Oppdatert: 16. apr. 2022
What brought you to Norway?
“That is a whole other story" laughs Amy. " In a nutshell, I met my husband on holidays in Bali and moved here to be with him in late 2018. After moving from Australia to Norway and understanding the time it takes to learn a new language, I soon realised it will take me many years to be able to re-establish myself in a real estate career in Norway. I had to reset my mindset.
When did you first think about opening a yoga studio?
“It happened in 2014, lying in Savasana in a hot vinyasa yoga class when I had my first vision of opening my own studio. The hot yoga made sense to me, it forces a busy mind to concentrate and relax through breath and the body feels amazing afterwards.”
"I decided to focus yoga and fitness towards a career, not just my passion. After moving to Norway, it took 12 months for me to put together plans and turn this vision into a reality. I began with opening a little hot yoga studio in Kongsberg and then nine months later took an opportunity at Kongsberg's "sense yoga" studio. I merged the two studios together into one brand "element yoga" and have since opened another studio in Tønsberg city."
"Our main focus is infrared heated yoga, for the added health benefits infrared brings, our class temperatures can range from 25-42 degrees depending on the style and instructor."
How have you coped with the covid-19 pandemic situation?
“Ahh haha… that is a good question…There is a famous quote by Jeremy Goldberg that really resonates with me and I feel is humorously true about my mindset, will and determination during the last 2 years.”
“Courage is knowing it might hurt and doing it anyway. Stupidity is the same. And that is why life is hard"
“It hasn't been easy to start an energetic concept during this pandemic, but now we feel some comfort in Scandinavia with the easing of restrictions, I am positive things will fast begin to settle down and people can feel safe again, we see our members increasing in our studios every week. Despite the pandemic and down time in our industry, we have managed to increase turnover and open a second studio, with plans to continue and a solid foundation. We have reinvested every single kroner back into our studios and our instructors for the benefits of the clients and we feel this is the reason we remained positive even through some stressful times. I think I am a resourceful person and when I see opportunity, I will always consider and analyse it. Having the background in commercial real estate and asset management from Australia has given me a realistic approach to business. I have seen many small businesses flourish and fail so I knew how to proceed with the start-up and structure. The pandemic was hard to plan for, so I tried to predict the worst scenario and operated the business based on that. I think that was a good approach and we have been extremely fortunate so far.”
Is there anything new happening in Element Yoga?
Teacher Training Program
"We have just introduced a new teacher training program where the students get hands on experience with instructing in real time, as well as in training. The idea is that our trainees are offered to teach classes at our studios when they have completed the course. We are educating people to also offer them work afterwards and the number one priority is to give trainees the ongoing support and structure they need to get started but also to create a creative environment for them to build within their yoga teaching journey.
Yoga Reise & Retreats
“We have also launched ‘yoga reise’ in our Kongsberg studio. Our Kongsberg studio forms part of the historic Naufgården building which is one of the oldest buildings in Kongsberg. It is a wonderful and peaceful space where people can apply to stay and as an option they can choose if they would like to arrange activities with us, like yoga, meditation, massage or even local tours. Here we will also post about upcoming yoga retreats we will hold around the EU and globe.”
New Instructors in Tønsberg
“We are currently looking for new instructors to join our Tønsberg studio, we can offer training for the heat, mostly we just want instructors who see our vision and who are nice with a down to earth and fun energy.”
Are there plans for more element yoga studios?
"There are always plans and we are always looking for new opportunities, I feel our concept and focus is fresh and exciting, we have an excellent reputation and health focus within our studios. I have worked non-stop the last 1.5 years for our yoga community and the element yoga concept, I can say honestly that I am so grateful for every opportunity, every instructor, and every client we have. I feel everyone can see our vision and feel the strength behind what we stand for.”
How do you manage being an eager businesswoman around family time and study?
Well, the truth is at this important building stage of element yoga everything is a juggling act, it is difficult to have a young family in Norway if you don’t have a regular 8-16 job, then put learning a new culture and language on top… its not easy and I do struggle to get everything done. I know that things will settle down this year as we focus on building on our fantastic team of instructors and can restructure my own class teaching times a little. It takes a minimum of 2 years to see if any new concept will have profitability long term… so far we are 12 months into our restructured plans (after merging sense yoga) so we still have a way to go… consistency & patience is important, I am positive we have already been through the most difficult times our business will face."
What would you recommend for people who want to try yoga, but are a little nervous to begin?
Stop looking at Instagram yogis! Amy laughs. "The truth is you don’t have to have a lot of flexibility to start yoga. Yoga in itself is only 20% asana practice. We focus mostly on breath (pranayama) meditation (dhyāna) and postures (asana) within a heated environment."
"The heat in yoga promotes more intensity environmentally and not just through movement, this is good for people to feel that they have a full body workout with little pressure on the joints and with functional body movement. We use guided breathing to relieve stress in the mind and relax the body. Overall, we feel that our yoga offers something unique to our customers that is not offered elsewhere in the areas where we are opening."
Nybegynner Hot Kurs
"We offer beginners hot yoga courses, they are 6 sessions over 3 weeks (twice weekly sessions) here we go through foundational hot yoga asanas and teach the new clients how to set themselves up, explain the benefit and help them understand the function. By the end of the course they are ready to attend a structured hot yoga class and feel they have a good understanding. The Nybegynner hot kurs is 900kr pp."
Ubegrenset 3 uker prøveperiod
"We also offer beginner options in all of our classes, some asanas will have 3 or 4 different options, so you can see the advancement and have something to work towards. So if people want to start they can just choose our starter package of 499kr that gives them 3 weeks unlimited practise to try as many different classes they want to."
What made you choose Tønsberg as your second studio location?
“After success in our small hometown Kongsberg, I wanted to launch the ongoing hot yoga studio concept and unexpectedly found the opportunity in Tønsberg last year."
"I was at the WITH cafe and had a chat with the lady who worked there, she suggested Bydelshuset as an option. Everything just seemed to work well and fall into place, and the idea has been well received by the Tønsberg community."
"I feel grateful to be able to work in a wonderful little community at Bydelshuset and I feel that Tønsberg is a fantastic city, I like to spend time there and the people are so nice and welcoming. I feel that Tønsberg was a good choice to open our second studio."
Our fabulous instructors are our strength and our best asset. All instructors bring their own unique stamp to their classes and workshops. Thank you to all who have been with element yoga on our journey. Vibeke Onshuus, Katia Cornwall, Kristina Otorongo, Arjun Ajith, Line Vrenne, Ida Daffinrud Frydenberg, Erik Hoivold, Rafael Santiago Rodriguez.
I am so appreciative as well to our established hot yoga instructors Kajsa Tedvik & Elsa Lind, they have brought fantastic energy specifically to build on our hot yoga concept.