Betsy Jones Cooper the owner and operator of Hot Yoga Louisville, a Louisville favorite since 1997. An avid yoga enthusiast since 1985, Betsy is a great example of healthy living and taught us a thing or two about how to eat, exercise and live life.
What do you do for a living?
I own and operate Hot Yoga Louisville.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
It is quite difficult to balance my work and personal life, but I am getting better and better as the years go by. My immediately family includes three canines that I truly adore and take with me everywhere. I enjoy occasional dinners out, but am passionate about my cave time!
Tell me about your travels:
My travels have been extensive. I backpacked through Europe after college, then went on safari in East Africa. In the last three years I’ve been to New Zealand, India, Thailand and Cuba. New Zealand was for adventure. My “adventure girls” and I kayaked and camped, trekked 35 miles with backpacks hut-to-hut, hiked glaciers, all on New Zealand’s South Island. We planned the adventure for a year, were all childless at the time and had three glorious weeks in the absolute most beautiful of God’s earthly places.
India was a yoga/spiritual quest in the north next to the Himalayas, and proved to be life-changing in many ways. Rishikesh is a town not easy to get to and one of the holiest places in the country. I fell deeply in love with it and hope I get to return there someday!
Thailand was for yoga and pleasure: a trip arranged by me and promoted through the studio. Amazingly beautiful people and topography.
Cuba was an art and architecture trip disguised as a “mission” trip to take supplies to the infirm. It was the most amazing history lesson I’ve ever had! It is everything in one: impoverished, oppressed, beautiful but gutted, rich in culture.
What is yoga like in different countries? Where has your favorite yoga class or experience been?
Yoga in different countries is not that different from here. I practiced Iyengar in India and Bikram in Bangkok.
My favorite experience ever in yoga was one day in NYC several years ago on a Tuesday at noon in Soho (Virayoga) with Elena Brower. That day there were 100 students and her teaching style blew me away. She never came up out of lotus while speaking extremely few words. There were long-held poses in a room so quiet you could hear the old wooden floor boards creak when the students pressed through their heels.
Where is your next trip?
My next trip is in two weeks to Belize. I have never been and am excited!
Favorite line of clothes to wear for yoga?
Can anyone really do yoga?
Of course ANYONE can do yoga and should! In the most simple explanation, it’s stretching! My grandmother used to stretch upward every single morning of her life and lived to 100 without pills. How many people do you know that make an effort to get out of bed and stretch up… VERY FEW!
What would you advise for a beginner wanting to start Hot Yoga (Bikram)?
Know that it will truly be hot and be prepared for that. In other words, where little clothing and drink lots of water and make sure your stomach is empty.
What are some changes that happen to your physical and mental health with yoga?
You name it. It all happens. Your willpower is tested. You develop great muscle tone. Your heart and lungs develop like a marathon runner.
What are your secrets for staying thin and fit?
My secret for staying thin and fit is yoga and exercise. It’s not rocket science!
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
The biggest life lesson I have ever learned was recently, and that is two-fold: NOTHING lasts forever and NEVER assume!
Who is your mentor?
I have many mentors, but ultimately my inner voice is my guide.
What is best advice you have received in business?
That customer service is everything and not to be greedy. Also, don’t spread your clients into two overheads!
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
Sing and paint.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I am nocturnal.
What is your favorite place to go eat?
Where do you like to shop?
What is a treat or a luxury you allow yourself?
Get a foot massage at the Relax Place.
What is your weakness?
Red wine and chocolate.
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Yoga at Betsy’s and dinner at friends’ houses.
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
Ari, Dixie and Milan (my dogs).
What are you reading right now?
Peter Klarman’s cookbook entitled Better Food for a Better You.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything).
My home, my friends and my life!
Thank you to Betsy Jones Cooper and rushing home to change after teaching her hot Bikram class for this photo shoot. I left the photo shoot wanting to be a yoga devotee, a vegan and everything else healthy. She is a testament to clean living. For information on Hot Yoga Louisville, click here.
Adele Reding Photography is the creator of these beautiful pictures for our FACES of Louisville articles. For more information on Adele or to see her portfolio, click here.
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