Yoga in Port Richey Florida

And my yoga adventure continues...

This month I was invited to a yoga class in Port Richey, Florida. My beautiful friend and 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher Danielle Lee asked me to be a guest student in her Saturday morning yoga class. Of course I super excited and said yes! Danielle teaches not one but two yoga class at Infinity Fitness and Beyond every Saturday. Her first class is Aqua Yoga. Yes! You read that right…AQUA YOGA. I recent wrote an article about Aqua Yoga and you can read that here.

I wasn't able to take the aqua class this time but I will defiantly come back for a 2nd visit and experience that beautiful flow. As I approached the front desk I was greeted very nicely by a wonderful lady who had someone whisk me away to meet Danielle. Sounds like a story book but it’s true…I was whisked away. We walked towards the back of the gym towards the pool area where Danielle had just finished her first class. Remember earlier I mentioned that Danielle teaches two classes on Saturday….just making sure you remember. We greeted each other as Yoga Teachers always do…with a smile, a hug and laughter. Not sure why we were laughing but hey, there is thing called "Laughter Yoga". More to come on that later.

In order to get to the yoga studio we had to walked through the center of the gym. Loud gym music was playing and everyone getting sweating from their workout. We walked down the aisle that took us to this beautiful space and I mean beautiful. As soon as I walked in the energy seemed different. I felt calm but excited, energized yet peaceful. As I found a space for my mat I noticed the floor was that of dark wood and not the lighter color you normal see in a gym. I was caught off guard a bit. The walls were accented with floor to ceiling mirrors. Hey....I can see myself!!! 

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Class began with the sound of some soulful music then Danielle turned of the studio lights. The room was now softly lit by the luminaries that were spread around the front of the room. At this moment I was like ohhhh here we go! As I flowed through each yoga posture I could hear the sounds of floor beneath me. That crack of the wood reminding me become grounded and to breath. As I settled into plank pose the sound of the floor beneath me reminded me that I’m strong and to keep breathing. By the end of class I felt restored, energized and balanced and grateful.  

I’ve taken my share of yoga class in a gym setting and I must say, this experience was very different. Danielle really takes her students on a beautiful yoga journey. Slowly guiding the class through with her soft but descriptive voice. At times she would also teach the class a little Sanskrit which is very important in a yoga practice.

I’m truly looking forward to coming back to Infinity Fitness and Beyond to experience the Aqua Yoga class. If you're in the Port Richey area you gotta pay a visit to Danielle Lee and catch one or both of her yoga class. Just tell her I sent ya ;-) 

Thank you Danielle for gifting me such a wonderful experience. 

See you folks in 2017 for all new yoga adventures.   

 

Oh My Goddess!

Recently I had the pleasure of spending a beautiful Sunday morning with some amazing women in the Tampa Florida area for the first Goddess Brunch which was held at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel. The brunch was hosted by Michelle Ruiz RYT500 and Stephanie Matos. These two beautiful souls wanted to provide a relaxing environment for women to make connections with other like-minded, positive women and to share, explore and celebrate their goals, passions and projects. 

As I reached the entrance I was greeted by the Hotel Valet Attendant. That's right,  no self parking for me, I'm a Goddess. Next up was registration a little mingling and then finding a space to place my mat as the event would kick off with a beautiful outdoor yoga flow. Michelle guided us through a beautiful yoga flow. The weather was beautiful and I could feel a light breeze brushing up against my skin like "Hey Goddess, I see you" .  After yoga, Stephanie guided us though a meditation session and we then wrapped things up with a little writing activity focused on self reflection. 

 

Now I did say this was a brunch so next up was FOOD! Bruch was provided by The Pelagia Trattoria Restaurant. This restaurant was just steps away from where the morning yoga and mediation session was held. As each Goddess entered the dinning area we were greeted by the friendly staff and delicious bar full of fresh fruit, coffee, juice and an assortment of hot breakfast items. Side note, just before this event I decided I was going to stop eating most meat. To my amazement there was a big platter of bacon that looked soooooo delicious starring right at me. Oh my goodness...I stayed strong and walked on by. Now, back to brunch. As we sat down to eat we enjoyed the relaxed enviornment, wonderful conversations and some yummy mimosas. Our hostesses lined up some awesome items donated by a few generous local business owners which a few lucky Goddess were able to enjoy. Nope, I did not win...LOL

The event wrapped up with each Goddess having the opportunity to experience the art of henna. Henna Artist Shriya Joshi with Henna Colors provided beautiful henna art that was perfectly designed for a true Goddess. Thank You!

