Self-aware entrepreneur opens yoga studio in Corunna

Teachers at the new Mandakani Yoga studio in Corunna, from left: Michelle Maitland, owner Shannon Turner and Elise McDonald. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Opening a new business is generally a busy time considering all the important details and red tape.

So it’s a little surprising that Shannon Turner says she opened her own business to simplify her life.

Turner, 37, launched Mandakani Yoga studio in Corunna two months ago, happily taking on the commitment of sole ownership and instructor.

At the time, she was running a photography business out of her home, working retail, teaching yoga part-time at a Sarnia studio, and raising four kids ages 7, 9, 11 and 12.

“For me, the biggest factor about yoga is self-awareness. That means noticing when my thoughts are getting out of control,” she says. “I knew I needed to make a change.”

Turner is open about her own struggles with bipolar disorder and works hard to avoid periods of depression and mania. Her hectic schedule wasn’t helping.

“So I decided that if I teach more and make yoga my main profession, my life would be simpler and I’d have less stress,” she said.

Yoga has been a big part of her life since high school. She was just 13 and growing up in Point Edward when she watched a yoga class on TV and got hooked.

“It was like an instant connection for me,” she said.

By her mid-20s, she was relying on yoga to improve her mental health, finding that incorporating psychotherapy, medication and yoga worked.

“My practice helps me find moments of stillness and lowers my level of stress.”

When scouting around for the ideal location for Mandakani Yoga she was drawn to Corunna, where there was no dedicated yoga studio.

The name honours a holy river in India and is a nod to Turner’s close proximity to the St. Clair River.

Within the first 10 days of opening, Turner had enough students to cover her overhead for the month.

“I felt really happy about that,” she said. The same thing happened the following month, with many clients telling her they appreciate not having to commute to Sarnia.

Classes are currently taught by Turner and two other teachers, all registered with Yoga Alliance. They cater to beginners and veteran yogis alike and offer everything from gentle yoga to core strengthening and more challenging practices.

Turner’s four children practice various forms of yoga, which inspired her to introduce a number of classes for 4-to-10-year-olds.

Yoga for Boisterous Kids and Yoga for Quiet Kids offer flow-based classes full of movement and fun. Six-week sessions cost $30.

Yoga with my Om’ies is for 11-13- year-olds and incorporates vinyasa flow and breath work.

For a full schedule and descriptions of classes, visit mandakaniyoga.com. Memberships cost $90 a month and are half price the first month.

Mandakani Yoga studio is located at 572 St. Clair Parkway. Call 519-330-0223.

Got a great idea for a local business story?  Contact cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or call 226-932-0985.