Teaching yoga was something Sarah DeFoor previously only thought would be an option in retirement, after she left the video game industry which she has worked in for the last 25 years.

But not too long ago, after four years of practicing under Sue Hopkins at Etowah Valley Yoga in Cartersville, the Calhoun native made her mind up about her day job. She was tired of it. So she quit, opting to take her life on a different path, one shown to her by her experience with yoga.

“It’s one of those things you just want to share,” DeFoor said, adding that she focuses on therapeutic yoga, made accessible for all.

And now, DeFoor is making the final preparations on her new yoga studio — Yovana Yoga — before its grand opening on Saturday at 171 W. Belmont Drive, suite 6, next to World of Wings. Four free mini-classes, lasting 45 minutes, will be offered: Back care yoga, from 9-9:45 a.m.; all levels, 10:15-11 a.m.; chair-assisted yoga, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; and gentle and supported, 1:15-2 p.m.  To sign up for a class and view a full schedule go to the studio’s website at yovanayoga.com/schedule.

DeFoor returned to the U.S. in 2012, after almost a decade living abroad in Europe and Australia, taking on sales consulting jobs out of Atlanta. She made her home once again in Gordon County, settling in Ranger, and decided upon furthering her knowledge of yoga and sharing the benefits she personally experienced from it with her community.

After sustaining a series knee injury, DeFoor experienced elements of yoga in her physical therapy. When she finished therapy, she continued with yoga to help in her recovery, also finding relief for lingering back problems, which progressively went away as she continued her practice. 

“Most yoga teachers come to yoga because they’re broken,” DeFoor said. “I feel better now than I did 15 years ago.”

And it is not just the body which benefits from yoga practice, which is deeply-rooted in the stimulation of the mind simultaneously.

“Yoga is really about the whole body. People come to yoga and have a mind-body experience,” DeFoor said. “You’re much more aware of your body. You know where you’ve got problems.”

It was this mind-body experience DeFoor found which opened her to the change she wanted for her life, she said. Something like come to yoga to heal the back and come away with a realization about life.

“I saw it as a key to healthy aging,” she said.

DeFoor now models the easygoing nature she says all yogis find themselves adopting, becoming more present and attentive to the moment and the state of her mind and body.

Joining DeFoor in teaching are Rita Lusk and Jennifer Prescott, who practiced with her in Cartersville. And for those new to yoga, DeFoor said it’s important for people to remember to find a yoga practice that’s right for them. So as part of the grand opening, she is offering two weeks of unlimited classes for $25.

“It’s all about finding the right teaching for you,” she said.

DeFoor has had her aha moment, and now she wants to help to help the community have theirs too.