CLEVELAND — Casey Gruden is the owner of Mystic Yoga in Mentor. In each of her yoga sessions, she focuses on the breath as she said it can do wonders for the body.

What You Need To Know

  • Yoga can help people escape painful realities and find inner clarity

  • A woman in northeast Ohio found yoga to help her through her divorce

  • She not only gained physical strength, but mental strength, too

“The true purpose and essence of yoga is to free yourself from suffering so that you can find your true purpose and experience greater peace and joy in each moment. And it takes practice, it's a daily practice,” said Gruden.  

It is a daily practice that her student Lisa Maloney takes literally. 

“I do yoga every day, at least 30 to 60 minutes,” said Maloney. 

Maloney wasn’t always this way, though. She went through a divorce in 2016 and lost all confidence in herself. Shortly after, she found Mystic Yoga studio and became one of Gruden’s first students when the studio opened in 2018.  

“I got back into it after my divorce to help decrease the anxiety and stress and get back into just maintaining a healthy lifestyle and feel centered and grounded again,” said Maloney. 

Little did she know the art form in which the mind, body, and soul are all connected and act as one, would change her life for good.

“You come in and you put yourself on your mat, you get into your zone, nd you build your flexibility, you build your strength, and you build your confidence with every practice you do,” said Maloney. 

Maloney told Gruden early on that she had goals of becoming a yoga teacher, but fear and lack of confidence held her back from her dreams. 

“I had a lot of doubt and working full time and raising two kids, maintaining a home. I just wasn't sure how I was going to incorporate all of that,” said Maloney. 

However, she kept doing yoga. With each session, she not only felt her physical strength improving but her mental strength, too. 

She soon found herself moving from being timid in the back of the class to confident in the front. Now, she teaches her own classes at various locations in northeast Ohio. 

“I'm now up front in the class teaching and encouraging others to be their best self and improve the quality of their own lives,” said Maloney. 

Gruden has encouraged Maloney every step of the way on her journey to becoming a yoga teacher. Their relationship started as just teacher-student, and now has turned into a powerful friendship. 

“Casey is such a huge influence and role model for me. She's always manifesting abundance in her life, which continues to just help you grow and just keep you moving,” said Maloney. 

Gruden said she loves the growth she’s seen in her friend.

“I watched her confidence just soar,” Gruden said. “She is now a fitness instructor. She does Pilates and yoga. I watched her physical practice improve. I see her doing things that she never thought was possible, but even more inspiring is just watching how it has mentally transformed her and gave her the confidence she needed to do the things that she really wanted to do in life.” 

Whether it’s pain from a divorce, or pain from a pandemic, Gruden and Maloney believe yoga can help people through their struggles. 

“This is just temporary and that's what yoga teaches you, that suffering is temporary and there's another side to it,” Gruden said. “And there's a way to deal with it in a healthy way until we get to the other side.”

To Maloney, it’s about care and growth. 

“I just think yoga is pretty powerful in you know, helping you grow as an individual and connecting you with your mind and your body, your spirit, and getting to know, who you are,” Maloney said. “And then being able to share that with others, you know, because I feel like once you have that and you feel that inside the next best thing is to be able to share it with those around you.”