As the newest small business in Kingston Springs, Alma Yoga and Movement is dedicated to helping each individual community member find their best selves and feel their best selves.
Kathryn Andrews and Silas Langford, finally opened their business’ doors to the community on Feb. 17, but the couple had dreams of opening a yoga studio on Main Street since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I took care of the very first COVID patients we had during the pandemic,” Andrews said.
The 28-year-old woman has been a nurse at Saint Thomas Hospital Midtown since 2018, and still currently works there full-time.
“It became quite literally debilitating for me," she said.
Andrews said in March of 2020 she would come home and not be able to do anything “at all for weeks and weeks.” She described the COVID-19 pandemic as a nurse as isolating and traumatic.
Andrews said when she first thought of starting Alma with her partner, Langford, she was working 60 hour weeks on the COVID floor at the hospital.
“I needed to find something to focus my energy on that I knew would pull me through this time because I knew that it would eventually be over. I didn’t even know the timeline of that, but it was like, eventually this will be over,” Andrews said.
Andrews and Langford eventually set their sights on the Main Street strip in downtown Kingston Springs – where Alma is tucked into now. Formerly, the space was used as an ice cream shop called Sweet T’s, but in April of last year, they broke ground on their new business venture.
The couple – who both have had deep seeded roots in Kingston Springs – officially bought a house together downtown in February of 2020, just two years after they met. Andrews and Langford said it was a “no brainer” to open Alma in the heart of Kingston Springs, versus Nashville or other larger cities in Middle Tennessee.
“This is where the obvious opportunities presented themselves,” the 28-year-old Langford said. “It was one of those things where we’re like, ‘Okay, this would be silly if we didn't, because this is where the community is.’ I'm literally talking to people from the community every single night of the week that I'm at the restaurant.”
Langford began working at SKYKING PIZZA when he moved to Tennessee when he was 19 years old. His aunt and uncle – Amy and Cole Bruce – own the restaurant, and Langford continues to work as the bartender there five nights a week. Alma Yoga and Movement is now right next door.
“If we were after money or quantity of people coming into our business, we would’ve opened in Nashville or somewhere bigger, but that's never been our goal,” Andrews said. “We care so much about the quality of the people we’re around and the quality of the business that we run. Quality is number one for everything – relationships, and so it was obvious that this here, this is where our people are. This is literally our community, this small space.”
Andrews explained that if you just consider Alma’s building alone, it was built by the hands of the Kingston Springs community. Everything from the cubbies for customers to put their belongings in down to the logo painted on the front window – it’s all local. Even Alma’s 10 certified teachers are from or currently live in Kingston Springs.
The couple made clear the fact that they are not like other workout studios that use buzzwords and preach perfect body image. Andrews began to get emotional as she colored her passion for not only health and wellness, but also the Kingston Springs Community – her community.
“I believe in moving your body, in loving your body, and doing it because you love yourself – not because we need to get rid of toxins, or you need to shed weight, that you need to look better … None of that matters,” she said. “That's the whole goal of this, and it almost makes me get emotional.”
“I'm really scared of this business, and I think I maybe will fail, but if I help 15 people not hate themselves – that's why I'm still doing it,” Andrews said through tears. “When you have people thanking you and saying it's changed their lives – it's like if two people told me that, that's enough for me to be like, this is worth it, we're helping someone wake up and choose to move their body because they love it, they don’t care what it looks like.”
Alma Yoga and Movement’s slogan is that it is a studio with a heart for inclusivity, non-judgment, personal growth, and movement. Langford said that fostering a safe space where people “can just be” is his driving force to keep the business running and serving the community.
The couple said that overall, safe space encompasses emotionally and physically safe, heard, seen, and acknowledged without any room for judgment.
Andrews and Langford make it a point to start each of their classes with mindfulness.
“I invite you to give yourself permission to be fully present with your body and breath for the next 60 minutes,” Andrews says at the start of each of her practices.
With calming music playing in the background, she continues in a slow, quiet tone: “Now is a good time to set an intention for your practice, something to serve as an anchor – this can be a word or a phrase or a person you want to send light to.”
The yoga studio boasts 10 different certified yoga instructors and personal trainers, as well as four different types of workout classes. Currently, Alma offers strength circuit classes, a pre and post-natal exercise course, restorative yoga classes, and vinyasa yoga classes every day of the week. The studio also offers different types of classes, like kids yoga, somatic movement, and foundations of flow.
All classes – unless otherwise noted – are heated in the range of 93 to 103 degrees via far infrared heaters, which heats the body and objects in the room rather than the room itself. This type of heating differs from traditional hot yoga classes because it does not produce oppressive, stagnant and humid air, but it does still give people a good sweat. The couple explained that infrared heating was important to them because it has a lot of benefits for the body, like acclimation to heat and positive outcomes for the brain.
Alma Yoga and Movement offers eight different types of pricing plans, ranging from $10 to $1,199. Anyone can drop into any class for just $25, or they can sign up for unlimited classes for a whole year for under $1,200.
Andrews and Langford will be throwing a grand opening party on June 24. There will be merchandise available for purchase, as well as a variety of activities like live paintings of yoga poses, free yoga classes, face paintings and so much more.
“In this little pocket that we have, I hope we can undo the societal standards for what we believe that health looks like,” Andrews said. “I hope that our space becomes such a safe space that people can be more intuitive with their own bodies and learn themselves.”
Langford added, “We're so proud. Anyone that is taking that risk with their energy and with their trust in us we're only thankful for and only going to encourage. There's absolutely nothing that anyone could do in here that they should feel ashamed about.”
“It's really a safe space,” Andrews continued. “If you've ever gone to a class in Nashville and you felt like you were a major outsider and that you didn’t fit, we hope that you can come here and feel completely differently.”