“Our need to connect is as fundamental
as our need for food or water.”

-Matthew Lieberman, PhD

Our Story

Teaching a physically challenging yoga class with an emphasis on mindfulness isn’t easy in a culture driven by competition and speed.

In a difficult experience with a rude student at the start of her career, Dori Thomsen, Owner of the Soluna Yoga+Spa in Jacksonville, Fla., demonstrated that she can pull it off with grace.

In 2010, Dori began teaching yoga in a glass-enclosed studio in a lush, Costa Rican jungle. Into this paradise walked a student who had just flown into town from a big American city.

To set the tone and intention for the class, Dori began with a 5-minute meditation. It quickly became clear that the student, who was chewing gum, tapping her toes and drumming her fingers on her lap, could become a disruptive force in the class.

As the class continued, the student ploughed through the poses, rolled her eyes and groaned to express her annoyance. Tension was building. The other students sensed it.

“She really threw me off my game,” Dori said. “I was new and a little insecure as a teacher.  I didn’t know how to hold space. My voice was shaky and nervous.”

Dori wanted to handle the situation peacefully, but a flurry of questions ran through her mind. Should she ramp up the pace? Ask the woman to leave? Was she really cut out to teach yoga?

Dori took a deep breath and the path became clear: “I’m not going to let this one disruptive person change who I am.”

With a heart of compassion for the woman, and the experiences that shaped her, Dori asked the class to take child’s pose. She approached the woman, gave her a tissue, and in a soft whisper asked her to spit out her gum.

Thus began what felt like the longest hour of Dori’s life. Several times the woman broke out of pose and started to walk out. Several times Dori nearly asked her to leave.

Surprisingly, the student stuck with it, all the way through Savasana. She was uncharacteristically still as she rested in corpse pose.

Afterward, as other students hugged Dori and said goodbye, the woman stood off to the side with her mat.  Dori was stunned when the woman came up, with tears in her eyes, and thanked her.

“You know, I needed that,” Dori recalled the woman saying. “I needed to slow things down. It wasn’t until Savasana that I realized how grateful I was for not walking out.”

Then she reached out and gave Dori a huge hug.

“That class was very life changing,” Dori said. “That’s when I really stepped into my power as a teacher and developed confidence and ease. At that moment I realized, ‘Yes! This is why I’m teaching yoga.’ ”



Our Mission

Offering Yoga & Wellness for all Stages of Life.

Yoga and wellness is a process of self-exploration that clears mental obstacles and false identities, offering a direct experience of who we are at our deepest level.

Our Company Values:

·      We nurture a heart-centered studio that raises the intention of love.

·      Our approach to wellness nurtures the body, mind, and soul - the whole person.

·      We promote authentic connection, engagement, and building community.

·      We believe anybody can do yoga, regardless of limitations, weight, gender or beliefs.

·      We’re mindful of alignment, physiology, safety, and studio cleanliness.

·      We honor all styles of yoga. It’s not the interpretation that matters, it’s the intention.

·      We fully believe in the importance of making time for you.

·      We advocate a Pura Vida lifestyle: Love the life you live!

·      We invite you to unplug from daily life tasks and to do’s and plug into you.

