From Teacher to Yoga Studio Owner

This entry was posted on Jun 26, 2012 by Barbara Denowh.
yoga studio

The Home of $5 Yoga

From Teacher to Yoga Studio Owner

Two years ago, while at a retreat at Feathered Pipe Ranch with Cora Wen, I got an intriguing phone call.

I had been teaching yoga for a couple of years at local gyms and really liked it. I had a regular following. I was consistent and non-flakey so I started to get the time slots that I wanted (more precious than gold; if you have taught at gyms, you know what I mean!). In addition to my five to seven classes a week at the gym, I finally got offered a spot to teach at my favorite local studio! And I was working a day job. Things were rolling right along.

And there I was, plugging away, when I decided to take a week for myself. Granted, Feathered Pipe is in my back yard and I had to get a scholarship to be able to go, but that week resulted in two life-changing events.

First, I met Cora. When I had decided to do a week at the ranch, I picked up a brochure at looked at all of these “famous” teachers and the only one who actually looked happy and smiling was Cora. It was a good decision, even if it was a random one. That week I met my teacher—a teacher who taught me an entirely different way of practicing, of looking at yoga, of looking at life, and of possibilities. It was love at first sight or practice as it were. Cora would explain it differently. She saw me as the quiet, standoffish girl who set up under the stairs and just took it all in. She made my head spin. She still does in a totally challenging and inspiring way.

And, it is funny that I got the phone call right after I had made the decision that Cora was the one. Back-to-back life-changing events.

Second, I got the call. The call that put my life and my teaching on an entirely different trajectory. It was a call from a yoga teacher in town who had a little yoga studio. She told me she was leaving to teach retreats in Mexico. Did I want to come in and chat and maybe take over?

Um, f*&# yes!

The road was quite rocky to begin with. The yoga studio was a sublease from a Pilates studio. I taught there for a bit and then the lease fell through, so I adapted. Then there was the chance to sublease and share the space for more than I was comfortable paying. I’m a pretty conservative person so it was surprising that I went for it.

I continued that way for over a year—a month-to-month sublease that I thought I might lose at any moment. In December I signed an actual lease.

yoga studio

Peaceful Paschimottanasana

Patience Builds a Yoga Studio

I have put my heart and soul into my little yoga studio and into my teaching. I have been frugal, spending only what I need which means the studio has no bells and whistles. I slowly built up a stockpile of props. I slowly built up a clientele by being consistent and affordable.

The affordable part has caused me to take some heat. My yoga studio is the home of $5 yoga. The only person who thought I could pull it off was my wonderful, supportive husband. I got a lot of emails from other teachers and studio owners calling me out for not being honest about making it work, that I must have some help. Yes. Of course I had help. We all have help. Instead of a small business loan, my husband supported me while I saw what I could make of it.

Two years later I am a yoga teacher and yoga studio owner. I quit my day job and my gym gigs and after a lot of hard work am actually making a living teaching not just yoga, but $5 yoga.

I am remarkably happy and blessed. I am exhausted by the end of the week. I love my yoga studio and my students. And I’m celebrating by taking next week off.

(Peaceful Paschimottanasana photo is by Jessi Bennion Photography.)

About Barbara Denowh

9 responses to “From Teacher to Yoga Studio Owner”

  1. Avatar Flying Yogini says:

    you are fantastic.. seriously: wise, honest and a yogi I totally admire!! xo

  2. Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

    What a wonderful thing you’re doing in bringing affordable yoga classes to your community. Commitment and patience make for a strong, grounded yoga space. Congratulations!

  3. Avatar Babs says:

    @flying yogini: thanks, friend! i’m having a lot of fun!

    @charlotte: thank you for all of your support!

  4. Avatar Anna says:

    Yay, Babs! You are such an inspiration, and I love how transparent you have been about your whole process. Congrats on the continued growth of your studio!

  5. Avatar Babs says:

    Thanks, Anna! And, thanks for being the one I run to when I’m freaking out!

  6. Avatar Emmanuelle says:

    Yeah you go Babs! Congrats on your lil’ studio, what a journey!

  7. Avatar Babs says:

    Thanks, Emma! It is very sweet.

  8. Avatar Babs says:

    Michelle, I still feel that way every day!

  9. Avatar Michele Mathiesen says:

    I remember your face after you got that call….you looked like a kid on Christmas morning! So happy for you!

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