Shelley D’Amico, founder of Namaskar Yoga Studio, said it says a lot about the community to be a finalist for a people’s choice award.
Namaskar Yoga Studio in Parksville was included in the top 10 finalists for Small Business BC’s Premier’s People’s Choice award. On Friday, Small Business BC announced its short list of the top five finalists, but Namaskar wasn’t included in the list.
“I was shocked, really surprised,” said D’Amico about finding out about the nomination in December.
“I thought that, because it’s a small business, small town, and there were so many businesses nominated, I figured that for sure someone in Vancouver was going to win or at least be chosen as a semifinalist.
“It says a lot about the community itself. Just to vote, it means a lot.”
Namaskar, D’Amico said, opened July 15, 2016 in Parksville at 10-102 Island Hwy. E. The entrance is located on Middleton Avenue.
The studio opened a year and a half ago with four instructors.
“Essentially, we just showed up every single day with our hearts and we just do what we do, which is teach and care about our audience, and eventually, over time, class numbers started to grow,” she said, adding that without its dedicated students, the business wouldn’t have lasted.
“The community has been very receptive. Most of my business has been word-of-mouth,” D’Amico said.
Namaskar wasn’t D’Amico’s first venture into the yoga world, she said.
“I worked in the corporate world for 25 years and then I had had enough of that. I was a little bit lost… When I resigned, I went to yoga every day,” she said. “Just going to my mat every single day, I learned a lot about myself. I really learned to just connect with what my true calling is.”
D’Amico said she decided to take yoga teacher training with the intention of one day opening her own studio. Initially, D’Amico said, she was teaching at another studio in town. It ended up closing its doors, opening another door for D’Amico.
“The opportunity came and I seized it,” she said.
Before opening Namaskar, D’Amico did her competitor research. She said she learned she is the only hot yoga studio, and only studio with infrared heating, in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
“That, to me, is my competitive edge, and that is my target market,” said D’Amico.
When the other hot yoga studio closed its doors, D’Amico said, she initially thought it was going to reopen.
“When they didn’t, I realized there’s a bunch of people that will have nowhere to go.”
Namaskar Yoga offers a variety of classes including hot vinyasa flow, power yoga, yin yoga, yinyasa and gentle flow. The studio’s classes also include hot classes (100 degrees F), warm classes (94 degrees F) and non-heated classes.
In addition to Namaskar’s class schedule, D’Amico is currently training to become certified as a Broga teacher. Broga is a new type of yoga class geared specifically toward men.
“Their mandate is they want to get more men onto the mat. So they have developed a very specific sequence geared toward taking male anatomy into consideration,” D’Amico said.
“A lot of men are intimidated to come into classes because a lot of men think they aren’t flexible enough.”
D’Amico said Broga is a yoga sequence that doesn’t ask men to be too flexible. She said it includes yoga postures with a lot of strength-based movements such as push-ups, while also including HIIT (high-intensity interval training) elements such as burpees or squats.
“It’s challenging, but it’s fun.”
D’Amico said she found out about Broga through two male students at Namaskar. She said she researched it immediately.
“I think that very same day, I signed up for the (Broga) yoga teacher training,” she said.
D’Amico said she’ll be finished Broga training by the end of the month and will be certified by mid-February. She said she plans to start offering Broga classes in March.
She also wants to see more men “on the mat” because yoga isn’t just for women.
“It’s for anybody. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you think you’re too short or too tall. If you can breathe, you can do yoga,” D’Amico said.
For more information on Namaskar Yoga Studio, visit www.namaskaryoga.ca or call 250-586-9642.