Rachel Strom is bringing her love of yoga to her hometown.
Born and raised in Little Falls, Strom opened Radiant Light Yoga on March 1. Located at 62 E. Broadway, the studio offers high-paced classes for those looking for a heavy workout all the way to meditative and relaxing sessions for those looking to wind down at the end of a stressful day.
“I was working in a CrossFit gym and they had a yoga instructor there, which is pretty rare for a CrossFit gym,” Strom said. “They wanted to give their members and instructors an opportunity to stretch. I fell in love with it.”
She said what appealed to her right off the bat was the way yoga allows people to focus on both their physical and mental health. While people of all skill levels are stretching and promoting their physical fitness, they are also taking time for themselves.
Strom said anybody can participate in yoga, regardless of their fitness level or athletic ability.
“That aspect of taking care of yourself from a mental health and stability perspective is just as important as being flexible and the physical aspects of yoga,” she said. “Yoga is for everybody, and there’s something in yoga for everybody.”
Strom, along with the other two coaches at Radiant Light, Mary Ann Wilkens and Becki Rodeen Derr, are all Yoga Alliance trained and certified. Prior to opening her studio in Little Falls, she ran a nutrition club in St. Cloud, where she currently lives, and works at Rockin Nutrition! in Pierz. At the latter, she has been able to teach pound fitness — which is a high-energy combination of yoga and Pilates set to music — along with several of the more meditative disciplines within yoga.
A lack of good studio availability in St. Cloud left her looking outside of town to get things off the ground. Eventually, her uncle contacted her about commercial space he owned that was available — which also happened to formerly be a yoga studio.
“When one door closes for one person, one door opens for another,” Strom said.
Classes, both high- and low-energy, are taught in the mornings on Friday and Saturday along with in the afternoon and evenings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Strom said she sticks to what she likes best, which is the pound fitness and more mentally-focused disciplines.
Classes taught at Radiant Light include cardio drumming, Hatha yoga, Vinyasa, gentle yoga and rise and shine yoga. Strom is taking a continuing education class at the end of the month that will also allow her to do Yin yoga — which she described as “a more restorative” discipline.
“All of our coaches are dedicated to continued education so we can offer more for our clients,” Strom said. “I like to learn and be able to pass that on. That is something that I think is important when our clientele is picking out a yoga instructor.”
Classes are also offered both in person and virtually for those who don’t feel comfortable going out during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who do choose to attend classes in person, all safety precautions are being taken.
Radiant Light isn’t just for yogis or people looking to improve their fitness level, however. Radiant Light Yoga Apparel, in the same building, serves as a small boutique offering many choices on women’s athletic clothing.
When opening the business, she said it was important for her to match instructors with the disciplines they love. She said she doesn’t do Vinyasa or cardio drumming, so those classes are left up to the other instructors who have a passion for them. As the business grows, she hopes to add more coaches and, therefore, an even wider variety of classes.
In the month and a half since she opened, Strom said business is “starting to pick up” at Radiant Light. She had already amassed a following of students, and some of them drive to Little Falls from St. Cloud to continue taking her classes. Members can purchase memberships or can just pay for each individual class.
A full schedule is posted on Radiant Light’s Facebook page, as well as on the Glofox app, which is the program through which students can schedule and pay for their classes or memberships. Strom said it’s “highly important” for her that her clients get everything they’re looking for out of her classes.
“It’s all part of your health; your mental health and stability along with giving you a chance to take care of your body,” she said. “I like to teach people too, so this was kind of a perfect match for me.”