Category Archives: Blog

Taking the Leap

I searched around for over a year before walking into URU studio and being welcomed by the bright, sweet light known as Beckie. I was searching for a studio to do my 200 hour teacher training and hadn’t had any luck. I walked in, expecting to feel unwelcome, awkward, out of place; imagine my surprise that I got to meet Beckie and Chris, her special person she’s doing life with.

I was so apprehensive to being in a group of people who were obviously going to be better at yoga than I was. A group of women who would judge me and think I didn’t belong there. I thought they’d see “right through me” and know I hadn’t practiced a whole lot in awhile. That I didn’t have the right yoga clothes. Or the right personality to be a teacher. I could go on, but I won’t.

It turns out, this group of women COULD see through me. They could see me for who I was, who I am, and who I could be. I found some of the most supportive women I’ve ever met. People who believed in magic, and each other. The first few days were awkward, we danced, played weird name games, Beckie made sure that we broke the ice, and she accomplished that quickly! I was with a large group of women that I thought I’d never learn their names, or really get to know them at all. I was thankfully wrong, yet again. I got to know these women well, I made lasting friendships and connections that I know I can count on.

Over the 8 month program, we went on silent meditation walks, practiced loads of yoga, had bonding moments, difficult moments, took silly pictures together, supported the local mexican restaurant together. We had group circles where everyone got a chance to sit in the middle and hear how others saw us, it was enlightening, uplifting and empowering. We enjoyed funny videos together, stumbled through practicing sequences, especially sun salutations! We went on adventures together, whether it be walking to the cool restaurant down the street to going to Cow Fest in Mississippi together. We all cried together, laughed together, had serious moments together and made huge steps in our lives together. We all had that moment where we were practicing yoga and happened to look up, make eye contact with Beckie and just absolutely feel the love pouring out of her. It’s something I’ll never forget. All shapes, all sizes, all religions, all colors, we are all welcome at URU and it’s not hard to see that once you step inside.

Now that YTT is over, I’m fully involved in teaching. Even though I thought I would never be comfortable in front of others, let alone instructing yogis through a practice. I teach at several studios, 4-5 classes a week and I love it. YTT gave me the courage to become a life coach as well! If you’re considering taking the leap into YTT, I strongly encourage you to do so. You won’t regret it.

Let your light shine,


My 200 Hour Teacher Training Journey, by Karen Elmore

My Journey

Deciding to go thru with yoga teacher training wasn’t the scariest decision I’ve made in my life. I knew it was something I needed. I knew it would be one of the longest commitments I would make and that it would result in even more sacrifices being made to get through it. I committed to my training when I was sick. I committed to my training when I was tired. I even committed to my training when I had no one to keep my daughter, she just tagged along. I sacrificed a few events, a wedding, a baby shower, and a few girls’ night outs. I sacrificed for my practice. I wouldn’t regret it for a thing!

So, you have made the decision to go thru with yoga teacher training, or YTT.

Now what?

The first day walking into training very much felt like the first day of school. You don’t know anyone; you have no idea where to lay all your stuff down. You find the first person to make eye contact with and if they smile “bam” that will be the person I sit next to. You make little introductions; names will have to come later.

That first weekend was daunting. We sang, danced a little bit and got to know each other in small segments. It was the most uncomfortable thing ever. Ha! It’s hard trying to explain to someone you just met what yoga means to you and why you chose to go through the training. If anything, that was the most nerve wracking thing of the whole training, even more so than getting up an actually teaching.

We practiced yoga, a lot of yoga. We repeated things over and over again. I was never sorer than in that first weekend from yoga training and I loved it!

The weekends will be long and as I mentioned before, you will miss out on a lot. But you will be cultivating so much more. When I was missing out on the events I looked forward to attending, I just thought of my future and I thought of my practice. I remembered why I decided to go through with training. I met women from all walks of life. Single moms, stay at home moms, full time working moms… We all had this one thing in common, yoga. And yoga is what brought us together.

Many weekends when training was over for the month and I found myself tired and not wanting to go on, I pushed through. I knew the end result would be so much better than the present moment. I cried, so much and I questioned my decisions. But I pushed and pushed. I talked to my mentor; I talked to the other teacher trainees. You create this family of wonderful people and each and every single one of them is there for you. It’s the most amazing feeling. I found a group of like-minded people and I ENJOYED being with them.
As the months passed on, I grew close to all the other trainees. We practiced together, we laughed together, cried a lot together and we just enjoyed being in the moment with one another. I don’t think I would have enjoyed training as much as I did if it weren’t for the amazing people going through it with me and our amazing instructor/mentor/yogini mom, Beckie. Yoga teacher training was just about over and that was a bittersweet feeling.

Eight months later, I am here. I am a yoga teacher and I am still very much a yoga student. After graduation, I was high on the thrill of completing this HUGE goal/commitment I had made to myself. I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do and to teach. Now what do I do with all that knowledge and information?
You share it with the world and you teach yoga.

