South Windsor’s Yoga Born Studios celebrated its one-year anniversary recently.
That the studio has been successful under owner Dawn Greenfield is both surprising and predictable.
Surprising because Greenfield admittedly did not have any experience owning a business prior to opening Yoga Born.
“It had been there in the back of my mind for a couple of years, but I kept thinking I couldn’t do it,” said Greenfield, who managed a studio for six years prior to opening Yoga Born. “I knew how to manage a studio - that is like a chess game. And I can teach yoga with my eyes closed. … But to run a business, I just thought I can’t do it. I didn’t know how to do it.”
The studio’s success has been predictable, however, because Greenfield made up for her lack of business experience with an entrepreneurial drive that even she did not know she possessed prior to opening the studio on Oct. 15, 2011.
“At the point I opened this studio, I don’t know if I had the business head,” Greenfield said in a recent interview. “I had a business plan, but I was really just driven by my desire to teach more yoga to more people and really get out there in a huge way.”
And Greenfield has done nothing if not get out into the community; she has been omnipresent at South Windsor Chamber of Commerce and community events, spreading the word about yoga and its benefits.
“A lot of people just open their business, put up their sign and wait,” Greenfield said. “That’s not what I do. I get out there and I love to do it. I love every aspect of running this business.”
The result, so far, has been a success story of a small business in a still challenging economic climate.
Greenfield said that she didn’t have goals other than the amount of revenue she needed to generate to pay the rent.
“I just assumed it was going to fall into place,” she said. “So much of it has fallen into place. And if you don’t know something, you just ask somebody.”
The type of yoga taught at Yoga Born is an amalgam of several styles designed to relieve pain, improve health and provide peace and clarity to the student, according to Greenfield.
It is not, for lack of a better term, yoga aerobics.
“What I am seeing with yoga is that it is becoming this workout routine, where the music is loud and there is a lot of fast movements,” Greenfield said. “Our goal here is to help people heal. I work with a lot of people who still have injuries. I’m working with someone right now who has had two hip replacements.”
Greenfield said that two areas in which she specializes is teaching yoga to people with traumatic brain injuries as well as to autistic children.
“I get really excited about what I do,” Greenfield said.
But she draws people from all walks of life from all over the region, including Massachusetts and Colchester, to the studio.
“They have so much fun here, they want to come back,” she said.
So much so that Greenfield plans on expanding the business going forward and to take advantage of the space she is in at 1735 Ellington Road (the Stop & Shop Plaza).
“We have 3,000 square feet, but we’re only using half of it,” she said. “The big problem for yoga studios is they start with a small space and they grow and they have nowhere to go. They have nowhere to expand that space. We’ve got that space.”
Greenfield said that she would like to use the back for yoga instruction and the front portion of the business for other rooms dedicated to other healing modalities.
“I don’t want to be someone else’s boss, I want to bring people in who want to expand their businesses,” Greenfield said.
The biggest challenge, according to Greenfield, is educating people on what she does and what is offered at Yoga Born. Greenfield said that she has been able to extol the virtues of yoga by showing her commitment to the practice.
All she does is teach yoga.
“Professionally, what sets me apart is that people become certified to teach yoga, and they maybe teach a couple of classes a week,” she said. “That’s like asking someone to fix your car who paints houses 40 hours a week, and works on cars three hours a week.”
In addition, she has connected with people through her own experiences - Greenfield said that yoga has brought her peace after a particularly difficult upbringing.
“I had my daughter when I was a sophomore in high school; I was in survival mode until about two years ago,” she said. “But I really feel like yoga helped me to heal a lot.”
No matter what the future brings, Greenfield said that she is in a good place - physically and emotionally - with the business.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “I just have so much fun with it.”
For more information on Yoga Born, visit its website here.