It Takes a Village
Located in the heart of Mobile in Spring Hill, Village Yoga is the purest example of the resilience and commitment of a community determined not just to stay together, but to continue growing and sharing the conviction that yoga works. Our founders were inspired by the dedication of teachers and members to keep a tribe together and recreate a home that fosters growth, individuality, and empowerment and respects the safety and health of all. We strive to embrace and remind each other that we all have gifts to share. We are all students practicing yoga to get better at life.
Meet Our Team
Owner, 500 hrs RYT/Certified Integrative Health & Wellness Coach
Favorite quote/mantra? Sometimes you have to stand a little rain to see the rainbow
What started your yoga journey? I am always wanting to try different forms of exercise and was curious about the practice.
How long have you practiced yoga? Since 2003 when my first child was born
First yogi memory? Doing yoga video tapes in my den
Favorite yoga pose? Pigeon and wheel
Why yoga? I love the flow, connecting to the breath, the challenging poses, and the way I feel afterwards- not just immediately, but every day, all day. It's made me more calm and present in my life.
What change have you seen in your life because of your yoga journey? My overall happiness in life and a career change.
What made you want to teach? I wanted to teach others that were too nervous to go to classes in a studio, like my mom and some of my friends.
How long have you been teaching? Since 2017
What do you love about teaching? Knowing my students are happy leaving class and that they'd carry that happiness with them all day...hopefully!
Something we may not know about you? I'm really shy (an introvert) at first and used to have a terrible fear of public speaking. Now I'm in front of people almost everyday teaching. I never thought that would happen.
Favorite quote/mantra? Be the Change; Let it Be; Choose Joy
What started your yoga journey? About a year out of college I taught high school at St. Paul's Episcopal School-where i graduated. One of the student's mothers, who was an incredible yoga teacher, offered it to teachers because she wanted to give back to the teachers that gave so much for her kids. My friend Leigh talked me into doing yoga with her, and so it began.
How long have you practiced yoga? I practiced on and off after that, but i always missed it. I really picked yoga back up when GLOW opened in Mobile in 2015. It was then and there that recognized my real love and learned deeper appreciation for yoga.
First yogi memory? Practicing yoga in grey Target maternity sweatpants (because they were on clearance, and i was broke) on the theatre lobby floor at St. Paul's School with my teacher friends.
Favorite yoga pose? It's hard for me to say just one yoga pose-but I would definitely include Lizard/Twisted Monkey.
Why yoga? Oooohhhh, let me count the ways!!!
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? Again-ooooooh let me count the ways! It helps me bring peace into my life. It teaches me to stay present. I have learned that I really do have the power to choose-to choose to accept things as they are and move on, to choose joy over negativity, to choose peace, kindness, and love. It's also a heck of a work out!!
What made you want to teach? Ever since i first met yoga, i was drawn to it. There was just something about it that just clicked with me and made me want to understand it deeper. I was never brave enough to take the plunge until Village was born. Then I had no choice! HA!
What do you love about teaching? I find it so magical to be surrounded by people that have the courage to show up on their mat and have such an amazing common goal. To see the hard work and determination in the eyes of everyone around me truly is inspiring.
Something we may not know about you? I can MacGyver just about anything-it may not look pretty or last forever, but i can generally provide a solid, temporary rigging.
500 hrs RYT
Favorite quote/mantra? Gratitude is a choice
What started your yoga journey? I started yoga because of an injury. After teaching 15 years of boot camps, step classes, and whatever the trend was at the time, I started yoga for recovery. I resisted giving up an hour for something that didn't seem like my traditional workouts. I was wrong, the more I did yoga the more I wanted to do it.
How long have you practiced yoga? My first yoga class was 20 years ago. I practiced intermittently and really committed 10 years ago.
First yogi memory? The first memory I have was in my first class. Angie, the instructor, was so loving and calming, and I trusted her guidance. Then I did my first pigeon pose, and the heat and energy it created was like having a contraction before giving birth :)
Funniest yogi memory? In an intense sequence I asked the class to shake it out, and someone started flossing, and then everyone did!
