The lights were dimmed. People were lying on the floor under blankets. It looked weird says Wendy.
This was her first encounter with yoga. As she is quick to point out, she wasn’t exactly limber, doing yoga did not come naturally to her, and even if she’d wanted to get out of the classes, that wasn’t going to happen as the instructor was adamant that there were no refunds. So she was stuck.
Truth is, she was stuck anyway. She’d hit a wall. She knew her marriage of 13 years was not working, and it was time to leave the relationship.
Little did she know, that this very yoga class was the spark to ignite a whole new career, a whole new life for her. She started to realize her potential, to realize that what she wanted mattered.
Up until that point, she’d worked in different office settings, worked in retail, tried a stint in corporate, and even had a small stained glass business on the side with her father.
While she was way out of her comfort zone, even after that first yoga class, she recognized that she felt better than she had done in years. “I was coming home to my body. This heals me, this is what I am meant to do.”
Later, persuaded by the same teacher, she took the two-year yoga instructor training. Initially she wasn’t sure this was what she wanted to do, but by the end of the two years, she just knew she had to share what she’d learned with other people.
She wanted to inject that calm into others, so they realized they had choices. Life didn’t have to be all work.
In April, 2000 she opened her studio in Milton, Inner Sanctum, and there she stayed offering yoga and meditation classes for close to fourteen years. By then she’d met her partner and they’d bought a home in Hamilton and she was embarking on an undergraduate degree at McMaster.
Growing up as the only daughter, her parents saw no reason for Wendy to go to university, and as was typical of the time, she married young rather than pursuing her own further education and career.
Now as a mature student she is taking her BA in Social Science in Religion and Culture, with a minor in Women’s Studies and will be graduating in April, 2018. This is no mean feat – going to school, running a business and a household, but Wendy has done it and is proud of what she has achieved, as she should be.
Today she still offers classes in yoga and meditation, provides one-on-one mentoring and offers retreats to help people connect with their inner selves.
However, as any business owner will tell you, it has not all been plain sailing and there were times when Wendy felt like quitting as she worked hard to make the business financially viable.
“When I started in 2000, yoga was not trendy like it is today. I mean I was around before Lululemon” she jokes. And at times that felt isolating, because while friends supported her, it was in words, but not action.
“There were times when I felt a complete fraud.” Here I was teaching people how to be calm and relaxed, while inside I was feeling overwhelmed with running a business, raising two children on my own and trying to stay true to my core.” she shares.
With the degree behind her, Wendy wants to direct her energy to empowering women to live the lives they deserve. Making a difference, sharing her knowledge is what drives her.
Her advice for someone starting out – build a support team, ask for help and don’t think you know it all.
There is a quote she likes
“If you dream it, you can believe it. If you believe it, you can create it. Just follow your heart.”
And Wendy is following her heart.