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Natural Awakenings Jacksonville-St. Augustine

Yoga Den Studio Offers Sanctuary in Historic Avondale

Sep 30, 2020 08:57AM ● By Erin Lehn
Tasha Brooks, owner of Avondale Yoga Den in Jacksonville’s historic Avondale neighborhood, first discovered yoga when she was a 23-year-old restaurant server still navigating her future career path. She also dealt with lingering back pain from playing high school sports.

When a friend suggested that yoga could ease the pain, Brooks signed up for a weekly class. “I liked it so much, I began taking more classes. My back pain disappeared, I had more energy, and I felt more in tune with my body. I was committed to making yoga a part of my regular lifestyle.”

Noting Brooks’ enthusiasm for the practice, a fellow yogi recommended an upcoming Yoga Den 200-hour teacher training program. Initially, she resisted the idea. “Eventually, I realized that becoming a yoga instructor felt right, so I signed up,” reflects this devout yogini, who adds that her connection with yoga was purely physical at first. “The metaphysical aspect of yoga came later as I began delving deeper into the energy exchange between my teachers and myself and the other students.”

During the yoga teacher training, Brooks felt incredibly strong in her body. This, coupled with better mental clarity and an ability to palpably feel the energy in the room, really fueled her desire to teach yoga. “I loved everything about yoga,” she admits. “I was so inspired; I wanted everyone to feel as amazing as I did.”

After graduating from the teacher training program, Brooks managed several Yoga Den locations and then became director of operations for the entire Yoga Den franchise. When Yoga Den founders decided to franchise out the Avondale location, Brooks was a shoo-in for the position, and eagerly assumed ownership of the studio.

Now three years into her experience as the owner of Yoga Den Avondale, Brooks says she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “I love being such an integral part of this amazing yoga community,” she affirms. “It was truly meant to be.”

Although the pandemic halted in-studio classes for two months, Brooks and her team stayed committed to their yoga community with online offerings. “It was vital to ensure that our studio members could keep up their yoga practice and a sense of community during those challenging times.”

The studio is open again for in-person classes in addition to virtual classes. “The most important aspect is keeping our community connected to their practice and one another,” she says. Speaking of community, Brooks gushes about her fellow Yoga Den franchise owners. “The Yoga Den family has offered so much support during COVID-19. As a studio owner, I never felt alone. Everyone has been so wonderful and so willing to pitch in and help navigate this global crisis together. We’ve really strengthened our bonds.”

Brooks enthuses that hosting in-studio classes again feels nothing short of remarkable. “I’m thrilled that people are stepping back into the studio, wanting to dive right into their practice. We’re all growing and evolving, adapting to this new normal and new way of living. Obviously, there’s been some changes in safety and sanitation measures, but we continue to provide that same warm, welcoming atmosphere that our yoga family is accustomed to,” she says. “It’s been great to see so many familiar faces back in the studio—along with more new faces too. We’re also happy to continue offering online classes for those who aren’t ready to come back to the studio yet.”

Brooks says she never ceases to marvel at the transformations she sees in her yoga students. “Yoga is life-changing. I’ve seen amazing shifts happen in my students’ lives. Our chief aim is to create a sacred space where you can experience the magic of yoga. When you walk out the door, you take all that good juju with you. Your energy will spread that love and lightness around you with everyone you meet, and then they’ll spread it too.”

Brooks and her team strive to maintain the Yoga Den open door philosophy in every class. “Yoga Den studios are for every-body, no matter where you are on your path, no matter what physical abilities you have, no matter what mood you’re in. You’re welcome here. Come in and grow and evolve with us,” she adds.

Location: 3653 St. Johns Ave., Jacksonville. For more information, call 904-662-0485 or visit Yoga-den.com/location/yoga-den-avondale-studio