Seven years ago, Ron Nordmann decided to try yoga with Jennifer Khosla, and he’s still at it today. “She’s kept me in such good shape as I approach my 81st birthday. I’m at my high school weight and feel as well as I ever have in my adult life,” he reports. “I attribute a great deal of that to her.”
Nordmann says maintaining balance is an important goal, as well as protecting trouble spots, such as his occasionally bothersome back and hips, while stretching and strengthening the rest of his body. “One of the things everyone my age worries about is falling,” he explains. In his yoga sessions, “we do an amazing amount of balancing work. Thank goodness I’ve never fallen.”
When in-person yoga sessions went virtual during the pandemic, Nordmann and Khosla maintained their three-times-a-week meetings via FaceTime—the Monday and Wednesday sessions, anyway. Each Tuesday, they pivot to Zoom, making it possible to include his daughter and son-in-law in North Carolina in trainings. Nordmann, who is from New Jersey and moved to Naples permanently 11 years ago with his wife, says his daughter complains these Tuesday practices are her easiest yoga workouts of the week. Khosla is “tapering it to take care of the old guy,” he happily admits. “It’s really fun.”
Before each practice, Khosla asks Nordmann how he’s feeling and if he has any physical complaints and “on the spot, she will tailor my yoga session to remedy whatever the situation,” he says. “She will change what she had planned for that lesson to incorporate yoga poses and exercises for whatever it is that’s ailing me. That’s talented in my view.”
Khosla, 35, the founder of Naples-based wellness company Lean and Green Body, is designated as an experienced registered yoga teacher or E-RYT. She started trainings in 2011 and has since amassed more than 7,000 hours of teaching and co-leading classes. “I took my first yoga class when I was 14, and the practice has changed my life and supported me in so many ways,” she relates.
Yoga, however, is just one of three areas she focuses on; she is also a certified holistic nutritionist and mind-body wellness practitioner. The impressive alphabet soup of credentials following Khosla’s name reveals the many wellness areas she has mastered—including certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist—which she customizes based on the needs of each Lean and Green Body client.
“She’s very good at advising me in conversation about dietary issues. I may ask her about this food or that one—whatever is in my diet. If I have a question about it, she’s a holistic dietician,” says Nordmann. “She’s very helpful, actually, in my whole life.”
The drive to be physically active has been an integral part of Khosla’s life since she began dancing at the age of 3, playing sports year-round from elementary age, lifting weights as a teenager, and running avidly in high school and college. “It’s part of me,” she states simply.
Putting the Wellness Pieces Together
Khosla is a Southwest Florida native. She was born in Fort Myers and had relatives “all over the state,” she says. During her elementary school years, her family moved to Northwest Connecticut, where she grew up concocting mini-workout routines and “protein shakes” made from straight milk for her childhood friends.
An early interest in emergent medicine was inspired by her mother, a registered nurse, and father, a nurse anesthetist. But she doesn’t believe her parents’ careers were necessarily the force driving her innate desire to voraciously read nutrition books, meditate daily, begin working at a gym at age 17, become a personal trainer at age 18, or run five miles a day for a decade. “From a young age, I’ve been all about it,” she notes. Looking back on her family’s lifestyle, she says, “We didn’t keep a lot of junk food around when I was growing up. It’s like, ‘If you know better, do better,’ so I think we ate healthy for what they knew then.”
Given her enthusiasm for sports, Khosla earned her bachelor’s degree in athletic training at Springfield College near Boston. These studies got her more deeply interested in the role of nutrition, so she continued her education with postgraduate studies in clinical dietetics at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.
After academia, Khosla embarked on a journey to La Jolla, California, where she completed her yoga teacher training and began teaching in San Diego. To be closer to family, she moved back to the Northeast, where she opened a small yoga and nutrition studio outside of Lake George, New York. It was a natural choice because “I love it there,” she says. “I wasn’t tied down and needed a change.”
In 2013, Khosla left New York for Naples to put the puzzle pieces of her knowledge and experience into a business framework, which led to officially launching Lean and Green Body in 2015 to offer wellness courses and seminars in the Naples area.
Her book, Revitalize & Renew: 7 Days To A Healthier You, details her “nutrition-complete detox program” for eliminating toxins from the body. She also has a popular blog, Lean and Green Body. “My target audience is women. My goal is to empower women and help them discover how amazing their bodies are naturally designed to feel,” she says. “There is something I love about connecting with other women—the energy of how we connect with one another.”
A Growing Family—and Business
After relocating to Naples, Khosla began teaching yoga classes and visited gyms and gated communities to pitch her wellness services. Little by little, she grew her client base. “I am very driven by nature,” she explains. “I eventually got several contracts around town.”
By 2019—with a studio as her headquarters on Fifth Avenue South—Khosla had a small staff to facilitate personal training, yoga, and nutrition courses, as well as one-on-one workouts. She was flown to Springfield College as the keynote speaker for a wellness event, hosted a yoga retreat at Edgewater Beach Hotel, and participated in 17 events across the country. For Khosla, 2019 was a groundbreaking year, and she notes, “2020 was scheduled to be even bigger, but we all know what happened.”
Because Khosla had already established virtual instruction with seasonal Naples clients who return north in the summer, she was ready for the online migration. Other clients soon “realized it’s still a good way to connect, stay healthy, and meet goals from the comfort of your home.”
Stepping back from her growing business gave Khosla more time to spend with her husband, Ricky, a biomedical engineer and engineering supervisor at Arthrex, whom she met shortly after returning to Naples through a mutual yogi friend. “He was already doing yoga and meditation before I met him.” Ricky supports her in myriad ways: from attending her classes and events to testing “all of my recipes. And he’s brutally honest.”
The couple enjoys strolling the beach at sunset, paddleboarding, and romping in the great outdoors in ideal weather—a treasure for Ricky, who hails from Ohio. As of press time, they are expecting their first child, a son, due mid-March. Khosla explains that her biggest craving has been green juice. “My baby boy is on-brand,” she jokes. “I have been plant-based for years and even more so with this pregnancy.”
And she has embraced the online wellness community as the future of her business. “We have experienced more growth than I ever expected since going virtual,” she says. “It’s allowed me a lot of space to see more clients and personally to have more time for family and to work on my own self-care.”
Nordmann is excited about her future. “She’s going to be such a great mother,” he says. “I couldn’t be happier for her.”
After talking about the strides he’s made since first engaging with Khosla, Nordmann’s insight grows deeper. “She has such a gentle approach in her personality. If I fall out of a pose or do something clumsy, I used to get mad or disappointed with myself. She’ll say, ‘That’s okay. That’s okay. This is a journey not a race. You will get it right the next time.’ She’s as much a psychology coach as a yoga teacher.… She’s one of the most important people in my life.”
Try Kholsa’s go-to smoothie recipes that you can make at home with readily available ingredients:
1 small red beet with stalk
4-6 kale leaves
Directions: Pulverize ingredients in a juicer and enjoy!
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of kale
1/2 handful of shredded cabbage
1/2 handful of broccoli
1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup water
Directions: Mix ingredients in a blender for some get-up-and-go.