Indie Oxford Interview: Caroline Falce Gozzi of YogaVenue
This week we catch up with Caroline Falce Gozzi of central Oxford yogi hotspot YogaVenue. We’ll be finding out more about how this amazing business begun, as well as learning some top tips for everyday yoga, and of course Caroline will also be sharing with us her favourite Oxford indies too!
Tell me about your business:
I am the co founder of YogaVenue, a Yoga studio in central Oxford. We have over 40 classes a week for all levels and ages, and offer Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Yin Flow, Restorative, and Hot HIIT Yoga. We also run Spiralling Crow, Oxford’s leading Yoga teacher training school, which provides foundation Yoga teacher training in Vinyasa and Hot Yoga. My husband and I set up the studio 6.5 years ago and we’ve been teaching there and managing the studio ever since.
How did you get into teaching Yoga?
I’ve always been into movement and exercise, but suffered from a bad back and sciatica plus had a very stressful job and found relaxation hard. One day my husband suggested while we were in the gym I should try Yoga, I wasn’t so sure but I thought why not. The very first time I stepped onto a Yoga mat I knew it would become part of my life and led me to eventually complete my first teacher training 13 years later. I have been teaching ever since, and love teaching and practicing just as much as I did when I started, probably more so now. I also don’t have a bad back anymore or never get sciatica.
How do you feel Yoga helps your mental & physical wellbeing?
Yoga can help in so many ways. Practicing Yoga helps enormously with stress relief, anxiety, sleep management, building concentration and focus as well as with improving physical fitness. Yoga keeps you both strong and flexible. Yoga can create muscle tone and aid in weight loss, if that is part of your agenda. Yoga can also help with bad posture, bad backs, knees, shoulders, if practiced correctly with the right guidance (and approval from a doctor if you are under their care).
How many people do you have in each class on average, and what ability levels are they?
Our class sizes vary, and depend on the style of Yoga and what time of day the class is. No matter what size the class, we always aim to give each student individualised attention. YogaVenue teachers have at least 2 years experience and apprentice with myself and Alessandro before teaching our public classes, so they are equally trained for teaching to one student or 30. As most of our classes are open to all levels, a brand new student might practise next to a more experienced yogi, and that is what makes YogaVenue classes special. Our skilled teachers ensure that our classes really are for anyone and everyone.
When people join a class at YogaVenue, what do you hope they get out of it?
I hope they come out of class with a smile on their face, and having accomplished whatever they needed to that day. Each day is different.
What is your favourite mantra?
There are so many mantras I love. If I had to choose a favourite it would probably be Om Namah Shivaya, which if translated means I bow to Shiva, Shiva being your true identity, your inner shelf. It was the first mantra I heard and my 2 year old son loves to sing it. He sings this and Nick Cope songs!
Do you have any tips for simple poses or techniques we should be practising every day?
Just get up and move! Get away from your desk, your car, from sitting hunched over your screen all day. Simple things you can do are gentle side stretches, cow pose, cat pose, downward facing dog and childs pose. All of these gentle movements can be done at different levels and adapted to your needs.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Do what you love, the rest will follow.
What guidance would you give to someone setting up their own indie business?
Be realistic and honest with yourself about what you can do.
Lastly, which are your favourite Oxford independents?
Amy Surman who makes the beautiful handmade malas available to buy at our studio.
Cosmic Cake Company – amazing cakes, and a neighbor on the Cowley Road.
Gatineau – amazing cakes again. Yes we like cake!
Sarah Wiseman – beautiful art
And of course Potters Instinct Photography, Kevin has been at Yogi for many years and we love all of his photos.
Caroline has definitely inspired to get a bit more active in between emailing and we can’t wait to head down to the studio for some more intense and interactive sessions! You can find out everything you need to know about YogaVenue on their directory page and also don’t forget to check out our events page to find out what’s coming up at the studio.