Favorite yoga pose? All of the poses are my favorite, I'm even learning to love Camel.
Why yoga? Everything I practice on the mat makes me better at life.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? The changes I have seen are huge: overall acceptance, detachment from outcomes, embracing everything as a lesson, commitment to a community, open mind open heart, cultivate self-love without ego, understand we all have gifts to share, and do everything for something greater than myself.
What made you want to teach? I have always been a teacher in one way or another, so it was a natural expression to want to share a passion that enhanced my life experience so much.
How long have you been teaching? I've been teaching over ten years.
What do you love about teaching? The best thing about teaching is seeing someone respond to my words and find success and empowerment within themselves. The feeling to watch someone accomplish a pose they haven't before is contagious in the room.
Favorite quote/mantra? Let it go.
What started your yoga journey? One of my best friends told me how much she loved yoga so I tried it in my early 20’s and I’ve practiced ever since.
How long have you practiced yoga? since 2013.
First yogi memory? My first actual class at the Y in Foley & how I felt like my body was sinking through the floor in savasana.
Funniest yogi memory? Always falling. Either into the door frame at Glow cracking it or falling into my bestie trying to practice acro yoga. haha
Favorite yoga pose? half pigeon
Why yoga? Nothing else teaches how failure equals growth the same as finally landing a pose. I also haven’t found anything else that tests my patience like long holds, & I love that mental challenge.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? The importance of showing up and trying again. I’ve never been held accountable like I have from this community. Not to mention, I always said I’d never teach yoga, but here I am.
What made you want to teach? There was rumor at the last studio I practiced at saying they were not going to have Friday night classes anymore because nobody really wanted to teach them. I didn’t want them to end so I did teacher training to take over. And I was tired of hearing, “Omg I can’t believe you’re not a teacher! You should teach!” lol
How long have you been teaching? Since July 2020
What do you love about teaching? Seeing the excitement on someone’s face when they accomplish a pose they’ve been working on
Something we may not know about you? I love teeth. I’m also a dental assistant & helping save teeth is my other passion next to yoga.
Favorite quote/mantra? I don't have a favorite - I like so many. Here is just one: "Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining." Anne Lamott
What started your yoga journey? When I lived in Winston-Salem, my friend Elliott was a yoga teacher. He convinced me to come to his class. I didn't know how much I needed it. I've always been anxious and a worrier. That first class set me on a journey of personal growth and development. I've learned so much about how to deal with stress, anxiety, overwhelm and even sadness from work on my mat and from what teachers have taught me about yoga and about myself. I am so thankful for my friend who knew that my life needed yoga in it and convinced me to take the leap.
How long have you practiced yoga? Since 2012
First yogi memory: Showing up at Elliott's class and anxiously waiting for another friend to join - who was late. I was so confused about the sequence and looking around me at everyone who knew what they were doing. I remember just thinking, what am I doing? I felt out of place and like I just wanted to laugh about not having a clue what was going on.
Favorite yoga pose? It changes. Probably Malasana right now.
Why yoga? The connection to something bigger than myself, the sweat, the people.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? Better management of anxiety/worry. It doesn't well up in my chest like it used to. I don't get tense and worked up physically. I have the tools to release what I need to.
What made you want to teach? Wanting to know more and go deeper. I wasn't sure I wanted to teach, but I wanted to deepen my practice and learn all that I could.
How long have you been teaching? Since 2015
What do you love about teaching? My message resonating and showing students they are capable of more than they thought possible for them
Something we may not know about you? I loveeeeeeee winter and cold weather and SNOW!
Favorite quote/mantra? Everything is gonna be ok!
What started your yoga journey? I was in a rut in my exercise routine, my diet, and my social life, and I was looking for something to kickstart my wellness program. Yoga was the cure!