Our Team

Dori


Dori Thomsen, is a 500 hour level Experienced Yoga Instructor and Co-Founder, with her husband Christian, of Soluna Yoga + Spa located in the Riverside/Avondale area of Jacksonville, Florida. She first entered a yoga class in 2001, but found her true calling to teach yoga while living in Costa Rica. Dori gained the 200-hr Registered Yoga Teacher certification in 2010 in a Teacher Training immersion in Guatemala, under the guidance of her teacher Paula Tursi of Reflections Yoga. Christian & Dori lived in Costa Rica for 5 years before returning back to the States. While living in Central America, Dori continued her studies and earned a certificate in Prenatal Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga. Christian and Dori welcomed their daughter Olive into the world in 2013 and consider her their greatest teacher. Olive also taught Dori how to lead Mommy & Me Yoga, which they lead together regularly. In February of 2016, Dori completed the 500-hr advanced training, humbly earning the certificate of Yoga Acharya (Yoga Master) with Bhooma Chaitanaya and Swami Yogeshananda Saraswati at Aarsha Yoga Vidya Peetham in Kerala, India. Most recently, Dori has spent this past year of 2017 dedicated to earning the certificate of Yoga Therapy Professional Training with the Amrit Yoga Institute. The doors to Soluna Yoga + Spa opened in December of 2014 and was voted #1 Yoga Studio by Jacksonville Magazine in 2016 & 2017! When Dori is not at Soluna, she enjoys spending time traveling with her family, planting seeds in Olive's garden, and taking time to press pause. Yoga with Dori is...FREE FORM. FUN LOVING. GENTLY CHALLENGING. TENDER. STILL. COMBINES THE ART OF SURRENDER & COMPASSION. NOURISHING. RHYTHMIC. MEDITATIVE. HONORS THE MOON & SUN. CONNECTED THROUGH GRACE. ROOTED IN PURE LOVE.

Elizabeth


Elizabeth enjoys teaching a variety of forms of yoga to students of all ages, levels, and conditions. She has been practicing yoga since 2004. Her study, practice, life experience and yoga masters have guided her toward teaching. Elizabeth received her RYT Advanced Yoga Teacher Certification 240 hours with Highest Distinction from Himalayan Yoga Academy, Rishikesh, India. She was bestowed the title of Yoga Acharya at her RYT 300 hour Advanced Yoga Teachers’ Training Course in Hatha Yoga at Aarsha Yoga Vidya Peetham in Kerala, India. Elizabeth completed her 40 hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Joe Barnett at Yoga University of Florida and is a certified Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Instructor. She has trained in Trauma Informed Yoga Teaching with Yoga4Change. Elizabeth received her Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Yoga Vidya Gurukul in Nasik, India, where she interned with Yoga Therapy patients. Through workshops and master classes, she has studied Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Power, Kundalini, Acro, Chair, Trauma Informed Yoga and Yin Yoga as well as Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy study. Elizabeth’s group Yoga classes are energetically balanced, allowing students to develop physically while focusing on breath awareness, meditation, vibrational energy and creating happiness in our daily lives. Through an integrative approach, she seeks to link the ancient wisdoms of Yoga and Ayurveda as a way to create and maintain balance in each individual. Ayurveda contributes significantly to Elizabeth’s studies and teaching. At Kerala Ayurveda Academy in Kerala, India, she completed Primary Awareness Course in Ayurveda and an Intensive Training Program on Ayurvedic Diet and Women Care, learning both theoretical and practical aspects. She offers basic Ayurvedic lifestyle consultations with an emphasis on diet, daily routine as well as yoga asana, pranayama and meditation guidance. Elizabeth has studied with numerous esteemed Yoga teachers throughout the world. Elizabeth received a BA in Journalism from New York University. She lives in Jacksonville, FL with her husband, has two children and a sweet dog. In addition to yoga, she is passionate about Ayurveda and travel and she has working knowledge of Spanish. Elizabeth believes yoga can be accessible to all. She honors her teachers and appreciates the teacher in every student. Elizabeth also conducts private Yoga classes, provides individual Yoga Therapy for management of common conditions and diseases and offers private Ayurvedic consultations.

