testimony

We asked our students to let us know what they think about us and our classes. Here’s what they had to say …

… about us

“Paul and Sommer are funny — each in their own way.  If you go to their classes enough you start to know their chuckles and their jokes. You can’t make it through a class without smiling. They are real people. They talk about their accomplishments as well as their struggles and relate these to the practice of yoga.” -Melissa R.

Paul is playful, engaging, funny (there, I admitted it) and knowledgeable. Sommer is graceful, intense, sweet, what you get when you cross an angel with a lethal ninja.” -Bill W. 

“Sommer & Paul put tremendous energy into relationships with the community and it shows. Many people count them as their best of friends. That goes way beyond the mats and poses.” -Michael N.

“Paul and Sommer are the best teachers I have encountered in over 20 years of yoga practice. I have been on the mat with them for more than 10 years.” -Shirley W.

“The depth of their knowledge and the genuine way that they live the yoga tradition inspires me.” -Nora D. 

“Sommer will lull you in at the beginning of practice only to find yourself shaking and sweating. With Paul, you know you’re going to sweat.” -Phillip S.

“All the usual Paul silliness brought us a lot of joy this morning 🙂 We’ve been practicing at home, but this bit of normalcy and community really brightened our day. Thank you guys!” -Sarah P. 

“They both keep it interesting and fun, there’s almost always a new way to do a pose, and they offer spiritual guidance that the world just needs today, and somehow do it would sounding presumptuous or hokey.” -Chris T. 

“Sommer’s sweet style and interesting commentary provides subtle distraction to difficult postures or long holds. It is often not until the following day when my body is sore that I realize how hard I must have worked. Paul is more overt about pushing us to explore our “edge” but peppers his classes with humor and fun. Both are very playful in their practice while also reminding us to be focused and present – embracing “monkey energy” while calming our minds.”  -Caroline S.

“Two different teachers with two different distinct styles, but teaching the same principles offers a nice balance of variation and consistency.” -Sonny H.

“In every class, Sommer blesses you with her brilliant smile and Paul keeps you laughing, snickering and groaning (but always laughing) with his sense of humor. Thank you for everything Sommer and Paul!” -Shirley W.

“I appreciate their depth of knowledge, their care, the thoughtfulness that they bring to leading a practice, playfulness and challenge of their classes, and their intentional cultivation of individual connections with students. They are the teachers of the teachers … their expertise and skill are incomparable.” -Natalie F. 

Paul and Sommer are both full of humility, humor and compassion and it’s delightful to spend time with them on the mat.” -Catherine K.

“Both are technically savvy. They know exactly how to que to movement. Even though I have a huge tv to do my classes, I really only need to listen because the instruction is so precise.” -Phillip S. 

… about our classes

“Their virtual studio, where there are classes for all levels, has encouraged me to return to my home practice. When I strained my lower back and had to move gingerly, Sommer’s Intro to Yoga series helped me return to the gentle basics in a necessarily mindful way (Paul also has a fun Yoga 101). I could feel my back getting stronger and finding welcome relief and stretching in the course of each and every pose.” -Shirley W.

“I subscribed about ten days ago and I have to tell you guys that the flexibility of the subscription service is superb. I have tried a twisting class, a hip opener, a hamstring class and a “just what you need” class that was just what I needed. The ability to do a 20 or 30-minute class to regain my equilibrium exactly when I need it, and then to still have the ability to do a longer class when I have the time is fantastic. I still love the community and interaction of the live stream but the fact that I can access you guys on demand has been a game-changer for me.” -Laurie A.

“The classes are always full of surprises and a-ha moments.” -Rachel M. 

“I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for Thousand Petals Yoga and their online offerings. I moved away from NC nearly a decade ago and there has been an exceptionally large, Paul-and-Sommer-shaped hole in my life ever since. But from the moment I began streaming my first class with Paul, it felt like coming home. TPY is the real deal! Paul and Sommer are both expert instructors with a serious knack for blending playful practice alongside deep yogic philosophy and a capacity to meet students exactly where they are. And they’re also just stellar human beings to boot. Paul and Sommer, thank you for bringing your classes to the world wide web! Love and blessings to you both!” – Natalie F.

