This May, we’re showing off our strong and compassionate instructor, Annie Okerlin, who helps her students meet challenges and conquer fears, both in their yoga practice and in life. Learn how Annie began her journey that’s enabled so many to discover and grow in gaining confidence, wisdom and patience.

1. When/ how did you discover yoga? 

I first was told about Yoga by a friend in 1996. “you need it for your mind” she said. She taught me the Bikram sequence in her living room. The focus was so challenging for me. I practiced daily for 3 months and my body changed completely!

2. What do you love about teaching yoga?

I love watching people get deeper into their own experience. We’re so externally overstimulated that rest & stillness aren’t valued. Watching someone walk into the class like a lion and leave like a lamb is my favorite.

3. How has yoga and meditation changed your life?

Meditation especially has given me the tools for self-regulation. I am always astonished at how my practice supports my ability to be present, whatever the situation is. It has also given me the ability to support myself and others when a difficult emotion or life situation occurs. It’s my self-care!

4. Tell us about your work with the Veterans. 

One of my first students ever in 1999 was Admiral Tom Steffens, USN (Ret.) He first brought the idea of supporting the traumatically injured service members to me in 2006. Since then, we have been cultivating our Adaptive Yoga program into the Exalted Warrior Foundation. We provide adaptive yoga & meditation techniques to military and Veteran hospitals, yoga studios, and community programs throughout the country.

5. Why do you teach at Bella Prana?

Bella Prana has supported the growth of the yoga community in Tampa and I am honored to have a base to continue to grow Exalted Warrior!