Agame Yoga & Meditation Center, LLC
635 S. Acadian Thruway
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Phi Thuy Nguyen
Founder and Owner, ERYT 500.
Yoga Nidra Facilitator & Trainer, Meditation Teacher.
Destination Method & Professional Coach.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, Professional Speaker.
Retreat Leader, Life Balance Expert.
Ambassadors of Light, Inc. 501 ©(3)
Phi Thuy Nguyen
Founder – Owner – Instructor – Board of Directors
P: (225) 636-1891
Phi Thuy Nguyen is a free spirit at heart who now enjoys and appreciates grounding and structure, enabling her to experience her lightness of being within the details of her life.
In 2008, Phi founded Agame Yoga & Meditation Center. The studio is located at 635 S. Acadian Thruway. As of June 1, 2016, ownership passed to a non-profit organization she founded, Ambassadors of Light, a 501(c)(3) for purpose organization.
Phi leads yoga classes and workshops and conducts yoga and yoga nidra teacher training at the studio. She works with clients privately, engages in professional speaking, and creates online training content. She is deeply inspired to guide others to innovate their minds and life beyond conditioned, limiting beliefs and habits to create a life that is unique and authentic to each individual. She wants each person who comes to the center to experience their own “different kind of happy”.
“Yoga is a practice to experience a different kind of happy, practicing yoga cultivates an inner state of happiness not conditioned by the external happenings of life. This is the true power of yoga and meditation. Our inner well being is really available all the time when we know how to reconnect to it,” Phi explains.
When asked how people may reach their “different kind of happy”, Phi says, “I would tell people to begin caring how they feel. If we simply pay attention to how we feel and care to feel good in our bodies, in our minds, and in our lives; this awareness will guide us to making the choices that support the good feelings.
“We are so caught up in bus-i-ness, stress, and worries, that we don’t pay attention. We all want to feel good and ‘to be happy’, but because we are so busy, we do not make this a priority. We need to pay attention to how we feel and care about how we feel. We will be guided to the choices, actions, and relationships that support our happiness.
“When you decide, ‘I want to care about how I feel, and I want to feel good’; then you shift your thoughts to the positive and come back to being who you are meant to be. Caring how you feel will guide you to make the changes that support good feelings.”
Phi believes in staying connected to one’s inner source and being guided to the next step. She says, “My overall intention was to heal myself and help others experience their own healing.” She has received so many gifts and transformations on her path and the journey continues to reveal itself. For her, each step has been revealed as she was ready. She says one just needs to be willing.
When asked about her personal yoga journey, Phi explains, “I have done yoga on and off a long time ago but I approached it as a point of exercise and could not stay motivated. I began my journey of meditation, growth and spiritual connection in 1998 after the birth of my 2nd child. I was the Small Business Banker as well as the Assistant Branch Manager for a bank. I loved the connection with people and the opportunities to help them. When I had my 2nd child, I quit my corporate career and became a stay at home mom. I did this for myself; I wanted to look for sustainable happiness. I knew something was off even though we had a house, cars, and all the material possessions. We had the outward abundance my parents had taken the risk of escaping Vietnam and coming to America to give us. Inside, I felt there was still something missing.
“This was when I started my conscious journey, a conscious journey to finding a fulfilling happiness different from the pursuit of things. I realized I had been conditioned to believe happiness was the accumulation of more and more things. This journey brought me to my meditation teacher, Venerable Aggasami. I came back to the practice of yoga as part of my care during my 3rd pregnancy. This was when I realized yoga was actually meditation in motion, and how beneficial it was emotionally and physically. I felt so good during this pregnancy and recovered from my birthing experience so quickly; – I dropped down to my pre-pregnancy weight in one month – I was so impressed by the results, I decided to become certified to teach yoga in 2003 when my daughter was born,” Phi says.
