Episode 27: Alison Whelan of Breathe and Believe Yoga
Today I'm speaking with Alison Whelan of Breathe and Believe Yoga. BaBY is a business built not around one specific brick and mortar space, but around many. This structure is because Alison's business works with community centers, shelters and outreach programs to bring yoga to underserved parts of our communities.
The concept of "I'll just go to a yoga class" isn't one that's available to everyone. Actually the yoga industry is pretty limited in who it serves; usually people that are privileged in some way, whether it be through time, money or community. That's why what Alison Whelan is doing with her business Breathe and Believe Yoga is so important. When the idea of BaBY came to her, Alison was going through yoga teacher training and was involved with the organization Horizons for Homeless Children. She asked her boss if she could hold a yoga class for the parents of the children at the shelter and through that experience something clicked into place. Alison realized that she could take her idea higher by providing underserved communities with all benefits and tools that yoga provides.
"There are always going to be steps forward, even if they're small" -Alison Whelan
I don't just admire Alison because of her desires to bring positive change, I also admire her natural business sense. You'll hear a lot of tips and thoughts around growing a business from nothing, establishing relationships with the people that will help elevate your business and why long term vision is so important. We also delve into trauma sensitivity and the role the yoga plays in healing the mind, the body and the connection between the two.
Alison was a pleasure to speak with and I'm so grateful that she took the time to share her vision with Keeping Shop. Enjoy the show.
We talk about:
- Why it's important not to get too attached to the end goal and to let a business grow organically.
- Why you need to treat any young business like a "real business."
- How her business school background has helped her establish necessary systems for building the business on a solid foundation.
- What it's like applying for non-profit status and why you need that standing for credibility.
- Reaching out to the people that can help you even if you have to reach out over and over (and over).
- Why we need to stop talking and listen especially when managing a team and their expectations.
- Establishing training processes based on trauma sensitivity.
- Tips for learning to let go and trust others with your vision.
- The challenge of growth and the big jumps that are necessary for scaling a business.
- Why you just need to take one little step when you want to start a business.
- Keeping an open mind to everything that's coming your way, both good and bad.
- Her favorite yoga poses for relieving stress and anxiety.
My big takeaway from this episode, was Alison's ability to see a problem and find a simple, work around. I took this to heart because in my business I can sometimes fall prey to the tendency to nay-say before I even try. Collaborate with that designer? Nah, too much upfront money. Start using Slack for all our communication? Nah, no one's going to actually utilize it. I can get bogged down in the why it won't work before I even give an idea a try.
Sure, sometimes my initial hesitation turns out to be right, but more often when I override my initial reluctant narrative and just take first steps towards an idea it often comes to fruition easily, simply, sans the drama that I wanted to put on it as soon as it popped into my head.
I believe that Ideas come to us for a reason. Whether you're running a brick and mortar or working in a more traditional job let's all decide to just TRY an idea before we talk ourselves out of it. I'll be working on it.
Share your success with following the ideas that come your way in the comments or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to shout you out on future episodes. Thanks again for listening.