TRURO - When you’ve just moved to a new town and the first thing you look for is a yoga teacher, you’re obviously hooked.
© Submitted photo
Joy Nicholson, owner of Joyful Yoga in Downtown Truro, is proud to be contributing to the health and wellness of the community. With more than 20 classes per week, there’s something for everyone.
In Joy Nicholson’s case, she was moving back to Truro after being away for 10 years, but her number one priority before even finding a job was to get re-established in a yoga program.
Nicholson is now a registered yoga teacher and owner of Joyful Yoga on Inglis Place.
“I‘ve been practicing yoga for over two decades and I really need it to provide grounding in my life,” she said. “But I had no idea when I moved back to Truro that I would eventually have my own studio.”
She got a job with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Truro, tasked with opening an art gallery for adults with disabilities. She also began teaching yoga to adults with mental health issues and loved seeing her clients move beyond the label of their diagnosis.
“I also started teaching classes in the community, bouncing around from one basement space to another. Then one day about eight years ago, I mentioned I was getting tired of that routine and someone took me to have a look at a vacant space above Inglis Jewellers. Three months later I had opened my own studio in that space.
“I just decided to take a leap of faith and I believe one of the main reasons the business has grown and excelled is because I’m doing what I love.”
Nicholson noted the business has undergone some dramatic changes since the early days, including the fact that there are now nine other teachers at the studio, all local women.
“I’ve trained some of them. In fact, my eight-month course is the only teacher training program outside of Halifax and I’ve had students from all over the province. The great part is that I’m reaching people who otherwise would have no access to yoga.”
The business owner explained that all of Joyful Yoga’s teachers contribute to the community with different skill sets, which means they come in contact with a wide range of people.
“For example, there’s a physiotherapist, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, an entrepreneur. And clients seem to forge a close connection with the teachers, because it’s not uncommon to hear a comment that it would be nice to be able to adopt the teacher.”
She said clients automatically feel better just coming to a class because they love the atmosphere.
“Our studio is spacious and boasts high ceilings, lots of natural light and tons of character,” she said. “And we never preach or load on guilt. We tell people to congratulate themselves for showing up.”
Nicholson feels another reason for Joyful Yoga’s success is that the emphasis is on quality yoga.
“I opened my studio so I could have a space dedicated to yoga. Many studios try to do a lot of different things, but we just focus on doing one thing well. I also continue to work on improving my own skills by attending various professional development workshops.
“I think Joyful Yoga has successfully developed a reputation for offering a quality product in a relaxed and friendly setting.”
Twenty classes a week means there’s lots of variety – everything from chair yoga to healing yoga to yoga for seniors to power classes; something for everyone, in other words. Special workshops with international instructors, collaborations with acclaimed musicians and free classes wherever possible for local community organizations have all helped make Joyful Yoga an award-winning studio. Honours have included Best Fitness Studio and Best Small Business in the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce Best of Colchester awards.
“I love being downtown,” Nicholson said. “This is an ideal spot for me. There’s a lot of walk by traffic. There are cafés and shops nearby. You can come to a 9:30 a.m. class on Saturday and then stop by the Farmers Market. Yoga clothes are sold across the street and Fit Flops are available next door.
“You can park once and go to everything. I’m proud to be back in the town where I was raised and to be contributing to the health and wellness of the community. Remember, if you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Grace Murray is the promotions and marketing director for the Downtown Truro Partnership. Her column features downtown businesses and appears monthly in the Truro Daily News.