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Iyengar Yoga

Norma Colon is transforming lives through yoga

Norma Colon is the owner of YogaNorma and has over 40 years experience studying, practicing, and teaching yoga. She specializes in Iyengar Yoga and has inspired and transformed the lives of countless people through her practice. 

From passion to career

Norma Colon, owner and founder of YogaNorma. (Photo courtesy Norma Colon)

Born in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, Norma is a proud, bilingual Latina and business owner. She teaches Iyengar Yoga in group classes–these days on Zoom, and gives private lessons over FaceTime. For over four decades yoga has been her great passion in life and she loves sharing it with anyone who is interested. 

Norma first discovered her love for yoga in 1977 when she moved to Manhattan. After only 8 months practicing yoga, she decided to take a training course at Serenity Yoga. 

“I took the short course only to learn more about yoga which I was falling in love with, having experienced many benefits in a short time.  I had very little self esteem and didn’t think I had a good voice for teaching!  I discovered I had a talent for teaching and loved it,” says Norma. 

Soon after completing the course, Norma was given a class to teach at Serenity and then another at Marymount Manhattan College where she taught until 1998. She then continued teaching at Hunter’s College, adding a class for Deaf and Hard of hearing students with an ASL interpreter. 

Specializing in Iyengar Yoga, Norma’s teaching style is a unique synthesis of nurturing support and strong encouragement along with the application of hands-on correction. She brings out the best in her beginning students as well as those with considerable experience. Students with specific needs including back and knee injuries, fibromyalgia, MS, and other debilitating conditions have found Norma’s classes particularly rewarding as have many expecting mothers. Norma also offers Gentle Yoga classes for those who need or want a less rigorous approach.

Norma 20 years ago in lotus pose.(Photo courtesy Norma Colon)

Having majored in Human Movement (kinesiology, anatomy and physiology) at Hunter College, and with many years of individual study, Norma has a strong understanding of the workings of the human body and instinctively knows how to help students’ bodies learn to work and feel better from the inside out.

Transforming lives through yoga

Norma’s drive and motivation comes from her love for yoga and her desire to share yoga with others. Over the years, she has pursued different avenues for her business before finally finding what works best for her.

“I was freelance from the start and liked being my own boss, even when teaching a health club and in exercise studios.  I quickly got involved with women’s business groups and learned a lot about running my own business,” says Norma, reflecting on her journey. 

“I tried to open my own studio on a couple of occasions over the years, going as far as finding space up until the late 90s.  My obstacle was money.  I never saved or made much money so I didn’t have much to invest besides my work and I didn’t work hard enough to line up investors, get them to believe in my business. I didn’t recruit a partner… I’m glad in the end; it’s a hard business to run and I would have lost so much with the pandemic, would have had to close like everyone else.  I have profited from not having to pay studio rental with the pandemic!  I’ve actually made and saved more money. I am extremely grateful for this,” Norma adds. 

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Now, she runs YogaNorma, and is happy to share her knowledge and love for yoga with others. Her greatest joy is knowing she has helped and inspired someone through yoga. 

Iyengar Yoga

Teaching at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of NYC. (Photo courtesy Norma Colon)

“Two years ago, I went up to Menla retreat center in Phoenicia NY, for a New Years retreat. A woman came up to me and asked if I was Norma Colon, the yoga teacher. She then told me that I was her 1st teacher approximately 40 years ago and thanked me for giving her such a good start (even back then when I knew so little).  She continues to take classes and feels I inspired her. I have had many similar experiences,” Norma shares.

“My favorite is a former student, a Latino who is studying to become an Iyengar Yoga Instructor.  Osiris once said I had ‘single handedly transformed his yoga practice!’  I stay in touch with this wonderful man who will transform many others. Having taught at Revolutionary Fitness in El Barrio, I influenced quite a few young men and young women of color who have gone on to study further and even teach yoga.  I was the only one with extensive experience, bilingual, and available at the time, from 2014–18.” 

After class at Revolutionary Fitness in El Barrio. (Photo courtesy Norma Colon)

Defining success and going for your dreams

“We Latinas are double minority business owners—woman & ‘minority’,’’ says Norma. However, these criteria have never really informed or hindered Norma’s running of her business.   