After becoming certified to teach, Phi taught yoga all over Baton Rouge. She taught at several YMCA’s, BRCC, LSU leisure classes, then at the Women’s Wellness Center. “I was teaching about 20 classes a week. Teaching at all these locations was too much; I needed to focus and deepen my own practice. So when we had a chance to build our home, I decided to build a home studio so I could focus more. Then I opened a studio with a partner in 2006 at Towne Center. After leaving there, I went to Florida to further my studies with Yogi Amrit Desai. I reopened my home studio in 2008, and moved to the South Acadian location in August in 2010.”
At the Agame Yoga and Meditation Center, Phi and other instructors taught classes and held retreats there. In 2016, she gave the business to a 501(c)(3) for purpose non-profit organization she founded, Ambassadors of Light. She tells us, “My vision for Ambassadors of Light is to bring yoga and meditation and other integrative healing practices to children, battered women/single moms, to our veterans and to our aging population.”
Phi explains the purpose behind Ambassadors of Light, “We are all Ambassadors of the Divine Light that shines within each of us, and we invite you to shine your light and support us as Louisiana’s only 501(c)(3) for purpose and only full open contribution yoga studio! That means we want to support you in whatever way we can so you can touch your inner light and shine it forth to the world. We want to serve our underprivileged communities and bring some light where there may be difficulties and darkness. This is a community-wide effort, from the studio, from the teachers, and from our members and supporters.
“The goal is to make yoga and meditation accessible to all regardless of money. That is why the studio is a full open contribution studio. This makes us the only 501(c)(3) for purpose and full open contribution studio in Louisiana.
“I do not own the center as of June 1, 2016, Ambassadors of Light (AOL) does. The Board of Directors run it; I am one of five volunteer board members. The board is currently raising money to bring yoga and mindfulness to the children of Polk and FLAIM elementary schools this fall as well as partner with HYPE (Helping Youths Prepare for Excellence), a First United Methodist Church after-school program supporting the children of Bernard Terrace. We also want to hire an executive director to further our efforts in reaching out to more schools, support battered women and single moms and give back to our veterans and aging populations. The executive director will be the only paid person. I will continue my private coaching and consultation, lead workshops and trainings, conduct retreats, create online content and serve on the AOL board.
“I want to help people connect to the feel good place that is within them. That is why we founded the nonprofit, to make services available to others who cannot afford them. The name Ambassadors of Light empowers each of us to be one another’s ambassador, to support each other on the journey. The Light is the state of happiness and peace that is within us. The studio offers full service open contribution classes, so people can come to enjoy yoga and not let money be a factor.”
When asked what advice she would give to others on starting a business, Phi says “Do what you Love. Be among empowered people who are living their authentic lives and living their lives as they want to be and not what they were conditioned to be. The ‘thing’ is not what is important; it is the why that nurtures and sustains us.”
She advises everyone to “Know your why.” She says, “Why do you want to go into business. Let it be connected to your inner purpose; this will help you with the challenges you face and you will be able to move through the challenges more easily.
“I come from a place of healing and service, this is my why; it is to give back in a way that is empowering to people. This is an expression of gratitude for the people who sponsored us all those 30+ years ago. Through the Kindness of strangers, my families’ lives have been transformed. It just so happens that my path is yoga and meditation, but it could be anything. Your path may be owning a restaurant or another career path. It is the ‘why’ that drives us to find the expression that is in alignment with who we are. Our ‘why’ supports and sustains us and we naturally want to give back.”
Phi’s family escaped Vietnam in 1979 and lived in a refugee camp for a year. They came to America in the winter of 1980. Her family was sponsored by the families in the town of Blue Earth, Minnesota. She recalls arriving in Minnesota in the middle of winter. “The townspeople met us at the airport and wrapped us in heavy winter coats. It was a beautiful start to my time in America. I was ten years old and began grade school in Minnesota, then middle school in Kansas. We moved to Louisiana in the mid 80’s and I finished Middle School and continued on to high school in New Orleans and then Loyola University.
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Phi says, “This quote, from Edith Wharton, is one of my favorite: ‘As ambassadors, we are holding the mirror up to reflect each other’s light.’”