Our Origin Story

Hello! I’m Brittani Whittington, owner + director of Rising Om Yoga (formerly Hot Yoga Tallahassee).  We have been passionately serving our community through yoga + wellness classes since 2010.  These studios, and the lives that have been transformed here over the years, are the deepest expression of my heart + soul.

The path from our opening day to where we are now, has been layered with joy, love, connection, pain, tears, trauma, loss, growth + healing.  It’s been a wild ride to say the least and it’s hard to believe it all began with just one yoga class a decade ago.

I was a 24 year old professional dancer.  My body was broken from a lifetime of dance training and my spirit destroyed after years of rejection.

 

I didn't even realize I was miserable though.  I had always had a short temper, inability to process emotions, constant anxiety/insomnia + an overall struggle to simply be Happy.  I didn't know life any other way.  I found myself constantly searching for the next thing to "finally make me content".

Then…Yoga shattered my world in the best way possible.  My soul cracked open after that first Bikram hot yoga class. 

Well, it was actually AWFUL.  Truly, why was it so DANG hot in there and why were they making me hold these poses this long?!  And yet, on the drive home I found myself sobbing my eyes out—barely able to see the road.  I could not understand what was happening to me but I felt a veil lifted off my eyes + heart for the first time in my life. 

 

I felt Light.  Open.  HAPPY. Most obvious was my excruciating back pain that had existed since a dance injury 2 years before.  It was gone.  I felt relief.  That day literally changed my life.

I was hooked.  I willingly signed myself up to scrub the showers + toilets at the yoga studio in return for free yoga—I was a broke artist and needed a way to get myself in those yoga classes .  I fell in love with the practice and everything about being a part of that yoga studio.  It changed the entire wiring in my brain. 

 

I started looking forward to waking up in the morning.  I started feeling happy.  My entire lifestyle evolved, not just the physical movement part.  I absorbed every book there was on mindfulness, energy + personal development. 

 

I learned the value behind choosing joy and the power of taking ownership of my health + happiness.

 

It was a massive tidal wave of transformation and I was having the wildest of rides.

I didn’t know it back then, but I was subtly paying attention to how that studio in Vegas operated.  To the people who walked in the doors.  To what I loved about the check in process, booking clients + daily operations.  Energy was being put into motion that I wasn’t even aware of.

 

I was dreaming up the yoga studio that I would open one day.

In a matter of months I sold all my belongings, shipped my sweet dog, Lily, back to my parents and hopped on a cruise ship around the world to dance in their shows for 9 months so I could save money for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.

 

I completed my training at the Barkan Method Hot Yoga in Ft. Lauderdale.

I moved back to Tallahassee, FL where I had received my BA in Multinational Business at FSU just a few years prior.  My sister

and brother in law lived here and I knew I wanted to be close to them as I started settling down.

I opened Hot Yoga Tallahassee in 2010 with no plan + zero equity. It was a complete experiment but one that I trusted with my whole heart.  Building any business from the ground up is no small feat.  It was just me in the beginning.  It was grueling, back breaking, tearful work.  Over time I was able to build my team of incredible souls who helped me develop this sacred space. 

Life is SO much more peaceful when you have an amazing team surrounding you!

 

With the support of family, friends, community and what I call Divine Energy....we are now an abundant, beautiful + thriving community of yoga practitioners.

While these studios are my greatest pride + joy— it’s this ancient practice of Yoga that creates the magic.

 

For me, yoga literally saved + transformed my life.  Multiple times.  It has gotten me through injuries, postpartum depression/anxiety, motherhood, grief, multiple traumas and all the way back around to navigating simple every day life. 

 

The ability to roll out my yoga mat and have a space to move my body away from discomfort, to come emotionally undone if needed, or to simply remember to breathe…it’s what has rescued me from some of my darkest moments. 

 

My love affair with yoga runs deep and necessary. And it is my life’s purpose to share yoga with others no matter where they are

on their journey.

Over the years I have come to embrace all different styles of yoga.  While we started out as strictly a ‘Hot Yoga” studio, I slowly began introducing new yoga classes such as Yin Yoga, Mind Body Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, Aerial Yoga and so much more.  If you see it on our schedule, it’s because I believe in it that much and want you to experience it too.  I wanted there to be something for every one here and I sincerely hope we are able to be a part of your journey to health + happiness.

I am so proud + excited for our new season as a community as we move forward as Rising Om Yoga.

 

Thank you to everyone who has shown love, support + an unwavering belief in what we do here. It is an honor to share this life experience with you.  I look forward to many more decades serving our community.

I hope you will be a part of our mission to keep Rising Above.

