Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Aleysha Derksen, Founder of In Alignment Yoga School, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a yoga teacher, a yoga teacher trainer, a mentor, a ceremonialist, and a retreat weaver. My clients and students are people who are on their personal growth journey and desire a deeper connection with their inner magic. My job is not to connect you with the cosmos but to ground you right HERE firmly at this moment, in this body, in this breath. To help you awaken to life and the beauty that is present here. I guide you to step fully into your authenticity through the path of yoga. I host women's retreats, seasonal moon ceremonies, online yoga classes, as well as an annual 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program in Bali that is open to all!
Tell us about yourself
Growing up as a gymnast, movement was always a motivating factor for me. I needed to find something that would keep me active while also nourishing my connection to spirit. I found yoga 17 years ago at the age of 16 and took my very first YTT (yoga teacher training) nearly 10 years ago at a time in my life when I really needed something to grasp onto. The practice served as a remedy for something much deeper than a broken heart. Yoga became a vehicle to move the emotions that felt heavy and a pathway toward a life of clarity and purpose. I knew immediately that I had to share the teachings of yoga. I began sharing what I learned with anyone and everyone, at schools, gyms, yoga studios, private clients, to my Instagram followers, etc... Eventually, I decided that the practice could be paired with the cocoon feeling of traveling somewhere beautiful and life-changing, and that's where my love for nature retreats came from. The natural world is my daily inspiration - nature, the seasons, the moon, and the elements. We see pieces of ourselves reflected back in the cyclical nature of all things. How comforting to be reminded that we, too, operate in seasons and cycles. This is one of the greatest lessons we can learn in patience, timing, and trust.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Launching In Alignment Yoga School in Bali, Indonesia, with my long-time friend and business partner Jenna Switzer in 2018 was such a dream come true. This seemed like such a leap. To think that I could share what I love (yoga) while travelling to one of the most spiritual places on earth, AND guide others toward a life of purpose and passion, was simply mindblowing.
I am really proud of what Jenna and I have created and the way that our 200-hour program continues to evolve and expand. For example, one of our guest teachers during February's training included Dylan Werner, who is an absolute rockstar yogi. It was such an honour to teach alongside him, and it was one of those career milestones that felt quite surreal.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
My greatest challenge has been to balance the influx of inspiration that comes in with my realistic ability (through time, energy, and resources) to pursue everything that I want to do. I have a virtual assistant who is incredible and a business partner who I trust wholeheartedly, yet I often have a really hard time delegating projects to others as I am very much a detail-oriented person. I have a clear vision of how I desire my offerings to look and feel, and letting go of (some) control in collaborations has been an area of growth for me. My inner perfectionist is currently in rehab as I remind myself that sometimes things are better done than perfect.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- When 'imposter syndrome' kicks in, remember why you are here: To share and to serve. You have nothing to prove to anybody. When you share from your heart, there is nothing to fear.
- Align yourself with supportive humans who are on a similar path. Even if you are a solopreneur having at least one solid friend in the same industry as you is paramount to bounce ideas off of, to collaborate with, or even just to vent to someone who 'gets it.'
- When marketing or branding your services or products, consider the 'feeling' behind the offer. Now sit with that feeling and truly generate that feeling in your body. NOW begin to write, to share, or post about your offer. The difference is incredible. Your clients will feel your authenticity in your offerings. Remember, as humans, we don't connect with things; we connect with feelings.
Where can people find you and your business?
Instagram (Personal): https://www.instagram.com/aleyshaderksen/
Instagram (Company): https://www.instagram.com/inalignmentyogaschool/
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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