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Meet Sommer Sobin of Thousand Petals Yoga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sommer Sobin.

Sommer, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my yoga studies in the ’90s and had a powerful healing experience of connecting to my body for the first time in my life. I also had a sense of clearing out emotions and memories that were held within since early childhood as I had endured a lot of early life trauma. This coming home to myself was wildly uncomfortable for a bit, but then I started feeling more peaceful, more energized, and a joy for life that satisfied something deep in my soul. I dove into daily practice, classes, and trainings with the top trained teachers in my area. My husband and I shared the journey together and we were both having big awakenings. Our new lifestyle was a radical shift from going to bed at sunrise to waking with the sun (in a previous life my husband owned restaurant/nightclubs in Atlanta and I worked in them). We took a whole year to heal and we practiced daily with instructions offered from ‘Light on Yoga’, a classic yoga book by B.K.S. Iyengar, which would lead us on some days to meditate and practice asana (postures) for up to 8 hours a day!

Together, we dedicated our lives to the inner exploration that the yoga tradition invites a seeker to engage in. We found top senior teachers from different lineages in the yoga tradition to study asana, worked in several esoteric & mystical traditions, and studied herbology and Ayurveda. And we apprenticed with some of the best in the world. We spent years studying the complex philosophical systems of yoga with some of the top teachers still keeping these oral traditions alive today, and we traveled and assisted our asana teachers where we learned by putting our hands on thousands of bodies in trainings. And we sat for hours in meditation which helped us integrate our personal awakenings with our growing desire to serve others.

I’ve been teaching for nearly 23 years and am honored to have co-founded Thousand Petals Yoga with my husband Paul. We teach to our local community and to the global community through our online platform. We offer in-person weekly classes, professional training programs, international retreats and are proud to have birthed a vibrant virtual platform with an ever growing library of on-demand classes. In our classes, we passionately weave the universal teachings of yoga, practical life wisdom, meditation, asana and story-telling. I feel it’s important to honor the great roots of the yoga tradition and not water it down to just asana alone. We love engaging in community building and are dedicated to doing our part locally and globally to share our hearts with the collective awakening we are all living into.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s not always been a smooth road! The western interest in yoga peaked in the 2000’s and that helped create a momentum that meant as a yoga teacher, I no longer had to try to convince people of the benefits of the practice. People started to come out and seek classes more. The ups and downs of any small business have always been part of the journey, but mainly I put my focus into my passion to teach and to see students evolve and grow. Everything is centered around that desire to uplift and serve.

We’ve opened a brick and mortar studio and then closed it due to COVID. That was hard but it has fueled innovation and creativity. We now have a beautiful space we teach out of that is surrounded by nature, and we have a thriving online community as well that came to fruition with the hard call to close our former space for good (just one year after building it out).

As a small business owner, there have certainly been seasons of financial challenge. That said, our community has always shown up for us in abundant ways, and that real human community connection has not only supported through ups and downs but also sparked our desire to remind people of the power of building intimate, personal connections within community structures (especially in the face of the virtual world). We are fully dedicated to supporting our community and they mirror that support back to us. Not a day goes by where I don’t pause with immense recognition of my gratitude for our students who commit their lives to this practice and for helping us get to share our passion with the world.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Thousand Petals Yoga is co-founded by Sommer and Paul Sobin. We are highly trained yoga teachers in Chapel Hill, NC and we host a thriving TPY virtual yoga studio with a global following. The TPY on-demand monthly subscription library has over 300 classes available for students of all levels who are interested in asana, philosophy, meditation, and more. The online studio offers access to professionally filmed classes that can be filtered by length, level, focus, and teacher with a 7-day free trial.

We also offer lively in-person classes, livestream classes (join in a live class from anywhere in the world), and private sessions via Zoom to students all over the world. For deeper studies, we offer Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher training program, an Immersion Program for serious yogis, meditation series called the Emergence Program, and international retreats (upcoming are Italy & Costa Rica!).

In our classes, we weave in traditional storytelling, tantric yoga philosophy, common sense wisdom, depth, and lots of laughter and play. Our classes are alignment-based and we seek to empower students to feel safe to move freely as they listen to their own changing body. Classes range from beginner level offerings with slow mindful movements precisely cued, to playful & flowing mixed levels classes, to intermediate/advanced classes for those ready to play the edge. Our wish is for everyone who shows up to feel welcome and to know that diversity is celebrated. All bodies, all races, all gender/or non-gendered, and all faiths are welcome.

Any big plans?
The future is bright! We have plans to lead our next retreats to Italy and to Costa Rica, two of our favorite places in the world (dates coming soon)! We love leading retreats for the deep inward space they offer, and also, they are a ton of community fun! We will also be filming livestream classes as well as on demand content for the TPY subscription library from the beautiful Costa Rican coast all summer long. The on-demand library will be full of new content that we’re really excited about! We’re also looking forward to returning to in-person classes this fall so we can be with the shining locals we love so very much. We’re always listening and always evolving what we do and how we share into the world. From there, the sky is the limit.


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*white background pics: Alex Broerner

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