Walking through the entrance, I am greeted by a smiling Whitney Whetten. At least I think she’s smiling, as she has smiling eyes and a mask covering the rest of her face, as do I.
“Welcome to Yoga Art Space,” she said warmly, and I felt at home. Located at 8338 Commanche Rd NE in Albuquerque, Yoga Art Space offers different types of yoga classes for different needs and skill levels.
There are beginner through advanced classes in Vinyasa, Hatha, and restorative yoga. Having suffered trauma in a past accident myself, the last one sounded interesting.
When I mentioned my accident, Whitney nodded and recommended I try a restorative yoga class. She explained that there are also props available to make some poses easier for people, and further explained the benefits to mobility, along with the mental well being and calmness yoga brings to people. As she walked me through her explanation, I was impressed at her knowledge and patience.
“Once Whitney realized Western medicine wasn’t her calling, she was also learning more about Eastern Medicine, and the idea that you treat the body before there’s a problem, versus after. That resonated with her.“
“We are taking Covid-19 very seriously here,” Whitney said as we walked past the lobby and into the studio proper. Her last class of the day had just filtered out, and we had the place to ourselves. There were some yoga supplies on the wall, normally meant for sharing, that had a large black ‘X’ across them, as sharing supplies right now isn’t possible.
“The state is allowing us to open at 25 percent in August, we have informed our members how that works, and our members have been terrific at following the spacing guidelines so everyone feels safe. Our members here are really wonderful.” Another grin broke out behind the mask, and I could tell she meant it.
Whitney shared her journey with me. “I was a biology major with a minor in dance at UNM, and I took lots of science while working as a medical assistant for an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.”
“I was on the path to become a doctor,” she went on, “but everything changed for me when I took a semester-long yoga class; it allowed me to get into a deep meditative state, and I knew it was important to recognize the positive effects it was having on me. I knew that no matter what, yoga would play a part in my life.”
Once Whitney realized Western medicine wasn’t her calling, she was also learning more about Eastern medicine, and the idea that you treat the body before there’s a problem versus after. That resonated with her.
“Yoga instructors are required to do 200 hours of teacher training, but I did 500,” Whitney said, smiling again.
Back in 2016, Whitney had a peer who was manager of a yoga studio, “Call Me Yoga.” When that studio closed, Whitney met the landlord and decided to take the leap herself. “We’ve been here four years, and to keep up with the unique time period we are in, I’m also offering hybrid classes on Zoom, something that’s a bit different than normal, but some of our members really appreciate it.”
We got to talking about Albuquerque, and what she thought of being a business owner here.
Whitney smiled again as she said, “Albuquerque is a fantastic place to have a business. It’s a small enough city where things feel personal, but big enough that there is a lot happening. New Mexico is great,” she went on. “There are always workshops available to teach business owners things they need to know. I am very happy to be an entrepreneur in Albuquerque, and excited about the future.”