“The series format gives continuity, but your creative sequences mean it is engaging and challenging. The clear path from beginning series to intermediate, etc. And permission to stay in the beginner series as long as I wanted was helpful for me, especially when I was starting. I hadn’t sustained a habit for any kind of physical practice EVER, so seeing a trajectory was helpful, even if I eventually got to a place where I could enjoy and benefit from any class.”  -Abby P.

“As someone new to yoga, the alignment and movement cues are very clear, precise, and helpful: As someone who has been practicing for over 10 years now, the cues are helpful for experiencing postures in new ways and being fully present in postures I’ve practiced hundreds of times.” -Betsy B. & Sonny H.

“Classes challenge each practitioner regardless of ability.” -Caroline S

“As the Earth heals, so can we try to renew and heal. Thousand Petals online classes have given me access and have sparked my path on a new road of renewal. As a single mom who struggled to make time for myself, I can now carve out the time with my online subscription. I select a different class each day, with a new focus. Paul & Sommer are the teachers I need now, bringing me back to the anahata chakra. Bringing me back to myself.” -Anita S.

In your classes I feel surrounded by and filled with love. I feel absolutely and totally accepted for who i am and where i am. And I always, always leave class with a heart full of joy and bursting with love.” -Sarah F. 

There’s always a sense of freshness and newness to the practice. No two classes are the same.” –Michael N.

“In every class I am challenged, even when the poses are “simple.” Every class I learn something – a Sanskrit word, a way that a pose can be therapeutic, an analogy between yoga practice and life in the 21st century.” -Nora D. 

“The way you combine both flow and alignment in your classes makes them stand out from other styles of yoga.”  -Betsy B. 

“They keep you moving vigorously, starting out usually with variations of sun salutations into which the classic standing poses are incorporated, then evolving into hand balances, inversions, backbends, and (ahhh!) savasana.” -Shirley W.

“The classes radiate joy. The actual deep enjoyment of yoga is so important and most teachers don’t express what a gift the practice is.” – Nora D. 

 “I have met people from all backgrounds and education levels and never felt like anyone judged anyone else – I work in a very snobby, hierarchical environment, so I value a time and space where people are accepted for who they are.” – Chris T. 

The classes are fun and challenging but allow for everyone to practice at their own-level and recognizing this can be different from one day to another.”  -Caroline S. 

We think their lasting appeal has a lot to do with their ability to blend fun and banter with calming messages, gentle stretches with challenging poses (with complete freedom to do easier alternatives for the less flexible like us), and then there’s Paul’s infamous “Season of the Core.”  Thousand Petals Yoga works for all levels, live or online.” -David C. & Debbie H. 

“I love the livestream classes for a sense of community and playfulness. Something about the classes being live helps me stick with an hour class even when I’m in my home environment. The on-demand library is so extensive that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do them all and I WANT to. I want to do every single one!” -Rachel M. 

“Your classes are accessible to beginners and we appreciate that as highly qualified and trained instructors you still come to the mat as students sharing your own journeys, challenges, joys, and awakenings.” -Betsy B. & Sonny H.

In your classes, I have been introduced to truly remarkable men and women and have made treasured friendships that I would never have enjoyed had it not been for the two of you. All told, you have quite literally altered the course of my life in the richest possible ways and my gratitude is boundless.”  -Sarah F.

Paul and Sommer’s classes has helped me improve as a teacher. I’m constantly learning and deep into my practice, so this helps me when I am creating classes for my students. I feel better and more peaceful as a result of taking classes with Sommer and Paul. And honestly, I feel less alone being part of the livestream classes. During such a tough year, the weekly livestream class has been an anchor, a grounding point when so many things felt like a freefall. I also look forward to the new classes that come out each week and make it a point to try to do as many as possible throughout the week.”  -Rachel M. 

“I wholeheartedly endorse Thousand Petals Yoga. They’ve changed my life and my family’s lives in the best possible ways. The way they teach transmutes beyond space and time. Practicing at home with them fills me up in the same way the in-person classes used to and I’m still snorting out loud at Paul’s punny jokes! I have always felt included, loved, and valued in the spaces they hold and as a black woman of color in the southern yoga scene I cannot put into words how important and healing that has been for me. They’ve been my teachers since ’08 and I’m so thankful for their virtual classes during these days.” -Megan K.

