Betsy Opyt attended her first yoga class at a Bikram yoga studio in Naples 13 years ago. “I walked out of that class, and I said, ‘That was the most challenging thing I think I’ve ever done.’ I was hooked,” she recalls. The Naples registered dietitian is no stranger to health and wellness. She’s the founder of Betsy’s Best, a gourmet nut butter brand carried by health food stores large and small, including Whole Foods Market. As of this past spring, she’s also the owner of 4 Elements Yoga.
Prior to the pandemic, Opyt practiced yoga four to five times a week. “It changed my life,” she says. “It changed everything—the way I respond to things; the way I think about things. It changed my body.” Although she had always wanted to enroll in a teacher-training program, she never had the time after Betsy’s Best took off in 2013. But in 2020, when the world was forced to slow down, she discovered a virtual certification class offered by Drishti Beats. “I was expecting just to have [the certification] under my belt, never anticipating I would one day open a studio,” she says. But once Florida lifted its restrictions, Opyt reached out to Drip Hot Yoga, a studio on the south end of town, to ask if she could try her hand at teaching. As soon as she finished leading her first class, she was ready to take on another. “It was a natural calling,” she explains.
Last March, Opyt began looking for a place to relocate her nutrition practice. “I was in a room the size of a broom closet. It just didn’t speak to what I felt I wanted my environment to look like,” she says. When she toured a second-floor unit in the Wellness Suites in Fountain Park Plaza on Airport-Pulling Road and saw the outdoor balcony facing west, she recognized it could be the perfect spot for sun salutations. One month later, Opyt launched 4 Elements, where she teaches early morning and evening Vinyasa Flow classes in the outdoor yoga studio. It serves the needs of nutrition clients in the office area and offers specialty classes including Yin yoga, mommy-and-me sessions, sound healing and lymphatic-centric flows designed to detoxify the body. She also plans to host a yoga retreat in Costa Rica this month.
Opyt looked to the studio’s name for inspiration when she decorated her “Zen den” with a focus on the four elements of matter: The water wall is decked out with a fountain feature; an earth wall is outfitted with faux grass; the fire wall has a fireplace; and a French door on the air wall provides access to the balcony. It’s her hope that a steady stream of people come to count on the space for guided movement, nutrition or both, and that she can help institute good habits. “After a yoga class, I hope that people think, ‘Wow, I really crave a juice or a nice apple or something healthy,’” she says. “It can impact our everyday choices.”
In addition to providing full-body holistic healing and a connection to nature, Opyt envisions that the multipurpose suite can become a place for all kinds of gatherings. She wants locals to feel welcome to host events with a DJ or rent out the space for an intimate date night, which can include a massage followed by a plant-based picnic on the balcony that Opyt is happy to prepare herself. “A big part of feeling good is feeling connected to the community,” she says.