Join us this week on the Palm Harbor Local Podcast as we dive into the incredible journey of our special guest, Elizabeth Savage!
Elizabeth shares her inspiring story of how she found her way into the yoga business. From humble beginnings to becoming a renowned yogi, she’ll take us through the twists and turns that led her to where she is today. Elizabeth found her light within herself, and she’ll share with us the transformative power of self-discovery.
Tune in to this enlightening episode on Palm Harbor Local Podcast, available on all major podcast platforms! 🎧 Don’t miss this chance to gain valuable insights from Elizabeth Savage herself.
Listen to the podcast episode here!
I’m excited to have you and learn more about your business and your practice. And kind of just we were talking about, your journey into yoga. So you opened your studio last year in May of 2022? I did. And how did we were just talking about this, but explain to the people who are listening, your start into yoga, how did you come across yoga?
So I started yoga. Back when I was dealing with an autoimmune disease. And I had tried Western medicine, I had actually tried a lot of Anthroposophical type medicine, shifting my diet, and changing my lifestyle. But all of it wasn’t tapping into what my body really needed. And so when I met somebody who had practiced yoga and new yoga, on their own, something that they could do just without anybody else instructing them, I asked them to teach me.
And literally, within five days of practicing, I started not to need the medication I had been taking. And sure enough, since I started practicing yoga, and this was probably 15 years ago, I haven’t really had to deal with any sort of autoimmune issues to the degree that I did back then. And whenever something a symptom pops up, I know that I need to go back deeper into my practice. So that was really the beginning of my journey into yoga. And it was a very personal experience for me for a handful of years. And then when I discovered a studio setting, and more importantly, a heated setting. That’s when the intensity lifted, and I began to notice just how precisely my mind and my thoughts connect to my body and the health of my own being. And then I was sold. So and then just little by little, having taught academically for as long as I had, it just seemed natural to start teaching yoga as well. And I find I mean it is it I call it my vocation because it really is a joy. It’s certainly not a job to me at all.
It’s funny how we kind of stumbled into some of those some of these things that we just are, just fall in love with, and are super passionate about.
It reminded me in fact, I had a conversation with a client this morning before the 730 class. She came in, and she’s really starting to reflect on herself. I think she’s maybe in her early 40s and starting to look at, what are my gifts. And who am I and what am I doing with my life? And I’m a strong advocate for only going after that which pulls you forward that which inspires you and ignites you.
And I mean, that’s the reason why I have the sunshine as our logo and our symbol because I just, I d the idea of thriving towards the light that’s calling you. And so in my case, it just, it really was this pole or this drive towards something that revitalizes me constantly. And the more I do that, the more the world seems to be attracted to what I have to offer. I don’t there’s very little effort in that at all, when you’re being your honest true self, which is, it’s difficult to do that I feel in today’s society.
How do you kind of find your light?
For me, it’s if you experience a grind that you’re not intentionally causing, that would be something inconsistent with who you are. If you have to push or force something. At least in my case, that would be inconsistent with who I am and what I’m up to. If I dream of it, if I am starting if I’m daydreaming and something is inspiring to me, then I want to move in that direction. And when I start to behave authentically, that’s when I start to, when you have conversations with people, and, you’re having an authentic conversation, it moves fluidly.
And there’s nothing that you’re not having to say, you can just say whatever it needs, whatever comes to the surface, that would be authentic, whereas if I start to shape and manipulate and try to produce an outcome with somebody, that’s going to be inconsistent with what I want to do, and you can, I mean, that’s the beauty of yoga is you can feel you start to access the sensations of your nervous system, the I mean, I can literally feel the shift of when I’m starting to try and control something. And if I’m trying to control something, then I’m not maintaining my greatest freedom. And I want to stay inside my greatest freedom. If that were a lane, that’s the one I would choose.
So it’s interesting, right? So it’s your mind controlling your mind and stuff. But also your body to through yoga, letting go there as well.
Well, it’s interesting. When I practice, sometimes I’ll go to other studios and just, kind of be incognito and hideout and really just allow myself to practice without necessarily being observed. It’s hard to teach in my own studio or to practice in my own studio because I have a sense that people might be watching whether they are or not, I don’t know, I’ve been told that some people will watch instructors to, see what they’re doing. So when I go elsewhere, and I’m practicing, there are days where I’ll get on my mat. And I can feel a sense of nervousness or anxiousness within me, and what I know that to be is kind of my ego.
Okay, how good of a job am I going to do? How good am I going to look? Are they gonna be able to tell who I am, or, something that. And it’s, and I have to pull back and come back into my breath and chill out for a little bit, and remind myself why I’m there.
