our storyYogani came into being in 1999 when Annie Okerlin went to teacher training at the Bikram Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, CA. The first day of training was Valentine’s day and three weeks in it became apparent that that this was going to be one of the best gifts she had ever given herself.
Yogani’s first incarnation began in September of ’99 with one room and enough space to cram 14 yogis. Nine months to the day, the second incarnation opened to a class of 32 lively practitioners. With a class for everyone, we began to grow until it was time for more space. We added another room and showers (no more showering off with the hose on the side of Platt Street!). We started 2005 in our new space comprised of the Solar and Lunar rooms with bamboo floors (bye bye carpet), a private room, two massage therapy rooms, a retail area and full restroom & showers for all. Summer 2010 brought us the Earth room addition to support the space needed for teacher trainings and longer immersion workshops.
Our focus has always been to keep our hearts open to support the growth of our students, to welcome the experience as it comes and to rediscover the equanimity we were born with. All of the team of Yogani staff and teachers are dedicated to supporting you on the journey on the mat.
Annie Okerlin, founder of Yogani Studios and the Exalted Warrior Foundation, began practicing yoga in 1996. Intent on deepening her practice, Annie attended Bikram Yoga Training in 1999 and within three weeks she knew teaching yoga was her life’s passion. Yogani Studios opened in 1999 as a small one room studio. Since that time, Annie’s energy and compassion have led her to expand Yogani into a thriving community for yogis and yoga teachers in Tampa. In 2005, Annie founded the Exalted Warrior Foundation and began a new path of working with wounded veterans. Through EWF, Annie teaches yoga to wounded populations throughout military and Veterans hospitals. Annie and EWF support nationwide programs assisting the re-integration of the wounded back into civilian life, and have begun documenting best-practices to present in teacher training programs.
Exalted Warrior Foundation
The Exalted Warrior Foundation facilitates an adaptive yoga instruction program that is designed for wounded warriors in military and veterans hospital facilities nationwide. We have worked consistently since March 2006 to serve all wounded populations with adaptive yoga techniques designed specifically for the wounded warrior, their families and caregivers. In the military hospitals we work with patients as soon as they begin their physical therapy which is generally within days of stabilization. In the VA hospitals it varies depending on the nature of the stay; from being on a wing, Transition Unit or outpatient. Populations are served at all stages of rehabilitation and a broad spectrum of injuries supported: Orthopedic Poly-trauma / Amputees /Burn patients / TBI / Spinal Cord Injury / PTSD / Depression.
The class is designed like a regular yoga class (duration: 50 – 60 minutes) with lots of reminders for staying in the ease of the breath and discussion of modifications for each attending issue. All classes have physical, recreational or occupational therapists in attendance who also assist the instructors. This allows many patients to use their hour of yoga towards their hours needed in PT. Instructors are on staff for Semper Fi Odyssey program for wounded warriors at Major General T.S. Jones’, USMC (ret.) Outdoor Odyssey facility in the mountains of PA. There are 6-10 COMPASS’ per year. We are active in the local Veterans support groups which serves as great networking for reintegration and support upon leaving Military and Veteran medical facilities.