Soon after Jaden Zhao completed graduate school at Santa Clara University she entered into the corporate world, working as a data analyst for a technology startup. Quickly realizing she didn’t want to be behind-the-scenes, Zhao partnered with some of her co-workers to create the Silicon Valley Jiaren Association, a non-profit supporting female leadership.
As the organization searched for ways to self-fund, various ideas tossed around, and as they moved forward with attempting to open a coffeehouse, Zhao found herself consistently stressed and overwhelmed with the demands of entrepreneurship, which drove her to begin practicing something she knew could help keep her centered and grounded: yoga.
“I was running my own company and I got lost in the business and I was so busy every day and felt so tired because I didn’t rest in my mind,” said Zhao. “So, I came back to yoga and decided to do a 200 hour teacher training with CorePower in 2017. It completely changed my feeling about myself. I feel like yoga is a reset button for me. You know what to expect and you always get a challenge from it as well.”
Zhao quickly realized the empowerment she felt through her practice fit into the needs of her non-profit. She began exploring the option of opening a yoga studio that would help fund not only the Silicon Valley Jiaren Association, but assist with fundraising efforts of local non-profit organizations. On Sept. 1 she opened the non-profit Jiaren Yoga Studio at Homestead Road and Jackson Street in Santa Clara.
“We want to try and use this business as a fundraising business to support my non-profit and other non-profits we are related to,” said Zhao. “Our prices are lower than market and we also do donation-based classes and classes for fundraising. We charge our normal fees, but we donate everything after cost to the organization, which can be between 30 to 70 percent of the total.”
According to Zhao, Jiaren’s per class cost will always remain affordable and never exceed $20. She also said the studio offers a 10-class pass, unlimited class monthly membership and annual membership to allow clients to save additional dollars.
Most of Jiaren’s instructors teach all-level classes of Vinyasa, a fluid set of positions synchronizing one’s breath with their poses, and Hatha, a slower form of yoga in which one holds poses for multiple breaths. Additionally, restorative yoga, consisting of relaxing floor poses, sound healing classes and special workshops are often offered.
“I want to build local communities and yoga is just one of the ways,” said Zhao. “It’s a great way to know the local community. I think, especially in Silicon Valley, there’s so much pressure — living, family, schools — and everything is so fast-paced that I feel like yoga is really just a way to have the time and space to talk to yourself by communicating with your mind and your body. Yoga is your own journey.”
Jiaren Yoga Studio is at 1171 Homestead Rd., Suite 140 near Santa Clara’s Franklin Square. Since opening, more than 30 classes taught by professionally trained instructors throughout the week are held. Visit jiarenyogastudio.com for a schedule of classes and current pricing.