EDITOR'S NOTE: The following was submitted by Gwen Zwicker.
SACKVILLE, N.B – Leela Yoga was born from a dream and has grown like a firstborn, ever larger and sometimes a lot of work. In its present location, it is relaxing and welcoming and often sunny.
When Dawne Cook left her hometown of St. Stephen to move in with her sister Lora in Calgary, she had no vision of what her future career could be. She worked in retail for a while but passed by the Foothills College of Massage Therapy on the C-train every day for about a year before she applied. Without ever having had a massage or knowing anything about it, Dawne took a leap of faith, got into the program and loved it. Moving to Sackville with her new husband, Jeremy Boorne, she decided to start small and work her way up.
Starting small meant Dawne had a mobile massage table and made house calls. “It was fun and it had no overhead,” she says. To this day, she still serves some of those customers although these days they come to her studio.
Dawne first started her business career in Sackville in 2004, working with various people and in various locations: with Cheryl Wilson in a physiotherapy office; with Melissa Blake at her Peartree Clinic; with the local Chiropractor; and with Nicole Burke at Eudora. She has volunteered her services at the hospital and at corporate events and has worked for a time at the Kookie Kutter. All this has made her a real self-starter, building from where she began and growing her services.
For a while, Dawne had a massage th
erapy office on the second floor of the Sears Insurance building. In Dec. 2016, she was able to move across the street and create the space she envisioned. She says, “I love this space. It has everything I want and is often beautifully sunny.” Her new space consists of a relaxing massage room, a large yoga and dance studio and the all-important laundry room. “Laundry has been one of my biggest challenges,” Dawne says. “I used to have to take it all home with me and hope I remembered it in the morning.” Her husband Jeremy was helpful to her in decorating her studio since he did most of the painting and is an experienced photographer.
Constant education and a desire for learning new things to offer clients has helped Dawne diversify from massage therapy. She says, “There is always so much more to learn and I am constantly looking for new courses.” She is a certified yoga instructor and a Taoist Tai Chi beginning instructor. New services she has added to her repertoire include: acupuncture; reiki (energy therapy); myofascial, craniosacral and Thai massage; cupping; and guasha. Although some of these may sound foreign to many people, the goal of each is to help clients heal naturally. Any number of issues and injuries can be helped with these treatments.
Leela Yoga’s present space and the fact that the business continues to grow has allowed Dawne to have additional people working at the studio. Michelle Doucet will be teaching Yin yoga. Nancy Burkhart will teach the Kripalu yoga tradition and Leah Huff will teach dance. Leah will offer a nine-session Chakradance beginning in the near future. Dawne says she would like to hire another massage therapist within the next year or so. Dawne is working on becoming a reiki master and her aim is to begin teaching Reiki within the next year.
Have there been challenges along the way? “Definitely,” says Dawne. “Once my business was up and running, finding suitable office space was probably the biggest challenge – but I have found it and am very happy here.” She cites the laundry issue as being a challenge but now has her own laundry room.
Dawne is extremely grateful to her many loyal customers, many of whom have become good friends. She says she used to have a lot of no-shows but after putting in a cancellation policy, that issue has been resolved. And she has found that the best way of advertizing is by word-of-mouth.
And how has it been setting up a new business in a small town? Dawne says, “I love Sackville. There is always so much going on and we try to participate as much as we can.” Her two children, Valerie, 13 and Logan, 10 have become involved in activities in town as well. Husband Jeremy is currently back at school to become a welder.
Leela Yoga is located at 42 Main St. in Sackville. You can contact Dawne at (506) 962-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook page @leelayogasackville has the schedule and events.