Ashley's Story: Building a Yoga Community
I first met Ashley when I became a yoga teacher and was looking for different studios to begin teaching in. I was overwhelmed by her welcoming presence and the family feeling of her studio, Pure Toms River Yoga. I quickly learned that Ashley, as co-owner, hadn't just opened a studio with her aunt, but had created a yoga community in Toms River filled with so much love.
If you haven't already visited this studio, I highly recommend that you do. If you are unable to, I hope that this interview with Ashley and learning more about her story of how she got to where she is today will inspire you as it inspires me!
1. Tell me about you and what you do.
My Name is Ashley DeSaro and I am Co-Owner of Pure Toms River Yoga. I am a certified yoga instructor that loves cats, music, and movies. 2. What’s your story? Born and Raised in Toms River I always love being close to the beach. It is crazy to think about how many people never have even seen the ocean in real life! I grew up an only child, but had my three cousins always around. We are a close Italian family. I started yoga in my mid-20s when a studio opened up that no longer exists. I had been saying for a while that I wanted to get into yoga, but was that person that was concerned that I would the person that didn’t know anything. I went to get my hair cut and noticed a flyer on the desk for a new studio and saw that as a sign that other people would probably be new too, so I should just try it out. Of course I fell in love.
Ashley practiced for three years before deciding to become a yoga teacher after her aunt opened the studio in Toms River, New Jersey. After completing teacher training, she joined her aunt as co-owner.
3. What would you say to a yoga teacher who wants to open a studio? As running any business running a studio is a lot of work and a lot of time. Make sure you have a business plan outline, stay focused, and know the direction you want to go. 4. What personal passion project are you working on right now? I just set up my first yoga retreat to Greece in 2021 which I am excited for. I've been wanting to host one for a while and said to myself, "just do it!" I'm also working on the OMgoddess Newsletter that I launched in April as a monthly virtual newsletter on Pure’s Website. 5. What made you want to host a yoga retreat in Greece? How can people learn more about joining you on this retreat? So I did Research for various locations and want to do something a little different. You always see retreats in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Bali... Greece happens, but you don’t see it as often. I fell in love with the beauty of the Amorgos Islands. I was debating it for a while whether or not to take the leap and something just told me to do it (maybe it was the moon haha).
If you'd like more information regarding this upcoming retreat, check out the link below: https://pureyogatomsriver.com/yoga-retreats/
6. What made you decide to start a monthly newsletter? My Friend Eric Ferrone and I went and had lunch in Belmar to catch up. He mentioned his idea for his previous clothing company called OMgoddess and that he thought it would be fun to turn into a newsletter. We piggy backed off each other about the newsletter and put it on the back burner for a little while. Then COVID-19 happened, allowing extra time and there is no better time than the present.
7. How have you grown your business from an idea to where it is now? Pure is where it is because everyone is treated like family and we want to have yoga available to the community. I am continuing to learn and develop myself as a person too. 8. How does Pure make yoga available and accessible to the community?
Pure Offers a Various Classes for all levels including Buddha Baby Yoga, Teen Yoga, and Kids Yoga (on pause currently during the pandemic and summer) Pure Also Hosts Yoga Parties, Yoga Privates, Private Group Sessions, and tries to host events to appeal to all ages. Pure Also will Come to You or Your Business to host events. Also COVID-19 brought us to the virtual world.
9. What inspires you the most?
As an Aries under the fire sign once I get something in my mind I am determined to do it. If I see something that looks fun or someone that is doing something they are passionate about, I want to learn more and do it or they inspire me to do more of what I love. Also, nature can inspire me. 10. What makes you feel empowered? Being challenged.
When I can’t do something, I want to keep trying till I can. I am always driven to just to do the best I can.
When I have a bad day that I am like nope, just getting dressed up and feeling good on the outside makes it so I just can’t help feeling good on the inside - we all have those days right? Like when we look in the mirror and like look at that goddess going to conquer the world.
11. How do you recharge? I recharge with Yoga, Meditation, and just getting outside. I am always going and have one hundred plans and things to do, but I learned to slow down in my practice and life.
12. What has been your biggest achievement so far? Finding my voice as a yoga teacher and studio owner 13. What has been your biggest struggle so far? Building my confidence. I was not a confident child and it takes a lot for me to really know my worth. Do I feel confident now? Absolutely, but I really have to be on my game each day.
14. What would you say to others in a similar situation? It takes work- yoga definitely helps – also surround yourself with those people who lift you up. 15. What is the thing you want to achieve most? Building a bigger community with Pure and making yoga accessible for all! 16. How do you plan on achieving this? Where do you see Pure in 5 years? Through Marketing and word of mouth. Word of Mouth can bring a business a long way. In five years I want to continue to grow our retreat offering, offer more classes, and build our own app. 13. How can people connect with you? @littlest_unicorn_yogi on Instagram – Ashley Desaro on Facebook – and Through Pure Toms River Yoga
If you or someone you know would be interested in sharing their story centered around yoga, wellness, mental health, or a similar topic, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org !