Lakewood might not have realized it, but Alicia Barrett knew that the community needed Tuladhara Yoga.
According to Barrett and the millions of other people worldwide who practice it, yoga is fun and offers mental, physical and emotional benefits. Increased energy, cardiovascular and strength-building, improved focus and concentration – the list goes on and on.
But for newcomers, yoga can be intimidating, especially given some widely held stereotypes and misconceptions of the ancient Indian practice.
That’s why Barrett, a Lakewood native, chose this particular community when she opened her studio – located at 7304 Lakewood Dr. W, Set 12, next to H&L Produce and Casa Mia. She envisioned a place where anyone could practice yoga and feel comfortable and welcomed.
“A community like Lakewood that’s diverse and has people of all backgrounds may not be using yoga to its fullest,” Barrett says. “We want to be a studio that’s inclusive. People have these perceptions or stereotypes about yoga, and we’re really trying to dispel all that.”
Barrett is someone who has personally benefited from the transformational and healing power of yoga, although her path wasn’t traditional. In 1998, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington University. Soon after, she fell into her first business role working as regional leader for a smaller local retail chain. In 2004, she went to work for Target Corporation, in an executive role in which she held many positions, including leading an international expansion effort in Vancouver, BC. Although her yoga practice had always been a big part of her life, she felt something was missing and decided to complete her accredited yoga teacher training certificate in 2014. A year later, Alicia left her corporate career to follow her passion and was inspired to open her own studio. Tuladhara Yoga became a reality in May 2016.
In just a few short months of operation, Tuladhara has built a healthy following of yoga enthusiasts, many of whom are first-timers. Her clients (also known as yogis, or someone who practices yoga) have boasted how the environment is friendly and welcoming. Not only does the studio provide a great workout, but it allows clients the opportunity to simply breathe and be in the present moment - a challenge and an escape, so to speak. Barrett says she’s pleasantly surprised at the number of people who have come to realize how challenging yoga can be, both physically and mentally.
Barrett’s intention is to represent and celebrate wellness in the community that her studio serves. Tuladhara has participated in events such as Lakewood SummerFest and the Lakewood Farmers Market. Her passion for community is seen in the teachers that she hires. For instance, one teacher is the wife of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who donates her time to teach “gentle yoga” to veterans on base. Additionally, a few of Tuladhara’s teachers are active-duty military personnel at JBLM, and one even works for the City of Lakewood. Barrett says she is proud of the studio’s teachers, all of whom strive to honor people as they are.
Barrett also understands the importance of making in-roads to all people in Lakewood, which is why once a month Tuladhara offers a “karma” yoga session, which allows visitors to pay with a donation that benefits a local service organization.
It all is part of the vision that Barrett has for the South Sound, which unlike Seattle isn’t suffering from a glut of yoga studios. “In terms of my vision, I hope to be part of leading a yoga movement in partnership with other studios in the greater Tacoma area,” she says.
Alicia’s ultimate goal is to make our community and world a better place, one yogi at a time.
For its dedication and success, the City of Lakewood recognize Tuladhara Yoga as its August 2016 Business Showcase.