Thursday, 27 March 2014

Meet our April Woman to Inspire Claire Dunphy, founder of Breeze Yoga Studios

       Kent-based Breeze Yoga provides a vibrant hub to stimulate each and every one of our 5 senses. This beautiful studio not only offers a unique range of yoga classes 7 days a week, but also inspiring workshops, activities and retreats. From the moment you enter this light, airy space  shoulders somehow feel less burdened as troubles simply melt away. 

       We sat down with Breeze founder Claire Dunphy, a true yogi pioneer, to find out more about this wonderful space and her business philosophies

  For more information please visit
Twitter: @breezeyogauk

1.   In your experiences as a former Pilates teacher, tell us more about what inspired you to set up this unique place?

     Throughout my career I managed large mainstream health clubs.  I found that on the whole, members that practiced Yoga and Pilates were very much considered the minority in terms of the facilities and activities geared towards them, yet they paid the same subscription as others making full use of all facilities.  As an example, around 6% of the studio offering would be of a holistic nature and largely those participating in such activities were not interested in the fast paced, noisy and often frenetic aspects of the gym environment.  There were limited choices; either attend classes in a drafty and often ill equipped church hall or public hall, or sign up to an annual gym membership and get very little of “what you want” for your money.  Hence, I decided to open a “holistic style health club”, in which such participants would benefit from great facilities, a calm and peaceful environment, not to mention 100% of the offering tailor made to meet their requirements

2.   Did you always have a sense, (from a fairly young age), that you wanted to pioneer and run your own business?

     Yes.  I had a strong sense that I wanted to run my own business, it just took me until I was in my early 40’s to have the confidence and conviction to finally make it happen

3.   What has been a professional highlight for you since Breeze began?

       We have won business awards and received great recognition, but there is never a greater highlight than an individual contacting me to thank me for Breeze, and this happens frequently.   What might well have started as a curious “toe dip” into a yoga class in the quest for a better physique or to de-stress, has led many to embark on a journey of self-development, enhanced physical and emotional wellbeing and much more besides

Do you think that yoga is still a fast-growing area in the UK?

    Yes, and long may this continue due to the endless benefits of practicing Yoga as an excellent tool for enhancing life on many levels

5.   What key piece of advice would you give someone considering setting up their own business?
     Trust your instincts.  Question everything.  Never lose sight of your vision and passion but never let this get in the way of your sensibility 

6.   Tell us about Breeze’s latest news and plans

      Breeze is constantly evolving and we continue to develop new and inspirational classes, workshops and retreats.  We are currently preparing the business for franchising – exciting times!

Breeze's current timetable schedule can be viewed here

7.   Day-to-day, how does being a parent configure with running your business?

    I’ve been working on Breeze for 6 years now and as a single parent of two wonderful girls – it’s been a juggling act to say the least.  I hadn’t anticipated when I started out just how much of my life the business would take over and there have been times in the past when I have felt guilty for being so busy.  The girls have been a fantastic support and have embraced the journey with me.  They have learned an awful lot through watching, asking and even getting involved in some aspects of the business.  I believe they have learned a great work ethic and the ability to multi task as a result, which I am confident will stand them both in great stead for their own futures, whichever paths they choose to take in life

Breeze offers a huge range of classes, workshops and treatments, including
Hot yoga, Gong Baths, meditation and even a calming flotation tank

8.   If you could arrange to meet anyone you chose – from a part of history, or living today – who would it be and why?

     My Grandma, Madge Dunphy, who sadly passed away when I was 12 years old.  She was smart, intuitive, wise and witty – she always had great little pearls of wisdom to share.  I’d love to meet with her and talk “woman to woman”.  We’d talk for hours on anything from cooking to politics to fashion to philosophy and most importantly, share a few jokes and some valuable hints and tips on life!

9.  Which person has most inspired you in life?
       Easy question … my Dad!  He’s a fantastic Dad, a successful businessman and entrepreneur, a real character.  He’s been my inspiration all my life and I am truly blessed to have such an exceptional father

 10. How do you take time out to relax?

      I walk my two dogs – it’s a joy!

11. What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self? 

       When making important decisions and choices, or when you are troubled, imagine you are yourself at 90 years of age, giving advice to you as a 16 year old.  Ask yourself, what advice would you give your younger self with the wisdom and experience you have gained in life?

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