Here at The Williams Team, we’re focused on real estate. But you may not know that our very own Nicole Azzi is not only a dedicated realtor, but also one of those people chasing their dreams and making a difference as a part owner of Bayou Yoga with her longtime friend and fellow yogi Elizabeth Sconzert.
Finding Your Passion
Nicole wasn’t always a yoga instructor! Originally from Canada, Nicole started doing yoga while living in North Carolina.
“I started doing home classes with yoga on tape,” says Nicole. “My first goal was just to be able to finish one of the tapes in one session!”
Nicole later moved to Louisiana, and once she had her son settled in school, she had time to focus on starting a business.
Building a Business
Nicole quickly found a yoga studio where she liked to practice and met her soon-to-be business partner Elizabeth. They started teaching together and eventually opened a small studio by renting space from gyms and studios during their off times.
They started with just 4 students in their small part-time space; they stayed on the lookout for a larger studio, & once they found just the right space their enrollment really took off!
Making a Difference
What started as a part time practice so they could have somewhere to do yoga has evolved into a thriving business!
Nicole credits the success of the business to a few things including the feng shui design of their studio as well as the community they’ve built in their practice.
“We’re sort of the opposite of gyms where you never really get to know anyone,” says Nicole. “We get to know our students by name, find out what they’re trying to do with their practice, and provide them with a warm and supportive environment.”
Azzi says this sense of community and friendship has been a key to attracting new yogis and keeping them as long term customers.
Give Power Yoga a Try
Another factor in the growth of Bayou Yoga has been their focus on power yoga.
Now for those of you who don’t know what power yoga is, think of it as a mix of yoga, cardio and strength training.
Nicole describes power yoga as “an intense type of yoga. People who like gyms and harder workouts come here initially just to check it out and get hooked.”
“We get alot of athletic types who are looking for a change in their workout routines,” says Nicole. “But once they begin to see the benefits of yoga, they develop a desire to grow stronger and even meditate as part of their practice.”
Power yoga is definitely a popular style of yoga and Bayou Yoga has developed a reputation as the best place to experience power yoga in the Mandeville area.
Bayou Yoga also creates fun opportunities to try yoga in different settings around the community. Once a month, they host a yoga event at the Old Rail Brewing Company in Mandeville which includes yoga class and an optional beer afterwards.
They are also starting a new program called Yoga at the Park which is held outside at Fairview Riverside Park.
No matter where you’d like to practice - in a studio, a brewery or the park, Bayou Yoga has lots of chances for you to find out what yoga can do for you!