Sonya Tatro / Padma Yoga Dallas

Padma Yoga is a yoga studio in Dallas, Texas that is owned and operated by Sonya Tatro.

According to their website, “Padma Yoga is mainly a Power Vinyasa yoga studio and classes offered are for all levels. Our temperature is held at 80 degrees to help open up the body and release it of toxins. Modifications are shown in every class so there will always be a place for you to stay. We will also hold Pre & Post-natal yoga classes and workshops with guest instructors from around the area.”

Padma Yoga opened its doors at the beginning of 2011 and is led by an experienced instructor team that includes Sonya herself.

HalfKorean.com had a chance to talk with Sonya and discuss her personal background along with yoga and the Padma Yoga studio.

So let’s start with some background on you. What is your mix?
My mom is Korean and dad is French American.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Inchon, South Korea and lived there until I was about 2 years old. My father had returned to the States before us. My mother and I came here to live with him. I had a rough beginning and bounced around a lot. We lived in California, Nevada, Florida, and Virgina before my mother and I landed in Texas to live with the Korean side of my family when I was 6.

What are some other interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share?
I speak fluent Korean. People get so shocked and seem pretty intrigued. It’s due to the fact that I lived in Korea and then was raised by my mother’s family after my parents divorced. My mom worked two jobs at the time and my great-grandmother pretty much raised me and she didn’t speak a lick of English. I didn’t realize that I was mixed until about middle school. Kids would ask why I had curly hair and freckles, I also had a French last name, Tatro. We had locker assignments alphabetically by last name and most of my Korean friends (all the Kim’s, Lee’s, Park’s) were grouped together and I was always put with the Tran’s and Tan’s.

So let’s start discussing your new yoga studio, Padma Yoga. What does the name Padma mean and what does it signify as the name of your studio?
Padma is the Sanskrit word for the Lotus flower. It is a very powerful symbol in the yoga world. It’s a symbol of beautiful change. A lotus seed will only grow in the darkest and murkiest of waters. The bud slowly continues its way towards the surface, moving into the light and when it finally breaks the surface, it turns into one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. I wanted my yoga studio to represent just that! Every person strives to move away from the dark and into the light, away from the bad and into the good. Although we are all attached to the darkness of this world, we do not have to be a part of it. I strive for the members of my studio to take this to heart every time they enter my studio.

How long have you been practicing yoga and when/why did you decide to become an instructor?
I have been practicing yoga for about 3 years now. I am still considered a baby yogi in that aspect but have been growing steadily in my practice. I honestly had no intention of becoming an instructor when I stepped into my first yoga class. At first, I was only looking for a physical work out. Then I realized that it was much more. Being a child from a difficult past, I had fallen into lots of horrible habits. Without a father figure, I was boy crazy. I snuck out of the house and was going clubbing at 14, fell into drugs, and have most likely endangered my life more times that I’d like to know. The studio offered me a place where I could unwind and grow without judgment from the outside world. I noticed that instead of throwing punches, I could just unroll my mat and flow. With constant encouragement from the owners of the studio I attended, I decided to sign up for their teacher training. After a 200 hour course, I was certified and the rest is history!

I have had the honor to have studied and/or practiced under influential teachers like Chrystal Almeida, Ricky Tran, Kumar Pallana, and Bryan Kest.

When did you decide to open your own studio?
Teaching yoga came easier to me than to others. When I started teaching classes, I noticed how the attendance would rise. I slowly started to teach more at the studio I graduated from and other gyms and studios in the area. The only thing about being an instructor in someone else’s studio is that, just with like any other job, you have to work and teach by their rules and their style. After lots of constant encouragement from my friends, I finally felt like I had enough weight behind my name to open up my own studio.

I wanted my studio to be a place where other instructors can come and bloom in their personal practice with no restraints. I also wanted a yoga studio that supported the local community and it’s “starving” artists.We are located in an area in by downtown Dallas where many musicians, artists, and dancers reside. You’ll notice that our prices are about 40% cheaper than most yoga studios and we do this so that it stays affordable for the ones who create so much beauty for the neighborhood. You won’t find all that yoga “Hocus Pocus” at our studio. Padma Yoga likes to keep yoga real! Focusing mainly on just the asanas (poses) with a real world emphasis on technique, we offer deeper yoga philosophy courses in workshops and only if the students asks for more.

What are your goals for Padma for this year and the near future?
My yoga team and I are all huge advocates of community service. I started off in difficult situations where my parents were supported by the people around them to help us survive. Luckily, Padma Yoga has been getting early publicity in magazines so it’s made it easier to get our little dream to happen. Starting next month, we are offering a free weekly yoga class for public school teachers as well as teaching yoga to At-Risk youth in the Downtown Dallas area. We work closely with local businesses on the Knox/Henderson strip promoting each other and helping revive the area. The support from the community has been overwhelming and I hope that it continues to do so in the future!

Are you you teaching full-time at Padma or still teaching elsewhere as well?
There’s no way that I could physically teach all 25 classes a week without my body falling apart. LOL I teach classes at Padma and, as mentioned before, other gyms and studios as well as community service yoga here and there. God has blessed me by bringing some awesome yogi friends together to help me get the studio up and running. My “Right Hand Wing Woman” is Jennifer Clark. After me, she’s the lovely instructor that teaches the most classes and often is the one to remind me of my scatter brained curse. A big animal lover who donates her time to no-kill animal shelters and former dolphin/manatee trainer too! In February, the owner of our sister studio, Jessica Jordan (of the band Polyphonic Spree), will jump onto the schedule. Our newest instructor is Shana Stein, a hard rockin’ criminal lawyer. I like to think that we got a nice little mix going on.

Any final words?
Thank you so much to David Sanders and HalfKorean.com for spotlighting Padma Yoga. I have been a fan of your site for years and it is a huge honor to be considered. Keep up the great work!

Thank you to Sonya for her time and HalfKorean.com would like to wish her and the Padma Yoga team all the best and much success!

If you live in the Dallas area and are interested in yoga, please check out and support Sonya and Padma Yoga.

For more information, please check out the Padma Yoga website and/or Facebook page.

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(Images courtesy of Sonya Tatro / Padma Yoga)
 
Padma Yoga
1909 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

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