I never dreamed of opening up a yoga studio. I took my first yoga class in my mid twenties. I took several trips to India to explore and trek around. I worked a documentary filmmaker, and then worked in the family business helping run a chain of record stores. Growing up I imagined I would head into the family business and follow in my father’s footstep. I never had any aspiration to become a lawyer, or to train as an accountant like my Dad. I spent summers working in various aspects of his business – in a retail clothing store, in the accounting department, in the video department of a record store, and in a warehouse packing goods. At university I thought I would do my Honours in Business. But after the first month I dropped the prerequisite business course. I was interested in philosophy and exploring the meaning of things. During my final year at university I pursued a personal project by borrowing my uncle’s video camera and recording conversations with very intelligent people about the meaning of life. The film i started in university was a good success and ended up with public television in Canada and United States. At age 22 I had a five star review in the Globe and Mail praising the work – and so that seemed to be my path. I worked making documentary films throughout my twenties. When I turned 30 I started working with my father.
My father and uncle work together and are both self-made men. They came to Canada well educated but without any money. They managed to build up two chains of retails stores selling clothing and music. They are a great success story and it was wonderful to learn and work with them. But after seven years I felt stuck. I was either ready to begin running a large portion of the business or else it was time to move on. I also found it depressing looking ahead. CD sales were declining. Everyone was downloading and copying music. I thought the end of the record stores were near. I figured in a few years the stores would have to close down. And then what would I do? I knew I had to leave but was not sure what I wanted to do to earn a living. Should I go back to school? What profession would be most rewarding?
I did yoga for many years. I was generally pretty stiff and with no body consciousness. I felt great after each class I attended. After my first classes in a make shift studio room on College street in dowtown Toronto I would find myself invigorated, relaxed, and inspired. I started going several times a week. During my first trip to India I actually bumped into my first yoga teacher, Kaila Kula, on the beach in Goa. I heard her voice and from behind and knew it was her. I did not even know she was in India.
I only thought of the idea of opening the studio six months before it opened. I was not a yoga teacher, had no aspirations to teach yoga, and did not know any other teachers. I would rush from work and drive downtown to make the 7.30pm class at my favourite studio downtown. The place was rammed. They had a basic space with a good floor, and managed to fit in over 50 bodies paying about $12 each. I did the calculations and it sounded like pretty good revenue. I thought it might be interesting for me to open a studio in a part of town where such a place did not exist.
In November 2007 Fireflow Yoga opened up. I spent a alot of time trying to figure out a name. I spent hours on the internet checking out names of various studios in every major city of the world. Nothing clicked completely with me. Then I came up the the name Fireflow, to describe the fire created as you flow you the Ashtanga sequence. And so came the name.
Fireflow Yoga offers Ashtanga based yoga classes in midtown Toronto. My goal has been to provide the same experience and classes which personally resonated and captured my attention. I did some quick numbers in my head and figured it could be very lucrative. I sheepishly mentioned the idea to some convservative cousins and they did not dismiss it. And so began the journey. This records my experience as a yoga studio owner. It provides reflections on opening up a yoga studio, running a yoga studio, and making a living doing something that seems pretty cool.