By Deborah Bostock-Kelley

When trauma occurs, you can face it in one of two ways: escape into dangerous behaviors to avoid dealing with what happened or bravely find a healthy way to move on.  

Amy Olshanski chose the latter.  

Her objective was to strengthen her mind and body through yoga. Only when she was deep into fitness and meditation, noticing the positive changes in her body, did she realize she was also healing herself from the inside out. This realization was a catalyst that planted a seed. That seed became Hands at Heart Yoga in August of 2013.

“I believe that everyone is unique. The reasons we pursue yoga vary. From pain relief and improved flexibility to a sense of community and relaxation. The benefits are innumerable,” said Amy.

For seven years, Hands at Heart Yoga has served the community providing corporate and private yoga instruction. In 2017 Amy took over an existing health and wellness center, but it never felt truly hers, despite the improvements she made. In October 2020, she followed her heart, closed the center, and set her sights on a different goal: giving her original company a location that students could enjoy.

On January 1, 2021, Amy is opening the doors to her brand-new space for her first love, Hands at Heart Yoga. While she will continue to provide corporate and private yoga instruction, the location on the southeast corner of Racetrack and West Hillsborough Avenue enables her to add her own special touches and leave her indelible imprint on a place that finally feels like her own.

From the calming hues of blues and seafoam green on the walls to the plush rugs on the floor, everything in the space has been custom-picked to invite healing, wellness, and a sense of serenity.  

“I wanted a nice, clean and simple design,” she said. “When I took over the other center, I inherited someone else’s design. I am most excited about getting back to a business that is my own.”

Amy has an opportunity for another health and wellness practitioner to occupy space in the studio.

Amy has certifications in Ashtanga, Rocket, and Yin Yoga. Hands at Heart Yoga will offer a full yoga and fitness schedule. Additional offerings will include Reiki, Pranic Healing sessions, and Nutritional Coaching.  

Because she is a firm believer in giving back to the community that has welcomed her, Amy is hosting a grand opening celebration on January 3, 2021. The celebration features 45-minute FREE snippets of various classes on the new schedule, live music by a duo from Chicago Thistle & Lace, and two Big Red Buses on-site for blood donations. Local businesses in the shopping center, including Stix and Edge City BBQ, will set up tables outside the studio to join the festivities. During the celebration, Amy is collecting food, toiletries, and new and gently used blankets for Project Pop Drop.

On January 21, 2021, Hands at Heart Yoga’s 200-hour Teacher Training (YTT) will begin, providing a space for you to explore your passion for yoga. The training will feature a variety of practices, allowing you to discover which resonates with you. This Yoga Teacher Training will immerse you in the studies and practices of yoga. Become an instructor yourself or simply deepen your knowledge and personal practice. Classes will be taught by Amy and the lead teacher, Shelly Happel (otherwise known as Shelly Yoga), LMT, RYT, MA. Shelly has over 21 years of experience teaching yoga throughout Tampa Bay and is also a licensed massage therapist. Her massage therapy skills will ensure that you have a solid foundation of anatomy that she explores through the asana practice.  Using Pranayama or breathing practices, ancient healing techniques like Ayurveda and incorporating the underlying philosophy of Yoga (The 8 Limbs of Yoga, The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali), Shelly and Amy will provide you with a deep understanding of Yoga that will allow you to balance yourself along the way.

“Yoga is my church and helped me heal from the inside out. That’s why I started Hands at Heart Yoga. This has so much meaning for me. My tagline has always been, be calm in your heart. I’m super excited to create a space where people can come and take care of themselves and invite goodness into their lives. There’s been so much drama and fear installed in people, it’s like, come and take care of yourself. Kick-off the new year and do something wonderful for yourself.”

Hands at Heart Yoga is located on the southeast corner of Race Track Road and West Hillsborough Avenue at 13946 West Hillsborough Avenue. To learn more or to schedule classes, visit handsatheartyoga.yoga