From designing websites and publications to guiding people to the light in her yoga studio, plus enduring the inevitable ups and downs that come with life, Evelyn Sutton has learned “how the universe works with you.”
And that’s a good thing.
In typical yoga fashion, Evelyn continually has stretched the boundaries of what can reasonably be considered possible.
Early Start, Early Successes
Two examples: At 16, she began helping family friends by working as an assistant editor on a Brazilian magazine in South Florida. Soon after, she was helping out in the art department, and the “next thing you know, I became one of their junior designers.”
Within a year, she was acting lead designer, and at 23 she started her own publishing company, including a fashion magazine and a Brazilian newspaper planned for monthly distribution throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It wound up a weekly publication, which prompted her to expand skills into unfamiliar areas, eventually resulting in a successful sale.
Everywhere Evelyn went afterwards in publishing, a similar theme returned: a stretching of skills, a broadening of capabilities, a leap of faith into uncharted territory. “I used to say, ‘I don’t have blood in my veins; I have ink,’” Evelyn said. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up partially in Brazil, her parents’ native country.
While Evelyn had ink, she also had spirit.
The Student Becomes the Teacher
Practicing yoga since 19, one day many years later she happened upon a flyer about YTT — yoga teacher training. Although she remained uber busy as an award winning designer, full-time mom, and by then had also picked up painting as a new hobby/occupation without any formal training, in her forward-thinking characteristic style, she was seeking even greater fulfillment and willing to work for it. It happened.
Following relocations from South Florida to Brevard via Sarasota, along with new workplaces, having a son, getting divorced and losing her mother to cancer — among many of life’s trials — she not only blossomed as an instructor, but also became a yoga studio owner. She gained a new passionate voice as a leader, too, and her fiery approach began making a difference in other people’s lives.
One Family, Two Studios
LuxDei Studio is part of a combined 7,000-square-foot warehouse facility-turned-family-gathering place, where yoga, meditation and art classes are offered, and where her husband of three years, David Sutton, teaches martial arts, particularly Brazilian JiuJitsu. The studio+gym family partnership is a winning combo for everyone. Children, for example, might be taking lessons from David on one side of the facility while their parents take classes from Evelyn on the other.
Not long ago, the Suttons, operating their businesses separately, merged under that same roof and with different branding. Kala Art and Yoga became LuxDei Studio; his Five Rounds changed to Carlson Gracie JiuJitsu Team Melbourne. They also now have a daughter, born last year. Together, they have four children, David, Edgard, Maggie and baby Milena.
Perfect timing for all? Not quite.
Just as they opened, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Suttons had to move quickly and—no surprise—Evelyn did, with virtual classes.
“We kept all the students engaged,” Sutton said. “That was very important to us, not just for the physical exercise aspect, but also as a form of emotional support during a time of fear and uncertainty for everyone.”
“We have so many great families, members of our gym and studio. We have people that are more than students, people we call friends, who we feel a real connection with. As they support us, we also wanted to be there to support them through all of this. We are truly a family.”
Finding Strength to Lead
She emerged as a leader, remembering what early training had told her: “Be exactly who you are because there are students of yoga who need you — your stories, your words, your personality, the way you speak.’
Ambition and persistence had kicked in again. And people have followed. Now, with the calendar moving toward the fall, she offers gratitude: “It’s been amazing. I thank God everyday for His abundance of blessings and guidance.”
For Sutton, it’s clear that adjustments are literally part of her life. Just like in yoga. “Yoga is a practice that you can adapt. Yoga is for, literally, everybody: every size, every shape, every age, every fitness level,” she said.
Then she went deeper.
“Yoga is so much more than just a physical practice. Yoga is about liberation from mental suffering, anguish, it’s about finding the strength within you to let go of the past, to embrace change, and not fear the future — which only results in anxiety and depression.” she explained. “It’s to surrender all that heaviness. To feel lighter in the body and the mind. To shine your light and bring forth the truth of who you are.”
She’s is in a good place.
“I feel really good,” Sutton concluded.
“I feel that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, in my purpose, doing exactly what I’ve been called to do in every area of my life. I’m in alignment.”
“LUXDEI’s motto, Let Light Be, is a call to arms to be LIGHT in times of darkness, despite the circumstances around you.
Namaste means, ‘the light in me honors the light in you.’ I help others honor their light by finding the truth of who they really are on and off the mat.”
- Evelyn Sutton
Michael Candelaria is a veteran writer and editor of the magazine industry in Central Florida, from city/regional and business magazines to travel/leisure and sports magazines. He formerly served as the editor of Orlando magazine and president of the Florida Magazine Association. He is well-known in the Central Florida community, working with numerous high-profile business and civic organizations.