Interview with Michele Rothen on starting her own yoga studio

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I am sharing an interview that I did with my room mate, Michele Rothen, in Advanced Teacher’s Training. We were sharing the same room for a month in Uttarkashi and had many chats about life and spirituality. She recently opened a new yoga and pilates studio (named ALL ABOUT YOU) in her hometown near Zurich (Switzerland). I admire her courage and determination to start something new at 54. Many people turned 40 and just starting to slow down and putting too much emphasis on retirement. Maybe, this interview might just get you to create a new sustainable business idea for yourself and the community around you. This interview is also featured in my monthly newsletter. Drop me a private message for the newsletter. Om Shanti

Q: Congrats to the opening of your new studio. I admire you for the courage and determination. You are blessed by the love around you. Let’s just start with a little chat on yoga. Life has always been ups and downs for most of us. Did yoga help you through any difficult times and how? Please share with us.
I discovered yoga only 2 years ago. I was always very interested in spirituality and tried to understand about myself and life on a deeper level. When I studied the yoga philosophy, I understood easily and quite well. This confirmed my beliefs and what I experienced. It gave me a very good feeling; felt like I found one more piece of the puzzle in life. Pranayama, meditation and mantras are very good instruments for me at the moment. They help me to control my mind, to be aware of my thoughts, to stay calm and to connect with positive energy.

Q:You just started your new yoga and pilates studio near Zurich. Why did you decide to move from being freelance instructor to an entrepreneur?
Actually I never wanted to have my own studio because I don’t like administration and bureucracy. However, life has other plan for me. I was teaching pilates in two different fitness studios, and also at home. When I finished my yoga teacher’s course, I realised that I did not want to teach this original Sivananda yoga at the fitness center. At the gym, I felt that it was not the appropriate ambience…and the class duration was only 55 minutes, this is too short for a complete yoga class. I decided to teach yoga at home because I wanted to spread this knowledge of Sivananda yoga. My wish was to reach out to more people. At that time, the idea of my own studio was growing. Step by step, we started the process. My daughter offered to do the administration and marketing part and my husband would help with the accounting and financial part. I found a very nice place, perfect for me… very near where I live. We opened the studio in May, shortly after my return from the advanced yoga teacher course in India. This was where I met Carol, my nice room mate. I am very happy to bring yoga to more people, that was my motivation to open my own yoga studio.

Q: What are the benefits of having your own studio? Did it affect your practice time in anyway?
It is very nice. My life is quieter, I don’t have to drive to different places to give classes. I feel a very good energy in the studio. This is a little house, located in a quiet place, surrounded by a garden. I always thought that the studio should look nice, so that the people will feel welcomed and relax. A fitness studio does not give this ambience. Now, I feel like I am welcoming all my students to my house. We share time together, learning from each other. Teaching yoga helps me to develop myself too. I am very thankful for all this. We also give opportunities to other instructors to teach at our studio.

Thank you Michele and I hope to visit your studio one day!