A model of inner strength

When Paige Held wakes up in the morning, she gets her kids ready for school then spends the next few hours of the day motivating others to be the best they can be both physically and mentally.

Held, 36, owns The Yoga Joint, a yoga studio in Fort Lauderdale where she has developed a reputation for being a fitness expert and master motivator.

“Part of the yoga path teaches you to really embrace your strengths and to let go of your fears,” said Held, who has been married for three years and has two children, Taylor, 7, and Michael, 10. “I just embraced that I have this gift and I wanted to give it to other people.’’

Held’s reputation among the yoga community was recognized by Yoga Journal, a national magazine that put her on the cover of its June issue. Held is the first yoga studio owner in South Florida to be featured as the cover model for the magazine, which has a circulation of 375,000 and readership of more than 2.2 million nationwide.

“They contacted my studio then called me,” said Held, who got into yoga when she was 16 as a way to relieve stress from her parents’ divorce. “I was chosen as somewhat of a role model, and I see it as a great honor.”

Held and her business partner Kelly Green opened a second location in Fort Lauderdale last August. Along with the classes, The Yoga Joint offers teacher trainings on yoga and meditation, kids’ yoga classes, prenatal classes and has held retreats in Costa Rica, China, Thailand and Mexico.

Green, also a yoga instructor, views Held’s classes as tools for inner strength.

“It teaches you how to handle life better,” Green said. “It’s something that you can dig deep into when you need it.”

Another reason for Held’s popularity is her “Hot Fusion Yoga,” which integrates elements of Vinyasa flow, which utilizes postures and breathing techniques; Ashtanga, which involves synchronizing the breath; and power yoga.

One of Held’s students, Dr. Andrew Giordano, is a holistic chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s a way of quieting the mind down,” said Giordano, who has been a chiropractor for 12 years. “Paige is very heartfelt and pushes you. If there’s something you’re struggling with, she’ll challenge you, and most of what’s done in there is more beneficial for you than your basic physical therapy.”

Held tries to practice what she preaches. She takes pride in her physical fitness, and although yoga is her primary method of staying fit, she is very disciplined about what she eats.

“We eat 90 percent organic, and I stick to a very clean diet,” she said. “We eat a ton of fruit, a ton of vegetables, and we really don’t eat any red meat or pork.”

With all of the physical benefits that come with practicing yoga, the psychological aspect of it is what Held feels can be life-changing.

“My key to happiness is moderation, meditation, a lot of yoga and constant compassion and love for my own journey and everybody else's,” she said. “My belief is that our thoughts create our reality, so choose them wisely.’’