A unique wellness center opening near Ahwatukee is offering services that go far beyond the physical needs of clients.

The Center for Living Well is a project that has been in the works since 2009. It’s essentially a Christ-centered wellness studio that offers yoga, mindful eating classes, yoga therapy classes, bible and faith studies and professional counseling.

The center was started by Ahwatukee Foothills resident Dawn Rutledge and her business partner, Jennifer Miller. Rutledge discovered in 2004 the difference adding a spiritual component made to her yoga practice. She fell in love with yoga once she had a spiritual experience in a Christ-centered yoga class. She began teaching in 2006 and offering retreats that focus on yoga as well as Christ.

Miller was a licensed counselor and pastor and walked into Rutledge’s Christ-centered yoga class looking for physical healing after having a child and suffering from sciatica. She attended a retreat and approached Rutledge, explaining what she does.

“I explained what I do and we saw what a beautiful fit it was,” Miller said. “The retreat I had gone to, while there were things beyond yoga, the emphasis was very much yoga. We decided what I do could very much compliment what she does. I continued to come with her on retreats and we still continued to do what we did outside of it, but as time passed we continued to integrate more and more.”

In 2011 the pair decided it was time to make it official. They formed The Center for Living Well as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and made plans to offer yoga, counseling and other classes. As time passed their community of students grew and they were quickly outgrowing various venues they were using.

On Oct. 1 The Center for Living Well will open at 1655 W. Chandler Blvd., Suite 5, in Chandler. The new venue has an open room for group classes and a smaller back room for private counseling.

While classes cannot be completely free, the pair is soliciting donations to help pay for scholarships for those who need it. They have a suggested donation price that is kept affordable for those who can’t get scholarships.

The center is very Christ-centered but is not specific to one denomination.

“The biggest attraction for people, faith-based or not, is that it’s a safe place for them to come and be exactly who they are and be able to move forward finding healing,” Rutledge said. “They’re coming into a community where they can really feel accepted and cared for. We don’t shove faith down their throat, we provide an environment where they’re just here receiving the tools they need to heal and be healthy and whole. It’s an individual process, but it takes place in this very loving and caring environment.”

The pair also plan to host monthly workshops on different topics from healing yoga to marriage and family counseling. A complete schedule of classes will be available at centerforlivingwell.org. People can also sign up for counseling sessions through the website. Walk-ins to classes are welcome. For more information, call (480) 505-3825.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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