It’s early Sunday morning and I’m driving down Rt. 114 towards Bristol. Over the bridge into Warren, I spot a runner on the bike path braving the winter elements. I see a bundled family walking into church. I’m on my way to Bristol Yoga Studio (BYS) for its first class of the day.
I walk into the light, airy space and am warmly welcomed by owner Tracy Cooper Ramos. The space is filling up, so I find a corner spot. Within a few more minutes, the room is brimming with both women and men, young and old. Some, like me, are new to the studio and need a little guidance from Tracy on what to grab. Most have been here before, acknowledging other regulars with nods and smiles. All made a decision to start the day in a mindful way.
We face Tracy and the tall wall of windows leading to Thames Street. Her voice and demeanor are rooted in pure purpose, and with each word and movement she positively reinforces our poses and transitions. “The yoga is yours,” she says, reminding the class to take each move to our personal comfort level. “Find your own path through yoga,” she insists. Calm yet direct, she leads the class in what can be described as a spiritual journey. For some, that means taking the pose to its physical limits. To others, slower movements and closed eyes create a cleansing of the mind. I choose a path in the middle, opting to plank rather than downward dog, yet taking other moments to get in child’s pose to relax my body and mind.
Tracy is the stuff of yoga legend in the East Bay. Having taught for the last eight years, seven at BYS, her studio has had three addresses throughout town. Her new location, just steps away from Bristol Harbor, opened on January 1. With a motto of “more yoga for more people,” Tracy’s mission is to help all kinds of people with all kinds of yoga. Be it heated, prenatal or beginner, “every body finds their own place in yoga. We help people find their way,” she tells me. Much like the class I took, Tracy explains that every- one has their own reason for practicing yoga – be it weight management, relaxation or spiritual fulfillment. In the warmer months, you’ll find the studio’s instructors leading sessions at Blithewold, Mt. Hope Farm and Linden Place. “It’s about community. We are everyday people who just happen to practice yoga,” she says.