“Your classes bring me into a state of soul vision and allow me to start my day centered in a space that makes me better in my most important work as a mother, partner and leader.” -Nora D. 

“So many classes I’ve attended seem like the teachers just say the same things every time – there is not much nuance to each pose. Because Paul and Sommer are so incredibly well-trained; each time I do a class, I feel something slightly different. They help me tune into the small nuances that make a huge change in opening the body. I honestly learn something new EVERY time I do a class … whether it’s a new take on a yogic teaching or a new variation on a pose or a new feeling in a pose I’ve done a million times.” – Rachel M.

… on alignment and strength

“Paul and Sommer teach from an alignment tradition with peak poses. They get students into poses they may not have tried before in a safe way.”  -Melissa R.

“Paul and Sommer offer a dynamic, fun and alignment-savvy way for you to connect to your inner self and take care of your outer body. Their classes have always been a source of inspiration and growth for me as a movement educator. They are well-studied instructors who teach from heart-guided wisdom. I appreciate their authenticity and clarity they bring to every class they teach. I leave class with a clearer head, better energy, and a deeper understanding of what it means to practice yoga.” -Sarah H.

 “I have often told friends that their classes are the perfect mix between “gym yoga” and “woo woo yoga.” Which is to say: a good sweat like gym yoga, but with more alignment instruction and assists so I don’t worry about injuring myself.” -Abby P. 

When I met you — 16 years ago, wow! — what I initially liked was the alignment. I felt stronger and safer, more grounded, and confident in going deeper without injury when I had those alignment queues.” -Christine T. 

I really love the principles of alignment which are taught on the mat and spill over into how we respond to everyday activities and what life throws our way.” -Caroline S. 

Their deep knowledge of anatomy and their clear alignment cues really transformed my practice, and has kept me safe and injury free.” -Catherine K.

“Paul and Sommer’s classes are deceptively strengthening. They use classic poses and have their students hold them for just long enough to build up strength but not long enough make their students feel weak. I’ll never forget a young woman telling Paul about the new muscles in her arms.” – Melissa R. 

… about our community

“Paul and Sommer create community. They know the name of every student in their classes and make all students feel important and welcome.  They are there before class and after class to answer questions and connect. And, in some amazing way, they get their students to know one another. Their friendliness rubs off.” – Melissa R. 

“I appreciate the sense of community they create, especially because I can show up in a way that works for me. There is great camaraderie and care, but I can get my alone-together fix without feeling called out or overwhelmed with socializing, if that’s how I’m feeling. It always feels like a welcoming space (even online!).” -Abby P. 

 “There’s a great sense of community and connection between them and their students. They put tremendous energy into relationships with your community and it shows. Many people count them as their best of friends. That goes way beyond the mats and poses.” -Michael N.

“In their classes, I have been introduced to truly remarkable men and women and have made treasured friendships that i would never have enjoyed had it not been for the two of them. All told, they have quite literally altered the course of my life in the richest possible ways and my gratitude is boundless.”  -Sarah F. 

The classes feel like a truly communal experience – a coming together and a welcoming.” – Nora D. 

“They successfully built a lovely community which has been able to withstand the pressures of the global pandemic.”  -Caroline S. 

I think what makes them different as yoga teachers is their true acceptance of each student where they are in their life and practice. Also, I think they are excellent at building community.” – Peg B. 

I feel challenged, included and like I belong … and I’ve seen them do this for so many people who might not feel like yoga is for them. This is not a small thing.” -Natalie F. 

… on philosophy

“Paul and Sommer weave in philosophy from the yoga tradition. In every class you learn something, whether it’s Sommer talking about compassion or Paul talking about present centered thinking, students always walk away with a little nugget to chew on.” -Melissa R.

“Their classes incorporate the whole “yoga tree” in a way that shows deep knowledge and respect for the tradition, but without diminishing, oversimplifying or claiming ownership of that tradition in a way that feels like appropriation.” -Abby P. 

“Sommer and Paul embody a graceful approach to life that serves as an example to all of their students.”  – Caroline S .

