Yoga Power: Building a community, developing joy through the motions of yogaDec 01, 2022 04:07PM ● By Ashley Hunter
The word ‘yoga’ comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘to yoke’ - which means to join, unite…connect.
And it is the connection (both of self and community) that Renee Sessions, of Yoga Power Tallahassee, is hoping to cultivate.
Sessions has owned Yoga Power since August of 2022, after buying out the studio from its previous owner, who founded Yoga Power in the height of the pandemic of 2021.
But Sessions’ identity with yoga goes back much further.
Throughout her childhood, Sessions grew up in an athletic environment, and was frequently on the field or court - from playing football with her brother to cheerleading on the sidelines.
As she headed into high school, Sessions said the fitness aspect of sports began to appeal more to her, and her first encounter with yoga happened when she was 16.
She and a friend experimentally attended a class, and she continued to dabble in yoga through her teens - but it wouldn’t be until she was working in a 9-5 job as an adult that her passion for the power of yoga ignited.
“I was stressed out in my corporate job, and yoga gave me the opportunity to enjoy movement, but also these components of acceptance,” said Sessions. “I tried yoga again, and it stuck.”
She began going to a yoga studio in Ybor City, Tampa - a studio that was owned by the first owner of Yoga Power Tallahassee.
A few years later, Sessions moved to Tallahassee with her significant other, and it was around that same time in which she decided to dive more into the concepts of yoga and take the training to become a yoga instructor.
Once her training was complete, she began teaching yoga at small events and local venues around Tallahassee - all while continuing her corporate career as a business analyst.
“I accrued a lot of teaching hours during that time,” laughs Sessions.
Whether by fate, happenstance, or the touch of something magical (and maybe a little of all three), the owner of Sessions’ studio in Ybor City also moved to Tallahassee, and opened a studio off of Thomasville Road - Yoga Power Tallahassee.
Sessions began attending the studio after it opened in 2021, and quickly became a regular, this time as an instructor for some of the studio’s classes.
Then, in August of 2022, the owner made an offer - asking Sessions to take over the business.
“It was really scary, when the prospects to take over the studio came up,” said Sessions. “I could have stayed at my [corporate] job for a really long time and been comfortable and fine.”
But she realized the opportunity had fallen into her lap, like it was meant to be.
“I was already thinking about opening my own studio,” explained Sessions.
Yoga Power Tallahassee fell into Sessions’s hands, and she has been working at cultivating her dream studio ever since.
Today, Yoga Power Tallahassee offers group yoga classes, yoga teacher training, sound baths, workshops, as well as private yoga classes for events and corporate gatherings.
The studio is small, fitting less than 30 people comfortably, but Sessions says Yoga Power offers a special opportunity for newcomers to yoga: a close-knit culture.
“A really fun part about our studio is that it is a small space. When new people come in, older students are quick to welcome them and invite them in,” said Sessions. “It's a lovely atmosphere here. If you are a newcomer to yoga or a newcomer to town, this is a welcoming place to find a community.”
“I want people to feel like they are walking into a non judgmental space,” Sessions adds.
She acknowledges that yoga can be difficult and daunting for first timers - that is why Sessions offers a range of classes that appeal to different needs, physical activity levels, and comfort in yoga.
From the gentle Restorative class, to the sweat-inducing Power class, Sessions’ studio offers something for everyone - even beginners.
“Approach [yoga] from a place of fun, learn to enjoy what your body can do,” advises Sessions. “There will be things that aren’t going to work for you on that first day, but this is a judgment free place. Even if your first yoga class wasn’t your cup of tea, there are so many different styles. We will help you find what works for you.”
Sessions’ general advice for newcomers to her studio is to arrive 10-15 minutes early in order to meet with your instructor, wear comfortable clothing that offers a range of motion, don’t worry if you don’t have the supplies - Yoga Power has everything you need, and to bring water, even if you don’t plan on breaking a sweat.
“Our informal tagline is: Yoga Power Tallahassee, a space for community, movement, and connection,” said Sessions. “I want this to be a place where people can explore movement from a non-judgmental and joyful place, build a community of like minded people, and connect with ourselves, connect with others, or connect with a sense of purpose.”
Growing a community is something that Sessions hopes to see blossom out of her Thomasville Road studio - she says the yoga market in Tallahassee is still far from congested, and there is room for personal and community-wide growth.
“I would love to grow the business and grow the yoga community in Tallahassee,” said Sessions.“I want the tide to lift all of our ships.”
Sessions concludes that she hopes students of Yoga Power will connect to their own personal strengths, find joy through play, and learn how to self-express with self-acceptance.
“You can feel so free on your mat…which is something we don’t get to feel in so many other aspects of our lives, and it's so empowering, and so needed.”