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Meet Missi D’Arcy of Symmetry Yoga in Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Missi D’Arcy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 1989 I was single after 10 years of marriage, I found myself thrown into the restaurant industry as a way to support myself and 2 daughters. While it was scary at first, I found I loved the chaos. 25+ years as a server, hostess, bartender, line cook, dishwasher, kitchen manager, assistant general manager to general manager.

In 2001 I was called by my daughter Devon. It was April 15 and I was finishing up taxes. She wanted me to join her for a yoga class. I kept saying I didn’t have time. She was persistent and said “MOM! You can take 1 hour to a yoga class” I caved and went. I loved it. After practicing regularly I began to realize how I felt, physically and emotionally. I felt more “prepared” in my hectic restaurant world. I began to become interested in teacher training and there was one was coming up, but I choose not make the leap. At that time I was in a place that I loved the restaurant business and was focused on moving forward in my career.

After the particularly difficult year 2006-2007, I made the decision to enter yoga teacher training in 2008. I immersed myself in the training and the plan to teach as much as possible. Someday I wanted a studio. After graduating I began teaching at O2 Yoga & South Berwick Yoga. I would cover as much as I could and was focused on learning as much as I could. I did lots of training and workshops. I went back into the restaurant industry part-time in May of 2008 and eventually for financial reasons needed to find a full-time gig.

At the end of 2008 I went back into management for the corporate restaurant I had left and 4 1/2 months later I took a job with another corporate chain restaurant. In 2011 I was done. I wanted to open a studio and didn’t care what I had to do to make it happen. We started our search for a space to rent. In August of 2011, I got the keys and the process of renovation began. September 28 – October 2 we offered a couple classes a day for free to introduce ourselves. October 3, 2011, we opened officially. It is incredibly difficult to watch a business grow, one person at a time, sometimes no one. Eventually, classes began to pick up.

My favorite moments are when students thank me for being there or thank me for class because something really resonated with them, or just being grateful for finding yoga and Symmetry; Sometimes Symmetry being their first experience with yoga.

On April 23, 2015, our world was turned upside down. My 32-year-old daughter died unexpectedly from an undiagnosed heart condition (Fibromuscular Dysplasia) my teachers and students were now there for me and continue to be as we now raise our grandson. Symmetry is and always will be my happy place, the place I feel safe and loved. I am truly grateful for every single person that has walked through our doors, whether they have been one time, days, weeks, months or years. I have learned something from everyone and continue to do so.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Smooth road…hahahaha I began this journey while I continued as a full-time restaurant manager. It was the only way at the time we could make it work. I taught 13 classes a week, worked 50-55 hours a week at the restaurant (travel to the restaurant was an hour both ways) and I took care of my granddaughter one day a week.

I officially opened October 3, 2011. I was informed about a week and a half before my opening date and after scheduling everything (including my daughter flying home for the opening) that the parking lot was to be paved and I needed to close my first weekend open. Once the paving began we were told we couldn’t drive on it for 5-7days. My husband would meet people so they could park on the road and he would lead them up the hill to the door. (The road is an extremely busy main route) Then the heat….the heating system was a new system, but the vents were not sufficient for space. One – three days closed to add additional heating vents, and then the rains came…..and came and came. We discovered the roof leaked. It took four years to finally find someone to fix it in a way that it took. Each prior fix made it worse. We had floods in the studio, it would rain on students. We had towels, blankets, pans and buckets to catch the water. It was an extremely stressful time, but we have persevered and are so grateful for the understanding students.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Symmetry Yoga – what should we know?
Symmetry is my dream…We teach vinyasa style yoga, linking breath with movement. We all continue to grow more experienced and our teaching styles changes to meet our student’s needs. Our biggest focus is having students honoring their own body, taking the time they need, helping them understand that not everyone can do a posture in the same way. Our teachers are passionate and we all have our own unique way of teaching. What pulls us together as a group is savasana. We offer hands-on touch, which many studios no longer do.

Our students range in age from mid-teens to 70+. I take pride in our ability to teach such a wide range of skill level and age difference. My biggest pride is when longtime students introduce themselves to newer students and make them feel extra welcome. It makes my heart happy.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
First my daughter Devon for “forcing” me to attend a yoga class for the first time back in 2001 at O2 Yoga. All the fabulous teachers there, making yoga fun and a safe haven, the place I found a sense of peace, balance and myself. My husband Tom for supporting me when I made the decision to quit my corporate job, go to yoga teacher training than a few years later when I was back in the corporate world me wanting to open my studio, “no matter what I had to do”. He has been my biggest, support, cheerleader, and advocate!

We are just beginning our 7th year in business. I would not be here without the support and dedication of the amazing teachers, students, and my family. I don’t believe I am responsible for Symmetry’s success; it has been a team effort.


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Image Credit:

Hannah McMahon, Mitchell Manz, Ron St. Jean

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