Two Businesses Cross-Pollinate For a Healthier Steveston
Perfect Hearts Yoga
The stories behind how people decide to open a business are often fascinating and in the case of Belinda Tkach, owner of Perfect Hearts Yoga, also inspiring.
In 2007 Tkach was hit by a car, which sent her flying across two lanes into oncoming traffic. She landed on her face resulting in lost teeth and a shattered ankle. She spent the better part of two months on the couch followed by a few extra months wobbling about. Prior to the accident she had been a chef’s apprentice but when she tried returning to work she found it was too much for her ankle to handle. With time on her hands, she took up yoga.
She explains, “Yoga helped me with my posttraumatic stress disorder which I suffered from as a result of the accident. It also helped me regain my strength. I fell in love with yoga.”
She was a graphic designer for 15 years and got tired of the nine to five lifestyle and sitting in front of a computer every day. Looking for a change, she took her yoga training in January 2009 while continuing at her job.
Tkach possesses an adventurous spirit. When her parents decided to build a house in Belize she went along to assist them and ended up staying for a year. It was during this time she opened her first yoga studio.
When she returned to Canada she knew she wanted to open another business. She heard through the grapevine that a Steveston yoga studio was for sale and seized the opportunity to purchase it. Perfect Hearts Yoga’s first location opened in January 2012. It is housed in a converted garage tucked behind Alegria Café on First Avenue in Steveston Village.
Her teaching style is light-hearted and eclectic. She invites students to challenge themselves with humour and compassion, and to find their own practice through awareness of body, breath and mind.
Some people think to practice yoga you need to be able to bend yourself into the shape of a pretzel. Tkach says, “This is so far from the truth. Yoga is for everybody and every body.”
She explains, “There are many different styles of yoga, some which are better suited for a particular season in our lives. There are many benefits to a regular yoga practice. It promotes a healthier lifestyle with both the physical side of things and the emotional. Also, most people in a regular practice start to make healthier diet choices.”
The studio offers almost every style including Flow, Gentle Hatha, Hatha, Kundalini, Restorative and Yin yoga.
Students can practice the lengthy poses of Yin yoga to soothe the body’s connective tissues, participate in energizing flow classes, or opt for a calming candlelit Hatha class. Instructors cater to all experience levels and will guide students through modifications to give them the opportunity to ease up on a pose or allow them to go deeper.
What does Tkach most love about her profession? She says, “I love yoga, of course, and I love the social aspect as well. But I think the biggest thing I love is seeing changes in clients as they grow in their yoga practice. I have seen clients beat depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and insomnia. I have a client who needed back surgery for years and after a year of doing yoga she didn’t need it any more. I have clients who have lost weight and gained self-esteem. It’s wonderful to see how yoga positively changes people’s lives.”
With success comes growth. The busy Perfect Hearts Yoga studio can comfortably accommodate a class of 12 to 14 people. With a slate of 13 teachers on staff the business was ripe for expansion. A second location opened at London Landing on No. 2 Road in August 2015.
Tkach says, “It was time to move forward. Our village location was full with a waiting list for most classes. The London Landing Studio also has a small retail store to which we are slowly adding merchandise. Clients are able to attend classes at both studios with their passes. As we get busier and the London Landing location grows we will add more classes. We currently offer approximately 40 classes a week.”
With Our Own Little Hearts Yoga
Enter Nicole Javadi Braaten, the owner of With Our Own Two Hands Preschool. In addition to running her own business she is also a certified yoga instructor. Trained in prenatal, postnatal and kids yoga, she teaches part-time at Perfect Hearts Yoga.
Tkach says, “I had always wanted to create “Little Hearts Yoga” and although we had a few kids’ classes I just never found the time to get it together. Nicole was a teacher in one of my adult classes and knew this was one of my goals.”
Braaten approached Tkach to see if she would be interested in joining forces. Tkach explains, “It seemed like a perfect fit as she owns the preschool and I own the yoga studio. As co-owners we have a little less pressure and can still keep a good focus on our other businesses.”
With Our Own Little Hearts Yoga opened in September 2015. Prior to this Steveston did not have a yoga studio that catered to pregnant women, moms and babies, moms and tots, preschool age children and teenagers. There is even a family yoga class offered. Family members are invited to come and enjoy partner poses and sun salutations.
The prenatal class teaches gentle postures, breath work, and meditation to cultivate flexibility, calm and confidence in preparation for labour and childbirth. Yoga during pregnancy helps to create optimum conditions of health and awareness.
The Little Seedlings class (ages 3 to 6) participates in games, songs, fun poses, animal adventures, dancing, and imaginative play. The mom and baby class is designed to give new moms a beautiful bonding experience with their baby while increasing activity and vitality.
Braaten says, ”With Our Own Little Hearts Yoga is a place to connect and build community, socialize and make friends.”
With Our Own Little Hearts classes are held at the Perfect Hearts Steveston village studio. In addition, some of the existing Perfect Hearts Yoga adult classes continue to be taught at this space.
With the combined creative forces of Tkach and Braaten, Steveston now has yoga for all. Perhaps 2016 will be the year you discover the benefits of yoga – from prenatal to seniors, Perfect Hearts Yoga and With Our Own Little Hearts Yoga have you covered.
Perfect Hearts Yoga
12151 First Avenue (behind Alegria Cafe)
Second Location: 160-13020 No. 2 Road
Richmond BC V7E 2G1
With Our Own Little Hearts Yoga
12151 First Ave (behind Alegria Cafe)
Richmond BC V7E 3L9