24 May VoyageLA Interview with Elizabeth Olive Bolla
Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Olive Bolla.
Elizabeth Olive, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my journey with yoga in 1996 when a wonderful therapist, who used eastern and western blend, taught me how to meditate. I was in PTSD after some abuse I had suffered and my therapist helped me get present through his teachings of meditation. He suggested I start a physical practice – so I did in 1998. My life changed dramatically for the better due to yoga. After several years of being a public school teacher, I dreamt of becoming a yoga teacher. I decided in 2009 I would make the commitment and get my certification with YogaWorks. I took the 200 hour intensive on my summer break and was immersed in a daily practice. The alignment based, breath based yoga was incredible. We did philosophy circles, learned about anatomy and how to sequence a class into a peak pose prepping the body properly. We learned how to do counter poses and how to modify for safe and challenging yoga. Our instructors helped us get through the 9 hours a day including two weekends and plenty of reading and writing assignments. We students bonded like family. I was hooked. I knew I would go into teaching yoga full time. It was a matter of time and boldness of when I could make that transition. It was tough to do since I was teaching in the school district full time and coaching swimming as well as being a consultant and trainer for the PeaceBuilders program in addition to teaching yoga and indoor rowing. I started getting pink slipped from the school district four years in a row and finally only subbing. It was a stressful time in public schools. In 2012, I went through a divorce at the same time my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Yoga was the only thing that helped me get through all of life’s tribulations. In 2013 I went to the first “The Business of Yoga” conference put on by Yoga Alliance in DC and that set the plan in motion. I knew then that I would open a studio and make this my life’s path. It took two more years of dreaming, visioning, planning, developing my business plan and getting the funds to open a business. I went to the SBDC (small business development center) and was mentored by a one on one counselor who helped me get my first loan through the JFLA. I also got a micro loan from the city of Long Beach to help with startup costs. In 2015 I signed a three year lease and began my build out. I opened the doors on the last day of the year and held a workshop on dusty floors that were not completed as promised. This was after my mom, on December 17th, was taken in for an emergency surgery. She died on the table but they brought her back to life. She battled for her life for the next 17 days in and out of a hospital induced coma and delirium. I would go back and forth from the studio to the hospital, spending the night in a chair next to her, to make sure she was getting the right care. My floors were flooded during the build out and I had an unexpected $5,000.00 cost to redo the floors. However, they turned out beautifully. Everything happens for a reason. I did not want to have my grand opening until my mom could walk up the stairs and be there. I had a few teachers and the schedule built through Mindbody online so I did a soft opening. Two of the teachers decided not to teach at the studio so I was teaching most of the 26 classes myself. In March, my mom was well enough to walk up the stairs and we had a great grand opening party with our mayor, Robert Garcia, cutting the green ribbon. We had raffles, food, music, dancing and of course yoga. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road – as I mentioned the struggles already, but it has been worth it. Being a solo business owner has been one of the hardest things I have ever done and I was a middle school English teacher for years! Managing other teachers has been a challenge. I do mostly everything and have attempted to do work trade arrangements that have rarely worked out. The value of a trade is not valued by most. I have learned so much and continue to do so. Marketing is also a challenge as I don’t have the budget that YELP and Google wants you to spend a month. It is ridiculous how much it costs to advertise. I teach most of the classes and LOVE doing so. I gave up my own apartment in Belmont Shore to afford my expensive lease. I have been staying with my mom and house sitting at a friend’s place when she is out of town. Challenges just make us stronger and it makes me appreciate my yoga practice even more.
Some of the main struggles have been getting reliable help. I do most of the cleaning, marketing, newsletter, Facebook posts and ads, Instagram posts, I plan and teach workshops, c0-create events and try to get more amazing teachers that share my vision. We are building and growing and have a beautiful community of students. We are on our second 40 day challenge that has inspired me to practice more! I am planning to create a teacher training program and offer it in the summer. I also want to do more retreats and have one in the works for June.
Olive Yoga – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My spiritual entrepreneurship specializes in offering a wide variety of alignment based, breath based and spiritual based yoga. We teach the Eight Limb Path at Olive Yoga – Yoga for All. We offer physical and verbal adjustments throughout class. We offer modifications and challenges. One of my mottos is modify and stay humble – challenge when necessary.
We have over 30 offerings a week. We offer: Core Flow, Power Detox, Yin, Kundalini, Pranyama, Fusion Flow, Buddhi Yoga Flow, Yoga 101, Restorative classes and Meditation. We have specialized series and events. We also offer Wellness Coaching, privates and corporate yoga. We have hosted one retreat and are planning our next. We offer sound baths with acupuncture and breathe work. We have a massage room that is available for rent Sundays and Mondays. We specialize in safe and challenging yoga. We use props and all of our classes are all levels so they are accessible to all – just like life.
We have showers and a tea bar with 1800 square feet of amazing open space. Our community is eclectic and inclusive of all. We honor where you are and help you get to the next level. At Olive Yoga we really specialize in being able to teach to the class and offer different levels within the class. We teach mostly off the mat and make sure everyone’s needs are met.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Opening this business and helping people become present on a daily basis is an honor. Listening to my intuition and following it through to fruition is still like a dream turned into reality. Olive Yoga was voted the best new studio in Long Beach with only being in business six months! Watching my students grow and become happier and healthier is truly a gift and one my many proudest moments in being a spiritual entrepreneur.
- We offer membership pricing to encourage people to practice as much as they can!
- Our new student intro is two weeks for $33.00 or a Five Class Pass for $50.00 for local residents. It expires within a month and is for new students only. Our newest intro offer is for spring! Seven days in a row for $7.00!
- Spring Saving Special: $7.00 for seven days in a row!
- Address: 244 Pine Ave
Long Beach, CA
- Website: www.oliveyoga.me
- Phone: 562.533.0324
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: oliveyogalb
- Facebook: Olive Yoga
- Twitter: oliveyoga
- Yelp: Olive Yoga