Meet Erin Cummings, mama of two and founder of YESyoga! This stand-up paddle board yoga instructor turned yoga studio owner has built her business on the foundation of helping women feel worthy and empowered. In this interview, she shares a bit about herself, her parenthood journey and what she is OBSESSED with! We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did. Also, feel free to connect with Erin as she is so generously offering our followers the opportunity to de-stress with a free month of yoga! Use promotion code: southhoustonmoms!
Erin, if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why?
Creative. I just love the DOING part of life, I’m constantly doing something and I love it when that something is creating and innovating. Whether it’s photography, art, cooking, writing, traveling, or working on new things for the yoga studio, I love finding new perspectives and changing things up!
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m OBSESSED with all things real estate. I graduated from college with a degree in Finance with an emphasis on Real Estate and worked for a new home builder for quite a while. Before I had kids I worked in leasing for a large retailer, and now I still scratch my real estate itch with a few rental properties that I own and manage.
A few times a year when I feel like the stars align I always tell my husband I’m going to get my real estate license or go back to school for architecture, and then I’m usually brought back to reality with my actual life. I always tell myself it’s still possible though! But, a little true surprising fact was that I did all of our original lease negotiations for YESyoga because I was familiar with leasing contracts from the retailer I worked for!
That’s awesome! Is there anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you along your motherhood journey?
What I realize now since both my kids are in elementary school is that we’ve gone through so many different stages of motherhood and it’s truly been quite the adventure. My biggest ally and supporter, who I have so much gratitude for is my husband. I’ve struggled with which parts of motherhood should have come naturally to me, and I’m grateful for his support.
One of the people, in this stage of my life, who truly helps me do the work of it all is my therapist, and I’m grateful for their guidance and support so that I can show up as the best version of myself for my kids and family.
What inspired you to open a yoga studio?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Another great word to describe me is driven because if I set my mind on something it will happen. I just do it. When I first started getting more serious about teaching yoga I could really just see myself embracing it whole-heartedly and even during the training process of becoming I teacher, I asked the studio owner what it took to make that possible for her.
After I received my teaching certification, I opened a Stand-Up Paddle Board yoga business and decided after a few summers that I wanted to go all-in instead of just during the summertime. So, I sold it so that I could focus on that, and YESyoga happened.
Tell us more about your journey and how you turned your passion into a business?
A friend of mine and I did yoga together and we ended up becoming really great friends, we went to yoga every day and would eat lunch after. After a while, we would start saying stuff like “wouldn’t it be cool if (insert amazing idea here) happened…..” and one day the end of that sentence said “open a yoga studio” we just decided we were going to go for it and do it. I quit my yoga studio manager job and took a year off to put everything together. She thought of the name and I designed the space. She was more of a CFO and I was more of the COO during the first 2 years. We created the foundation of everything you see today.
In 2020, I made a lot of changes. My business partner ended up pursuing another passion and I took over full responsibility. Between the transition of partnership to sole entrepreneur and COVID, I had to really let my passion take over so I could figure out how to not sink the YESyoga ship. I think when it started we wanted a place for women to feel worthy because that’s the space we were in with really little kids and just trying to keep up with life, and now it’s a place for women to feel empowered and have the tools to really live into living life purposefully and courageously.
I’ve heard such great things about YESyoga! What makes your studio unique and what can new members expect on a visit?
Our studio is unique because it’s small and family integrated. We have small class sizes and limited time slots for a reason. We are all about an intimate community environment, we want you to get to know the person on the mat next to you. I love seeing our long-time clients always say hi and introduce themselves when new members come in.
I think another thing that is unique is we focus on more functional and sustainable yoga movements. While handstands and tricky transitions are fun, they aren’t always accessible so we focus on the fundamental elements of the movement practice. We want you to feel challenged on your mat, but confident that you can do the entire class and be grateful for what your body is capable of doing.
It’s also unique because it’s all about the integration of life. We offer babysitting and have special series for kids. We want your kids to love coming here as much as you do, but if you decide to leave them at home – that’s okay too!
Which classes would you suggest for beginners?
Because of the small size of the studio, our instructors are able to give more personalized attention to beginners or members who require modifications or special attention. Our members have very curious minds as many of them are badasses in their lives and they love to learn, so we encourage asking questions and having beginners take any class.
However, I usually tell beginners to start with The Friday Clear – this class is the peak of relaxation and stress relief. It starts with meditation, then basic movements, then a VERY long rest at the end. If the beginner is super ambitious I also recommend our Thursday evening class with Lauren. She’s super funny, has had extensive training, and is anatomically focused so you can learn a lot about how your body moves during practice, but it’s going to be challenging.
What would you say to a mama who is curious about joining a yoga studio, but hasn’t quite made the commitment?
I would ask her “what would your life be like if it continued to stay the same?” We as moms place so much focus on everyone else, and it’s not a big ask to take 2 hours out of your week to do something just for you. There are so many benefits to yoga not only physically, but mentally. If you’re new to yoga, I totally get that it’s scary to try something new, but you had a kid and that is pretty damn amazing and you’ve never done that before either.
Do you have a favorite thing you do for self-care?
THERAPY! I define self-care as doing things to care for my inner self. I set a boundary to not ever move my therapy appointment unless it is truly needed. Outside of therapy, I journal and meditate (I really try daily), I am big on vision and goal setting, and just like I do KPIs for the business, I created my own little mental KPIs that I check in with myself monthly too.
But….for what most people consider ‘self-care” I do a sheet mask or some sort of facial mask almost every morning and do a full Sunday Night Skin Care Routine in which I look like Mrs. Doubtfire.
What is something you would tell the “old you” before you had kids?
You can connect with other moms without competing with them, and you don’t have to rush fulfillment. I think for a long time, being so driven, I was always focused on being the best I could be, and sometimes that meant being an asshole in the process. I’ve since shifted my mindset to stop looking outside of myself for answers. I’m definitely not perfect now because, well, it’s a long-term practice.
Funniest shortcut or routine for helping you through parenthood.
I may or may not have given my kid the same dollar bills for the collection of certain incisors that tend to fall out…..
Currently, I’m pretending to let my kids think they scare me when they jump out (sometimes they actually do) but it’s just easier if they take the win on that one because I remember how fun that was for me as a kid.
But the big thing is just reminding myself that parenthood doesn’t have to be serious all of the time. Laugh. That’s truly the best shortcut, making things fun doesn’t have to be an Instagram-worthy photo op, it could just be finding an opportunity to recreate that childlike goofiness with your kids.