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Plymouth resident starts wedding-based yoga business

PLYMOUTH — Ashley Sondergaard has been teaching yoga for seven years, but a month ago she made a big career change and opened up her own business — Wedded Wellness.

Switching careers isn’t new to Sondergaard, a resident of Plymouth. When she got into yoga she was working in fundraising and would get stressed out during business trips, so she found a yoga class where she could turn off her brain and get some exercise. Soon, she started practicing more and then became an Experience Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. She started teaching with CorePower and her yoga career was born.

“I think people often find yoga as ‘I want to do yoga because I want to work out’ and it is that, but once you get the itch for yoga you get into other areas, whether it be meditation, whether it be more mindful life practices,” Sondergaard told Lakeshore Weekly News.

Around three years ago, Sondergaard started thinking about starting her own business. She’d been asked by a few friends to lead yoga practices on the morning of their weddings with bridal parties to bring a meaningful centering to the day.

This is what Wedded Wellness does. Sondergaard will meet with you the morning of your wedding, your bachelorette party, your bachelor party or with just the bride and groom (or groom and groom or bride and bride, Sondergaard added) to lead a curated yoga practice.

She can make you sweat or just lead you through a guided mediation — whatever you want for your special day. If it’s yoga and wedding related, she’s got you.

“I was there at 6 o’clock in the morning, maybe it was 7, but her bridesmaids were there too, they showed up because that’s what she needed,” Sondergaard said about a recent wedding at which she led a class. “So we moved a little bit and we did a little mediation around her just to set the day and really the focus was on her as the bride.”

Sondergaard recognizes that yoga and weddings aren’t necessarily a natural pairing but she’s found that yoga can be a great note on which to start a lifetime.

“By using something like yoga to ground down in a community of people you love and you want to spend time with, you can really focus that, your mind, your emotions around what the actual process is — like I’m getting married, I’m here to celebrate, not to be stressed,” she said.

Sondergaard said she finds yoga can lead its practicers to a healthier lifestyle, and for partners heading into a lifetime it is a mindful way to be together and learn about each other and build rituals together.

While the business is only a month old, Sondergaard has big plans for Wedded Wellness. Currently, she is the only instructor but she hopes as her business grows, she can bring on other instructors and bring yoga, meditation, mindfulness and ritual-building to couples all over Minnesota and even expand across the country.

Currently, Sondergaard focuses on the Twin Cities area — although Wedded Wellness takes her on road, meeting up with couples and wedding parties across the metro. Sondergaard chuckled and said she has done some destination weddings for friends but it’s not a service she offers currently.

Wedded Wellness’ website is www.weddedwellness.com.

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Plans for Hennepin County Medical Examiner building in Minnetonka move forward

MINNETONKA — The new Hennepin County Medical Examiner building is moving forward as the Minnetonka City Council and Minnetonka Planning Commission recently passed resolutions to start work on the building site.

The new building will have more space and better equipment including rooms dedicated to grieving families. A main draw to the site is its isolated location, Minnetonka City Planner Loren Gordon said at the Sept. 19 Planning Commission meeting. The building will be surrounded by vegetation and fencing to keep unwanted visitors out and is far away from residences.

The City Council heard from the developer on Sept. 16 about changes to the building design as the building has been moved from the east side of the property to the west side of the property at 14300 County Road 62, a site shared with the Hennepin County Home School.

The council voted to construct the building and referred it to the Planning Commission during its Sept. 16 meeting.

“I want to say welcome to Minnetonka to the Hennepin County Medical examiner,” Mayor Brad Wiersum said during the meeting.

The Planning Commission also heard from the developer during its Sept. 19 meeting and then voted to recommend the City Council approve the developer’s conditional use permit and site plan.

The project will go back to the City Council, according to Senior Communications Coordinator Matt Higgins, where it will discuss the conditional use permit and site plan during its Oct. 7 meeting.

The new site will bring several improvements to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office from its current facility including, increasing the number of autopsy tables from seven to 12, a cooler that holds up to 100 bodies and postmortem CT scanning, which is a noninvasive form of identifying the cause of death.

The project was allocated $17.5 million in funding from the state over two legislative sessions.