Tag: Swansboro

Profiles in Yoga: April Clark

Have you ever wondered what it is like to own your own yoga studio? In this month’s Profiles In Yoga, our series featuring yoga studio owners, we’re talking with April Clark, owner of Second Wind Eco Tours located in Swansboro, NC.

yoga, swansboro, ncHow did you get started in yoga? What drew you to it?

As a way to alleviate stress. It became my release valve from stressful days, 60-70 work weeks while in graduate school. Additionally, yoga became my vehicle for meditation, and helps me develop emotionally and spiritually.

What styles of yoga are you drawn to? Why?

I am a Hatha yoga instructor. I like Kundalini, Yin Yoga and my newest obsession is aerial yoga. Aerial yoga is very empowering and has been helpful in ensuring I am developing core strength, particularly as I age.

Did you have difficulty finding and staying employed as an instructor before you owned your own studio?

I became certified after I opened my studio.

 

What made you decide to open Second Wind Yoga? How long have you been in business?

After a 16 year career in corporate wireless sales, it was time for a change. I started practicing yoga with some regularity a couple of years prior to opening as a way to alleviate stress and unwind. Opened in June of 2010 with a business that centered on some of my passions, kayaking, the environment and yoga, doing what you love isn’t work at all!

You also offer Reflexology, Reiki, kayaking and paddle boarding. How did your interest in these begin?

Our original business model included kayaking. I have always loved the outdoors and our proximity to the water makes it a sensible choice. I am an environmentalist at heart and protection and preservation seem the right course of action with kayaking, leaving as little as a footprint as possible is appealing to me. Kayaking gives us a different perspective, slows us down to enjoy our surroundings almost meditative like yoga. As the SUP market grew so did the desire for SUP yoga. Having fully credentialed yoga instructors who can SUP gave us an edge on this emerging watersport. Activities like massage, reflexology and reiki are part of the wellness spectrum and also fit nicely with our business model.

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Do you find that there is a large market in your area for yoga and the other services Second Wind offers?

The market is wide open. Demonstrating the value of yoga to different demographics is our opportunity, whether you need yoga for stress relief or want to remain physical as we age, yoga can help. People in this area are becoming more aware of the benefits and the market is maturing/warming to idea of exploring yoga as practice to better health, both physically and mentally.

Since opening, what have been the best (or unexpectedly good) parts of owning your own studio?

The community that is created, the people that come to work, practice, to heal and to be healed is a gift. To work in a vocation that has higher purpose, through seva (service) makes it most rewarding. Wonderful partnerships.

How about the most challenging?

As a business owner and operator having enough time and energy to complete all responsibilities that are associated with owning a small business can be a challenge. The key to overcoming this is to have great partners, instructors and people that you work with to accomplish the multitude of tasks necessary to keep the doors open. Having people that CARE is important, care about the work, the clients, the space and themselves, it makes the difference every time.

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Class at Second Wind

If you could go back to when Second Wind opened and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?

The lessons I have learned from the mistakes or missteps I have made have been valuable learning experiences. They are necessary, to motivate me, to grow, change, adjust the sails and continuously evolve. If anything…in order to make enough money from yoga to pay the rent you need a decent size space.

As an owner, what kind of human resource issues have you faced?

The nomadic lifestyle and quality of some yoga instructors can be a challenge as it relates to building a client following. Students cleave to a teacher… in India they are known as devotees to a teacher or guru. When a teacher leaves (especially unexpectedly) it creates a void and sense of loss for those that studied/practiced with the teacher. A sacred trust has been breached.

How difficult is it to market yourself as a yoga instructor? As a yoga business?

As a non-traditional business we have our challenges, but if we participate in business centric activities, i.e. Chamber membership, events, sponsorship opportunities and the like we can promote our brand and our services. Word of mouth for our business is the best source of advertisement for us. As the community at large becomes more conscious of their own health and wellness, they begin to seek out business like mine.

Any tips for other yoga instructors looking to build a client base?

Stay committed to the work. Treat your time/space as sacred, show up and suit up. Educate, communicate and celebrate with your clients. Teach them and then leave them in their glory.

To learn more about Second Wind visit their  website.

Have Writers Block? Try Yoga

 

by April Clark

Yoga is a practice that invites inquiry, which can help in the creative process. By asking questions, remaining open and stating intentions, we find clarity and answers and our Dharma or purpose unfolds. Yoga can be the vehicle to pave the way, stilling the mind so that the inspiration needed to move forward in a project emerges from within. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness in the body and mind. The practice helps one to relax and manage stress and anxiety.  Stress in the body can inhibit and block inspiration and creativity.  When barriers are moved away from our body and mind, we benefit from our ability to focus and concentrate, releasing the creativity within. Through yoga, you access what may be suppressed and through writing, you are able to articulate your thoughts and ideas.

Pantanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “When you are inspired by some great purpose all of your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world!”  This transformation will manifest in your thoughts and actions and ultimately in your writing.

writing-on-yoga-mat

I write an article for my newsletter, which is published online once a month.  My subject matter is often inspired by my passions and the work that I do with yoga, kayaking and volunteerism. Sometimes the piece takes shape in the form of a life lesson or insight that becomes fodder for public consumption, even if the “public” means a handful of friends or family. These pieces are usually written in haste in order to make a deadline. Invariably, after the essay is published, much to my chagrin, I’ll find an error of some kind.

What amazes me, even though the piece may be flawed, the topics are borne out of a desire to tell a story or share a concept.  The inspiration is the driving force behind the work, and the content becomes more important than the mechanics. My personal yoga practice becomes the conduit to bring energy, passion and creativity through improved physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

Do you feel the need to rekindle the spark of creativity within? Try a little yoga – these poses facilitate creativity.

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

childs_pose_beachAs the name suggests, the pose of the child is an invitation to rediscover and explore being in your own world, sparking the imagination and seeing with the eyes of a child.

  1. Start in a kneeling position.
  2. Drop your butt toward your heels as you stretch the rest of your body down and forward.
  3. In the fully stretched position, rest your arms in a relaxed position along the floor, rest your stomach comfortably on top of your thighs, and rest your forehead on the mat.

 

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
pigeon-poseReleasing in the hips while stretching the thighs and psoas are some of the physical benefits of this pose. When we release in the body, we release in other places as well, unleashing ideas and stimulating the creative juices.

  1. Start on all fours in a squared table pose.
  2. Slide the right knee forward toward your right hand. Angle your right knee at two o’clock.
  3. Slide your left leg back as far as your hips will allow.
  4. Keep your hips square to the floor. If your hips are not square, there will be unnecessary force on your back, and you won’t be able to open the hips to their fullest.
  5. If you’re not feeling a deep stretch in your right glute, slide the right foot forward–little by little–toward your left hand. With practice, bring your foot parallel to the front edge of your mat.
  6. Your right thigh should have an external rotation, and your left thigh should have a slight internal rotation. This keeps pressure off the kneecap.
  7. Depending on how you feel, you will be upright on your hands while sinking the hips forward and down. Level two will rest on their forearms, and level three will rest the chest on the floor with the arms fully extended in front of you.
  8. To get full release in the hips, breathe and release the belly. Stay in this position anywhere from 10 breaths to five minutes.

Yoga helps to put you in touch with the present moment and guides you to find your authentic self, which in turn allows you to share your authentic voice.

April Clark, RYT500 is the owner of Second Wind Eco Tours based in the historic waterfront town of Swansboro, NC. , Second Wind offers kayak and stand up paddle rentals and tours coupled with yoga or massage.

 

 

Is There Yoga in Jacksonville, NC?

Jacksonville is a small town, mostly made up of US Marines and their families.  And you’d probably think you’d have to travel to Wilmington to find a decent yoga studio.  However, your assumption would be incorrect.  While the number of yoga studios in this area is small, you can find several studios and very passionate teachers.

US Marines Learn Meditation & Yoga

Beginning with Jacksonville and then heading a few miles east, there are a few studios worth your while to check out.

Infinite Yoga  & Wellness – 13 E Doris Ave, Ste G, Jacksonville, NC 28540

Drop in class:  15$

  • Monthly Unlimited rate:  85$
  • Get more information on their ratesclass schedule and reviews.
  • Childcare? No.
  • Of note:  In additional to traditional yoga studio class offerings, IYW also provides Aikido training.

Second Wind Eco – 208 W Main St, Swansboro, NC 28584

Drop in class:  10$

MCCS/Camp Lejeune & New River

  • Drop in class:  3$ (These classes are available to active-duty, retired, reservists on active-duty, dependents, MCCS employees, and Department of Defense employees with proper government ID)
  • Monthly Unlimited rate:  35$ (includes all group classes, not just yoga)
  • Get more information on their rates and class schedules.
  • Childcare? No.
  • Of note:  In addition to offering five different types of yoga class, MCCS also teaches several hybrid classes that mix yoga with Pilates or muscle training.