Meet Shelley Lowther of Dancing Dogs Yoga

Anyone interested in health and fitness living in Savannah has heard of Dancing Dogs Yoga or Beetnix; Savannah’s central hub for yoga and smoothie bowls. But a lot of people don’t know Shelley Lowther, the woman who created these businesses on Broughton. 

Shelley founded Dancing Dogs Yoga in 2010, with the goal of creating a new kind of yoga community for empowering others. With the success of her Savannah studio, she opened another one in Atlanta, GA in early 2017. 

In 2016, she opened a vegan superfoods and juice cafe next to DDY, called Beetnix. For a yogi and vegan like myself, it’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after some Vinyasa!

Inspired by Shelley’s contributions to the community, I reached out to her, asking about her love and passion for yoga and raw vegan foods, and what encouraged her to share that with others. 

 Photo Source: @yogishelley (Instagram) 

When and why did you start doing Yoga? Was there anyone who encouraged you to start doing it?

Shelley : “I started practicing yoga in 1994 when I lived in London at the encouragement of a good friend.  I didn’t continue regularly when I moved home, because yoga just wasn’t readily available.  After an accident that left my leg broken in 17 places, I rediscovered yoga. At first, it was simply the only way I could exercise without pain. Over time, I started forgetting to take my anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants, and instead of feeling more anxious, I felt better. I would say this was about six months after I started a regular yoga practice again, sometime around 2005. I suddenly realized that my life was changing and that yoga was at the center of it!”

What inspired you to open Dancing Dogs Yoga

Shelley : “When I realized yoga was changing my life, I practiced mostly at home and sometimes at a local YMCA. I got my certification and volunteered at the one small local studio in SC where I lived. I was also teaching at the YMCA. I have owned my own businesses since I was 20. I saw the way the studio was run, and it drove me nuts. They checked people into classes on index cards. There was no marketing. Everything seemed transactional. I knew there was a better way. At the end of the day, I wanted to share my yoga tools with as many people as possible, and I needed to be able to do that with my own ideas, and my own voice. In 2010, Dancing Dogs Yoga was born.”

Photo Source: @beetnixbar (Instagram) 

What inspired you to open Beetnix?

Shelley : “Girl, we needed a JUICE bar in this city! For sharing yoga. Just like in 2009 when I was frustrated with the lack of options for yoga in my city, I was frustrated with the lack of raw, vegan choices and juice in Savannah.  Someone had to do it!  I juiced every day at home and made myself pitaya bowls— and it seemed like a good fit to attach to my studio!

Was there anyone or anything that inspired you try vegan foods?   

Shelley : “I flirt with veganism a lot.  Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes I feel like I need a piece of salmon!  I do try to keep about 70% of my diet raw and vegan— I feel lighter, brighter and more connected to myself when I eat fresh, unprocessed and vibrant food.”

Photo Source: @yogishelley (Instagram)

What is your favorite thing about being a Yoga Instructor? 

Shelley : “I know that yoga works and I feel it is my dharma-- or spiritual path— to share it. There is a lot of new science on the subject, but I have personally experienced it. In addition to completely healing my physical injuries (I am even running again when I was certainly told that I wouldn’t), yoga heals my head and my heart.  Seeing other people experience healing and connection is such a gift. I love sharing it with people.”

What advice do you have for anyone (who has never done yoga before) who wants to incorporate Yoga/Mediation into their everyday routine? 

Shelley : “My ideal yoga practice includes a community— a place of rich diversity and a passion for sharing yoga. I suggest people to GO TO A STUDIO!  Starting a home yoga practice is far more challenging and difficult than going to a studio. Do not let fear or economics be the barrier. Speak to local studios and find one that speaks to your heart— there is always a way!  And practice FREQUENTLY.  My teacher Baron Baptiste always said if you practice once a week, it will change your perspective; if you practice 3X a week, it will change your body; and if you practice 5x a week, it will change your life!”