Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolina Vennie.
Carolina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I fell in love with yoga 11 years ago, when I was juggling a stressful corporate job, an MBA program at Georgetown University and all of the messy emotions of being a single gal in my 20s. I desperately needed a place to unwind, breathe, and figure out what the heck I really wanted for myself.
I took my first yoga class at Tranquil Space in D.C. with a mixture of skepticism and excitement. What began as an addition to my weekly workout routine, started taking effect in other areas of my life, and over time, the practice made me feel strong, balanced, and confident. My mind started to clear, my creativity came back to life, and I found myself taking everything a little less seriously. Yoga made me feel… like me.
From those early days on my mat at Tranquil Space, I started playing with the idea of opening my own yoga studio, so that I could share this amazing practice with anyone willing to give it a shot. I moved to Houston in February 2014, I quit my corporate job in October 2015, signed a lease for a tiny space in Montrose the following month, and welcomed my first student to Yogaleena on January 18, 2016.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ha, no, I wouldn’t say it has been a smooth road at all… but it’s been a journey packed with learning and rewarding moments that have more than made up for the challenges I’ve encountered along the way. I think the biggest struggle for me and for anyone considering entrepreneurship is actually going for it, starting it, doing it. Although there are more and more independently owned businesses every day, this is still considered to be a less conventional and riskier choice, and doing it requires an overhaul of traditional interpretations of “success” and “achievement”.
Doing your own thing means you put your whole heart out there for others to either like or dismiss what you have to offer, and that is a very vulnerable place for people to get comfortable in. I remember the first time I ever got a poor rating from a Class Pass client clearly looking for a sweatier class… it felt like a punch to the gut and made me question everything! It’s hard not to take things personally when your business is a reflection of you, but I’ve had to learn to separate my self-worth from Yogaleena and accept that we cannot and will not please every single person out there. On a more operational level, I think building the right team with whom to run your business can truly make or break you. Through a bit of trial and error, I have found a tribe of teachers and co-leaders that have really helped me not only run but enjoy owning the studio. My advice would be to get a good support network in place before launching a business so that you have people to bounce ideas off of, get encouragement from when things aren’t going your way, and rely on when you need some time away.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Yogaleena Studio – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Yogaleena is a cozy and whimsical yoga studio offering a wide variety of yoga classes and workshops. We pride ourselves in being a non-intimidating (and very beautifully decorated!) space to practice yoga in, regardless of experience or ability, where we celebrate creativity, mindfulness, service, and connection over flexibility and calories burned. I believe it’s our grounded and accessible approach to yoga, along with an incredible teaching team, that sets us apart.
My vision as a yoga teacher has always been to provide students with an integrated experience, not just a sequence of postures. Through intention, music, breath-work, and mindful movement, our classes offer a retreat from every day and give students a chance to connect with their bodies, minds, spirits on a completely different level.
I am so proud of the warm, welcoming energy that has drawn like-hearted people from all over into our space. On more than one occasion, friends and family of loved ones getting cancer treatment at the Medical Center have joined us for a few weeks or months. Receiving their letters of gratitude for giving them a safe space to release, relax, and feel supported has been the highlight of my experience as the owner of Yogaleena.
Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
Oh, absolutely! I believe women are uniquely positioned to be leaders because our natural ability to listen, collaborate, and inspire is essential to effecting change in today’s culturally diverse environment. Women invest strongly in their relationships and therefore build authentic, open and honest connections with people. This gives us an unparalleled view of what the market really needs and helps us build strong and wide networks that support our endeavors. In my case, I know a lot more than just my students’ first names — I know where they work, their relationship status, and their dog’s name. Yogaleena members are fiercely loyal supporters of my business because they are fiercely loyal supporters of me, the human behind the studio whom they have gotten to know and share their stories with. They are also not afraid to provide candid feedback, which only makes our offering of classes and workshops stronger.
Women today wear a multitude of hats – professional, mother, wife, friend, psychotherapist, facilitator, etc. We have an incredible ability to adapt quickly and gracefully to change and have grown ever more resilient and resourceful in the face of adversity. If we could collectively step forward out of our fear and self-doubt and take our rightful place as leaders and healers of our society, I believe the world would be a better place.
- New Student Special: 30 days for $30 unlimited yoga
- Unlimited Monthly Membership $89/month
- 10-Class Package: $150
- Address: Yogaleena Studio
2621 S Shepherd Dr #230
Houston, TX 77098
- Website: www.yogaleenastudio.com
- Phone: 832-767-3843
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/yogaleenastudio/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/yogaleenastudio/
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