Rebecca Sathre began practicing yoga 17 years ago on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. After sailing to Mexico to live and work at a well-known yoga retreat, she fell in love with both the practice of yoga and the yoga community.
“I had a small thought that I wanted to teach yoga ‘someday’,” Sathre says.
Call it serendipity. The very next day, the resident teacher asked if Beckie could sub her classes. She’s been teaching ever since. After first hosting donation classes for teenagers, she moved to regularly teaching in gyms and health clubs. The dream of opening her own yoga studio persisted, even as she taught at respected local Pensacola studios, traveled and gave workshops around the country.
“During this time my love for the yoga practice and yoga community grew,” she says. “I was amazed at the life situations that yoga helped me move through … continually I saw people heal, grow, open and really come into an awareness in their lives.”
She also saw a need for a studio to offer classes for people of all physical and energetic levels – a place where longtime, experienced teachers and new, fresh, excited teachers could share yoga teachings. Finally, in the fall of 2013, the vision of URU Yoga & Beyond came into being. With partners Angela Watts and Kerry Whiteley, Sathre created a wonderful community of yoga teachers and students.
URU (which means ‘spacious’ or ‘broad’ in Sanskrit, but also ‘YOU ARE YOU because that is who you are meant to be) hosts many classes – including beginner, restorative, slow flow, vinyasa flow, power flow, hot yoga flow, aerial and acro yoga. They also offer workshops, music events, kids classes, art events and so much more. In the spring of 2015, URU opened its second location on Nile Mile Road in North Pensacola. In September of 2015, URU Yoga Gulf Breeze opened – filling a void for residents of the small community between Pensacola and Pensacola Beach, as well as for visitors to the coast.
Sathre met her Gulf Breeze partner Kerry Whiteley at social events for their young daughters. Early on in her yoga practice, Whiteley felt her hometown of Gulf Breeze was ready for a yoga studio. Whether she was involved in its creation was less important to her than having a studio nearby, no matter who opened it.
“Partnering with Kerry to open URU Yoga Gulf Breeze was a beautiful opportunity to grow a partnership and build the Gulf Breeze yoga community, as well as the Pensacola Beach yoga community,” Sathre says. “Some things are just right, and yoga in Gulf Breeze is one of them.”
Sunset Beach Yoga has been a well established Pensacola yoga community event for years. In 2015, URU joined with the Hilton Pensacola Beach to offer classes on the beach behind the hotel.
“Sharing and celebrating yoga on our beautiful beach is our passion,” Sathre says. “Promoting health, body awareness and relaxation while on one of the world’s most serene beaches is our mission.”
Taught by founding sisters with 43 years of combined teaching experience, Rebecca Sathre, Angela Watts, Colleen Donovan Brown and Alex Tice of Sunset Beach Yoga have a strong following.
“The yoga classes we host at the Hilton are a wonderful way to connect with yourself, your breath and the beauty of nature on the Gulf Coast,” Sathre says.
In any given class, you might experience dolphins frolicking in the Gulf, a rainbow in the sky, Blue Angels flying above, sea gulls, beautiful waves, calm waters, the spacious horizon, beautiful sunsets and the experience of people enjoying the beach, she says.
The Hilton Sunset Beach Yoga classes are a chance for yoga students and Hilton guests to relax and connect to nature. They are perfect for a parent and child wanting to practice together, a parent wanting an hour to themselves for rest and revitalization, or a businessperson who needs to unwind after a week of conferences. Yoga on the beach is also ideal for a company bonding opportunity.
They specialize in pre-wedding yoga, giving out-of-town guests the chance to bond on the beach. Pensacola residents can stay at the hotel for a quick getaway, enjoying yoga as a part of the experience. Any participant in beach yoga will receive a discount at the Hilton’s H2O Cajun Asian Grill for post-yoga dining.
The current season for Beach Yoga runs May to October, specifically Sundays at sunset. URU is open to requests for personal beach yoga class bookings. Please continue checking in for future offerings to enjoy the serenity of yoga and beach combined.
When you can’t ‘savasana’ in the sand, the new Gulf Breeze studio is just over the bridge, in the HarbourTown center.
“Starting or finishing a day of vacation with a yoga class will greatly enhance any visitor’s stay,” Sathre says. “When traveling people often try new things, so we provide a fun, nonjudgmental space for beginners to try yoga. Students will feel refreshed and happy before or after taking in the sun on our beautiful white beaches.”
– Ashley Kahn Salley
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels