Olivia Lomax discovered yoga in high school and used it to help with imbalances she experienced, which were created by repetitive motions in competitive sports. As a young adult with a career in finance, she realized that breathing and meditation practices helped her brain stay focused and energized. Later on, Olivia used the philosophy and lifestyle practices of yoga to help heal and address trauma from her childhood. These life experiences culminated in the desire to teach and share these methods with as many people as possible. And in 2013, during the revitalization of Midtown’s Overton Square, she launched Delta Groove Yoga. The popular studio offers yoga and meditation classes, workshops and healing arts sessions, as well as a small boutique with yoga attire, gifts and healthy drinks and snacks. We are delighted to welcome this inspiring entrepreneur and mother as today’s FACE of Memphis.
Tell us where you’re from.
My family is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I moved from Boulder to Memphis in 1998. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else, so I suppose it’s my home now!
Tell us about your family.
I have three children — Dylan (15), Bella (12) and Henry (9). They keep me very busy as they each go to different schools. One is in a private school, one is in a new STEAM charter school, and one is in a public elementary school. My ex-husband, Tony Lomax, and I work well together to support each child in their own way and to be co-parents together. Life is never boring in our family, that’s for sure!
Describe your early career, where did you work and what were your jobs?
I majored in finance and philosophy in college. The first seven years I lived in Memphis, I was in financial planning. I worked for the coolest independent woman, Nancy Knous, whom I helped build and grow her own business, Benchmark Wealth Management. I learned a lot about running a business from Nancy, who also helped me establish my life mission and 10-year goals. I was doing yoga every day, morning and night, to counteract the stress of work and being a new mom. When I sat down to write out my 10-year goals, it didn’t include being a financial planner. I wanted to teach yoga, and I saw myself building a multidimensional business based on yoga.
What inspired you to launch Delta Groove Yoga?
In late 2012, Give Yoga Memphis, which I had been a part of since 2008, closed. It was sudden and a shock. I took a job working for Start Co. as a Master Mentor, working with new entrepreneurs to build business models and help them find mentors. Within six months of doing this work, I became inspired and encouraged by many to take the leap and launch Delta Groove Yoga. I was getting emails, texts and calls almost daily from those who missed our old yoga community. There was no more question as to why open a studio but more of how.
What advice do you have for potential entrepreneurs?
Find a mentor for every aspect of the business that you can. Napoleon Hill talks about this in his book that he wrote on Andrew Carnegie’s success. He knew that he couldn’t do everything. I try to keep my focus on my strengths and ask others for advice or help on all the rest. You can’t do everything, so don’t try to. New entrepreneurs have to learn to let go and trust.
What do you love most about teaching yoga?
I love to see individuals become inspired to make changes for themselves. Delta Groove Yoga has been a catalyst for many. I’ve gotten to witness many soul transformations. It’s bittersweet, like the mama bird watching her babies find their wings and fly away. I’ll never tire of seeing people wake up and learn to follow their dreams, but it usually means they’ll be off to change the world next!
What are your hobbies, and how do you unwind, besides yoga?
Most days, it feels like my hobbies are my children’s hobbies! When I’m not teaching or working, I am usually flying around Memphis getting one of them to track or baseball. When I do have some time for me, I love to jump on my bike and ride over to the Wolf River forest trails or ride the Greenline out to Shelby Farms. It’s a little piece of home, and the forest trails feel like I’ve stepped into an alternate universe apart from metropolitan Memphis.
What is your favorite thing about Overton Square?
I was fortunate to be able to see the vision and work with Loeb Properties when they were relaunching. I am a big fan of New Urbanism, and that was the vision. The addition of the bicycle lanes and the mix of eclectic tenants are two of my favorite things about the area. To see Overton Square living, breathing and thriving is incredible! Everyone in Memphis is being affected by the waves of activity moving out from this space. It’s a revival and renaissance in the middle of our city.
Where’s the first place you take an out-of-towner when they visit you in Memphis?
Overton Square, of course! Then I take them on a tour of the city as it was built from the River going out East. I love architecture and history, and in Memphis, that all began on our Mighty Mississippi. I take them there to see its power and muddy grace.
What’s your favorite Memphis attraction and why?
I love the Chucalissa Indian village and mounds. Everywhere I’ve lived, I seem to be near Indian mounds. They fascinate me, and I love to be around them. I like to think about the cultures that lived here thousands of years before we did. What can we learn from them? History repeats itself. I want to learn and evolve constantly.
What inspires you?
I find my inspiration in reading and music. I read up to 20 or more books at a time. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I’ll just walk up to one of my bookshelves and pick up the book that is speaking to me that day and flip to a random page. This never fails to lead me in the right direction.
Finish this sentence: If I had a superpower, it would be…
Teleportation. It would help with getting the kids and myself everywhere we have to be, and I want to travel the world. Who wouldn’t want to teleport to Costa Rica to surf, or to London for tea in a moment’s notice? It would be much better than sitting around watching YouTube videos.
What word best describes you?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Everything happens for a reason. Learn from it, and grow stronger from it. Never repeat the same mistake twice.
What are three lighthearted things you can’t live without?
Ginger ale — I try every variety I can find; the spicier the better! Sometimes, I’ll just drink a straight ginger shot too. Then, my books and my music playlists — almost everything is on Spotify now, and I use it all day long.
Thank you to Olivia! To learn more about Delta Groove Yoga, visit deltagrooveyoga.com or call (901) 207-7835.
Thanks to Micki Martin for her fabulous photos of Olivia!
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