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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Live in Joy Yoga Celebrating 10 Years of Yoga, Ayurveda and Community

When Julie Fischer and Janet Watkins became friends 30-plus years ago at a kindergarten playground, little did they know the direction each of their lives would take, the healing journeys that they would each experience along the way or that they would both be so deeply influenced by the wisdom of the philosophy and practices of yoga and ayurveda that a yoga studio would emerge.

Celebrating 10 years this month, Live In Joy Yoga and Wellness, in Audubon, is thriving and continues its mission to provide a safe place to learn, practice and express with a unique blend of classes, workshops, kirtan, trainings and bodywork designed to bring out the innate joy that resides in us all. The studio is serious about offering safe, balancing classes in a joyful, relaxed and inclusive environment. One of the biggest joys for Fischer and Watkins has been the community of friends, collaborators and feeling of family that has grown through these years.

When the doors closed in March as the pandemic began to sweep through the world, they found themselves stepping into yet another unknown chapter. With unprecedented change, unease and challenge throughout the community, it felt important and necessary to try to keep connected and offer support. Despite a technological learning curve to muddle through, a full schedule of Live in Joy yoga and meditation classes were quickly brought online and offered to all on a donation basis so that those experiencing job loss or financial difficulty could continue their practices. It was different for sure―for both the teachers and the students—but before long the online classes became a refuge for many to join with others and continue their practices at home. Mats were unrolled for beginners and seasoned students alike and yoga classes streamed into bedrooms, living rooms, hallways and porches via iPhones and computers.

Watkins recalls, “Never having experienced anything like this before, I had no idea of what was going to happen. As I thought about the ways to work around the absence of being physically together, the teachers and students were also coming forward to contribute their vision and skills to move into the virtual world. It was beautiful to experience the love they have for the Live In Joy community.”  

“Some of the new ideas and virtual aspects that came up turned out to be a lot of fun,” she continued. “They even began a weekly ‘Chat in Joy’ where we would meet through Zoom to connect and ‘Funday Sunday’ where art was offered. There were also some unexpected surprises when friends who had moved out of town were able practice together again in classes via Zoom. We are incredibly fortunate to have some amazing people as teachers at Live in Joy. We were all in this together, making the best of the situation.”

The studio was able to open their (physical) doors recently to offer bodywork, small group and individual classes, following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and New Jersey state guidelines. They will continue to keep most trainings, workshops and classes online as well.   

Highlighting the upcoming offerings this fall are both of Live in Joy Yoga’s signature 200- and 300-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher Trainings. Each of these experiential programs will be offered in-person and online. Each training is steeped in the beautiful, balancing, transformative teachings and practices of both yoga and ayurveda, providing students a unique opportunity to expand and deepen their own practices and journey, as well as learn how to extend this to others.  

Fischer and Watkins look back in awe and gratitude at the many wonderful people and teachings that have filled the rooms in this cozy studio over the years, and also forward to the unfolding of the next part of the journey.

Sharon Bailey, a teacher and student at Live In Joy says of her experience, “There are no amount of words in any language that could express my gratitude for the Live In Joy studio and the community that comes with it. My gratitude runs even deeper for Julie and Janet for creating this magnificently beautiful environment that allows and encourages our true selves to just be.”

Live in Joy Yoga & Wellness is located at 118 W. Merchant St. in Audubon. For more information, call 856-546-1006 or visit