A Louisville Heart
Abica Dubay, owner of YOGAST8 (pronounced Yoga State), is a woman with a self-proclaimed “L.A. soul and a Louisville heart.” She is pouring that heart and soul into bringing a new offering to the Louisville yoga scene. Her studio, which opened in June, is the only Vinyasa flow studio in the city to use all infrared heating panels.
Abica, the daughter of two teachers, grew up in the Highlands, but she had a dream that took her away from her beloved Bluegrass State. As an aspiring actress and graduate from the Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) at Manual, she embraced the chance to head to L.A. to attend the California Institute of the Arts. While in L.A., she honed her acting skills and began her yoga journey. “L.A. is in my soul. I feel like I really grew up there,” says Abica of her twenties in the City of Angels.
After completing college, she pursued her acting dreams full force, heading to audition after audition. When she wasn’t acting, she was working other jobs to make ends meet. One such job was as a nanny, for whom she referred to as a quintessential L.A. couple. They were such a great family, she remembers, “but so different from how I grew up.” Her experiences highlighted the difference from her own upbringing. “There is a sense of groundedness that Louisville and Kentucky have. L.A. is so wonderful but so chaotic and crazy.” Her practice evolved, and she began teaching yoga classes in L.A., spending more and more time on her mat. After more than a decade of L.A. life, Abica felt it was time for a change. She had chased her acting dream and given it her all but says, “I eventually started to want to be on my mat more than going out to auditions. That was really telling for me.”
Just as her mat was calling to her, so was Louisville. She was longing for home. However, love kept her in L.A. just a little longer as her fiance had just opened a restaurant. She and now-husband Rob Rice, executive chef at Grassa Gramma and director of operations at Belle Noble, made the move back to Louisville two years ago, with their two dogs and cat in tow. The couple tied the knot in 2019 at the Faul Family Riverside Farm. Embracing her Kentucky roots, they invited their L.A. friends for what Abica said was “a good ol’ Kentucky barn wedding.
“Louisville gives me all the good feels,” Abica says. After such a long time away, she had to get to know the city again. “So much had changed, and I fell in love with Louisville all over again,” she recalls. She immersed herself in yoga locally, started teaching at various studios, and got to know the fitness scene. She met her business partner, Deanna Durrett, and through their connection YOGAST8 was born. “L.A. made me the woman I am today. I am so excited to now settle in Louisville as that woman and let things grow,” Abica says. The studio is already planning events and fundraisers with the intent of making Louisville a better place. Ultimately, Abica says, “We hope that we can help people find a little more peace of mind, a little more clarity, and a little more hope.”