Hot yoga changed Johnni Southerland’s life. And she’s getting national attention because of it.
The Evansville resident was featured in the February issue of Prevention magazine, a digest published by Rodale Press. Her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Jenna Bergen, is the fitness editor for the magazine, which wanted to highlight people who changed their lives through health and fitness.
Southerland, 60, credits hot yoga for that change. She began attending Yoga 101 after she retired from her job as a speech and language pathologist for preschoolers at the Metropolitan School District of Mount Vernon.
Her friend had asked her to take part in the class in January 2012, but Southerland was at first skeptical. She has trouble with her heel and knee, she says.
“The heat had hit me like a wall, but somehow I managed to make it through the first class,” she says. “Before I knew it, August had come and I had lost around 20 pounds.”
Southerland retired that same month, and it was around that time that Bergen contacted her to take part in the Prevention story.
“Since the Prevention story, I have been able to do yoga longer because my strength has increased,” she says. “For me, I did nothing for a really long time, and at the beginning it was challenging, to say the least. But with each class, I get stronger physically and mentally.”
Before yoga, Southerland didn’t have a healthy hobby. “Now, my mornings consist of making my bed and getting my Yoga stuff ready,” she says. “It’s amazing.”
Yoga 101 seeks to teach almost all its classes at a 110-degree temperature, says co-owner Jenni Juhl. And the teachers at Yoga 101 all have a different teaching style. Southerland says she has learned something varied from all of them.
“They have been great at modifying postures that I wasn’t able to do when I first started,” she says. “I think it’s a great studio, and it has not only improved my strength, flexibility, and balance, but also my life.”