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Yoga Instructor Tulya McLaughlin Shares Her 27-Year Journey of Teaching and Inspiring at CARD

June 20, 2024

A smiling woman standing by a railing with a lake and trees in the background.
CARD Yoga Instructor Tulya McLaughlin

For over 27 years, Tulya McLaughlin has been a beloved yoga instructor with the Chico Area Recreation & Park District (CARD). Her journey into yoga began out of necessity and curiosity. Originally a dental hygienist, Tulya was forced to retire from clinical work due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Seeking a new path, she turned to a lifelong interest in yoga.

"My first exposure to yoga was through Lilius Yoga on PBS," Tulya recalls. "It was purely physical at first, but I quickly discovered the deeper benefits of yoga beyond just exercise."

To deepen her understanding, Tulya traveled to Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, Virginia to take teacher training with her guru of 26 years, Sri Swami Satchidananda, a renowned teacher of traditional Indian yoga. This experience solidified her commitment to the practice and set her on the path to becoming an instructor.

Upon returning to Paradise, California, Tulya received an unexpected opportunity to teach yoga when a local instructor had to leave suddenly. This serendipitous start led to a long and fulfilling teaching career, which continued when she moved to Chico and began teaching for CARD.

A yoga class with participants stretching their arms upwards.
Tulya McLaughlin instructing students in Yoga

One of Tulya's greatest joys has been witnessing the growing popularity of yoga. "When I started, yoga wasn’t mainstream. But with celebrities like Madonna and Sting embracing it, the interest exploded," she says. "It's been amazing to see more people discovering yoga's benefits."

Tulya's classes are known for their holistic approach, incorporating not just physical postures but also teachings on mindfulness, healthy eating, and spiritual growth. "Yoga is a science for healthy living—body, mind, and spirit," she explains. "It helps quiet the 'monkey mind' and brings peace."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulya adapted by offering her classes via Zoom, maintaining a sense of community and continuity for her students. "It was a blessing for all of us during such a disconcerting time," she reflects.

Tulya emphasizes that yoga is accessible to everyone, regardless of physical flexibility. "You don't have to be flexible in your body, but you do need to be flexible in your mind," she advises. Her classes cater to all levels, from beginners to those who have been practicing for decades.

A group of people participating in a yoga class indoors, performing stretching exercises on mats.
Tulya McLaughlin instructing students in Yoga

Her dedication to teaching is deeply appreciated by her students, some of whom have been with her since she started. "Seeing how much people love yoga and keep coming back is incredibly inspiring," she says. "It's a win-win when I can share something I love so much."

Tulya's story is a testament to the transformative power of yoga and the impact a passionate teacher can have on a community. She continues to inspire and guide her students, helping them lead healthier, more balanced lives.

For those considering starting yoga, Tulya offers this advice: "You don’t have to be flexible in body to start yoga, just flexible in mind." Those interested can learn more or sign up at, with the Zoom option still available for those unable to make it in-person. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more CARD updates, visit and follow CARD on Facebook and @chicorec on Instagram.



About Chico Area Recreation & Park District

Founded in 1948, the Chico Area Recreation & Park District (CARD) is a California Special District focused on creating recreational opportunities that bring friends and families together to have fun and build lasting memories. CARD manages and cares for more than 12 community and neighborhood parks, four community centers, one swimming pool, the Chico Creek Nature Center, and other facilities. The PLAY Activity Guide highlights the numerous sports, classes, camps, special events, and more CARD offers. Learn more about CARD at