Monetta Wilson is one of few Saint Lucians who has pioneered a fresh idea and turned it into a fruitful business. After graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, Monetta eventually moved back to Saint Lucia where she established “Sayana Yoga” – a yoga and fitness company which spreads the revitalizing benefits of the meditative practice across the island. No stranger to the press and wider public, Monetta is back in the spotlight to update us on Sayana Yoga’s progress and what we can expect from the growing business in 2018!
HOW DID YOUR YOGA JOURNEY BEGIN?
MONETTA: While I was in college at the US Coast Guard Academy some students started a yoga club. I didn’t like going to the gym; I was never really good at it but I had always been interested in yoga because it was different. So I joined the twice-weekly yoga classes.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE THIS A BUSINESS?
MONETTA: In 2010 I was living in New York when I realized that I wasn’t going to be an environmental scientist so, instead, I thought I’d like going into teaching. I finally did my yoga teacher training in 2013 after the death of my brother and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I lost my job as a mathematics teacher which was when I decided to teach yoga full-time.
WERE GRANTS AVAILABLE TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
MONETTA: No, I had no financial assistance from grant facilities. My mom helped as much as she could, as did family and friends.
YOGA OBVIOUSLY ISN’T ANYTHING NEW TO SAINT LUCIA. WHAT MAKES SAYANA YOGA SPECIAL?
MONETTA: Actually at the time there were very few yoga teachers in Saint Lucia. Since starting, I have rebranded as “Yoga with Mo” with the tagline “Yoga designed for you”. I teach yoga that is specifically adapted to meet the needs of individual students.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A HEALER? A YOGI? AN ENTREPRENEUR?
MONETTA: I would say all of the above!
HOW CAN SAINT LUCIA’S HEALTH & WELLNESS PRODUCT BE PROMOTED?
MONETTA: I think Saint Lucia is in a great position to tap into the wellness tourism market if we change our marketing strategies. Other than Le Sport, no one really markets their wellness activities.
So, instead of marketing towards only travel agents, persons could market instead towards Yoga teachers, studios and fitness experts, that sort of stuff, because that’s where the people who are interested in wellness are.
WHAT DID 2017 TEACH YOU IN BUSINESS?
MONETTA: To survive in business you have to adapt to the changes around you.
I teach at resorts and people’s houses but sometimes someone wants a service that we don’t exactly offer. For instance, I had a client who requested I develop a yoga programme suitable for pregnancy but that’s not really something I do. However, business has been slow the past year so you just have to give the customer what they want.
IS YOUR BUSINESS GROWING?
MONETTA: I have expanded the business to include another yoga instructor who recently completed her training as a recipient of the Yoga Alliance, which is based in the United States, aspiring teacher scholarship. I helped her apply and she got the scholarship. She just finished her Yoga teacher training so, sometime this year, she will start offering classes.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR SAYANA YOGA IN 2018?
MONETTA: I hope to launch my yoga teacher training, a membership area on my website and my Yoga in Schools programme. The idea is to train teachers so that they can teach yoga to children. The first response right now for a lot of children when they are angry is that they resort to violence but, if they are exposed to Yoga, they will have something else they can use.
It will also help change the language that people use when they speak to children. If a child is acting up, people tend to want to yell at the child and call the child names but, if both the caregiver and the child are exposed to yoga, then instead of conflict, the teacher can implement breathing exercises or other helpful yoga techniques.
If readers would like to contact Sayana Yoga, please call +1 (758) 489-9079 or visit http://www.yogawithmo.com