Katie Jolicoeur, Owner of Be Free Yoga Studio

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Photo credit: Jenn Clara Photography

What inspired you to get into yoga?

“I’ve always known that I would end up in yoga. Quite a few years ago, I spent a month in Vancouver Island and decided to start yoga; I went to my first class and it was actually really hard! Halfway through I thought it was awful, but by the end of class, it was the best I’ve felt in a very long time. From then on, I was hooked.”

Tell us about the ‘aha’ moment when you came up with the idea for Be Free and made the decision to open a studio?

“All I knew from the beginning of my yoga practice was that I wanted to open my own studio. I had been practicing at quite a few different ones and had this feeling that I didn’t fit or belong – I was missing that essential connection piece. Even before I started teaching, I knew I wanted to open my own space, one that is really personal that people can feel connected to and truly seen when they come to class.”

What made you choose Spruce Grove as the home of Be Free?

“I grew up outside of Spruce Grove and, after living elsewhere for awhile, ended up settling out here. The community feeling is what I enjoy most – everyone just shows up for each other and supports one another. That’s the vibe I wanted to create for the studio, which made Spruce Grove a perfect fit.”

How has launching Be Free changed you as a person?

“Running a business shows you your strengths, but it’s also really good at showing you your weakness and what you need to work on. Starting Be Free launched my personal growth into overdrive in a really great way, making me more confident in who I am as a person.”

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Photo credit: Jenn Clara Photography

What has the community support been like for you as a small business owner?

“It’s been really good – the community is really amazing. I’ve had regulars from day one who still come to the studio almost everyday! I’ve found that word-of-mouth advertising is great out here, and the continued support and feedback from people has been really awesome.”

For those who have never tried yoga, or might be intimidated to try it, what advice can you give them?

“I believe yoga is literally for everybody. I think we get this idea that it’s a lot of really in-shape young women who practice, but that’s really not true. The demographic at Be Free includes people from all walks of life, so it’s important for people to know that there is always a space for you to show up. It might take a few tries to feel comfortable, but we would be happy to have you here. It doesn’t need to be intimidating – yoga meets you wherever you’re at.”

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Photo credit: Jenn Clara Photography

What can someone expect from a class at Be Free?

“Expect to come in and have a personal connection with your teacher and meet friendly students who are happy to show new people where everything is. Just to come in and have an hour of space where you can connect with yourself, being guided in a gentle and loving way while you connect to your center.”

Do you have a favourite spot you like to go in Spruce Grove for a special treat or time to relax and recharge?

“I have a couple places I go to regularly where I’ve actually made friends with the staff; I go to Perks Coffee House almost daily, and I also go to Famoso frequently enough that I’m now friends with one of the servers, and same with some of the girls at Perks.”

Tell us a little about the Be Free Project.

“Giving back to the community through yoga means a lot to me. Last year when I went through my depression, my yoga and meditation kept me moving forward, so once I came out on the other end, I realized how much my practice had impacted me and wanted to give those tools to people who don’t have access to them. Not everyone feels comfortable, or has the means to pay for yoga, so I wanted to give that opportunity to the community.”

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You’ve held a few public events in parks in support of the Be Free Project. What has the community response been like for those?

“I love bringing people together for a cause, and people really like showing up to support their community. It’s fun way to bring people together for the greater good of the Tri-Municipal Region, and to just have fun and meet new people. The positive response from the community has been truly overwhelming.”

Is there a favourite childhood memory that sticks out for you growing up in Spruce Grove?

“I’ve just always loved the people and the small-town community feel. Even as a kid, I always felt supported by the people around me in Spruce Grove.”

How would you describe life living in Spruce Grove?

“My husband and I lived in downtown Edmonton for a couple years and came back out here for more space. I just love going around Spruce Grove and running into people I know everywhere I go – you can’t find that personal connection in the big city.”