How long have you practiced yoga? 5 years religiously
First yogi memory? Jennifer Guthrie (of Glow Yoga) telling me my heels didn’t have to touch the ground in down dog. They were a mile from the ground because I have the tightest hamstrings, so that was such a relief!
Funniest yogi memory? Working on head stand in a hotel room and and almost destroying an Armoire when I came crashing down. I was so glad no one was there to see that.
Favorite yoga pose? Malasana
Why yoga? It’s a great workout and it makes me a better human.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? I am more aware and centered
What made you want to teach? All of the GLOW teachers encouraged me to try it, just to expand and grow in my own practice, and it grew from there.
How long have you been teaching? 3 years
What do you love about teaching? Seeing people benefit from the practice just like I did and becoming happier and healthier.
Something we may not know about you? I eat chocolate everyday and I’m not ever gonna stop.
Any additional comments? For anyone considering yoga-thinking its not physically challenging enough- please give it a shot. I did a full Ironman at age 40, so I really like an intense workout. Yoga meets all the criteria for strength and intensity, but without all the injuries. Come join us!
Favorite quote/mantra? Eat More Plants, Do More Yoga
What started your yoga journey? I had a bout with surgeries and hormone health. I knew finding peace & movement could help.
How long have you practiced yoga? Almost 3 years
First yogi memory? I distinctly remember my first feeling of being savasana "drunk". I came out of that class loving everyone & everything!
Funniest yogi memory? Teaching a Gangster Rap class in a bar. Everyone needs yoga, right?
Favorite yoga pose? That's Tough! Child's Pose (Balasana) or Airplane (Dekasana)
Why yoga? It's the best form of exercise for me. I get to play while helping my overall health. It's a win, win.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? The pause. In stressful situations, I find myself pausing and responding rather than reacting. And I feel stronger than I've ever felt before.
What made you want to teach? I didn't lol. I just wanted to learn more about anatomy and alignment. Then I realized that I could help others by showing people how attainable yoga can be.
How long have you been teaching? 2 years
What do you love about teaching? Helping others find their strength & peace. Even if it's just for an hour.
Something we may not know about you? I love learning! I'm a jack of all trades and wouldn't change that for the world. You name it, I just might have some experience in it!
Favorite quote/mantra? Don't hate meditate
What started your yoga journey? My yoga journey was started by a coworkers wife that was a yoga teacher/studio owner. She invited me to my 1st class and I love it immediately.
How long have you practiced? I’ve practiced 10-11 years.
First yogi memory? I don’t know about my 1st memory, but I do remember thinking down- dog was soooo hard for a long time.
Funniest yogi memory? Not sure, but it was probably in Chad’s class at Glow.
Favorite yoga pose? I can’t pick just one ... I like so many for different reasons!
Why yoga? Wow.. all the reasons! Yoga makes me happier, friendlier, more grateful, more connected to my inner self & physical body, more connected with others & the universe. Yoga to be humbled & to let go of what I can’t control. Yoga to be stronger, balanced & more flexible physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually.
What change have you seen in your life from your yoga journey? Every aspect of my life has changed for the better from my yoga journey. My attitude, my perception, my patience, my relationship, my health, my diet, my confidence & even my finances.
What made you want to teach? Well... Suzette lovingly encouraged me to sign up for teacher training. I honestly was just interested in deeper learning about yoga & holistic health in general. I didn’t initially have an urge to teach but after the training & more encouragement from Suz I ended up finding the confidence to want to teach! Thanks, Suz! Love you!
How long have you been teaching? 2 & 1/2 years
What do you love about teaching? Hearing the breath. I love it! It’s like music! & just the feeling of honor to witness yogis working on themselves collectively and as individuals. Also being present in a different type of way.
Something we may not know about you? I can do a little bit of trick hula hooping. I have quite a collection of crystals, minerals and fossils. I’m a seamstress. I like to paint. I really like to run outdoors, it’s cathartic for me. I love animals and hope to find a pup in the future!
