Morning, weeknights, or weekends, you can find Rhonda rolling out her mat at the hearth of the Buddha. She likes her cozy corner in the back row of the studio. Often only lit by twinkling lights, that is where Rhonda can quiet her mind and take a deep breath.

We met Rhonda in her favorite spot and asked her to share a little bit about herself for those who may not have met her yet. She lives in Scarborough with her husband and their dog Shandy and works at the University of New England on the Biddeford campus.  

When did you start coming to Samudra?
I dabbled in yoga for years, but always felt uncomfortable at the studios I chose to practice. I first came to the studio about a year ago and signed up for the new student pass – $50 for a month of unlimited yoga.

What made you become a member?
I was so stressed out and emotionally drained. After a few classes, I almost immediately was feeling better. At the end of that first month, I was in a much better place emotionally and fell in love with the place and the instructors.

Which classes do you make time for in your schedule?
I try to get to as many classes as I can and try all levels. There is no intimidation here.

What surprised you most about your yoga practice?
If I arrive on my mat with my mind overflowing with thoughts and my body rigid from stress, there is a point in my practice when I realize the thoughts and the feeling has melted away. There’s a point in my practice when I’m not thinking of anything; I am just focused on my breath and my body.

But my practice can also raise emotions to the surface. For example, there was one evening class that as Sarah led us into savasana, she counted down from 21. It struck me as significant because my son is now 21. I thought about all the changes in my life and his. As I heard 21…20….19…and then 1, all the years of his life and mine became an emotional blur and opened the floodgates I thought I had under lock and key.

What is your favorite thing about Samudra and what makes it a special place to practice?
Samudra is not just a studio to go, practice, and leave. The studio is family, and a family for all, not just yoga experts. Everyone who comes in is welcomed, encouraged, and loved. There is no competition. You feel elevated after you leave. Samudra emanates warmth, and I’m not talking about from radiators, I’m talking about from the hearts of its instructors and practitioners. Samudra is good for the soul.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself that doesn’t have anything to do with yoga?
For many years, I was involved in fostering rescue dogs. At one point, I had more than thirty rescue dogs in my home. I absolutely adored it. Next to yogis, doggies are my favorite people.

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