By Elizabeth Anna Valla
Columbus Telegram, Neb.
Melinn Williams was the picture-perfect career woman.
Bachelor’s degree? Had it. Master’s degree? Had that, too.
It’s as though this Osceola country girl was born without a pause button.
Williams knew what she wanted out of life and was busy climbing her way up the corporate ladder.
After graduating with her master’s in organizational leadership from College of Saint Mary, she landed her dream job, got married and moved back to Osceola.
Even the 85-mile move didn’t phase her, as she decided to keep her job in Omaha as director of revenue services for an accounts receivable company while commuting back and forth.
But nearly two years in, Williams started realizing she was just going through the motions.
Wake up at 5 a.m., fight morning traffic, get to work, work, leave work, fight the evening traffic and finally return home around 7 p.m.
“I was in the car over three hours a day,” she said. “I was burnt out.”
In an attempt to stay in shape while trying to bring a little peace to her hectic lifestyle, Williams looked for an outlet outside her job and car.
She toyed with the idea of joining a gym close to work but had some reservations.
“I had done all the regular exercises before and my knees were begging me for something new to do,” she said.
The only time she had free was over the lunch hour so she went on the hunt for something active yet relaxing.
“I was like, ‘Well I guess I can give yoga a shot?'” she said.
Williams started going to Omaha’s Lotus House of Yoga, which was different from the yoga she tried a few times at her gym in college. This was a serene studio, away from all the hustle and bustle.
There she was on her mat, stretching, meditating, throwing out all the day’s worries, all while exercising.
“It started to become so much more than the physical practice, but more of a mental peace of mind — a stress reliever,” she said.
Williams noticed her body toning and tightening and her thoughts were becoming clearer and she was adopting a calmer aura. It was a win-win.
To deepen her meditating and calming experience she decided to go a step further by taking a teaching course through the studio.
Williams began to recognize something bigger than she had expected to receive from her yoga experience.
“I started to feel called to do yoga, to guide other people, to help them feel the way I felt when I did yoga,” she said. “I felt my purpose was to help people and I didn’t feel like I was helping people at my job in Omaha.”
She began to daydream about what it would be like to teach yoga.
“I was manifesting that I already had a studio, what it looked like, how did it feel, what did I want to do,” she explained.
“I put myself in a situation where I was already in my studio, which sounds crazy, because I didn’t even have one yet.”
In May she decided to leave her job, the career she had worked so hard to obtain, to follow her newfound calling — owning her own yoga studio.
“My husband said go for it, so I did,” she said. “I couldn’t do what I wanted to do with yoga if I was always commuting back and forth with my job.”
Williams opened her first yoga studio at 120 Hawkeye St. in Osceola just one month after quitting her job.
But being the career-minded woman she is, there was still room for growth.
In July, she heard about a studio in Columbus used by photographers who spend their winters in Belize.
“Just on a whim I called them and everything merged together in such a ridiculously easy way that it worked out perfectly,” Williams said.
In September, the 30-year-old yoga entrepreneur opened her second studio, making downtown Columbus the newest location at 2417 13th St.
Williams wants people to know yoga is much more than lying down on a comfy mat and doing a few stretches.
“It helps build strength and flexibility. We also do breath work, which can be used on and off the mat. We do meditation, restorative poses that help relieve some of the pains you may have in your body and relaxation,” she said.
To Williams, yoga is not just another exercise for the body, but something deeper, an exercise for the mind.
“Mindfulness is the practice of looking at something, recognizing it, acknowledging it, then letting it go,” she explained.
“You shouldn’t be stressing and working your life away because then you’re missing the little moments that really count,” Williams said.
Her classes cater to those who want a full-on sweaty workout while also offering candlelit classes for those looking for an exercise that gives them time to relax and reflect.
She also stresses that being lean is not a prerequisite to partake.
“Yoga is really for any body type,” Williams said, “and for anyone looking to change up their physical activity or add to it.”
Through the month of December she is offering a 10 percent discount for classes and 15 percent off unlimited membership packages. The first class is free for those who want to try it out.
For more information, call 402-710-0303 or visit www.beyouyogastudio.com. The studio is also on Facebook at Be You Yoga.