— By BRIAN SMITH
Sandra Vanatko is a science teacher of a different breed.
The owner of Indra’s Grace, a Weatherford yoga and meditation studio, is a Texas A&M graduate with majors in biology and chemistry. She believes her yoga and science background are a perfect fit.
“Yoga is the original physical therapy,” Vanatko said. “I love teaching yoga as a form of science. We’ve been given the tools of self-healing and it’s my passion to make sure they’re used properly.”
The studio, presently located at 409 W. 4th Street, will be moving in the next few weeks to 113 Church St. on the downtown square. Vanatko, who studied yoga in India for years after her collegegraduation opened the facility in January 2010 and, with almost exclusive word of mouth advertising, has grown to more than 200 students.
Because of the expansion, and the passion to help even more people, she decided to move closer into the city.
“We’re kind of tucked away here and not a lot of people know we’re around,” Vanatko said. “My students and the Weatherford community have been awesome in promoting us.”
Vanatko said her mother, who the studio is named after, had a profound influence in getting the studio started. A number of family members, including her mother, have lost battles with cancer. That alone fuels Vanatko’s will to promote health in everyone she meets.
The new facility has 2,100-square-feet of space, about double what she has at her current location. To further her business, it was simply time to expand.
“Many of my students like to hang out after class, relax, have a cup of coffee and that’s very hard here inside with the other businesses,” Vanatko said. “Many times, they’re stuck in the hallway and they have to keep their voices down.”
The move will also have other benefits with local acupuncturist Cherie Quinn moving into a space next door which Vanatko said will provide a kind of holistic center downtown.
Vanatko said yoga is perceived by many to be a fancy type of exercise which she wants to dispel.
“Yoga is for the masses,” Vanatko said. “I actually prefer working more one-on-one with people and spending my time dispelling the misconceptions of yoga.”
Classes are offered morning and evening for students of all ages. Vanatko says many of her students are in their 50s and 60s but she also had one that was 89 when she started.
Vanatko also offers breathing therapy, which includes the techniques of proper breathing, which include a slower, deeper, quieter and more regular breath. According to a brochure, proper breathing can help alleviate anxiety, panic attacks and depression also improve quality of life for those with asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases.
Vanatko says she plans on moving into her new location in early June, but is unsure of the date yet. For more information on Indra’s Grace, call 682-241-5020 or e-mail Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org.