By CAROLYN GOARD
Sarah Giovannone, owner of Yoga By Sarah, shares her love for yoga and her passion to manage a yoga facility that offers a complete fitness experience for her clients, while providing mental and spiritual benefits. Yoga By Sarah has been serving the St. Catharines community for 12 years.
The 33-year-old business owner and yogi left her family’s business as a young adult to open Yoga By Sarah. Giovannone says that it was her "responsibility" to open a yoga studio because there were no yoga services available in St. Catharines at the time.
Giovannone opened Yoga By Sarah with no structured plan.
"I should be embarrassed to say I didn’t have a business plan when I opened the studio." She says the business started off small, but through the years it has developed into a "great success."
Giovannone says that her achievements have developed from a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and hard work and that she accomplished her goals by giving her undivided attention to running a successful yoga business.
In addition to operating her studio, Giovannone also instructs several types of yoga classes. She says the yoga she offers is a "purely physical" experience. However, she hopes her clients also benefit from the classes spiritually and mentally.
Although yoga is mainly composed of various streching and endurance postures, she reminds them to embrace yoga through "the mind, body, and spirit."
Good customer service and developing customer relations are what Giovannone strongly values.
"It’s important to get to know every individual personally, you know, get to know everyone’s name, remembering the last conversation you had with them and developing a relationship with them."
She stresses the importance of maintaining a class schedule convenient for all of her clients.
In addition to the physical benefits of yoga, which have helped student Monique Idzenga, 49, maintain a toned figure. She says she he has been able to cope with daily stress better. "It’s also great because of the variety of instructors," says Idzenga.
"You get the whole works," says yoga student Mike Adams, 50. He explains the physical aspect of hot yoga is great because it releases toxins and "it is certainly a mind clearing experience." Adams appreciates the spectrum of teachers at Yoga By Sarah because they each offer a variety of qualities. "They aren’t just robots," he states.
The community is essential to Giovannone’s business.
"It’s all about love, not just yoga. Yoga is for the community." She explains how an important part of her facility is the community bulletin board, where events and announcements are posted.
Angela Sacco, 40, an instructor at Yoga By Sarah, says she strongly appreciates the sense of community at the studio.
"Yoga can benefit people in so many ways, and I want to share that with people the same way it helped me."
Giovannone says her studio is for everyone, such as younger university students, older folk and men and women.
"You have the younger people who gravitate towards the hot yoga because it’s more intense, and a lot of the older crowd enjoy the more relaxing style of yoga because it’s more calming."
"When people think of yoga, I want them to think, ‘Oh! Yoga By Sarah!’"
Giovannone enthusiastically says she wants people to think of her studio as the premier place of yoga in the Niagara region, where they will always have a consistent, great experience.
Giovannone is a finalist for the Thorold and St. Catharines seventh annual Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award.