Yoga is big business; current estimates value the global industry at roughly £29 billion. More and more of us are turning to yoga to instil calm into our hectic lives and the ancient Indian movements seem to have made a seamless transition into the modern world.
Now a new yoga app, Yogi2me, aims to take the stress out of going stress free, delivering experienced yoga teachers to your door at a time that’s convenient for you.
Yogi2me founder and Le Bureau member Sarah Drai tells us why she swapped a career in banking for yoga and why balance is as important in your business as in your practice.
Hey Sarah! How did Yogi2me come about?
I was in banking for over 10 years, working in Luxembourg, London and New York, before setting up a financial advice business under my own name.
Yoga came to me at a time when I was really low. I was in New York; I was overworked and probably a bit depressed. I started doing Bikram, or hot yoga, and got addicted.
By the time I moved to London, yoga was getting bigger and bigger for me and it felt like there was something more that I wanted to do. I took two teacher training courses then took a few months out to see how [a career in yoga] would go. Three became six then six became nine and I thought, OK, it’s time to do it.
What inspired you to start the business?
I had the idea after I ordered an on-demand massage. I had a really good experience and felt very comfortable with having someone come to my place, which had been a concern. It was only when I mentioned it to my partner one day that we looked at each other and thought, what about the same service but for yoga teachers?
I probably wouldn’t have made the jump from having a normal job to teaching yoga without the support of my partner. You have to completely change your lifestyle and your expectation of earning.
How does the app work?
As a client, you start by entering your postcode, which shows you which of our instructors work in your area. Then you narrow your search by the type of yoga and you can choose to book a certain teacher at a specific time or see who is available at the time you are free.
We create short bio films of all of our instructors which clients watch on our website to get a sense of each teacher’s voice, style and intensity, so you know who is coming to your house.
The app is also built very much with yoga teachers in mind. In yoga, it tends to be the big brands that make the money, not yoga teachers themselves; Yogi2me gives yoga teachers the chance to optimise their schedules.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I start the day by teaching a class or private client then come to the office where I have an awesome team, which makes it well balanced. I feel like I get to do a bit of everything.
It is still a start up, so I go from teaching to meeting investors to getting tests done on the app, writing new requirements and even distributing fliers at the tube station. It is very, very diverse but I love that.
What’s the biggest challenge?
It has become my life! The ability to step away from it is probably the biggest challenge. I always feel like I should be doing more and that I’m not giving enough, but I have talked to lots of other entrepreneurs and I know that’s normal.
What drew you to a co working space?
I did a Google search and ‘Le Bureau’ came up – I’m French so it appealed! Then I saw it was in ‘Battersea’, so not far away. Once I saw the big Buddha and I knew it had the right vibe.
I came to visit and loved it straight away. From the financial side it is reasonable so it was a no-brainer. I am really happy to be here.
What’s next for Yogi2me?
We are going to be offering more services such as Mindfulness, where we will have things like gong baths and Mindfulness practice aimed at corporate life.
We are also looking at teaching spaces…but I can’t say too much!
THE QUICK FIRE Q&A
Who do you most admire?
My parents. I feel very distant from them by living away. I hope it will make them glad to know that.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Early bird or night owl?
How would you spend an unexpected free day?
I would spend some time with my partner, probably going to the park and relaxing. I’d take a yoga class. I would eat outside and just have a total chill day.
Last song you listened to?
A song by Coldplay but I can’t remember the title.
‘Les Intouchables’ – ‘The Untouchables’.
The book that changed you?
‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ by Brian L. Weiss. I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you have recently lost someone.
What three luxuries would you take to a desert island?
The more I have got into wellness the more I have gone off luxury. But it would be my iPhone, some really nice face cream and a few pieces of sentimental jewellery.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
I would love to be a little bit less hyperactive. I try to calm myself down with meditation but I am definitely hyper.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To listen more, always.
What is the secret to happiness?
To realise that it is within. You can’t expect someone or something else to make you happy – it all comes from inside.
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