We had the good fortune of connecting with Dawn Stillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dawn, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
A month after lockdown in April 2020, my dear friend Jennifer Elliott came over to visit, I had recently moved so I thought she was coming over to check out my new place.. The first room I took her to see was my detached :she shed, that I transformed into my yoga studio where I zoom classes from, Jennifer abruptly said, “I have to tell you the real reason why I’m here!” with a huge twinkle in her eye. She went on to ask me to partner with her in opening a virtual yoga studio and school run by Yoga Therapists (us), ideally with a path for students to become certified yoga therapists! Jennifer and I have traveled together to numerous yoga festivals, we’ve led teacher trainings, and hosted an international yoga retreat together. All of it was joyful, seamless, and FUN! There are certain energies when combined, elevate you. Jennifer and I work hard and well together, I instantly felt from her excitement in that moment, and knowing her work ethic, it would be a successful endeavor. We worked diligently for 6 months before launching Yogaworldheart.com late October 2020.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Before the pandemic, yoga students fed off the energy in the room, the community that was created aided in all our wellness, through the simple act of gathering. Every Wednesday evening I had and ICU nurse that would come to class, I always asked how her day was, she felt bad dumping it on me, as she put it, I would encourage her to empty it out to lighten her load, it was my honor to be there for her. After the closing of all the studios, I worried about her, and others who relied on yoga for their self-care. Jennifer and I wanted to recoup the community and the master teachers whose teaching schedules were lessened dramatically. At Yogaworldheart the classes are smaller and full of heart, it is the intention and care from which this studio was created. The content was created to support people with a variety of classes, including meditation, philosophy talks, reiki, therapeutics and more. We are very proud of the community that is building, I haven’t seen my ICU nurse yet in class, I trust I’ll see her again somewhere, I miss her.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When my best friend visits… from my home, we enjoy the stunning drive over Decker Canyon to El Matador to enjoy the uniqueness of the large rockery on the beach, We then head down to Malibu to Cafe Habana for some amazing Cuban food, ok yes, and a margarita on the patio. We leave only if they need the table, otherwise, we talk, laugh, and cry about life. Last time my bff visited, a group of us Buddhist babes dined at Musso and Frank in Hollywood, our Queen Buddhist knows all the designated tables for particular classic Hollywood stars, we determined to meet up there each year to catch up. I met my best friend in 1986 waiting tables at Hugo’s Restaurant in West Hollywood, so we go there sometimes for a big trip down memory lane. I love living in LA, so many fun things to do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I started a dedicated Buddhist practice at the age of 23. Through this wonderful practice I acquired a mentor in compassion to base my life on. Luckily, my Buddhist mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, teaches to raise capable leaders of peace to not only to reach his far reaching success but to surpass him. In my yogic path, I have studied with teachers who have actually unfriended me when I started to acquire success as a teacher, I knew that is not the attitude of a true mentor. I sought out to find a true mentor in yoga and found her, Maty Ezraty ( founder of Yogaworks). My biggest shoutout in my yogic path goes to my friend and mentor Maty. She taught me to slow down, to find the intricacies of poses and transitions with greater awareness, while softening my gaze. Maty passed away in 2019. I spent 4 years assisting and traveling with her, I feel like the luckiest yogi in the world. After she passed, I was a little lost, If I am not Maty’s assistant, who am I? I told her I would assist her the rest of. my life. I now honor Maty each time I teach, I would not have the richness and passion for yoga without Maty, I definitively would not be a teacher trainer/mentor for Yogaworks, yoga therapist, or able to run a virtual studio and school. I continue to remain a student under 3 phenomenal female Sr. Iyengar teachers that all deserve a huge shout out to Anna Delury, Marla Apt, and Lisa Walford.
Facebook: Dawn Stillo
Youtube: Dawn Stillo Yoga