By Lauren Jones

Photo by Brandall Laughlin

In the early 90s, Stevi, a passionate yogi and owner of Southern Star Yoga, discovered yoga while attending college in California. Coming from Mississippi, where yoga was not widely practiced, she found solace and healing in the ancient discipline.

“I was experiencing back pain from an injury in grade school,” Stevi recalls. “A friend recommended yoga, and my back pain disappeared.”

With her experience and background in yoga therapy, she has learned to prioritize the individualized approach of knowing what practices to embrace and which to avoid.

“Yoga therapy is specialized for people injured or with certain health conditions,” Stevi said. “It’s a one-on-one setting where the practice is tailored to the individual’s needs.”

This personalized approach has become a cornerstone of her practice.

In 1998, Stevi moved back to Mississippi and began teaching prenatal yoga – a passion that grew over time.  A decade later, in 2008, she opened Southern Star Yoga.

Her journey with yoga has been transformative, not just for her physical well-being but for her holistic health. Stevi believes in the inseparable connection between both mind and body in yoga.

“In Western culture, we tend to idolize the physical body, but the mind is equally weighted,” she said. “Our mental state has a significant impact on how we feel.”

Yoga’s holistic view is rooted in the concept of “swastha,” a Sanskrit term for health that means being established in the self. Stevi explained that true wellness comes from a balanced, harmonious mind and body.

“Yoga is for strength, flexibility, mobility, and the mind,” Stevi said, highlighting the comprehensive benefits of the practice.

One of the key principles of yoga is staying in the present moment. “When you are more connected to yourself, you make better choices in diet and lifestyle,” she said.

This mindfulness is what makes yoga such a powerful tool for overall well-being.

“What is wonderful about yoga is that it’s been around for a long time and is a very diverse practice that can be adapted for all ages,” Stevi explained. “Any age, ability, physical condition, and experience level—anyone can practice yoga.”

Stevi’s dedication to yoga and her community shines through in her work at Southern Star Yoga. The studio, located on North Lamar neighboring Snack Bar, offers a variety of classes to cater to everyone from beginners to those who have mastered the art.

Whether through group classes or personalized therapy sessions, the mission of Southern Star is to help others find balance, strength, and peace in both body and mind.