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Auspicious Times?

Today is 11.11.11 and it’s nearly 11.11pm so I wanted to post some thoughts about the times we are living in and the potential changes ahead…

In many cultures around the world, 11.11.11 is recognized as a significant date in the shift of planetary consciousness from the Age of Pisces (ruled by Christianity and hierarchical structures) toward the Aquarian Age (the age of the “self-sensory human” and direct personal experience of spirituality).

Certainly from 2012 on we will see important shifts in ourselves and our world…. In fact, we are already seeing them.

Whether this particular date is or is not of importance is in the end not crucial – we make it important by using it as an impetus to get together in community and align ourselves with the highest potential in us all. So, you could join a Stretch NI Studio class or simply meditate for 5 minutes every morning to help yourself with this alignment.

On a personal (and business level) I am experiencing fundamental shifts in my thinking which have already impacted on the Stretch NI Studio. Last week I realised that my small local classes were not bringing in enough money to justify the high overheads of a permanent dedicated yoga and Pilates studio. So I made the difficult decision to quit my Meanwhile Space on Saturday 17th December (with a big party by the way!) and start the new year in new premises which I would just hire by the hour as I used to.

However, since making this decision and letting go of the pressure I had put myself under to be successful, the class numbers have increased to the highest we have ever had! And then, tonight I met with the owner of a gym which is experiencing great success even in this economic climate and we are hoping to work out a way that I can rent a space off him. This means I could have a shared studio space in a location with high footfall which is specifically targetted towards health and fitness! And this place is really, REALLY popular with my target market so it could mean I grow my client list by hundreds!!

I’m publicly stating it now but I think 2012 is going to be my year. The year when Stretch NI hits the public consciousness on a big scale. And you, my lucky blog readers, have been at the genesis of this change. So stay with me and let me know what you’ve planned for these auspicious times…


Musings on business…

What I thought my business would be:

A yoga and Pilates studio that helped people stretch and grow both physically and mentally with classes and courses that are well attended. We would have a real community of like-minded people who support each other’s growth and other businesses would grow as a result of it (e.g. local craftspeople holding fairs; local artists displaying artworks; local coffee shops offering discounts to our customers and me offering discounts to theirs). Oh, and I would feel a part of this community but that I didn’t have to ‘head-up’ everything. I would also be earning enough to be able to relax a little and enjoy what I’ve created!


What scares me about my business:

That everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, would fall apart without me! After teaching yoga and Pilates for over 10 years and falling into things rather than properly designing my career, I have taken a leap of faith and opened up my own studio. This is scaring the c@~p out of me! Now I have to be a business owner as well as a yoga teacher. I have to clean/stock/secure/market the studio, arrange the classes, promote the courses (and design them as well) and, worst of all, apologise to teachers for the low numbers as the people of my local town are not flocking to my studio like I imagined they would! Add on to this the fact that my husband is currently unemployed, meaning I am the sole breadwinner and I am really scared to look at how little I’m actually earning…


What next:

Well, I just have to keep going, have a little patience, be open and honest (especially to myself) about my expectations. The most important thing is to stop panicking! I actually started to fill in an application form today for a community development job that would take me way back to a place I don’t want to go (Belfast!) and to a person I haven’t been for a long time. Then I stopped, pulled myself back from the precipice and went out to teach a GREAT Pilates class which had 4 regulars in it and 2 lovely new students (you know who you are and I thank you very much!). I then did what I always do, called my Mum, and together we worked out that I’m actually earning an okay amount of money and that the numbers are increasing week-on-week and nearly class-on-class. The community that I dreamt of is happening slowly but surely and will continue to happen. If you’re willing to help me…


What do you want from Stretch NI:

What do you think of the current timetable? Does it suit your needs? Do you have any desire for any other classes/teachers/times? What about our courses? Does personal development interest you? What other topics could we cover? Do you want to become a part of Friday Night Frolics (oo-er)? Join a bookclub? Learn to knit/crochet/sew/craft? Do you want to train as a Pilates Instructor? Do you know of anyone who might? Would you be interested in training to teach children’s yoga? Do you want to volunteer at the studio in exchange for free classes?

Answers to all these questions gratefully received,


The Business of Yoga

Having now run the Stretch NI Studio for almost two whole weeks (!) I am very interested in the business of yoga and how to apply business principles to something which to me is very esoteric and non-commercial. What I didn’t realise is that this can be a minefield of misinformation! I have wasted so much time which could have been better used in putting flyers around the town and introducing myself to my fellow business owners in the town centre. So now the plan is to stop listening to repetitive and boring sales calls/teleseminars and reading irrelevant crap on the internet  and instead just get out there and let people know who I am and what Stretch NI and the studio is all about… To help with this we’re having an Open Day on Saturday 8th October to launch the studio properly and introduce all my teachers and the holistic therapists who will be involved with us. It will be happening from 12pm – 4pm and everyone’s invited!!!


The opening of the new studio

  1. I opened the studio with all guns blazing. Except they weren’t because the electrician hadn’t been yet!
  2. So, I opened the studio with candles lit. Except they weren’t because NI was having a freak windstorm (like the end of a hurricane) which kept blowing all the candles out!
  3. So, I opened the studio to packed classes. Except they weren’t because the teachers hadn’t really advertised and neither had I as I was too busy creating the space to bother with advertising it!
  4. So, I opened the studio quietly and let it grow organically by telling all my friends and asking them to tell all their friends, and their friends, and so on, that the Stretch NI Studio is OPEN!
  5. So, get spreading the news for me please…


I got the keys!!!!

Today has been pretty momentous! I got the keys to the NEW Stretch NI Studio today! After months of planning (and years of dreaming) I am finally opening a yoga and Pilates studio in my home town…Mum came up with me and, in spite of the dust and dirt, she still feels positive about the place. Then Dad and Chris came up for a nosy and both were impressed with the size and the natural light in the place. They were also full of plans for how to improve the place so I have a feeling that this is going to be a real family affair!

I am doing a big clean-up tomorrow with help from some volunteers at St Vincent de Paul and Chris will be painting up a storm so that the place will be presentable for our 12th September start. Yes, that soon! THIS Monday! The new website (which Chris and I were also working on all through our hols) will be launched on Friday so have a look at to see more details about the studio including class times and teachers.