A Best Friendship, Built on the Mat
By Meredith Simmons
Studio South in Williamsburg, Virginia, describes their vibe as a yoga and barre studio with Southern hospitality. New members are greeted like old friends when they walk in—immediately welcomed as members of the Studio South family.
The environment that Katy Henderson created at Studio South extends into her classes—she does everything she can to make sure every yoga student receives individual attention. Sometimes, these efforts create memorable experiences for both the student and Katy—once, when she approached a new student in her class to offer a block, the student replied, “If you could flatten my hand down, I’d kiss you.”
After class, Katy found out the student, April Wooten, has cerebral palsy and couldn’t move her hand.
That moment launched a friendship and mentorship that has impacted the lives of hundreds of other students at Studio South—April continued her yoga practice, became a certified yoga instructor in 2012, and now teaches at the studio.
“April’s a great instructor,” Katy said. “She’s so sweet and so kind. She engages her students, and there’s a ‘y’all’ attached to everything.”
And when someone comes to the studio thinking they can’t do yoga? April disarms them. “They say ‘I’m not flexible’ and April says, ‘I can barely move my hand and I love yoga and what it does for me,’” Katy explained.
While April and Katy attend each other’s classes, their relationship goes far deeper than just that of a supervisor and employee—the two are close friends. They go to social events together, from beach gatherings to birthday parties.
“April is such a warm reminder of the good in the world, and I know her positive light effects not only me, but our students,” Katy said.
Soon, April will be sharing her positive attitude and approach with more people around the world—she’s working on a series of yoga videos for Cerebral Palsy to share her journey and how yoga has helped improve her life and well-being.
As Katy says of April, “She is yoga.”