Favorite quote/mantra ? When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.
What started your yoga journey My dad gave me an old yoga magazine when I was 5 years old, and I just thought the photos in it were funny and it was even more fun to get my own body to copy the pictured poses.
How long have you practiced yoga? On and off since my childhood, and consistently for about 17 years now.
First yogi memory? My dad trying to teach me hand-warming techniques in savasana and me just being silly.
Funniest yogi memory? One of my favorite yoga memories is from my yoga teacher training. Our teacher decided to take the group to Dauphin Island for a day. We studied under the pavillion at the beach all morning. Some of us had to do practice teachings. For lunch break, we went to the water, and sure enough a large school of dolphins showed up very close to the beach. They were hunting a swarm of smaller fish. We all went into the water and sat on the bottom with our heads under water, and listened to the amazing sounds the dolphins made. Dolphin sounds travel under water and it was as if we were sitting right next to them, listening in to their communication.
Favorite yoga pose? I love dancer pose and mermaid pose.
Why yoga? Yoga is union. It is the most complete system for healing, understanding the human makeup, and realizing that we all come from the same ground of all being. Yoga is the blueprint for recalibrating oneself in the various phases of life for physical, mental, emotional, energetical, and spiritual well-being.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? Yoga asana helped me recover after cancer, after multiple fractures of my spine, and after giving birth to my children. Yoga pranayama, meditation, and yoga nidra helped me recover from PTSD after physical assault. Today, yoga helps me navigate the daily challenges of juggling work-life-balance, and I am blessed to guide others out of their trauma lock back to living joyfully.
What made you want to teach? I follow an inner calling to show others that healing is possible, that learning and expanding how we experience life is possible, and I love helping others to remember what brings them joy.
How long have you been teaching Since 2015
What do you love about teaching? Watching my students grow and meeting likeminded others.
**In addition to teaching yoga, Manja is also a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Life Coach and Hypnotherapist, IHA, Registered Court & Medical Interpreter, NAJIT. For more information, please visit: www.drmanjapodratz.com
Favorite quote/mantra: Om Tat Sat - It is what it is.
What started your yoga journey: A back injury
How long have you practiced yoga: 12 years inconsistently, over a year consistently
First Yogi Memory: My first yoga mat: a yellow lululemon mat that I still use!
Favorite quote/mantra Practice and all is coming. -Pattabhi Jois
What started your yoga journey Initially, I just needed a way to counter all of the damage I was doing to my body in the gym. Later on I began practicing yoga to become more aligned mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
How long have you practiced yoga? I took my first yoga class in 2007. I’ve been practicing meditation and yoga asana regularly for about 8-10 years now.
First yogi memory? Practicing yoga with Matthew-a classmate and friend at USM. I remember the class being so much more challenging than I expected! I was shaking like a leaf in most of the poses…
Funniest yogi memory? The first time a teacher attempted to give me an assist in Savasana I opened my eyes just as she was kneeling down to touch me. The shape of her fingers and face from that angle reminded me of a cartoonish version of Count Dracula, so naturally I burst out laughing and couldn’t contain myself. My unexpected cackling made that other students begin laughing too! Eventually the entire class was in an uproar and I’m sure they had no idea what had happened! It was great.
Favorite yoga pose? Any type of inversion—sometimes a change in perspective is all we need.
Why yoga? Because it’s fun and it makes me a better human.
What change have you seen in your life bc of your yoga journey? I have a heightened sense of awareness, more empathy and intuition. All of these things make me more a more compassionate person.
What made you want to teach? I like to help people. Practicing yoga has helped facilitate the healing processes in several traumatic situations I’ve experienced in this life. If anyone is seeking healing I want that for them too.
How long have you been teaching? Since October 2016
What do you love about teaching? The creative process—meeting up with a group of people and moving through a sequence that includes the same postures; yet finding ways to make the postures serve us and our bodies individually.
& Experiencing the energy shift before&after class.