The bluebird has been Missouri’s official state bird since 1927, but that’s far from its only significance.
“Also, there is the bluebird of health and happiness,” Sarah Pauzauskie said, recounting the tiny animal’s other symbolic meanings.
And that’s just what Pauzauskie and Ellen Niedringhaus, co-owners of Blue Bird Yoga, hope to bring to St. Charles. Nestled into a cozy studio above at 416 S. Main St., their new business opened in late February and now runs 18 sessions a week. Lasting from an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, classes are offered every day, with some meeting as early as 6:30 a.m. and others going as late as 8:30 p.m.
For Pauzauskie and Niedringhaus, a pair of former college roommates who went on to teach yoga at a studio in St. Louis County, the move is good for them and for their community. Niedringhaus lives only blocks from the studio, and Pauzauskie is from nearby St. Peters.
“We had been teaching previously in Chesterfield and Clayton, and we wanted to bring it closer to home for us,” Niedringhaus said. “Also, we just really want to build the yoga community in St. Charles and just introduce people to a different lifestyle, a healthier way so they have more energy and leave feeling refreshed and energized.”
So far they’ve gotten good response, developing a client base of more than 100 that stretches across the area. One individual drives all the way from Quincy, IL, about two hours from St. Charles.
That clients knew Pauzauskie and Niedringhaus from their previous jobs but new students are flocking to the studio as well finding out about it through fliers, as well as an ongoing promotion offering a month of sessions for free.
“It’s been a lot of word of mouth with people referring friends and people in the area,” Niedringhaus said.
St. Peters resident Whitney Kaibel heard about it at the bookstore where she works. She’s been doing yoga from DVDs since January, but Blue Bird is her first experience with a yoga class. Kaibel is on her second session.
“I like coming here a lot. Everyone is so friendly,” she said. “I like doing yoga because it helps me know my body better and become more flexible. I just feel more comfortable.”
Jo Gardner said she’d done yoga elsewhere but found the experience at Blue Bird more to her liking.
“I feel more welcome here,” said Gardner, who also travels from St. Peters. “Since I am new to yoga, it’s important that I don’t feel pressured or uncomfortable.”
She also enjoys the location.
“I love Main Street,” she said. “I love coming down this way, so I was thrilled when I heard there was a new yoga place.”
She’s not alone. The owners are fans of the area as well.
“We enjoy the ice cream next door, and it’s just been a really good little spot. We’re regulars at ,” Niedringhaus said of a nearby coffeehouse. “It’s been fun getting to know everybody.”
The space itself was an attraction as well. It’s even ringed by a wooden decade that commands a panoramic sweep of the waterfront.
“It’s beautiful,” Niedringhaus said. “The studio is naturally lit, allows a lot of sunshine, and the view of Frontier Park and the river is gorgeous. We’ve had a lot of people walk in and just say it really feels good here.”
Pauzauskie said that a yoga regimen can help build health and awareness of the body.
“We wanted to share yoga with St. Charles and its visitors and develop a community where people can come and support each other and their progress through yoga practice,” she said.
Niedringhaus agreed and said that yoga can be a very transformative experience and she’s glad the pair have a chance to introduce it to St. Charles.
“We just want to make yoga accessible to everyone that we can and share it with as many people as we can,” she said. “It helps people more than they realize until they actually give it a try. It can change people’s lives.”