How to conquer the Crow Pose

In her quest to land the perfect pose, Lisa Pierre seeks advice from MBA International Management graduate, Avi Woolman - yoga expert and founder of ActivewearUSA.com
Avi Woolman
Triple digit growth rate year on year: Avi Woolman
The University of London International Programmes gave me a unique opportunity to study for an MBA from an accredited university while allowing me to launch my business at the same time

Bending the knees slightly, bring your palms flat on the floor about shoulder distance apart. Place the knees on the back of the upper arms. Start to come forward, lifting the head as you go. Take feet off the floor, one at a time, so you come to balance with both feet up. This is the Crow Pose (Bakasana) that still sends me into fear in a yoga class. What will it take to conquer this? I talk to Avi Woolman, MBA graduate and founder of ActivewearUSA.com, mother, traveller and fitness fanatic, to find out.

Avi’s advice on conquering the Crow Pose could be the advice one needs for many things. So how does one go about balancing your own body weight on your arms without the fear of falling (you will at first) and breaking your nose?

“Believing is the first step”, she says.  It is this positive attitude which has led her to set up her own successful business based on her personal interests. “You are going to spend a lot of time in the business, so enjoying the area on a personal level really helps. The first company I founded, Yogoco, was born from my yoga practice and need for a great Yoga bag! Yoga bags on the market were either functional but plain black or pretty flowery but not functional (very hard to place the mat in and out). So I decided to design the Yogoco Yoga bag! After that we started ActivewearUSA.com in order to offer great yoga clothing. I am still very passionate about being active, and wearing the right clothes for each activity is paramount. I am still practicing yoga and love it.”

How did it become part of her life? “After the birth of my second child I found it quite difficult to get the weight off. I tried all kinds of different activities, but power yoga worked really well and helped me shed the weight and keep it off.” And does she have any favourite Yoga positions? “I love Side Plank”, she replies, “because it is a good stretch while also engaging your core muscles. Also I love Crow because it is a cool position and when I started yoga I thought I would never be able to do it!” There is hope for us all then.

With the world’s biggest sporting event on the horizon, how important does she think some sort of sporting activity is in one’s life? “It is absolutely important. ActivewearUSA.com is built around the concept that women can enhance their life through fitness. I think the sense of achievement when you reach your target can boost your self-confidence and keep you extra happy for the rest of day. A healthier body means a healthier mind.”

With her healthy mind Avi founded ActivewearUSA.com after a career as a software developer. It was while launching her business venture that she also undertook her MBA in International Management. “The University of London International Programmes gave me a unique opportunity to study for an MBA from an accredited university while allowing me to launch my business at the same time.” One of the most challenging things about starting the business is the fact that many well-known activewear brands will not sell to exclusively online companies. “They require a brick and mortar presence as a condition to become a reseller of their line”, Avi notes. “This was one of the main challenges in getting the company up and moving.”

Make sure your company name gives you enough breadth to allow you to grow outside of your initial concept. We started out by selling yoga bags, it was very tempting to call the company yoga bags inc or yoga accessories inc

And what has been most rewarding? “I think there are two aspects to this question: it is certainly rewarding when we receive feedback from our customers saying how happy they are with the products we sell and the customer service they receive. I am thankful that we receive these comments many times a day. The other aspect is our growth rate. We are seeing triple digit growth year on year and this is rewarding because it shows us that our customers like what we are doing. Furthermore, seeing that the number of visitors to our site is increasing every day is very motivating. Right now we have 75,000 people visit ActivewearUSA.com each month and growing.”

What advice would she offer all other entrepreneurs out there? “Maybe an easy piece of advice to follow, we got lucky with this, but wish it would have been part of a more thoughtful process. Make sure your company name gives you enough breadth to allow you to grow outside of your initial concept. We started out by selling yoga bags, it was very tempting to call the company yoga bags inc or yoga accessories inc. However, this would have seriously limited our ability to respond to industry changes as they happen. For example, including outdoor wear as part of ActivewearUSA.com is a small stretch; including it in Yoga accessories inc would have been a non-starter.”

And the future of ActivewearUSA? “ActivewearUSA.com has grown at the rate of 400% every year since we started the company three years ago. My hope is to continue that and that ActivewearUSA.com will become the place to find all women’s activewear and gear for any activity that you would like to do!” And personally? “For my honeymoon my husband and I visited Costa Rica and we both loved it! Now, three kids later, I would love to take my kids there.”

It seems that positive thinking is working well for this alumnus who is juggling work, life and motherhood. She must be right.  Believing is the key! Crow Pose I’m ready to conquer you!