Some businesses take longer to settle into a community than others. Yoga instructor Jenna Pfingston found that to be true after opening the door to jalaBlu for the first time.
“When I first moved here, not a lot of people were doing yoga,” says Pfingston. “It’s not like a restaurant where everybody eats or everybody drinks coffee. It’s hard to sell yoga sometimes.”
For about 16 years, Pfingston lived in Vail. She had received a degree in interior design with a minor in marketing from Ball State University in her home state of Indiana.
She has also been practicing and studying yoga for 16 years. While working as a fitness instructor, she discovered a yoga class at the club where she taught. Curious, she gave it a try.
“I was quite bored with it in the beginning,” she says. “But there are so many styles of yoga. It’s kind of like finding the right doctor or the right niche of friends. It just depends on what you’re resonating. When I found the right style, it progressed for me in a deeper, steady love for yoga.”
For 5 years, she took up work as an interior design assistant and material specialist for the company Atlantis in Edwards before it migrated to Denver, then closed in 2009.
“After that, it was hard to get a job in that field because of the economy,” says Pfingston. “That’s why I traveled to Asia, just to take a breather and find out what the next step was.”
She traveled in Asia for about 7 months. While there, inspiration lit upon her, and she realized what she wanted to do upon returning to the U.S.
The idea for jalaBlu was born.
“Yoga’s probably the most obvious love of my life, it’s what I’m most passionate about,” she says. “It’s something I wanted to give to other people. When I was a fitness instructor, I loved helping people feel better in their bodies, and not just their physical body but the emotional body. For me, that’s just kind of how it all happened.”
Pfingston had friends living in Buena Vista.
After visiting them, she soon decided to settle down here herself. As Buena Vista had no yoga studio at the time, it seemed the ideal place to open jalaBlu as well.
She opened the business in 2010 and ran it from the space above the Evergreen Café for 4 years before moving it to North Railroad Street.
Building a yoga community became her biggest challenge in establishing the studio. In the beginning, she was the sole teacher. After a couple of years, she found another to help her. For a long time, it was just the two of them keeping the studio running.
“There were many times when I thought I was going to have to close the doors, that it wasn’t working,” says Pfingston. “But I believed in fortitude and patience. Those were the two words that kept me going, and consistency and to not give up.”
Pfingston and jalaBlu have come a long way since then, both of them growing and developing as they receive more students.
“I believe that all of us as humans walking in these physical bodies … contribute a different kind of light to everybody,” says Pfingston. “I have a good sense of humor, and I’m pretty real. I’m a real person when I’m teaching classes. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re at within your life, everybody can do yoga. I think people feel that way with me. They don’t feel intimidated. They don’t feel that they have to be a certain way to enter this space. It’s kind of come as you are.”
With the help of eight other teachers, she offers yoga classes and workshops, as well as yoga teacher training with the jalaBlu School of Yoga. The business also features meditation series, special events, artwork and even dancing. The primary focus, however, remains on yoga.
As a part of her business, Pfingston aims to “transform lives. Yoga is a practice that, at first, for many people is the physical practice. If people keep coming back onto their yoga mats, it becomes so much more than that. It’s really sweet to see students who keep coming back to the studio and how they transform within their lives and within their visions and dreams. That’s pretty special, I think.”
Once a year, Pfingston hosts a yoga retreat at other destinations. Last year’s retreat was held in Nicaragua, and this year’s retreat was in Mexico.
In late February, she returned from a trip to India. The trip was mainly for travel, but she also did a study toward the end of it with her spiritual teacher on the inner layer of yoga and meditation.
“I’ve really tried to be here at the business, so I haven’t really traveled like I did in 2009 to Asia,” she says. “I’ve gone to little places, but India was a big trip for me. It took me about 7 years to do that and to be able to have my teachers run the place while I’m gone.”
Pfingston hopes to have more chances to travel and enjoy life in the future. In the meantime, she’s sticking with jalaBlu, and she’s happy to say that it’s not going anywhere any time soon.