Opening Elysium Studios at 112 S. Main St. in McPherson is a quite the change of pace for owner Grace Henderson, who quit her job working in the jail to become a yoga instructor and massage therapist.

After nine years on the night shift, Henderson will now offer sunrise yoga classes in downtown McPherson.

“I’ve been practicing yoga for the past five or six years now,” Henderson said. “I started right here at the YMCA.”

Henderson went to School Yoga Institute to earn her certification to teach yoga after finding out that she enjoyed the YMCA’s classes.

The School Yoga Institute in Guatemala offered Henderson an intensive course of study – but no electricity.

“I was off in the middle of nowhere so I could do what I needed to do and get where I needed to get,” Henderson said. “I knew I just wanted to do an immersion and get it done.”

Cold showers were not the only challenge Henderson experienced.

“The biggest culture shock to me was the language barrier,” Henderson said. “There were very few people that spoke English.”

Henderson looked for a place to set up her studio when she came back to McPherson.

“I knew I wanted to be on Main Street if possible; it’s such a great location,” Henderson said. “The Main Street commission advertises so well and gets people downtown.”

Elysium Studios’ space has a large area up front for yoga classes and several massage rooms in back.

“I got a great location, a great building,” Henderson said. “I couldn’t ask for better.”

Henderson offers a variety of yoga classes — some starting as early as 6 a.m. and some ending as late as 9 p.m.

Yoga can help reduce stress, increase flexibility and build strength.

“Everybody should do yoga. If everybody in the world did yoga, it’d be a better place, that’s for sure,” Henderson said.

For those new to yoga, Henderson recommends trying a Hatha class.

“It’s slower and you focus on breathing,” Henderson said.

If you want a fast-placed class that will make you break a sweat, Vinyasa yoga may be more your speed.

Yin yoga classes take place in the evening, giving participants a way to stretch and relax before bedtime.

Elysium Studios’ classes are open to all.

“Any class you come to can be modified up or down for your level,” Henderson said.

Glenda Turley and Larry Sigle will also offer massage therapy at Elysium Studios along with Henderson. Clients can make an appointment with each massage therapist individually.

“We’re all very flexible,” Henderson said. “We understand that people work.”

Some of the massage styles offered at Elysium Studios include Swedish, Hot Stone, Lymphatic, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Raindrop Therapy (which is based around essential oils), Ashiatsu (where the massage therapist walks barefoot on a client’s back), Reiki, Craniosacral Therapy (which focuses on the spine and can alleviate back pain and headaches), Reflexology and Prenatal.

“We offer general bodywork, which is based on what the client needs,” Henderson said. “We will incorporate different modalities depending on what they want.”

For more information about Elysium Studios and a schedule of its yoga classes, visit http://elysiumstudios.abmp.com or call 620-755-7921.

“We’re excited to get people coming in the door,” Henderson said. 

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.