Today we’d like to introduce you to Sherry Zak Morris.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
At the age of 50, I was a 25-year Corporate High Tech road warrior, having achieved a good level of financial and professional success. But, I lived in a body of high energy and stress that began taking a toll on my structural health. I had continual neck and shoulder pains from many hours on the computer added to the stresses of business travel. I knew I had to change something, so I did.
In 2001, I went to my first Yoga class at the Yoga Vista studio in Vista, California. It was a Gentle Yoga class taught by a then 79-year old Yoga teacher, Mary Cavanaugh. In that moment of meeting Mary, I knew I wanted to be like her when I got older and that meant taking good care of me – physically, mentally and spiritually. I was hooked on Gentle Yoga because it was the calming energy I needed to balance my high energy being.
Mary and I became close friends and colleagues and in 2004, we worked together on my first Yoga DVD project. We recorded Mary’s “Yoga for Seniors” and “Gentle Yoga for Everyone” Yoga DVDs and they were a success! Being reviewed by the Yoga Journal magazine gave us visibility and our company, YogaJP (Yoga Journey Productions) was formed.
In early 2005, Mary passed away unexpectedly. I was devastated and went through a period of the “dark night of the soul” as I attempted to process what my purpose in life was after my beautiful Mentor and Teacher was no longer a part of my life. I heard her speak to me in a meditative moment where she said: “I am passing the baton to you, my work is done.” That message changed the course of my life. I quit my high tech job, bought the Yoga Vista studio and I began producing more and more Gentle, Senior and Chair Yoga DVDs and videos to bring Yoga to the 50+ population. To date, I have over 20 Yoga DVDs that are sold worldwide.
In 2011, I started filming my live Gentle, Senior and Chair Yoga classes at the Yoga Vista Studio and have accumulated 100’s of full-length Yoga classes that are available on YogaJP.TV, a streaming Video Library which focuses on Yoga for the 50+ Population.
Included in this library are classes taught by myself and many of the Yoga teachers on my staff. I even have a whole series of Wheelchair Yoga classes that I filmed while teaching at a local Assisted Living Center. In 2012, I founded the Yoga Vista Academy with my partner and fellow Yoga Therapist, Justine Shelton. Together we have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and a video library of online courses specifically for Yoga Teachers to learn how to adapt and modify Yoga to serve the 50+ population.
We have 100’s of Yoga Teachers across the globe that are Academy-certified who are actively teaching in their communities (assisted living centers, gyms, community centers, libraries, studios etc.) and helping Boomers and Seniors feel stronger and better in their bodies again.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I was making a 6 figure salary in my high tech job and the first year owning the studio, I made only $12,000. That financial reality was not just in my life but in my family’s life.
We downsized and sold our 4,000 square foot home and now live in a quaint 80-year old home near the Yoga studio. My children went from abundance to prudence and glad to say I believe we all have fared well in that transition. We learned that money, success and climbing the ladder is not the key goals in life. But rather what gives life purpose is to serve others and use our God-given talents to help in any way we can.
YogaJP and Yoga Vista Academy – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
YogaJP specializes in bringing Yoga to people of all ages and stages of life, but especially to Boomer, Seniors and people with physical limitations. Our Yoga DVDs and our Streaming YogaJP.TV video library brings Yoga into the homes of many people where Yoga is not easily accessible where they live.
We get emails from around the world of how we have helped people stand taller, bend farther, reach higher, feel less pain, return to familiar hobbies and improve the quality of their life when they thought all hope was gone. The body can heal, we can all feel better… we just need some gentle guidance and encouragement to keep moving! And that is the work we do!
The Yoga Vista Academy is a very well-respected educational institution and we are proud that our graduates are serving the needs of their communities. We believe we are part of the emerging healthcare solution of self-care rather than medicine-care. Our teachers are Yoga Ambassadors in the world helping to extend the quality and not just the quantity of living years of the 50+ population.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me is feeling deep inside that you have fulfilled your God-given assignment and calling in life. In our world, we call “living your dharma”.
I know I am doing what I should be doing because all the skills I learned from my high tech days, all the Yoga teachers that have come into my life at the perfect time, and all the students that I have taught and learned so much from… brought me to where I am and that is a wonderful place to be. At peace with your place and work in life.
- Subscribe to YogaJP.TV! Only $9.99/month for 100’s of Gentle, Senior and Chair Yoga classes
- Website: www.YogaJP.com and www.YogaVistaAcademy.com
- Phone: 760-717-6262
- Email: sherry@YOGAJP.COM
- Instagram: https://twitter.com/YogaFor55Plus
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YogaJourneyProductions
- Twitter: http://www.YouTube.com/YogaJP
- Yelp: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sherryzakmorris
- Other: http://www.SherryZakMorris.com