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Meet Lara Estrada of Yoga Bliss in Westchester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lara Estrada.

Lara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started practicing yoga in 2007 after a friend from work invited me to join her for class. I distinctly remember laying on the floor at the end of class in a spinal twist and feeling blissed out. I was hooked! For years growing up, I trained in dance, played softball, and was always athletic. Yoga was a new to my body, and I loved the idea of lyrical movements with breath and technique.

I had only been working for about a year after college, but quickly started feeling a sense of emptiness and stagnancy from my office job. I wanted to feel more meaning and purpose in my work. One of my best friends and I decided to live simply and save our money so we could volunteer and backpack abroad. For several months we held to these goals and would meet regularly to track our progress. In May 2009, I left my job and started my adventure.

That summer, I completed my 200-hour teacher training certification through YogaWorks in Costa Mesa. I loved every moment of it! After training, my friend and I lived in Thailand for three months, teaching English and visiting different cities and islands, and traveled through Laos, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and Hawaii before coming back. We were abroad for almost six months. Our days were filled with discovery, culture, and adventure.

Upon returning from our travels, I knew that I wanted to make a change in my work and started looking for jobs at non-profits and universities. I also started teaching yoga at one of the studios I used to practice at. I got a job offer at USC and decided to relocate to Los Angeles!

In LA, I started teaching at gyms and studios while working full-time. It was important to me to keep on teaching and building my yoga network because I enjoyed it so much! In 2013 I completed my 300-hour teacher training through Mukti Yoga School in Manhattan Beach.

After teaching for a few years, I knew that sharing yoga was my most important and meaningful work. I started to think about opening a studio of my own. In my spare time, I worked on business plans and did everything from writing website content to having a logo designed. I truly started to plan as if I knew one day it would happen.

In 2014, I got an amazing job opportunity in International Sales at the world-renowned yoga company, Manduka. I absolutely loved that all of my work now revolved around yoga. But I realized that I still yearned to create a business of my own. In the spring of 2015, my realtor told me she found the perfect space for me, and it was down the street from my apartment. I knew this was my chance to start the business I had been dreaming of and working on for years!

In 2015, Yoga Bliss was born! Our Grand Opening was one of the best days of my life so far. It’s been amazing to watch our community grow and to go through all the challenges of starting a business. We celebrated our one year anniversary in October, and I’m so excited to continue sharing yoga with all who come to practice.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I feel that there are always struggles along the way when starting a new business! But those are the times that you learn the most. Before opening, my biggest challenge was to deciding to sign the lease and actually go through with my business plans. It was such a huge financial investment for me! I’m proud to say that I started the business completely on my own. That being said, I had to save up a lot of money (which I had been doing for years), run an IndieGoGo campaign, and get a small business loan. Because I was feeling pushed for time with other business interested in the space, I actually signed the lease without a loan confirmed. It was scary and invigorating! I had to take a leap of faith that the business I envisioned would thrive. A couple weeks later, I found out that I was approved for a small business loan and took it as a sign that the Universe had my back.

Once the studio opened, my challenges laid in managing my own personal time and energy. I still worked full-time at Manduka while teaching many of the classes, and managing every aspect of the business. I held the positions of studio owner and manager, yoga instructor, social media manager, janitor, and bookkeeper all in one. There was always work to do! This made me really value any time I got to spend with family and loved ones, or with myself.

Please tell us about Yoga Bliss.
We offer heated yoga classes at 85 degrees Fahrenheit – mostly Vinyasa, with some gentle options and beginners classes. The warmth helps to get your body warmed up more quickly, encouraging flexibility and deeper relaxation. Our instructors show a depth of care for everyone who practices at Yoga Bliss. I am proud to say I know almost everyone who comes through our doors. I make a point to connect with our community on a personal level.

People who practice at Yoga Bliss say that they love the personal and welcoming feel that they get at the studio. We offer a balance of physical challenge and mental relaxation and take pride in our work and community.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood is the recess in elementary school. I think it was only 30 minutes, but my friends and I made so many adventures happen! I miss those carefree days!

Pricing:

  • New Student Special – 3 classes for $25
  • New Student Special – 2 Weeks Unlimited for $30
  • Monthly Unlimited Autopay $85

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Daniel Mai

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