While backpacking in Fiji, Fort Oglethorpe native Eden Traylor watched a Japanese man practice yoga at sunrise and sunset every day.
"I sat there and watched him, then I just started doing it behind him," said Traylor, 31. "That was my catalyst into a different form of bodywork and healing."
At the start of the year, Traylor opened her own yoga studio, MUNE Studio, off of Battlefield Parkway in Fort Oglethorpe. Her classes are open to students of all levels, with morning, afternoon and night options throughout the week. The 1,200-square-foot space includes an open studio with hardwood flooring and a child care room which can be used for certain classes.
Traylor has always wanted to help others. In college she studied to become a nurse, but then pivoted to massage therapy, which she felt had more of a healing philosophy. When she graduated in 2010, she moved to Australia to start her own healing journey.
Following that trip to Fiji, she began hosting yoga classes in a park by her home in Sydney.
"I started teaching friends and people I bumped into," Traylor said.
When she got pregnant with her firstborn daughter about three years ago, she and her partner, who is also from Fort Oglethorpe, moved back home.
Unlike big-city Sydney, Fort Oglethorpe isn't as walkable and stores are farther apart, Traylor said, and because of that, she felt the community wasn't as close-knit.
So she did what she felt she could do best to build community: start teaching yoga again.
"I wanted to make that space of community for people to really come and grow, a place where people felt safe to shed their layers and increase growth and health in their life," she said. "I didn't have that when I first moved here. [So I thought], 'Why don't I create it?'"
Her partner Adam Hoover, who is a contractor, helped Traylor design and build the space.
A month into business, Traylor said she gets new inquiries each day. She's started up a 10-day trial for $20 that allows students to attend as many classes as they want in that period, and has a five-week beginner session starting in March that teaches the basics of breath training and poses.
The heart of Traylor's mission is accessibility — not just in providing a space for people in North Georgia to have access to yoga without having to travel to downtown Chattanooga, but by providing a space for people of all levels, body types and ages to practice.
"[Yoga is about] becoming aware of the body and aware of the self, you know, and it's through that body awareness and the integration that you can create growth," she said.
Among Traylor's students has been a woman in her 70s with a knee replacement and people in their 20s who can do the splits.
Traylor is also working with nonprofits and underserved communities. In February, she raised money for the Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy Center in Fort Oglethorpe. Some of the work she'd like to do next is partner with senior centers to try out chair yoga, work with veterans and in lower-income neighborhoods.
"I think people see a studio and they think it's only set up to service one type of person," said Traylor. "I'd like to have accessibility to everyone."
Email Sabrina Bodon at email@example.com.