What began as a path to parental acceptance has grown into Yogapreneur, Dianne Bondy’s successful business, Dianne Bondy Yoga. After years of struggling with body image, the founder of the East Side Yoga Studio learned to accept himself through the discipline of yoga. She accidentally inspired countless others to practice. After practicing for over 25 years, she has developed a tendency to impart spirituality to any pose.
In addition to running the studio, Bondy finds time to write a column for the Elephant Journal, organize yoga retreats, and train future yoga teachers. When she says she “wants to help raise the vibration of the world”? We believe she does exactly what makes her an ideal choice for Blackenterprise.com’s yoga prenuer range.
What was the impetus for entering the health and fitness industry as an entrepreneur?
I’ve always loved being physical and my parents really encouraged it when we were growing up. As a person with a weight problem, I had to move. I quickly realized that I was not alone with my feelings about my body image and decided to share exercise by teaching fitness. I was a group fitness instructor and personal trainer before I found my true love, yoga.
How did business go for you?
Very good, but I’m working very hard on it. It’s not without an effort, but the effort makes it very rewarding and stimulating. I love to share yoga with my students. I also like marketing and getting to know the best ways to encourage people to invest in their health.
What resources did you use to set up and expand your company?
I started very small. I did combined fitness and yoga classes in my church basement. I used my own savings to start my business. I started with 12 students and 3 classes and grew slowly. I have a university degree and some business training, which has helped me. I have since studied with yoga professionals both to teach yoga and to build your yoga business.
What are some of the challenges you faced during difficult economic times?
Of course, abrasion is always a problem in any service industry. I keep my prices competitive. I also offer assistance and incentives to those in need of financial assistance.
How has yoga changed your life?
It made me so strong; strong in my spirituality, stronger in making connections with others and myself. It has also made me more attentive, focused, compassionate, loving and aware of the flavors of life. Yoga changed my view of the world. It taught me how to find happiness.
What are some of the challenges you face as an African-Canadian in yoga?
My biggest hurdle is the media stereotype of yoga, which is currently young, slim, flexible and white. I am young, tall and black. People with color are underrepresented in yoga. I would love to see more people of color, men, and bigger bodies on the mat. The problem is to gain more diversity for yoga.