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Robyn Paige thought New York City was "it," but after coming back home to Rochester, she found authenticity, community and her true self.

Rochester native Robyn Paige found her passion for yoga and community after a move to New York City that left her feeling isolated. We sat down with Robyn to talk about her journey of self-discovery and how Rochester's unique sense of connection fueled her path to becoming a yoga instructor and founder of Free Spirit Yoga and Reiki and Finger Lakes Yogascapes.


Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to yoga?

A: I’ve lived here since 1990, with a little break for college and New York City life, which I thought I wanted to do. I wanted to be in fashion, but I very quickly realized that was not my vibration at all, so I moved back to Rochester in 2014. And that’s when I found yoga through working at Lululemon and selling black stretchy pants. Once I took my first class, I kind of got this feeling in my gut that this was what I was supposed to be doing and that I was kind of on the wrong path in New York City. So I very quickly jumped into my first yoga teacher training just two months after my first yoga class. I thought New York City was it, but it was really here that allowed me to become myself and to honor my authenticity.

“Everything I do is connection-focused, whether it’s connection to myself or facilitating connection amongst my students, my clients or members. Our community here is able to provide that.”


Q: What made you stay in Rochester and build your business here?

A: “Everything I do is connection-focused, whether it’s connection to myself or facilitating connection amongst my students, my clients or members. Our community here is able to provide that.” Everything I do is connection focused, whether it's connection to myself, facilitating connection amongst my students, my clients, members, and our community here is able to provide that. We have such an awesome tight-knit community and a lot of people in this world who are curious about yoga and health and wellness, mindfulness and energy. So to watch the community continue to grow and those connections continue to build, it’s fueling my “why” for doing this.


Q: What’s a memorable moment from your experience in Rochester’s yoga community?

A: In 2018, I did a series of three yoga for cancer fundraisers at Three Heads Brewing, and I raised enough money to provide free classes for cancer patients for a full year. So that for me was huge. My mother was in treatment at the time and it was just really beautiful to see the community show up for me, for my mom and all of our friends who are touched by cancer. So that was it.


Q: How would you compare our region to other places you’ve been?

A: I mean, night and day. Again, the connection piece, the community, the people who are here—I feel like it’s unmatched. I’ve lived a bunch of places, whether it’s Michigan, New York City or Florida, and even just walking down the street, people say, “Hey, how’s it going?” to a complete stranger. And it just feels like there’s a lot more compassion amongst the people. So we’re all here rooting for each other and that feels really good.


Q: What do you see for the future of Rochester?

A: When I was growing up, the city was a place that I knew as a suburban kid—I never really went to the city. But now I’ve been living in the city, working in the city, eating, drinking, everything in the city, and I’m seeing what they’ve started to do to enhance the city, make it more inhabitable for younger families and cleaning up the neighborhood, making it a safer, more friendly place to be. I just feel like more people are going to want to be down there. It’s so cool down there around the Liberty Pole where Branca is, Parcel 5. It’s just such a vibe and it’s cool that we’re starting to see more folks shifting down to the city.



Robyn Paige is Greater ROC’s March 2024 Champion Spotlight. If you’d like to be a Champion for Greater ROC and share your story with us, or know someone who should, reach out to us at or send us a direct message on Instagram. And while you’re there, give us a follow to stay connected to the nine-county Greater ROC region.


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