Our Teachers

 
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A native of Tallahassee, Kathleen began her journey with Hot Yoga Tallahassee in 2013 to connect with a friend she was soon to be roommates with. Both the friendship and her love of yoga developed quickly and she earned her teaching certification through the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga in Ft. Lauderdale in 2014. After graduation she immediately got to teaching at HYT (the same week)! Kathleen took a break from instructing in late 2015, when she began pursuing a Masters in Music Therapy at Florida State University and managing at Lucky Goat Coffee. Kathleen currently works as a Board Certified Music Therapist with Capital City Music Therapy and is elated to be back on the mat teaching!

Kathleen Gredler

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Paige has over 1,000 hours of teaching experience and is certified by Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200 yoga instructor.

She offers classes designed for healthy aging to inspire everyone to practice it and experience benefits from it as long as they live. Paige designs her classes to be  slow, breath-centered and mindful. She enjoys helping clients notice the difference a regular practice makes in their life -- developing increased mobility, balance, and strength, while building a sense of community and friendships. Her classes have been described and “very non-intimidating.”

Moving to Tallahassee over 25 years ago “just” for graduate school, Paige and her husband  raised their two (now college-age) children here. Paige has a BS in Environmental Technology and an MS in Instructional Systems Design. When not teaching yoga, she is designing nationally delivered training programs that teach approaches for environmentally sound community planning.

 

Paige Gill

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I found yoga in a book on my mother’s bookshelf when I was a little girl. I saw the pictures and tried making the shapes with my body and had so much fun! My favorite was going upside down. I took my first in-person yoga class at my college gym, and I immediately knew it would be an important part of my life. Not only did it help me pay attention to my body in a kind and connected way (not the norm for an eighteen-year-old girl!) but I always left class with a sense of calm, ready to be the best version of me that day.

Since then, yoga has brought me to some of my favorite places and people. I have practiced all sorts of different styles, including Baptiste, Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Flow, but my favorite is Strala Yoga, a movement-based lighthearted flow where the focus is on moving naturally and following your intuition.
I've been teaching yoga for 5+ years, and recently started my own business as a life and wellness coach.

Megan Gillman

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Tiffany is a West Virginia native who loves being outdoors and going on adventures with her family.   After graduating from West Virginia University with a BA in Environmental Geoscience and an MA in Education, she spent several years as a high school and community college teacher until transitioning to a stay at home mom in 2009.   In 2018, Tiffany and her family moved from West Virginia to Tallahassee.   Her yoga journey began at Hot Yoga Tallahassee with an immediate appreciation for yoga, her classmates, and the teachers.  Tiffany completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training in March of 2019.   She is beyond excited to be a part of the HYT community and to share her love of yoga with you. 

Tiffany Litton

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I am a yoga instructor with over eight years of experience and a master's degree in drama therapy from New York University. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theatre studies at Florida State University. Because of my interests in psychology, theatre, and dance, my classes emphasize the mind/body connection, and I integrate meditation and other movement disciplines.

The aim of my teaching style is to empower students. My teaching style has been described by others as diversity-conscious, gentle, flowing, and wellness-based.

For more information about me, you can go to my website: https://www.hannahfazio.online/

Hannah Fazio

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Sheneh is passionate about healing, advocating self-care and self-love and incorporates these in her classes~

She is a Registered Nurse since 2006 and is currently a cardiac medical-surgical RN at TMH. She is also a Reiki Master and has been treating clients holistically since 2015.

She loves nature, travel, dancing, meditation, tai chi, yoga retreats and all things glittery and beautiful~ She's one sweet, happy soul♡

Shen Tequillo

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My classes blend yoga energetics, asana and philosophy with plenty of fun and lighthearted exploration. I have been practicing yoga for 16 years, and teaching for 6 under Yoga Alliance, in the U.S. from Alaska to Florida, and internationally in Israel and China. In my practice I draw from intensive studies of Ashtanga, Iyengar, hot Anusara, and Yin yoga. I’ve developed aerial curricula for pro and aspiring athletes, based on my longterm aerial dance and acrobatics training. I have trained in yoga as physical therapy to rehabilitate common injuries, and to isolate and strengthen supporting structures

Julie Aqua

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I did my 200-hour teacher training through Simply Power Yoga in Loveland, Ohio in 2015. My formal training is in Vinyasa Power Flow and I typically teach an adapted version of Baron Baptiste’s Journey into Power. I have additional training in trauma-sensitive teaching practices through Street Yoga; this approach is woven implicitly into the way I teach. If you take one of my classes, you’ll find yourself sweating, flowing, and hopefully remembering to not take any of it too seriously along the way!

