D’ana Baptiste is the founder of D’ana Baptiste Studios and operates Centered City Yoga in Salt Lake City and Yoga Quarry in Park City. She teaches yoga locally and nationally.
As a U.C. Berkeley coed who majored in French and international relations, did you ever imagine you’d devote your life to yoga?
No way! All the yoga classes on campus were slow and none of the women shaved their legs or wore bras. I never thought it was something that I’d be into.
Why do you practice yoga?
I’m a Type-A personality who grew up with high-strung parents. Yoga has helped me relax without making me a less intense person. I still get things done. Yoga helps me maintain a certain balance, and I think that has made me a better parent.
You’ve operated yoga studios from Hollywood to Philadelphia. Why start one in Utah?
I was born in Salt Lake City. After I left my ex-husband [Baron Baptiste], I wanted to be surrounded by my family. Also, my younger brother had cancer and I wanted to spend the last year of his life with him.
Do you think yoga is becoming too expensive?
Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, the people who really need it, such as people who are coming off of a drug addiction, generally can’t afford it. That’s why “Yogis in Service” [Baptiste’s nonprofit yoga outreach] is so important. I wanted to unite all of the local yoga studios and offer yoga to people who could benefit from it but couldn’t afford it. Also, it gives people who want to teach more opportunities to do so.
What do you tell skeptics about the benefits of yoga?
I present it as a challenge: “You want to touch your toes? Try 10 classes.”