As a scientist with a PhD. in microbiology, Cody resident Laura Vanderberg started practicing yoga in 2003 while living on the East Coast.
“I started going to yoga classes and really loved it,” Vanderberg said. “I was having some health issues from stress, and those went away.” After Vanderberg practiced yoga daily for a short period of time, her eating habits changed and she noticed a significant shift.
“You start taking care of yourself, and suddenly things start taking care of themselves in a better way,” Vanderberg said.
Now she is a 500-hour level registered Yoga Alliance teacher, a certified yoga therapist through the Association of Yoga Therapists, a professional coach, and founder and owner of Here Yoga Wellness and More. As the least expensive yoga studio in Wyoming, it offers a variety of services for people of all ages who want to explore the balance of body and mind.
“If you listen to your body, it’ll tell you what it needs to eat,” Vanderberg said. “A lot of times we are very much in our heads, and we disconnect. When you practice yoga, you start to listen to your body.”
According to T.K.V. Desikachar, a renowned yoga teacher who lived from 1938 to 2016, “Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser, more able to understand things than they were before.”
“The practice of yoga is about calming the mind,” Vanderberg said. “In the course of doing that, we do movements that we call poses or postures and all of those different movements actually help us be able to achieve different things.”
She decided to become a yoga teacher after wanting to get a different kind of yoga practice.
“In a group class, you only get a piece of it, but you don’t get the whole big picture,” Vanderberg said. “Teacher training is an opportunity to learn about the entire system of yoga.”
Vanderberg’s first yoga teacher, Ann Richardson Stevens, led Vanderberg to teacher training. Stevens also taught Vanderberg’s first teacher training class and hired her for her first teaching job in Virginia Beach.
“Laura was a dedicated student at the time,” Stevens said. “She was eager to learn and move deeper into the practice. Becoming a teacher was a natural next step.”
Stevens is the founder and co-owner of Studio Bamboo in Virginia Beach.
“I am so proud of all that she has accomplished and what she continues to do for her community,” Stevens said.
Vanderberg has been teaching and has owned Here Yoga Wellness and More for 11 years. She also has collaborated in the past with local physical therapist Linda Brown for yoga and exercise classes taught at the Cody Recreation Center.
Personally, Vanderberg offers private yoga classes, yoga therapy sessions for chronic health issues, coaching, teacher training services, and group classes at her studio.
“The community piece is what I love,” Vanderberg said. “I like helping people live more peacefully and easily, and yoga is a great way to do that.”
Here Yoga Wellness and More offers group classes taught by different instructors, massages given by Samantha Lanchbury, and Sunday afternoon T’ai Gi (Chinese form of moving meditation) classes taught by Abi Hu, which is a by-donation class to Park County Animal Shelter.
Other classes taught at the studio are: Full Circle Fitness for people over 50 who want to stay healthy and active; Restorative Yoga on Mondays at 4:15; Gentle Yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 A.M.; Energizing Yoga on Saturday mornings; and Active Flow Yoga every other Tuesday night.
“We are about community and about meeting people where they’re at,” Vanderberg said. “The beauty of yoga is that it’s a very forgiving practice. If you can breathe, you can do it.”
Here Yoga Wellness and More charges $10 for a drop-in class but also offers discount packages such as 10 classes for $80. CHS students are welcome to use the student card yoga teacher Mike Riley donated for students to take any class for free. A student packet is 50% off.
“We don’t call classes beginner, intermediate or advanced because everyone is always welcome,” Vanderberg said. “The teachers who teach here have a philosophy to meet people where they’re at whether they’ve been here 10 years or have just started. It doesn’t matter, because as the teacher, I’ll offer modifications to poses so that both of them can get what they need from the practice without its being an issue.”
Vanderberg also became a part of Travel Yogi this year and plans to lead a week-long vacation to France beginning September 22.
“It’s an opportunity to travel with a bunch of laid back travelers and stay at amazing places,” Vanderberg said. “It’s cost effective in a way for people to explore different places.”
She has been leading trips for 10 years and loves being able to offer them to her students and others in the community.
“We do yoga twice a day and go experience the culture, the history, geography and food and customs,” Vanderberg said.
She has led trips to South America, the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, and Spain and is expecting many more trips in the future.
But focusing on the Here and now, she had a message for CHS students and staff:
“When finals come, come to yoga,” she said. “Everyone is welcome.”