We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Liebel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shannon, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Love. Love is absolutely the most important factor behind my success.
When I opened my yoga studio, I had no intentions of being some huge “success”. I opened my studio simply to create a yoga home for my community. Like so many of us, my life has not been particularly easy, and yoga has saved me multiple times throughout my life. I wanted to share the aspects of yoga that has brought so much healing and joy to my life with as many people as possible.
I didn’t open my studio to make it big or become rich, but rather because it was something that had been calling to me, even before I knew it had been. My path to my current life was winding and complicated but there is no other place I could be, or would want to be, than where I am at right now. I didn’t know it then, but along the way every twist and turn was leading me to this, to sharing yoga and mindfulness, and even though I often fought the path I was on, I think somehow deep down I trusted the process. When I decided to take my first yoga teacher training, I was simply following my heart. I didn’t know where it would take me, I just knew it was something I was called to do and I simply answered the call.
It’s been a lot of hard work running a yoga studio, leading retreats, putting on teacher trainings, and teaching at festivals. THE HUSTLE IS REAL. But it also doesn’t feel like a hustle because I’m simply doing what I love. I feel joy when I “have” to go to work. I get excited to see the members of studio and I love brainstorming new ideas and ways of sharing yoga. I definitely put in long days and don’t actually know how many hours I work in day because I’m pretty much working all the time, but my love for what I do allows it to be me following my dreams and not actual “work”.
Leading up to this moment, I have had so many people impact my path. Isn’t that how life works? We all help each other out. My friends and family, my coaches, and my teachers all had some part in my success.There were those who hurt me that taught me lessons and those who loved me that gave me strength. I believe even strangers I met along way helped form who I am and what I am doing with my life today. I didn’t end up here on my own. I have always, and will continue to be grateful for those who helped guide me along the way, and for those who I have yet to meet.
It’s amazing how many small miracles it takes to make a single moment. And each person I encounter I look at as one of those small miracles.
It’s not only my love of yoga and teaching that has contributed to my success, but it’s also the love of the others. I would not have a yoga studio or be a yoga teacher if other people did not love yoga as well. And I would definitely not be standing after the year of COVID if love did not exist. My studio members saved me with their love and support 100%. They showed up for online classes when I had no idea what I was doing (and kept coming back!), they rolled with the punches when I had to make last minute changes based on the changing state mandates, and they showed up again as soon as the studio was allowed to re-open. When I became a yoga teacher, a huge part of it was the in person connection I got to make with my students. The online teaching brought on anxiety and depression in ways I didn’t fully understand. I had poured my heart and soul into creating a yoga space, putting together retreats and teacher trainings, and most of all, I just missed being able to share energy with other humans. I was inches away from quitting, but I received so many emails and texts and phone calls from the amazing souls practicing with me online that shared how much the practice the was helping through the tough times. They would send me pictures of the their pets on their mats, their after class drinks, kind words, and above all… they sent me their love. I don’t know if these individuals will ever know that they saved me, but they truly did. I am forever grateful for each and every one of them.
So… What is the most important factor behind my success? I guess it’s that I don’t focus on “success” at all. I focus on living in the moment. I focus on giving back. I focus on being a good human. Most of all, I focus on love.
What should our readers know about your business?
Has running a business been easy? I guess my first instinct is to say absolutely not! I had no idea what I was doing when I started, I just knew I had to do it. Theres been countless learning experiences along the way as I have failed and made mistakes, but I can tell you that it has been fun (probably because I am doing what I love).
One of the first obstacles I had when I opened my business was open heart surgery. I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was young and continued to be extremely active anyway because its what I loved to do. Fast forward to 2016… I was signed up for 9 obstacle races one year because I had found that as another outlet for me, and after the 8th one I was tasting blood. I had been told I would have to have surgery one day and this was my time. I ran one more race at the end of the year and in April of 2017 I had a successful open heart surgery. This was only 9 months after I had opened my studio. To say that it wasn’t ideal timing would be an understatement. I felt like I was finally starting to gain some momentum in my studio, and my recovery time was supposed to be at least 8 weeks until I could lift more than 10 pounds or even drive for that matter. But, and I believe this was because I had yoga in my life, 2 1/2 weeks after the surgery I was walking to my studio. A 15 minute walk would sometimes take me one hour, but I just had to get back in the studio. I would teach sitting down or from a chair and not move a muscle, but I was able to watch the beauty of my students moving with my words and feel their energy, and I truly believe it healed me.
Since that surgery, I have had a new appreciation for what the body is capable of and life in general. I try to share my experience with my students by giving them the space to explore their body in every moment, and find gratitude for whatever it is the body is giving them in that moment. I would never recommend open heart surgery to anyone, but it was a beautiful experience in that I would not have the outlook I have on life if I didn’t go through that.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s hard to give just one person recognition for helping me get where I am today because so many people have impacted my life. My gymnastics coach growing up, Julie Miller, believed in me every day and really helped to form who I was as a gymnast and person. John Yax and Michael Yax of Yax Yoga Concepts helped me to fall in love with everything yoga during my first yoga teacher training, and Dice Iida-Klein is who I turn to these days for inspiration and mentorship. All that being said, my Grandpa may was always my biggest support and showed me unconditional love and encouragement. He would always tell me I was perfect, even though I was far from it. He was the only positive male role model I had in my life and he had my whole heart. I lost him in 2005 and it completely shattered me. The day after he passed away, I attended a yoga class because I was completely beside myself and I had heard that yoga was good for the soul. It’s sometimes heart wrenching and heart warming at the same to know that his death is what first started me on this path. I wish he was here to see what I am doing with the gifts he gave me, but every day that I step on to my mat is a way of dedicating some energy to the man who taught me what love truly is.
Robert Sturman Ty Dobbs Vicky Simpson