Mary Lyn Jenkins is the founder of Big Fish Power Yoga. Jenkins started practicing yoga in 2003. When she relocated to Ponte Vedra with her husband, T.F. Jenkins, a fifth generation Jacksonvillian, her husband encouraged her to open a yoga studio. She opened the first Big Fish Power Yoga studio in 2010 that was located off Osceola Avenue in Jacksonville Beach, but after three successful years in that location, she made the decision to move to a new, larger studio in the South Beach Regional Shopping Center. Next month marks exactly two years in the new location, and Jenkins has decided to expand again. A second Big Fish Yoga location will be opening in Nocatee on April 15. Jenkins was also chosen as one of the five finalists to appear on the cover of the 2016 July/August issue of the national publication, “Yoga Journal” magazine.
Jenkins resides in Ponte Vedra Beach with her husband and their children, Hill, 11, and Mary Crawford, 8.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up right outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
When did you start practicing yoga?
I started practicing in 2003 when my husband and I lived in Seattle.
What made you want to open your own studio?
At the time, there weren’t a lot of studios at the beach. I was in a transition between being a set designer from the west coast and teaching part time. I loved teaching, and I knew that there was an opportunity to do something more for the community through opening a small studio.
When will your new Nocatee location be opening?
It’s set for April 15.
How is Big Fish Yoga involved in the community?
We’ve partnered with oMS Yoga [www.omsyoga.org] for the past three years for free yoga classes for Multiple Sclerosis patients. That partnership has really been growing and strengthening and doing so much for people with MS.
The other partnership that we’re really excited about being involved with is Flip Dog Yoga, which is a collaboration between one special needs teacher and the HEAL Foundation for yoga classes for children with autism. That combination has been so powerful for kids and their caregivers as well.
There’s a third partnership and it’s with Live for Today, a non-profit organization based in Jacksonville that helps young adults with cancer.
Tell me about Practice with Purpose.
Practice with Purpose classes are held every Sunday; that’s a partnership every quarter with a new non-profit organization. The classes are $5 a person. It’s a phenomenal class. They’re the biggest classes on our schedule; there’s usually 70-75 people in the class. And so over the course of a quarter, we contribute all of the money we’ve raised back to the non-profit organization that we’ve been in partnership with. The space is donated, and the teacher teaches the classes for free. It’s such a service-driven class. People put down $5, they put down $20 and whole families do the class together. It’s a playful class; it’s really fun.
We’re always looking for partnerships that can be sustainable and can really support community for long-term.