Meet Julie, the owner of All Ability Yoga, a yoga service for people of all abilities in Newcastle NSW.
Julie’s classes cater to everyone of all abilities, but she has a particular focus on those with mental health challenges and brain injuries. After sustaining a brain injury herself, and having her own recovery journey, Julie wanted to be able to provide this service to other people and provide a platform for them learn techniques to manage their own challenges.
“I set up All Ability Yoga because I saw a gap where there wasn’t much going on for people with anxiety and depression or people with brain injuries and moving our bodies effectively. I also thought the amount of money that people with disability must spend to keep themselves healthy is phenomenal. Nobody sees this. I wanted to provide a platform where people can come to understand that stress and anxiety can be helped and learn techniques to self-manage.”
Read more about Julie’s yoga small business journey with All Ability Yoga.
All Ability Yoga isn’t just for people with a disability, it is for people of all abilities. What is today’s normal? Everyone has stuff going on. We have social disability, mental trauma, pain, PTSD – we work with everyone with yoga styles. The teachers that are contracted with us have done over 1000 hours of professional training.
I wanted to be a bank manager when I was younger, but in the 80s its wasn’t a done thing for women to be bank managers. So I went for a role that women were in. I was a cabinet crew member for British Airways and I flew for 17 years. I also worked for Red Cross for a number of years.
Starting Her Small Yoga Business
Then I set up All Ability Yoga because I saw a gap where there wasn’t much going on for people with anxiety and depression or people with brain injuries and moving our bodies effectively. I also thought the amount of money that people with disability must spend to keep themselves healthy is phenomenal. Nobody sees this. I wanted to provide a platform where people can come to understand that stress and anxiety can be helped and learn techniques to self-manage. We still need other treatments but if you can sometimes help yourself with simple things like gentle movement and breathwork then that would be very helpful.
I thought if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it properly. I went to do a training course with the Business Centre in Newcastle to become a verified NDIS provider. That was a challenge in itself because it was an upstairs venue with no lift. But I got up those stairs because if this is going to make a difference in someone’s life I wanted to make it happen.
Working With Many Rivers
When I first met Dylan I felt very at home and supported by the way he works with people. He is very soft gentle and kind, very open hearted so he has so much respect. He told me some words that I should have told myself – ‘slow down’ that is exactly what I needed.
Kelly, my support worker, works with Dylan on behalf of me. I need to make sure I am doing the right thing legally. Many Rivers has helped me with contracts for my yoga small business.
And he has helped me work on my finances because financially – I just run on fumes. The money that I get into the business goes straight out to pay bills. I have no doubt in my mind that it will work, and there is so much opportunity out there. I am learning the strategies of time management as we grow. Financials, business growth, as well as a long-term vision. Putting it all into focus.
I think the one thing for me was being accepted. That blew me away that I was accepted, that Dylan was able to come help me and have those discussions with Kelly, my support worker who I call ‘my other brain.’
If you don’t keep learning things during your life, you don’t self-develop. Once people understand ABY they get it. I get tired sometimes and I want it to stop but Kelly doesn’t let me stop.
The best bit about the journey of growing is meeting people, meeting Dylan. Meeting people and seeing what makes them tick. What makes them stay well and happy? What can help them reduce anxiety during COVID19? What technique they are using during COVID19? I am very lucky to have the expertise of communicating with people and meet people, to help them live a healthy and happy life. I don’t call it a disability, I call it a unique ability. So that they feel like that are accepted in a way that makes them feel awesome. They can jump online on a session. I work with people that just want to help other people as well. And we’re disabled as well but that’s what we want to do.
It has been a challenge to look after myself. I have to work mornings because I am exhausted by the afternoon. I have my yoga mat next to me and I’ll do some yoga and meditation and then if I fall asleep, I fall asleep and that is good. I probably work 40 hours a week on the business because my brain doesn’t switch off when it is my own business, you have to keep the wheel turning. For people with disabilities, we often have to go and beg for things but I don’t want to give up. I also don’t want to beg for things.
I don’t think people really understand what it is like to have a disability and be running a business. As well as trying to engage with new people and keep your workers up to speed with everything. I have a couple of support workers who do a couple of hours a week but apart from that everything comes down to me.
Future Goals for Julie’s Yoga Small Business
I would love to see my yoga small business grow and go across Australia. I do have dreams and they are not unachievable.
Thanks Julie for sharing your story. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your future business goals.
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If you loved this client story and would like to read another, meet Gustaf & Siggi who have started their own business, running workshops that demonstrate how to make homemade gourmet cheese and cured meat .