We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Paige Kenney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shannon, how do you think about risk?
When thinking about risk, this question and small business success or failure, I used to be nearly paralyzed. I opened a small yoga studio and store, Om Time, in 2003. I was driven to be a success and worked hard. Sometimes though, hard work cannot surmount the circumstances. After navigating growth and expansion, we were met with the last financial crash, a disaster of an overly expensive build out in a new development that wasn’t at all what was expected, a massive partnership division, a 1000 year flood and a divorce. I met the word ‘failure’ on every front of my life. The circumstances did not just tank the company, it tanked me and my sense of self. I lost all glimmers of self-confidence and I would listen to the voices of criticism (many in my own head), take them in, internalize them and let the blame game make me smaller and smaller until I almost disappeared. Om Time shuttered. I blamed myself and wore the stain of failure as shame in my heart, in my mind and on my sleeve. I nearly left the teaching world of yoga all together and was simply completing existing contracts, before I planned to hide from the world in a blanket fort or cubicle. Somehow, during this time of retreat, I met the man who would become my husband. He was not a practitioner of yoga, as such he had no toe into my creative world, nor knowledge and connection to my massive professional failure of losing Om Time and disappointing so many students and partners. As such, he listened and he held the space of my connection to the word ‘failure’. After listening, he simply softly shook the shame loose and challenged the ideas of both ‘success’ and ‘failure’. He taught me to surf. It was summer of radical healing. Learning to wake-surf is really a practice of falling a LOT and learning to get back up without shame. In fact, one actually learns that the falls are part of the ride. This summer of learning to love the fall re-calibrated my sense of self. When autumn came, he challenged me to open another studio. At first I declined and explained that I was afraid to put myself out there, for fear of being criticized. He pushed me thoughtfully and bravely into this dream of just having a simple space to serve, teach and love with my whole heart. I opened Earth Yoga on Christmas the same year. It was and is my happy place. We organically grew from our tiny sliver of a space in Boulder to more than doubled in size sun-drenched studio five minutes from our home in Lafayette, CO. Someone asked me when we moved, “are you so scared?” No. Bravery loves to stare fear down and smile in its face. Bravery is okay with taking risks and falling more than a few times. Falling is part of the ride. Every time I sit with an entrepreneur and we discuss their idea, their passions and their fears, I now share the above story. Risking a passion is important, as it is the only way to get it out there and to actually see it grow. Otherwise, the seed of it just sits in the pit of your belly and keeps you hungry. My advice is to lose the words ‘success’ and ‘failure’ from your vocabulary. Just absorb your lessons and… Go! Do. Try. Fall. Get up. Go again!!!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I teach yoga. I view my responsibility of teaching as the responsibility of instilling confidence, not flash, not youth and not perfect. I love to inspire the creative perfectly imperfect. I put my decades of yoga study, contemplation, trial and error into a framework that allows the practitioner to learn, develop and express their bodies, health and ideas in sustainable patterns from simple-to-complex. Essentially, you can practice with me or the teachers that have graduated from our school and see a seam of tangible empowerment. We teach simple skills and actions that are mindfully repeated and challenged throughout a session to evolve into a posture that you might not have otherwise approached and actually find that your body is not surprised to be in it AT ALL! Our school, our studio and classes have various levels and degrees of intensity; however, the goal of empowerment and confidence building in the practitioner remains the same in each of them. It is a place to go, on zoom or in person, to fill your cup!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, writing this from the lens of Covid-19 and social distancing, I will share several of my newer passions for getting out there as well as the ‘ol standbys. Let’s start in the tried and true must do’s. If you visit this area, you will have to take in the Flatirons! I always recommend this and insist that visitors take these amazing stones in from the highway FIRST, just as you come over the hill and drop down into and towards Boulder, CO. From taking them in from this vantage point, a sense of awe is immediate and grows as one drives closer, closer, parks and begins to hike toward and with them. The sum total experience never disappoints! Being respectful of physical distancing, the Boulder Creek also cannot be missed and offers a spacious, brisk and beautiful walk to do some awesome people watching! I adore Eastern Boulder County as well and always recommend the drive from Boulder down Arapahoe towards Lafayette. you must check out the area of Forest Park at 95th and Arapahoe. This is sweet open space, park where our studio is located. It is the perfect place to run, play tag with your kids and have a patio brunch with our beloved neighbor, Morning Glory Cafe! Do not miss the pancakes and a mango peach mimosa! From here, drive north and hit the Boulder Reservoir. Soak up some sun! Take in a paddle board session, learn to wake-surf or simply marvel at the flocks of Canadian Geese. The views of the Front Range are unforgettable. As a camper, I would recommend that you strap a Tepui tent to your SUV and haul your yogi butt up Boulder Canyon, traverse Peak-to-Peak highway and four-wheel as far up to Camp Dick as you can! This stunning area will not disappoint! On your way down, there are several local brewery’s in Nederland that just offer that something special in their food and bevvie offerings that only small mountain towns can. From there, come back down the hill slowly, taking in the stunning drive again. Grab a dirty Chai at Ozo’s. Sit. Savor and begin your postcards home. THIS area is certainly something to write home about~! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Regan Rosburg – Environmentalist and Multi-disciplinary Artist.
Facebook: Shannon Paige – Embodied Poetry
Seated Image in seated prayer (Green Top / Purple Pants) is Rick Cummmings Group Shot is Wendy Griffith