RGV Business Owner Hosts Global Yoga Event
By Karen Villarreal
The Rio Grande Valley’s small towns are not immune to the phenomena of the “brain cycle,” or the departure and eventual return of its inhabitants. We all know someone (or were that person) who left the RGV and vowed never to return—until they did, now intending to make a positive impact on the hometown they have a newfound appreciation for. It may be cliche, but it’s a good thing for our local communities. Welcome home, Valley Natives!
Raquel Ponce, owner of Miami Fit Wear, returned to the RGV to give her business room to grow after living in Miami, Florida for five years. In Miami, she had fallen in love with yoga, but also discovered her discomfort in the leggings options available to her – so she designed her own. After much experimentation, she found a successful prototype, and started selling them online.
The leggings Ponce makes and sells are of a unique design, both in construction and exterior aesthetic. The cloth feels something like a swimsuit when on the rack, but worn it hugs the legs without feeling smothering. In fact, it seems to encourage motion. Ponce says that many customers have told her that her leggings are the only ones they wear to pilates or yoga, because they don’t slip or distract them when they’re trying to focus on their poses. Others have told her they feel so comfortable, they just put on their yoga pants and feel happy. I can attest to that phenomena. The words that come to mind are “buttery second skin.” It sounds creepy, but feels amazing! It’s just something you have to experience. As I saw firsthand with the pair of nebular turtle leggings I tried on, they don’t go transparent when stretched as some leggings are known to do. As clothing intended to be stretched, these leggings are tough and reliable. The garment inspires trust. Trust that your seams won’t rip and embarrass you, allowing you to shift your focus to your muscles. Trust, that those muscles will stretch and get stronger and keep supporting you. Trust—in yourself.
It’s this empowerment that Ponce hopes to share through her product. In time, she realized that relocating the company to Pharr would promote physical activity in her hometown, which has a high rate of obesity-related illnesses. The store for high-quality athletic leggings provides the atmosphere of a city boutique, specialized garments for comfortable movement, and custom designs for individual expression and pride. Designs line the shelves, from geometric shapes and abstract patterns to pop art and culture.The attached yoga studio’s calm atmosphere allows one to put them into instant action if desired. With this product offering, Miami Fit Wear is contributing towards the normalcy of fitness studios, athletic boutiques, and healthy food options in the Valley. Ponce hopes to see more of these resources helping people to get in tune with their bodies.
However, what Ponce most hopes her business can help the Valley emulate from Miami is the community. “People want to feel a connection. Yoga is a way to bring people together to do something different.” says Ponce. “It’s a great experience, and I want to bring some of that here.”
On November 11, 2017, from 6 – 7 PM, Miami Fit Wear is a perfect place to venture into the local yoga community. The boutique will be outfitted with complimentary valet service while local “Health and Wellness” vendors share light, healthy hors-d’oeuvres and refreshments, massages, and hair styling.
It’s all part of the Drive 4 Change fundraiser to benefit Khusi Hona, a non-profit organization whose focus is empowering vulnerable people in South Asia with tangible life-changing opportunities like economic development, empowerment, and education. “It’s something innovative for people to experience here,” says Ponce. “In fact, Miami Fitwear Yoga is the first stop in Texas for Kushi Hona on their 50-city international tour.”
The main event starts at 7; the one-of-a-kind yoga practice called “Sound Voyage” blends music with every breath. Participants will wear noise isolating headphones that serve a dual purpose: to cancel out the grunts or other distracting sounds from participants, and to enable a deep, meditative experience. Through the headphones, participants will hear the voice of Sylvia Morales (Pilates & Yoga – Body Center) calmly providing instruction over mesmerizing beats by DJ Karri Om. Beginners are welcome, as instructors will be helping people get into the right positions.
The fundraiser is one of many events Ponce hopes to host in the future to help the local yoga scene keep growing. “We’re trying to give people different things to do,” she says. “I hope we see a lot of people come out!”