SAN MARCOS — It’s been 20 years since San Marcos native Kathleen Quinn went from a house painter to a yoga instructor.
Quinn, who has lived in the city for more than four decades, said she discovered yoga through the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department.
“I found yoga as most people do — for health reasons,” Quinn said. “I had quit smoking three years earlier and gained weight. I tried the gym but found I really wasn’t the gym type. I was a house painter by trade and yoga kept me fit and strong.”
The breathing and meditation exercise eventually developed into a passion that forced Quinn to become a yoga instructor. Today, Quinn is not only the owner of the first yoga studio in San Marcos, but she has a fan club of students who have praised her for her healthy teachings.
“It did then and does now make me so happy that I can share yoga with folks in my own community — that is truly the best part of my avocation is meeting and becoming community with my students,” said Quinn, who opened San Marcos Yoga in 2011.
Quinn, who specializes in Iyengar Yoga, has made a lasting impact on the dozens of yoga students who come to her studio.
Dawn Frank, who has lived in San Marcos for six years, said Quinn’s classes have “literally changed” her life.
“I was starting to get little aches and pains in my hips and knees,” said Frank, who has been taking Quinn’s classes for three years. “She tunes in to her students and gently starts them on the road to wellness — first explaining and helping us to be aware of our bodies, using props to support the poses, and gradually moving us forward into strength, balance and flexibility.”
In fact, Frank said she’s also met other yoga instructors who have developed their teachings with the help of Quinn. Frank said she encountered a yoga instructor in Detroit, Michigan, while on vacation who learned from Quinn’s classes.
“When I mentioned San Marcos Yoga and Kathleen Quinn, (Detroit yoga instructor) was so impressed as he had studied under her at some point,” Frank said. “I feel very fortunate to live here and be able to practice with Kathleen. Her total dedication to us as students and to all the other benefits of Iyengar yoga comes through in all she does.”
It isn’t just San Marcos residents who are developing healthy habits from Quinn. Susan Morse, who lives in Vista, said she regularly attends Quinn’s classes.
Morse said she began taking Quinn’s classes at the age of 67.
“When I left the first yoga class in December 2013, I walked to my car feeling a dramatic change — some parts of my structural body were in their proper positions for the first time,” Morse said. “Internally, I felt like things were lined up. I felt exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. From that point, I became a regular yoga student at Kathleen’s studio, attending an average of three classes a week, ever since.”
Morse said she feels healthier now than she did when she was younger thanks to Quinn’s teachings that go off the yoga mat as well.
“The consistency and repetition of her spoken directions, occasionally sprinkled with humor, plus her demonstrations of the proper alignment, are exceedingly useful tools,” Morse said. “Many times, when not in class, I hear Kathleen’s voice my mind and I hear her instructions to reposition various body parts, to be in proper alignment. I find myself adjusting my posture.”
To know she’s making a lasting, healthy impact on people’s lives is why Quinn keeps working every day.
“When my students tell me that they were able to help themselves relieve, say, back pain, with a pose or an instruction they learned in class, it absolutely makes my heart sing,” Quinn said. “My students desire to learn inspires my desire to learn more about the endless possibilities of yoga. I see myself doing this for years to come.”
For more information about Kathleen Quinn or San Marcos Yoga, go to sanmarcosyoga.com.