Namaste, Karen Elmore

For more information on the URU 200 hour teacher training, click here.

“I would know if I was stressed….right?”

“I would know if I was stressed….right?”

Do you feel like you could be saying this? Because the answer is no, you might be stressed and not even realize it.

The stresses and strains of modern living have become so universal that we can be under a ton of pressure and not even realize it, because that is just life. So how can we become more aware of our stress burden? A useful tool is to pause, seems simple enough. Get yourself to a quiet place and take a few deep breaths, maybe shut the eyes for a moment, and see what comes up for you. Do you feel like you need to move or do something? Will the mind and body not turn off? This is a sign that you might be so used to stress that you do not know what to do when it is not there.

Trouble sleeping, experiencing anxiety, frequent headaches, worsening chronic pain, low energy, frequent illness, changes in sex drive, digestive problems, and changes in appetite are all possible signs that you are experiencing more stress than is healthy for you. Realizing that you are stressed is the first step towards doing something about it; once you become aware that you are stressed you can work on creating periods of downtime.

Stress is a normal and needed part of life, but just as important are the stress-free periods between. These times allow us to recover between stressful events, they let us heal physically, reset mentally and emotionally, and allow us to prepare for the next stressful period in our life.

So how do we restore ourselves? Is a good night sleep enough? These are questions that we each have to ask and answer for our own self, what works for one is not necessarily going to work for another. URU offers several restorative yoga classes that are meant to create an environment where we can turn down the stimuli and reset the body, mind, and spirit.

  • Mondays at 4pm at URU 9-Mile, Melissa Garner offers Restorative Flow
  • Wednesdays at 5pm at URU by the airport, Kathea and David Bryan seek to pamper you in Restorative
  • Thursdays at 5pm at URU Gulf Breeze, Lindsey Windrow supports you in your Restorative practice
  • Fridays at 4pm at URU by the airport, Kathea Bryan helps you wind down from your work week with Restorative.

We also have a few special Restorative events to help you relax…

Mother’s Day, May 13th at 1:30pm, there is a Restorative & Tea class led by Kathea and David Bryan followed by high tea.

Advance registration is required to allow for food preparation. Please ask questions or let Kathea know about any dietary requirements at or

There is also a Chair and Restorative Yoga Workshop May 19th at 1pm led by Kerry Whiteley. In this workshop, students will practice chair yoga for the first hour and transition to restorative for the second hour. We will practice pranayama throughout and close with a seated meditation.

Coming this winter Kathea and David Bryan will offer Restore For The Holiday Weekend Retreat from Friday December 7th at 5 pm through Sunday at 10am at Navarre Beach. There will be several Restorative, Yin, Yoga Nidra and gentle practices as well as good food and community.

If you have any questions about stress or about Restorative practices, feel free to send David Bryan an email at

Written by David Bryan, URU Yoga instructor

Reiki Level 1 Training This Saturday, July 22nd

Have you ever heard about Reiki and wondered what it is? Or perhaps you have wondered about the link between Yoga and Reiki?

There are many different views of what Reiki is, but the prevalent theme is that Reiki is a practice of allowing life force to flow through us to bring about a healthier flow of energy in and around the body which leads to healing. Reiki is a Japanese technique that was either developed or rediscovered in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. Rei translates to soul, spirit, or god’s wisdom and ki is life force or energy, giving us Reiki as spiritual life energy. Reiki is generally administered by placing hands over or on the body and allowing the flow of life force which can be found in everything to run through the giver into the receiver, it can also be done over distance. This infusion of life force helps us deal with stress and sickness, promoting health and well-being of the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The experience of Reiki is different for each practitioner and recipient and can change with time and place. It is often described as a warm sensation but can also feel cool, tingly, or there may be no sensations.
While there are no traditional ties between Reiki and yoga, we are working with the same life force. In yoga we refer to the ki as prana and many of our physical and breathing techniques are intended to open obstructions to the flow of prana as well as to increase prana within the body.
At URU you have several opportunities to learn about Reiki and how it might benefit you and those around you. July 22nd from 2-6 PM at URU1, Tonya Morris will be offering a Reiki level 1 attunement. August 4th at URU1,  Felipe Munoz, Tonya Morris, as well as other Reiki practitioners will be gathering to answer questions about Reiki and to offer the opportunity to receive Reiki energy from 5:30-6:30 PM, then starting at 6:45 all levels of Reiki practitioners will be gathering to share and receive Reiki from each other as we grow our community. There will be other opportunities for attunement held throughout the year with both Tonya and Felipe. You can direct questions about the event on August 4th to David Bryan at

Soul Coffee by Sean Seid

Technically speaking, I work at URU Yoga & Beyond…I sweep the floors, I teach the yoga, I collect the paychecks. But despite this being my “workplace”, it always feels a lot more like home, and the teachers and students that form the community feel a whole lot like family.

