Savannah's New Spiritual Leader


Published:

Meg Shuba is bent over a burgundy harmonium filled with scratches. The color of the wood matches the beehive bun at the top of her head. When she pumps the bellows and presses the keys, she raises her slender body back up to her full seated height and the voices of students on their mats reverberate in an ommmmmmm.

Otium sits in the corner of Drayton and Liberty in downtown Savannah.  The name comes from a Latin word that can be roughly translated to "inner sanctuary." Employees also use the more elaborate, less accurate, and somehow favored option of "escape from business to participate in personal wellness."

Meg Shuba, a yoga teacher in her early thirties, moved to Savannah to bring the sleepy, Southern city a “much needed oasis.” And although there are competing studios in the city, Otium is the first to have its own Creative Director: Meg.

“I consider myself an artist,” says Meg when she’s asked what a Creative Director does at a yoga studio, “because I’m creating with movements.”

For Meg, yoga classes are about catering the mantras, music, and poses to the overall feel of the class. After she leads the class into the first downward dog of the day, Meg weaves her way through the mats in between twisting bodies to fix a hip here, a hip there. Throughout the day, she looks as she does now: black leggings and a loose tank top. She’s ready to spring forward into a Parivrtta Parsvakonasana at any moment.

“You have to be okay if the ground is pulled out from underneath you,” Meg says. She places her hands underneath a teenager trembling as she suspends her weight up in wheel pose. “Security is nice and comforting,” Meg says, lifting the student half an inch higher, “but it won’t let you grow.”

Photo Credit: Bud Johnson

Before teaching yoga, Meg worked as an account manager for skincare brands and focused on sales. She began attending yoga classes as a physical practice but eventually found that it helped her deal with “some difficult times” in her life. She met the investor for Otium Savannah while doing a visiting workshop in the original Otium location of Long Beach, Florida where they decided to join forces to pop out the first franchise.

“Even if we are shaky, our practice is not shaky,” Meg says in class. “Remember to breathe, to be here, and to be with your body in this uncomfortable situation.”

And that usually is said when people are straining through moves, like sitting in low squats during Utkatasana with their heels raised from the ground in a display of balance. The subject of letting go is strong in her classes, perhaps because Meg thinks that her own learning process has been one of letting go.

Earlier that week, a student asked her about her decision to move to Savannah. She took a leap of faith, she claims, based on her love for the original Otium and the practice of yoga, and moved to Savannah without having stepped foot on the quaint cobblestones of the historic district.   

Sometimes Meg pulls out a white crystal singing bowl and its mallet. She strikes the sides to create a chiming bell sound, and begins to run the mallet in the inside of the crystal bowl and makes a high-pitched, long note. “Be in the moment,” she says as an ambulance speeds down Drayton blasting its siren, “and catch yourself when you’re tempted to leave it.”

Photo credit: Adele Trefry

After class is done, Meg retreats to her stool at the entrance of the studio. From there, she’ll talk for a minute or two to each student that leaves Otium. When someone asks what she would say about Otium to people who have never practiced yoga, Meg says, “You are welcome and you can come to Otium exactly as you are.”

She lights a stick cut off from a branch of Palo Santo and moves the stick in circles around the entrance of the studio door once, twice. “We’re all just trying to recover in some way from life. Wherever you are in your journey, know that we’re all in the same place here.”

Meg watches the trail of smoke waft from the glowing red, burning end. It ascends in a column, curls, and dissipates when a student leaves and the studio door closes. For a second, her face is cold, crystal blue eyes set on the burning edge. Then Meg lays the stick down and turns towards the door, radiant and smiling again.

“Stiff muscles,” she says. “Achy bones, flaws, and neurosis, and craziness, and anxiety… Bring it all.”

Learn more about Otium here. 

Subscribe now to the print edition or get instant access to our interactive digital edition.

Download the digital issue now!

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Events Calendar

  • A Savannah Scavenger Hunt: Historic Savannah Adventure

    Feb 19, 2020
    8:00 AM - 10:00 PM @ Savannah

    Explore beautiful Savannah. Steeped in Civil War history, you will be sure to find some new-to-you spots. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a...

  • Prohibition Cocktail Classes

    Jun 22, 2020
    6:00 PM @ American Prohibition Museum

    Monday & Tuesday evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Prohibition Cocktail Classes at Congress Street Up inside the American Prohibition Museum....

  • Free Fort Pulaski Days

    Jan 20, 2020
    All Day @ Fort Pulaski National Monhument

    Fort Pulaski National Monument will have six entrance fee-free days in 2020. The dates for 2020 are: ● Monday, January 20 – Martin...

  • First Fridays in Starland

    Jun 26, 2020
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Starland District

     Monthly arts event in Savannah’s Starland District, with street fair, art market or gallery shows. Starland doesn’t like to...

  • Georgia State Clogging Festival

    Oct 03, 2020
    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    For those that love clogging, this competition is for you! This NCHC Sanctioned competition will offer all Sanctioned Categories, Solos, and...

  • Nine Line Run for Wounded 5K/10K

    Oct 03, 2020
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

    Join the Nine Line Foundation and Nine Line Apparel this Armed Forces Day, Oct 3, 2020, for our 7th Annual 5K/10K Run for...

