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Meet Trailblazer Petra Ledkovsky

Today we’d like to introduce you to Petra Ledkovsky.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
While growing up in New York City, I spent my summers and holidays at my Grandmother’s house by the beach in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Cape Cod always felt like home for me, more than ay place else. It was the place I wanted to be, savored being, and was sad to leave.

In 2007, I took a leap of faith and moved here year-round with my then three-year-old son, Max. I was fresh out of yoga teacher training and a divorce and determined to find a way to share my passion for teaching yoga and support and rain my son on Outer Cape Cod.

At this time, yoga was not nearly as mainstream as it is now, and the concept of the yoga studio had not quite mad is out here yet. Yoga was taught in dimly lit church basements and community centers, and sweaty, loud local gyms. I had some work to do.

I started out by saying yes to every teaching opportunity that came my way, despite the less than ideal conditions, and teaching so many classes that my vocal cords gave out more than a few times. I taught evenings, weekends, holidays, and missed a lot of my son’s bedtimes, sporting events, and school activities. I did what I had to do, to build what I have today.

I never intended to be a business owner or entrepreneur, and had no previous experience or expertise in these areas. But along the way, it became clear to me that the type of yoga studio that I wanted to teach in that supported the type of yoga I wanted to teach was not just going to appear, I was going to have to create it. With the incredible support of a few key mentors who guided me through the process, in January of 2013, I opened the doors of Orleans Yoga.

In these past six years, we have grown into a new larger location, we now offer 35 public classes per week year-round, support 12 teachers on our staff, and host workshops and training both with our incredible in-house staff and with world-class guest teachers.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The Outer Cape economy is driven primarily by seasonal tourism. Figuring out how to thrive in and adjust to the vast fluctuations in attendance and clientele while serving our local community base is an ongoing challenge. Often people say things to me like “so, do you stay opening the winter???” This makes me giggle… OF COURSE, we do, in fact, we don’t change our public class schedule at all. We just shift the focus from accommodating and serving the high numbers in the summer to offering more specialized programming for our local community in the winter. We are busy year-round, there is no “down time”, just seasonal adjustments to our operations and offerings.

As a small business owner, finding work/life balance is an ongoing struggle for sure. Carving out time for self-care, parenting, loved ones, and life passions outside of the business are hard but so necessary. I have found it essential to make space and step away from the work of running a business, especially one that requires such an outpouring of energy like teaching yoga and running a studio. Learning how to set clear boundaries, discerning when to say no and when to say yes, and building in self-care practices that conserve vitality have been key to keeping things on track. Which isn’t to say things don’t go off the rails occasionally! But through experience and reflection, I have gotten more and more skilled at getting them back on track when they do.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Orleans Yoga – what should we know?
I teach yoga with an emphasis on anatomy, alignment, awareness, contemplation, and breath. I teach people to slow down, pay attention, release tension they are holding, and be with themselves. I teach people to explore the structure of their bodies and their minds, and how they are intimately interconnected. My intent in each class I teach is to create safe space for exploration, insight, and the inner work of being human, with hopes that students emerge with greater sensitivity, awareness, understanding, intuition, insight, and resilience.

We have classes at Orleans Yoga geared towards all levels and ages, we love and welcome beginners, and offer more experienced practitioners many opportunities to expand their practice through the study of the deeper layers of the yoga tradition.

I am quite proud of our studio space that I designed and built with the generous support of my family, mostly my Father. It is beautiful, clean, crisp, and so peaceful, I love being there! But I am most proud of our teachers and offerings. At Orleans Yoga, classes are taught with clear, direct, informed, safe, and compassionate instruction. We use props often and creatively to support and vary the approaches to postures, meditation, and breath work. Our teachers are the best on Cape Cod, deeply studied in the classical traditions of yoga and contemporary anatomy and committed to guiding students safely on their own path of yoga. No agenda to push, no “style” of yoga to proselytize, no self-help gimmicks, no excessive use of heat (and fossil fuels!), no empty promises, no frills. We as teachers do not claim to have all the answers, as we ourselves are on our own path of study and practice, with a passion to share what we have learned and integrated with our lives with others.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
Particularly in the yoga industry, being taken seriously as a yoga teacher and a female entrepreneur has not come easily. For those who have not had exposure to the practice of yoga and therefore, do not have a clear understanding of what yoga IS, there are a lot of misconceptions, which I often experience as dismissal. Dismissal of yoga as a deeper more intellectual practice (as opposed to just exercise, ‘stretching” or contortionism). Dismissal of me as a business person who knows what I’m doing based on my profession, and dismissal of my brand’s value as a whole.

I imagine this kind of dismissal is prevalent in many/most other industries, despite the credibility and success so many women demonstrate. Yet, we persevere!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Joe Navas, Organic Photography

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