COUNCIL BLUFFS — Council Bluffs yogis and non-yogis alike tell Studio Bliss owner Chelsea Luth they love having a practice that feels like home — and is close to home.
“A joke with many of my clients and classes is ‘therapy time with Chelsea,’ because they feel they are in a safe, nonjudgmental space,” Luth said. “It’s really relaxing and liberating. Also, many of my clients were taking classes in Omaha, and now they don’t have to make the drive. It’s so much more convenient for them.”
Studio Bliss, 27 E. Kanesville Blvd., Suite 101, opened in September. Luth’s mission is to offer Bluffs residents a place for students of all fitness levels to take yoga, barre and Pilates classes without worrying that they won’t fit in if they’re a beginner and nowhere close to a hardcore yogi.
Luth, 33, grew up in Council Bluffs. She graduated from Creighton University and is certified in yoga and Pilates, and is a licensed massage therapist. Luth has also been classically trained in ballet and modern dance.
Luth was truly introduced to yoga, though, as a child, when her mother exposed her to Yogic principles by taking her to Buddhist temples and Hindu Ashrams. She discovered that yoga was a huge help in recovering from physical injuries and in dealing with life’s ups and downs, from childhood and parenting to her marriage and divorce. It rang especially true when her older brother, Colin, died suddenly in 2016.
“Yoga was my constant,” Luth said. “It has gotten me through a lot.”
Luth moved back to Council Bluffs in 2017 after living in Omaha. She bought a house in the neighborhood she grew up in and was working as an exercise therapist at a chiropractic clinic. She had always dreamed of running her own yoga, barre and Pilates studio — and doing it in Council Bluffs was the plan.
“Council Bluffs has always been my home,” Luth said. “I knew that I could bring something to the community that was needed. And not just a yoga studio, but a place that encourages healing, healthy living, celebrating women, families and art. The timing really couldn’t have been better.
Studio Bliss is the perfect name for the business, Luth said, because it reminds her daily how exercise makes her feel. Studio Bliss teaches several styles of yoga and barre.
An art gallery inside the studio showcases local artists, including Clay Cunningham, a local pottery artist. Luth doesn’t charge commission for the sale of the artwork.
“I hope to grow the gallery so that there’s more space to showcase some of the amazing artists and their works in Council Bluffs, bringing more art classes and art awareness to the community,” Luth said. “I love when someone comes in for a class or a massage next door and they buy a painting or another piece of art. They are supporting the community. That is a blissful feeling. So we will also be working with local arts groups, too.”
Luth plans to expand the studio to include reformer machines that strengthen and tone the body. She eventually wants to move to a bigger location to offer more classes.
“We want yoga to be accessible for everyone. I want everyone in the community to try it,” Luth said. “I know that we can heal the community one class at a time.”
Editor’s note: This story first ran in print on Wednesday as part of the Daily Nonpareil’s annual Faces of the Community series, which highlights the unsung heroes of southwest Iowa.