From the places where principles of yoga and holistic wellness – or even more broadly, of spirituality and consciousness in general – meet and intersect with the principles, practicalities, and world of business, emerge rich and ripe opportunities to do business differently, to ‘do good,’ and to create ripples of change in both small and big ways.
"The business of yoga" – or similar terms, like mindful or conscious business, or sacred commerce – capture the essence of this intersection between and integration of the ancient, spiritual practice of yoga and its adaptation into modern business and/or entrepreneurship models and endeavors. It involves the marketing, management, and development of yoga- or wellness-related products and services, and provides economic opportunities, all while taking on the beneficial and worthwhile challenge of balancing commercial success with the ethos and values of traditional yogic philosophy, values, ethics, principles, and practices.
This month we are highlighting five Namaspa community members and entrepreneurs who have created incredible yoga-inspired businesses – three who have created unique product-based businesses and two who have built creative businesses with yoga, mindfulness, and other wellness-based services and offerings at their heart. The business journeys of all five of these innovative individuals were and are inspired by their personal journeys as practitioners and teachers of yoga, mindfulness, and transformation. I bet you can relate to the experience of having great ideas ‘find you’ while on your mat! And many of you will of course recognize these individuals either by name and/or by their products or offerings:
Deven Sisler, founder of her own kids yoga and mindfulness teacher training and author of The Yamas in Pajamas: A Guide to Getting Started with Yoga for Kids and their Adults;
As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, and as the former boutique buyer for YogaWorks in Santa Monica, Amy has and brings a wealth of fashion and retail experience. After moving to Bend and graduating from Namaspa’s 200-hour yoga teacher training, Amy launched her own retail presence in the studio with Soul Sutra Collective. She travels the world to bring back unique, fashionable, and useful treasures at reasonable prices. Amy has an eye for finding styles that inspire the soul, and she seeks fashion and fitness apparel and accessories to inspire women to look and feel their best. In the Bend and Redmond studio lobbies, you’ll always find the latest brands and styles for your active lifestyle, specially curated for the Namaspa Yoga Community by Amy (who is also a SAVVI Fit Stylist).
Deven is a forerunner in making the esoteric accessible and fun! She has been teaching yoga to adults and children since 2005, and AcroYoga since 2007. She currently offers private weekly classes, manages Namaspa's Children's Programs and Kids Teacher Trainings, and just this year, published her first book, The Yamas in Pajamas: A Guide to Getting Started with Yoga for Kids and their Adults.
Deven welcomes parents, grandparents, current yoga teachers, educators, counselors, caregivers, therapists, and everyone who wants to share the practice of yoga with children to learn to teach children well in these modern, changing times.
Beginning in January, Deven (and Lauren below) are co-facilitating a month-long business bootcamp series for current and aspiring yoga and wellness professionals who want to take their offerings to the next level! You can learn more about and register for “The Business of Yoga” here.
Lauren (@laurensrealm) has been a full-time energy-worker, sound-healer, and yoga and meditation teacher for the last decade. Resonance by Lauren is her inspirational yoga and holistic wellness business, built on her creation of unique offerings such as: sound healing, energy work, yoga, breathwork, meditation, moon circles, special events, and ceremonies. Lauren offers private classes and group sessions at both the Bend and Redmond studios, and starting in January, she is co-facilitating “The Business of Yoga” with Deven.
About her motivation to co-create and offer The Business of Yoga workshop series, she shares: “Like most yogis, I didn't get into the business of yoga to make money, but to make a difference in my community. But the yoga industry is worth $105.9 billion, and this number is expected to reach $215 billion by 2025. I truly believe there is a piece of that pie available to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world, while also being financially supported by yoga and making a stable living doing purposeful work. Having a non-traditional career has allowed me the freedom to create my own schedule in favor of being a present and involved mother. It has given me opportunities to travel around the country and the world. I've been able to focus on my own well-being, while simultaneously being a guide to and for others. And it has given me the opportunity to show up, every day, to a job I truly love and find so much personal fulfillment in.”
As with many, or even most yoga teachers and yoga entrepreneurs, Sharon’s journey began on her own mat. She shares: “It wasn't always sun salutations and downward-facing dogs – my yoga story began in the trenches of PTSD and trauma, where breath became my anchor and movement my therapy.”
