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Conversations with Elizabeth Savage

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Savage.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am a teacher by trade, having taught high school and first year college students since 2002 in San Francisco. My yoga teaching came almost a decade later after taking on a personal practice in 2010 when I followed a deep-seeded hunch that yoga was my path to physical, mental and spiritual health management. It blended nicely with my previous education in World Religions and Mindfulness Meditation. I practiced yoga daily, first in my own bedroom every night with a set sequence. Soon, I discovered the beauty of community, or Sangha as some may call it. By stepping into the studio, I gained greater access to expanding my practice… and in turn, my awareness. I began teaching as a tool to gain deeper presence, knowing that my best learning style was through teaching and sharing my knowledge. Yoga opened the door to the union of my spiritual life and my very real and measurable body. My spiritual path had previously been engrossed in the world of thought, knowledge, and academia, specifically ontology- the study of being. I exuded a so-called wisdom that would leave others believing I had studied every philosophical text available to me. Yet, until discovering yoga, I had never honored the true majesty of my physical body, nor respected it. The marriage of mental awareness and physical awareness became a miracle in my life. I gained access to a whole new world, one which is most probably only truly understood through the practice of yoga, sometimes after decades of practice.

My academic teaching role with American Public University abruptly ended in 2018 when the foundational course was discontinued. After a 16 year career of teaching academics, I was left staring at the infamous fork in the road. One sunny afternoon I dropped my 16 year old son and his girlfriend off at the beach to surf and the dream of working on Mindfulness with teens dropped into my mind as if sent from the skies. Within moments I was searching for the Sanskrit word for Youth. Yauvana Yoga was born. Since starting Yauvana Yoga, I have worked with 12 – 23 year old adolescents throughout the Tampa Bay Area by delivering teen yoga classes, workshops and day retreats. As the interest in yoga continues to grow, a ten day retreat is on the horizon and another season of teen workshops will open up this summer.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road by any means! I had little understanding of marketing to teens, and I had my own teens who, like most adolescents, showed very little interest in my dream. That, although very reasonable, was hard to swallow. I also had to find studio locations who believed in what I had to offer and welcome me into their spaces. The biggest hurdle was finding the proper way to advertise within the public school instructs. The term “Yoga” comes with a religious history that often misrepresents what it is today in our western world. I am still unable to use the term Yoga when publishing advertisements within the public high schools. Mindfulness has fortunately become a key word now and has perfectly taken first seat in my marketing.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
In my background is three decades of transformational education. I have dedicated the majority of my adulthood to exploring consciousness and being. As a yoga instructor the overwhelming piece of feedback I receive is my ability to cue. I refuse to use pose mames without describing the literal movement in the body first. Even beginners can easily practice with me and not feel abandoned. As well, advanced students repeatedly say they discover something new in my classes. And it’s this “discovery” mode that I believe initiates real mental, physical and spiritual growth in all people. To turn off our “thinker” and tune into sensation, we grant ourselves the experience of being present.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I’ve been fortunate to have supportive studios around Clearwater and Tampa welcome me into their spaces.

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