Sheila Thomas

Studio Owner/RYT-200 Ashtanga Yoga

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I initially went through yoga teacher training to enhance my personal practice. I never thought I would teach (let alone own an amazing studio with an equally amazing team of instructors), but the more you learn, the more yoga affects your life, and the more you want to share. I love it when a student begins to notice the changes in their body—they’re more flexible and stronger, and they become aware of how they react to life off the mat in a different calmer way. Yoga works magic!

What is your favorite posture?

I have so many, and it changes with what I have going on in my life. But I guess Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle) and Trikonasana (triangle) poses are my favorites. I love lengthening!

How did you get into yoga?

Most of my life I have been physically active: I grew up showing horses, I did step class and spin class, I was up at 5 am for boot camp, I ran (not fast, but could go the distance). Then, about eight years ago, I knew I needed something different, something less hard on my body after years of pounding the pavement, literally.  I had been reading about the benefits of yoga and decided to give it a try. From an exercise perspective, I was hooked right away and began a regular practice. However, it was not until I experienced two traumatic events within a single year that I began to really understand yoga and its ability to heal not only physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. I cannot overstate the value yoga has played in my health.

Tell us a funny story.

Note: never practice Crow when tired. A few years ago, I made that mistake.  I came up one too many times and fell forward, banging my head on the floor right beneath my brow bone. It made quite a scene and I was embarrassed. My teacher gave me a quick once-over, and then I continued with practice. With every move, I could feel my eye swelling, and by the end, I had a full-on shiner.  I became quite well known around town as the girl who got the black eye at Collierville Yoga. As it goes with your yoga journey, I learned an important lesson: stop when you begin to feel fatigued!

Heidi Smith

Studio Manager/E-RYT 200 Ashtanga Yoga

Why do you love teaching yoga?

It makes my heart happy! I love watching my students get it. Once they realize they can quiet their mind and become present, just by focusing on the breath and the movement, the transformation is beautiful. Love, love, love being their guide.

What is your favorite posture?

Tree pose.

How did you get into yoga?

I was in a very high energy, non-stop business and needed to learn how to relax and be kind to myself. Getting on the mat was the best thing I have ever done for myself—well that and surrounding myself with as many animals as possible!

Tell us a funny story.

We were in teacher training and one of our lead teachers was taking us through a yin practice at the end of a 10-hour day. We were all delirious at that point, and I think in sleeping swan pose or frog. It was a hip opener for sure! The song “Signs” came on and we all started singing loudly!  (This is not the way a typical Yin session would go, to say the least.) I smile every time I hear that song.

Amanda Greer

RYT-200 True East Yoga

Why do you love teaching yoga?

Between my personal experience with yoga and my passion for helping others, becoming a yoga instructor was a perfect fit. I love teaching this practice because it can be beneficial to students physically, mentally, and emotionally. I realized the benefits of yoga early on in my practice and I truly enjoy getting to share yoga with others. I love that students feel stronger and, at the same time, more relaxed after a practice. I love seeing their progress, especially when they see and feel their progress. I love that everyone can make their practice their own. I love that there is always more to learn and more to share. I love that I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me.

What is your favorite posture?

Bakasana (Crow Pose) is my favorite asana. This posture conveys strength and balance. This was a pose that I never thought I would be able to achieve. Over time with practice, when I first accomplished being able to balance on my hands while supporting the weight of my body on my arms, it showed me how strong I had become from my yoga practice. I enjoy working on and practicing challenging postures like this because when I see that I am physically stronger, it helps me to feel mentally stronger.

How did you get into yoga?

I was in a very high energy, non-stop business and needed to learn how to relax and be kind to myself. Getting on the mat was the best thing I have ever done for myself—well that and surrounding myself with as many animals as possible!

Tell us a funny story.

My niece was celebrating her 11th birthday and had a birthday party with about 15 other kids, ranging in age from two years old to 13 years old. As you can imagine, with that many kids it was pretty hectic, fast-paced and loud. After all the presents and cake and ice cream, per my niece’s request, I had them all gather and started leading them through some yoga postures. (You really can do yoga anywhere!) The kids loved it! Like with any good yoga practice, we ended in savasana with all the kids on the floor still and quiet, eyes closed for several minutes. All the parents were impressed and asked how I was able to transform this boisterous group. My answer: Yoga.

Rachel S. Ennis

RYT-200 Ashtanga Yoga

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I love seeing the natural progression that comes with practicing yoga. Yoga teaches compassion, especially self-compassion. There’s no prescription that’s sold that will heal you like compassion. 

