southern charm and a generous soul

north carolina-yoga-southern us

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.

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I’m fortunate to live in Southern Pines, and Hot Asana Yoga is one of the many blessings of being here. I know first hand, exactly what Carolyn is talking about. The lavender towel and massage after yoga makes the whole experience blissful.

Comment by gayvin — January 26, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

Thank you, Carolyn, for your lovely blog about our studio. As one of Virginia’s teachers, I heartily second everything you say about her. She is a treasure and we are blessed by her presence in our community.

Comment by Julie — January 27, 2013 @ 3:52 am

Virginia is my niece, as well as my friend. These words captured her spirit so beautifully. She is a gift to all who know and love her. I am grateful to be among those blessed by this amazing woman. Thank you for recognizing and honoring her in this way.

Comment by Shirley Shaw — January 27, 2013 @ 5:48 am

Thanks for sharing this! My boyfriend is in the military and lives close by, I’m beyond excited to go check it out when I go visit him. Thanks again!

Comment by Rachel — January 27, 2013 @ 10:14 am

What a beautiful story! The community is SUCH a beautiful and inspiring part of yoga and practicing with others.

Thank you for sharing!

Comment by Kimberly — January 27, 2013 @ 10:50 am

As a military wife, THANK YOU Virgina! I hope others will read this and open their hearts and minds to our military men and women.

Comment by michelle blanchard — January 27, 2013 @ 10:50 am

Lovely story! Virginia – you are a blessing to those who have you in their lives.

Comment by W — January 28, 2013 @ 5:49 am

This story makes my heart smile :) Thank you so much for sharing!

Comment by ellie — January 28, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

I really wish that Lululemon would keep separate blogs for Canada and the States. Although we speak the same language, our values are fundamentally different. We don’t idolize and idealize the military in Canada the same way whatsoever. The cultural difference is quite blaring in this piece.

Comment by J. — January 28, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

As a teacher at Virginia’s studio and a military spouse I feel so blessed to be a part of the Hot Asana family. Virginia goes above and beyond to make all who enter the studio feel special and at home. You are always greeted with a smile and are given the utmost support in growing as a yogi and a teacher. In this small little town Virginia blesses us with a variety of classes and amazing guest teachers you thought you’d only ever see in the pages of the Yoga Journal. Hot Asana is a true light in the community.

Comment by Sarah — January 29, 2013 @ 6:26 am

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