I know, it’s been awhile since my last post. It’s been a crazy busy summer with paddle board yoga…more on that later. I wanted to give a shout out to a teacher, mentor and friend who is an intelligent female entrepreneur with morals, plus she’s totally chill and fun to hang out with outside of the yoga world. Heather Grisco owns and operates two yoga studios: Bird Rock Yoga (where I did my teacher training with her in 2011) and the Little Yoga Studio in downtown San Diego. She is always evolving her practice, teaching, and businesses, and has an interesting background having worked for the government. I had some questions for her, check it out!
Q: What were you doing before you owned not one, but TWO yoga studios?
A: Oh geez, it feels like a lifetime ago. I was working for the Department of Defense on various projects that led me from DC to FL, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Hawaii. It’s a long story and not one that’s expected from a ‘yoga girl’ but yeah, this yoga girl has a Forensic Science degree, can shoot a gun, and has worked on some highly classified projects.
Q: Tell me about your yoga beginnings.
A: I started yoga when I first moved to NorCal for grad school…Yoga was so prevalent (way more than it was in Chicago where I had moved from) so I thought I should give it a try. I stepped into my first Bikram class and loved it. I never sweat more in my life! And the instructor just kept pushing me to reach my fullest potential, some call it yelling, but I was hooked! I came into yoga for the physical benefit. The workout. Even better, I was good at it, so I continued. I had practiced off and on in the years to follow, but it wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii (about 7 years ago) that I truly had a regular practice.
Q: When did you realize you simply HAD to make a career switch to the yoga world?
A: Once I was in Hawaii, I started practicing regularly…I was still practicing Bikram yoga and had also started practicing Ashtanga from a woman that was just amazing with beginners, the Ashtanga practice isn’t always accessible to everyone, and I felt that she made it so. It really inspired me to teach. I went through a teacher training program and started teaching after work and subbing as much as I could at a few studios on the island. Teaching became my outlet. I loved it and looked forward to every time I got to teach. It became more and more rewarding whereas my full time job became less and less. I quit my government job, left Hawaii and moved to SD, knowing no one here and took over ownership of Bird Rock Yoga. I haven’t looked back since. The community of teachers and students here have truly become my friends and family of SD. I’m so grateful to have found such a wonderful space and group of people.
Q: How do you feel about dating in the yoga community—as far as dating students? How about fellow teachers? How about dating in general?
A: (Lol, I hate you) I have a policy that I don’t date my students or fellow teachers. It’s just a line that I don’t like to cross. It’s also nice to have a partner that has a different hobby or career than I do so that we can each have our own outlets when needed. That being said, if true love comes around and it just happens to be from within the yoga community, then I may be open to making an exception to the rule.
Q: What’s your most embarrassing teaching moment?
A: I’m pretty sure I block those out, because I can’t remember any extremely embarrassing moments. An extremely funny moment though was when I was teaching and gave the option to go from a flip dog into a full wheel. As I was encouraging students to hold back and not push it, one of my students, right up front, got the full advanced variation and shouted “in yo face!” It was hilarious, but slightly embarrassing in the moment because it totally threw me off. It was like I just got served. In front of my entire class.
Q: As an owner of two studios that run two teacher trainings a year each, plus helping to manage another studio’s teacher training program in Arizona, you’ve churned out at least 100 (or 200? or 300??) new teachers into the yoga world. What’s your all-time favorite tip for new teachers?
A: Be yourself. There’s not a specific way a yoga teacher should look like, act like, or sound like, so don’t try to put on an act, be yourself. People will be drawn to you and resonate to your teaching style if it’s genuine and natural.
Q: What is one of your pet peeves when taking a yoga class?
A: I don’t really enjoy when the instructor spend the whole time on their mat. The class is for the students, not you! Get out, adjust…teach…share your gift!
Thanks so much Heather for taking the time to answer my Q’s. The world should know how awesome you are! If you haven’t taken one of her classes yet, head to BRY‘s website and check out the schedule to see when she’s teaching. Her creative flows are accessible yet sweaty!