Meg Beerse

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After years of practicing yoga (and lots of other movement) with some phenomenal instructors, I followed in the footsteps of my daughter and completed my 200YTT with Laughing Lotus NYC at their New Orleans "Church of Yoga." Excited to have studied with Lotus founder Dana Trixie Flynn, and others. I enjoy interesting music and creative flows, but I am also very much into alignment and injury prevention. Look forward to meeting you on the mat!

Alice Vickers

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Aimee walked into her first yoga class over 15 years ago while a senior in high school. Although she grew up in an active family, it was challenging to maintain that first down dog for more than a few breaths! Intrigued, she kept returning to the mat and developed a regular practice before becoming certified to teach in January 2013 from the Om Seva School of Yoga in her hometown of Charleston, WV. Off the yoga mat, Aimee enjoys spending time outside playing tennis, hiking with her dog Matilda, and traveling with her husband Kevin. She is so excited to join HYT and unroll her mat with you!

Aimee Lim

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Hello my fellow yogis! I am from Panama City, Fl. I moved to Tallahassee in 2012 and was married October 2014. I have been working as an Aesthetician since March 2007. I am currently working at a dermatology office during the day and by the nights and weekends I'm am one happy yoga mama! I became a mother to my sweet firecracker baby girl July 4, 2017 and we love mommy and me yoga!

My love for yoga began in 2013 when I started my practice at HYT. I had been having neck and back pain from my day job for so many years and needed to find some type of relief. Yoga has been the only thing to help relieve these issues. Staring down for most of the day and at a computer definitely takes a toll on ones body. Since beginning my yoga journey, my mind, body and soul have been hooked ever since. In March 2016 at HYT I received my 200 hour certification thru Yoga Den in Jacksonville, FL. I am now a certified Registered Yoga Teacher, through Yoga Alliance. My specialty is Yoga Sculpt which uses 2-3 pound weights incorporated with basic yoga postures. I look forward to sharing my love for yoga with you all!

Peace and Love

Amanda Cook

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Hello all! My name is Jen Miller, and I am originally from Arkansas. I moved to Tallahassee in 1999 to go to college, and I graduated from Florida State University in 2005 with a Bachelor's in Social Work. I played roller derby with the Tallahassee Rollergirls for 8 years. I got to travel the country, compete with my friends, and be a part of an amazing and supportive community. I started my yoga journey at Hot Yoga Tallahassee during my derby years, looking for strength and pain relief for my injuries. What I found was a wonderful sense of peace and belonging, a sense of home. I gained so much internally and externally from yoga, and I wanted to share it. I graduated from the 200 hour teacher training program at the studio in February, and I am excited to share everything I learned with all of you! See you all on the mat!

Jen Miller

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Growing up a dancer, I developed a love of movement exercise early on. In my 20’s, I quit dancing seriously but continued to be active and explore other fun ways to stay fit. I was exposed to different forms of yoga along the way, and I liked it, but yoga wasn’t yet a practice. It was just one of many other things I was doing; running, rock climbing, rowing, aerobic classes, zumba, etc, etc. A year after moving to Tallahassee when the fitness center I attended closed down, I tried out Hot Yoga Tallahassee with a friend who suggested it. I had tried Bikram several times in Virginia and loved the heat aspect, so I was excited to get back into some form of hot yoga. That was in 2011. From that point forward, I have never missed more than a couple days of yoga, whether in the studio or at home for 5 minutes. It became my primary source of physical activity. Back in July 2014, with the urging of one of my favorite yoga instructors, Kristi, I committed to Yoga Den’s yoga teacher training, put on here at HYT, and it has positively changed my life. I am stronger, more balanced, more flexible, more aware, and just nicer to be around. Namaste! My goal in this life is to be as healthy, youthful, and balanced as possible. I believe a solid practice of yoga maximizes that intention. And my goal as a teacher is to provide a space where practitioners can feel free to express in their unique bodies and at their present level without fear; participate in fun flows that will encourage deep breathing and loving the moment they are in; and finally, apply what their body teaches them on the mat to their life. I look forward to meeting you and being even a small part of your journey.

Jessica Thompson

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Alyssa is a southern California native, who discovered her passion for yoga in college. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics. She enjoys combining her passion for yoga both on the mat and in the air with her love of science and math. Yoga has allowed her to find a sense of peace in her day to day life and she cannot wait to share that sense of peace and bliss with you!

Alyssa Gaiser

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I fell in love with Pilates and yoga over twelve years. I am grateful to get to share my passion for these methods of movement with everyone at Rising Om Yoga! It continues to amaze me how Pilates and yoga can transform your body and provide an excellent dose of positive energy.