“I think they are very skilled at weaving yogic philosophy, teaching and light heartedness into the practice of asana. They both artfully share their insights about the deeper spiritual and emotional benefits of yoga, which have encouraged me to dig deeper into the yoga sutras, the deeper teachings of the yoga tradition, meditation and poetry.”  -Catherine K.

“Paul and Sommer’s classes are different from other teachers because they weave non-attachment, mindfulness and well-being into the practice. They help their students feel healthier and happier on and off the mat. They are yoga explorers. They are life-long learners who weave the new things they study and implement into their classes. It never gets boring.” -Melissa R. 

“After years of practice with you all, I no longer sacrifice self-care and I know that everyone will benefit from me taking care of my health through my commitment to yoga and the other practices I’ve learned through your programs.”  -Betsy B

… about our Curriculum

“Firstly, there is a curriculum. That, in and of itself is rare and wonderful. The curriculum allows me to progress in a way that I have never experienced before – not arbitrarily but with defined purpose.” -Sarah F. 

“I am very, very grateful for the effort and energy they have invested in supporting their yoga community through the pandemic, with pre-recorded videos and Live Streamed classes. I have taken full advantage of everything on offer – multiple Live Streams classes every week supplemented with the videos, guided meditation, 30-day challenge, etc.” -Catherine K.

… on spirituality

“There is a magnificent merger of the physical and the spiritual in their classes. I feel as if i am enhancing not only my body, in terms of strength and balance and flexibility, but that i am being guided in terms of awareness, patience, acceptance and love.” -Sarah F. 

“Sommer and Paul’s classes are grounded in spiritual practice that can be understood on many levels including  – I just want to be a fun, happy person who enjoys yoga!” -Celeste M.

… on our meditations

“The meditations on the on-demand site have been such a gift. When I can, I wake up early to have a sit with Sommer and find some quiet before the day begins. I love having those meditations to come back to over and over.” -Rachel M.

“I’ve been exposed to many practices I would not have found otherwise – meditation, mindfulness, letting go of ego … this exposure has opened me to seeking and learning more.” -Celeste M.

… about health and life improvement

“I always say the hour after yoga class with Sommer and Paul is the best hour of my week. I feel unbounded love for everyone I see, the world is so beautiful.  Over time, this feeling lasts longer and longer.” – Celeste M.

“I am calmer. I have learned to listen to my body in ways that help me understand connections between my physical and emotional health.” -Abby P.

“The focus and theme of each class provides us with ways to transfer what we’re learning on the mat into our family and daily lives, sometimes in real time!” -Betsy B. 

“Sommer and Paul’s trust in my knowing what’s best for me give me the confidence to trust myself.” -Celeste M. 

On a day-to-day level, I’m more grounded, relaxed, clear-headed, and energized when I’m practicing with you.” -Natalie F.  

“The practice has become restorative for my physical and emotional health.” -Abby P. 

The experience of taking classes with you both has helped us both get to know ourselves in deeper ways, more aware of our own habits and patterns. Additionally, because we often do practice together, your classes have deepened our relationship as a couple, giving us a sacred practice to come back to again and again.”  -Betsy B. + Sonny H.

“I’ve been exposed to many practices I would not have found otherwise – meditation, mindfulness, letting go of ego… and this exposure opened me to seeking and learning more.” -Celeste M.

lessons

“The lesson that spills off that mat most and makes me a better person, is to find comfort even when things are difficult. Find comfort: through breath, or empathy, or maybe by simply changing the narrative. Feeling empowered and recognizing that how I interpret and respond to my surroundings is a choice. Even when it does not seem like a choice, when things feel out of control, I can return to the breath and find comfort in my ability to calm the body which then, almost like a miracle, calms the mind.”  -Caroline S.

“I want to say THANK YOU for providing your practice, wisdom, and insight to me and all our fellow yogi practitioners. I have never been so consistent with my practice (I’ve been doing it everyday for at least two weeks now. Unprecedented!) It has been providing me with so much peace & calm during this stressful time. I have also realized the difference of doing yoga 1 or 2 times a week, to doing it everyday. Things change energetically and spiritually in ways I have not encountered before or knew would happen. The cumulative effect is what brings about these shifts, and feeling & watching this happen in my body has been fascinating. Every single time I do a class with either of you, I always feel better in a deep and more calming way.” -Carina G.