Tell us a little about yourself: I am 52, married for almost 26 years (we renewed our vows with Elvis in Vegas in 2023 ;), have 3 “children” Jack (24), Sam(23) & Sally (19). My husband and kids are my world. I fortunately and happily made them my full time career until Sally Wally started middle school & the boys began high school. We have lived in Sarasota for almost 18 years enjoying every minute this climate & location allows for raising kids on the water! I am also a self taught professional photographer with a niche of dramatic sports images inspired by my sons’ participation in football. I have often worked with 3 major high schools in town which expanded my demand to senior portraits. I also enjoy brand, marketing and web content gigs – several of which have been with entrepreneurial women in the area who own/run their businesses.

Have you done other styles of Yoga other than Thavma Yoga?: First when kids were little on VHS tape.. lol… then again about 15 years ago I took classes – Iyengar (i think). Not my favorite. Was trying to balance out running a lot which had gone a long way to dropping my “baby weight”. Unfortunately, this combination eventually led to injury and ultimate hip labrum surgery because I was not taught about sinking in my hip. I went through years of discomfort, MRIs and changing my fitness up to help the situation before I finally reached a place where I could not sit or sleep comfortably. Luckily that was alleviated by the repair… and now that I’m being taught correctly, I feel strength and balance in all those small muscles where there used to be none. So thanks to Thavma, I hope to not replicate history.

What made you decide to take your first yoga class ? Curiosity

What made you choose Thavma Premium Hot Yoga LWR as a Studio? I wanted to give yoga another shot, but needed something that makes me sweat or I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. Having given up running and other forms of high intensity workouts for the benefit of my body which was getting injured if I overdid it…. “hot” yoga seemed like the right fit for this stage of my life and to successfully carry me into healthy “golden years”.

What was your first Yoga experience at Thavma Premium Hot Yoga like? I definitely didn’t finish. Had to stop many times. Very out of breath, especially following heart openers. And this was just from a 60 minute 26 + 2. I tried a Red way back and had to modify SO much and was so out of shape that I was not motivated to come back.

What makes you come back? Initially, I was going through some intense family challenges as well as peri-menopausal symptoms and body changes that were making me very unhappy. Thavma was my personal escape. I needed it to disconnect and exhaust myself while hoping that it might be the right fit for getting in better physical shape. I was attending 2… sometimes 3 times per week, enjoying it very much and feeling a bit of a physical difference. But it was not until I saw that my 30 class pack was expiring and I need to take 8 or 9 classes every day before I lost them (we were out of town for most of September-November so I was unable to attend). After this consistent stretch, I truly started to see improvement (definitely NOT perfection) in my alignment, strength and figure. This inspired me to change my membership to unlimited monthly in order to come as frequently as I could. I found all of those elements to exponentially improve the more often I came.

How long have you been practicing? I believe I started coming to Thavma in August of 2021.
What changes have you seen since you began the practice? I can breathe through heart openers rather than coming out of the pose from exhaustion. I can hold my single leg tadasana in a piked position solidly with my hips ALMOST in alignment ;). I can handle MOST movements and poses in Red & White classes (often modifying). I have lost 10 pounds (altering my diet as well). Feel and look better in the mirror. Also do NOT have hot flashes anymore EVER.

Where have you seen that yoga helps you in your day to day life? I have more energy and sleep better. Vulnerable joints that were bothering me prior to practicing often no longer do so (knees, hips and shoulders)… unless it’s from working them hard and simple muscle recovery.

What is your favorite pose? Tough one. My range is still very limited because of hips and shoulders… so everything is truly an effort. Maybe standing bow because it used to be almost physically impossible for me and now I feel improvement and a good heart opening release. Honestly, Dancer pose feels more properly aligned for my body … but I would need an instructor to confirm for me.

What is your least favorite pose? Also standing bow… lol… either that or the thing on our stomach during spine strengthening where our hands are under our body and we’re lifting both legs.

What do you like most about Thavma Premium Hot Yoga LWR? I love that I can now take a different class every day. Sometimes I’m excited to take on the unknown challenges of Red, White and Phoenix… while other days I look forward to routine and sweat of 26 + 2. The instructors are all so special. Despite leading with a clear consistency taught by their fearless leader… they each have with their own vibe that I look forward to.

That you’re never too old of a dog to learn new tricks! Even though I cannot do nearly as well as someone younger or who has been practicing for many years, I would never have guessed that I could have made the progress that I have at this moment in my life. I feel that I’ve embraced a form of fitness that can safely, enjoyably and productively keep me in shape for the rest of my life. Thavma has become my church of sorts in that I allow myself a pre-shavasana prior to classes where I simply enjoy the heat and say my prayers! As a newbie, I preferred being in the back row yet in a spot where I can clearly see the instructor so I know I’m (trying to) do things correctly…. so as all the instructors know… I get there early. Living on Siesta, I have to make it over before the 9am bridge goes up… lol. So, I claim my spot and really zone out until class begins. For whatever reason I prefer it prior to class. It gets my head focused and straight and allows me to find my dedication for class that particular day. Then during actual end of class shavasana, I am able to let whatever emotions need to come up & out, and they have. This structure has really helped me through some hard stuff. And despite those former family challenges not really being an issue anymore… there are always more to come because life is life! I am so happy that I have found a way to process the ups and downs of life. Thank you, Thavma 😉