Getting Back to “the Calm”: Rachel Mor’s 3rd Street Yoga Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Rachel Lawrence Mor suffered from significant anxiety attacks as a teenager at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City. Her reason for entering the high-stress career of an attorney only becomes clear as her life story unfolds—and she attributes it all to yoga.
“I needed help,” Mor said, speaking in her strikingly rich, deep voice. “I found an older woman who taught yoga at the fairgrounds, and she taught me how to breathe. That helped me deal with the anxiety attacks.”
After graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a teaching degree in the 1970s, Mor moved to California to teach English. There, she moved into a yoga ashram, a community where people studied meditation and yoga. After a two-year move to Israel, she returned to Oklahoma City and entered law school. Soon, Mor had a rigorous career with a heavy stress load. She turned to her yoga training to ease her anxiety.
“Yoga helps me cope, because breathing erases stress,” Mor said. “Whether it’s a bad mood or a health issue, we all face crises in our lives. Yoga helps us get back to calm.”
When Mor moved back to Edmond, she began seeking property to open a yoga studio. She happened down 3rd street and saw a lease sign at the old Buell Lumber Yard, where a cowboy boot store had just closed. The small shop, previously the lumberyard’s general store, was nestled between industrial buildings and across the street from the old Rodkey Flour Mill silo. To the west was an old house with large trees and to the east was the railroad track.
“It was just the atmosphere I was looking for!” Mor said. “I fell in love with the large front windows with colored glass across the top. The room is expansive, with tall ceilings and cedar plank walls dating back to the 1920s. And when you look out the windows, you feel like you are still in small town America.”
Mor opened 3rd Street Yoga in April 2003. Having recently celebrated her 20th anniversary, she believes it is the oldest continually-operating yoga studio in Oklahoma. She thinks one of the best classes is called The Big Relax, which is taught by the studio manager, Emily Naifeh. Each week, Mor reserves the pleasure of teaching a few sessions herself.
“I’ve taught football teams. I’ve taught people who’ve had brain surgery, hip replacements, and all kinds of trauma and physical injuries. Everyone who walks in the door is carrying some kind of stress load,” Mor said. “They are all seeking help and a supportive community. They don’t always say what they are struggling with, but it usually shows–especially if it is anxiety or depression.”
“I like to say, ‘Lay on the floor and let it go,’” Mor said. “I think it takes real courage to step through the door and try yoga, even though it has become more accepted in the last 25 years. Yoga helps people. It helped me. I can actually say that what I receive from practicing yoga makes my life better.”
Learn more at 3rdStreetYogaStudio.com.