Retreat | Choose Something That Lights You Up
Sisters & business partners, yogis and artists - Laura and Lindsay are dedicated to helping their community be their best selves. Self care + balance is of utmost importance in their lives and leading by example, they have opened the minds of the locals in the Turks and Caicos Islands. As many still believe that vegetarian food isn’t filling or raw food is tasteless or that yoga is not exercise, Laura and Lindsay have successfully expanded the mindset of this community, offering simply delicious and wholesome cuisine and creating a space of openness and trust. Opening the very first yoga studio on island and fully vegetarian cafe, these boss ladies share a few secrets on their journey.
How did Retreat: Yoga and Wellness Studio form?
With a background in Holistic health, Wellness, and Yoga, we both decided it was time to create something special together, in a place that is very dear to us — Provo. The time was right and we felt like the island was ready for a dedicated yoga studio. For a year prior to opening Retreat, Laura was building a following of students through her classes offered out of the Wrightfully Fit Gym. It was a natural transition to move the members to a more sacred and peaceful space to practice.
Where did you both get your teacher certification?
We both received our initial 200 HR YTT through Jimmy Barkan, of The Barkan Method in Fort Lauderdale, FL, around 2005/2006. Laura completed her 500 HR YTT later on in 2013 at the Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, NC. Lindsay furthered her training in an intensive with Rolf Gates.
“Wellness” is a big word. What does living well mean to you?
“Wellness” IS a big word, as it should be — to live well suggests a lifestyle, and this is inclusive of so many parts, from your thoughts, words, and connection to yourself and to others, your daily routines, the food systems you support and the diet you choose, your physical health, not to be mistaken with “appearance” — you must feel good inside, taking time for “self-care”, finding laughter, fun and enjoyment in the day, and really not taking one thing too seriously. In the end, life is short, and is meant to be savored and enjoyed, so finding a balance of all of these things and staying open to new experiences and ways of thinking seems to work well for us!
What style of yoga do you specialize in?
We are under the broad umbrella of Hatha Yoga. We love the balance of a slower moving restorative yoga and the yang energy of vinyasa and hot yoga with elements of strength and core power thread throughout.
After 2 years of the studio up and running, you opened a healthy kitchen and called it Retreat Kitchen. What prompted this and how has it been going?
Ohhhhh, Retreat Kitchen, how we love you so :) In hindsight, we did not have a clue what we were getting into just over a year ago, but it has all worked out, as it does. It felt like a natural evolution for Retreat Yoga and Wellness Studio to be complimented by good, healthy and wholesome food, and when the unit directly beside our yoga studio became available, we knew it was ours to fill.
We have always had a keen passion for raw, vegan, and vegetarian cuisine and have been very well immersed in it for the last 10 years, so the food preparation is quite familiar. Now, feeding the masses was not familiar at all, so we have been operating “off the cuff”, if you will, and learning as we go along.
The kitchen has had many evolutions since our opening day, growing slowly and methodically, to allow us to keep the quality of what we offer the best that we can. There will always be room for improvement and we know we have so much more learning ahead of us in the restaurant industry, but our journey thus far has been lucrative in so many ways. We are incredibly fortunate to have the support that we do on our little island with 85% of our daily clientele being local residents.
The island was ready for some healthy, vegetarian fare, and we slid in just at the right time to support this need. Our patrons inspire us daily to continue creating and digging deeper into what we can offer. We are now hosting workshops on health and wellness out of the Kitchen, as well as Weekly Cleanse Programs. In short, things are going well and for that we are very grateful.
What is your mission with both businesses? How do you expect them to grow?
Our mission is to continue offering a place where people can come to take some time out for themselves, whether it be through a yoga class, or over a nutritious and delicious lunch. We want to continue to build a sense of community at Retreat with our yoga members and return visitors, as well as the daily kitchen patrons.
We envision the yoga studio offering more on the retail side, as well as a second studio dedicated to hot yoga, and we are hoping to install an Infrared Sauna as an additional service!
We see Retreat Kitchen as a “hub” for wellness AND fun! So, along with growing the wellness workshop calendar, and group cleanse programs, we see evenings in our future. We may begin with a few “pop-up” evenings with a selection of bio-dynamic, organic wines, craft cocktails made in house with fresh juice and herbs from the kitchen, and a small tapas menu and shared plate options.
What is your favorite part about starting a business?
Laura: The original design sketches of the space. ALL the decor and atmosphere. The brainstorming and big ideas. The excitement and nervousness of it all.
What has been your biggest lesson along this journey?
There have been quite a few, but I would say PATIENCE is the big one.
What is your favorite part of working along side your sister?
Linds: The way we flow so well together in the days, weeks and years of owning businesses together. She’s the best partner I could ask for.
Laura: When we laugh about still feeling like we are “playing store” here. We really don’t know how to do much anymore, our team have taken the reins and they do everything 100x better than us. (haha)
How do you start your mornings?
Laura: Currently, a large glass of water when I wake up, followed by a delicious coffee delivered by my husband, a 30 minute workout, a smoothie loaded up with good stuff or overnight oats, a snuggle with my dogs, shower and out the door into the day.
Lindsay: HAHA! Laura’s morning sounds GLORIOUS! I wake up to my 5 year old ready to start his day! I’m lucky if I get to work on time with my clothes on ;)
If there was one piece of advice that you would share with other women going out on their own, what would it be?
You are more than capable of doing what you want, but your heart must be behind it. Choose something that lights you up and become your biggest cheerleader.