Abby Dougherty’s Friends Find Peace With Yoga Memorial


“May I find peace. May I be happy. May I be filled with ease,” yoga instructor Janke Mains told the friends and peers of Abby Dougherty.

In the classes Mains teaches he normally uses the phrase, ‘may I be healthy,’ but not during this class.  On Wednesday night, he reminded more than 100 students ‘to ‘find peace’ in honor of Abby’, a yoga enthusiast.

Mains was one of the lead instructors of a meditative class organized by University of Florida Department of Recreational Sports. It was held next to the Baughman Center on the University of Florida campus.

People who knew Dougherty or had a connection to her unrolled their yoga mats to remember a life that ended too soon.

Last Friday, Dougherty was hit and killed by a garbage truck while riding her bicycle across West University Avenue.

The friends she left behind said they are celebrating her tonight, especially those who shared similar passions with her.

“My favorite memory of her is learning to love myself through yoga,” said Rugiyatu Kane, Dougherty’s coworker.

Mains has similar feelings. He spent 200 hours working alongside Dougherty to acquire his yoga certification.

“She was something special. Even when she wasn’t talking she exuded light…she could just take you out of this funk and bring you to be positive. It was magical being in her class.”

In the crowd students were quietly crying and consoling each other.  In the back was Dougherty’s roommate, Erin Park.

After the memorial class finished, Erin Park mentioned the last few days have been tough.

“The first time I went to the apartment was this Tuesday. Her family came to move the stuff out,” said Park.

That’s the day Park and Dougherty’s mom went through Abby’s bedroom and kept belongings that were special to them.

“It was tough, but a positive experience…On Tuesday we filled that room with laughter again.”

Park said she laughed after finding Letty’s (the dog they shared together) toys in Dougherty’s bed.

Park said the apartment has an empty feeling now.

“You could always figure out if she was home by whether she was laughing or not because you could hear her laughter miles away.”

Now three days after returning home she’s looking forward to continuing to celebrate Dougherty with their closest friends, especially at midnight when Dougherty’s would have turned 21.

“We always have the birthday boy or girl get a cupcake and blow out the candle. So tonight we are going to get one and blow it out at midnight and have a little piece of her.”

Today it would have been Dougherty’s 21st birthday, but also the day her funeral will be held.

Park said her parents planned it that way.

About Danielle Prinz

Danielle is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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