  • Casting Crowns: Only Jesus Tour w/Special Guest Matthew West

    Oct 08, 2020
    All Day @ Savannah Civic Center

    GRAMMY® winning multi-platinum group Casting Crowns has announced plans to extend its widely popular Only Jesus Tour into 2020, following...

  • 16th Annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest

    Oct 08, 2020
    All Day @ Tybee Island

    Escape the ordinary… if only for a weekend. Join us for the 16th Annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest! Entertainment includes live music, pirate...

  • Georgia Mountain Fall Festival

    Oct 09, 2020
    10:00 AM - 7:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    Look forward to the 2020 Fall Festival! With its mild temperatures and beautiful scenery there is no better place to be than the North Georgia...

  • 2020 SMF Fall Concert — Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers

    Oct 09, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Lucas Theatre for the Arts

    Part of a new fall concert series of rescheduled 2020 Savannah Music Festival performances, Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers will...

  • Roots & Boots 90’s Electric Throwdown tour featuring Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye

    Oct 10, 2020
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    The Roots & Boots 90’s Electric Throwdown Tour featuring legendary country artists Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, and Collin Raye is coming to the...

  • Ronnie Milsap and John Conlee

    Oct 17, 2020
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

     Local native, Ronnie Milsap, takes the stage with Country music singer, John Conlee Ronnie Milsap Born blind (his family thought it was...

  • 2020 SMF Fall Concert — Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

    Oct 17, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Johnny Mercer Theatre

    Part of a new fall concert series of rescheduled 2020 Savannah Music Festival performances, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton...

  • Pickin' & Shuckin' with Beer & Bubbles

    Oct 17, 2020
    All Day @ Tybee Post Theater

    A toast to island style in a sunset evening with roasted oysters and pig pickin' on the lawn in front of the beautifully restored Tybee Post...

  • Appalachian Brew, Stew & Que Festival

    Oct 24, 2020
    11:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

    The 2020 Appalachian Brew, Stew, & Que Festival brings you great craft breweries from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Alabama. There will...

  • Savannah Crime Expo

    Oct 24, 2020
    All Day @ Savannah Hyatt Regency Inn

    Welcome to the Savannah Crime Expo October 24, 2020. Forensic experts & special guest speakers come together to share their unique experiences....

  • The Savannah Food & Wine Fest

    Nov 09, 2020
    All Day @ Savannah

    The Savannah Food & Wine Festival celebrates the best the south has to offer in the quintessential southern, hostess city. The festival brings...

  • 2020 SMF Fall Concert — Mandolin Orange

    Nov 11, 2020
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Lucas Theatre for the Arts

    Part of a new fall concert series of rescheduled 2020 Savannah Music Festival performances, Mandolin Orange will perform live at the...

  • Festival of Laughs

    Nov 14, 2020
    All Day @ Savannah Civic Center

    Each year, the Festival of Laughs unites some of the most popular names in comedy on stage. The highly celebrated entertainers will bring down...

  • GRAY'S REEF EXPO: CELEBRATING NOAA'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

    Nov 21, 2020
    All Day @ Rousakis Plaza

    “Gray’s Reef Expo: Celebrating NOAA’s 50th anniversary” is November 21 & 22, 2020 on River Street in Savannah, Georgia. FREE to the public,...


Show More...

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Scenes of the South

Showing Appreciation for Savannah's First Responders

Harris Lowry Manton LLP presents their 7th Annual First Responder Appreciation Event in Savannah, GA.

Words of Friendship

Get your phone out. After you read This, you’ll be calling your childhood best friend.

Your New Life Awaits

For Ric Hollifield and Daniella Squicquero at The Hilton Head Life and The Beaufort Life, finding your dream home is just part of helping you write your next chapter.

Ring the Bell Twice

When children get to the end of cancer treatment, ringing the bell to signify its end is perhaps the most joyous celebration of their lives. That wasn’t necessarily the case with 13-year-old Lily Stuckey. For her, ringing the bell after two and a half years of harsh treatment was a mixture of joy and sadness.

Cadets of Salvation

Four graduates of Savannah Salvation Army’s intensive life rehabilitation program strike a pose and share their stories.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's Savannah Stopover

Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler visited The Desoto Savannah Hotel Monday on her campaign trail across the US.

Savannah's Gourmet Seafood and Spirits Festival Rollin' on the River

Supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire, Savannah's Gourmet Seafood and Spirits Festival continued with stunning views accompanied classic Savannah vibes at this unique opportunity to see the skyline from the river.

A Fabulous Derby With Woodford Reserve

Since we missed Derby Day earlier this year - Savannah's Gourmet Seafood and Spirits Festival recreated it with distancing and fresh air top of mind! Under the terraces of the Perry Lane, Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps were served with traditional derby cuisine and music to match.

Tybee Island Spikeball Champion Crowned

Some say that if volleyball and foursquare had a baby it’d be named Spikeball. To make it even more fun, the winner of rock, paper, scissors gets to pick the side or serve.

Zoom in to Kendra Scott's Newest Collection

Ashley Borders shares a sneak peak of Kendra Scott's latest jewelry collection with South.