Stephanie Sutton

Where are you from originally? I was born and raised in Orlando, FL. I went to college in Tampa and lived there for a few years before moving to Chattanooga.

How long have you lived in Chattanooga? I’ve lived in Chattanooga since 2012. I started climbing in college and was taking regular trips to Chattanooga to climb outside! After I graduated, I was ready to follow my passion and officially make the move.

Tell us about your childhood: Growing up in Florida was great! My grandma had a beach house in Satellite Beach and I spent many weekends there swimming in the ocean and surfing! I convinced myself I would be a professional surfer one day and would make surfing documentary films when I grew up. Most of my childhood was centered around water. Every year we’d take family trips to the Florida Keys and go snorkeling, fishing, and just hanging out at a reef or island somewhere. When not around the water, I was always hanging out with my friends and skateboarding (my way of “surfing the concrete wave”). My parents were always supportive of my love for extreme sports. My dad would help us build skate ramps and we luckily lived on a cul-de-sac so all my friends would come over and skate and play Nintendo. I feel very thankful for the childhood I had and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Do you have a nickname? I never really had a nickname from my friends but for some reason my parents would call me Moose. I think it was because I had a small obsession with Moose Munch: a caramel popcorn and peanut snack.

When were you introduced to Yoga? I was introduced to yoga in 2011 when a rock climbing friend of mine was studying to be a yoga teacher. I thought it was so interesting to hear her talk about it and the passion she has for it. Looking through the books she was studying seemed like a foregin language to me, a very intriguing one. I wanted to know more.

How do yoga and the community play a role in your life? Yoga is such an important part of my life. It’s helped me grow as a person, more than anything else in the world. Yoga saved me from myself; from depression, anxiety, and from things out of my control that I would let affect me. It allows me to develop deeper connections and understanding throughout my own body, mind, and soul. It let’s me know that it is okay to be me. The community is beautiful. It’s amazing that when we come together, our energies, our own life experiences, and love and kindness can grow. It’s a beautiful wave we get to ride together, supporting one another the whole way through.

What pose do you love the most and why? Vrksasna, Tree Pose! I love this asana because it allows us to find our roots, our balance. It’s so translatable to real life for me. When we waiver, when we lose our balance, we can look to our roots for strength and support to grow tall, or move through any struggles we are experiencing. We learn to grow tall, in the pose and in life- to be strong inside and out.

What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote is from my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Miramonti! After every class, she would send us off at the bell with this same quote, everytime: “Every day is what you make it.” What once seemed just funny as a kid, resonates more and more. Any time I get in a funk or am feeling down, I come back to this quote and am reminded that I am in charge of my own life.