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Community Highlights: Meet Dawn Hopkins of Inspiritus Yoga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Hopkins.

Hi Dawn, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I left my marketing career in 2001 to become an entrepreneur and opened a women’s fitness franchise with a former co-worker and friend. This was a risk that worked out very well and led me further down the path of health and wellness. It was during that time that I discovered my passion for yoga and mindful eating and became a yoga teacher and mindful eating facilitator and coach. My partner and I made the tough decision to close our gym in 2009 after the market crashed and we were unable to sell it.

Rather than playing it safe and going back to corporate marketing, I decided to pursue yoga and wellness full time. I stepped out in faith and founded The Living Well Retreats where I facilitated yoga and wellness classes, workshops, and retreats and trained yoga instructors. At one of my yoga retreats, I felt the nudge to open a non-profit wellness studio and yoga school called The Center for Living Well.

We operated as a virtual studio for two years from 2011 to 2013 while we raised money for a physical space. We opened the doors of our physical studio in 2013. Two years later, my then business partner abandoned the business to pursue other interests. In 2016, I closed the studio, dissolved the nonprofit, and went back to operating as a virtual studio. Again, this was a big risk not knowing how it would all pan out. Fortunately, I was able to reinvent the business yet again and re-launched it as Inspiritus Yoga, Wholistic Wellness & Training in 2017.

I currently have a successful teacher training and continuing education program with three licensed training centers in the US and Canada. I continue to teach, train, and facilitate yoga and wellness workshops and retreats as well as provide individual coaching and healing services. While the COVID pandemic has been challenging, we are continuing to adapt by offering online programming and remaining “flexible”.

We will continue to adapt, adjust, and take the calculated risks necessary to thrive in this new environment. I wholeheartedly believe that the risks I took previously prepared me for such a time as this. It’s so worth it when you are walking in your purpose and making a difference in the lives of others.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I’ve had to overcome many obstacles on my journey as an entrepreneur. The first obstacle I had to overcome was fear. Being an entrepreneur is risky, and it requires a tremendous amount of courage and faith beyond the hard work and dedication necessary to succeed. That courage and faith cultivated resilience as I navigated many other struggles throughout my career.

When I was formed as a non-profit wellness center, it was very difficult to raise sufficient funds to keep the doors open and earn a living. This was further complicated when I went through a divorce while raising two young children. When my partner abandoned the business, I was forced to close. I was able to find a studio that provided a home for me and my displaced clients/students. When my business was finally thriving, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy.

I was able to bounce back fairly quickly and get my business back on track. A few years later, COVID hit. The impact on my business and the studio where I taught was profound. The studio wound up closing and I took most of my business online. Shortly after the studio closed, I received a second breast cancer diagnosis last summer. I am healing and have been working on ramping my business back up, but it hasn’t been easy.

Nothing worthwhile ever is! The same courage, faith, and resilience that got me through my struggles before will enable me to overcome whatever obstacles might come my way in the future.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Inspiritus Yoga?
Inspiritus Yoga is an international provider of yoga education and holistic wellness programs, with three licensed training centers in the US and Canada, including Tempe AZ, Detroit, MI, and Saskatoon, SK. We help people heal, grow, and transform through yoga, wellness programs, mindful eating, and holistic healing.

We provide online and in-person programming including inspirational and Christ-centered yoga classes at every level, yoga therapy, Thai yoga therapy, Reiki energy healing, Chakra healing, mindful eating and wellness coaching, yoga teacher training, continuing education, workshops, and retreats. Registered with the Yoga Alliance, our training centers equip future yoga teachers and provide continuing education for existing teachers.

What sets us apart is our amazing community and our unique approach. We provide a safe space where people feel supported and cared for because we meet you exactly where you are in your healing, wellness, and spiritual journey. We continue to remain dedicated to our own healing and growth, so we can better support our clients with theirs.

In addition, we believe the teacher must always be the student, so we continue to remain committed to our own continuing education to provide the best possible experience for our students, clients, trainees, and teachers. We believe that every individual is already whole, and has the capacity for tremendous healing and growth.

When we are aligned, mind-body-heart-spirit, we can bring forth the best version of ourselves, which has a ripple effect on the world around us.

We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking?

My stance on risk-taking is summarized in the quote, “No risk, no reward.” From the moment I left my corporate marketing career in 1999 and became an entrepreneur, I had to get comfortable taking risks. It began with my starting a marketing and public relations business in 1999 when the company I worked for declared bankruptcy.

In 2001, my brother approached me about purchasing a women’s fitness franchise. I partnered with a friend and former employee and we opened our doors in 2002. We enjoyed a very successful ride until the recession of 2008. We closed our doors in 2009 and rather than returning to the corporate world, I started a destination yoga and wellness retreat business. My retreat business led to the opening of a non-profit wellness center in 2010, another very risky endeavor.

When my partner left and we closed our doors, I once again took the risk of operating my business out of a local yoga studio. When COVID hit, I moved my business online, another very risky move in the yoga and wellness field. I am certain that I will continue to take risks wherever my journey takes me.

When you are doing what you feel called to do and you can see the reward of helping people heal, grow and transform, it makes taking those risks so worth it. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have grown and changed as well. I have had to overcome many obstacles along the way and reinvent myself many times over. I have discovered I have more strength, courage, creativity, and resiliency than I ever knew I had. And, it has helped me be a better teacher, trainer, coach, and individual. It is truly my honor and blessing to do such life-changing work.

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Image Credits
Stephanie Greene Photography

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