When Lindsay Smith was killing it for Corporate America, opening up Marriott and Hilton hotels nationwide, her outsides didn’t match her insides. She was successful, sure, but she was also stressed. So much so she suffered six mini-strokes, also known as TIA, or transient ischemic attack strokes. While it’s not a full-on stroke, TIAs could last for hours, and require medical attention to distinguish between that and a full-on stroke.
After TIA stroke No. 7, in late summer 2017, right around the time Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Smith knew it was time for a career change. “It was a high-stress time,” she says, “and the last one, I was like, ‘I’m going to die.’”
Smith instead made a significant career shift — opening a yoga studio in Fort Myers, Vibe Yoga, with a focus on movements for dealing with and overcoming stress and trauma. (In addition to the stress of her job, Smith was dealing with a life tragedy: she was carrying twins and one died; she now has four children, ranging in age from nine months to 15 years old.)
Smith first taught yoga at a studio in Fort Myers, then opened Vibe Yoga in May. Smith is the right fit for the studio’s niche, not only with her life experiences, but her husband and mentor, Daniel Smith, is in the military and has been to Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar on several deployments, with the Marines and the Army. Each teacher in her studio is paid to offer one free “Karma” class monthly to a nonprofit of their choice. And her Warriors at Ease and meditation classes are offered at no charge. “Our focus is on getting trauma-infused yoga and breathing work out into the community,” says Smith, citing work the studio recently did with the Cape Coral Police Department as one example.
While Smith preaches the chill and Namaste vibe, she readily points out she’s not a stereotypical “hippie or granola yogi.” She took a lot of pride and satisfaction in her corporate hotel gig, leading teams and creatively solving problems — putting out fires — on the fly in high-stakes moments for new hotel properties. She also had a six-figure salary, and recognized running a business, at least in the first few years, would be a significant pay cut. “I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom,” she says, “and at first I went through a bit of an identity crisis. But I soon realized it wasn’t about a title.”
Smith says her husband was a key resource in overcoming those fears and worries, and was also a good sounding board for her Vibe Yoga business plan and other issues. “He gives his life for his family and career and the most important thing he has taught me,” she writes in her 40 under 40 survey answers, “is to follow my dreams, and to do so with all the passion in my heart.”
City of residence: Fort Myers
Employer: Vibe Yoga
Title: Owner & Instructor
Birthplace: New Jersey
Years in the area: Five
Marital Status/Children: Married, four Children (15,13, 2, nine months)
Alma Mater/Degree: Florida Atlantic Univ.
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Warriors at Ease
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Live Nanny
What's your top tip for being productive? Time Management. Work smart, not hard. Delegate.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Uber Driver
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Attending my kids sports games
Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? Nope
What's the top item on your bucket list? Fiji Paddleboarding and Diving
What's your favorite podcast? Ted Talks
Where is your happy place? On my Paddleboard
Describe yourself in three words: Ambitious Mindful Caring
Who is your mentor for your career and why? My husband, Daniel. He is extremely selfless, caring, smart and loving. He inspires me to follow my passions and supports me in every way to follow through with them.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? With my mentor serving in the military for the past 21 years, he has experiences, knowledge and perceptions like no other person I’ve ever known. He gives his life for his family and career and the most important thing he has taught me is to follow my dreams, and to do so with all the passion in my heart. He supports me in every way possible & I wouldn’t be who I am without him.