by Natalia Dutt, NHT AmeriCorps member
When I first moved to Thomas I was not expecting there to be a huge yoga community. I assumed I would have to stick to my home practice and venture far away to find a class. However, as I was walking down Front Street my first night in town I passed a storefront full of people folding into downward dog. I was totally shocked and was so incredibly excited to get involved in the classes and meet the instructor behind the Thomas yoga scene. Spearheaded by local yogi Anne Farmer, Thomas has a wide variety of classes throughout the week. As one of the first members of the community I met I knew immediately I wanted to get to know Anne more and share her story with you all.
We sat down together one Friday afternoon before class and dove right in like two old friends catching up. Her story starts in Charlottesville, VA which she attributed as the place where she started to dabble with a yoga practice. Living there from 1999-2005 she set up a life, learned how to play guitar, and did the general “discovering” yourself thing you do early in life. Leaving her home behind in Virginia she found her way to Thomas by random happenstance. A little nervous about the prospect of starting over away from the place she loved she began to create a life in Thomas. Accepting a position as a school counsellor in Mineral County she began to turn to yoga to get her through her long early morning commutes. Developing a simple at home practice she used yoga to combat the intensity of her running practice. She enjoyed staying balanced and fit in her off hours. However, eventually Anne started choosing yoga over running as her main focus. As a mental health counsellor she said she is, “really drawn to positive change,” which yoga truly can provide. The home practice progressed and the idea of becoming an instructor blossomed. Encouraged by close friend Sarah the idea hatched into what has now become the Wednesday night community class.
It wasn’t until recently that Anne has made teaching yoga her full time gig. Stepping down from her 14 year career as a mental health professional she says she is, “scited,” (scared and excited) for this next adventure. Does she know if it will work? No, but she is remaining in the present and staying optimistic about sharing her yoga practice with the Thomas community. Teaching a wide variety of classes there is truly something for everyone. The Wednesday class allows anyone from all walks of life to enjoy an easy flow. Anne always waits to see who shows up and the energy of the group when starting the flow and the class. Friday's happy hour class is one that can be super challenging or chill, but will always leave you feeling balanced. Sundays are for breathing and meditation, a practice to start your week off on a positive note.
She said that, “the practice of yoga reminds me to live the life I want. A life of compassion, honesty, and no attachment. It lends itself to the breath and being in the moment.” Each class she teaches does just that. You are able to view your yoga mat as a mirror for yourself. Everyday is different. Every class will make you feel something different, with the hope they will help you become a more balanced and aware person. Living in a society where your worth can at times be measured by what you do or what you have accomplished that day, Anne hopes her classes can encourage you for even one hour to forget about planning, forget about your to-do list, forget what the person next to you is doing and be fully present in the moment on your mat. It was definitely refreshing to chat to someone who only wants the best for everyone. Anne is the type of person who sees the magic of Tucker County, she sees the magic in this community, and will continue to spread good vibes for as long as possible!
If you haven’t checked out any of her classes be sure to go to http://mountainyoga.blogspot.com/ for a full schedule and descriptions!