Welcome back to Woman Crush Wednesday!
I’ve mentioned before how yoga was a huge help in getting me through my pregnancy as joyously as possible. I know plenty of mamas agree, and I’m super lucky to live in a city that not only has tons of prenatal yoga classes, but even has a yoga studio that is completely focused on providing yoga classes designed for expecting and new mamas: Toronto Yoga Mamas!
I love that founder Jamie Kalynuik has created a beautiful peaceful space where mamas can relax and connect with other mamas and create a real sense of community and shared experience, all while enjoying fantastic yoga classes that will help keep them, and their babies, happy and healthy.
Jamie took time out of her busy teaching and business-running schedule to talk to the Joyous Community about yoga, entrepreneurship and motherhood. I’m so excited to have you meet her!
Joy McCarthy: What inspired you to open up Toronto Yoga Mamas?
Jamie Kalynuik: My genuine love for yoga, beautiful experiences and business. When I completed my prenatal yoga teacher training and went onto teach I quickly realized that the only classes available for expecting mamas were at off times like Sundays at 2pm. I knew there was a need in the city for a stronger prenatal yoga and postnatal yoga presence so I started off small by offering free community classes….and 4 years later here we are ☺
Joy: Tell us about Toronto Yoga Mamas?
Jamie: Yoga Mamas is more than just a yoga studio. It’s a beautiful space where mamas come together as a community to practice, learn, relax, restore and connect. We started off with a strong prenatal and postnatal yoga base and grew from there. We offer information-rich prenatal education courses and free workshops almost every day. We have an amazing team of birth and postpartum doulas that support expecting families across Toronto. Last year we expanded into wellness and now offer prenatal and postnatal massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care and pelvic floor physiotherapy.
Joy: What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Jamie: I love so many things it is honestly hard to say which one I enjoy the most because I am thankful for different things every day.
Each morning, I love reading our daily client feedback report while enjoying a cup of coffee. I can’t say enough how grateful I am to each mama who takes the time to share their feedback because it cements that we are building something truly beautiful for our community, but also, it holds us accountable and inspires change. This daily practice brings about many feelings; pride when staff or an instructor is complimented, softness & understanding when a member suggests a change, genuine love and light in my heart when a mama recounts how she brought her yoga practice into her birth, and overall joy when I realize this is all coming from something I built.
Joy: What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?
Jamie: It is always changing. I struggled initially with building my first website because I couldn’t get the perfect polish on it. But I was just starting my business; how could I possibly know what the final polished version was going to be? It was then that I accepted that both my site and business were never going to be complete. I looked at both of them as organic – always expanding and contracting – and that gave me such a sense of relief. I published what I had, and focused my energies on growing my business.
Don’t compare. So simple but yet so hard not to do when you are first starting your business. Yes, you want to understand your competitive market, but don’t spend too much time there. There is a lot of truth in the quote “Don’t compare your start to someone else’s middle.” It will start to eat away at you. You will question what you are doing. It will start to influence what you are doing. You will have feelings of doubt, envy – sinking feelings – I did. So I made a pact with myself that I would not look at my competitive market for one year. I would wish them well, but then turn forward to focus on building my business from my heart, and not out of competitive fear. I haven’t looked back.
Joy: Describe your perfect day?
Jamie: Meditation, coffee, Facetime with my sister and niece, work on my business, and talk about life over good wine and food. Bonus points if this is taking place somewhere abroad!
Joy: What do you like to do for fun?
Jamie: Laugh with my family. Board games and wine with my hometown girls. Discuss boys and business over oysters with Toronto girls. Yoga. Listen to waves crashing. Collect seashells. Journal and goal set. Hike, hike, hike. Travel anywhere. Dream over my morning coffee. Unwind with tea. Take photos … and then spend hours editing them. Build my business.
Joy: What’s next for you?
Jamie: Big question!!! Well, for sure I will keep doing what I love which is building and refining Yoga Mamas. Expanding our wellness center is a huge initiative for us and I’m also working on developing an extension of another part of our business that will be launching later this year. In my spare time, I’m also dreaming up a product line that I hope to see come to fruition in 2017.
Personally? A family. When and how that happens who knows, but life is so much sweeter when you can share it with people you love.
What mama-focused businesses help you through pregnancy and mamahood? Share them with us in the comments below!