Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chelsea Winters, Owner of Anahata Yoga & Wellness, located in Minturn, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Anahata Yoga & Wellness in Minturn, Colorado- a mindful yoga studio with heart offering in studio & virtual classes, as well as week-long international women's yoga retreats. Anahata is the energy center of the heart (or heart chakra), and when it came to naming my yoga and wellness studio, Anahata felt the right fit. Yoga is a practice of the heart, and taking the leap of faith to commit full-time to owning my own business took not only the energy of the heart but also trust.
Every day, I pour my heart into the business, and I hope my yogis feel that when they step into the studio and experience a class or workshop. At Anahata, I strive to make all feel welcome, and my philosophy is to always have you feel better when you walk out than how you did when you came into the studio… not just on a physical asana level, but addressing the breath and then most importantly the mental, emotional and energetic bodies.
A true wellness studio- offering in-house massage and energy work, as well as traditional yoga, meditation, breathwork, and movement. Anahata is a place of heart where all are welcome. Our clients range in age and ability- some are locals and regulars in the Vail Valley, others second homeowners who spend some of their time in the area, and then we also have visitors passing through who maybe join us just for a week or a session. All are always welcome!
Tell us about yourself
When I decided to start my own business, it was a bit serendipitous. I was teaching throughout the Vail Valley and hosting yoga retreats, but I knew I had more to give and wanted to teach more. The thought of opening a yoga studio crossed my mind, but it was not necessarily on the immediate horizon. I was working in real estate when the studio space became available, a business that is very head driven and often lacks gratitude, I could feel the burnout, and I knew my days in that industry were becoming numbered. When the studio space became available within walking distance of my house, I knew I needed to trust the universe and take that leap of faith to shift gears.
Owning a yoga business is one of the most difficult but also most rewarding things I have ever done, and I am constantly learning new lessons every day in the business, in practice, learning more about myself and about how to show up in this life. Having never owned a business before, I was not 100% sure what I was getting myself into, but I knew for certain that if I did not move forward and at least try, it would be something that I would surely regret and always wonder what if…
I knew I needed to make that jump, trust my gut instinct and heart, and give it my all! Owning a yoga studio is a business of both heart and head, but when it came to making that initial decision to move forward, it was certainly one of the heart. I find motivation in knowing that I am helping others heal and grow and in knowing that there is always a lesson to be learned. Coming from a place of a beginner's mind, while showing up as a teacher every day, I also consider myself the student. I learn so much from my clients each day, and that continued growth, along with the notion that I am making a difference, helps me show up fully each day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
About to celebrate our 4th anniversary of the business, I am most proud of the fact that Anahata is still persevering. I opened the studio in May of 2019, less than a year before covid, so we were just starting to get things going, and then COVID hit, and we were forced to close our doors for 13 weeks. Operating a small business during covid was by far the most challenging thing I have ever done, and we are still very much in what feels like a building phase. Even through all of the hard times, though, I am really grateful for all of the lessons that this COVID journey has taught me, not just on a business level but on a personal level as well. The journey reinforced the notion that personal energy is not infinite, and we need to be mindful about how we spend our time and where we direct our resources. COVID forced me to pare down energetically and really focus on where I want success while also allowing for a bit of a shift in energy and priorities. This idea of how are you going to spend your time, and what type of an impact are you looking to make?
At Anahata, both in the studio and on week-long yoga retreats, I like to think that we are making small, positive, energetic impacts or shifts throughout the day. The physical practice is what first drew me to yoga, but two decades later, the asana practice has become secondary to the breathwork (pranayama), meditation, mantra, and kriya. It's a way to tap into this infinite universal source of energy and fill ourselves up - to take pause, to tune in to how we really feel. Anahata allows me to give back to the community, whether it is in small one-hour bites as folks come in for a studio class, in week-long transformational sessions on retreat, or in offering a free sound bath to those undergoing cancer treatments. Owning a small business is a labor of love and gratitude, and then on some days, it is just labor. It's hard work and requires heart and soul, but because of that, at the end of the day, I feel proud of where I have come from and excited about where I am going.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a small business owner is constant and consuming. Owning my own business is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. It requires constant attention and energy, but it also gives back. There are so many facets of owning a business that you don't realize until you are fully immersed in it, and some days are easier than others. Some days I am the marketing team, other days, the cleaning crew, and then some, you're just putting out fires. However, at the end of the day, there is a sense of pride in knowing that you worked hard, showed up fully, and did the best you could.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Make sure that you have the ambition to self-start and motivate. Be clear on your "why" when you are deciding to take the leap of faith, and be sure that "why" will continue to motivate you through the difficult times. Show up, work hard, and trust. :)
Where can people find you and your business?
Instagram (Company): https://www.instagram.com/anahatayogaco/
Instagram (Personal): https://www.instagram.com/chelseawintersyoga/
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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