“If love is not allowed to flow, it becomes fear.
If love is allowed to flow, fear disappears.”

-Osho

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. Elizabeth’s 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 lives in Jacksonville, FL with her husband, two children and sweet dog. In addition to yoga, she is passionate about Ayurveda and travel. Elizabeth believes yoga can be accessible to all. She honors her teachers and appreciates the teacher in every student.

Katie


Katie is a 500-hr certified yoga teacher and licensed massage therapist. She is driven by an interest in sustainable, healing practices that offer an alternative to quick-fix methodologies. By utilizing the transformative power of yoga and massage, she aims to assist each individual in supporting their body's natural ability to heal itself. As a teacher she designs classes for people with any level of yoga experience, focusing on therapeutics, the relationship between stretching and strengthening, and the importance of relieving mental stress. As a therapist she specializes in Thai Massage, the true intersection of yoga and bodywork. With over a decade of experience practicing Thai Massage in addition to many other modalities such as Swedish Massage, Reflexology, and Prenatal massage her sessions incorporate a therapeutic blend of techniques based on her intuition and understanding of each individual's needs.

Tamara


Tamara is a real sun native to Florida, honored to be a part of Soluna Yoga and Spa. She obtained her Massage Therapy license in 2004 at Southeastern School of Neuromuscular and Massage Therapy, Inc in Jacksonville, FL. Tamara has also completed the Level II Reiki Certification in Jan of 2017 and has been practicing since offering 1 hr Reiki sessions and workshops at Soluna. She is also knowledgeable and experienced in Prenatal massage. Moving to Oregon inspired her to further her dedicated Yoga practice. Therefore, in 2013 she completed a Yoga Alliance-Approved RYT 200 Teacher Training Program at Flow Yoga in Hood River, OR. Living life one breath at a time, she will forever be a student of Yoga, grateful for all the lessons along the way.

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.

Melissa


Yoga teacher, Devoted Practitioner, Spiritual Seeker, Mommy. Melissa was born and raised in Colombia and moved to United States in 2005. She attended her first ever yoga class at the gym in South Florida and immediately fall in love with the practice. Melissa attended every class she possibly could, she started relying on the yoga practice for her spiritual guidance. In 2013, she decided to go to India to explore the spiritual path of yoga at its origin. She absolutely fell in love with Indian culture and decided to become a yoga teacher studying a type of yoga that had lineage rooted in India. She was up for this incredible adventure and as a result enrolled to attend a Sivananda's Teacher Training Course in Uttarkashi, India, located in the Himalayas where she submerged into a spiritual journey in an ashram, devoting the days to asana practice, kriyas, and sadhana. She brought back all the knowledge acquired there with the intention of spreading love and peace to everyone. Melissa continued her studies in Yoga by finishing the 300-Hr Teacher Training in Ashtanga under the Regenerative Yoga School in 2017, where she learned advanced assisting in the yoga postures, Herbalism, Permaculture, advance Sanskrit, among other incredible skills. She also recently completed Level 1 Aerial Yoga Training as well as the Level 1 Reiki Certification Course. Her favorite quote is by Rumi: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.”

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.

Deborah


Deborah has been an Esthetician since 2001, and a yoga teacher since 2014. In 2018 she completed the course and received a certificate in the Y12SR training, Yoga of 12-Step Recovery, a powerful framework for addiction recovery and relapse prevention which allows students to explore an addiction recovery model that connects the dots between the ancient wisdom of yoga, neuroscience breakthroughs, and the practical tools of 12-step programs. Deb has been striving for many years to become more aware and live a clean and sober lifestyle. She started doing yoga in 2009 and has not stopped. It has become a powerful tool in keeping her sober.... Her Mantra in yoga and in life: practice not perfection. As an Esthetician, Deb is able to intuitively guide her clients into a simple homecare routine that will boost the results you receive in the treatment room. She uses products, tricks and treatments that give real results, enhance your natural beauty and won't overwhelm. Deb's mottos is: K.I.S.S.; keep it simple sister! (or brother!). Deborah recently moved back to Jacksonville after many years in Portland, OR and most recently Atlanta, GA. She started her career in the Spa industry in Atlanta, in 2001, and has worked in the Med Spa industry for many years became an Oncology Esthetician in 2013, after receiving training with Touch for Cancer in Vancouver BC. She understands how chronic health issues, hormones, medications, and stress can affect the skin and the body. Deb is available for skin and body care treatments as well as Y12SR classes & private yoga sessions at Soluna Yoga+Spa and is happy to offer input and guidance to meet your unique needs.

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, recently completed her 200-hour CYT training through Tara Rawson’s Regenerative Living School. She looks forward to teaching gentle 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 – a practice she someday hopes to teach herself. 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 and 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 will soon enter an accredited International Coach Federation training program to learn how to guide and motivate clients and develop a nurturing style of accountability to help them become their best self.

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.