Rebecca Johnson started Soul Story Yoga to make people feel welcome, be themselves, and “write their own soul story.” Located in a 141-year-old building in Yankton’s Meridian District, Johnson says the studio offers classes from beginners to advanced, and the business has something for all levels.
605 chatted with the calming force to talk about a day in her life, including several solid live music tips, where to take walks, and how she’s a proud University of South Dakota Coyote.
One of my favorite events we host at my studio is the Crystal and Tibetan Singing Bowls Meditation by Veronika Ludewig-Jorgensen. Soul Story Yoga has the original hardwood floor, rustic exposed-brick walls, and high ceilings, so I love how the sounds of the bowls reverberate through the space and you can feel them vibrate through the floor.
LOVES A GOOD LANDMARK
The double-decker Meridian Bridge is a longtime Yankton landmark. It was built in 1924 and was the first permanent bridge across the Missouri River. The bridge was closed to traffic in 2008 but reopened as a pedestrian bridge in 2011. It’s popular with runners, bicyclists, and walkers. The view of the river is great. On some days, you’ll see a bald eagle or two gliding over it. When my Boston Terrier was younger, it was our go-to place to walk him. He’s more into napping than walking these days.
MUSIC AT THE MERIDIAN
In July and August, the City of Yankton hosts Music at the Meridian on Thursday nights. There’s a small temporary stage with live music set up at the foot of our Meridian Bridge. People bring chairs or set up blankets on the lawn. There are a few food trucks and Ben’s Brewing Company pours craft beer. For the last three summers there was also the opportunity to paint a tile to be assembled as part of a large Yankton-themed mural at the base of the bridge.
UNDERRATED LIVE MUSIC
Yankton has some amazing opportunities to view and listen to music for a town our size. We have a little historic AME Chapel that’s no longer used as a church. It’s hosted live music since 2017, as well as the Little White Church Sessions. Sometimes it’s really talented local people, but more often it’s medium-to small-name acts passing through while on tour. So far, I’ve seen Gaelynn Lea, David Dondero, Andrea von Kampen, Izaak Opatz, and Caroline Keys there.
5 RANDOM FACTS
+ I was born in Yankton and have lived in Yankton all of my life, except for the time in which I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees at USD.
+ My husband and I share part of a block of season tickets for USD football every year with my in-laws. I like it for the fun vibe, camaraderie, and soft pretzels.
+ I like to travel, and my favorite destination is Cabo san Lucas. The best part is the whale watching in January and February when the humpback whales get really close to the coastline.
+ I’ve been teaching yoga in Yankton for about 12 years. I completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training in Omaha, NEb. in 2008. In February 2017, I trained for 100 hours with my all-time favorite yoga instructor, Jason Crandell, in San Francisco.
+ The 5th Annual South Dakota Yoga Conference is this summer (July 31-August 2) in Spearfish. I’ve presented at the conference three of the last four years and will be presenting again this year. It’s such a great place to fill your cup, get inspired, and network with other like-minded yogis.
BEN’S IS WHERE IT’S AT
My husband, Jeremy, and I don’t go out for drinks a lot, but if we’re going to go, it’s nearly always Ben’s Brewing Co. or The Copper Room upstairs. I like to sample the local beer. One of my favorites is Ben’s Kenny Pepper, a jalapeño cream ale. My husband enjoys the selection of bourbon and whiskey, and The Copper Room is also a great place to relax and listen to some great music.
MEXICO VIEJO, THO
Mexico Viejo is my favorite restaurant in town. It’s a fun, quick place to go with friends or family, and the staff are always friendly. I eat mostly vegan, and their Vegetarian Burrito is my go-to order, though I do ask for no cheese or sour cream. My husband and I love to get Friday night takeout from there after a long week. The last time we did, someone had written “Go vegan!” on the lid of my order and had drawn a “thumbs up” sign. I thought that was a nice touch.
I love living near Lewis and Clark Lake. A few years ago, my husband and I bought a 1992 Sun Tracker Party Barge pontoon. It’s not much to look at and is really too big for what we need, but the price was right. We have a fun time taking it out on our own or with friends and family. We feel really lucky to be able to live near such a great recreation spot, and we like that we don’t have to plan too far in advance to take our boat out since the lake is such a short drive away. I like to relax and read a book in the sun.
HOPPY THEY’RE HERE
Husband-and-wife team Ryan Heine and Michelle Donner own 6th Meridian Hop Farm near Lewis and Clark Lake west of Yankton, and they grow hops used to brew craft beers. On Saturday and Sunday evenings in the summer they host live music, pour local beers brewed with their hops, and give short tours of the hops field. The couple also owns food truck called Counterfeit Curbside and it’s usually on hand serving unique fare. This last summer they hosted their first festival called the Swinged Cat Aliment & Ale Fest with tastings from 15 breweries from around the region. The hops farm events are a great place to hear great tunes, relax, and visit with friends.
MURALS AND THE MERIDIAN
Because of its proximity to the Meridian Bridge, Yankton’s downtown is called the Meridian District. And through a movement called The Meridian District Art Project, several colorful murals by talented local artists have recently been added to some of the cool, old brick buildings there. Besides doing yoga, I love to take walks, and downtown is one of my favorite places to walk.
For more information, visit soulstoryyoga.com.