I earned my Pilates Matwork and Reformer certifications through June Kahn’s Bodyworks, LLC in 2008. I also completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training program with Halfmoon Yoga in 2013. A few years later in 2016, I completed my Aerial Yoga training.  

I’ve had so much fun providing challenging and uplifting classes to everyone in our community. I incorporate core work into all my classes in an approachable and friendly way.

Shortly after earning my degree in public relations at Penn State, I moved south and now happily call Tallahassee home. When I’m not in a Pilates or yoga class you might find me gardening or teaching my energetic blue heeler new tricks. 

Jill Hoover

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Kim started practicing yoga in 2001. She originally came to yoga as a means to avoid back surgery and reduce lower back pain after being diagnosed with scoliosis. Although her initial practice was Iyengar yoga, she was introduced to Ashtanga yoga in 2012. The Ashtanga practice immediately resonated with her, and she has since been committed to a daily personal practice. She has had the opportunity to learn from teachers such as Heather Serna, Greg Nardi, Taylor Hunt, John Bultman, Kino MacGregor, and Tim Feldmann, all of whom have been authorized to teach from the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India. In June 2016, Kim traveled to Miami, Florida to spend a week learning from Sharath Jois, the current lineage holder of Ashtanga yoga. Kim has a gentle approach to teaching this style of yoga, and has been leading Ashtanga yoga classes in Tallahassee for over three years. She is a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200), and completed her training through the Yoga Vidyalaya school in Tallahassee. She is also a board-certified music therapist, having earned her B.M. and M.M. degrees from Florida State University.

Kim Lloyd

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Three years ago, I moved to Tallahassee and discovered HYT. I became very impressed by the quality of teachers and standards the studio had. HYT had become my Santuary. Once they introduced Aerial Yoga there was no turning back. While taking the 200 hour teacher training program with HYT and Yoga Den, I found myself surrounded by nurturing and empowering women and teachers, it was like I was learning Yoga for the first time, all over again.

Olga Feheley

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Hello yogis! I'm Vanessa – I can't wait to meet you! :-)

 

Yoga sparked my interest in early 2014. I've practiced under many different teachers and styles since and am always on the search for a new yoga experience. I love yoga for it's expansive community, boundless teachings, and depth. It's my constant in the ups and downs of life. In 2015, I found Hot Yoga Tallahassee, my first true yoga home. (You might recognize me from the front desk!) And in 2018, I dove into HYT's Yoga Den 200-hour teacher training and received my certification in March 2019. To put it simply, this practice is something I feel compelled to share.

 

In the space we create together, I hope you feel comfortable and welcome to express yourself your way. Some days it will be challenging, and other days, you'll find your flow. I hope there's laughter. Sometimes, there might be tears. Meet yourself where you're at.

 

Now, c'mon – grab your mat, bring a friend. Let's practice!

Vanessa Guirey

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Born and raised in Thailand, I have also lived in America, India and Malaysia as a trailing expat. Growing up in a Theravada Buddhist culture, yoga was never a foreign concept. Called by a different name, yoga were exercises performed by the monks to enhance health, clear the mind for meditation and to limber the body for those long periods of time dedicated to sitting through temple services.
As I grew closer to mid life, I felt a strong desire to return to the roots of my culture and to do something to strengthen the body and support continuous improvement in my health, this is where my real yoga journey began. In applying the knowledge and wisdom of the elders, I have found a renewed mental clarity, energy and spirit within myself. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to share the many benefits of this ancient art form with you as well.

Vipa Darasom

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I came to Tallahassee from Colorado Springs in 2002 to attend FSU, and aside from some temporary work relocations, I am proud to call it my home.

 

After several years had passed since practicing yoga here-and-there with VHS guidance, I came upon a Groupon to try Hot Yoga Tallahassee during a period of unemployment post-campaign work in late 2012. I have been hooked ever since, and have truly found my tribe. After receiving a small windfall from my late Grandma Donna (a retired and enthusiastic high school ESL teacher post-divorce), I decided to pursue yoga teacher training in 2013 as a way to honor Grandma's love of teaching and "staying interesting." 

 

I appreciate that yoga always meets me wherever I am in that moment, day, or even month. It has been one of the very few constants and pleasures in my life the past decade, and I am truly grateful for the balance my yoga practice and teaching provides. To bear witness to the small and big victories our bodies make in healing, strength, and balance is a daily gift I do not take for granted.

 

I believe that yoga is truly for EVERY body, and I look forward to meeting you on the mat!