Norma luckily did not face many obstacles as a Latina business owner in her industry. “There were nearly no yoga teachers in my area way back in the early 80s and 90s so I got all the business/work,” she says. “My white skin and anglo appearance overrode my Spanish name so I didn’t experience racial discrimination in my white neighborhood of the Upper East side of Manhattan.  I ‘fit in’,” Norma says. 

However, she has never pretended to be anything other than what she is: a proud Puerto Rican. Now, as a long-time business owner and teacher, Norma considers herself to be successful. 

Norma in lotus, recently. (Photo courtesy Norma Colon)

“I am not overly ambitious and am content in my small, healthy, simple life,” she says. “My strength is in being organized, keeping good records, being a ‘self starter,’ being diligent about business matters and my passion for yoga. I continue to study and improve in yoga and am always fine-tuning/improving business practices. One can always improve and get more students and clients so I keep networking and putting myself out there.” 

To all the young minority women out there who are thinking of starting their own business, Norma says “Go for it!” 

Running a business is hard work, and is never a Monday to Friday 9-to-5, but if it is something you are passionate about then it will be well worth your time. 

“Do your homework, learn all you can, get help, and go forward.  This is a better time with many more resources available to women and minorities. There are so many experienced, successful women of color for inspiration and assistance, so many organizations to help,” says Norma. 

And she is right. We are lucky to live in a time where we have access to so many resources instantly online. Additionally mentors and role models are all around you, so don’t hesitate to ask for help on your journey and build a support system. 

“I recommend getting help and input from older entrepreneurs in similar businesses, friends, family then make your own informed decisions.  My friends back in the day thought I was nuts with the yoga!  One even asked when I would stop it!  Today, they appreciate my perseverance and recognize the importance of my work.” 

Like Norma, your passion can become a life-long business. Norma has inspired countless individuals with her yoga practice and helped others go on to become yoga instructors themselves. Your business venture could impact others too, so go for it and do what you love!

wellness, freelance

Balancing wellness and your freelance work

Balancing wellness is a critical component of any successful freelance career. Freelancing is an attractive source of income for many, whether it’s part-time or full-time. That said, you must find time for your own wellness if you want to avoid the risk of burnout, as shared by these successful professional freelancers.

wellness, freelance

(Photo credit: Christina@wocintechchat.com – unsplash)

Looking out for yourself

Your freelance work shouldn’t come at the detriment of your own health. This tip holds true for all kinds of freelancers, but especially for those juggling another job alongside their freelancing. Publishous suggests spacing out your projects to give you some breathing room if you can; for those who can’t, consider planning out your work week in advance to give you an idea of what kind of tasks you need to complete.

wellness, hip latinaStructuring your day around a specific plan can help you avoid the dreaded freelancer burnout. Due to the flexibility of freelance work, it’s possible to work to your own timeline. If you are working another job make sure that, as best you can, the jobs don’t overlap as this is sure way to burnout.

While you’re busy planning out your day, remember to leave some time to exercise. HipLatina emphasizes the importance of physical activity with the rise of the body positive movement, and this self-confidence booster helps give you a bit of a break from your busy routine. More importantly, exercise helps give you the physical strength to tackle even the most demanding workday.

Finding communities and mentors

Freelancing can be a lonely job; so finding fellow freelancers within your area gives you a support network of like-minded individuals, which is good for your mental wellness. The best place to find such support is in co-working spaces. These have popped up in all major cities and have transformed how freelancers and solo entrepreneurs work. Industrious outline how top co-working spaces have community memberships which gives users access to exclusive events where it is easy to network and meet fellow freelancers. Having a physical space that puts you in contact with fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs can also give you that much-needed boost of motivation when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Freelancing opens you up to a whole world of possible connections, even from people outside your industry.

Mentorship is likewise crucial for any freelancer to succeed. Mentorship is likewise crucial for any freelancer to succeed. A great mentor will not only help you improve your craft, but will also help you navigate the busy and ever-changing world of what it means to freelance. From introducing you to good clients or teaching you how to deal with bad ones, a mentor makes the lonely freelance path feel a lot less, well, lonely.

