Southern Roots Yoga offers wellness-based exercise

Published 9:13 am Tuesday, August 7, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Southern Roots Yoga in Clanton has been open for a month or so now.

Owner Jennifer Kieras started doing yoga about five years ago in order to help with chronic back pain.

“I was on the verge of yet another back surgery, this time including a fusion,” she said. “I had worked in computers for the last 20-plus years doing high-level network architecture. They were stressful jobs, and I was seated all the time. I could never seem to get over my back pain and back issues.”

Kieras learned firsthand the potential benefits of taking yoga classes.

“I was in this chronic state of pain, and when I started doing yoga, it did for me in three months what almost three years of medicine didn’t do,” she said. “I had two spine surgeries, so many injections I lost count and so many physical therapy sessions I couldn’t even tell you. That’s what got me into yoga. It certainly wasn’t my ambition in life to become a yoga teacher and open up a studio. That’s not something I saw coming, it just kind of happened when I allowed myself to be who I was intended to be.”

Southern Roots Yoga is located at 1661 Seventh St. S., just down from Friends Steakhouse.

“Yoga can be a bit of a scene,” she said. “If you look on the internet, you might see bodies you will never have doing things you will never be able to do. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for the people with chronic pain, who have gone through the medical system for years and are not getting better. Our bodies will heal; we just have to figure out what we are doing to get in the way.”

Kieras offers several different classes six days a week that all revolve around the gentler, restorative yoga that has personally helped her feel better. She said that each class she teaches is appropriate for all skill levels. Her studio also has no religious affiliations.

Kieras will host a grand opening at Southern Roots Yoga on Aug. 14 at 11 a.m.

Anyone interested in attending a class may come to the studio 30 minutes ahead of schedule or call Kieras at (205) 245-7876.

For class schedules, rates or other information, visit

“Yoga studios are so different,” she said. “You can go to one that focuses on power yoga or hot yoga for the very physically fit — those people who want to challenge their bodies and see how far they can push themselves. I do a very different type of yoga.

“When you hear about the research they are doing about yoga helping veterans with back problems, stress and heart issues, all of that is based around a more gentle, restorative yoga. There is not a lot of research that suggests putting yourself in all of these strenuous positions is what’s good for you. It’s the calming of the mind, the breath work — that’s what the research shows is beneficial. That’s the kind of studio I wanted to open. It’s hard to find studios like that.”

Kieras said that some people are confused about what yoga is. She also said the field is “unregulated,” so people who are interested in attending classes should ask the instructor what background and training they have in the field.

“Somebody can call themself a yoga teacher, and be one,” she said. “We have to go through 200 hours of training while learning about anatomy and safety. That covers the surface, so I trained after that to help people with disabilities, injuries and illness.

“I tell people to ask yoga instructors what training they have. If you are taking yoga for wellness and health benefits, you really want a teacher who understands anatomy and the dynamics of how your body can move in a gentle, restorative way.”

Kieras said one of her favorite groups to work with is the elderly.

“I really love working with senior citizens,” she said. “I would meet people in the studios that were in their 90s with no ailments. They had the normal aches and pains, but their posture was wonderful. They were on no medications, and they didn’t even start doing yoga until their 60s. That really opened my eyes to the transformative power of yoga. It helps people age naturally as they are intended to.”