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Koru Community Welcomes New Owner To Oakdale Studio
Koru Studio owner Niccol Bauer, far right, joined by studio yoga teachers, from left: Stephannie Schmit, Kim Manley and Kathy Wallace at a recent studio open house. Photo Contributed

There are a number of ways one might describe the chance meeting of Koru Studio owners Kellie Content and Niccol Bauer. Regardless of religious belief, to hear the story eight months later it would best be described as serendipitous.

According to Bauer, it was a chance meeting at a Modesto restaurant last winter when the two first crossed paths. Bauer, just returning from a yoga training, was with her husband. Content, at an adjacent table, was with her parents. As the families mingled, the two women learned of their shared love for the practice of yoga and meditation.

“That was our first and only meeting, really,” Bauer shared.

The yoga enthusiast, wife and mom of two would not hear the name Kellie Content again until March of this year, when she learned of Content’s sudden passing from her sister-in-law, who did business with the Content family.

Content’s life was taken in a tragic car accident driving from Oakdale to her Modesto home following the teaching of a Beer Yoga event.

Bauer recalls feeling both stunned and saddened by the news of the woman she had met briefly, yet shared a connection with.

Following Content’s passing, Koru Yoga Studio continued to operate on a modified schedule largely due to the commitment of its teachers, as well as clients. During this time, it was reported that the family remained committed to keeping the studio open, as it was such a passion for Content. While it was unknown at the time how that would play out, by late May the plan would be revealed.

Content’s family remembered Bauer and inquired with her sister-in-law if Bauer might be willing to take over the space along West F Street in Oakdale.

“It’s a lot to step into. I didn’t really know anybody. I’d never been in the space,” Bauer shared of her initial feeling, noting she told the family she would get back to them. “I just needed to sit with it for a little bit.”

Following discussion with her husband, as well as some meditation, the new owner shared she recognized all of her reasons not to take on the endeavor were based in fear.

Bauer has been passionate about the practice of yoga and meditation long before it became the “it” thing. So much so, years ago she walked away from a career as a hairstylist and moved to New York to study the practice with one of the best.

As funds grew short, she shared she found herself in need of place to live rent free while re-establishing herself. This brought her to the Central Valley, where she moved in with her mother, living in Ripon at the time.

“I thought it would be just like a crash spot and I got back into hair,” she said of her return to California in 2009. She opted then to do men’s hair because it was easier and she needed to make money.

“They’re constantly getting their hair done,” she continued.

In 2010 she met her husband and began coming to the realization that she would not be returning to her Southern California roots.

“All of that just happened so fast and I was here,” she said of calling the Valley home.

Over the course of the years which followed, Bauer maintained her love of yoga and meditation and continued participation in teacher trainings.

In December of 2019 she opened a Dharma Yoga Center in Modesto. Operating as a donation-based studio, the pandemic in 2020 quickly saw her studio doors close.

“I didn’t want to see the space close, especially after having to close my own yoga space,” she said of stepping into the ownership of Koru. “I don’t want to see more yoga spaces go away.”

With the takeover official in May of this year, Bauer shared she was able to step into the space in June, by way of taking classes and learning the studio.

“The classes are beautiful. The space is amazing. The community is just like … you feel it,” she said of the studio. “It’s just been very welcoming.”

Embracing differences in her practices and the studio’s current offerings, Bauer shared she feels like it’s forcing her to step into it, as well as recognize what she wants to share with the community.

“I feel like, Kellie and I’s commonality are our love for yoga for sure and how do we just bring that to people,” she said, noting the business savviness of Content.

“Kellie is teaching me every day,” she shared, chuckling, noting by way of running the business. “I never got that far with my studio. She was definitely a business woman. She’s teaching me how to be a business woman for sure.’

The hairstylist, turned yogi, turned business owner said she now looks forward to sharing the growth and teachings she gained through yoga and meditation with the community.

“The ability it’s given me to love myself more, which is really amazing. That has been a long road,” she said. “That self-love has come in just the last few years and I’ve been practicing for years.”

Bauer has no plan for changes to existing classes, yet hopes to bring some future offerings to add to the studio variety. Those offerings will include pre-natal classes, as well as Ayurveda.

“One of my teachers described Ayurveda as dancing with life,” she shared. “How do we just navigate that dance? Let’s dance. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it’s slow, sometimes we’ve just got to dance, you know.”

The studio is at 809 W. F St., Oakdale. Class and more studio information can be found on the Koru website; Facebook page Koru Yoga Studio; Instagram koru.yoga108 or email

“I am very honored and I feel blessed to be able to step into this space,” Bauer concluded.