Co-Founders


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Holly and I and a couple of close friends decided to buy a working homestead in the Ozarks, intent on developing a retreat center. Enter Circle Yoga Shala, where folks come to be immersed in nature, to train in classical yoga and other forward thinking modalities, to eat the food we raise on the property, and to drink living water from a local spring: basically to heal and realize their highest potential.  The shala is the embodiment of everything that has been and still is important to me: food, philosophy, activity, and inquiry. Regarding the food here, I am experienced the preparation of cuisine from nearly every continent, and use the principles of Ayurveda as the primary guide in my dishes.  The Shala is our example of what it means to live a life that is intent on thriving. It is an offering to our fellow students, teachers, friends, and Mother Earth, in service of the possibility that humans can evolve consciously. 

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I've been practicing Yoga for over two decades. Close to ten of those years included owning and developing one of the premier yoga studios of our state, Barefoot Studio.  In June of 2009, Matthew and I sold it and moved to the Ozarks to create Circle Yoga Shala with one of our teachers, Louanne Lawson.  The Shala is a place that supports everything that is important to me:  deep practice, a life immersed in nature, and service. Throughout the years, I've had the privilege of working with some real gems in the yoga world:  Ana Forrest, Erich Schiffmann, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Doug Keller, Godfrey Devereux and others.   As a result of practice, my interest for myself and others is complete freedom from suffering - an awakening to reality - which begins with inquiry into beliefs and concepts imprinted by way of cultural conditioning, family of origin; and past, memory and emotion.  For me, this is the way of Yoga.



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Louanne Lawson, Yoga Teacher and Gardener

I was introduced to asana practice by Lilias Folan on Public Television, then through books like Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan, Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class, and the early teachers in Little Rock Arkansas: Lynn Frazier, Nell Weaver, and Cliff Riggs. When I met Matt and Holly at Barefoot I found what I didn’t know I was looking for: that yoga as action, both on and off the mat, answered a deep yearning – for stability, for ease in transition, for balance.