Daphne Larkin opened up Sanctuary Yoga, with her now ex-husband Tom, almost eight years ago. Together, they quickly created the “it” place to practice and Nashville began to embrace yoga in a way it had not done before. Sanctuary continues to be a place known for it’s welcoming environment and full range of classes, workshops and instructor training. Daphne’s gentle yet motivating way of leading a class has much to do with why this studio is loved by so many. We are thrilled to have her as our FACES of Nashville today!
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Nashville?
I grew up in Tullahoma, not far from Nashville. I went to college to study theatre and music and pursue my life’s passion. After college, I started working as a professional actress/singer/dancer and moved in and out of Nashville as touring opportunities and jobs came my way. On my way to moving to Chicago, the last of a series of knee injuries forced me back to Nashville for surgery. t’s been nearly 20 years and even though I’ve tried to move several times, my life keeps bringing me back home to Nashville.
When did you first start practicing yoga?
I started practicing yoga 13 years ago after intense study in dance and pilates in hopes of finding another type of work that could supplement my work as an actress. It just goes to show that sometimes you have no idea where you’re headed when you start down a path.
How did you originally decide to open Sanctuary?
After spending a lot of time in Los Angeles studying with my teacher, Shiva Rea, I longed for an experience and a community like the one that I loved in Venice. Tom and I felt like it was time to make a life change. We tried to move to the West Coast several times, but each time a big life circumstance stopped us. Finally, I got the message that it wasn’t time to go. So, instead, we manifested a yoga studio and community in Nashville that was in line with our vision and our hearts.
When you and Tom first opened Sanctuary, you were married. You both continue to be owners even though you are now divorced. What advice can you give to women who find themselves in a similar circumstance of owning a business with their husband, and then that relationship dissolving?
First I would say, be empowered. I would also encourage them to stay connected to their intention and be willing to do things differently even if things “aren’t usually done that way.” It’s also important to be open to change. The business will change, so you have to be open to lots of possibilities. Divorce is very personal, and going through that transition with a business is tricky. Sanctuary is our life’s work, not just a job. Tom and I have been so committed to our life’s work and our respect for each other that we felt determined to transition gracefully so that what we created could continue to grow.
How has the yoga community changed in Nashville since you first opened and how has Nashville’s acceptance of yoga changed?
Since we opened nearly 8 years ago, the Nashville yoga community has exploded! There were several studios then, but nothing like the landscape now. It’s much more mainstream. It’s exciting to see how much it’s grown and continues to grow.
How has the new location for Sanctuary changed the studio?
It’s created a lot of excitement from our existing community and has given us more visibility for new students. We have more flexibility with our schedule for specialty classes, teacher trainings, workshops, an expanded boutique and even showers!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Probably the living example of my teacher Shiva Rea. She has shown me how to truly live “in the flow.” I’m always right where I need to be. All that I need is courage to surrender to the flow and to show up fully.
Where is your favorite spot to have dinner in Nashville?
I always love having dinner at the bar at Margot and also love Miel.
Do you have any irrational (or rational!) fears?
Yes, but I’m determined not to make decisions based on fear. I know the only way out is through.
What do you have your eye on to add to your 2012 summer wardrobe?
Usually shoes (it’s an addiction), but I’ve been thinking about the large clutch from Kyah Hillis’ line Sleeveless.
If you could change one thing about Nashville, what would it be?
I wish we could transplant Los Angeles’ weather here.
What books are found on your bedside table (or Kindle)?
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, The Four Desires by Rod Stryker, and a stack of magazines (Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Vogue and Travel & Leisure)
Do you have any weekly rituals that help you stay centered?
Sleeping in on Sundays and a Tuesday night standing date with my love
Favorite vacation spot?
I have several on the West Coast near the ocean and with great fresh food. I’m hoping a new favorite will be Spain where I’m planning to lead a yoga retreat next year. Stay tuned…
Favorite meal to cook for dinner with friends?
Pan roasted salmon, sauteed kale with lentils, flatbreads with my favorite truffle cheese from Whole Foods and, of course, good wine
We’d love it if you’d share a playlist that you would consider for a casual dinner party.
-in no particular order-
“Daniella” - John Butler Trio
“Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
“Is Love Enough” - Michael Franti
“Sweet Little Lies” - Michael Franti
“Hold On” – Alabama Shakes
“Soldier of Love” - Sade
“Healing Hands” – Citizen Cope
“Take Your Mama” – Scissor Sisters
“Buffalo Soldier” – Bob Marley
“F Stop Blues” – Jack Johnson
“The High Road” – Broken Bells
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God.)
My yoga practice – my roots
Travel – gives me perspective
To learn more about Sanctuary Yoga visit the website by clicking: www.
Thank you so much Daphne! And special thanks to Ashley Hylbert, whose talents are showcased here each Monday in StyleBlueprint’s FACES of Nashville series! For more photos of Daphne, see Ashley’s blog, click here.