Sonrisa—A Place Dedicated to Your Inner Smile

Back Story

We believe we have the greatest love story never told, and now we’re here to tell it—or try to, at least, but it really can’t be told. So here goes nothin’…

Of course, we’ve known each other forever, but Beata and I first met online in the fall of 2017. Actually, Beata found me online 7 years prior (a story in itself), but we didn’t connect until last year. When we did, it quickly became very clear that we were destined to meet, and as destiny would have it, we met on Christmas Day when I picked Beata up at Miami International, flying nonstop from Vienna (she is from Bratislava, Slovakia). As you might guess and to make a long love story short, it was the best Christmas to New Years week ever, and Beata came up with an unforgettable phrase that encapsulated how we felt about life and the new year (and years) ahead: Happy New Now.

Beata is a natural dancer, and you can see her joyous spirit shining through when she moves, like her whole being is smiling. She has been dancing since she was 6 years old when her parents recognized that she had so much energy, she probably needed to go to dance class. (This was some years before yoga really became a mainstream worldwide phenomenon, and Beata only got into yoga later.) Beata started dancing professionally from an early age and toured throughout Europe. She also got a degree in Marketing. In her Twenties, she met her dance partner, Gabriel Bellany. And not too long after, they met Leo Garcia, who was to become their Latin Dance master. Together, Beata and Gabriel started Clave4ever and performed together all over Europe for more than a decade.

I was so honored to learn dance from Beata, she is a dance genius. We practiced almost every day. I would teach her some yoga, and she would teach me dance. I felt quite flatfooted and awkward next to her, but I did make a lot of progress very quickly. Not only is Beata an amazing dancer, but she also really knows how to teach. And she’s a fun teacher, but she can also be serious and make sure you are learning what you need to. She also studies dance all day long, and knows her music inside and out.

We knew from the start that we would do something combining yoga and dance, but we didn’t start looking until May. We found one place, also in Naples Park, but it mysteriously fell through and, as usually happens, something better came our way, which is our current space at the Dutchess Center (9853 Tamiami Trail N. in Naples). We knew it was the place from the start, but we had to overlook a lot—the place was really a mess, and we have pictures to prove it. So we had a lot of work ahead of us. Months later we are finally getting close to being a completely refurbished up-and-running establishment, right on 41!

Our Vision

We see Sonrisa as a way to offer what we love and give back to the community here in Naples. I have been here for 16 years now and I have already felt so much support from the community here, it’s been so wonderful and encouraging. In the process of getting the studio going, we have had a lot of angels supporting us and helping us out. We hope this studio will be very nurturing to all of us. We hope it will feel like a second home, and be a place where you can come and be yourself.

We also hope that we can collectively do something to help solve this Red Tide thing, and we will start off by donating 3% of our profits in that direction. We also would like to reach out to the youth and special needs populations in the area and get them all high—on dance and yoga!

Most importantly, we hope that Sonrisa will help us all on our long quest for inner peace and self-love.

Founding Philosophy

As Buddha said, suffering is a fact of life, but there are ways to free ourselves of suffering. Yes, there are ways to free ourselves of regret, worry, over-stress, anxiety, premature aging, self-sabotage, and many of the other ills, ancient and modern, that plague us humans. But we have to show up and do the work. The good news is, it’s as simple as that. The not-so-good news is the work ain’t easy, it’s quite the piece of work! as we are. Actually, if you’re up for the challenge, it’s even better news! You mean, my life can get better not worse and all I have to do is open my mind and heart and not be so quick to judge, make assumptions, live in the past or future, etc? How cool is that, I’m up for that! Who’s with me? Let’s do this!

The thing is, we’re so conditioned and stuck in habitual patterns (and we actually prefer our patterns to the unknown) that this will be a process, and the wise have told us it’s a lifelong process of essentially getting over yourself. Now, that’s not me selling yoga, that’s soundly based on wisdom and my own lived experience (and many others). But I will say with calm assurance that if you want to live in this world (and ultimately leave this world) with peace of mind, healthy relationships, fulfillment, etc., then it will really serve you to learn from the wisdom of yoga. And by the way, dance is as ancient as yoga and as profound, I do not mean to not include it. Nietzsche famously said, “ I would only believe in a god that knows how to dance,” and dance is its own yoga, just as yoga is a dance.

So the main thing, again, is to show up and do the work. And the work is as simple as just remaining open and not thinking that you know and have the answers. As A Course in Miracles says so simply, “Would you rather be right, or happy?” You’d rather be right AND happy, right? Haha. Sorry. It seems to be one or the other, not both, no matter how much we would like it to be.

Anyway, there’s more to say about this. That’s where our satsangs, yoga philosophy and A Course in Miracles nights come in, for those who want to go there. Also, our movie nights will generally be movies that will be springboards for discussion on spiritual topics. I hope you will join us, especially if your soul is calling out for change.

What We Offer You

Sonrisa offers you first and foremost a beautiful, loving, supportive, and nurturing community of kindred spirits, a family and tribe that will help you in a pinch and through troubled times.

We also offer 40+ multi-style and flavored classes per week from some of the best teachers in the area.

In addition, we have at least half a dozen massage therapists and bodyworkers on staff, and we might even have an in-house chiropractor, too. We will also have a sound healing bed and offer sound healings, private yoga sessions, and other fitness and healing modalities.

Plus, please come and take a look at all of the great products we’ll be offering: books, CDs, clothing, essential oils, healing tools, etc.

We also have one of the greatest dance teachers ever, Beata Kollarova, please come and try her classes once she starts (2019)!

Finally, what I have found to be most helpful is actually the philosophical and spiritual teachings of yoga (and those of the world’s wisdom traditions). I encourage you to come to our philosophy nights and see how the wisdom gleaned might be helpful in your day-to-day life. I think you will see it will. Also, we’ll have a nice lending library of books. You can take a book for a week at a time and then bring it back for the next person.

I’m sure that Sonrisa will grow and offer even more with time. With your help, I know we can and will. Thank you so much for joining us and being a part of the fam!

Smiles ~ Alan & The Sonrisa Team