We welcome Caroline Pedersen and Sandra Lee, owners of Bikram Yoga Nashville, today as our FACES of Nashville!
Do you have some favorite things about living in Nashville?
Caroline: I love Nashville weather! I really don’t miss the cold, windy, snowy winters of Chicago. I also love all the rolling green hills and horse farms here. And, most of all, we feel blessed to have made so many wonderful friends over the last 14 years in Nashville.
Sandra: When I’m out and about I almost always run into friends and, on many occasions, meet new ones.
Can you briefly explain what drew you to Bikram Yoga and how it stands apart from other exercise classes?
Caroline: Growing up, I was a very competitive athlete–I played Division 1 College Basketball and Volleyball. I think I have probably experienced just about every form of exercise at one time or another in my life. However, experiencing some new aches and pains after having three babies, I decided to try a Bikram Hot Yoga class. I was hooked after my first 90 minute class! It was the Bikram series that incorporated all 5 points of fitness: cardio, fat burning, muscle toning, flexibility and strength. From that very first class, I knew I would practice Bikram yoga for the rest of my life.
What has been your most satisfying moment as a Bikram Studio owner?
Caroline: Hands down, the most satisfying moments are when students share stories of how much this yoga is changing their life and their health. Just the other day, a student told me that after practicing for just two months, she has lost over 20 pounds and is no longer a diabetic. This is why we brought Bikram Hot Yoga to Nashville.
Sandra: There have been so many, but the one that comes to mind is when Jerry Martin, a retired truck driver and part-time Williamson County School bus driver, came to our studio without ever having set foot in anybody’s exercise class, let alone yoga, and started practicing 4-5 times a week. At age 61 he went through the 9 week Bikram Training in California and returned as a certified Bikram Teacher. I still smile big when he walks in the studio.
What is the best professional advice you’ve been given?
Caroline: Do what you LOVE to do! (from my Dad)
Sandra: “Before you open your studio, consider whether you would open without any compensation.” (from a fellow yoga studio owner)
Are you all both from Nashville? If not, what brought you here?
Caroline: I was born and raised in Chicago. I moved to Nashville 14 years ago with my husband and this is where our three children were born. Nashville is now our home, sweet home. However, as I always say to my husband, “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl!” The short 45 minute plane ride from here makes it easy to visit family and friends back in Chicago.
Sandra: Springfield, TN (about 30 miles north of Nashville). I moved here I after I graduated from UT Knoxville.
Are there any places inside of Nashville or a short road trip away, that you like to go to recharge?
Caroline: Outside of recharging on my Bikram Yoga Mat at the studio, I love road trips to the beach! I so look forward to our family trips to the beautiful white sandy beaches of Ft. Walton. Nothing better than sunset walks on the beach with my family.
Where is your favorite place in Nashville to go on a Saturday night?
Sandra: Rosepepper and/or Rumours East (before or after the crowds)
Where is your favorite place to eat healthy in Nashville?
Sandra: Frothy Monkey… You’ve got to try their Kambucha on tap! (I frequent the one in Franklin,
but I’m sure the Nashville restaurant is as good.)
Do you have some favorite lines of yoga wear?
Caroline and Sandra: We love Onzie, Lala Land, Heidi Hat and Mika yoga clothing. We sell all these boutique lines in our studio.
If there were one thing you could change about Nashville, what would it be?
Caroline: I would put sidewalks in everywhere! And I wish there were more restaurants with outside seating to take advantage of our great weather.
Sandra: That Nashvillians would become more informed of the health and safety benefits of practicing at a certified Bikram Hot Yoga studio that has certified Bikram teachers…
With spring just around the corner, is there any event that you are looking forward to attending?
Caroline: I love Steeplechase. We have been going for years with friends. I remember the very first time I went I was VERY VERY pregnant with my first child… So many great memories (and hats) over the years.
Sandra: No particular event, but I am looking forward to attending road races with my husband, Rob. He’s on his own when it’s cold outside.
What books could be found on your nightstand (or Kindle) currently?
Caroline: Jesus Calling, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter, and multiple health/fitness and yoga magazines.
Sandra: The Holy Bible, and some other book I started while on vacation in January, but haven’t
Please tell us the 3 things you can’t live without (excluding God, family and friends.)
Caroline: Can’t live without my coffee, my iPhone and my new puppy, Buck.
Sandra: Jesus, food and exercise
Thank you, Caroline and Sandra! And thanks to Ashley Hylbert for the beautiful FACES photographs each week!
To learn more about Bikram Hot Yoga, visit the website: www.bikramnashville.com/index.html. And to see more of Ashley’s photography, visit her website: www.ashleyhylbert.com.