And so there really is, I mean, you can feel, I call it a sizzle, almost, in my nervous system. If I am. I’m trying to force something, or if my ego which I don’t have a problem with egos, but if I am trying to be something, rather than allowing myself to simply I can feel that in my body. And that’s when I’ll come back to my breath. And just tried to find what we were talking about earlier, that deepest space in my pond where I can observe and then choose what I want to become.
That self-awareness, you think, is something I’m always curious about? Do you think everybody has that self-awareness?
It’s a skill set that has to be developed in, in, it’s a muscle, right? You can remind me that’s what I write a lot about mind muscles, it is everybody absolutely has access to it, I would think. Now, I mean, I don’t have a background in psychology. So I’m sure that there are some wirings that are off, and, but for the most part, I would say that we all have access, and it’s just, it’s just peeling away of layers.
And there’s never, in my opinion, there’s never an arrival, there’s always more work to do. As long as we’re busy being human, our thoughts are going to kind of shade us and cover us up and things happen. Life happens. And, we’re jolted out of the present and into, trying to survive a moment whether it’s a car accident, or something dreadful, or something really exciting. And, sometimes people can walk by me and sprinkle a little bit of gossip in my space. And I can feel myself all of a sudden, oh, I want to, flutter towards the gossip. And all of those things.
It’s just that constant coming back to that space of stillness. And I do believe that everybody has access to that.
It’s just how much have you? How much energy or effort have you put into, being aware of that? And how much time do you have, I was raised Catholic. And since then, having studied and taught world religions and looked at all of the different cultures and the stories that we have, that we use to really support our own sense of security. My parents will often times they say that they failed me. And I don’t have anything against the Catholic Church, I celebrate all religions. And, but they asked me, Do you ever pray, and I have to think about it. And I’m, I’m always praying. I’m always praying, if I’m breathing for me, it’s a form of presence. So, it’s a walk of life.
So, going back to your studio, what led you to get your own space?
I really just got tired of driving around everywhere. I was. I was spending more time in my car than I was doing anything else and it was popping around from an academic class at St. Pete College over to a client’s house over to another house and then over to somebody else’s studio that I was renting the space from to work with clients and, and it just got to be too much. And I knew something needed to change.
And the location was just key. I really, I really got lucky, super fortunate that that space opened up. And it was literally 730 In the evening, and I knocked on the door and somebody was in there working because it was owned by geographical solutions originally. And so this high-tech security company is inside. And there’s one man in there working in there were TVs everywhere. And it was all men and cubicles and stuff. And I walked in and I was.
Oh, I don’t know if this will this would do it. But maybe that room over there would work. But they were adamant that I needed to rent the entire space if I was going to. And I mean, it’s, it’s perfect for downtown Palm Harbor. It’s there are so many restaurants and bars, which I love. And I intend to go to all of them from time to time and people come in and ask, where can we go but we don’t we didn’t have anything this in downtown Palm Harbor that’s right there by the water. People can bike I even have a little section where people can bring their golf carts to in park and or ride their bikes. Cool, too. I was I mean, it was really important to me that I could support people biking there. And, taking the time to take care of their bodies, even if that meant the journey from their home to the studio in the studio.
So you mentioned earlier you live nearby the studio. Is that how you found the place? For rent?
I’m gonna have blocks away. So the little for-lease sign went up. And I looked at it for about five days and then finally knocked on the door. And the guy was, come on in.
Did you have a vision for the studio? Had you been thinking about creating a studio?
I really didn’t. And it’s funny because people tease me now. And they’re if you’ve been inside the studio, that the outside is painted purple. It’s white and purple. It was one screen. And the inside is one of the West room, which is our heated room is all purple. And I had no intention of painting it purple, I had no idea. I just knew that shine. And that sunshine sense was what I was gravitating towards. Other than that, I didn’t even have a name for the studio at that point. And the reason why everything ended up purple is kind of it’s a funny story. But it’s actually Bible black is the color of the studio. And I did that because I had somebody when I invited somebody to come practice one day, they said,
Oh, no, I can’t do that. Because I’m Christian. And I just kind of stopped in my tracks and thought, what, you can’t practice yoga, because you’re Christian. And, I know a little bit about the theory behind that. But it really kind of shook me. And so when I went looking for colors to paint, the first one that popped up was called Bible Black. And it was that purple color. And I thought I’m running with this, I am totally running with it. So and that was I mean, that was one example of how everything unfolded, it’s, I really have strengthened to the mind-muscle of allowing the world to kind of bring to me what it wants. So literally, the color and a lot of the design, one of my dear friends and instructors painted the East Room, which is more of our Yin space. It’s kind of a quiet meditative room. And it’s this beautiful Andre color. , goes from that. It’s almost looking at the sea. And, little things that. But I knew that she was capable of that. And I knew that she was a magnificent painter. And so I asked her to come in and give me her thoughts. And that room is pretty much her vision.
