in the Journal’s cover story) and son River.

“It feels more like home to me. I really feel like I can express myself here,” she said of her new studio. “I feel more comfortable in my skin. … At the end of the day, it’s my energy — what I put into this produces the results.”

On the Mat is an occasional column in the Journal exploring the city’s yoga community.

Devanadi Yoga
2822 W. 43rd St.