Our Founder Laura Anderson: My Story
Humans connect with each other through our stories, we hear ourselves in each other and are able to share joy, sorrow and hope through these connections. This particular story starts in 2008 when my world came crashing down around me. A series of events led me to a jumping off place where I knew that things had to change. This is the year my journey to health started, and ultimately, my journey to happiness. I started to make small changes in my life, moving more, eating healthier and surrounding myself with people who had lives that I wanted and was maybe starting to think I was also worthy of. I met a local yoga teacher in Tacoma, Washington named Tara Johnson, who would later become a friend and mentor, and her dedication to her yoga practice inspired me to start going to yoga.
At this point in my life I was in my twenties. I have a background in ballet, but hadn’t been doing any sort of physical activity in many years. I had also been to yoga classes here and there, but had never stuck with it, or felt any sort of pull to. I believe yoga finds us when we are ready, and meeting Tara and hearing about how yoga had changed her life in so many ways opened my eyes to the practice in new ways, not just as a way to change the physical body, but to also inspire change in an emotional and spiritual way.
Although I felt pulled to begin and commit to a yoga practice, it definitely wasn’t rainbows and butterflies every time I went. There were days when I would get so angry in class, sometimes at the teacher, but usually at myself for not being able to live up to my very high expectations of my body and my practice. This is when I started to dive deeper into the other 7 limbs of yoga, in addition to the limb of the asana, or the yoga poses. I sought guidance not just from yoga teachers but from other wiser people in my life and started to learn more about who I was and who I wanted to be. It’s hard to grow, but for me the pain of not loving who I was, was motivation to keep pushing.
I came to a tipping point when I lost my job as a bookkeeper and tax preparer. I had put a lot of my identity into my career and thought that even though I wasn’t passionate about it, the facts that it was stable, paid the bills, and I liked my boss were all that mattered. When I lost it, I thought my world was crumbling, and that everything was ruined. It’s funny how fear can leave us feeling so defeated. In hindsight, I am now so grateful that I lost that job that I didn’t love, because it put me in enough turmoil to seriously look at my life and make some changes.
Mind you, this acceptance and grace didn’t come right away. At first it was like I was living in a constant panic attack, and was seriously considering running back to retail (another passionless job in which I made good money). Thankfully my partner, Alex, reigned me back in and asked me to spend some time and energy thinking about what I actually might enjoy doing with my life. This is difficult to do when you believe you have just lost your identity and think that you are incapable of doing much…. but at his insistence I finally admitted that I had been thinking about teaching yoga, for a long time. The practice had become such an integral part of my life, I was constantly urging friends and family members onto the mat anytime I saw them, eager to share what I knew and take away their aches and pains. I wasn’t quite ready to accept change and told him that I didn’t know where to do my training, and couldn’t afford it anyway. Lo and behold, Expand Yoga, the hot yoga studio a few blocks away from my house where I had been practicing (but apparently not listening to announcements), was starting their yearly teacher training in two weeks! The deadline to apply had passed but I applied anyway and the owners Matt and Liz said they would love to have me. At the suggestion of Alex, I asked my parents for a loan and they kindly agreed.
The teacher training was awesome and as soon as it ended Alex and I left on our first long term traveling trip to Vietnam. On that trip is where I actually started teaching yoga. I was able to teach classes with students from all over the world and after 2 ½ months abroad, we headed back to our hometown Tacoma. I immediately started teaching full time at a couple studios and gyms in the area and I found that experience is the best teacher. The more classes I taught, the more I loved it.
Our next travels took us to Spain for 3 months and while we were there an idea came to me for a new type of yoga business. I wanted to create a business that would make it easier for people to try yoga. I decided to call it Grow Mobile Yoga. It would be a female owned, on-site yoga service that would bring yoga into corporations, hospitals, offices, gyms, schools, and events. The primary goal would be to make yoga more accessible for people by bringing classes into the places where people are already going.
When we came back home I was super excited to start Grow but had no idea how I was going to do it. I knew I needed to work so I started teaching more yoga classes than ever before. I was rushing around in between studios and gyms teaching more classes a week than almost every yoga teacher I knew and was still hardly making enough to cover my bills. As time passed I started to think it would never be possible to start a yoga business, let alone make a living teaching yoga.
At the end of 2018 I got the opportunity to go and teach on Maui for almost 6 months rent free. While there I utilized my time to develop a real plan to put Grow Mobile Yoga into action. I reached out to all of the top mobile yoga companies and asked their founders as many questions as they would possibly let me. Through talking with the owners of these successful mobile yoga businesses, I came up with a practical plan and realistic budget to launch the business. That brings us to today, with you on reading a blog on the website for Grow Mobile Yoga.
I am so excited to share Grow Mobile Yoga with you. Please reach out with any questions or comments, or book your first class today!