Katie Bohnett

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Born and raised in Thailand, I have also lived in America, India and Malaysia as a trailing expat. Growing up in a Theravada Buddhist culture, yoga was never a foreign concept. Called by a different name, yoga were exercises performed by the monks to enhance health, clear the mind for meditation and to limber the body for those long periods of time dedicated to sitting through temple services.
As I grew closer to mid life, I felt a strong desire to return to the roots of my culture and to do something to strengthen the body and support continuous improvement in my health, this is where my real yoga journey began. In applying the knowledge and wisdom of the elders, I have found a renewed mental clarity, energy and spirit within myself. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to share the many benefits of this ancient art form with you as well.

Betsy Pittinger

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From Miami, Florida originally when I moved to TLH @ 13 years old where I fell in love with the town so I stayed. Currently shacked up with my main squeeze and our two fur babies in N FL.  

Experiencing the loss of close family members is where my yoga practice stemmed from. I needed to quiet my mind and gain clarity with how my world had permanently shifted and yoga was just the place where that magic happened. 

I completed my 200 hr yoga teacher training through Hot Yoga Tallahassee and Yoga Den, graduating in 2018. I have since been guiding Mind Body Yoga classes at HYT and continuing to work on my craft. 

I am forever grateful for a practice as powerful as yoga, my therapeutic escape. 

Megan Nicholson

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Originally from Fort Lauderdale, I moved to Tallahassee to attend FSU in 2012. I found yoga in high school, after injury kept me from my life-long passion for dancing. I dabbled in yoga over the years, but never really committed to a consistent practice. I decided to enroll in YTT to deepen my personal practice and to inform my graduate studies in treatments and interventions for military trauma and suicide. Despite my initial hesitation to heat and hot yoga, I fell in love with the hot room, power yoga, and bhakti flow. When teaching, I hope to make flow accessible to all. I aim to offer modifications for ease and/or additional challenge in postures and flow. I offer chants/mantras for your practice and opportunities to OM, should that be fulfilling or serving to you. My music choices for class range from more traditional singing bowls or chanting (e.g. Tibetan Bowls, Osel) to oldies (e.g. Elvis) to modern pop/indie (e.g. Maggie Rogers, Hozier) to tropical house (e.g. Petit Biscuit - who knew that was even a genre?!). When leaving my class, I hope your body feels strong and capable, and that your soul and spirit are full of love and gratitude. Outside of yoga, I love hiking with my boyfriend and our 2 rescue pups, Sterling and Archer. We have been to over 1/3 of the US National Parks (over 20!), and we plan to visit them all! On lazier days, you can find us watching The Office or Parks and Recreation and trying new craft beer, wine, or whiskey - because life and flow are all about ~balance.~

Ana Vazquez

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Ashley’s love for Pilates began at the age of 15, when Pilates became a part of her weekly ballet training. She continued to train and take classes through college (FSU) and during her time as a professional dancer in New York City. She felt that her dance knowledge gave her a special understanding of the mechanics of Pilates, & upon returning to Tallahassee from New York City became an apprentice for Maggie Manning of Pilates by Maggie. Once completing certifications for Pilates Mat and the Pilates reformer, she began to teach for Maggie and eventually opened her own studio, “Firm fitness” when Maggie closed her doors. There, she created her trademark class, “Hot Pilates” which combines the heat of hot yoga with the benefits and exercises of Pilates. Years later, after having her third son, Ashley decided to close her studio doors and hop on over here to her sisters’ studio to share Pilates with the yoga community :) She has loved her time here and feels blessed to be able to share the benefits and healing powers of Pilates.

Ashley Adams

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I began practicing yoga just after high school and immediately discovered the benefits of regulating the breath simply by paying attention to it. I believe in the power of meditation as a way to transform the body by quieting the mind with a deep focus on the breath. I’ve practiced many forms of yoga but currently hot flow and yin make up my practice. I studied history in graduate school at NYU and critical theory/cultural studies in the ph.d program at the University of Florida. I’m registered with Yoga Alliance as an RYT-200 instructor and have two yin certifications: one with Bernie Clark (British Columbia); the other with Josh Summers (Boston). I’m certified through the Warriors at Ease program to teach trauma-sensitive yoga to veterans and first responders. When I’m not working my day job (program director at a research office), teaching/practicing yoga, or working in my garden, I read widely in the arts, specifically literature, poetry, criticism, and history, and I write reviews of poetry collections and novels. In the wee bit of spare time left, I am an avid runner and vegan cook.

Diana Jones-Ellis

Rising Om Yoga 
Betton Place
1950 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303
850-577-0406
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Rising Om Yoga 
Bannerman Crossings
3421 Bannerman Road
Ste 201
Tallahassee, FL 32312
850-391-9644

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