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Interview With Beth Shaw -

Friday, February 15, 2013
 
Interview Questions :
 
  1. How did you get started practicing Yoga? and When?

I started practicing yoga and meditation as child. I did the yoga postures not knowing what they were and I used to meditate to rid myself of horrible margarines as early as six years old.

2) How did you develop the Yogafit concept?

The YogaFit concept came to me as a result of teaching in LA’s top health clubs and taking several traditional certifications- I found a disconnect between yoga and the fitness club participant and created a format that bridged the gap. The name YogaFit came to me in 1994 on a bike ride. Obviously the concept has changed and grown as the market has shifted in the past 17 years, YogaFit offers a 200 & 500 RYT as well as a new 800 Yoga Therapy program through IYAT.  

3) How were you able to make it an international brand?  

Early on we started going to fitness trade shows and connecting with International clubs, I was training in Turkey, Costa Rica and Sweden as early as 1998. YogaFit now does business in six continents, we have separate Canadian company and last Summer I spent two weeks in China opening up YogaFit China

4) What tips do you have for people looking to start their own businesses?

Start small and let your business grow organically. Have a plan and financings to carry you through the lean times which can not only come in the start up phase but through the course of the life of the business. Be realistic about your goals and expectations. Spend a lot of time marketing your service and have a unique nitch. I could go on and on- I am VERY passionate about this subject and am launching my own coaching business this Spring to help yoga and fitness professionals achieve their goals. I also lecture on this subject at YogaFit’s Mind Body Fitness Conferences, its always lively and fun.

5) You are a very charitable person and organization - Who do you donate to and why?

I believe its important for everyone on the planet to give back in some way. When I started YogaFit I decided that everyone who took a YogaFit Level One should have this life changing experience. So build into every Level One is the need for eight hours of teaching yoga to a group who normally would not have the opportunity to receive it – Community Service is what we call it – it’s free and life changing.  I personally donate to animal charities- small local reputable ones- the big ones have more than enough money and are not spending it on the root of the problem- Overpopulation.  Making spay and neuter mandatory is something I would like to see happen on a National level. In the U.S. We euthanasia over seven million dogs and acts annually. If we had no puppy mills, people had to spay and neuter and we had more responsible pet owners this would not be an issue – Unfortunaly it is. People looking for local groups can email me at beth@yogafit.com and everyone should adopt not shop- don’t buy dogs.

6) Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by fitness, the sheer love of moving everyday. I am inspired by the potential pf perfect health for everyone. I am inspired by yoga and meditation to connect at a deeper level. I am always inspired by beautiful places and cities I love. I am inspired by getting to do what I love and work in the fitness industry. I am inspired by the potential of unlimited opportunities and most of all I am inspired by the YogaFit Network who are out in the world doing great work.

7) Who were your mentors? or people that influenced you along the way?

In the early days Johnny G, along the way Dr Lorene Hiris, my finance professor from LIU- CW Post, John McCartney from IHRSA and my trainer staff and God.

 
8) What is Yogafit and how does it differ from other Yoga disciplines and certifications?   YogaFit is about Safety and is truly Yoga for the Fitness Professional YogaFit is the largest yoga fitness education school in the world, with over 200,000 instructors trained on six continents.  
YogaFit hosts Mind-Body-Fitness (MBF) Conferences, teacher trainings and retreats worldwide, all of which are open to instructors, teacher trainees, and yoga enthusiasts. YogaFit completes more than 800 training programs per year, run by a core group of 65 highly trained experts. Outside North America, YogaFit has an exploding training, retreat, and conference business with a growing presence on multiple continents including strong programs in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Egypt, China, Southeast Asia, and Germany, among others. Worldwide, YogaFit trains approximately 15,000 people each year.
YogaFit is the exclusive yoga partner for the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Town Sports International ( NYSC, BSC, PSC, WCS), Good Life Fitness, Can Fit Pro, Tiger Rock Martial Arts, Gold's Gyms, Parker Chiropractic College and 24 Hour Fitness. The YogaFit style focuses on safety, accessibility and "yoga for everybody.”
YogaFit is a leader in Conscious Business and supports a variety of nonprofits and community service initiatives through fundraising, inviting speakers, requiring trainees to complete community service hours in underserved areas, and donating books, manuals, clothing, and other materials to nonprofits and yoga students in underserved communities. YogaFit’s progressive programs were featured in the April, 2012, issue of Entrepreneur Magazine . So far, the YogaFit Network,  has delivered over one million hours of community service work.
YogaFit incorporated in 1997 and in that year Shaw produced her first teacher training in Fargo, North Dakota, with 26 fitness instructors from four different YMCAs. 
 YogaFit’s popular Training Program was born. Specifically designed for presentation in health clubs, fitness facilities or other group exercise locations, the company and training programs have expanded over the years, and now feature internationally renowned programs for training fitness professionals in the YogaFit style. 
 


9) What are your future plans for Yogafit

Global growth and expansion in new territories, getting YogaFit more closely tied with the US Military with our new Yoga For Warriors program, expanding our 800 hour Yoga Therapy program. YogaFit is opening up two studios in North America- One in Los Angles and one in Toronto- with National roll out plans in the works. We are always growing, improving and changing .

 
SIDEBAR :
Born and raised in New York City, Shaw never planned on becoming a yoga instructor. However, in her last year of study at Long Island University, she had a psychic flash during a yoga pose. The message was that she was destined to be in the health and fitness industry, and that she would be exceedingly successful. She describes the moment as if it were yesterday. "I was doing a standing forward fold in the stretch room of the local health club, and this message came to me in a bright white light... like the sky parted and I received this incredible insight. It was a life-changing moment," Shaw recalls.  
After graduating with a marketing degree from Long Island University, Shaw headed west and began studying yoga and earning certifications in fitness and yoga therapy. In 1993, she began teaching yoga and quickly discovered that traditional yoga teaching methods didn't meet the needs of a fitness club clientele. Shaw created what would be the first “yoga center within a health club” in the South Bay, and it was a raging success.
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