Four local women all had very different reasons for falling in love with yoga, but they all had a similar reason for joining together to purchase their own yoga studio at the end of 2013.
Tracy McKenzie, Maria Coca, Anita Sykes and Ahwatukee Foothills resident Charla Lewis all discovered yoga for various reasons. McKenzie, a competitive swimmer for most of her life, found that yoga helped address some of the soreness swimming created. Coca found that after four years of non-stop work and school yoga was a perfect way to relax and focus on herself. After years of intense outdoor recreation Sykes found healing for her body in a yoga studio. Lewis, a former elementary school teacher, tried it once and was hooked from the beginning.
It was a deep love of yoga and a desire to try something new professionally that led all four women to take a yoga teacher training course about three years ago. After they were all certified to teach they stayed in contact through a closed Facebook group that they used to work together during the class.
One day on the Facebook group another woman who had taken the class with them mentioned that Joyful Yoga Studio in Chandler would be closing if a new owner was not found. Immediately Lewis suggested a coop and within a few hours the group was formed.
A few weeks later, after some meetings and planning, the women presented their offer and purchased the studio.
“It was very fast,” Lewis said. “I remember thinking ‘Oh sh** I think I’m buying a yoga studio.’ At first it was like we were playing buying a yoga studio, and then she accepted the offer.”
While at first the thought was scary, being together and coming from such varied backgrounds made the process easier. Several of the women had experience owning their own business and working at other studios and as teachers themselves so it was exciting to create their own space to teach.
“That was one of the selling points when we met,” Coca said. “We wanted to keep our lifestyle and continue doing the things we love, but now we have our own space to teach yoga. We could keep the same lifestyle because there are four of us to help out.”
Joyful Yoga Studio was already an existing studio so the women were able to come in, keep many of the same instructors, and just remodel the space and narrow the focus. In the past, Joyful Yoga offered kickboxing and circuit training as well as yoga and Pilates. Today, the women have added more yoga at different levels and have taken away the kickboxing. They still offer Pilates, zumba and TRXpress. The new owners did not adjust the rates to keep the studio affordable for all audiences.
The women recently had their grand reopening celebration. They’ll be offering special rates through the month of January to continue the celebration at the studio, 3900 W. Ray Road, Suite 4, in Chandler. For more information, visit joyfulyogastudio.com or call (480) 726-6399.
“We want it to be the kind of place where when you leave you feel not just relaxed, but like you’ve been taken care of by someone who cares,” Sykes said. “We want people to be comfortable and come in and enjoy. We’re here to help.”
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