Today we’d like to introduce you to Rose Walters.
Rose, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started practicing yoga while in college. A friend invited me to a class, and I was instantly hooked, Within a few months, I totally believed in the healing effects and knew I’d practice for the rest of my life.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I signed up for teacher training, simply with the intention of deepening my own understanding and as a way to share yoga with family and friends. Upon completing my training and becoming a certified teacher, a friend suggested I teach a class on Mt. Helix. I loved the idea and that day emailed the director of the park. She too loved the idea and had me teach an interview class.
About three weeks later, I was teaching a bi-weekly donation class on beautiful Mt. Helix. That was nearly ten years ago. I now teach three times a week at the park, and I have yet to tire of the drive up the mountain. Plus, each class is unique. We have hawks and hummingbirds that fly above us during class as we practice under the old oak trees of the hundred-year-old park. Along the way, I knew I wanted to teach yoga to children, I just didn’t know how to do it.
I was introduced to Sunje O’Clancy, founder of Yoga Rascals, and participated in her teacher training. Within a few months of getting my certification, I was teaching at a local elementary school. Over the years, I have had the privilege of teaching at a number of schools in San Diego and continue to teach a weekly class in Clairemont. I love working with kids- it’s very special. I have learned to be prepared yet go-with-the-flow. And like adults, children just want to feel acknowledged and taken care of.
That’s what I like to do- take care of people. And through yoga, I have been able to. I have taught private one-on-one yoga sessions, family yoga classes, couples classes, mommy+me classes, corporate classes, outdoor classes. It’s been an amazing journey, and it keeps getting better. March of 2019 marks ten years of teaching and to celebrate I’m taking a group to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat. It’s a dream come true- to share the magic of yoga within the magical place that is Costa Rica.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I started teaching yoga, I was a full-time student at San Diego State, living at home and working as a nanny. So basically, I was broke and had to figure out how to teach yoga with as little overhead cost as possible.
The next thing I had to do was distinguish myself- how could I make myself stand out in a sea of white girls in their 20s that had just completed a yoga teacher training. I had to figure out a way to create a unique experience (again, without spending any money) that was enjoyable enough for people to come back. Thus, my attraction to outdoor classes. And bonus, we live in San Diego- the weather is pretty much amazing all of the time.
I also struggled with creating a business. I needed a name, I had to figure out how to create a website, and how to manage my books. I took monthly business seminars where I learned about QuickBooks and worked one-on-one with a woman who taught me how to use the software. This built my confidence, and as I managed things more professionally, my business also grew. And my constant challenge- marketing. How do I get to tell people about my classes?
Thus far, it has been mostly word-of-mouth, which has worked amazingly. But I am not good at self-promoting. It’s an odd thing to do for me- especially since yoga is about letting go of your ego. So social media, while I know I should do it, is a bit of a tricky platform for me.
And lastly, managing the balance of work and family like. I have two small children- ages one and four- so I am learning how to be a present mother and wife while not losing sight of my passion and my craft. It’s tricky, sometimes overwhelming- the daily demands of family and work. However, both are what I wanted, and I truly believe that anything worth having takes work.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Helix Yoga story. Tell us more about the business.
I primarily teach outdoor group yoga sessions at two of the most beautiful parks in San Diego- Mt. Helix Park (La Mesa) and Kate Sessions Park (Pacific Beach). I also teach private individual and group sessions in peoples’ homes. And once a week I teach a kids yoga class at a local elementary school as one of their afterschool programs.
Our group classes are unique in that we are outside- in nature, breathing in the fresh air, hummingbirds fluttering by while in down dog. Also, our groups are small and intimate, the regulars warm and welcoming. It’s a great community of yogis at both locations- Mt Helix Park and Kate Sessions Park. I feel so lucky to practice with such great people in two amazing locations.
My kid’s classes are awesome! I have a large group of 20 students, of which about 2/3 of students are “regulars” and return session after session. I have watched many of these kids grow up from kindergarten. I say the difference between teaching adults and kids is that adults will do what you tell them while kids will suggest this or that, or tell you about their dog, or roll themselves into their mats like a burrito.
It’s very much in the moment with kids, and you have to roll with it. This is yoga- being present and making the most of it. My little yogis teach me this every class, and I adore working with them. When I hear from the parents of how their kids use their yoga outside of the class- like a little girl that took deep breaths before a dentist appointment, and kids showing their family the poses at home- this is what makes it so rewarding.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It’s hard to say how luck has helped me along the way. More than anything, I think consistency has been my best ally. When I started teaching on Mt Helix in March 2009, I knew I had to be committed and consistent. I wanted people to know and trust that I would be there on the days and times I said I’d be there And even on mornings when no one showed up, I was there.
And I kept going- driving up the winding road to Mt. Helix, hoping someone (maybe even a few people) would show up and I’d make a little bit of money so I could put gas in my tank. All I wanted to do was share yoga with people. Share the magic that had changed my life- making me a happier, healthier, more compassionate person. Plus, I’m a people-person. I like being around people, I like hearing people’s stories.
Yoga allowed me to connect with people and share something that I believed could make a person’s life better. And luckily, people started coming to my class. And then they’d tell a friend about it and bring them along, too. This is how I met Cindy Flores. She came with her 20-something-year-old son and liked the class so much that she emailed saying she wanted a weekend class (since she worked 9-5 during the week).
Within a few weeks, she rounded up a group of family and friends, we started a Saturday morning group session in PB, and have been practicing together since 2010. Everything grew from Mt. Helix, I planted a yoga seed, and things naturally blossomed. Early on, I met a woman named Hillary who would introduce me to a friend that would become a private client.
Later, she requested a family yoga, and I created and executed a two-week program. She was also head of HR at a multimillion dollar company in downtown San Diego where she would create a lunchtime yoga class that I would teach for years. So I don’t know how much luck has played a role, it’s hard to say, I think it was more about making connections with people (like Cindy, Hillary, and so many more).
Not in a ‘networking’ kind of way, I was never good at that, but more authentically. And I think that was facilitated through consistency. I showed up and got to know people, and they got to know me, and we had a shared experience through yoga.
- Mt. Helix Park: Donation-based (suggested $10-20)
- Kate Sessions Park: $15 drop-in (5-Session & 10-Session packages avaiable)
- Private Yoga Sessions & Kids Yoga Classes: Prices vary
- Costa Rica Yoga Retreat 2019: $1,500 & up
- Website: www.helixyoga.com
- Phone: (619) 742-0386
- Email: email@example.com