I must say this brunch was pretty darn amazing. I left feeling relaxed, pampered, inspired and excited about my adventures. Visit Michelle Ruiz website to learn more about the next Goddess Brunch. 

All photos courtesy of Michelle Ruiz

On to the next adventure!

    

Yoga With Curiosity II

Photo Credit: Wanderlust 108

Photo Credit: Wanderlust 108

That right I'm back at Wanderlust 108! It's only seems like yesterday when my cousins Jackie and I went out on an adventure, a yoga adventure in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although she couldn't join me this time the adventure continued on in Tampa, Florida, the Sunshine State! 

Unlike in Charlotte where the weather was a bit cold, this go around the weather was hot and I mean HOT! This time I didn't need to layer up in long thick clothing. No gloves or thick hat like we did in Charlotte. Oh no. This time I packed a towel, a ball cap (to block he sun), water and a second set of clothes as I knew the the Tampa heat was going to bring on the sweat. I also had the pleasure of representing an amazing local yoga studio, Pose By Pose. This yoga studio located in Lutz Florida offers yoga workshops, yoga teacher training and various yoga classes. Head on over to Pose by Pose Yoga Studio and learn more. 

During the event I had a wonderful time chatting with local business owners and fellow yogis, enjoyed an amazing massage from The Epic Bodywork Team and also won a free thermal flask to keep my water nice and cold. This thing really works! I also enjoyed getting my yoga and meditation on along side my fellow yogis. 

Let me not forget the most AMAZING moments of my adventure at Wanderlust 108. The moment I met up with MC YOGI for the second time this year and also his wife, Amanda Giacomini. This was my first time meeting this amazing yogi.  Amanda is such a beautiful soul. She greeted me with such a powerful force of positive vibes I was just speechless. Her 10,000 Buddhas project is something I've been following and hope to visit one of her beautiful murals in person soon. These two are a powerhouse of love & peace.

Discover more about MC YOGI and Amanda 

My Curious Yogi adventures continues....

Yoga in Palm Harbor Flordia

solTerra Wellness Center 

solTerra Wellness Center 

Vinyasa Mix yoga class with Yoga Teacher Jennifer Witaconis. That's right! I had the pleasure of joining Jennifer for a powerful Vinyasa Mix yoga class at solTERRA Wellness Center and Bliss Store located in Palm Harbor Florida. This cute & colorful studio sends off the most amazing energy. I had the feeling of being invited to the home of a beautiful soul to relax, kick off my shoes, lay out my mat and just embrace the good vibes. Maybe it was the tea, oils and various stones displayed around the studio. Maybe it was the smiles on the faces of everyone walking into the studio, mat in hand, sliding their shoes off at the designated shoe savasana area. Maybe it was the free spirited energy coming from Jennifer as she said hello to each of us.

The flow started out very gentle, nice and soothing. I thought to myself "this was just what I needed after a long day at work". Then Jennifer brought on the heat with a strength building flow. These pipe cleaner arms of mine were really feeling it. Transitioning from one pose to the next. You would have thought that I was in a hot yoga class with all the sweat dripping onto my mat. We finished off with a focused balancing flow with Jennifer reminding us to use our drishti to improve the stability of our tree & crow pose. Finally, it was time for bliss savasana and I silently said to myself "I survived". Jennifer ended the class with a chant of "Om shanti shanti shanti" which means "peace, peace, peace". 

Jennifer Witaconis

Jennifer Witaconis

This was a wonderful experience for me as I was not only meet some wonderful yogis but also I had to pleasure of practicing yoga with a beautiful friend. Weather your a student or a teacher you can always learn something new from those around you. What I learned from Jennifer is to give your students the opportunity & support to explore those challenging yoga poses.  

It’s only challenging because you haven’t tried it. After that it becomes a journey.
— Cheryl Kricket Yoga

You can find Jennifer on Friday's at 6:30 pm leading the Vinyasa Mix yoga class at  solTERRA Wellness Center and Bliss Store in Palm Harbor Florida.

Yoga With Curiosity

April brought some really awesome yoga adventures. Starting it all off with a repeat visit to Beer Yoga at Hidden Springs Ale Works with Yoga Teacher Bridgett O'Meara in Tampa Florida. This time I took along a friend, Linda to join me and we had a blast! Bridgett plays really cool soulful music to compliment each yoga flow. The space was awesome, I mean it's a brewery what more could you ask for. Maybe free beer? Ask and you shall receive! Each class ends with your choice of a variety of locally brewed beers and some time to get to know your fellow yogis and check out the local art displayed on the walls. Tampa has some very talented artists.  If you haven't tried Beer Yoga check out Hidden Springs Ale Works and get your yoga on. Oh, I almost forgot...we also stopped off for some delicious food at La Lechonera for some Spanish food. Such a wonderful place to eat. 

