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Building a Fitness Community: Inspired by Passion

by Stephanie Moran, Owner of Smiling Dog Yoga, Cycle & Barre

Over two years ago, I purchased a small yoga studio in town, Smiling Dog Yoga.  My career in fitness had begun 16 years prior when I started religiously taking group fitness classes and Bikram Yoga in early 2000.  It was then when I found my passion for this space and I knew teaching and leading classes would be a part of my life.  I loved how fitness classes made me feel strong and powerful and the yoga classes connected to me so spiritually, that together the combination gave me confidence and grounding.  I then started my journey into learning how to teach!

“…I found my passion for this space and I knew teaching and leading classes would be a part of my life.” – Stephanie Moran

My first certification was in Spinning through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America then followed by a Group Fitness Instructor certification through AFAA.  I started teaching right away and got the bug for certifications.  It was shortly after I became a training junkie and started getting training after training through Les Mills North America. I trained in Body Pump™, Body Flow™, Body Attack™, Body Combat and lastly Body Jam, dance-based cardio fitness, which takes your heart rate high, and the energy and fun even higher.  I was teaching 12-15 classes a week in 2005 and 2006 with 7 certifications under my belt.  I was obsessed – and did I mention this was my hobby job?  I was actually a Senior Account Executive at a major Telecom firm at the same time, which paid the bills, but my teaching filled my passion! Nowadays, there are so many ways to become a qualified yoga teacher and things are a little more straightforward. For example, it is easy to find a course like this one: https://www.siddhiyoga.com/yoga-teacher-training-india by doing some research online. 

In 2008 I found a company that could connect my passion for fitness with my passion for sales and business, MINDBODY and I joined the team in early 2008 as employee number 28.  I built and grew the global sales organization for over 10 years at MINDBODY watching the industry of Boutique Fitness change over-night.  Yoga studios and fitness studios were popping up on every major street corner in the big cities and MINDBODY was the business management tool supporting these studios.  I still continued my education in teaching, gaining more certifications like Pilates on the Mat, Zumba, Mad Dogg Spinning, Kickboxing, and Yoga Fit 101. However, as I grew from sales management to a Sr. Executive running the entire sales organization of 500 people, I taught a lot less and lost the passion I had for this industry that brought me to MINDBODY. I watched hundreds of thousands of studios open and close that I was able to support and learn from.

As the industry continued to grow and many consumers left big box gyms and moved to Boutique Fitness Studios, consumers had to have more than one membership.  Studios specialize in one program generally – barre, spin, or yoga — like the studio I had purchased.  Members would have to be a part of two to three different communities or studios and would have to get their barre and yoga exercise separately, all while going to the gym for cardio.  Variety is a key contributor to a well-balanced body because otherwise, the body gets used to the work it is doing and does not change as quickly as it did when people first start.  With all my travels to these cities, I noticed I would hop from studio to studio to get my cross training and find my balance. At times, it was easier to go to a gym, but not as rewarding.  My purchase of Smiling Dog Yoga was to fulfill a purpose of creating a studio space where people could get the amenities and the feeling of community in a boutique studio with the convenience and variety of a multiple class types similar to a gym

Smiling Dog is now offering Yoga, Cycle and Barre to allow for cross training, which benefits the body and the mind so much more than just doing one thing. Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups and keep the muscles guessing.  The flexibility and balance you create in yoga can benefit your strength in barre and cycle.  You can also reduce boredom that tends to creep in from doing the same routine by having the option to go to a different class type and push the body to a different level.  For those that are trying to lose weight, this is an optimal way to keep the body guessing and pushing it to work harder!  Lastly, cross training is helpful in reducing the risk of injury by avoiding overuse!

Come see us and come try every class type we have to offer! Visit http://smilingdogyoga.com.

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