We're getting to know POWER HOUSE Felicity Wood of Felicity Wood Yoga. This is the perfect interview to read if you're looking for a kick up the butt because Felicity's energy and determination is infectious. We loved to hear about how the pandemic forced her to make changes to her business in a positive way and how she plans to grow her practice.
Hello and welcome! Let's start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Hello, I’m Felicity Wood, a 40-year-old yoga teacher living in Cornwall with my fiancé Andrew and our 4-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback called Asha. I’ve been teaching yoga for 8 years and prior to that I had a corporate career in marketing. I have always loved travel and challenging myself – in my 20s and 30s I did 250 skydives, I ran the 6 marathon majors, completed an ironman and I climbed many mountains including Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc and Everest Base Camp. Nowadays I am happy living a calmer life by the sea, making the most of cold-water dips in the ocean, paddle-boarding and walking the coastal paths.
250 skydives? 6 marathons? Everest Base Camp? Those are some amazing achievements. So let's talk about your business?
I started teaching yoga in 2014, and prior to the pandemic I taught in-person classes, workshops and retreats. In March 2020, I pivoted my business to teaching online via livestream, and then in August 2020 I launched my on-demand class platform and app. I now teach through a combination of on-demand and live classes and courses, and I also run retreats in Cornwall and Berkshire, and I deliver online yoga classes for corporate clients across the UK.
I teach a variety of yoga styles including Yoga for Beginners, Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Pregnancy, Postnatal, Restorative, Meditation and Breathing. My mission as a teacher has always been to make yoga accessible – I know how intimidating yoga can be, and so I help people to become confident at doing it, regardless of their level of flexibility or strength.
So where did the idea for your business come from?
Prior to the pandemic, my students would often ask me how they could practise at home in between their weekly class and so I was already planning to launch on-demand classes before Covid arrived. The pandemic accelerated this process! Yoga works best when you do it regularly so I knew how valuable on-demand classes would be for my students, helping them to make yoga part of their everyday life in a way that works for them. I’ve designed my platform and app so that there is a variety of class lengths, regular new content and programmes and challenges to keep people motivated and progressing. It’s so fulfilling for me to see my community grow and to hear how the classes are making a difference to their physical and mental wellbeing.
Love to hear a pandemic success story! What have been your biggest learning experiences since becoming a business owner?
I put my life and soul into my business and, with that, it’s really challenging for me to switch off and not constantly be working. Over the past 2 years I have really learnt the importance of having a balance between work, rest and play. I’m still learning how to find that balance, but I’m consciously trying to bring more play-time and less work-time into my weeks. As a self-employed person, we have the flexibility to design our ideal working week, and we are missing a trick if we don’t take advantage of that!
If you could give one bit of advice to someone thinking of starting their own business, what would it be?
Have really clear boundaries between work and home life and make sure that you are taking care of yourself. It’s very easy to plough yourself into your business, and there will always be a never-ending to-do list, so we must know when it’s time to shut down the computer and be present in other areas of our lives. Otherwise, we’ll end up missing the important things – the things that make us feel alive and the things that bring us love, joy and connection.
Love that! What has your biggest success/accomplishment/achievement been since starting your business?
I’m really proud of my on-demand platform and app. A lot of hard work has gone into it, but I absolutely love creating the classes and it’s so fulfilling to see how my programmes really help people to progress and bring about changes to their mental and physical wellbeing. I love hearing from my students about how the classes are making a difference to their lives and I’m proud of how the app is fostering an amazing online community online.
Which woman has inspired you the most?
Most recently, one of my students. She’s 30 years old, previously fit and healthy, and now has chronic fatigue as a result of having Long Covid. She is essentially bed-bound, and has been for over a year. Over the past 9 months, we have been doing daily breathing classes together to help with her recovery. Her determination, positivity and willpower to keep working towards getting better, despite many setbacks, is phenomenal. It reminds me of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi “strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will”.
That's a great quote and what an inspiration your student is. Finally, what book/article/podcast really gave you that OMG moment?
From a business point of view, I found ‘Do Purpose’ by David Hieatt insightful. ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear is great from a self-improvement perspective. Also, on the topic of self-care, ‘Breath’ by James Nestor is a really accessible book which conveys the importance of how we breathe.
Emma Downey | Founder, Women Who Do
Emma can be found glued to her laptop/kindle or embarking on her next favourite hobby. Avid cake-eater, Disney-superfan and passionate about female empowerment, Emma founded WWD in 2017.