|New owner of Mint Yoga Studio, Nikki Owens, in her pristine and serene setting.|
By Chuck Keller
I’d like to introduce you to Nikki Owens. She is dynamic, confident, knowledgeable, and capable. She is a Black businesswoman who holds a PhD and you can feel her energy and determination and joy. And she is the new owner of Mint Yoga Studio.
Nikki Owens took ownership of Mint Yoga on December 31, 2020. She had been thinking of owning a studio and then things just aligned in a way to make it happen. She smiles and says, “I wouldn't have pursued this if I didn’t have the qualifications.”
How does she feel about taking on the studio? “It’s great….It’s exciting, having been connected to Fort Thomas for many years, to have a business here. That’s a blessing. There are not many of us, in terms of teachers of color who are actively practicing in Northern Kentucky and teaching. And, as far as I know, I am the only woman of color who has a studio in Northern Kentucky.” And Mint Yoga, located in the middle of town in the Hiland Building, is a prime gathering space for area yoga enthusiasts.
Tiffany Brennan, the former owner, was one of Owens’ students years ago. She says of Owens that “She’s lovely and supportive of me. She was the right person” to take the yoga studio. Owens says that, “My passion brought me to this point.“ But then she adds, “It’s nurturing to my spirit, It calms my mind. It helps me to be flexible not only in poses but flexible to handle life.” That’s a great life lesson.
Teaching yoga is a natural development for Owens since she holds a PhD in Educational Foundations with an emphasis in Educational Sociology and Education Anthropology and taught in academia for many years. But she always practiced yoga. She says that she “Managed self-care by managing my practice.” So taking the yoga studio is a natural progression of merging her deep understanding of education with her passion for yoga. It only makes sense that Mint Yoga will now be a teaching studio for those who wish to pursue that study in more depth for either personal fulfillment or to become a yoga instructor.
Owens has established four guiding words for the yoga teacher program - “Discover. Train. Teach. Inspire.” - that indicate the direction and intention of the program. Students will follow a 200 hour course where they will learn yoga anatomy and philosophy and how it relates to postures and variations of postures, breathing techniques, and the language of yoga. They will observe classes and then “when you have practiced and taught a significant amount of hours you become eligible to train and lead classes,” she says. The first class has already begun. Students who successfully complete the course will be recognized by Yoga Alliance, the national professional organization.
In addition to maintaining the yoga instruction that the community has come to expect, Owens says the new teaching program will appeal to someone who wants to become a teacher “at some point in their journey” or it will appeal to someone who is eager to learn more for their own benefit. And that was, oddly enough, the path that Owens originally followed. “I just wanted it because yoga had been so good to me. I wanted to learn more. The rest is history.”
COVID, of course, forced businesses to be flexible, something that comes naturally to yoga teachers, but also created other valuable ways to conduct business. Owens says that “We also provide online and live streaming classes to accommodate COVID” but also some “people feel uncomfortable and it’s worked out really well.” And she is thinking about offering yoga retreats but that is, she says, “Further on down the road.”
Nikki Owens observed that “I am proud that this is a Black owned business and a woman owned business and proud that we can have an excellent teaching yoga studio right here in Fort Thomas that is accessible here in the Greater Cincinnati area. Everybody here has been trained. They either meet or exceed the hours and levels of training. So you are in good hands. You come here to experience an authentic yoga class where you practice breath, you explore meditation, you get those stretches, you develop that strength, and learn about stillness.”
Owens says, “The reason why I teach yoga is why I practice it. It’s important to me. “
Mint Yoga Studio is located in the Hiland Building at 18 North Fort Thomas Avenue. For more information contact Mint Yoga at mintyogastudio.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-442-2600.