T Q&A 

Jackie Sherman is the owner of Yoga Flow. Her studio offers Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga yoga classes in a domed-shaped building. Sherman has been practicing yoga for more than 25 years and received her yoga-teacher certification in 2001. She also has a strong academic background and received a doctorate in nursing in 1985 and a master's degree in counseling in 1995. Sherman taught at the UA and worked at the University of Phoenix before opening Yoga Flow in 2003.

Why did you decide to open Yoga Flow?

I was still working at the University of Phoenix, and my husband said to me, "I think you should open a yoga studio." I said, "No, I don't want to open a yoga studio." My pet peeve of yoga studios in Tucson is that they are all in shopping centers. So I said, "I am not going to open a yoga studio in a shopping center. If I am going to do it, you are going to build me a yoga dome." So my husband said, "I am not building you a dome; forget I even mentioned it!"

So then what happened?

I was talking to a friend of mine and said I really want to build a yoga dome. And she said there was one like that in Tucson. I asked where could it be. So she gave me the location. I drove over here and walked up the pebbles. The door was open; I walked in the door, and in from the side door came the head of the Nature Conservancy. We basically bumped into each other. He said, "Can I help you?" I said, "I just wanted to look around; I thought maybe I would like to rent this to do yoga." And he said, "You wouldn't believe it, but we have been discussing that, and that is why I am here today, to discuss the possibility of renting this out for something like yoga." He talked, and it took eight months to work out the details. We opened last June. That's how it happened.

Tell me about practicing yoga in a dome.

To me, it just feels really safe and really connected. Everyone is connected, because you are in a circle. It really creates a flow, too. When you get out of a yoga class and walk outside onto the pebbles and near the trees, you keep that calm feeling for a little while. But sometimes, in these studios when you are in a shopping studio, you walk outside and you see fast-food restaurants starring you in the face, you lose the calm. ... For me, environment is very important.

What are three benefits of practicing yoga?

Inner peace, self-acceptance and learning to go with the flow.

How does yoga help with self-acceptance?

You learn to be happy with wherever you are in the moment, because every day is different. If I am off-balance or stressed about something, I take a yoga class, and that thing I was stressed about becomes less important. When people say, "I am going to be happy when I get a car," you know that's not what it's about, because you can have all those things and not be happy. Through yoga, you find out that whatever you need is really inside of you.

That's true. What are the misconceptions about practicing yoga?

The funniest thing is (people), especially guys, think it's just a girl thing. And then people will say, "I can't do yoga, because I am not flexible." And I think that's the way to get flexible. And people think they are too old to get started. And that's not true. The teacher I have in California says anyone who can breathe can do yoga.

Explain the "flow" in Yoga Flow.

Vinyasa Flow is using your breath to move through the postures. It is linking breath with movement. Shiva Rea taught me in California. Every time I went out of town and came back, I couldn't find that style here. So I really wanted to open a place that does that kind of flow. I feel like I am filling a gap here in the yoga community. (In Tucson), there is Bikram, Anusara and Hatha yoga, but limited Vinyasa Flow, which is the emphasis at Yoga Flow.

What should the beginner know about yoga?

You can't lose anything by trying it. Yoga should always be fun. That's the theme I try to bring through in the class. Have fun. We worry so much in the day; we shouldn't be worried in a class. We should just be able to let go.


More by Irene Messina


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