story by Carol Lauvray
photos by Paul Nurnberg
Brittney Hiller is a young woman with an engaging smile who exudes cheerfulness and enthusiasm. With her optimistic outlook, positive energy and effervescent spirit, she’s made her dreams come true.
A yoga and wellness practitioner, Brittney is the owner of Effervescence Yoga Studio and Spa in Port Royal, where she teaches yoga and meditation and practices massage therapy. She shares some insight about herself on the Effervescence website, “My love for meditation, yoga, and all things mindfully driven began when I became obsessed with a fun television show known as Dharma & Greg…and I wanted to be all things Dharma—a yoga teacher, with a fun-loving attitude, and head over heels for my straight-laced seeming husband.” Her obsession with yoga began when she was only 15 years old, right here in Beaufort. “That was way before yoga was ‘mainstream’ and before yoga pants were a ‘thing’,” she explains. Now just 35 years old, Brittney has achieved the goals she set for herself as a teen, and in record time. Within just six months of opening her yoga studio Effervescence in July 2017, it was voted “2018 Best Yoga Studio” by Eat Sleep Play Beaufort, while the publication The Island News voted Effervescence “Favorite Yoga Studio for 2018” and voted Brittney Hiller “Favorite Massage Therapist for 2018.” In addition, Brittney’s been married to her own version of Dharma’s straight-laced Greg, her husband Andrew, since 2011. She smiles broadly as she describes him, “Andrew is left-brained and more straight and narrow, while I’m more creative and outgoing, so he keeps me grounded.”
Brittney was first transplanted to Beaufort in the tenth grade as a “military brat”—and she has been coming back ever since. “I call it the rubber-band effect,” she explains. “I moved to Beaufort in 1998 and attended Battery Creek High School while my dad was a Marine stationed here. After high school, in 2003 I moved back to San Diego with my family, but just a few months later I returned to Beaufort for a while to visit a boyfriend. In 2004, I came back to Beaufort again and shortly after that, I moved to Charleston for several years. Then in 2008, I moved back to Beaufort to live.”
Finding Her Bliss In Beaufort
While first living in Beaufort during her tenth grade year, Brittney found yoga through a dance class at school. She says her dance teacher at Battery Creek High introduced her to yoga as a way to warm up before and cool down after dancing. “After my first yoga experience when I was in my final relaxation pose, I knew two things: 1) I’m hooked for life, and 2) I want to teach this.”
“After high school, I kept practicing yoga at home using yoga DVDs and when I moved back to Beaufort in 2008 I, took yoga classes at the YMCA in Port Royal. A yoga teacher there, Shelley Lowther, opened her Dancing Dogs yoga studio in Beaufort in 2010, so I worked for her and took yoga classes in return. While I was at Dancing Dogs, I received 200 hours of yoga training and became certified as an instructor in Baptiste-inspired Yoga, Laughter Yoga and Kids Yoga,” Brittney states.
Kids Yoga involves singing, imagination and play, she explains. “In the Downward dog position, we pretend we’re dogs and bark; in the Cat and Cow positions, we meow and moo. It’s great for kids to open up their imaginations! Laughter Yoga is my way of bringing Kids Yoga into the adult world because it also relies on the imagination and playfulness of those participating.”
Brittney expanded her wellness expertise by attending the Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) in 2010 and 2011 to earn certification as a Massage Therapist. TCL’s Massage Therapy program involves courses in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and hands-on massage therapy training, she says.
In 2012 Brittney branched out on her own as The Outdoor Yogini—a Yogini is a woman who does yoga, she explains. During that period, she held yoga classes outdoors in a variety of venues, including: at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort; in her own neighborhood; at the Port Royal Amphitheater; and in Charleston at Charles Towne Landing. For the next four years, Brittney worked with Martha O’Regan at TheraVista on Lady’s Island, focusing on the mind-body connection of clients by teaching yoga.
It was during this period, that Brittney also became the author of a children’s book, The Little Laughing Yogini (available on Amazon.com), “a short story of a girl on an epic journey to find her bliss, who learns that her bliss is laughter.” Brittney says she understands the power that laughter has to rejuvenate the body and inspire a youthful spirit. “Every class I teach includes laughter and a sense of play!” she emphasizes. “Through The Little Laughing Yogini, I have also created Little Yoga PlayShops, which give me the opportunity to introduce yoga to Elementary School children and to offer breathing, mindfulness, and yoga in their classrooms—both in person and virtually via the Internet.”
Brittney and her Effervescence Yoga Studio and Spa have not only earned accolades and acclaim since it opened last summer, but the business also has expanded from the first floor of its location at 1613 Parris Avenue in Port Royal to include the upstairs of the building as well—a testament to the popularity of Brittney’s approach to her wellness practice and the classes and services she offers. The Effervescence website www.effervescenceyogaspa.com outlines a variety of services and classes—from an array of massage and body treatments, to many types of yoga classes designed for all levels from beginners to advanced students, and including therapeutic chair yoga. Yoga classes are available in the mornings and evenings. The various spa services and yoga classes are all described on the website and can be scheduled there online.
With her attitude of thankfulness and optimism, Brittney has embraced the opportunities life has presented and she continues to seek happiness and joy in everything she does, even though she has faced some extremely challenging circumstances in the past. When asked how she sees her business evolving, Brittney shares that she truly appreciates the success of her yoga studio and spa and the opportunity to pay her three yoga teachers well. As an entrepreneur she envisions the future, saying, “I’d like to expand my business to other locations outside Beaufort, maybe even nationally.” Brittney Hiller is a young woman who practices what she teaches others—how to create a positive lifestyle and spirit with ef·fer·ves·cence (noun: vivacity and enthusiasm).