Next up I was off to Florida Power Yoga in Land o’ Lakes Florida! That’s right, two yoga visits in one day, what was I thinking and on a full belly! I guess that's called extreme yoga...LOL. I dropped my friend off as I made my way to the studio. I've been trying to get to this studio for a few months. As you walk into Florida Power Yoga you’re greeted with some natural yet bright colors. On the day that I visited, the studio hosted an Intro to Florida Power Yoga lead by studio owner Denice McClure. This Intro session allows students to discover power yoga the FYP way in a slow manner in a heated and humidity controlled environment. Now when I say “controlled environment” I don't mean space heaters positioned in each corner of the room. No, I mean this studio has a state of the art heating system designed to offer students the best possible power yoga experience.

This studio is decorated with super cool art hanging on the walls, bright colors, floor to ceiling windows and a super cool…I mean super cool restroom. Denice walked the class through how to properly flow through power yoga and explained the difference between power yoga and the tradition hatha yoga. No Sanskrit language or chants in this studio. It’s all about the power. You have to visit Florida Power Yoga to see what I’m talking about. Also, the studio offers free towels for you to wipe away all the sweat that you’ll generate during this class. I had an awesome time visiting this studio and look forward to going back.  

My final stop was Wanderlust 108 in Charlotte North Carolina! This trip was extra special as it was part of a my Birthday celebration with my beautiful cousin Jacqueline J Townsend. She’s in the photos at the top of this post. So this event was super super fun. We arrive to the event in time to find parking which was super easy and pretty cheap at $5 at a lot that was 1 block from the event. As we walked into Romare Bearden Park you could feel the positive energy enter your soul. With bang’n music and yogis all around us, Jackie and I were super excited to be able to experience this event together. Oh, I forgot to mention the weather…..it was COLD!!!! When we woke up on the day of the event is was 33 degrees. This Tampa girl was not ready. 

The Wanderlust 108 event was like a mini triathlon. This included a 5k run/walk, yoga & mediation. There were also some really cool break out sessions like, AiReal yoga, acroyoga, hooping, slacklining and tribal marking. Not to mention the other local food vendors and shops, this place was super energized with all the yoga love. Speaking of yoga love.

MCYogi was the highlight of the event for me. With his inspiring words and super high energy he kicked off the event and didn't shy away from taken photos with anyone. I took a photo with him as we took off for the 5k and when we crossed the finish line he was right there to welcome everyone back. As I crossed the finish he said to me “great job and you have beautiful freckles”. Uh yeah, I blushed. Such a super cool soul and I was truly inspired by his Only Love Is Real Movement. So much so that I bought the entire album! 

As we left the event with smiles on our faces Jackie and I notice a restaurant that said “Worlds Best Hot Dog” since 1926. So of course we had to go in. This little place was super cute. As we walked in we were greeted with stares and it was very quiet. I felt like I was walking into a library. We ordered two dogs (1 for each of us)  made house style with two cups of water and ate them quietly. Well we did whisper words to each other. These hot dogs were insane! Super delicious with a nice sweet flavor that I’ve never tasted. As we left the restaurant we were still confused by the silence in the room. We soon realized it was the tribal paint we still had on our faces….LMBO.

Best Time Ever!

Yoga in St. Petersburg Florida

Wow! March was an adventurous month for my yoga travels. March 5th I headed to St. Petersburg Florida where I enjoyed the beautiful sun, calm winds inspiring view of the Tampa Bay with little sailboats and big yachts floating next to each other. This was the back drop of the 4th Annual Spring Festival of Awakening Into The Sun. I was super excited to attend this even as I had a chance to meet an amazing soul and yoga teacher Keith Mitchell. Keith lead us through a beautiful yoga session surrounded by trees above and dark green grass underneath us. I was super excited that he took a moment say hello and snap this awesome photo!

I spent some time walking around the event checking out some of the local vendors from the area. Beautiful clothing, jewelry and food was in abundance. The Thai food was out of this world and the little Hawaiian stand serving fresh smoothie was simply refreshing. The best part about exploring yoga in your local area is that you don't have to travel to far and it leads to a beautiful day trip of bliss, gratitude and fun! During this event I met three beautiful ladies and I wish I would have grab their contact info as they were the sweetest ever and I would love to keep in touch with them. 

