Running a small business yoga studio is one very big task. It takes vision, perseverance, and the ability to ride the roller coaster of keeping the doors and hearts open for your customers. Today and everyday we honor our yoga studio partners who work around the clock to bring yoga to their local community. They wholeheartedly dedicate themselves, because they truly understand this is the place where real life, love and transformation occurs.
We have all experienced what makes a yoga studio so special. It’s the heart and soul of local community. It’s the place that new and seasoned yogis experience personal breakthroughs, and teachers inspire growth while guiding students to go deeper into their practice. This is what transformation looks like.
For this year’s Small Business Saturday, we are shining light on one special studio that brings big energy to the small yoga studio world – BIG Power Yoga in Houston, Texas. This past week, we had an opportunity to spend time with the founder of Big Power and learn a bit more about how they stay centered in the local community, while bringing BIG change to people’s lives.
Q&A with Laura Rust from BIG Power Yoga:
MDK: Describe your transformative yoga experience (1st time, game-changing moment, etc.)
BIG: During the first year of my yoga practice, it was the physical challenge that I fell in love with and it kept me engaged. After that first year, I discovered Baptiste Yoga and a bigger transformation began. I was in Austin after training with Baron Baptiste for my first weekend-long program and planned to drive back to Houston early that morning to get home in time for work. Unfortunately, I lost my keys, had to get a new set made. Then moments after finally getting my car running, I got pulled over for speeding. Normally, these types of events would leave me feeling upset, stressed and victimized. Instead, I felt responsible, powerful, and unshaken. I was "in the flow" of my life in a whole new way, in control with unwavering confidence. That's the type of transformation that I see is possible for everyone through yoga.
MDK: What was your aha moment that lead to opening of your studio?
BIG: My aha-moment happened when I understood that it didn't matter how old I was, how experienced I was, or what anyone else thought. I realized that with the right people and a big vision, anything is possible!
MDK: Tell us about your studio.
BIG: As a studio, we are committed to innovation and making the practice accessible and useful in the modern world. We offer classes almost every hour of the day, including 5:30am and 10:00pm – a rare opportunity for the community to find time to practice even with the busiest schedules. We aim to make our core values of community, integrity, possibility, empowerment and fun present in everything we do. We use the principles and methodology of the practice to run our business—from our yoga classes, retail store, emails, to interactions with practitioners, its done mindfully and kindly.
MDK: How long has Big Power Yoga been in business? What have been some of the challenges? The rewards? What aspect is the most rewarding?
BIG: We have been in business since February 2012. Our biggest challenge has been growing quickly while maintaining the integrity of our core values and mission. We are constantly inspired by the stories we hear about how our practice and community have changed people's lives –that’s the most rewarding part of job.
MDK: How do you get new and seasoned yogi's to your studio?
BIG: People find out about our yoga studio primarily through word of mouth. When someone is experiencing a transformation from their practice and from being a part of our community, they can't help but want to bring their friends and family in to check it out!
MDK: How do you find the balance between looking at yoga as a business and yoga as a practice?
BIG: We find that both work together –when one is working, so is the other. It’s a simple outlook, but an accurate reflection on our success. The practice is the core; we need it to be the strongest for the business aspect to thrive.
MDK: What is your approach to managing the business?
BIG: We strive to do the best we can with the tools we have. Instead of getting caught up in what we lack, we stay focused on yoga’s transformational possibilities—using the practice as our tools for resourcefulness, pushing through challenging times, and focusing on the present.
MDK: What advice would you offer a 1st-time yogi?
BIG: Come as you are – there isn’t one way to be a yogi. Yoga is beneficial for all and with consistent practice you will see the results you needed.
MDK: What is your advice for future yoga studio owners?
BIG: We would tell future yoga studio owners to trust themselves and have the courage to do things differently. Let things get a little messy—it builds character! We have learned that the things we didn’t know beforehand have provided the biggest opportunities for us to create and innovate.
MDK: How do you define yoga & the practice?
BIG: We define it as being consistently committed to growing and discovering something new—constant growth. It’s what yoga is all about, honoring that shifts happen. At our studio, we offer programs that simplify yoga principles, making them applicable to daily life. Most recently, we offered a 40-Day Program dedicated to exploring how we practice on and off the mat.
MDK: How do you apply your yoga practice off the mat?
BIG: We apply our yoga practice off the mat through authentic, vulnerable conversations with supportive friends and family. To us, yoga off the mat is anytime we commit to something outside of ourselves – letting go of ego and practicing ultimate selflessness.