Tamara


As a massage therapist, yoga instructor and yoga therapist, Tamara is honored to be part of the Soluna family. Tamara's yoga practice began when she was a teen, after her father gifted her with a yoga mat and complete set of Yoga Journal videos. She grew up in Atlantic Beach, competitively dancing for many years, but the practice of yoga initiated a deep connection with the peace inside of her. Tamara was inspired to complete her massage therapy training in 2004 from Southeastern School of Neuromuscular and Massage Therapy in Jacksonville. Her massage training has since expanded to include reiki, John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release Approach, prenatal massage, Thai massage and reflexology. In 2013, Tamara fulfilled her heart's desire to share the ancient practice of yoga with others, earning her RYT 200 at a teacher training program at Flow Yoga in Hood River, OR. She is now certified to teach jaya yoga, yoga therapy, and restorative yoga. Tamara recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from the University of North Florida and continues to expand her knowledge in well-being. Confident she is living her life’s purpose to help others graciously live theirs, she also offers private Restorative Yoga with Reiki and private Amrit Method of Yoga Therapy sessions.

Victoria


Victoria began practicing yoga in 2000 and has been teaching since 2006. She has studied with a variety of teachers and completed her 500 hour teacher training at Bliss in August 2012. In early 2012, she took mantra initiation with Rolf Sovik, Spiritual Director at the Himalayan Institute. Victoria’s yoga and meditation practice has been a transformative force in her life, and she hopes to help her students find what they need in their practice. Her recognition of the therapeutic aspects of yoga has encouraged her to pursue the Degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy. Victoria plans to use the knowledge gained from these studies to help her students at a deeper level.

Hannah


For Hannah, yoga has been a powerful tool of transformation, healing, expression and embodiment. Her integrative approach to teaching incorporates many modalities including mobility and strength training, somatic awareness, dance and creative play. She favors feeling over form, and function over achievement. Hannah completed a 200-hour vinyasa YTT in Costa Rica through the Lakshmi Rising School of Yoga and Wellness under director Liz Lindh. She has training and experience teaching Adaptive Yoga to students with varying disabilities, and takes care to make her classes accessible to those who need modification. Hannah is currently earning a 500-hour CYT with Brea Johnson and Kat Boehn of Heart + Bones Yoga out of Toronto.

Nicole


Nicole has been teaching a variety of yoga styles since 2014 and recently completed her 500-hour certification at the Shala. Yoga to Nicole is more than physical, it is a method of tuning into the self, observing and processing the thoughts, sensations, emotions, and memories that arise as we bring in the light of intentional awareness. Always a student, her hope is to share the physical and emotional healing she's gained from her studies and practice. Yoga is a lifelong journey and Nicole's teaching approach emphasizes therapeutic, mindful movement and breath to keep the body and mind healthy and safe for years to come.

Rachel


Rachel’s life experiences have been diverse but the one constant has always been massage. It began with shoulder rubs for family and friends as a teenager, leading then to her training at the Core Institute of Massage in her early 20's, to her now working in both spa and chiropractic settings. Along the way, Rachel received her AA in Communications, worked for over two years as a Licensed Practical Nurse, and, just for kicks, she joined the Jacksonville Roller Girls! She is trained in Swedish, Prenatal and Deep Tissue/Therapeutic massage and has traveled to Thailand completing the comprehensive program at the Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai. She looks forward to growing and learning from and within the Soluna community--a community full of warmth and light.

Dr. Marie


Dr. Marie Bailey (Psy. D., ERYT-500, C-IAYT) is a senior faculty member at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Salt Springs, Florida where she is a trainer in the Amrit Method of Yoga Therapy and Amrit Method Yoga Nidra Professional Trainings. She has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and spent many years in her first career as a psychologist. She holds several Amrit Method certifications. A Yogi through and through, Marie fell in love with the Amrit Methods in 2009 when she first met Gurudev and his daughter Kamini. Marie is a practicing Yoga Therapist and is the owner of Emotive Yoga Therapy here in Jacksonville. She teaches weekly Yoga Therapy classes at Soluna Yoga + Spa.

