Today we’d like to introduce you to Cara Lemus.
Hi Cara, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I stepped into my first yoga class at eighteen years old and it was love at first breath. That first experience changed everything for me. I decided I wanted to become a yoga instructor and inspire others in the same way yoga inspired me. In no time, I received my 200hr YTT through Julie Rader’s Mukti Yoga School in Manhattan Beach where I studied under a well-known teacher, Jamie Horgan. I began teaching yoga full-time along the beach cities, about fifteen classes per week. I spent my mornings teaching and practicing with now international teachers and my evenings in some of LA’s Best yoga studios. I have since continued to expand my knowledge in vinyasa, advanced, yin yoga styles and the business of yoga.
Over a decade later and after starting a family, I set out to open a yoga studio close to home. It was during the Pandemic I found the motivation to quit my day job, be full-time with my little ones, and pursue my passion. During quarantine, I taught LIVE classes on Instagram while my two toddlers played together in the background. I hosted yoga challenges to share my practice, motivate others, and create connections. When it was safe to do so, I took my classes outdoors to Averill Park and began offering private sessions. My goal was to make yoga accessible and affordable in a town that had little to no yoga. Most of my students were trying yoga for their very first times.
My park classes soon grew, I taught six to ten private clients a week, and I decided to name my private yoga business- Vive LA Yoga LLC. With divine timing from a dear friend and student, she referred me to the San Pedro City Ballet owner who was looking for a small business to rent space. I ran with that opportunity and never looked back. Soon San Pedro’s upcoming indoor & outdoor yoga studio was birthed in that shared dance space.
The dance studio was a great place to start out and I gained experience in learning about the business side of things. I never realized how much goes into just getting started: all the permits, taxes, insurance, administrative work and more. Our time there was mostly experimenting with what worked and what didn’t work. We also had to find a team of instructors that were going to help us build Vive and the mission and values we stand for. All the while, I was pregnant with my third child. It definitely was not easy at times but we made it work. We were there for a little over nine months offering classes in studio, at the park, and at the beach. Then we decided that if we were going to continue to grow, we needed to move into our own location, fast.
With the support of my husband, family, our Vive LA Yoga team and community, in under a year we opened San Pedro’s very own eco-chic yoga studio. With a great location, beautiful signage, and the open concept, minimalist style, I am proud to say we are really doing it! We have come such a long way.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I can’t say my journey was smooth, in the beginning. Starting out as a young, petite, and brown yoga teacher, I was not what many yoga studios in the South Bay were looking for at that time. This was over thirteen years ago. When applying to studios, there were many times that I was told I was too young and I did not fit the profile. Thankfully my yoga mentor believed in me, she knew I had potential, and she referred me to studios for my first teaching jobs.
I soon found out that being a yoga instructor means traveling from studio to studio, building your following, and living paycheck to paycheck. There were many times I thought of quitting but something always brought me back to yoga. Like anything else, it can be challenging if you are not putting in the work. You have to be dedicated.
Now as a small business owner, I’m always working on ways to make more connections in our community and spread the word. How can we reach more people? How can we keep growing?
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a mother of three beautiful children and a 300hr E-RYT. With over thirteen years of experience, I strive to uplift and inspire my students through my practice and modern teachings in vinyasa and yin yoga. I believe yoga gives you the ultimate tools needed to live your best life with happiness and grace and more people need to be doing it. My passion for yoga stems from the philosophy and never-ending growth of the practice that mirrors life’s experiences.
I have been interviewed and featured on Fox 11 Good Day LA about Vive LA Yoga and my yoga journey. Opening a yoga studio in the midst of a pandemic while pregnant (I sometimes forget that part) is something to be very proud of. To share the benefits of this practice and make others not just believe in it but feel what it does for you- that is special. I think what sets me apart from others is my desire for creating connections and the ability to build community. That is what contributes to the overall health, wellness, and extension of our community and its followers.
I am proud to bring something like this to San Pedro. We enjoy hosting pop-ups in our space, donating to local schools, planning yoga events and workshops, and supporting other female-owned small businesses. We feel the support from the community and we love supporting them.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thank you for letting me share our story. Come join us at Vive LA Yoga. We offer a variety of classes for all levels. We have indoor & outdoor yoga plus monthly events and workshops. All are welcome. We hope to see you on the mat soon!