Phoenix Rising

How Mandy Roberts is saving the world one yoga class at a time

Mandy Roberts was always a gym rat, the kind who lived and breathed for the experience. It didn’t hurt that the gym was a safe space. In the pages between the chapters of her life she was writing, the gym was the place she could retreat. No pain. No gain. No problems.

The story of how she ended up in a yoga studio and how it ended up being the thing that saved her is both long and complicated. Mandy has been – and always will be – very open about the painful twists and turns that led her to that mat. A daughter of parental neglect and abandonment. A mother and wife in her teens. As a child, she escaped in books, finding heroes and heroines who overcame obstacles put before them. Giving up was never an option.

The path that led her to a yoga studio was both a painful and challenging time. Entering the studio was different from the gyms she was used to. The loud music and clanging iron was replaced by darkness and a single candle. The restorative yoga class encouraged physical, mental and emotional relaxation. It was beautiful and transformative. “And I never went back, at least not right away. I needed to understand what it all meant, so I walked away.”

It would be years before Mandy returned. It was after 9/11, a time she says changed the way she viewed everything. Helping her then-husband with their construction business and raising their daughter, 9/11 made her want to seek connections with other people. “The gym seemed senseless to me.”

The story of Mandy and yoga is quite remarkable. While going through a divorce, Mandy leaned heavily into her yoga practice. After friends noticed the support and solace it gave her, they recommended she try teaching, something she admits she’d never thought she could do. But Mandy needed a way to support herself and her children, so, after years of being a yogi, she became certified. Right before Form Yoga opened, owner Michelle DeHaven hired Mandy to teach. But less than a year into the job, Michelle decided to close the studio. Despite Mandy’s pleading through a business plan she typed up in an email, Michelle said no. But something else happened. “She gave me the business lock, stock and barrel. No money exchanged hands. With so much going on in my life (an impending divorce, homeschooling her son and an impending divorce), I said yes.”

The love and support the Decatur community has given Mandy is everything she ever wanted. Remarried and rededicated to being the heroine in her own story, she helps others find the way forward through yoga – the same yoga that saved her. “I am living life moment to moment – the next day, the next struggle. Being tethered to the community the way we are is important. Form Yoga is something I want to be there for the community – a space where people can find peace.” 


Form Yoga

533 West Howard Ave (Unit D)


Decatur Rapid Fire…

Mandy Roberts
Form Yoga

Biggest influence?
Certainly Brene Brown. Her research and work on embracing imperfection and leaning into vulnerability totally changed my life.

Three traits every leader should have?
Sincerity. Goodness. Wisdom.

What book are you reading now?
Too many. I love to read. Beside my bed is “Becoming “Supernatural” by Dr. Joe Dispenza, “The Great Work of Your Life” by Stephen Cope, and “Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life” by Dacher Keltner. I’ve already read them all at least once.

What are you binge watching?
Nothing currently. Got any suggestions?

Who is the artist you cannot take off your playlist?
I’m kind of infamous for my yoga playlists. Currently, I have over 1,000 filled with everything from Otis Redding to Trevor Hall and OutKast (ATL baby). Music is so inspiring to me. So let’s go with an artist I love for his songwriting and melodies, but who doesn’t always make it on a playlist: Rufus Wainwright.

Biggest thing on your bucket list?
Buying a house with a few acres to create and develop my own retreat center. It’s a big dream. We will see.

Favorite Decatur spot?
FORM Yoga, of course. After that, it’s so hard to choose just one. I’m really loving the Reading Room; it’s stunning inside.

The first place every newcomer to Decatur should visit first?
Definitely the Square. There are so many wonderful small businesses to explore. And it’s great people watching too.

The best thing a customer ever said to you?
You changed my life.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver


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