So partnering with other people around you, I think, makes a huge difference.
One of my mantras I have to get out of my own way. And I operate more I’m a vessel, and the world will come and ask what can be filled with? And more importantly whatever it is that I’m holding the space for, for everybody else. So we have an abundance of workshops. And the reason why we have those workshops is because people come in and say, Hey, would you mind if we did an era Vedic workshop? Or I really want to do belly dancing, can you, I can teach it? Can I hold a workshop? Hear? My answer is always yes. It’s amazing what our community has to offer.
Have you always been into that sort of approach and mindset to life? Or is that kind of developed?
I’ve probably always had the Inkling within me, but it is certainly more pronounced now than it ever has been I trust, I trust my gut a lot more now than I had in the past. And a good example is my first go at establishing a business I decided to start offering yoga for teenagers. And, I had mentioned I was raised Catholic, I grew up going to Catholic schools, and we always had retreats at least twice a year. And my children who are now 18, and 22, did not go to a school that offered retreats. And it occurred to me as I watched my own teenagers grow up that their friends didn’t have access to that sense of community, safety, and security that I had growing up. And it really created a sense of foundation for me. And so I thought, Oh, I’m gonna create this team program, and I’ll take these teens on retreats. And it won’t be it’ll be, completely secular, but yoga-based, and it will help us all kind of come into our own being and recognize we’re all humans, and we all have our, faults or whatnot.
But love really is what matters most. And, and so I had this great idea, I did a couple of retreats, I did a few, series of teen yoga, but it didn’t really take off, what I found was parents wanted their kids to do it. But the kids didn’t necessarily want it. ? So that’s one example of me being, here’s a good idea. Let’s take it out into the world and see what we can do. And it just didn’t it just kind of went poof and fizzled a little bit. And still there. But it bruises the ego a little bit, but not much. I just wanted something great out in the world. And so now, I have recognized so if, on the Myers Briggs, I’m an ENFJ. And so what that means is, I’m a protagonist, I am that kind of person. That is, I’m a great leader, but I’m not the kind of leader that stands out and directs the world. I’m the leader, that’s kind of, I said, holds that vessel is just, Okay, what are we doing? And I can, I can moderate and allow, give people tasks if they need tasks.
But more importantly, I enjoy having people come in and say, I really want to do this. And I’ll say, okay, great. Here’s how you can do it. And give them that inertia and that venue to do something with
That’s beautiful. What about starting the studio? Was there any, sort of nerves there? Or second-guessing?
It was so funny. There were no nerves. I loved every moment. So I signed my lease might not be my favorite number, too. I signed my lease on February 22, 2022. And I waited two days on purpose for that. And then it was just going to it just start building. And I had, so I had so much fun creating that space that I’m starting to wonder if I need to create more spaces or do something else. I don’t want to grow. I don’t want to, people have asked me if I can open up another studio.
And no, I don’t need to do that. I’m going to expand in different ways, not in the physical sense. But it was so funny. We opened on May 7, and people started coming in and all of a sudden, it occurred to me, oh, my gosh, I have to put on a sales hat now and a marketing hat. And I have to figure, I wasn’t prepared for that. I just was creating a space for people to come to and fortunately, it wasn’t a hard sell. It wasn’t very difficult people flocked in and we’re so it’s amazing how grateful the community in Palm Harbor is to have that space. They’re a diamond, it brings me to tears every day. They come in and they think me, and I’m, but you’re the ones that are man, all I did was paint and build and so even instructors come in and they’re, Are you hiring? Hi, this is my name. And it’s it’s been I mean, knock on wood. It’s been a really great blessing. And I would say it’s consistent with me maintaining just trusting my gut and moving forward with what is authentic.
I think a lot of people if we all did that more, right, that’s a hard thing to do. I remember reading I think it was Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. And I think the main premise of the book is just trusting your gut. We make that’s what makes the right decision within seconds of something showing up or whatever right and then but we then
Then it changes every I mean fear is huge. It’s huge I mean, I’m right now it’s summertime, and there are people that are, members who are I’m traveling Can you pause it for a little bit and I can feel my heart go oh my gosh, just the business is going to be okay. I can feel the worry sinking. But I, I’ve definitely gotten better at You’d better at allowing the fear to be there, it’s okay. And then go back to what? What matters most. So I kind of live in a world of possibility, and just strive towards that possibility.
That’s cool. So what about if people aren’t familiar with yoga? Or maybe you’ve heard of yoga, you’ve done practice that a little bit. But, how do you define yoga, what is yoga?
