Carolyn Lamb is a Strategic Sales Account Manager based out of our Store Support Centre in Vancouver, B.C. She works with affiliates in the Northeast US region and she had the pleasure of visiting the Carolinas and Tennessee recently. It was on this trip that she visited a local studio and had an experience that profoundly moved her.
Southern Pines was the second stop on my way throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. I had heard a lot about Hot Asana yoga studio, and wanted to make the one-hour trip from Raleigh to see what it was all about.
I arrived late at night and studio owner Virginia Gallagher was so kind - she put me up in her cottage house that she usually would have yogis staying in when teaching workshops on weekends. Before bed I could hear the train passing through town and my excitement to see the town in daylight began.
The next morning I met up with Virginia at a coffee shop in a beautiful jewellery antique shop near Hot Asana. Since, this was my first time in Southern Pines, I asked Virginia what makes the town tick. Although the population is only 10,000 people, 2 of the biggest military bases in the United States are just next door (Fort Bragg and Pope AFB) which houses 140,000, including military and their families.
Virginia explained to me that she gets to support the men and women that are supporting her country by offering them yoga and a place of peace and healing. For these athletes in the military the hot classes are definitely a workout; however, the experience is about more than an hour of stretching on a mat. I found this out soon after in a class.
Every breath of life is a gift. During the class I took the teacher was supportive, encouraging and had a message. The message was gratitude and living life in the moment. After a beautiful hot class to some classic tunes and a long savasana with a lavender cold towel and a massage (awesome right?!), I was ready to take on the world. My heart was full and I was grateful.
I now understood how Virginia was giving back to the community and to the men and woman in the military. Not only was her studio a place offering poses and salutations, it was a place to gather and connect, filled with support, love, letting go and healing. She offers 10 classes a day starting at 4:30am, will teach private classes to support the busy schedules of those in the military and in town, offers complimentary restorative classes to veterans and hosts outdoor community classes in the summertime.
Back in the day the studio was part of the town’s local movie theatre, and was it was at the back of the theatre where segregation took place. Taking a class in a place where segregation has been replaced by unity, healing and love was an empowering feeling.
Virginia is a beautiful soul and it shines throughout her studio, the teachers she has trained, and the soul she creates every day in the space. While I was about to step into class a woman asked if she could bring her phone into class and, Virginia said of course, however if she wanted to leave it at the front desk and let them know what number she is expecting to call, the front desk could come and get her in the class if it rang.
Hearing this was such a breath of fresh air - a studio that will go so above and beyond that they will hang onto your phone and if certain number is calling will interrupt your practice. It is the small things in life that make a difference in people’s lives. The kind, inspiring words in a yoga class, the massage and cold towel after class, fruit and tea available with no charge, and a place to come together as a community. Virginia is truly giving with no expectation of receiving and it is heartwarming.
This is a trip worth making, a class worth taking and will fill your heart and soul as it did mine.