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From fit to Fearless

Three powerful women and one simple purpose are what is behind the recently opened Fearless Yoga Studio in Merced.

The one and only free standing yoga studio in the City of Merced opened Jan. 1 of this year. Fearless owners Susan Webb, Hilda Castillo-Landrum and Ashley Beard are proving to be three equal parts to a powerful whole as the studio continues to create buzz and increased membership.

Webb and Castillo-Landrum serve as the “face” of the studio, leading each of the classes, while Beard has utilized a pay it forward promise to be the financial backing for the entrepreneurs, as well as teaching on occasion.

Each of the three brings individual yoga backgrounds, as well as shared experiences to the studio, its clients and the community.

According to the trio, the idea for a studio first began taking shape with Webb at the center of two separate friendships. As Castillo-Landrum shared her hope and dream with Webb, Webb was sharing a similar hope and dream with Beard.

Beard, a firefighter/paramedic, had recently completed paramedic school thanks in part to financial support from the community of Coulterville where she was born and raised. The Fearless partner shared that when her community learned of her need, they rallied to offer financial support of her furthering her education.

In so doing, one supporter presented her with the pay it forward challenge. So when Webb shared her dream, Beard made a proposal.

“Susan had mentioned Warrior Yoga,” Beard said of Webb sharing her experience with the Turlock based Baptiste affiliate studio Warrior Yoga. “I walked into Lorie’s (Warrior Yoga) class and that was amazing. I walked out of there on a different cloud.”

Both women credit their experiences at the Warrior Yoga Turlock owned by Lorie and Sean Wilson, as a powerful jumping off point for bringing the dream to fruition.

As result, Beard offered to help with costs for Webb to attend a Baptiste Yoga teacher training in Sedona, Arizona. Webb agreed, but only if Beard went with her. As the planning for training began, the idea of owning their own studio began to take shape.

As it turned out, the seven-day Sedona training would prove to be life changing on many fronts. It was an experience they were able to bring back to share with Castillo-Landrum upon their return.

The third member and personal trainer shared, as the duo expanded their training, she scouted locations for the studio. Excited and eager to bring this opportunity to the community, Castillo-Landrum shared she had no doubt in the business success.

“It’s going to work,” she said of her optimism as the trio’s plan began taking shape. “Maybe we were so busy, I never sat down and thought ‘what if?”

And “work” it has. The 79 W. Alexander Ave., Merced location continues to stay steady with yogis of all ages and levels, including a children’s yoga class. A full menu of varying class types are offered at the studio Monday through Sunday. Class times range from as early at 5:30 a.m. to as late as 7:30 p.m.

“It’s been so well received,” Webb said, “and our grand opening far exceeded what we thought was going to take place.”

Each of the partners shared prior to opening the studio their personal yoga practices were restricted to the gym or at home via YouTube videos, noting the beauty of a studio setting that fosters a community which is formed between members.

“It’s really cool seeing the friendships being formed now,” Webb said.

“There are so many benefits to the community,” Castillo-Landrum added. “People are so busy doing life, they forget to live. When you come here – part of my teaching is to be present.”

Equally sharing the thoughts and feelings of her partners, Beard echoed their sentiments stating, “I never made a connection with anyone (at the gym). I missed what we found in Arizona and it is now here – connection.”

Just a few months in, the three women are each excited for what the future of the studio holds. As the financial backer, fellow yogi and friend to both women, Beard shared the first goal would be for the location to grow to a point empowering Webb and Castillo-Landrum to leave their “day jobs” if they so choose. Both women openly share the idea of teaching yoga, solely, as a potential dream come true.

“I can go to the gym, I can go to a workout studio and get a great physical workout,” Castillo-Landrum said, “but it doesn’t wake me up inside. They (students) come to wake up. As cliché as it sounds ... mind, body and soul. I get a great workout, but it’s not just for my body.”

To learn more about Fearless Yoga Studio, pricing and class times visit

, find them on Facebook at Fearless Yoga or call (209) 580-4781.