We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenn Bodnar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenn, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Yoga Digest is for the people, by the people. I believe it helps communities in a couple of ways. It’s full of inspiring stories, expert advice, healthy tips for the mind, body and soul. In addition, the contributors who provide content are getting the opportunity to be creative, share their passion, and have purpose by helping others. We have a long time partnership with The One Love Movement, a non-profit that supports orphanages in India and Africa, underserved children, the LGBT community, and Black Lives Matter. We promote healthy products and services, many of which are small start-up businesses that are chemical and cruelty-free and are often connected to philanthropies and giving back.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I truly have to say, having the opportunity to teach and manage at Life Time since 2006 has made a huge impact on where I am today. I have met so many wonderful friends and mentors through this organization and have been very inspired by the leadership and my peers. It’s where I met my yoga teacher Jonny Kest, who has taught me perseverance and acceptance which is crucial for growth. The style of yoga he teaches is very liberating and creative and it really did awaken something in me I never knew before. I feed off of passionate people, and there is a lot of it within those walls.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve always been active. Dance and gymnastics were a big part of my life for a long time. I picked up running in high school(which I still do), I was active all throughout college (even was a member of the Texas State Strutters Dance Team!) After graduating from college where I majored in Mass Communication, I started teaching hi/lo aerobics, step, kickboxing, strength, cycle, you name it. I picked up yoga after a few years into my fitness journey, but it was all very part-time initially. I worked as an account executive for a large radio company, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeart Media) until I became a mom (3 boys) which was my full-time gig for 12 years. After my divorce, looking for work, I wound up in management at Life Time. As I mentioned, I met some really amazing people. I was given the opportunity to do yoga full time, right around the time I had been approached to start Yoga Digest. Was it easy? Nothing great ever is. It’s been a lot of hard work. Even teaching all the different formats took a lot of courage. When you put yourself out there like that, you will be criticized, sometimes harshly. But all you can do is rise up and try again. So I did. Over and over again. Yoga Digest started as a blog. I was always inspired by Mind Body Green. My partner at the time was also very interested in creating a magazine. I was on board, but it came about pretty quickly and we simply were not prepared for the commitment. After a couple of years of print, I was drained financially, mentally, and emotionally. I had to make some major changes. I bought out my partner and have been able to sustain the brand by sticking to online content and podcasting. It’s actually fun again! I have learned that patience, grace, and humility are a big piece of long term success. Yoga Digest was created to be a resource and a community. Our tagline is “Inspire, Educate, Connect.” That’s what we do. It’s a learning curve always and a process. Who knows, maybe we will print again one day.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them?
I would probably start out the visit out at Legacy West. I love True Food Kitchen. Legacy Hall is awesome because of the variety and the outdoor seating and events. I’m not a huge shopper, but I do like to pop into Lululemon and Victoria’s Secret when I’m there. There’s also this great little makeup shop that is all-natural and clean products called Credo! The Star is clearly a must and there are so many choices for great food there. Dee Lincoln is a great place to have a drink. They have a Mi Cocina there as well and people always want Mexican food when they come to visit Texas. I like that location because it’s a little bigger than some of the others. Grandscape is super amazing, so a visit to the newest and most extreme sporting goods (among other things) store would be in order. Scheel’s is unlike anything I have seen and I actually have already taken a few people there! Seven Doors Restaurant and The Twig are great. Let’s see we have a week right? We would definitely visit DFW Surf on Lake Lewisville for some paddleboard yoga. With all this eating, you can always plan on a few trips to Life Time for a yoga class or workout. Or even just hang out at the pool. Another place I love to go to is Klyde Warren Park. Savor is great for people watching on their patio and the food is great too. It’s fun to walk around the arts district and take in all the cool architecture. Flower Child is another fave! It’s light and healthy, but hearty at the same time and they have great kombucha! Arbor Hills is a great place for hiking. Another great place to take someone visiting is over to Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth and walk around the Stockyards. Can’t forget Trinity Groves (Avo Eatery) and Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. I love all the little electric scooters around town, that is a great way to see downtown! The Joule is another great place to take in and see “The Eye.” The Statler is just around the corner and is a great place for a drink. One of the funnest things I did downtown was a segway tour! If they have never been to the 6th Floor Museum, I think it’s pretty cool as well. I also love the Perot Museum and going up in Reunion Tower at Sunset or late night when the buildings are all lit up. Typically, I would say when sports are happening that going to a game is a great thing to do in Dallas – we do love our teams!
John Doty, Inmotion Imagery (main photo)
Nominate someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.