I chose to start Yoga Loft in Ybor City because even a good story begins with a tragedy. I had been practicing yoga for 20 years when I lost my practice. When my husband died unexpectedly, I could not step on a mat. Yoga was my place of peace and joy, and it vanished in an instant. I went to a small boutique-style yoga studio where I could quietly cry and try to find my practice. I needed a location that was beautiful, spiritual and kind. I found the Yoga Loft when the previous owner announced that she was leaving the country. I returned to this idea of owning a studio while I was finding myself again and rebuilding my life. I have a doctorate in business and had taught business classes. Certainly I could transition my book knowledge to actual small business ownership. After a few short months, I traded my black suit for black yoga pants.
The expansion of Yoga Loft to Downtown Tampa came about when I had heard through the yogi grapevine that Yoga Downtown was closing. I contacted the owner, planning to hire yoga teachers who needed a home studio. A month later, I reopened Yoga Downtown as Yoga Loft Downtown Tampa. The transition to a second studio was seamless and joyful. The idea of bringing aerial yoga to Downtown Tampa was fascinating to me.
Just like most yogis, I am a healthy eater. I love Bamboozle for quick and healthy Vietnamese food.
Self-care is crucial for me. I give a lot, and I need care in return. I love Thai yoga massage, traditional massage and accupressure. For traditional massage, I depend on Stephanie Presti and Gregorio Guadalupe for Thai massage; both are individual practitioners. I see Dr. Jesse Law for chiropractic work. These folks all work part time at the downtown studio. Aveda’s Level Salon in South Tampa and now Rejuv Salon at [The Pearl across from] Armature Works has always been my spot for beauty treatments.
The best place for coffee or tea in the urban core is Armature Works. They have the best espresso, especially at Union. I like a good chai horchata as well.
After yoga, I enjoy the sangria at Hemingway’s, also at Armature Works. Sangria is best served without ice. I do miss the Malbec and the atmosphere at Anise Global Gastrobar.
Brunch in the downtown area is always at Chez Faby for avocado and tomato crepes!
My favorite way to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors in Tampa is to walk from Yoga Loft Downtown Tampa to anywhere on the Riverwalk. A yoga class, a walk and a snack. What could be better?
When I’m showing off Tampa to friends and family visiting from out of town, I always make sure to take them to the Columbia. [It’s] the standard when my friends and family are visiting. Plantain-crusted eggplant makes any vegetarian happy.
The Tampa hidden gem more people should know about is Seminole Heights Laundromat. It’s not only an interesting place to be in Seminole Heights, but it is also a life-saver for me. Yoga blankets, yoga towels, yoga swings… You get it.