On March 12th I also attended a donation based yoga event sponsored by Purple dot Yoga Project. I’ve supported this Non-Profit Yoga based organization many times and have become friends with the founder Kate Berlin Sontohartono who is super super amazing! This event was also held in St. Petersburg Florida and really cute neighborhood store called Old Southeast Market. I think this little market is the gem of the area with Chef Vivia throwing down some bang’n breakfast and lunch food for the soul. The yoga class was super fun with live music and two lovely yoga teachers guiding us through each asana. I was so happy to be able to enjoy this event with my best friend as we both took part in a Sacred Tea Ceremony that was also offered at the event and lead by the beautiful Ashley Smith. This was truly a treat. 

Look around you yogis and discover yoga in your area. 

#yogawithcuriosity

Hands to Heart Center

Photo Courtesy of Hands to Heart Center

Photo Courtesy of Hands to Heart Center

Over the past month I’ve had the pleasure of learning about the wonderful Non-Profit Organization Hands to Heart Center founded by Susan Lovett. Susan received the Distinguished Contribution to Human Services award from Mass Boston and the Hubie Jones Urban Service Award from the Boston University School of Social Work. She’s a member of the Yoga Service Council and has been designated an Accessible Yoga Ambassador. Susan began this organization in 2014 by offering classes at a local Middle School in Dorchester Boston. After experiencing the success of her classes through the enjoyment of her students, Susan was approach by community based social service agencies to provide additional classes. 

As a licensed social worker, a licensed K-8 teacher and a registered yoga teacher Susan understands the benefits and effects of yoga on the mind, body and soul. Also known as Yoga of the People, Hands to Heart Center offers free yoga classes to those living with poverty and trauma with the help of volunteer yoga teachers. These yoga teachers bring the joy of yoga to low-income, under-served neighborhoods of Boston and have provided over 500 free yoga classes in over 35 locations. Susan’s passion of making yoga accessible to those with physical, mental, emotional and economic challenges is one of the driving forces of the success of this organization. 

If you’re in the Boston area and would love to support this Non-Profit Organization please visit Hand to Heart Center website.

 

HANAQPRANA YOGA STUDIO

“Love from world above” “Energy responsible for life”. This is the meaning behind the name of this beautiful yoga studio founded by Yoga Teacher Lorena Saavedra Smith ERYT. Located on Cross Creek Boulevard in Tampa Florida, this studio is a place of positive energy, peace and relaxation. When I contacted Lorena about visiting the studio her response was “It will be an honor to have you as a guest student”. After emailing each other a few times we settled on a day that I would visit and join one of the yoga classes she leads. I arrived a little early and as I walked into this studio I could feel the positive energy. Lorena greeted me as if we had been friends for years. She welcomed me with a warm hug and tour of her studio. Along with the tour she shared her journey and passion to provide a space in the Tampa Community for people to explore and experience yoga. I was super excited to begin class and Lorena asked if I brought a mat. Ohhhhh my gosh I forgot my mat!!! Not to worry…yoga mats and props are available for those who forget to bring their own.

 I secured my spot and watched as every student came in with a smile and spoke to one another. “Hello”, “Good Morning”, “Welcome Back”. This was so wonderful to witness as often times when students come into a yoga class the room is silent and no one speaks. Lorena then begins the class with a question to every student. “What can I do for you today?” This simple question allows each student the opportunity to share what it is they need out of their practice today. Class was very powerful with verbal cues and hands on correction of form. Savasana was super relaxing as she incorporated the scent of Sandlewood and a slight press on the shoulders with the palm of her hands to seal an amazing yoga practice. Prior to introducing the essential oil Lorena asked permission of each student in the event of allergies. After class I had the opportunity to chat with another yoga teacher who leads a class at the studio and I will definitely be back to attend that class as well! 

This is a beautiful space for students ready to begin their yoga practice or for those students who have been practicing for years. Lorena has provide our community with a beautiful gift. Please stop in and enjoy a class, workshops or event. Reach out to me and let me know when your going and I just might join you. Don't forget to checkout the super cute crystal necklaces available for purchase.

Photos Credits: NTP2

Making A Difference

We see and hear how yoga benefits the body, mind and spirit but yoga has also expanded to helping our community. Queue the Non-Profit Yoga organizations! These Non-Profit Yoga Organization are making a tremendous difference in our community by provide support through yoga. 

Purple dot Yoga Project

The Purple(dot)Yoga Project started with a simple desire to empower the individual from victim to survivor, and help them in realizing their strength and worth as powerful people through the practice of yoga. We use Yoga as a tool to bring the public together and open up a conversation around Domestic Violence, because we firmly believe that it takes a drive to make a difference. Purple(dot)Yoga Project offers Yoga as part of the wellness programs as participating Domestic Violence Shelters. Currently Purple Dot Yoga Project provides yoga at The Spring of Tampa Bay and C.A.S.A in FL. 

