On the 14th of May the Gold Coast Yoga Centre celebrates 20 years of sharing yoga and community. Erin Bourne sat down for a chat with Suzanne, co-founder and owner, of the GCYC to discuss the changes, challenges and the great bits since she and Cam started the centre.
What was the yoga scene like on the Gold Coast 20 years ago?
There were a couple of established one person operations and one centre, Shanti, which was at the time in the Marriott hotel. Yoga students didn’t have the experience or prior exposure to yoga that they do now. It was a more unusual activity. I remember Madonna appeared on Oprah (in 1998) and said she did Ashtanga yoga and that’s when the yoga explosion really began. We couldn’t put the phone down for 2 weeks after that, we got that many calls!
What was the GCYC like in the early days?
We started in the church hall in Park Street, Burleigh with people telling us we wouldn’t get past two months. When we needed to expand we moved to the Burleigh Theatre Arcade. Mark joined us at this point (see picture). The by-line we used at the time was Awareness, Empowerment and Immortality, quite the claim! We then moved out to the industrial area in Burleigh and thrived. We ran an apprenticeship style teacher training, which had very high prerequisites. 14 people started the training and 2 finished, Kath and Danny who teach at GCYC still. It was zoning issues that forced the move to the current location in Palm Beach.
What is the mission or ethos of GCYC?
[Laughs] A good question. The mission is, in a simplistic form, to help people do yoga. Really it is a mission from a higher purpose, to hold space for people to find their practice and their path.
Since the ‘explosion’ of yoga into the mainstream there has been a proliferation of studios on the Gold Coast. What is your point of difference?
Longevity and teachers who live the path. Your life is the path, its not just asana, not just on the mat. Take your witness, philosophy, surrender with you. The teachers live the path, still study as well and live the full experience. They don’t do anything else and people feel that. We used to try to be all things to all people with classes for mums and bubs, surfers, seniors, etc. We have found our niche over time, which is holding space for people who have a consistent and evolving practice. We are also conscious of keeping the entry still available.
You recently started the apprenticeship and mentor programs, what prompted these?
People started asking for it and the question changed. Up until recently people were wanting a month training and we don’t offer that. Then there was a shift and people were asking for training and wanted the apprenticeship. I was craving teaching again so it was perfect timing.
What is your advice for people who are contemplating or have just started their yoga journey?
Take the time you need for your body and your journey. Yoga is not a quick fix, it’s like a seed, it needs attention and watering etc to grow.
What is your advice for business longevity?
Stay within your capacity and grow when it feels natural to grow. The more research and time you can put into decisions the better, respond rather than react. The roots need to be strong but still allow creativity to flow. Make sure you have time to regenerate and restore yourself.
The milestone is a big one, what are the plans for celebrations?
We are not really extravagant people so it’s a day of celebration at the centre. On May 14th we have a yoga demo and classical indian music concert, food, prizes/giveaways and finish with Kirtan. It’s a time for the community to come together and celebrate.
Join the party at Gold Coast Yoga Centre 37/2 Eighth Ave, Palm Beach on May 14th.