Staff Background

kelly smilesKelly Zimmerman, CMT, E-RYT, Certified Watsu® Practitioner,  Reiki I

Kelly Tatum is the founder of Hydra Yoga Spa and became a Certified Massage Therapist in 2009 with the goal of helping others to live with less pain and have more energy. She was mentally and physically exhausted returning home after college. Diet and traditional work-outs did nothing to help her energy, she found simple chores simply impossible and couldn’t understand where/how she lost her energy. When she found Hot Yoga and started studying with and Acupuncturist, receiving treatments from an Acupressurist and meditating with a local center she found this internal power source she had lost. It was the path to mental, physical, spiritual health.

Kelly was so inspired by her own journey she built her studio from a shared space to a blossoming, largely female, community on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. She branded her massage form “Integrated Thai Massage” and yoga style “Hydra”. The name Hydra celebrates the internal water well or spring of life-giving energy within the body. Hydra Therapy offers a wide range of massage services, and vigorous but safe yoga practices that incorporate all levels, as well as classes geared toward relaxation and mental tension.

At Hydra we know what it means to suffer from debilitating chronic fatigue and low back pain. We know the connection of physical and spiritual pain. We believe yoga saves our lives because it saved our health and the health of our many clients. We have gone from a state so weak walking around the house and doing simple household chores seemed impossible, to running, hiking, surfing and managing a small business. Through the process of her recovery, and many lifetime recoveries, Kelly’s passion to share techniques grew. Originally picking up Thai Massage out of a book she found in Barnes and Nobles and then getting her 800 hour at Virginia School of Massage in Charlottesville Virginia, she had the unique vision for Integrated Thai Massage. When she realized that some people were too stressed to receive a massage, that they need to practice allowing themselves to relax, she decided complete a rare full certification as “Watsu Practitioner” with the Minakshi in the Flordia Keys. She studied a brilliant “Hot Yoga 26” theory with the Yaxs in Richmond, Virginia. The Yax have adapted their understanding of the Bikram series with their understanding of Massage therapy, integrating Rolfing based theories. From Hot House Yoga, she continued to study Power Yoga, Meditation, Qi Gong with Rolf Gates, who can be partially accredited to liberated Vinyasa from a Power Yoga rubric. Becoming more advanced, she finally plucked up the courage to study Ashtanga Vinyasa, Pranayama, and the Sutras with David Garrigues in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Traditional Thai Massage, with its deep compressions, Acupressure points and dynamic stretching, is known for releasing the body from head to foot in less than an hour. Through Thai Reflexology, body’s aches and pains connect to the energy of the internal organs. Although she was incredibly impressed with the power of Thai Massage, Kelly still found it limiting in terms of being able to get into the muscle tissue and relieve knots. Trigger Point, Myofascial, Structural Integration and Russian Sports massage are integrated to provide Medical Massage relief. After becoming certified in massage therapy, Kelly combined both Thai and Deep Tissue to most benefit her clients without requiring them to schedule separate appointments. Thus, Integrated Thai Massage was born and Hydra Yoga was soon to follow.