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Here at Latinas in Business we are no strangers to finding meaningful work in today’s increasingly competitive environment. While freelancing is attractive, you should remember that the freelance industry is still in its infancy. This means there are a lot of exciting opportunities to come in the near future, but that you should also look to care of yourself amidst the hustle and bustle of working freelance.

martial arts

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Latina smallbiz expo

Super Bowl Champion Isaiah Stanback and “Latino Shark” Manny Fernandez to POWER UP 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

The 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Business Competition POWER UP! presents Super Bowl Champion Isaiah Stanback, Virtual Reality Guru Rosario B. Casas, and the “Latino Shark” Angel Investor Manny Fernandez. 

Wellness, Technology and Lifestyle international speakers will POWER UP! the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition to take place at the Hudson County Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk St., Jersey City, NJ on November 8, 2019 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, followed by the Investors Panel and 5th Anniversary Cocktail Reception from 5:00pm to 10:00pm.

Latina smallbiz expo

Isaiah Stanback, Supor Bowl Champion and Wellness Entrepreneurs

According to the US Department of Commerce, as of 2018, women of color account for 47% of all women-owned businesses. An estimated 5,824,300 women-of-color-owned businesses employ 2,230,600 people and generate $386.6 billion in revenues in the United States. However, Latinas grew faster than the average rate: 172%, equaling 2.1 million Latina-owned businesses in the US.

“Despite their growth, Latinas receive only 0.2% of all the VC and investment funding out there. This is unacceptable! Every year, we POWER UP the quality of our speakers and the quality of our events so that Latinas and other women of color can have the access, resources and encouragement they deserve!” Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, said.

“Our slogan this year encourages Latinas and other minority women to POWER UP THEIR ACCESS, BRANDING AND CONNECTIONS! We are extremely excited that Isaiah Stanback, Super Bowl Champion and Wellness Entrepreneur, Rosario B. Casas, CEO and co-founder of VR Americas, and Angel Investor Manny Fernandez, CEO of DreamFunded,  will power up our Expo and bring a wealth of information and inspiration to our members,” she added.

The Expo includes a Pitch Competition that offers a $12,000 Prize Package –$2000 in Cash an $10,000 in Business Services. “We are grateful that Rutgers School of Business is co-hosting the Pitch Competition this year offering a seat at the Entrepreneur Pioneers Initiative Program ($6000 value) to the winner to help her build and expand her business,” Baumann concluded.

REGISTER NOW FOR THIS EVENT: Latina SmallBiz Expo

latina smallbiz expo

Manny Fernandez, co-founder and CEO, DreamFunded

About the speakers

After playing college football, Mr. Stanback was recruited to the major leagues by the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and the New York Giants -during his tenure they won the Super Bowl XVLI. He now has become a Wellness Entrepreneur that advocates for young athletes and minorities, and encourages them to overcome adversity by being persistent.

Rosario B. Casas is a strong advocate for women in tech, and the data-driven Cofounder of VR Americas, the company that produced the Telemundo TV Network application for last year’s FIFAWorld Cup.  She is also co-founder of the investment firm BCPartners and calls herself #ProudlyColombian and #ProudlyLatina.

Manny Fernandez is the founder and CEO of DreamFunded, a world-class equity crowdfunding platform. He has been called the “Latino Shark” and was invited in 2016 by the Executive Office of The President to the White House to participate in a round table discussion on possible solutions to fund early stage companies in underrepresented communities. He is also part of the group SF Angels Group in San Francisco. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience for startups and growing companies in the new crowdfunding space.

REGISTER NOW FOR THIS EVENT: Latina SmallBiz Expo

 

You might be interested: Latina entrepreneur Ramona Ferreyra wins 2018 Pitch Competition

About Latinas in Business Inc.

Latinas in Business Inc. is a national non-profit organization that advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs.For information and to register, please visit Latina SmallBiz Expo.For sponsorship and promotional opportunities, please contact Susana@latinasinbusiness.us/or 848 238 6090.