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Going With the Flow: Jennifer Kupka Kingston of Flow + Function Yoga

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Calm, confident and dedicated are words that fit Lodi native and newlywed Jennifer Kupka Kingston to a T. When she’s not running her business and helping her parents run theirs, she and her new husband, Scott, approach everything they do with laser-like focus and commitment. Whether it’s traveling, enjoying the outdoors, helping students heal through the power of yoga, whipping up beautiful meals for friends and family, or being mom to six fur children, Jennifer is inspired and motivated by always striving to be the best person she can be.

The Aha Moment that Led to a Business
The sole owner of Flow + Function Yoga Studio and Wellness Center on Fairmont Avenue in Lodi, Jennifer was drawn to the healthy practice of yoga in her early teens. While some 15-year-olds try new things to be cool or even to be rebellious, she became interested in yoga after reading an article asserting that yoga could potentially help her excel in school. Intrigued, she decided to give it a try; it wasn’t long before she was hooked.

“Yoga became a huge part of my daily routine early in my life,” Jennifer recalled. “I started off studying and practicing BikramYoga® and later switched to Vinyasa style. At the time I was also working at my parent’s restaurant, Lodi Airport Café, so I was trying to juggle work, school and my own passions. It wasn’t until after graduation, and after I broke my elbow, that I got some renewed clarity on what I wanted to do in my life. It was that ‘break’ that gave me a break from the restaurant business and gave me the time to look into a future business that included my love of yoga. My parents, Bob and JoAnn Kupka, are business owners, and their hard work has been a huge influence on me. Although I loved the restaurant business, I wanted something that was 100 percent mine.”

With a bachelor’s degree in history and nutrition from St. Mary’s College, degrees in integrative holistic nutrition and Ayurveda paired with an abundance of business savvy from her parents, Jennifer took a leap of faith and opened Flow + Function Yoga Studio and Wellness Center in November 2016 while still acting as manager of Lodi Airport Café.

“Flow + Function was built out of the desire to bring the best life possible to anyone who is willing to learn,” Jennifer shared. “I created this studio in the belief that yoga has the power to change, heal and preserve life. This business has flourished faster than I could have ever imagined. There have been trials and tribulations along the way, but just as many victories, and growth has been fun to watch. I am blessed to have a great team of five instructors now, and all of us are dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing place for growth and personal reflection.”

Jennifer has a true passion for Vinyasa, nutrition and meditation; she and her instructors guide students on and off the mat. “On the mat, our instructors guide our students through proper techniques to increase flexibility, increase awareness and deepen personal and physical shifts. Off the mat, we encourage our students to explore meditation, proper nourishment and workshops to expand their practice. Our ultimate goal is to guide those who walk through Flow + Function’s doors toward whatever adjustments may bring them to optimal quality of life.”

A Passion for Healthy Living
Another love that has lingered since childhood is a focus on healthy eating and use of organic foods. Even as a grade schooler, Jennifer had a deep curiosity for health, nutrition and cooking and could be found often with her nose in a natural healing book or publication. That love was nurtured and encouraged by her mother; an excellent cook and creative entertainer in her own right. Jennifer’s love of using whole and organic foods to create special dining experiences is still a passion of hers, although she admits her catering endeavors have had to take a back seat to business ownership. When she’s not juggling the demands of being the owner of Flow + Function Yoga and being the manager of the Lodi Airport Café, she fulfills her need to create mouth-watering dishes by cooking and entertaining friends and family. “My mom has been such a positive influence on my life in so many ways; especially when it comes to entertaining and creating memorable culinary experiences. I also feel blessed to have the gift of being able to go to any restaurant and recreate a dish just by taste,” she smiled.

Going With the Flow
Although the future looks bright for this young entrepreneur, Jennifer is quick to admit she doesn’t let her ambitions get too far ahead of her. “I feel very fulfilled with my life right where it is right now. I know children will be part of our life someday, but for now we are incredibly busy with our careers and just enjoying life as newlyweds. I also know there will be challenges along the way, both personal and professional, but that’s okay. Instead of dreading challenges, I welcome them. To me they are just opportunities for me to be better at everything I do.” ■