TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Doing good, on top of doing good.
One local yoga instructor is using a practice, born from the pandemic, to create an inclusive space in downtown Tallahassee while supporting non-profits in our community.
A perfect meditation through movement.
"It doesn't matter your body type, it doesn't matter your flexibility - yoga is for everybody," said yoga instructor Courtney Thomas.
Yet not everyone has felt this way.
"A lot of the yoga classes I was taking I didn't see anyone who looked like myself," said Thomas. "I didn't see anyone in different body types, different body shapes, so I said what better way to become that representation- then become the representative."
To create the diversity she didn't see in class, Thomas got her yoga certification during the pandemic. She then connected with Elizabeth Emmanuel at the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, which hosts free outdoor yoga classes in Kleman Plaza.
"We've got people of all ages, body types, kinds of people - that's a really important part of what we're doing as well," said Elizabeth Emmanuel, CEO of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority.
People like Kara Payne said Courtney's classes are special.
"Courtney brings a new energy and spirit to yoga that I've never experienced before and so I really enjoy participating and flowing with her," said Payne. a yoga student.
It is creating a safe, peaceful and diverse space that's also meeting other needs in Tallahassee communities.
"She mentioned that she wanted to donate the proceeds that we pay all of our instructors to different charities," said Emmanuel.
Donating her pay to organizations like Capital Tea, The Breast Cancer Foundation at TMH and the Girlflo Project. She said she was taught to be of service to all mankind.
"It's nothing for me to volunteer and donate the funds to these organizations, they're doing amazing things in this community," said Thomas.
And so is she, one class at a time.
"It makes me happy - so anything I can do to bring myself joy and others joy I will continue to do," added Thomas.
Courtney's next free yoga class is Thursday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m. at Dorothy Inman Johnson Park at Kleman Plaza.
She's donating her fees from that class to Second Harvest of the Big Bend.