By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (November 22, 2016) – Life’s biggest challenges offer its greatest rewards. And, that’s a philosophy Kerri Tomaski, a certified yoga and meditation instructor and wellness coach, believes in wholeheartedly.
A talented singer/songwriter also known as Kerri Lick, Tomaski has struck a chord with music lovers for some time. But, she has found a new harmony she hopes will resonate with the community as a whole.
“It’s about inner harmony and peace,” she said. “It’s also about wellness and confidence within the mind, body and spirit. Soul Feet Studios is all about ‘standing for community wellness.”
Built a dream of providing the community a home to develop and practice yoga and meditation, Soul Feet Studios opened its doors on September 1.
The studio is located at 1350 West Washington Street Suite 1240 in Stephenville and also offers other services aimed at improving mental, spiritual and physical health, including infrared salt sauna therapy; massage therapy from licensed practitioner Cameron Speed-Henley; and lifestyle coaching from Aimee Pineau, who also leads yoga and meditation classes.
Tomaski’s life has taken a new path, but it was paved with hard times, suffering and loss.
Bonnie Algren, Tomaski’s mother, passed away at the age of 45. She was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in 2013. Following surgeries and treatment, Bonnie was declared cancer free in the winter of 2014. But, the disease resurfaced in January 2015 and took her life six months later.
Saying goodbye included a mix of emotions.
“I was so happy she was no longer in pain,” Tomaski said. “There was an extreme peace that came with knowing that. Of course, I was sad that she was gone. I still am. We were close. But, through her passing I found a spiritual side of myself that put me in a position to grow even closer to her.”
It also put her in a position to grown enough to reach a greater potential.
“She would have loved this and been very proud of me for utilizing my power and abilities.” Tomaski said. “I spent a lot of time talking to mom about wellness and improving her life, and she is now very much a part of this studio and what I hope to accomplish.”
Bonnie left behind a little seed money, but Tomaski said their shared faith and desire to impact others in a positive way gave birth to the business.
Faith. Before she could find faith in herself, Tomaski turned to God. In the final weeks of Bonnie’s battle, Tomaski started playing with the worship band at First Christian Church in Stephenville.
It was in the church that messages were being sent and received – whispers that would help put Tomaski’s life on track.
“The week after her passing, I was playing with the band and she was there, too,” Tomaski said. “I could hear her in the music and see her in the stained glass windows. She was there with me, all around me.”
Then other signs started pointing to her future. They were circumstances showing Tomaski she has a gift, a light shining within her that needed to share with others.
There was the good friend whose marriage was ripped painfully apart. Cheating and lies followed by divorce. The friend wasn’t sleeping; he was trapped in a cesspool of negative emotions. His health and stress level were spiraling out of control.
Tomaski did what any friend would do – she offered encouragement, support and daily affirmations. She eventually suggested dietary modifications and good old-fashioned exercise. Over a period of days and then months, Tomaski saw a major shift in her friend’s lifestyle and perspective.
“It was a big transformative thing for both of us,” Tomaski said, adding the friend credited her with his transformation every time anyone asked.
“Suddenly, people started asking for my help,” she said. “I realized a lot of people were looking for help – and needed help – with weight loss and lifestyle modifications. That’s when I started realizing that maybe I do have something else to offer, the ability to help people.”
There was a lady at church who began to shed weight and radiate confidence.
“She just needed a positive reflection of who she was and who she could be,” Tomaski said.
The tips she gave those friends are the same she is sharing with clients today.
When it comes to wellness, meditation and yoga, she believes it’s something everyone can – and should – incorporate into their lives. Tomaski said circumstances like-less-than-perfect physical, spiritual or mental health or financial concerns should never limit a community member’s access to peace and wellbeing. She has incorporated that philosophy into her business model.
“People are facing struggles and challenges need a positive change in their lifestyles and that’s what we hope to give the community as a whole,” Tomaski said. “We want to provide a distraction-free space where people can focus on what’s happening here and now, in this moment. I want everyone to put aside past stress, anxiety about the future and everything negative that is holding them back.”
Tomaski said preconceived expectations about what a “yoga body” looks like and people’s self-doubt and unfair judgement of themselves oftentimes keeps them from making a step in the right direction when it comes to wellness.
But, Soul Feet Studios offers a regular class lineup that includes guidance for experienced and inexperienced participants in group sessions in time increments ranging from 30 to 75 minutes and skill levels that includes starter classes, vinyasa flow, soul cleansing and hot yoga. One-on-one classes are available for clients who prefer their own private setting.
Tomaski extends her services to Good Tree Assisted Living, providing a free service to residents.
“I can see they love it when their faces light up,” she said. “When I sit and meditate after their yoga class, I try to embody the feeling they’re projecting and allow it to heal me – there is so much power in that. It’s about embracing good frequencies, which is enough to heal mind, body and spirit.”
Soul Feet Studios is about spreading “good frequencies” as well. Tomaski hosts Community Collection Classes, which encourage clients and newcomers to place an item in the studio’s collection box in exchange for services.
In November and December, the studio is collecting shoes for residents of Foster’s Home for Children, and contributors receive a free pass for a sauna session, rainbow relaxation, 45-minute vinyasa flow or other services.
“In January, I hope to collect blankets and socks for Meals on Wheels clients,” Tomaski said.
She said that’s what life is about – it’s a balance of giving and receiving.
“Nothing just happens, there are no coincidences. I went from saying goodbye to mother, to saying hello to a new life and a new purpose. Life is a journey that lifts you to a place where if you’re willing to stretch, you can reach for your opportunity and step into your full power. You may see things as hurdles or challenges, but they’re really messages. They’re telling you who you are and where you’re going. They’re genuine setups.”
For more information on individual or group classes, including Soul Success team building events, visit www.soulfeetstudios.com.