Through her own journey of healing and transformation, Sharon started Mukha Yoga as a way to create a space where, through the simple practices of yoga and breath, everyone would be welcome. Built on the foundation of Sharon’s e-commerce and online retail experience, Mukha has grown into a successful international marketplace for all-things-sustainable in yoga clothing and gear. Reflections of Sharon’s deeply-rooted personal study and practice can be seen in her leadership of the company, as well as how the ethical considerations and principles of the yamas and niyamas are the bedrock of Mukha’s mission, and sustainability the company’s guiding compass.
For Sharon and her teams, “living with integrity, non-violence, and self-discipline aren’t just ideals, and sustainability isn’t just a trend. These values guide us in the day-to-day, as well as through times of chaos, like COVID. They keep us grounded, resilient, and connected to a deeper purpose. We're fiercely committed to reducing our environmental footprint; we continuously explore ways to mitigate our impact; and we partner with eco-conscious vendors who share our values. At Mukha, we believe caring for the planet means caring for the majestic creatures and vibrant communities we share it with.”
Beau is French for beautiful. Ram is the seed sound of the third chakra, where intuition resides. And therefore, BeauRam translates as beautiful all-knowing. For Stephanie, BeauRam Yoga also grew out of her own healing and transformation journey. She writes: "I tell my students yoga
saved my life. As I healed through my yoga and meditation practice, and began feeling empowered, I wanted to share with others. So, I became a yoga teacher. It was during that time that I realized there was not one bag on the market that carried everything I needed for my workday, as well as my yoga practice. I also wanted to be able to carry my mat vertically, so I would stop getting stuck in doorways and could keep my ‘true north’ spinal alignment, even while wearing a backpack. Since I was unable to find the perfect yoga bag, I made one.”
The BeauRam backpack is a favorite among Namaspa teachers and students for many reasons, including the multiple position options for carrying our yoga mats; two places for carrying large water bottles; and the versatility to carry it as a backpack, or tuck the straps away for easy storage on flights, for example. The BeauRam pack also features several convenient compartments for props and accessories and a removable zipper bag for sweaty clothes. BeauRam is a conscious company that works locally to create globally, and Stephanie is currently in the process of moving all product-manufacturing to India and Nepal where she has personally vetted and is working with manufacturers that create Global Fair Trade jobs for women escaping sex slavery and human trafficking. BeauRam packs are available in a variety of colors and patterns online and in the Bend and Redmond studio lobbies. Stephanie also wants to share: "There’s been so much encouragement and support along the way, and I want to thank everyone who has supported me and my dream."
So, whether you’re looking for personal inspiration to go after and fulfill your own big dreams, ways to treat yourself, or gift ideas for loved ones in your life, keep these amazing entrepreneurs and their businesses in mind! Every time you buy one of their products or attend one of their offerings, not only are you supporting ‘local’ at the Central Oregon-level and at the level of the NYC community, you’re also putting dollars behind the belief that doing business differently – centered around principles and practices like mindfulness; non-violence and peace; honesty and transparency; accessibility and inclusion; community engagement; and environmental consideration and sustainability – really does matter and creates change. It takes commitment, courage, and willpower to start and run a business, and it takes all of these and a lot of heart and soul to create and sustain businesses dedicated to transformation, change, and the greater good. We hope you are as inspired as we are!
In addition to being able to get fashion-forward and sustainable yoga clothing and gear in the boutiques in both the Bend and Redmond studios, remember you can also get things like NYC gift certificates for yoga, workshops, massages, and/or ayurvedic treatments, as well as some wellness and beauty items like doTERRA essential oils and custom blends (stewarded by Lesley Barr at the Bend studio and Lorin Croft Matekel in Redmond).
Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about Deven and Lauren’s upcoming month-long bootcamp, “The Business of Yoga,” you can check it out online, or write to us at email@example.com with any questions. Completion of this course provides 10 hours toward Kids Yoga Teacher Training with Deven; NYC’s 500-hour yoga teacher training; and/or Yoga Alliance CEU’s.