Tracy Matthias demonstrates both her yoga poses and apt for climbing large rocks. Submitted photo
by Ariana Hones
Light streams onto dark glossy floors.
Enter Lotus Root Yoga studio.
In a new location and in its second year of business.
Having just finished teaching her morning Vinyasa class, Tracy Matthias curls around a cup of coffee as she discusses her journey with yoga, ways that the community can engage with Lotus Root and the importance of continuing traditions of self care and self study.
“I have been practicing yoga since high school,” she said. “First it was at home — a primitive practice if you will. Then I started practicing with Jenny Tumas [of the former Marigold Yoga studio] in 2001. So it has been nearly two decades now.”
Practicing yoga is something Matthias always has found beneficial, but not always imagined herself teaching.
She took a nine-month teacher training with Tumas in 2015 and 2016, primarily as a way to deepen her individual practice and to commit to something beyond her usual “one hour a week class.”
When Tumas decided to close Marigold Yoga, Matthias approached her to buy it.
“It was never something I necessarily saw myself doing because I consider myself more of an introvert and don’t really like public speaking, but it sounded like a good challenge,” Matthias said.
Matthias viewed beginning Lotus Root Yoga as a continuation of her yoga practice.
“I think part of my yoga practice is to take on new challenges such as business ownership,” she said.
On Feb. 1, the new location opened its doors just down the street from the original Lotus Root and Marigold studio.
“I was watching the remodel of this building at 233 Watson and I liked that it was more contemporary and a more open concept,” Matthias said. “It allows for yoga to be more visible with the natural lighting and big windows.”
Matthias expressed how nature played a significant role in envisioning the new space for Lotus Root. She believes nature accommodates and enhances each individual’s yoga and health journey, so she brings in plants, natural lighting and opportunities for outdoor practices when the weather allows.
On warm, summer Wednesdays, Lotus Root may be found at Vines & Rushes Winery for community classes. This minimal-style practice accommodates all yoga levels and is a way to connect with friends, practice self-care through exercise and meditation, and end the evening with wine tasting. This series runs June to August.
Another way Matthias is hoping to provide yoga inspiration and discovery is through Lotus Root’s very first travel retreat, which will take place January 2019 in Costa Rica.
“Jenny Tumas and I are co-hosting the retreat,” Matthias said. “We have never done anything like this before … In the yoga world there are a ton of retreats, but we offer an authentic perspective and sincere instruction so we thought we would give it a try.”
Retreats will offer a different angle to the studio and also will enable Matthias and Tumas to share their teaching together.
“It is important to me to keep the lineage alive,” Matthias said. “To let people know that there has been dedication and love put into [the local yoga community] for many years. There is support here and people can come into the space and feel like they belong.”
Matthias cultivates this community of belonging and healthy people by bringing intentional focus to joining people where they are on life’s journey.
“Once or twice a year, I offer a beginner series that is three or four weeks,” she said. “It is a lower-priced series and it is slower paced. I verbalize more of the basics, so beginners can feel more comfortable.”
In all of her classes, Matthias works to bring a breath-based approach to movement that keeps students aware of the moment and how their body feels.
“I enjoy being able to help others discover their own health and wellness objectives by providing sincerity, respect and intelligent support for real and lasting change,” she said.
Matthias continually welcomes new members of the community into the Lotus Root studio and at Vines & Rushes during the summer. She also teaches weekly classes at the Willmore Center at Ripon College.
From beginners to long-time practitioners of yoga, Lotus Root provides a welcoming sanctuary to re-connect with oneself and with others. Lotus Root Yoga offers regular weekly classes that incorporate a variety of methods and styles including vinyasa, ashtanga, yin, restorative, gentle and chair yoga.
Lotus Root and its instructors continue an important and progressive legacy of bringing mindfulness and self care to the community. Its caring teaching styles encourage habits learned on the mat to transform into support off the mat.
For more information about classofferings, visit www.lotusrootyoga.com.