 

Africa Yoga Project

Africa Yoga Project Educates, Empowers, Elevates and Expands Employment with youth in Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Our vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities.

This Organization began in 2007 to positively change lives across race, nationality, age,gender and economic status. Participants received a wide range of benefits from the practice, including personal empowerment, emotional healing, and increased physical health and vitality. They quickly embraced the practice in their lives. Yoga also introduced an unprecedented forum for community support through open dialogue and the opportunity to envision and create new possibilities for the future. Participants began easily accessing their own strength and power, and were hungry for a consistent yoga practice. There was also a strong desire for a community based on the principles of possibility, personal responsibility, service and community action.

Street Yoga

Street Yoga builds capacity in youth through yoga and mindfulness to overcome suffering and cope with trauma. Offering trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness classes at organizations that serve youth who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences. Equipping professionals who work with youth with trauma-sensitive tools for integrating yoga and mindfulness into their work. We envision a world where everyone has access to yoga. Youth, families and their caregivers will employ tools learned from yoga, mindful breathing and compassionate communication, to grow stronger, heal from past traumas, and create for themselves a life that is inspired, safe and joyful.

Beer Yoga

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Beer Yoga class held inside a local Tampa Brewery, Hidden Ale Works. That's right, BEER YOGA! This was an awesome yoga class led by Yoga Teacher Bridgett O'Meara. Bridgett is super sweet and guided us through each yoga pose with the focus on proper foundation and then moving deeper into each pose. Just because it's called Beer Yoga doesn't mean the fundamentals are pushed to the side. The music was great also. After class we were treated to some delicious local beer provide by Hidden Springs Ale Works. The cost of class is $10. Which include 1 complimentary glass of your choice of beer and plenty of free parking. I had a blast and this is the perfect way to get into yoga and also enjoy some local beer.

Energia Wellness Studio

The Yoga Love Project is all about my passion to share all things yoga with you. From yoga music and books to yoga retreats and yoga studios. I’m your little yoga guide. Speaking of yoga studios…. I had the pleasure of being a guest student at Energia Wellness Studio. This super cute studio is located in the city of Wesley Chapel, Florida inside the Seven Oaks Community. Energia Wellness Studio is a state-of-the-art total wellness studio that integrates fitness, nutrition, massage, yoga, meditation and natural products to provide clients with a full-service experience in order to improve health and overall well-being. I had the opportunity to take part in the Monday night Yoga for Weight Loss and Restorative Yoga sessions lead by Yoga Teacher Vondy Pope. Each session was beautifully guided to promote proper breathing and mindful movement. Energia offers yoga mats, blocks & bolsters if you happen to forget your own at no additional fee. That's right...FREE!! Within the studio you will find a nice little boutique with items to purchase such as, eco-friendly beauty supplies, essential oils and more. Virna Lichter Owner, Certified Strala Yoga Teacher & ACE Personal Trainer has provided Wesley Chapel with a beautiful wellness studio where individuals can focus on living a healthy life. Take a moment to stop by the studio and take a tour and chat with the friendly staff.

Chi Yoga

I'm super excited to share my new adventure called Yoga Love. Yoga Love is all about sharing all things yoga. From books to clothes, literature to friendships. Yoga has so many gifts to give. Today I enjoyed a wonderful yoga class at Chi Yoga Wellness Spa located in the Carrollwood area of Tampa. Yoga Teacher Danialle DuPree welcomed me to Chi Yoga with her bright smile and spunky personality. I was given a tour of this calming studio which is designed to promote health and wellness. Danialle lead a super awesome Sunrise Yoga session where she invited everyone to smile and to "separate the junk in the trunk" to settle into easy pose... LMBO. After hearing that I knew this was going to be an amazing class. Chi Yoga Wellness Spa is a wonderful space with a variety of yoga classes, yoga mat rentals, courtesy props and café.

The Yoga Loft

Yoga at the Ybor City Museum is a wonderful way to start your yoga practice. This sessions is perfect for all yoga levels and is donation based. Experience yoga in this beautiful outdoor space where you'll here the sounds from the near by fountain and farm animals. That's right, farms!!!! During today's session I also felt the tickle of falling leaves, the warmth from the sun and the sounds of an awesome guitar player. This place is a must for all yogis. Oh, did I mention how everyone was super friendly!! Thank you Marisa from Yoga Loft Tampa for a beautiful start to my day! I'll be spreading more Yoga Love & visiting more yoga studios in the Tampa area.