Owner, Yoga from the Heart
For Lynn Burgess, the joy of being a yoga instructor isn’t just about watching her students improve their backbends, twists and inversions. It’s learning that her words stick, and her lessons make an impact, even outside of class.
There was the woman who heard Lynn’s voice break through a stressful family dinner, reminding her to breathe. There was the student with shoulder pain who started attending yoga regularly, and then woke up to discover that the pain, for the first time in years, was gone. There was the corporate executive who, after a 12-hour workday, took the time to do a few soothing stretches and regain her focus before giving into exhaustion. Those kinds of stories make Lynn smile at the end of the every day.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in business administration, Lynn is the first to admit she was an unlikely yoga student when she began 20 years ago. Back then, she owned a closet full of Brooks Brothers suits, spent 12-plus hours sitting at a desk, and had developed an eye twitch from the stress of her corporate job.
After struggling with insomnia and constant headaches for weeks, she visited doctor after doctor, and they all told her the same thing: “You’re healthy.”
A friend and mentor suggested that she try taking a yoga class. This was in the late ‘90s, before yoga studios stretched through nearly every strip mall across the country. To Lynn, yoga was for hippies from the ‘60s. Straight-laced and type A, she couldn’t even fathom what went on atop those yoga mats.
Begrudgingly, she attended her first class. She walked in with a sense of bravado, chest puffed out like John Wayne. She stared down her classmates, prepared to bolt if she smelled patchouli or heard the word, “om.”
And then the class began, and the stress disappeared. She felt her mind and body relax for the first time in years. As she moved into the poses, she embraced a sense of abandon, so refreshing it was like lying on a beach, surrounded by air the temperature of warm bath water, completely and totally content. As the pressure faded, she began to remember what was important. She was able to connect with her spirit in a way she’d never felt.
And she wanted more of it.
After the class ended, Lynn came up with a plan. She would walk away from her career devise an exit strategy. She would dedicate herself to yoga, focusing on becoming a teacher and opening her own studio. If that meant eating Ramen noodles for three years, she would eat Ramen noodles for three years. She would do whatever it took to pursue this heightened sense of awareness, this mindful state of being.
She set out on a journey, practicing under dozens of highly regarded instructors from all across the globe, searching for someone whose philosophy and style was in harmony with her own. She knew she’d found her match when she met renowned yoga instructor Rodney Yee. He was educational but entertaining, direct but kind, firm yet warm. He was authentic and inspiring, and, in time, she became his protégé.
After years of study, devotion and planning, Lynn opened her studio, Yoga from the Heart, in 1998. She’s registered with the Yoga Alliance at the highest possible levels as an RYT 500 and E-RYT 500 instructor, and she’s trained dozens of instructors, herself.
In her day-to-day practice, Lynn specializes in what she calls “Yoga for the American mindset and the American body.” An intuitive instructor with a deep understanding of anatomy, Lynn studies the intricacies of each body, and encourages her students to explore their own personal edge with consciousness and purpose.
As yoga grows more popular across the country, Lynn has made it her priority to share information with students about the time-honored traditions of yoga, which extend beyond its fitness benefits. She fears that today, many of yoga’s core tenets are often ignored. By helping men and women expand the limits of the body and mind, she’s working to change that, one student at a time.
Awards and Recognition
Lynn was been awarded the “Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence Award” by the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce (June 2002). She has also been voted as having the No. 1 Yoga Class in Sarasota (June 2006) and Sarasota’s Favorite Yoga Instructor (2008). Lynn remains in close contact with Rodney Yee, and has served as his teaching assistant at multiple Yoga Journal conferences in Florida.