The Story of Breeze

Frank "Breeze" Smith, the founder of Breezeville, is not your typical yoga instructor. Standing at six feet tall, bearded, and covered in tattoos, Frank might not look like the kind of man to be teaching yoga. But looks can be deceiving!

 

It only takes one conversation with Frank to feel the pure joy and excitement he exudes when talking about mindfulness, but you won't see the real Breeze until you see him on the mat. Frank Breeze's classes are a wonder to behold! The peaceful transformation that comes over him when he steps on the mat is inspiring to see, and his calm, loving approach to yoga instruction will leave you feeling rejuvenated physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Frank Breeze has dedicated his life to walking the path of yoga, spreading love and light into the world with every step that he takes, but his inspiring journey into the light has led him from some dark places. Read on to learn more about Frank's amazing transformation into a spiritual guru!

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Frank Breeze has been teaching yoga for more than a decade, but 20 years ago he lived a very different life! A veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, Frank worked as a traveling welder and had a burgeoning career as a professional wrestler with the WWF. Frank was proud of his boat, his motorcycle, and his 19" biceps. He loved fighting, drinking, and other... less-than-legal habits. Eventually, Frank's fast and loose lifestyle landed him in prison, and his violent approach to conflict resolution kept him there. After adding several years to his relatively short stint at a state prison, Frank found himself at a federal penitentiary where he seemed destined to spend the rest of his life. But one fateful, dark day turned his whole life upside down and set him on a path that would eventually lead to yoga.

Frank's affinity for fighting was a double edged sword, it often kept him alive but also kept him in the thick of trouble. After many years behind bars, in the angry turmoil of a prison riot, Frank finally took on more than he could handle. Ambushed with a baseball bat and beaten to a pulp, Frank managed to stumble to a guard's office where he collapsed into his own blood and gore. His heart stopped several times while being airlifted to a nearby hospital and Frank spent the next several months dancing on the fine line between life and death. Miraculously, Frank recovered, but he was never the same. His journey to the other side left Frank drained of the capacity for violence that defined his life up to that moment. His reincarnation left Frank unable to harm another soul, even in self-defense, which made life behind bars a lot more complicated. His ordeal also left him with a traumatic brain injury that caused regular bouts of vertigo and memory loss, which Frank deals with to this day. No medicine and no therapy seemed to help with the symptoms of his traumatic brain injury, and when Frank was transferred back to a federal penitentiary he was left to fend for himself with no friends and no hope.

Frank often found himself disoriented and confused, not knowing where he was or what he was doing. His bouts of vertigo left him gripping the ground for some sense of stability and, despite the drugs, it only seemed to get worse. After trying everything for his traumatic brain injury, one of Frank's counselors suggested a prison yoga class. Frank had nothing to lose, so he tried it, and his life was never the same! Yoga was the only thing that helped keep Frank stable and sane so he threw himself into it completely, practicing every waking moment of every day. He practiced in his cell, in the courtyard, in the lunchroom, anytime and anywhere he could. Soon his locker was overflowing with books on Yoga as his mind, body, and soul overflowed with newfound feelings. His fellow inmates took notice and eventually Frank Breeze found himself surrounded by a protective circle of the most unlikely yoga students. When his guru was transferred to another facility, Breeze was asked to take over the prison yoga class and, after much hesitation, he agreed. As with anything he ever did, Frank Breeze gave himself completely over to the instruction of yoga and never looked back. Breeze's reputation and his classes grew quickly, attracting inmates of all ethnicities and from all walks of life. Soon even the warden acknowledged the drastic drop in prison violence and inmate recidivism. When the warden offered Breeze his help, all Frank asked for was more yoga mats. 

Frank never expected to leave prison and fully accepted the fact that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. But fate had other plans for Breeze. Due to the Obama administration's reforms of the criminal justice system, as well as Frank's exceptional work with yoga and mindfulness in prisons, Breeze found himself up for parol after more than a decade in prison. Frank Breeze just happened to be sent to a halfway house in Montgomery, Alabama, where he had never set foot in his life. Breeze was in a city where he knew no one and no one knew him, but he knew what he wanted to do. Frank Breeze had dedicated himself to the path of yoga and he was going to teach yoga by any means necessary. The first thing Frank did with his newfound freedom was to sit down and write a letter to every yoga studio in town, telling them his story and asking for the opportunity to work. Only one studio answered, but one chance was all that Frank needed.

Today, Frank Breeze runs his own yoga studio in the heart of Montgomery and serves the Capitol City area in any way that he can. Frank operates Breezeville as a completely donation-based yoga studio and offers classes for all levels of practitioners. He also regularly gives back to the community: mentoring and teaching underprivileged children, introducing yoga and mindfulness to prisons, working with traumatic brain injury patients and researchers, and even coaching the men's basketball team at ASU.