Nothing but Blue Skies
By Emily Youers
Blue Skies Yoga, with its soaring ceilings, wooden floors, and effusive natural light, is an oasis of calm amid the bustle of downtown Kitchener. Warm tranquility infuses the air, reflecting the energy of the studio?s co-owners, Janine Keller Ng and Cheong Ng. But every business owner inevitably meets setbacks and challenges. How does one traverse the difficult times and maintain a grounded, peaceful atmosphere? By focusing on the positive…
?There?s a way of looking at challenges,? Janine says. ?With everything that happens, we should ask ?what can I learn from it??? Janine credits her yoga teacher with providing vital support in troubled times. She compares this mentorship to climbing a mountain: you could reach the top without a Sherpa, but you?d have done it the hard way. Janine also takes strength from yoga?s generational wisdom: ?We tap into that through our teacher, who?s connected with her teacher. In that way you can weave a quilt; you can create from that thread.?
Janine?s choice of career proved to be a challenge in itself. At age twenty-three ? in her final undergraduate year ? Janine gave serious thought to her future. She decided to spend her life uniting two of her passions: children and yoga. Those around her, however, did not support the idea. ?I was hearing from family and other loved ones: ?It?s not reasonable to start your own business straight out of university. It?s not doable to teach kids yoga full-time.?? But Janine was resolute.
The skepticism of friends and family made her determined to succeed, and it also made her more likely to. ?They asked me good questions,? she says. ?They were actually my best teachers because they would say, ?How is this feasible? How is this doable?? They made me do my research.? It also made the taste of success that much sweeter. ?If someone says ?Yes? right away you take it for granted, but if they say, ?No, no, no,? and then you get a yes, you feel like you?ve worked for it.?
Janine taught children?s yoga for the next four years. In 2008, she and Cheong established Blue Skies Yoga ? and faced another challenge: effecting an extensive renovation of the studio in just one month, keeping the environmental footprint as small as possible. It didn?t look good; most contractors quoted three to four months. But Janine and Cheong remained focused. At the last moment, they found a green contractor who could work within the time limit. ?This incredible group of trades came together and they worked so peacefully here,? Janine says. The renovation was completed in just twenty-eight days. She took a great lesson from this experience: ?When you put good people together, magic can happen. It?s a testament that hard work pays off, always.?
Janine?s most certainly has. She and Cheong have created not just a beautiful yoga studio, but a thriving community hub. The studio includes a tea bar where yoga students can relax and connect; treatment rooms for massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic therapies; and the Eco-Store, which supplies an impressive range of eco-friendly products. Janine and Cheong believe that yoga should be available to everyone.
They have ensured that Blue Skies is wheelchair-accessible. They also offer specialized classes for families, children with special needs, and pre- and postnatal moms ? all taught by Janine ? as well as back-care, round-body, and general adult classes taught by Cheong. The entire enterprise feels impeccably planned, yet effortlessly natural.
?This is just what?s happened,? Janine says. ?When you do what you love, the universe will guide you in subtle ways, honest ways, and tell you which way to go. I just feel like I?ve been shown.?
Emily Youers is a freelance writer and editor with more than eight years? experience, focusing on academic, corporate, and technical work. www.eywriting.com.