Lore Wainwright, owner of Yoga for All, chats about her younger self, finding purpose and the reward of the retreat
Photo: Lore Wainwright
AS A MEMBER of the Pillar Nonprofit Network team, many Londoners know Lore Wainwright as the director of operations at Innovation Works, where she tends to the daily goings on at the bustling 32,000-square-foot coworking space on King Street. But weaved into her week, in the early mornings, lunchtimes and evening hours, you’ll find her minding the mat.
As owner and operator of Yoga for All, Wainwright provides private yoga instruction and teaches group classes. She also organizes yoga retreats, both locally and in somewhat more exotic settings, like Portugal and Italy. An instructor for over a decade, yoga is both passion and purpose for the once-sedentary bookworm.
“As a kid, I ate. A lot,” she says. “I dropped gym after two weeks in high school and then tuned into books. It was later in life when fitness became a core part of who I wanted to be. And when I turned 30, after a bout with cancer, I knew becoming an instructor was one way to always stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.”
For some time now, you’ve been teaching yoga at various locations across the city. What led to the next step — the decision to launch your own yoga business?
When I started teaching yoga about 12 years ago, I realized that it was limiting and intimidating for some. I wanted to create an environment for everyone — all shapes, ages and sizes — to feel the benefits of yoga. Every class, every retreat, has care for everyone built in so that ‘not being flexible’ is not a showstopper for anyone. And it is far beyond the physical. It’s the potential we all have if we just move, think and feel in a way that wires us towards a healthy relationship with self and others.
How did your yoga journey begin?
I remember having my friends join me with a big boombox in my driveway to do a little ‘fitness’ routine. I laugh about it now, but I also realize that the very people who were there to support me in the beginning would stay my biggest fans and come along for my yoga journey. To share with others and create a business model that allows me to travel is exactly the right place for me at this time in my life.
How does one transition from student to teacher?
You begin by taking the plunge to complete 200 hours of yoga teacher training. Finding an instructor with the right match for your personality and values is key. The last thing you want is to tolerate the teacher; there needs to be a genuine connection. You also need to plan how this training is going to fit your life. Some yoga teacher training can be done all at once — very intensive, consecutive days. For me, because I was working full-time and raising a family, it was done over period of months.
As a new yoga teacher, how did you build a following?
You need to do some community yoga teaching to get started, then you need to find a place to teach. I discovered quickly the importance of building your own style of teaching, one that honestly reflects your values, your beliefs and your approach to the discipline. That is how you attract and build your own following. And always, always keep learning — through conferences, going to other yoga training and other yogi’s practices. Registering with Yoga Alliance, the governing body for instructors, is also important for teaching abroad and staying current with the industry.
As you’ve progressed from yoga teacher to business owner, what challenges have you come up against?
You need to understand what being an entrepreneur is about — don’t take ‘no’ personally. You also learn that individuals all need something different from their yoga experience. The challenge is to find out what that is and don’t sell it — help them achieve it and be authentic. And ask for help; get a mentor in your life. I am on track for making this lifetime goal a reality thanks perseverance, constant education and to those around me.
At what point did you decide to incorporate retreats into your business?
It’s been a part of the evolution. Our world is stressed; people need self-care more than ever. People feel the benefits of a one-hour practice, then it progresses to a one-day retreat and then to a two- or three-day immersion of caring for self. The demand for immersive experiences is growing and moving to a destination specific and themed retreat was a natural fit. I’ve been very particular in where we choose to retreat — it’s far more than a beach vacation. We absorb culture and provide beautiful settings to reflect, recharge and evaluate what living a fulfilled life means. As this side of my business expands, my hope is to help other yogis create their own retreats and amplify the ability to create positive impact through the retreat experience.
What’s the best part of being a yoga teacher?
Giving individuals of all ages the gift of movement, breathing and the heart to know that no matter how much chaos life throws us, we can overcome. I’ve met my best friends through fitness and yoga, and I’m told again and again how practising yoga has changed lives.
I think the most challenging aspect is balancing the teaching of others with the practising for yourself. You can get very tied up in giving and forget that the practice is there for you, too.