Above Average Yoga – How it all began

My name is Trista Davis, for those of you that do not know me I currently own an Ideal Protein Clinic in Edmonton, AB. I live in St. Albert with my husband, my two sisters and their spouses, my nephew, my mom, my dad, 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 frogs (more on this later, its a long story…). My husband and I are currently waiting for our house to be built so right now we are living in this sea of craziness that is lovely and chaotic all at the same time. I love my family but let me tell you things can get a little crazy with 9 people and 5 furry animals all under one roof. I tell you this to assure you that I am a real person with real challenges and I try my best to relate to all those that I coach in weight loss and in life.

I have been coaching people through their weight loss with the Ideal Protein Program for just about 5 years now and love ever minute of it. I am an entrepreneur at heart and love helping people on their journeys. What this post it to really tell you about is my newest entrepreneurial activity “Above Average Yoga”. I must warn you this blog post may be a little long but I assure you worth the read! I will try my best to keep them shorter moving forward.

About 2 years ago when I had tried and failed another attempt at incorporating exercise into my weight loss/ health regime I formulated an idea. This idea(although I didn’t know it at the time) was Above Average Yoga. I wanted to create a fitness center that not only included but focused on plus size individuals. Now at the time that I formulated the idea I had no idea that it was going to look like Above Average Yoga. The reason that the focus went from a fitness center to Yoga etc. was for a couple of reasons:

  1. To keep costs down, I know that memberships at various gyms and other club type environments can be very expensive and contractual and I wanted to make my studio as affordable and no strings attached as possible. I knew that if I had to purchase a bunch of equipment and hire a ton of staff that I would have to charge more and tie people into contracts. I have always tried to keep everything about my business affordable and easy because I know losing weight/getting healthy/being active is hard enough and I value integrity as one of my core beliefs.
  2. Yoga changed my life! and is still changing it. In November 2013 I started going to Yoga with my mom (she had been begging me to come for years…guess I wasn’t ready to hear it, sorry mom shoulda listened sooner!) and the feeling that I had while in the class was like nothing I can fully describe. I felt strong, powerful and peaceful all at the same time. I personally felt this way in my first class for a few reasons, 1st of all, I had a great teacher, as well as I had my mom there to help modify the different poses that my bigger body didn’t allow for, second, before I went into the studio I decided not to care what others think and toss my fears to the side(this wasn’t easy.. I had to repeat a mantra over and over in my head the whole class)
  3. Yoga is such a good place to start your fitness journey because it works on everything, strength, mild cardio, and your mind…the most important in my opinion.
  4. Most important, opening a Yoga studio was something that was going to allow me to stay in line with all of my values and well as fulfill my hopes and dreams not only for myself but for all of the people that I know and want to share Yoga with.

When I first started to tell my clients and friends about my Yoga practice, I heard a lot of the same. ‘That’s fine for you but I could never walk into a studio’ or ‘Last time I went to a Yoga class, _____ happened and I will never go back.’ This made me so sad because I was so excited to share this new part of my life and I got so much negative feedback about it. I knew that I had to do something to help to change peoples minds about Yoga and fitness in general as a plus size or beginner individual. That was what started to drive me to create change with Above Average Yoga, so here is the story so far about where the studio is at…again I appoligize…its the long version.

In the space that I currently the lease was coming due in January and I was completely terrified at having no place to go. I had been leasing space in the building for 5 years and loved almost everything about it, I totally hated the thought of leaving. In early May 2014 I decided I needed to start looking for new space for my current business but possibly space to expand my business into some sort of fitness/wellness studio as well. The search was on and it turned up all bad, I was so frustrated and angry at myself for not pushing harder for a longer lease on the space I currently had.

And then it happened, the day before I was set to take off to Mexico for a girls week with my sister a FOR LEASE sign went up in front of the building that I am currently in.

My heart nearly jumped out of my chest and at 7:30am on a Friday morning I frantically searched to find out any details on this space that was available in the building. I called around and harassed at least 2 answering services to try to find out what space it was and when I couldn’t find out I asked everyone in the building, no one had any idea… weird right. Finally(LOL) at 9am someone called me back to tell me that someone else would get back to me within the day. Within the day? Are you fricken kidding me?? I need to know now!!!! Thankfully the guy on the other end of the line heard my desperation and connected me with the leasing agent directly. I left him a message and waited… I called my mom, my husband, my business mentor, my accountant, everyone I could think would want to hear from me on a Friday morning and then I waited. I wanted as many people to know as possible so that there could be so much energy focused on it that the leasing agent would just have to call me back!! He called me back at about 11am, he told me the specs, and I asked him to email the details. Now that I knew everything a sense of peace came over me. It was near perfect… now just to see it.

At this time I decided to not go see it, I decided that I needed to go on my trip and relax and sit on all the numbers that I was given without seeing it first. I emailed the leasing agent back and said “I am very interested but I am going to Mexico tomorrow, if it is meant to be it will still be there when I get back”.

So to make this story slightly shorter I went to Mexico, 5 days into my vacation I emailed the leasing agent and told him that I wanted to take the space and to draw up the papers and I would sign them when I got back. Keep in mind I still haven’t seen the space.

The leasing agent replied “just enjoy your vacation we will talk when you are back”. Now if you know me you are laughing right now because when I decide something needs to get done I need it done like right now! So this stressed me out a little bit but I enjoyed the rest of the vacation and the first thing I did Monday morning was email the leasing agent. The property was still available and I knew that it had to be mine! Tuesday morning he sent me the documents and I finally went and looked at the space.

I walked in and at first glance it looked like it was workable but was going to take a little renovation and then the girl working there showed me the back. This place was set up perfectly!!! Like seriously I couldn’t have asked for better! There are still some renos that need to be done but it is set up almost perfectly for what I want it for. I couldn’t believe it, over the next few days I showed the space to my family and friends and everyone said the same thing, couldn’t be set up better.

So I signed the lease, then…the landlord was away and couldn’t sign anything as he was at the world cup, so I waited and waited and waited for him to come home. I was so worried that someone else would want the space and give him a better offer then I had but I just had to keep telling myself, “Everything works out the way that it is supposed to”.

Then the landlord came home and after a little back and forth he signed my lease and as soon as that happened I started telling the world about Above Average Yoga because I have never ever been this excited about a project ever!! So what is next for this conceptual business that is coming more tangible everyday…

Well I have met with a contractor and we will start the renos December 1.

I am currently seeking out Yoga teachers that want to teach to the market that I am targeting. I will start the interview process November 3. So if you know anyone send them my way!

Website is almost complete and I will be pre selling punch cards and putting up a rough class schedule so you can get more of and idea of the classes that will be available at the studio.

I will continue with this blog on my website to keep you informed as to what is happening with us. Please help me spread the word through social media!