Tami Schneider of Cleveland Yoga
Meet Tami Schneider, founder of Cleveland Yoga, which offers "physical, sweaty and simple to follow" yoga classes for all levels. Cleveland Yoga employs four full-time and 21 part-time staff members, and 21 independent contractors in two northeast Ohio locations.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I didn’t have my sights set on being an entrepreneur or owning a yoga studio. My passion was to teach others and to teach well, wherever that may be.
I started in early 2001 by teaching four classes a week at the Hamptons Apartments in Beachwood with my then business partner, Sandy Gross. Our classes quickly grew from four weekly classes to 10, then from 10 to 20. We added new teachers and continued to grow. Ultimately, Sandy branched out to open Evolution Yoga
and I stayed at the Hamptons.
Cleveland Yoga got its name in 2003 and continued to operate out of the Hamptons. There were six or seven teachers then and we were quickly growing out of our space. In 2005, we moved to Richmond Road in Beachwood to a space that has two studios. We have 16 teachers teaching 65 classes a week.
Cleveland Yoga Uptown opened this past May and we added another 35 classes and hired six new teachers.
I learned to be an entrepreneur in this business through the act of doing. The model that works for me is: Be of service; listen generously to our students' needs; set high standards in our teaching and in our guest relations; and keep our atmosphere light, welcoming and fun.
I credit much of my yoga business know-how to my friends at Baptiste Yoga
, which is a globally known organization where I am one of 12 senior Baptiste yoga teachers in the world. It is with the Baptiste organization where I meet up with other studio owners to create the best practices for our studios.
I love that I am a Clevelander and able to share my passion for health and wellness with our community. I love being a part of the ever-growing yoga community here in Cleveland.
How did you first get into yoga yourself?
I have a strong fitness background. I’ve taught high-impact classes in cardio, weight training, indoor biking, and also competed in national fitness championships. I led a very active lifestyle, yet my body started to break down as a result.
Always wanting to be on the cutting edge of physical fitness, I heard about power yoga. I took training classes in Miami and introduced some of the positions and stretches to my fitness classes. By implementing it slowly, I noticed that my body was feeling better, my thoughts were clearer, my flexibility increased, I ran taller and felt lighter in all of my activities.
What would you say to someone who is hesitant to try yoga?
Hesitation is your biggest obstacle! When I hear excuses like, I’m not flexible, I don’t have the time, I don’t want to embarrass myself, I’m so tired after work, etc., it’s time to get on a yoga mat. Yoga will increase your flexibility and strength. Everyone started with a first class. Breaking from routine and starting something new is exciting and refreshing.
Why did you pick University Circle for your second location?
Over the years, we have considered expanding and looked at different areas to do so. Uptown felt like the perfect home with the vibrant new life in University Circle and we wanted to be a part of its flourishing growth and revival.
Interview by Karin Connelly