Close Up Interview with Yoga Fitness Claudia Gutierrez

Tell us a little about Yoga Fitness and your role?

Yoga Fitness is a Yoga and Fitness studio in the beautiful area of Dun Laoghaire (Dublin, Ireland).

Our mission is to bring Fitness and Wellness to everybody offering a great range of quality classes at affordable prices (really important in these times of recession).

We try to make exercise and workout fun and enjoyable so people can adopt it as a part of their normal routine and enjoy the benefit for as long as they live.

In Yoga Fitness we provide yoga that adapts to the needs of Western, 21st century bodies and their limitations, not the other way round!

So, everybody is welcome (with the idea that everybody has the right to practise yoga to help to heal their body, mind and soul).

We believe that Yoga is a fantastic tool for healing, as the story of our lives is often held within the body. Every fall or accident from the past is stored within our musculature. Yoga begins to strip away the layers of holding to release old patterns and becomes a metaphor of life to show us new ways to work through challenging sensations and emotions.

Yoga Fitness Studio

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you and your business?

I believe they will say about me: comforting, encouraging, supporting, caring and empathetic.

About the studio: welcoming, warm hearted, friendly, inviting and peaceful.

Mindfulness Course

What was the purpose on starting Yoga Fitness and how has the concept come about?

Yoga Fitness was born as a personal need to have a space where I could work honouring my beliefs about yoga and exercises in general.

My background is a blend between Sport Science (my degree), Gymnastics (I was gymnast and then coach), Fitness and Yoga (I was P.E. teacher in schools for many years, also Fitness instructor and yoga teacher), so the classes in the studio reflect the richness of this mixture.

I opened the studio 18 months ago, after teaching in different places and during the year where I was doing a start your own business course (I needed to have a clear idea on how business works in Ireland as I am from Argentina and I was leaving in Ireland for a short time in that moment).

What are the most common issues that relate to clients who come to see about fitness?

At the moment I found difficult to deal with (without creating confusion in the people who is coming for advice) the fact that doctors (at least in Ireland) are recommending Pilates for all the problems related with fitness, postures, strength, flexibility, etc.

I personally believe that it could be useful for some people but not for everybody! So, sometimes is difficult to convince people that maybe for them, Pilates is not the best activity at that moment (they tend to believe more in the Doctor than a teacher!!)

With yoga you have to deal with the belief that you have to be flexible to do yoga, or that yoga is only for women or that yoga is an activity where you are sitting for one hour without doing any effort!

Also there are still people reticent to take in yoga because they believe that is something religious or “obscure”.

Yoga for men

Tell us more about your services that you provide?

At Yoga Fitness we provide Fitness and Yoga classes for different levels and needs. We have Pilates and Body Conditioning classes as well as mixed classes (blending different techniques from Fitness). In yoga we offer classes from all ages (from babies to elderly people!), as well as Yoga for Men, Pregnancy yoga and Yoga for Special Needs.

Also we offer a variety of alternatives activities (Taichi, Belly dancing, Spanish dancing and more) to bring some fun to the local area.

Tell us about your process for working with clients?

I see the person who comes to the studio, not only as a customer if not as a human being with doubts, fears and expectations. So with the best of my knowledge and empathy and try to connect with them and make them feel comfortable and at ease before, during and after classes.

Pregnancy Yoga

As a business owner what is your biggest frustration?

The biggest frustration at the moment is the Marketing aspect of the business. With the growing of different streams of marketing is really difficult, is you work alone, to maintain yourself and the business updated with all the new tools and strategies to reach your niche successfully.

How do you connect with your customers and your  health & fitness industry (i.e. how do you network)?

I ‘m trying to connect through different streams: social media of course (Facebook, twitter, Linkedin), website, mails, text, leaflets distribution.

My favourite at the moment is Facebook to network with my peers.

Yoga for children

What advice can you offer to new business owners who are just starting out?

My advice is: do it!!  Do it anyway!

If you have a dream or you believe in your idea you have to follow it and take actions toward it. Don’t listen to the people around you!!

Sometimes, even if they do it with the best of their intentions, they put their own fears and doubts in the advice.

During that year where I was doing my business course, trying at the same time to set the business, nobody believed in it (or me)!!

Almost everybody recommended me to wait, to keep teaching classes in different places, to don’t risk money or hard work.

Maybe because I am stubborn or maybe because I really believe in the project I didn’t listen to them, only to my heart and my own effort.

Yoga for teenagers

I passed through difficult times, as I didn’t have money to invest or help from other people (at least financially) but I kept going and I finally made it.

It’s still a work in process. Sometimes you get discouraged, but next morning you keep going because you have to do your best every day!

If, the business grows, great! If not, if at any point, the business doesn’t work and I have to close down, I won’t take it as a failure.

I will take as a learning experience and, as I learnt in life, is better to try something and fail than don’t try it and regret it for the rest of your life!

What is your proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment relate to my business is the fact that, as I said before, I did it again all odds, only with my own effort, putting my heart and soul in it.

I was in a strange country, without money, without family to support me (financially or personally – only my children, who depend on me), with almost no contacts or previous teaching experience in the country (Even if I have almost 30 years of teaching experience, here in Ireland I was a perfect nobody!!)

So, being able to open the studio anyway is a great achievement for me and makes me proud

Pilates classes

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

Ohhh, I have so many!

My biggest dream is to arrive to a point in life where I can feel always secure (feel it inside, like organic in a way!) that I always be able to support myself and my family doing what I love, without fear of economics ups and downs.

And then, I will love to travel teaching yoga and self- improvement support for people who need it most.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

For me was discover the strength and the power that we have inside. I learned it in the hard way! But now that I know it and I feel it, I can’t understand how I could leave so many years of my life believing that I didn’t have enough skills or strength or courage to follow my dreams and my needs.

Do you have a book that you would like to recommend?

For me two authors in particular are the ones that supported me during my tough times and still are! Whenever I feeling down or with fear I read it again and again:

Susan Jeffers: “Feel the fear and do it anyway” and Louise Hay, any of her books or cd!!!

Mumba classes

Where do we find your services?

Claudia Gutierrez

00353 – 85 763 7981

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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