Yoga Studio Combines Mind, Body and Spirit in Lincoln Heights
Beli Ponce is a highly educated “yogi” and proud owner of Om House Yoga Studio in Lincoln Heights. Her story of how she got to this place in life is one of following your heart and jumping into life feet first.
“I came to UTSA from Laredo, and I was a psychology major,” Ponce said. “It just so happened that at the same time I came upon yoga, and it was unique how my two passions combined. At one time I was learning both the practice of yoga and also how to be present and mindful. The two parts of my life colliding were no coincidence.” Ponce applies her background in psychology to her teaching of yoga. She believes the time one spends on the mat is symbiotic of what’s happening in the student’s everyday life. “Yoga gives you the tools to be aware of every single part of your body including your thoughts,” she said. “How you face challenges while on the mat is the same way you face challenges in everyday life.”
Once Ponce graduated from UTSA, she went on to earn a master’s degree in organizational development from University of Incarnate Word, and during her time there, her approach to yoga evolved.
“I was trained with Ashtanga yoga, which is very traditional, but during my time at Incarnate Word, I was teaching yoga to all types of different people,” she said. “I was teaching the staff, the athletes, and more, and it made me realize I wanted to create a place where everyone feels welcome to come practice, even if they’re not a stereotypical yogi.”
After graduating from UIW, Ponce opened Om House Yoga Studio on East Basse Road. She chose to design the studio space in a more contemporary, out of the box yoga look, and she also combined traditional practice with personal, unique touches.
“I wanted the studio to be a place where everyone feels welcome to come practice,” Ponce said. “Yoga can be intimidating, and I wanted to make sure anyone who has an interest will feel comfortable coming to try it out. The first step is trying a class. The rest will eventually come along with it.”
One of the rooms in the studio is traditional, with no mirrors and classic Ashtanga teachings. The other is uniquely crafted by Ponce, with thermo-red heat panels, a softer floor and fun, upbeat music.
“In that room I have workouts that I make my own,” she said. “We mix it up with heated yoga, power flow and fun pop or techno music. There’s something for everyone.” Ponce’s studio has been open just a year, and the community has rallied around it, embracing it.
“It’s been incredible to watch the business grow,” she said. “Our growth has come from within, because my students love it so much they bring their mothers, sisters, cousins, friends to a class and then we grow even more. We are growing from the inside out, and I look forward to down the road launching an entire brand.” Classes can be found throughout the morning to midday hours.
BY CHRISTIE CUTHBERT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AL RENDON