Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2020 issue.
Jala is Sanskrit for water and is most commonly used in yoga to refer to cleansing practices for the body that involve water. For Jenna Pfingston, founder and owner of jalaBlu Yoga, jala can move in a myriad of layers — it’s the element of water that rises within humans and nature, the flow of life. And, she just loved it with the sound of “blu.”
Renowned as Buena Vista’s first yoga studio, jalaBlu opened in 2010 in Pfingston’s
house. It was a makeshift studio, with her backyard garden as the entrance, the bottom floor holding the check-in desk and the 400-square-foot top floor functioning as the yoga room.
“People still miss that small little space … it holds a lot of love for everyone,” she says.
In September 2017, jalaBlu moved to its third and final space on Main Street. Pfingston loves how the beautiful space is adorned with bright skylights and windows. “It has a very sweet essence,” she shares.
Pfingston was first introduced to yoga in her 20s while living in Bloomington, Indiana. Her practice was quite traditional, learning under the styles of hatha and Iyengar. She started her journey to becoming a teacher in 2008 by studying Anusara, a form of hatha yoga that means “flowing with grace.”
The intensive training process took three years — much different than most certifications today — and part of her practicum included teaching to students for at least two years. Without a studio in Buena Vista to teach at during this time, Pfingston decided to open a space of her own.
JalaBlu grew through word of mouth at first. And, as Pfingston plastered fliers all throughout the small town of about 3,000, slowly yoga gained more and more momentum.
Today there are seven well-seasoned teachers at jalaBlu. Classes range from VinYin to Chair Yoga to Pfingston’s favorite: Embodied Flow + Meditation. This class is an invitation into ceremonial moving prayer; one can expect mudras within the flow and chanting full mantras in the middle of class.
Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, Pfingston swiftly transitioned the studio to online classes with affordable 8 dollar drop-ins. Due to this adaptation, the small town studio brought in 30 to 60 global yogis daily.
“I had to step into action, flip my perspective and just make it work,” she says, adding that she’s working harder than ever before to keep jalaBlu alive.
Currently, jalaBlu is taking a “soulful pause” until September 1, 2020. Check their website for new in-person and online offerings at that time.
Just like the ebb and flow of jala, Pfingston believes in honoring where you’re at, especially during difficult times.
“Water for me holds the significance of all of our wild emotions and waves of life,” she says.
Photo courtesy of jalaBlu.