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styleblueprint_Grace34b_041313Many of us have enjoyed activities that are forced to the side as responsibilities of family and career build. Translating the passions of younger years into our adult lifestyles often requires determination, creativity and the guidance of friends and mentors whom we admire.

Meet today’s FACE of Memphis, Grace Harwood. She solved this dilemma by applying her lifelong love of dancing to the pursuit of yoga. In addition to being a devoted wife and mother of three, Grace has dedicated the past decade to learning and practicing yoga, and in January she became the new owner of Midtown Yoga. Congratulations, Grace!

When did your path towards being owner of Midtown yoga begin? Were you a dancer or a gymnast?

I have a heavy dance background with just a touch of gymnastics. Yoga was a natural progression from dance as I got older.

When did you first become interested in yoga? What do you enjoy most about being a professional teacher and now studio owner?

I began doing yoga in my early 30’s as dance fell to the side and family became a priority. Yoga has so much to offer … That specific connection of mind, body and spirit can’t be found in any other physical activity. I love sharing that with others!
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Describe your family, and how your work and family complement each other.

I am married and have 3 children (ages 17, 14 and 12). They like to give me a hard time, but in reality they depend on me to keep that path of moderation for them!

What changes or additions are you working on at this time as the new owner? Perhaps new directions for the studio based on general trends in yoga?

Midtown Yoga has a well-established, solid foundation in Hatha Vinyasa yoga, and that will never change, but I really love to experience the new things going on in yoga. I have brought both Aerial Yoga (yoga done in a fabric sling) and AcroYoga (acrobatic partner yoga) to our studio.

What inspires you to keep going when the challenges of balancing work, family and more set in?

The teachers and students that make up the community of Midtown Yoga always keep me inspired to keep going!

What are some basic words of wisdom (free advice) you can offer based on your professional experience?

I haven’t owned the studio long enough to be offering advice, but a friend and fellow small business owner congratulated me and said “now you just need to take your ego and sit on it.” I think about that all the time … it’s so true!

Do you have a favorite activity or set of activities away from work?

I love traveling with my family … we are always looking forward to the next adventure!

Favorite vacation or travel destination? (If there’s one place in the world you’d suggest someone visit, where would that be?)

Italy. They just know how to live right!

Do you have a specific mentor? How has that person influenced you?

There have been so many mentors. My dearest friend Betsy Barnett urged me to try yoga. I think she knew that it could fill the void that not dancing had left in my life! Truly, I have learned something of value from every yoga instructor I have ever encountered. That’s the powerful thing about yoga: you can always take something new away from any experience.

Best advice you have ever received? Favorite quote?

Old yogic quote: “Everything in moderation … .including moderation!”

Are there any charitable organizations where you volunteer your time or support?

I have spent the bulk of my time volunteering at my children’s school and my church.

Must-have clothing items for yoga classes and lifestyle wear on your list? Any great yoga options for upcoming summer seasonal wear?

I like yoga clothing that can go from class to an appointment to the grocery. An easy pull-on skirt, a lightweight flowy cardigan and some good platform sandals and you’re ready to go!

Any specific recommendations to replace the recalled, see-through yoga pants by lululemon covered in the media recently?

My favorite pants right now are Hard Tail, but I love my lululemon pants too!

Any comments on appropriate yoga wear or funny anecdotes related to the yoga wardrobe?

Teachers get to “see it all” more often than they would like, and wearing a thong does not make up for poor fitting yoga pants!

What books are you reading, or have you most enjoyed reading lately? E-reader or old-fashioned paper?

I love holding a book … I have to underline and dog-ear the important pages! Most of the books on my bedside table are yogic/spiritual in nature. I usually grab a Dan Millman or Frederick Beuchner book.

Favorite beauty product you can’t imagine not using?

A good “not too sticky” and “not too greasy” lip gloss!

What three lighthearted things could you not live without?

A well-fitting yoga pant and top, an excellent massage and dark chocolate!

Thank you, Grace, and good luck as the new owner of MidtownYoga!

And thank you to Christen of Christen Jones Photography for wonderful photos of Grace today!

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About the Author
Christian Owen