Last month we kicked off Campaign for New B’s by highlighting Yards Brewery, we had a blast learning all about their process, and even stopped in for a few brews ourself with the Philly Collective. This month, we’re all about yoga. If you haven’t already noticed, yoga seems to be taking the city by storm. It makes sense for yoga studios to be sustainable, but is it feasible? Luckily we met Dawn of MotherHeart Yoga Studio in Fishtown. Her small studio is becoming a big pioneer for other studios working to be more sustainable. We sat down with her at her studio on Girard to learn more.
What sets MotherHeart Yoga studio apart from others?
The mission statement. We’re dedicated to nurturing and supporting truth seekers. Those looking for true meaning and not accepting practice at face value. There’s no ‘end’ to yoga, so we want to highlight whole story, using practice as a doorway to understand a much larger perspective.
What made you start the studio?
It’s been a long time in the making, I was working with Urban Roots (now Threshold) and was potentially going to take over the wellness center, it was really small for yoga though! As I outgrew that space, it served as the push I needed after teaching for others for 17 years to start something on my own.
The most rewarding part of running a yoga studio & business:
There’s a few! Being able to nurture someone’s experience from the moment they walk in, walk with them through the journey. It’s not just teaching a class and then leaving, it’s trying to create a relationship where the teacher can hold a certain level of responsibility within the path of someone’s personal growth. Now that I have my own space, I feel as though that relationship is much deeper, the practice much deeper. I can see growth in people and the community!
The most challenging part:
Resisting a culture of modern day yogis that have this idea that a yoga teacher should always be pleasing, peaceful and palpable. It creates communities that can’t deal with conflict. There’s lots of passive aggressiveness and avoidance of any conflict at all. Trying to resist this means finding a balance between being authentic human being and also a leader of a community. Sometime it's good to be direct, to have a healthy conflict, counteract people’s viewpoints.
Most important lesson learned in running a business:
How categorized my spirituality was when I started. I thought I was balanced, but then going through the process of getting permits, etc., created a lot of anxiety, stress, frustration. I was thinking – “wait I’m trying to manage stress and just a little permit can get me so upset!?” It was very humbling to face that. 98% of getting started was out of my comfort zone and skill set. It was all very eye opening. Teaching was natural and I couldn’t see how yoga translated to dealing with LNI.
How becoming more sustainable helped your business?
Reducing waste was incredibly helpful to cut costs, and create a low overhead from the beginning. I try to use things from home, choosing Dr. Bronners (which I also use in my home). I also see the slow growth of the studio as sustainable, not having a ton of people who come at one time, not having that be a goal, but having long-term growth.
I encourage teachers to ride their bikes, which I feel creates a different mindset. When teachers are riding their bike to the studio, they come more ready to teach. The mind is more slow, more in touch with the elements. I am also involved with anti-fracking and have met a lot of people who may now be more inclined to practice yoga, to move towards more vision.
How can it help other businesses in the yoga industry?
Some studios don’t make the connection, that being environmentally sustainable is yoga. One of the pillars of yoga is ahimsia, which means non-harm. This is the umbrella in which all yoga philosophy is coming from. Calling other studios to a deeper level of ahimsia, or at least making the connection, encourages them to see sustainability through lens of yoga.
Any events that we should know about that we can promote? (I.e., beer brewing, printmaking, financial literacy, etc.)
Next teacher training starts Sept. 17th. It’s a 12 Week intensive through the Yoga Alliance, a 200 hour certification program.
How would you describe your business impact in 3 words?
Reeducating. Deconditioning. Compassionate (to suffer with).
Where’s your favorite spot in Philly?
Wissahickon Park – I got married there! They have a beautiful Blue heron there.
What do you do when you get home from a long day at the office?
Watch Walking Dead (need balance right?!) Or hang out with my family, my husband and two step-daughters, go hiking and play sports. I’m on a soccer and softball team.
Philly sweet-treat of choice?
Going out to eat in general! We frequent Lloyds, which is right across the street.
Mode of transportation around the city?
Bike, walking is a big one, car or motorcycle!
What’s your spirit animal?
Frog, they’re a magician and shape shifter.
This post was written by Sylvie Luzio, Communications Intern.