Once my brother’s transition [from life to death] was made, it got me through the mourning process. My Yoga practice helped me make that shift. It also got me thinking that maybe working a 9to5 job is not for me. I asked myself “what am I passionate about?” – Yoga!
When I’m interacting with my friends, I try and make sure I give them the power and confidence to make decisions and make sure they are living your life in a positive way and are happy. I give them tools and confidence in order to live a better life at whatever stage they are.
Being that you are one of the few African-American entrepreneurs in the Yoga industry, do you feel that you have inspired other people of color to practice Yoga?
Being on Yoga Journal covers has helped. I’m a dark skinned woman, so many say “if she can do it, I can do it too.” Women of color come up to me saying they feel more comfortable going to classes.
How do you encourage/promote health and fitness specifically to African-Americans?
I don’t directly [promote to African-Americans], but it happens naturally via my messages and techniques are going out to the general public. Women and men tend to latch on to that and take it as their own.
What advice can you give aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to enter into the field of Yoga/wellness?
I used to have another studio with a business partner. If you do have a business partner, you have to determine what the pros and cons are and [ask yourself] do you feel comfortable working alone? Are you productive in that way? Are you able to bring on more staff to assist in making the business run well? If you are splitting profit, you have to determine what your respective responsibilities will be for the business.
Also, people are very connected to their passion. They forget that is a business and you have to have a business plan, think strategically, be a strong empowering entrepreneur and take chances. Treat it like it is a Fortune 500 company. Hire quality people and go through all of reference checks. Go through your financials and if you can’t figure out the numbers, ask for help and make sure you are tracking things on a monthly basis.
What are your plans for the future?
I am definitely going to do a retreat in Belize in 2013 and there will be more DVDs and more magazine writing. A Yoga teacher training will be starting soon, which I want to take to the west coast as well as internationally.
Next up in our week-long Yogapreneur series: Chicago’s Yirsir Ra Hotep