So yoga means to yoke. And ultimately, to create a union between spirit and body, I find that that can be a little cerebral to understand or, even entertain that idea. So the best and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve titled, subtitled the studio mindful fitness, because it really a lot of people do come in strictly for the fitness. And that’s great. For a long time, we offered a Non-yoga membership, where people were just doing the sculpt classes and the pilates and kettlebell and that sort of thing. And then they slip into a yoga class, and they’re,
So for the most part, I would say, consider it a physical activity, it’s, do it for your body, we all need When I ended my class this morning, I reminded everybody there to take a moment and acknowledge themselves because they put the oxygen mask on themselves first, so that they can go out and be the best that they can be during the day. And so if you’re not familiar with yoga, whether you’re spiritual or not, our physical bodies need attention. And no matter what you do, if we’re out lifting weights, or kicking a soccer ball around no matter, it’s that repetitive action is going to cause some stiffness or some tightness, or maybe we’re sitting all day or driving all day, our bodies need to be moved. And to be able to take the time to breathe through the movements gives us access to really feeling what the body is saying.
There was a time when before yoga, when I’d be driving the car, and my children were young, and I might quickly reach behind the car seat to grab something and pull a muscle in my arm. Where now that movement is, I’m so aware of even the micro-movements that, there’s rarely do I get injured. So for somebody that’s new to yoga, I would say consider just trying even a gentle class or restorative class, something that will introduce you to the mindfulness of movement in the body, even a yoga nidra class where you’re going to observe your thinking, that’s going to give you access at minimum, to how your mind affects the nervous system.
And then from there, if it speaks to you, if it feels good, then come back and try another one. We’re at a point now, where we have people that come in, once you get into the heated classes, the heated classes create more so than any other. Any other class we offer creates a strong sense of dopamine in the body. So when you leave, you’re really enjoying that stream of dopamine, those people will come into a 9:30 class in the morning, and then they’ll show up again at 5:30 or seven o’clock at night. it’s just that it feels so good. It’s almost just letting the heat does that heat while the heat is going to make you sweat, it’s going to produce more dopamine, we also heat the studio, we use infrared heaters.
So that’s affecting your nervous system along with all of your lymph nodes, and really helping to detox and cleanse as well. So and once you get used to that experience, you just want more of it.
So I’m sure there are many benefits to yoga. But if you had to pick a few or what are, the top benefits to someone practicing yoga?
The two things that immediately come to my mind, and it’s kind of a wrestling match. One would be the physical wellness that it creates, but more importantly, for me, it generates gratitude. There’s such an extreme level of gratitude that takes place when you move and you breathe, and you’re doing it with other people. Others will tell you that, they’ve practiced on their own, oh, I have my own practice, but it’s never the same as what it is when you’re in a group of people all moving and doing sometimes they’re not all doing the same thing. But we all know that it’s this odd sense of we all know we’re there for the betterment of something and so for me, what’s been most pronounced is that level of gratitude.
I love that that’s what I’ve done different community fitness programs and that sort of stuff I group fitness and, there is you get that sense of community there right where it’s, very much It’s cool and it’s it’s different, right? It’s unique.
Right. It’s lovely to watch the relationships happen the other way thing that has happened is, I’ve seen people reunited that hadn’t seen each other in years or, maybe they work together or they were the same people, they were always in the same coffee line together. And, for years, and then they stopped, one of them stopped going. And now all of a sudden, they’re running into each other at the studio. And it’s hysterical. I had no idea how many people knew how many people, so it’s really been great to watch that happen. And, it’s I watched now there have been book clubs that have come out of the studio, not I mean, we didn’t, I didn’t create them. The instructors didn’t create them, just groups of people have come together, and they’ve started generating new things, to do together all of which support their health and well-being, which is just, it’s phenomenal to watch.
That’s pretty cool. And we all need that sense of community, for sure. So, one thing I always to wrap up with is being in Palm Harbor and all the different small businesses that we have here. When you’re not practicing yoga, or working, what is it that you enjoy doing most whether it’s going to another small business, or going to Park Beach?
Honeymoon Island is a no-brainer. I love going down there. I have, as of lately been there frequently. I can’t say it frequenting recruiting a lot of the different places down in downtown Palm Harbor, I love hanging out at Bogota, or Fatties, or Fireside and kind of sitting around there and watching people and that sort of thing. But mostly I enjoy being still there are plenty of times when I’d get on my bike and ride on the trail. And get some quick energy out that way. But as of late, I’ve just kind of been watching the world. I have a hammock out front, and I enjoy just sitting in the hammock out front of the studio. And just, I don’t know lately, it’s just I’ve been appreciating the world around me and just watching it more.
That’s pretty cool. And I read a lot. I read a lot. I hang out with my kids and, a lot of really good friends to gather around. But yoga really does kind of consumed much of my life.
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