Start-up en­ter­prise is fit for pur­pose

The Oban Times - - FEATURE - SuAsana on so­cial me­dia.

A YOGA teacher from Oban is bring­ing bal­ance to the life of peo­ple on the West Coast thanks to a lot of de­ter­mi­na­tion and a lit­tle help from a gov­ern­ment scheme.

Af­ter the death of her mother, Su­san Irvine, 35, de­cided to quit her job of 14 years, sell all of her pos­ses­sions and travel the world.

Su­san said: ‘I had al­ways wanted to go trav­el­ling and to go to a yoga re­treat. I man­aged to book a 200-hour Ash­tanga Vinyasa yoga teacher train­ing pro­gramme in Thai­land and, af­ter go­ing around Aus­tralia and Bali, went back to Koh Sa­mui to start.

‘I car­ried on prac­tis­ing ev­ery day and went back for a fur­ther 100 hours of Yin Yoga train­ing, us­ing up my last sav­ings be­fore I flew back on Septem­ber 18 last year – the an­niver­sary of my mum’s pass­ing.’

Now Su­san has brought yoga to some of the most iso­lated vil­lages through SuAsana Yoga and Mas­sage Ther­apy.

Al­though she set out to run just two classes a week, lo­cal ap­petite has seen Oban’s new­est busi­ness ex­pand beyond Su­san’s goals, and she now runs yoga classes and pri­vate ses­sions, cov­er­ing Oban, Taynuilt, Con­nel, Dal­mally and Lochgilp­head.

Su­san said: ‘ When I got back, I signed on with the Job­cen­tre and my in­ten­tion was to start some­thing up but I didn’t know if it would work. Then the Job­cen­tre told me that be­cause I was un­em­ployed, I was en­ti­tled to get help from the New En­ter­prise Al­lowance (NEA). The scheme of­fered £65 a week for 13 weeks and then 13 weeks at £ 33, which helped me get es­tab­lished while I was build­ing the busi­ness.

‘I was sleep­ing on my step­dad’s sofa be­cause I sold off all my pos­ses­sions to go trav­el­ling and so had noth­ing to come back to.

‘That money re­ally helped be­cause I man­aged to get some­one to rent a flat to me where I could of­fer holis­tic mas­sage ther­apy, which I’m also qual­i­fied to do, while I was set­ting up the yoga classes.

‘Emilio, my NEA coach, was very sup­port­ive and gave me a lot of in­for­ma­tion. I en­joyed the se­cu­rity of hav­ing a busi­ness ad­viser to call on at any time and he con­tin­ues to sup­port and help me as my busi­ness grows and de­vel­ops.’

Su­san now hopes the busi­ness will con­tinue to flour­ish. ‘Peo­ple have re­ally em­braced the styles of yoga I teach, and we get peo­ple of all ages, from 18 up to 70, com­ing along to the classes.’

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Su­san Irvine’s busi­ness started with gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

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