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Conversations with Angeliki Papadakis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angeliki Papadakis.

Hi Angeliki, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started practicing yoga because my then roommate Rhiannon Bailard took me to a donation-based power yoga class in Santa Monica led by Bryan Kest. From that point on, I found yoga to be an extremely effective stress reducer and cultivator of inner joy. While practicing law in San Francisco, I discovered the Yoga Tree studio and Rusty Wells. Every class was an awesome experience and a great break from the reality of long hours at the firm. Each class provided a positive perspective in my life. Upon returning to Los Angeles and starting a family, I left the hectic legal world and obtained my yoga certification. I’m here now to share what I have learned so far through the gift of yoga practice.

During the pandemic in 2020, when our studios in the South Bay closed, my family and I moved our yoga practice to the park, my mom’s back yard and on the deck of my home in San Pedro. I reached out to some former colleagues of mine that were also serving their family and friends through free yoga in outdoor areas. Teaching is a practice as well as taking class. Instructors need to teach and students need their practice especially during times of uncertainty. We provided that to ourselves and our communities. Our instructors have hearts of servants and looked to aid the community through the gift of yoga. As the months turned into a year, we started looking for a more permanent concept and found one at 23812 Crenshaw Blvd. in Torrance. We were able to open the doors to our studio on April 1, 2021 and have enjoyed having this home base. I truly believe if everyone had the practice of yoga in their lives, the world would be a better place and all would be happier. Yoga keeps me stable, calm, happy, centered and filled with appreciation. Sharing this practice fills me with Kefi!!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Opening a new small business venture is never a smooth road! Not to mention the restrictions related to the pandemic and the layers of complexity concerning the ever-changing regulations related to an in-person yoga classes. However, we did it and continue to comply and maneuver to serve our community. The passion each of us holds for sharing this gift of yoga helps us transcend challenges and overcome struggles that will inevitably and continually arise. Further, we have our own individual yoga practices on and off the mat to help us through.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a 200-hour E-RYT with Yoga Alliance and have been teaching movement in a studio environment for over two decades. I began my choreography and movement training in Los Angeles with Cynthia and Patrick Bradley, Patricia Standar, and Charles Maple. I went on to train with various professional dance companies around the country and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California where I received outstanding choreography awards and scholarships. Thereafter, I received my J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude and practiced law in Long Beach, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. After half a decade of practicing law, I craved a change and wanted to get back in touch with my life in the studio so I took a job with the USC School of Dramatic Arts. I taught there as an adjunct professor and lateralled into that position at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Simultaneously, I was training yoga students at Corepower yoga where I received my yoga certification.

I found that yoga provided a mechanism for healing, not only my old dance injuries but really deep healing from within and I saw that in my students as well. This profound practice was more powerful than any expression of choreography in the studio or on the stage had ever been. I was and continue to be mesmerized by yoga and marvel at its magnificence daily. When they closed our studios, all the instructors and students I knew were displaced and in desperate need of guidance in their practice and the community provided when sharing this gift. We started gathering in parks and sharing our practice under the sun. The opportunity arose for me to open a permanent studio and I seized it. The instructors that work with us are the most dedicated and gifted instructors I have met in our South Bay community. They are experienced and have devoted their lives to the service of their students. Unlike some of the corporate entities at Kefi, we value them and make sure they know it. We have a small community and provide support and guidance for our students. We also offer true beginning yoga to really spread the gift of it and make it approachable for everyone. We serve all ages from infants to the elderly. We have Baby & Me, Kid’s Yoga and Teen yoga. We offer yin as well to target mobility and meditation providing our students the balance they need in their practice. Further, we give away the first three classes for free over a 30 day period to baptize our students in the radiance of our community before they decide to purchase anything. We make them free Kefi Coffee on the weekends (freshly roasted primo beans brewed to perfection by Kefi Coffee) and always have ice tea and organic apples ready for them after class. I have never attended a studio like Kefi so I wanted to provide a place where the community is cared for in an authentic and extensive way.

Kefi is a special place. Come and see us soon.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
My father, John Papadakis, has always served as my mentor in life and business. He started a dinner house in 1973 and ran it for 38 years. I grew up there and watched his entrepreneurial prowess in action. Through hard work and dedication, he kept our family fed and the customers of the Papadakis Taverna too. Waiting tables there throughout my childhood and young adult life taught me how to communicate and serve customers. Human interaction and communication is key to any service-oriented business. This is also key when you are trying to teach, network or mentor anyone. I am lucky enough to have my family’s support whenever I need advice or a reference. My husband, Simon Ford, is also a creative, business-oriented man. He practices patent law by day, but by night he roasts Kefi Coffee, takes photographs with a 19th-century technique called wet-plate collodion, makes his own wine from his homegrown grapes, brews his own beer with his homegrown hops, and engineers homemade carbonation systems, filtration systems, hydroponic systems, among other things. He filed our Kefi Yoga copyright which is pending with the USPTO and took portraits of our wonderful instructors. He also plays his synthesizer live during special events at the studio. He is amazing and helps me with every aspect of the business whenever I ask him to.

Pricing:

  • The first three classes are free
  • $25 dollar drop in after free classes are used or expire
  • $145 monthly unlimited membership
  • $70 monthly for limited memberships
  • Baby & Me only $15, Kid’s Yoga $12, Teen Yoga $15

Contact Info:

  • Email: angel@kefiyoga.com
  • Website: www.kefiyoga.com
  • Instagram: @kefiyoga
  • Facebook: @kefiyoga
  • Twitter: kefiyoga

Image Credits
Simon Ford, Qed Imagery

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