This interview is part of the Chasing Dreams interview series. I’ve interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have chosen a different path in life in order to go after his or her dream career. Have an entrepreneur in mind you’d like to learn more about? Let me know! Today’s interview is with Tricia Murray, owner of Balance Yoga & Wellness Studio in Greencastle, PA. This was the first yoga studio I had ever tried classes in, and I fell in love with it instantly. It's cozy and affordably priced with a lot of classes to choose from. I try to stop in every time I'm visiting my mom. After chatting with Tricia a few times I knew she'd be a great addition to the series.
At what point did you know you wanted to follow this career path? How did you know this was the right direction?
I once heard or read that your dream should be so big that it can be the answer to other peoples problems. When I first started teaching I was bouncing from location to location and after a few years it was becoming obvious that I needed a single space to teach out of, so I could be most effective--helping even more people. My family had started to feel the strain of my irregular schedule (I was a stay at home mom and teaching yoga in the evenings or weekends), it took a lot of prayer and meditation but I knew it was the right decision when my students encouraged me to open the studio.
What are the biggest struggles you've faced while trying to achieve your dreams?
There have been many struggles: time, money, health, and just learning how to operate a studio. Figuring out how to balance my time between my family and the studio is the biggest struggle; do I use my daytime hours to market the studio or be home and present with my children? What about time for my husband? At one point I didn't have any other teachers so I taught every class!
Owning your own business can be tough on the body and mind, between long days, instability and really putting yourself out there to reach your foals. How do you stay healthy? Do you have any rituals that help you stay centered?
When I first opened the studio, it was tough. I came home exhausted and sore, I made really poor diet choices, and really didn't do much of anything. It was a slow progression back to choosing to be healthy, but now I'm recommitted to my personal yoga practice, walking and being more mindful of what I eat and drink. It has to be a conscious choice partnered with commitment. Yoga, walking, and now during the summer I'm out on the paddleboards as often as I can be. I don't know that I would call it a ritual but I look forward to going to worship on Sunday mornings. For some people, yoga can be a method of connecting ourselves to God, it is for me, and church just deepens that connection and helps me to stay grounded.
Speaking of putting yourself out there, overcoming rejection is a big part of chasing dreams. How do you bounce back?
I think this is a multifaceted answer for me. First, my parents have always taught me to just ask, the worst that can happen is someone will say "no". Really, what's wrong with hearing no some times? No is not a bad word. Plus, my plan is not really my plan, I have surrendered my plan to God. I'm here to serve him and I trust He will open opportunities as I am ready. Yoga teaches that suffering happens when we attach ourselves to an expected outcome, so if we have no expectations and let go or don't create any attachments then we don't suffer. These practices help overcome any feelings of rejection and just confirm that I'm on the right path.
What do you do when you're having an off day- maybe feeling down, struggling with self-doubt, or just unmotivated?
I have to remember that my business is not like most others. I'm not in business for myself. I teach for the service of others. If I might struggle with these things I have to remind myself about who I am there to serve. We live in a culture that likes to serve ourselves first. It takes practice to suppress the ego, but when I think of my students and their needs first, I'm able to find more than enough motivation to continue.
What is one misconception people have about you and/or your profession?
"Yoga" can create a wide variety of misconceptions. To limit them to one, I would say most people think they have to be flexible to come to yoga class. That's almost opposite thinking. You come to yoga class to get flexible. I would offer the example of an orthodontist doesn't put braces on teeth that are already straight, right? He would use the braces as a tool to straighten the teeth over time. The same is true for yoga. Yoga is a tool to create flexibility over time. While some people are naturally more flexible then others, it generally takes time, practice, and patience to create flexibility for most folks.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
You have to offer yourself the same love, kindness, and forgiveness that you would your friends, family, or anyone else. We tend to be hardest on ourselves but positive thinking and positive affirmations to ourselves make a tremendous difference!
What advice would you give someone who wants to open their own yoga studio?
You have to do a lot of research and soul searching for sure; don't just jump in. Greencastle was ready and a prime market for a yoga studio because there were no other yoga opportunities around. Lots of yoga studios fail within the first year for a variety of reasons. The environment of where the studio will be is so important to the success and life of the studio; you have to know as much as you can before you decide. Once you decide to open, become as vital a part of the community as you can so that people know you, talk about you, and would be sad without you. That's the best marketing you can ever have!
When do you feel the most inspired, alive and the most like YOU?
I love when my husband, Chad, and I can take our girls out on little adventures: hiking, biking, canoeing. Nature is very inspiring for me.
What people, books, music, etc. inspire you?
I'm all over the map when it comes to music, I listen to a variety of genres. Honestly, the people who come into the studio are my latest inspirations right now. I'm learning from them--kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness- these people are amazing!
Describe your favorite moment or accomplishment in your career so far.
Aside from the studio's opening, I think a very meaningful opportunity for me was teaching yoga for the high school students during their Phys. Ed. classes. It's always great to get to work with students, most of these kids have never been exposed to yoga and had lots of misconceptions about what it was. I think I got to change a lot of minds during those classes, and hopefully introduced a different and accessible way to stay physically active that wasn't a 'sport'.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life right now?
The paddleboard classes are definitely exciting. Being out on the water is really fun for me, then add in the challenge of balancing on the board- it's just a really great combination! People get to feel a new dynamic to the way they are moving! Plus I helped plan the Greencastle Mother Earth Festival in September. We offered free classes through the weekend and had a blast getting out into the community.
Tricia Murray is the owner of Balance Yoga and Wellness Studio in Greencastle, PA. She has degrees in recreation and respiratory therapy, has trained through YogaFit workshops and received trainings from Master Trainers Rachel Wilson and Sandy Call. She is currently pursuing a 500 level training through Charm City Yoga in Baltimore, MD. Tricia enjoys spending quality time outdoors with her husband and 2 children.