This morning I had some time between classes, but couldn’t think of anywhere I would have rather been so I came to the studio a few hours early.

I found a comfy spot to squat underneath a large oak tree in the parking lot and ate an apple while ants and spiders crawled across my bare foot. Continue reading

Repairing from Stress

“There are not enough hours in the day to get everything on my list done.”
“I am not doing enough or spending enough time with my family and friends.” “How am I going to pay for everything?”
“I am not taking care of myself or relaxing enough.”

Do these statements run through your mind many times per day?

We are surrounded by people, places, and circumstances that create stress in our lives and we put pressure on ourselves. What kinds of effects can we expect to see as a result of our stress-filled lives?

We know that stress plays a role in causing or making worse a number of diseases. From heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and headaches to increased fat storage and weakened immune response. We are learning more each year about how stress effects the body and mind. Continue reading

URU Yoga Gulf Breeze

I knew I wanted to open a yoga studio before I became a yoga teacher. And that is the funny thing about dharma…sometimes your path is clear but the reasons either are not or maybe the reasons change. I wanted a Gulf Breeze yoga studio for convenience, I was tired of driving “over the bridge”. Every Breezer understands “over the bridge” because as we joke and make fun of ourselves for dreading the 3 miles of beauty, we all get it. We all know, especially in the last few years as Gulf Breeze has become a busy thoroughfare, that we could easily get trapped due to insane levels of traffic or the daily accident. So, that was my initial intention, to avoid the bridge.

img_5350I completed teacher training in May of 2015 and had been marinating in the idea of a studio for almost a year. I was not sure it would really happen. By teacher training graduation, I was not even sure I would actually teach yoga even after the life-changing experience I had just had. My partner knew… she knew when I first brought her the idea a year earlier that this would come to be. We found a location in a space in Harbourtown, a place we initially said would never be a possibility since its walking traffic had gotten so low over the years, and we went for it. Within a month we were open for business and I was officially a yoga studio owner, 5 months after becoming a yoga teacher and I was scared to death as I sat at the front of the room to lead the studio’s first full class. Continue reading

Aligning with Connection

This has been a very hard year for me, mostly due to the fact that I had rapid deterioration of quality of life from a degenerative neck condition that not only causes severe pain, but has also caused me to not be able to do the things that I love in life, the things that help me breathe. With the help of a few wonderful people and a lot of support from my husband I have been able to manage my life better and have gained much in return.

chatter in the mind… is distracting

I am learning to think differently about what happens and the reasons behind it. I have gained more empathy for people who suffer from chronic pain and disease and feel more compelled to better myself in order to help them with their journey to find some relief: the rounded “wholistic” kind of relief, not a pill or a quick fix, but a better way to feel through mindful living both physically and mentally. Continue reading

Pausing in the Suspension: A Journey of Healing through Yoga Teacher Training

The 200 hour yoga teacher training program I recently completed lasted nine months, about the time it takes for a human to grow in the womb before entering the world. The journey through teacher training led my life on a series of deaths and rebirths, growth and transformations, as I was born more truly unto my Self. Being awake is not about perfection and blissful nirvana but rather acknowledging life’s imperfections, allowing and accepting them while being aware of the consequences of my actions and finding peace with them. It is about doing all that I can with a loving and honest heart knowing that I will make mistakes but trusting and loving myself despite these imperfections.

The flood forced me to let go of comfort and security and trust that what I needed, whatever that may be, would show up
The flood forced me to let go of comfort and security and trust that what I needed, whatever that may be, would show up

I began the teacher training journey grasping at something, though I am not sure exactly what it was I wanted anymore. I knew that yoga had helped me heal through various difficult times, family relationship difficulties and losing our home to the flood, and I wanted more of it. I wanted to “deepen my practice” as I have heard many others say about entering such a program. I had no intention of teaching, I just wanted to dive into the world of yoga and bathe myself in whatever it was that was so healing… I wanted to understand and define it. Continue reading


Sweat glistening, long muscles lengthening, stretching deeply, your breathing becomes heady and heavy. The air is hot and each physical movement begins to feels more like honey than the last.   Yes hot yoga is hot.   But it’s not just about the sweating that makes it that way.  It is the whole entire experience. Hot yoga is a sensual experience.

Now that I am teaching hot yoga classes at URU in Pensacola,….I am not just sweating more than my usual cool classes.   I am finding the hot classes are so different than the regular classes that I teach in a controlled cool environment.  Not better…different.  A lot of people feel skeptical about the need to raise the temp to 100 degrees.   Perhaps they see flash and not substance.  But Hot Yoga is not a fad: air conditioning is.  Think about where Yoga originated from, India. India is pretty hot,  and  perhaps the heat was part of what made yoga become Yoga.  Hot Yoga has been around as long as Yoga has. Continue reading