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Featured Studio of the Month – White Orchid Yoga
By: Deb Bobier (YogaBoundDeb)
With the launch of my new site design we added a new feature, Studio of the Month. It is my pleasure to feature “White Orchid Yoga” Clearwater, Florida as this months Studio of the Month.
I chose to feature White Orchid as the first featured studio because fellow yogini and friend Ally Ford teaches there. We met through another friend and fellow yogini Karin Kern when they had their own Studio, and I was invited to teach there. I have nothing but respect and admiration for both Alley, and Karin. So it really wasn’t a difficult decision.
Also, White Orchid Yoga Studio is the only Mysore Style Ashtanga (Astanga, s sounding like sh) Yoga Studio in the Tampa Bay Area. Since this is my training and personal practice, albeit modified due to injuries, I am as enthusiastic about it as they are.
As I walked in the door I was greeted by the smiling face of sweet Calley. I told her I was there to see Connie and she went to the office to announce my arrival. I was immediately taken back for my meeting and was greeted with another warm smile. And a big hug. My immediate feeling was, “Now this is a person that runs their business from the heart.”
I took a seat on the sofa and we began to talk. I did no previous research, so knew nothing of Connie’s background. Or her reason for opening the studio. But as we began talking she shared all of this with me. It was at the same time both sad, and inspiring.
Connie lost her oldest son and friend in April 2005. As a mother, when I think of what she went through, and continues to go through each and every day, I get tears in my eyes. How does one handle so much pain. While life in general is rarely smooth sailing, this is the worst of the worst.
February 2006 she made the decision to leave her community in Tarpon Springs to move not to far down the road to North Clearwater Beach. This environment brought back happy memories of a childhood spent on the beach in St. Pete. While the sun and surf are always good for the soul, it wasn’t enough. She threw herself into tennis and other physical activities, literally beating herself up in the process. But she still could not find her breath.
One day while in Nature’s Food Patch, a health food market in Clearwater, she noticed “Anala Yoga Studio” just next door and decided to go in. Ally was there and they began to talk. Though emotional it helped Connie make the decision to start practicing again (she had done yoga in her early 20′s and remembered how relaxing and peaceful she felt afterwards).
Ally was an Ashtanga teacher and Connie found she got so much from the practice. Over time that feeling of being suffocated started to abate and she was able to take a deep breath. After more time passed she was able to surrender the fight against a devastating situation that was out of her control. She lost her preconceived ideas about the way things should be and began to find peace with every recaptured breath. This led to her being able to see the eternity of it all.
While it isn’t about the asana, it is through the asana practice that perspectives are shifted. And one can deepen their practice to a spiritual place. While in this place Connie re-learned how to enjoy life in every moment, realizing the need to let go of her version of what she thought would, should or could happen resulting in feelings of freedom and joy.
Because the practice had such a profound affect on her, in August 2008 she started White Orchid Yoga in Dunedin. By then Ally had closed her studio so it was a seamless move to begin teaching at White Orchid, continuing her Ashtanga Classes and teacher trainings. In October 2010 the Studio moved to its current location in Clearwater. And on September 13th this year they opened in Tampa at 2120 S. MacDill Avenue.
Connie is passionate about helping people find their dreams. And committed to presenting the Ashtanga Classes and Trainings in a way Pattabhi Jois, (founder of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute) would be proud, honoring the tradition and lineage of the practice. This includes hiring the best teachers. Then investing and encouraging them ongoing training including heading to Mysore for training by PJ’s grandson, Sharath who took over after the passing of his beloved grandfather.
The Studio also offers classes like vinyasa flow, gentle, restorative and children’s yoga. You will be sure to enjoy these classes taught by dedicated, passionate and experienced teachers in a warm, inviting space. Check it out and let us know what you think. As for me, I am looking forward to my new friendship with a kindred spirit. And the Mysore Style Classes.
Find more information visit, www.whiteorchidyoga.com
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