Yoga has become so versatile within this last decade. Now you can do regular yoga, hot yoga, yoga with goats, cat yoga, yoga on the beach, the list goes on and on. They have a yoga class for everyone these days! This next Girl Boss opened a friendly, funky and fresh yoga space in Bellmore, NY that will meet all your yoga needs. In addition to her studio, she is also an online educator, creating courses to provide her students with the tools to live every day with grace and acceptance.
So, let’s meet Kelly Mitchell, the owner of The Buddha Barn, Yoga & Wellness: a soulful space to transform the body, stimulate the mind and activate the soul. She opened her studio in 2013 to create a haven for people to learn, heal and grow. Her mission is to simply pay it forward, and to guide her students with radical love and acceptance.
My passion has been art since I could hold a crayon. I went to School of Visual Arts in NYC for advertising art/design and art education k-12. I have three perfect children so that became my full time job but I have freelanced since college. I still apply art to all aspects of my life, including how I decorate my studio, plan my yoga sequencing, design my ebooks, emails, social media pages and online courses. Art can be applied to everything.
Tell us more about your business and how you became a Girl Boss.
After years of panic and anxiety I found an amazing therapist and began practicing yoga. Medication wasn’t an option for me and after years of inner work, I began to break free, grow and heal. Exercise happened naturally. It just felt good. I decided to go back to school to become a Personal Trainer. I realized immediately that as women, we are paralized by society’s standards of beauty, big business and childhood experiences. Everything felt physical and exhausting.
I decided I wanted my own practice so I rented a tiny room in a commercial house and vowed to help women unlearn. It seemed natural to get certified as a Yoga Teacher and expand the business. I’m a teacher but I’m a forever student. I have additional certifications in Mindfulness, Life Coaching and Reiki.
What does it mean to you to be a #GIRLBOSS?
I think a #girlboss is knowing that everyone, regardless of their gender, size, ethnicity and ability, deserve equal rights. It’s more than a business or making money. For me, it’s fighting for social justice and animal rights. I’m not saying that’s the only way. But, I feel that it’s my responsibility to be conscious regarding appreciation vs. appropriation and the awareness that not everything is love and light. The shadow work is crucial. As far as dedication and hustle…it’s a 24/7 commitment!
What do you love most about running your own business and being a Girl Boss?
I love that everything I do is my choice. I love the freedom, even though the work involved in owning a small business is never ending. My purpose is to teach people the life-changing benefits of going inward in a world where everything feels external. It all starts with Self. We all know what to do. But why don’t we do it?
What’s going on with internal dialogue, self worth and so on? It’s not just about exercise and diet. Stress affects how we tone our muscles and digest and absorb food. It affects our relationships and how we journey through life. The inner work creates a ripple effect. Our planet is in dire need of healing. I can’t heal the entire planet but I can support my clients (and myself) to be kinder, more compassionate and more aware.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in being a business owner?
Daily challenges are just part of being a business owner. Whether it’s being too small to hire a team but wanting to expand or juggling a brick and mortar, virtual, instructors, social media and various platforms while teaching classes, workshops and retreats simultaneously. I wear a lot of hats! But I am beyond grateful that I’m still in business. As stressful as it is, I never feel like it’s a job. Even on the most stressful days, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Is there a moment during your career that stands out to you and validates your decision to become a Girl Boss?
My a-ha moment was when clients started telling me that I changed their life for the better. That is wildy addicting. For years I told my therapist that I would never be okay. I would never feel confident, safe or secure. After years of intensive work, I remember sitting (during a session) and I felt a shift in my body. I remember saying out loud, “I think I’m gonna be okay”. It was that night that I vowed to pay it forward.
What advice would you give to aspiring Girl Bosses?
Be ready to put in 500%. Weekends, holidays and everything in between. Stay true to your beliefs. Be kind but crystal clear on what you want. Don’t give up because there will be big highs and lows. Know your worth. Try not to compare yourself to others in your industry. There’s enough knowledge to go around. Give back and honor your community. Approach everything as a beginner. Stay humble but remain strong. Find balance. I’m still working on that.