“Everyone thought it was a joke that I was playing on Copper,” said yogi and business owner Amanda Menezes, remembering the April 1 opening of the first yoga studio in Copperopolis.
Perhaps it was a sign of how right Menezes was in her belief that the town of country folk, lake vacationers and golfing retirees sorely needed a local spot for physical and spiritual rejuvenation.
“It was just something tugging at my heart,” said the Copperopolis native and mother of two, who hatched the idea roughly five years ago when she began to tire of her long commute to the gym. “It’s just something that’s been missing from Copper. There’s not a lot of health and wellness awareness.”
Despite their initial disbelief, locals of all ages have enthusiastically attended the wide range of classes that Menezes offers at Meraki Asana Yoga and Detox Studio, including high-intensity interval training, Zumba and yoga for any experience level.
“It’s just a nice thing to do for yourself. And what needs to be stressed is it’s a no-judgement spot,” said Jeanine Kerr, who had just finished a morning Sweat and Stretch class. “I couldn’t wait for her to open up. … This was a blessing for me.”
Another student, Don Kurtz, echoed that the town was “blessed” with the addition of Menezes and her studio. The 68-year-old Copper resident had practiced yoga on and off over the years, but was limited to watching instructional videos on his TV. Since attending Meraki Asana, Kurtz said he has made substantial improvements in his flexibility, strength and coordination.
Menezes, who considers herself a “clinical study kind of person,” is keen expound the scientifically-proven benefits of yoga, such as improving strength and balance in the elderly and those with ailments. She strives to extend those opportunities to all, which is why one of her instructors offers a chair yoga class.
Menezes also speaks of the intersection between Eastern and Western medicine, specifically as it pertains to the infrared saunas (with chromotherapy and bluetooth technology) installed in her studio.
The saunas, which can be booked for private sessions, detoxify the body, promote weight loss and help alleviate a range of conditions, according to Menezes. The chromotherapy, with different light colors inducing different treatments, is believed to realign the chakras and has clinically-proven health benefits.
In the near future, Menezes plans to incorporate more detox elements into her “overall wellness package,” including Himalayan salt bricks for further purification. She will also bring in a POUND fitness class for a rockin’ workout as well as trapeze yoga.
Conveniently located on Cosmic Court, Meraki Asana is much more than a yoga studio. But at the end of the day, Menezes’ ultimate goal remains the mental clarity that yoga can provide.
The Greek word meraki means “put love into your practice,” and asana is Sanskrit for “body posture.” Throughout her class, Menezes allows students to connect with their mind and body at their own pace, while promoting relaxation with essential oils and meditative music.
“I feel like, a lot of days, we’re stuck a lot into the tech world, and it kind of brings us away from that,” Menezes said. “When is the last time you actually thought about your breath? Being present in the here and now and aware of your surroundings, and find your happiness within that.”
For more information on classes and schedules, visit the Meraki Asana Facebook page or use the MINDBODY app.