And in this edition of the Yoga Studio Spotlight, it is our pleasure to introduce Genevieve Boulanger to talk about iShine Yoga located in Huntersville, North Carolina.
- Your mom, Anita, took you to your first yoga class when you were 6 years old, what do you remember most about that first experience? I remember the classes were offered at my mom’s work, a Women’s Health Center. I was definitely the youngest one in the class and I would practice on top of my sleeping bag! It was perfect for Savasana because I would crawl inside and take a little nap.
- When did you become interested in teaching others? As a kid, I spent hours playing school with my friends in the neighborhood. I also grew up in a dance studio, learning ballet and lyrical. In high school, I taught kids gymnastics and dance; becoming a yoga teacher in 2008 seemed like the next right thing, as I had fallen head over heels in love with the practice.
- How does the name, iShine Yoga, reflect what you hope to accomplish and offer your students. At what point did you and your mom decide to begin iShine? How did it all come to be? iShine Yoga LLC was created in 2008. At the time, a local studio was closing and students and teachers alike were in need of a place to call home; a place to connect with their yoga practice and become part of a larger community. During iShine Yoga’s inception, classes were held in my home-studio, my basement, and classes were taught by some of the best teachers around. Without formal marketing or ad dollars, classes began to grow organically. A synergy had been established. iShine yogis are encouraged to utilize their inherent gifts, honor the mind/body, discover self-love, and celebrate what makes each one of us special and unique. It’s the ‘i’ in iShine.
- We think the iShine Co-op really sets you apart from other yoga studios. Can you describe what the Co-op at iShine is all about? Our co-op model empowers our members to be partial owners of our studio, incentivising a lifetime of health and wellness. (Click here to see the details.)
- Why did you and your mom decide to offer heated classes? You specifically focus on pranayama (breathwork), prenatal yoga, and one of your classes is a Mommy + Me class. What drives you to teach these classes? Over the past 9 years, I have taught at both hot and non-hot yoga studios. Just before opening iShine, I was driving 30 minutes across town to practice under infrared panels at a friends’ studio because I loved the way my body felt after practice.
The programmable thermostat has enabled us to offer non-heated classes 2 days per week, Sunday and Wednesday, and heated classes 5 days per week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This works well for our yoga for all bodies schedule: Prenatal Yoga, Mommy + Me, Yoga Nidra, and iShine 101 are offered on our non-hot days, while Hot Power, Flow & Stretch can be found during our hot days. At iShine we encourage our yogis to treat their bodies to a yoga practice that compliments what their body needs for that particular day.
We see a big opportunity to educate our community that yoga is a tool for balancing the body’s doshas, using heat (or not) as a way to compliment the ancient practice. Heat allows us to take the muscles and ligaments a bit deeper, especially during the winter months. And feels oh-so yummy!
- What advice would you give to prospective students who are on the fence about trying yoga or giving hot yoga a try? Several studios in our town use forced air as a heat source. For that reason, practitioners may have had a ‘stuffy’ or “aggressive respiratory experience” prior to coming to iShine. When this is the case, or they’re new to hot yoga, I encourage them to take a “No Thank You Bite.” Just like brussel sprouts to a kid, tastes can change with the evolution of heating technology.
- What do you envision for iShine’s future? I am a dreamer and have been known to dream preposterous amounts. Since opening our doors two weeks ago, we’ve already been vibing on the idea of opening a second location. I envision continuing to offer quality yoga instruction to our fine community while enhancing learning through workshops, teacher training, and retreats. Adding a prenatal 85-hour certification is on the list of to-do’s for this year too.
- Is there anything else you would like to share? Yes. Just this: if something scares you and makes you wince at the electric possibility that your heart’s desire could be true, then chase it. Chase that fear until you make friends with it and tackle it to the ground. That is what dreams are made of, realizing you are relying solely on your own strength and choosing to do it anyway. If you are not terrified in those moments of realization, then you are not dreaming big enough. Stay hungry. Stay foolish!
For more info about iShine Yoga, visit www.ishineyoga.com or call 704-274-9808.