Rolling out the yoga mat with the founders of Elevate Yoga & Wellness

March is Women’s History Month and here at Arizona PBS we are recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of inspiring women paving the way across the Valley and beyond. From business leaders, entrepreneurs, and community developers, it’s these women who empower the next generation of females to break barriers and push for a transformative impact.

Whether you are young, old, overweight, or fit, the owners behind a Phoenix yoga studio are creating a community space to help others feel confident, fearless and welcomed. 

Established in 2016, Elevate Yoga & Wellness is Phoenix’s first aerial yoga and meditation studio that is devoted to offering a safe space for yogis to practice. The co-owners, Brandi and Amber, say they are dedicated to their students’ personal health and wellness journeys.

In an email interview with Arizona PBS, they share insights into their beginnings, passions, and inspirations.

AZPBS: How long have you both been practicing yoga? What did you do before opening your own studio?

Elevate Yoga: Brandi has been practicing since 2012 and Amber since 2005. We first opened Elevate as a hobby and a way to bring the practice of Aerial Yoga to the community (at the time there were no other studios in Arizona). We very quickly realized that what we were creating was much bigger than just a hobby, making an impact bigger than what just a studio could do, and we started to make shifts away from our corporate jobs to become studio owners.

AZPBS: We love how inclusive your messaging is for Elevate! Working out can leave one feeling a bit vulnerable—especially for people with little experience. But living in the Valley, there are a lot of yoga studios. What makes Elevate unique? 

Elevate Yoga: We are a community first before we are a yoga studio. Yes, people come in and physically practice, meditate and more. But, they come for the community that we’ve created. Students can expect to get to know the owners, the teachers and even make new friends with the other students. We are also an aerial yoga studio. We are very much rooted in traditional mat-based yoga, but we incorporate the aerial hammock in some form in all of our classes as a prop (plus, we are the first and original aerial yoga studio to establish in Arizona).

AZPBS: Your website mentions that Elevate is more than just a yoga studio – it’s a “commUNITY.” How important is this to the foundation of your studio and why?

Elevate Yoga: This is the foundation of who we are and everything we do, we do with the intention to make a bigger difference in our students’ lives. It’s important that in every aspect of Elevate we are creating a safe and welcoming space for all humans to just be themselves. We want students to feel welcome, loved and accepted for who they are and where they are in their own journey each and every day.

AZPBS: You offer a lot of different types of classes. From ariel yoga to sound meditation, as a newbie interested in learning more about the practice, what type of classes do you recommend someone try out first?

Elevate Yoga: For our Aerial Yoga classes, we offer a three-week Foundations Series that will not only teach new students everything they need to know about navigating the aerial hammock, but will also help them integrate into it and get to know our community. For students interested in our other class modalities (Meditation, Restorative Yoga or Aerial Silks) we offer a three-week trial. 

AZPBS: As female business owners, you’re an inspiration to other females looking to start their own businesses. What was it like for you first starting out? Were there any challenges along the way that you overcame?

Elevate Yoga: Real talk? Of course, it’s scary! You think you know a lot to only find out you know very little. But mindset is everything and it’s all been worth the risk. When you have your mind right, and you’re surrounding yourself with the right support, anything is possible. The biggest challenge we’ve overcome no doubt was not only surviving a pandemic with receiving little to no help (believe it or not, much of the assistance out there was not readily available to small businesses). But despite those 2two years of uncertainty, no rent relief, no government assistance, we came out on the other end thriving. We celebrated our five-year anniversary during that time and are once again outgrowing the space we are in!

AZPBS: If you were to give one piece of advice to other women interested in becoming a yoga instructor or opening their own space, what would you say?

Elevate Yoga: Get a mentor. The one thing we wish we would have done differently from the very beginning is to make educated decisions. Having other people in your court that are cheering for you, rooting for you, challenging you, questioning your crazy ideas and helping you make the right decisions has been the most pivotal thing we’ve done. Do you and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

To find out more about Elevate Yoga & Wellness, you can visit their website here.

 

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