Brenda Greene, left, teaches a stretch to her students, including Andrew Wirtz, right, during a class at Yoga Magnolia Studio in Enfield.

Telegram photo / Emma Tannenbaum

Brenda Greene, left, teaches a stretch to her students, including Andrew Wirtz, right, during a class at Yoga Magnolia Studio in Enfield.

Yoga studio sees serene growth

By John Henderson
Staff Writer

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Some might question a decision to open a yoga studio in a bucolic N.C. town of 2,500 residents.

But it has worked for Brenda Greene. She’s passionate about yoga and Enfield, where she made home after moving from New Jersey.

Yoga Magnolia has a growing-but-loyal group of students, but Greene said that it’s not been easy getting the studio off the ground in Enfield.

“I’m trying to be very patient and wait until awareness in this area grows on the benefits of yoga,” she said. “In New Jersey, there is a yoga studio in every town. It is very popular. Here, I still have people coming into the studio asking me what yoga is. I just feel it is a matter of being patient. It will eventually catch on. Fortunately in Enfield, the overhead is not as difficult to handle as it would be in a more populated area.”

Three years ago, as her home in Enfield was being restored, she prepared to open her studio by going through yoga teacher training. Then shortly before the June 2011 opening, Greene started to build her customer base by offering free classes in a back room at Jennie’s Beans and Buns Coffee Lounge.

Greene said she wants her studio to be “a stress-free zone where people can heal and become healthy and strong.” That is one of the reasons she is holding a Jan. 19 workshop that will bring in experts on natural healing, meditation, yoga and Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation.

She hopes to increase her customer base by drawing customers from Rocky Mount and Roanoke Rapids.

“I noticed that North Carolinians don’t mind driving,” she said. “I do think that as long as you provide a good service that word does spread, and eventually business will take off. Certainly, I think there are a lot of health concerns around here and people would really benefit by doing some kind of physical activity.”

Yoga might be a good option for some people who feel uncomfortable going to a gym, Greene said.

“The gym scares off a lot of people,” she said. “I think there are people who are not capable of just jumping in and going full force, whereas yoga is a much more gentle immersion into physical activity.”

Q: What products or services do you provide?

A: I provide Hatha yoga. ... I basically teach several beginning classes, which introduces people to yoga. On Tuesday night, I have yoga for athletes. On Thursday, I have power yoga. I have small classes but steady customers.

When I decided to move down here, I looked around for yoga studios. At that time two years ago, there was only one yoga class in Rocky Mount and it was at a gym.

I have been practicing yoga since 2001. I had relatively little flexibility. I played basketball. I was athletic, but I couldn’t even bend to touch my knees. (Yoga) offered me flexibility, then all those other aspects about yoga, such as meditation and the calming effect it has on the body and the health benefits. They are numerous. ... I was playing basketball but I was the last one down the court. I knew I wouldn’t be able to play until I was 70. Yoga is a way to stay physical for the rest of my life.

Q: How many employees do you have?

A: It’s just me at this point.

Q: What is your business philosophy?

A: If you provide a valuable service, people will seek you out. There are such great health benefits and psychological benefits (to yoga).

Q: What makes business unique?

A: I think what makes it unique is that every teacher brings their own philosophy to the studio. I think that my awareness of what it means to be athletic and to also be quiet and steady and focused, that blend helps people who are bridging both fronts – the athletic front as well as the general destressing, calming focal point of yoga.

Q: What kind of growth do you expect in the coming years?

A: I’m into my second year, and I’ve doubled my business. I have about 15 regular students who come consistently, so I’m hoping by the end of this coming year that I’ll have 30. I’m constantly reaching out and trying to grow business, but I’m also recognizing that it’s a new business, and especially in this economy, you have to be patient.

Q: What kind of growth have you had in recent years?

A: We started at four people then went to eight. Now we’re up to 15 people. I don’t want it to sound like hundreds. I’m content as long as people continue to come and it continues to grow.