Live Be Yoga ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg are on a road trip across the country to share real talk with master teachers, explore innovative classes, and so much more—all to illuminate what’s in store for the future of yoga. Here, they reflect on their trip to Tampa, FL, and share what they learned.
6 Lessons from Tampa’s Yoga Community
Teaching Yoga to Young Adults Is an Investment in the Future
One of the best parts of this job is exploring the ways in which incredible organizations and nonprofits utilize yoga to serve a variety of populations across the country. In Tampa, we had the privilege of practicing with Clayton Sizemore, lead teacher at Urban Yoga Foundation (UYF). Founded by Ghylian Bell, UYF is based in Harlem but operates around the world, focusing on teaching empowerment tools like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to African-American youth between the ages of 12 and 18 in underserved communities. Its mission is to provide these resources early on, so young adults can develop mind-body awareness, health consciousness, and positive ways to combat stress—and use these powerful tools to cultivate peace and success.
Giving a Gift Is Always Worth the Work
At every one of our studio stops, we hand out gift bags packed with goodies from our incredible sponsors: Jade Yoga; Gaia Herbs; Nirvana Bars; Weleda; Nutiva; Figs Shoes; and Natura Wines. In Tampa we packed 120 bags for our biggest class yet at Yoga Loft Tampa. Though this can be tedious and far less glamorous than other aspects of tour life, every time we are able to offer up this gift, students light up, and we are reminded of the joy of giving. It is one of the most rewarding feelings and always worth the effort.
This Trick Can Refresh Your Perspective
We had a really fun practice at Studio 108, where we took over teacher Missy White’s Signature Funky Flow class as she offered creative transitions in between the poses. Though the postures we ended up practicing were familiar, the unique transitions reminded us that you can always refresh your perspective on something habitual and comfortable by finding new ways to approach it.
Mixing Up Your Practice Space Is a Breath of Fresh Air
Sometimes the familiarity and sacredness of a studio is just what is needed, but the opportunity to do yoga outside in the sunshine was a rare yet amazing change of pace to our usual practice. Yoga Loft Tampa hosts a weekly donation-based community yoga class in a beautiful garden space in the historic district of Ybor City. This area is full of culture, farmers’ markets, and even free-roaming roosters! This is Yoga Loft’s way of mixing it up and also giving back to the community. It’s wonderful to see yoga reaching more of the population through affordable community events. Check out their weekly offerings here.
Every Circle Around the Sun Is a Gift
It turns out that no matter how busy or full your life is, your birthday will still happen. While on tour in Tampa, Aris celebrated her “Golden Birthday” on May 31! We had the opportunity to take class with the amazing organization, Urban Yoga Foundation, and then enjoy some much-needed time at the beach. If you know Aris, the beach is her happy place. She happily swam in the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters and cartwheeled around the shore. It’s a new experience to be away from those you love on special days, but it also reminds you to be grateful for the opportunity to be where you are. Every year on this Earth is a gift!
It’s Important to Find the Beautiful Life Force Near You
One of our first stops in Tampa was at a gorgeous bohemian-styled studio called Bella Prana. The name Bella Prana translates to “beautiful life force.” This is not only a fitting name for yoga—after all, so much of the practice is based on our energy, or life force—but it is also a fitting name for the history of the studio. In the 15-plus years that yoga has taken place in its building, the studio has changed names and owners time and again. However, the one thing that has remained consistent is the intention behind the practice. Within this studio there is a deep and wide legacy of life force, which has continued to offer not only a beautiful space, but a beautiful energy to its students. Unity and community generate the pulse of this studio.