Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater yoga studio eases pain, lifts the spirit


For 21 years, people have come to Lifework Yoga on Cleveland Street for different reasons.

Some wanted a workout. Others sought peace from the chaos of daily life. And once, two decades ago, a 19-year-old man with a severely curved spine turned to the yoga studio and Claude Griffin to avoid going under the knife.

"Claude Griffin paved the way for my greater spiritual awakening with firm patience at a time when my very young body and mind were twisted," said Chris Acosta, now himself a yogi.

Using yoga postures and stretches, Griffin helped Acosta increase his flexibility and avoid surgery to fuse his spinal column to rods. Today, Acosta owns a St. Petersburg yoga studio and credits his success to the teachings of the yogi on Cleveland Street.

"In an environment where yoga's popularity is defined by tiny and isolated aspects of the practice, Claude instructs from the original full body of the millennia's old yogic tradition," said Acosta, now 40. "He showed by example through his Lifework how to become a yogi, passing on the ancient lineage of authentic yoga."

To do so requires focusing on one person at a time. And that's exactly how Griffin runs his studio, which he bills as the oldest yoga facility in Central Florida on his website. One of the first questions he asks new students is, "What brought you here?"

"So many people come in with back and hip pain and we help them," Griffin said. "We offer classes for the body and for the mind and a special class called yoga for the mind.

"We help people learn meditation, deep relaxation and teach them how the body and mind can be trained to work in harmony."

Griffin, also a trained psychotherapist, has studied and taught yoga for 45 years.

He is 79 now and still openly shares his yoga knowledge with everyone who enters his door. After 21 years in the same spot, Lifework recently moved to a new location, about a mile west but still on Cleveland Street.

"We used to be next to Nature's Food Patch until they moved," said Martha Landry," Griffin's wife of 14 years. "Now we've moved next door to them and I think that will be a good mix."

Landry talks about the way her husband helps people transform their lives. She credits his passion for yoga, his focus on individuals and his education with world famous teachers, like B.K. s. Iyengar, for the studio's longevity.

And while Griffin has been trained in various styles of yoga — Iyengar, Astanga, Kundalini, Hot, Power, Raja, Bikram, Siddha, Integral and Karma — he doesn't teach one style. He focuses on people and their individuals needs.

"Iyengar and others taught Claude that yoga isn't about money, that it's a calling," said Landry, who declined to give her age. "Yoga is Claude's life's work. He puts all his effort into being with people and joining the world. He says you can't have transformation by yourself."

Landry met Griffin at Lifework when she came searching for relief from shoulder pain after years working as a hair dresser. Their friendship through yoga blossomed into romance.

Landry, also was inspired by Griffin's teachings in yoga, is now a certified yoga instructor at Lifeworks and a Suncoast Yoga Teacher's Association member, a group in which Griffin was one of the first members.

Jeannie Job of Clearwater, who works as a sonogram technician at Morton Plant Hospital, came to Lifework for relief of back pain.

"When I started strengthening my muscles, I didn't need the doctor anymore," said Job, 51. "My body began to align itself."

Her desire to learn led her to seek certification as a yoga teacher. She now teaches part time at Lifework.

Yet in her day job, she sees people suffering from injuries and illness everyday and wishes they knew about Lifework and yoga.

"Claude and Martha are so strong and healthy without taking medication," Job said. "It's inspiring to see them and through yoga they teach people to heal themselves."

If you go

Lifework Yoga Studio

Where: 1223 Cleveland St., Clearwater (next to Nature's Food Patch).

When: Classes days and evenings.

FYI: Visit or call (727) 504-8625.

Clearwater yoga studio eases pain, lifts the spirit 07/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 7:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.