What is your favorite posture?

Isn’t (almost) everyone’s favorite savasana? Actually, I love Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Extended-hand-to-big-toe pose) It combines the perfect balance of strength, flexibility, balance, breath, and concentration, and there is always room for improvement.

How did you get into yoga?

After years of running, cycling, weightlifting, and competing in triathlons, I found something that combined the physical practice I wanted, but offered even more. Namely, yoga brings to the table breath and meditation in a way that other sports do not.  As we age, we need to pay attention to how our bodies feel and adjust our practice as needed—not just physically, but mentally as well.

Tell us a funny story.

My daughter and I went to a Kundalini yoga retreat. We practiced a kriya that involved standing up and then squatting down to frog pose for a VERY long time. It was quite a challenge, but we were happy to participate. The next day our legs were so sore we literally had to hold on to the handrail for support just to get down the stairs because our legs were so sore!

Ashley Old

J.D. & RYT-200 Kundalini Yoga

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I absolutely love watching people progress on their spiritual path. Yoga is the balancing of mind, body, and spirit.  We often focus on the mind and body aspects of yoga rather than the spiritual aspect.  The type of yoga I teach, Kundalini Yoga, is heavily focused on balancing all three of these facets of yoga.  When students start to consciously delve into their spiritual journey, they start to blossom.  They start to come out of the shell of who and what society and life have turned them into and instead start to walk in their truth.  This is a beautiful transformation to witness.

What is your favorite posture?

My favorite pose is not a pose at all, but rather, the practice of breath work.  We have available so many different types of pranayama (breath work) to achieve specified results.  It works much like a prescription for different issues.  For example, there is a pranayama series for anti-anxiety, one for relieving stress, one for activating ourselves, one for relieving anger, one for overcoming our ego, and the list goes on and on.  It’s quick, easy, available to everyone—and boy does it work!

How did you get into yoga?

I practiced yoga for 10 years several times a week before I really “got into yoga.” That is to say, I didn’t fall head over heels in love until I met Kundalini.  It was not love at first try but it did not take long to realize what the practice was doing for me.  It helped me with physical injuries, but more than that, it was the missing piece of the puzzle I had been searching for on my spiritual journey.  It is an unbelievably powerful practice that calls people when the time is right.  My time was right as I was experiencing a host of issues, which I later learned Kundalini Yoga specifically targets (hormonal issues, anxiety issues, communication issues, physical issues, nervous system issues, lack of passion for life, and a lack of direction and purpose). I was actively looking for my TRUE spiritual path, and there it was—the brightly lit street light of Kundalini gently guiding me on my spiritual path.  SAT NAM!

Tell us a funny story.

I absolutely love to laugh.  It has got to be one of my absolute favorite past times.  The first time I went to yoga in my young twenties, I had no idea what to expect.  The process, the sounds, the seriousness of the class struck my funny bone, and once that happens, I cannot regain composure . (Ask anyone who knows me well.)  I was literally crying laughing in the class trying to contain myself, but ultimately had to leave because I was so hysterical.  I tell students in my class to “please laugh hard and often in here!” The exercises in Kundalini Yoga can be way out of the box and make you feel silly and childlike – it’s just another reason I love this practice.  Live. Love.  And laugh!

Robin Rasmussen

RYT-200 Ashtanga Yoga RYT-200 Foundational Yoga

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I love teaching because yoga is a practice that is accessible to everyone.  Being able to present this practice to people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, and then to see them grow in confidence and abilities, sings to my soul. I like to focus on alignment-based yoga.  The ability of students to find a practice that speaks to their souls is what makes yoga so special.

What is your favorite posture?

Natarajasana (King Dancer)

How did you get into yoga?

This is also my funny story.  I went to Las Vegas to visit a friend of mine who had moved there from Memphis.  She took me to a Bikram’s yoga class.  I thought I was gonna die.  But, I felt fabulous after the class.  When I got home, I went in search of yoga in Memphis.  Knowing almost nothing about the practice and what it entailed, I found myself in a class with a teacher named Mary.  Mary was a knowledgeable, kind and gentle teacher.  She ultimate left Memphis and I had to find another teacher, which I did.  But by that time, I was in love with the practice.  Wanting to know more, I entered a teacher training program, not necessarily to teach, but to learn more about the lifestyle that is yoga.  I learned that I could share my love of the practice with anyone in a much more meaningful way by teaching rather than just preaching about this great thing I’d found.