Sonima Wants to Bring Ancient Yoga Wisdom to a Modern Audience

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Articles on include Q&As with gurus like Sharmila Desai. (Photo:

Articles on include Q&As with gurus like Sharmila Desai. (Photo:

Sonia Jones, the wife of hedgefund billionaire (and Robin Hood Foundation founder) Paul Tudor Jones and a well-known Ashtanga Yoga enthusiast, just launched her latest project, a new website she says has "a foundation in mindfulness."

Jones created with partner (and longtime friend) Salima Ruffin, and the two influential women are tapping their high-level wellness contacts to bring the ancient ideas and traditions that have resonated with them to a broader, modern audience. Early next year, they'll also debut a Sonima Wellness Center in Encinitas, California.

"I’m trying to incorporate things that have personally touched me," explains Jones, including authors and influencers of a certain ilk that she's on a name basis with. "What’s different about us is there’s interviews with Deepak Chopra, with Pete [Egoscue] and Janet [Zand] and Sharath [Jois]. I’ve got access to them because they’re friends." That means you're more likely to find yoga sessions with an Ashtanga Yoga lineage holder Jones has studied extensively with in India, than workouts featuring of-the-moment trainers who tout celebrity clients and massive Twitter followings.

Co-founders Salima Ruffin and Sonia Jones. (Photo:

Jones, who grew up in Australia and moved to the United States at 19, started practicing Ashtanga in her late 20s after sustaining a serious back injury as as a result of the birth of her fourth child. "Literally, I fell in love," she says. "I never stopped doing it from that moment on. I went to India every year and took my children and husband. It became like a way of life."

Her practice became a jumping off point for other wellness pursuits (like meditating with Deepak), and she later helped open Jois Yoga studios in the United States (which created some controversy in 2012) and launched the Sonima Foundation with Ruffin, which brings health and wellness programs, including yoga, to children in schools around the country.

It was working with the Foundation that sparked the idea for, she says. "The parents started asking, 'How do I do yoga? How do I get healthy? And I didn’t know where to send them."

Sonima launched with a collection of video tutorials related to yoga, meditation, cooking, and holistic practices (like natural solutions for sinus pain), plus reported articles on topics like nutrition and sleep. And while many of the experts come with serious credentials, Jones says she's hoping to spread their knowledge to those who haven't necessarily ever rolled out a yoga mat or massaged their own kale. "Our mission is to just make it easy for people to start where they are."—Lisa Elaine Held

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Tags: Yoga

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