It took 10 years of yoga teaching before Salimah Kassim-Lakha opened up her very own studio. Today, she owns YogaVision, a yoga studio in Mississauga, Ontario with the tagline: “Love. Serve. Uplift.”
Prior to opening her studio, Salimah started as a yoga teacher, despite not having a clear vision of where her future in the field would take her. “I knew I wanted to deepen my practice and I knew yoga had a specific calling for me,” she explains. “I was working with my spiritual teacher and started to develop a way of understanding yoga and its place in our modern world.”
Her vision for her future business was for her clients to walk away with a sense of both challenge and relaxation, taking the experience as more than yoga poses on a mat. “I want them to see something new in their own capability whether it’s mental, emotional, or spiritual,” she explains. “They should have a sense of being more than just a physical body, but also realize they have a place and a role to play in the world.”
Salimah attributes her entrepreneurially driven family and her early career in the corporate world to her abilities to transition and create her own business. “I think owning a yoga studio is the perfect blend of these two things,” she explains. “The practice itself is about uplifting others and raising the profile of the community, but [entrepreneurship] also requires understanding of marketing, finance, people management, and self-management.”
To kick-off her business, she used technology to foster her practice—sharing her yoga class through podcasts and videos—and used her website YogaVision.com as her calling card. In 2014 she opened her studio, inviting diverse groups (from mothers and babies to corporate groups) to attend her classes, but was still deeply committed to leveraging technology to widen her practice to a larger audience—which is what sets YogaVision apart from other studios.
“For example, people who have annual memberships have free subscription to our podcasting,” says Salimah. “This means you can be travelling anywhere in the world and still tune into your favourite class. I think that’s really where yoga and technology go hand-in-hand.”
And looking at the future, she hopes to find innovative ways to expand her business. “I think it’s about finding new avenues: partnering with companies, finding ways to expand, and even the potential to go global,” she explains, adding that being open-minded is something her yoga practice has taught her. “Putting that personal learning into practice on a corporate level is what I’m turning my yoga studio into. It’s one thing to be able to do yoga on a mat, but it’s another thing to get into the mindset to guiding the future of the business as well.”
She encourages all yogis who aren't able to drop by the YogaVision studio to check out her website www.yogavision.com, to learn more about how they can get involved online.