Tami Marano, Key Largo Yoga owner, left, and instructor Valeriya Klenkova. CONTRIBUTED

Incorporating something into your life that not only aids physical fitness but also provides healing and peace? The Keys Weekly recently met with the new owner of Key Largo Yoga, Tami Marano, to learn more about her background and the vision for the future of this well-established yoga studio.

When my husband Nick and I moved to Key Largo in July 2021, it was important that I had a local yoga studio to practice. I had been practicing yoga sporadically until 2018. In 2019, I tragically lost my brother and found that it was the only way to heal. It was unexpected, and nothing prepared me for how hard it hit me. Triggered by the loss of my brother, my daughter Kristen (a yogi and now an instructor) suggested it — she sent me in the right direction.

After my practice, I had clarity and peace of mind. It helped me and my personal transformation to heal. I have always been healing others as a registered nurse for 37 years, which was a way I could also help others. It was the healing power of yoga, along with solace and peace.

What inspired you to become an instructor? Both my daughter and Kathy Shirley (the former owner and founder) encouraged me since I was there every day. I realized I could become a better practitioner and learn things I didn’t know. However, I never imagined I would end up teaching and now owning the studio. I loved teaching as a nurse, so it just happened; it wasn’t planned.

When I was approached to purchase the studio, I was surprised that she was retiring and wanting to sell, but I felt honored that she considered me as she built this from the ground up. She put so much into the business. I was thrilled and discussed it with my husband Nick a lot.

Nick is wonderful. We have been married for 34 years. Wwe have two children (Nick Jr., 31, and Kristen, 28) and I couldn’t do it without him. He is my best friend and the best support person I could ever dream of. He is 100% supporting me in everything I do.

Opportunities come in your lifetime, but you may not have seen it coming. You need to trust it’s the direction, and I felt like I was supposed to do this. I wanted to do this. “Okay, here we go!” I have always just realized you have to take opportunities that come your way and trust it will be okay.

From left, Tami Marano, Key Largo Yoga owner; Yvette Doherty; Cathy Guinovart; Kris Friedman, instructor; and Valeriya Klenkova, instructor. CONTRIBUTED

It’s been a super positive, seamless transition and support among the teachers, students and community. It was important to me because they are such amazing individuals. It’s a lot of fun, but I didn’t know all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. That’s been the biggest surprise.

Key Largo Yoga is a vinyasa studio. I teach the hatha style, which is more traditional. The only thing we don’t do is hot yoga because we don’t have the heat. But we have 13 teachers, including myself, who teach all kinds of yoga. We just had an ashtanga workshop that was well attended.

What are some benefits of having a regular yoga practice? It depends on what you want to get out of yoga. Physical strength, balance and length of your body. Also, the mental component — the spiritual mind-body connection to your chakras. It’s an opportunity to be in tune with yourself. You get out of yoga what you put in and take what your body needs. I encourage all the students to listen to your body and take what you need. We all have different needs on different days.

Who is yoga for? Honestly, I wasn’t sure even for myself when my daughter suggested it was for me. I was always a runner and did weights. I had never considered the benefits of peace of mind, and my daughter suggested, “I don’t know how to do yoga; okay, I am going to try.” And I learned it is for everyone, including men, as many male practitioners are attending our classes.

In addition to seven days of classes (over 20 so far), we also offer one-on-one or group private sessions- in the studio or onsite. Private yoga group sessions are perfect for wedding parties and other celebrations. Sunset Yoga is every Monday at Baker’s Cay a half-an-hour before sunset. Jessica Shafer has held that for years; it’s a vinyasa flow, all levels, and a lot of fun.  

We offer two sound bowl experiences. One is called Tune-Up Tuesdays and it is weekly with Kris Friedman on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. The other is with Kat Wheatley, who has been with the studio the longest, and she offers sound bowl healings once a month with a unique theme — Friday, Sept. 22 from 6-7 p.m is fall equinox sound bowl healing. Sound bowl sessions are amazing. For most people who haven’t been to one, it’s an opportunity to connect with the sound and your body. No yoga is involved- just being comfortable and resting.

Being the new owner has been exciting, a quick learning curve, and an amazing opportunity. I feel alive, and I love it. The vision is to keep what’s been here for 10 years, as our community is special and loves the studio the way it’s been run.

We have excellent, experienced instructors, so we look forward to adding more classes at different times and maybe branching out by adding more workshops and retreats — stay tuned.

Learn more on the website about this class and other classes and sign up. Connect further on Instagram or Facebook @keylargoyoga.

Melinda Van Fleet is an Intuitive Energy Business & Leadership Mentor and the owner of Good Karma Sportfishing with her husband, Ryan Van Fleet. She is a speaker, bestselling author of "Confidence Mastery for Couples" and "Life & Love Lessons," and the host of the weekly podcast "The Success Codes Podcast." You can connect with her more at