Sonya


Having experienced a great personal and spiritual transformation with yoga, Sonya is eager to share her message of hope with others. Sonya, the studio manager at Soluna Yoga + Spa, completed her 200-hour CYT training through Tara Rawson’s Regenerative Living School. She teaches gentle/restorative yoga classes that are spiritually and mentally aligned with a focus on breath and meditation. Sonya also credits much of her success to yoga therapy, which involves an intense focus on sensation to help release emotional pain trapped in the body – Sonya recently completed her Amrit Method Yoga Therapy training and is excited to be offering this life changing practice with others. In her time at Soluna, Sonya has dropped 70 pounds, weaned off medications, let go of harsh self-criticism and learned to cope with anxiety, depression from complex trauma. Having overcome these physical and emotional challenges, she wants to help people find their truth and to understand they are more than what their minds, and others, tell them they are. Sonya is earning a bachelor’s degree in human services at FSCJ and has enrolled in professional life coaching courses. She is available for private yoga therapy sessions at Soluna.

Jen


Jennifer Walker-Owner of Mumda Birthing Services and Mother of Three. Jennifer is passionate about movement and the healing arts. A certified Doula with DONA, (DONA International is the leader in evidence-based doula training, certification and continuing education) birth and postpartum doula, Pilates specialist, childbirth educator, and movement specialist. Jennifer holds a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance and Education and has 20+ years of experience in movement and the healing arts. She is also trained in Perinatal Mood Disorders: Comfort of Care through PSI: Postpartum Support International and certified in Evidence Based Birth®. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, Evidence Based Birth® gives you a starting point to find evidence about your options during childbirth, and a way to start conversations with your healthcare providers about those options. As a birth doula she integrates her movement expertise to help women with optimal baby positioning, progression, comfort and provides constant support throughout the labor process. Jennifer creates a calm environment by employing relaxation techniques, providing comfort through touch and mindful visualizations.

Alexandra


Alexandra began her yoga practice in 2007 as a way to find focus and discipline. As her practice progressed she felt called to more deeply study yoga’s roots. She received her 200-hr RYT certification in 2014 and began her teaching journey. In 2015, she pressed pause on teaching though remained a student as she stepped into role of Mother. In 2016, she welcomed daughter, Lila, into the world. 15 months later her son, Asher, followed. Alexandra considers her children her wisest teachers and greatest accomplishments. Being so connected to the life source in those two years brought Alexandra even closer to her yogic roots and she again felt called to go deeper. She is currently immersed in a Living Alchemy 300-hr training, studying at the Regenerative Living School under Tara Rawson. Upon completion, she will be receive her 500-hr RYT certification. Alexandra is is passionate about finding stillness through nourishing movement. She loves to sweat and bring heat to her classes to cleanse the body and soul. Yoga has been her constant through a sea of change and with a grateful heart Alexandra looks forward helping other find connection through breath awareness and intentional movement.

Tara


Tara began her massage education in 2001 in her hometown of Key West, FL. She practiced her craft on family and friends while she still had involvement in a family business doing customized embroidery. In 2008, she decided it was time to focus on this new path full time and has since been licensed to practice in FL. In 2010, she moved to New Orleans, LA and continued to expand her skills while enjoying the beautiful culture that the city had to offer. She worked at a busy day spa as the lead massage therapist and got the opportunity to take on a leadership role helping management fine tune new treatments and training fellow employees. She moved to Jacksonville in August of 2017 to pursue a life long passion of culinary arts, enrolling in both culinary and hospitality management programs. She specializes in Myofascial Release techniques using slow movements with a gradual and non-invasive approach. By tuning in to each client's unique rhythm of breath, it allows her to provide a deeply relaxing experience and allows the client to feel safe letting go of tension on his or her own terms. She takes influences and techniques from a range of modalities including Thai Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Sports Massage, Energy Work and Swedish. She is passionate about healing, not only with providing pain relief related to injuries and everyday stresses but also working toward correcting the problem. She believes that enhanced movement, flexibility, and calming the mind are important keys to unlocking tension in the body. She hopes to one day use her culinary knowledge in combination with massage to provide healing to her clients both inside and out. She is excited and blessed to be a part of the Soluna family and is looking forward to working with you.