Special to the Asbury Park Press
SHREWSBURY - Eva Leobold, owner of Blue Moon Yoga and Spiritual Center in Shrewsbury, was met with immediate success with her business since taking it over in 2014. But the pandemic that started in 2020 led to a challenge she had never imagined.
“We had to learn a new way to practice yoga,” Leobold said. “We were kind of lumped in with gyms, so we were considered not essential. We were told we had to close and there was no negotiation about it.
"I had to figure out how to teach yoga on Zoom within a series of days. We had to learn how to teach online and that was not easy," she said. "We lost some clients at that time, but after we opened again, we regained some more business, even though we had to teach classes while combating COVID-19 at the same time. We eventually would overcome that obstacle and get back into the swing of things.”
Leobold found her way into yoga through her love of artistic expression growing up. It taught her to be confident and driven as an entrepreneur.
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“I got into things like dancing, painting and illustration, music and theater,” Leobold said. “It took me outside of myself and it was also a lot of fun. More than that, though, it enabled me to tell a story with my movements, no matter which of them I was practicing. I had to work at it, but I was good enough at it that it kept me grounded because I loved the end result. It was motivating like that.”
'There is always something new'
Leobold said being an entrepreneur is a constant learning process.
“You need to persevere because not everything you try will be a success,” Leobold said. “You master one thing and there is always something new to graduate to and master again, as well. It’s all about building on your previous achievements and progressing to the next step, which transitions right into life in general, as well. It’s all about gradually moving forward.”
As Leobold was growing up and got into sports, she enjoyed parts of it, but soon realized that she did not have the competitive edge that other athletes had.
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“As a kid, I was very sensitive and felt bad for other kids who lost at sports,” Leobold said. “I did not enjoy winning as much because I didn’t want to be the person to make another person feel bad for losing. It was in my personality to be empathetic that way. Life didn’t serve as a competition, and I didn’t achieve success by winning or losing. I just wanted to make my own way by artistic expression and be successful by doing something that only I could do.”
Leobold attended Monmouth University and got a bachelor’s degree in art there. While there, she learned painting, sculpture, edging, drawing and typesetting.
“When I got out of college, I had to get a real job and my options were a little limited,” Leobold said. “Most of the jobs were in marketing and a lot of the people I knew that had jobs with that trade testified to the fact that the job market there was very cutthroat and competitive.
"I would eventually get a job at an engineering firm because the job description required someone to draw maps," she said. "Originally, I anticipated that it would be only temporary, but I ended up doing it for the next 25 years. It turned out that I really liked it, and it challenged both sides of my brain.”
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'I wanted other people to enjoy it'
Leobold found yoga as a way to destress from her everyday life.
“It was completely unintentional,” Leobold said. “It was a way for me to move my body without the strain on joints or muscles. It wasn’t easy but was different and it served a purpose for me to relax my core and work out the kinks. When I worked six to eight to 10 hours a day and I wasn’t used to an everyday workout like I had in high school and college, I had to figure out a method of returning to that exercise routine. It was necessary.”
Leobold loved yoga so much that she trained to become a yoga teacher.
“I wanted other people to enjoy it as much as I did,” Leobold said. “I took a six-to-eight-month course to get certified and I put tons of hours into studying the art of yoga and getting myself familiar with the practice of it. I was fascinated with it, and I wanted to share that passion with the world. In 1998, I got certified and then my teacher was moving from her location, so she made an offer for me to take it over. It was a studio in Fair Haven, simply titled Fair Haven Yoga.”
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Leobold had taken a break from her engineering work to focus on her yoga, but she decided to go back to engineering full-time and sold Fair Haven Yoga business to her then-partner.
But eventually, she got the itch to try again, with Blue Moon Yoga in Shrewsbury.
“It had been in existence since 2002,” Leobold said. “A friend of mine purchased it. She asked me to not only come teach at the studio, but also help her run their yoga teacher training program. I started doing that in 2005, but shortly after that, my friend sold Blue Moon Yoga to another owner in 2010. That new owner kept me on, helping with scheduling and teaching classes as well. At one point, she offered me the business because she no longer wanted to run it, so I accepted and became the new owner in 2014."
Although it took Leobold a year to pay back her ownership of Blue Moon Yoga, it was well worth it.
“In the beginning, many of the members that were already there were happy to hear that I was the new owner,” Leobold said. “I must admit that success came quickly, even though more yoga studios have opened locally since I got involved with it as a business owner. After overcoming COVID-19 and coming up for air, I am still in business to this day and I’m grateful for every single day that I must be here for my clientele and employees.”
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Leobold and her studio teach a few different styles of yoga, including some that are relaxed and others that are more strenuous.
“If we are not certified to teach something, then we don’t,” Leobold said. “We do best with what we know, and we do the types of yoga that we think most people will be comfortable with. Some customers are different than others, but everyone gets the same enjoyment out of the classes we have here.”
It’s been a long time coming for Leobold, but she is where she is supposed to be.
“We are moving in the direction of stress relief and deep relaxation,” Leobold said. “That is the way we get the body to be flexible to relieve stress and tension out of the muscles. We also do meditation with those of us who can teach it. The most important thing is that people can come and relax, while also de-stressing. We want to all work together and take a moment to chill.”
Blue Moon Yoga
Location: 827 Broad St. (Route 35), Shrewsbury
Owner: Eva Leobold
Hours: 9 to 11 a.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays; 10:15 a.m. to noon, 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays; 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 9:15 to 11 a.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays; 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:45 p.m. Fridays; 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturdays; and 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sundays.