Passion Project: meet the dream team behind Bliss Yoga
Meet the people behind the businesses that we support and learn why we think they’re so special. In this edition, we sat down with Janelle Kroon from Bliss Living & Yoga Studio to hear about how it all started.
When you first meet Janelle you just know you’re going to be all the better for it. There’s an energy about her – part mamma Earth part ball of fire, a point where happiness and tenacity meet. Blissful you could say.
But this karmic state didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a journey in the making, beginning in Vancouver some 20 years ago with a rather poignant conversation with Ted Grand of Moksha Yoga, whom Janelle credits for charting her course. Janelle had yet to visit the Cayman Islands, but that was about to change.
Friends from her hometown were opening a restaurant on Seven Mile Beach. Keen to check it out, Janelle left Canada with a pocket full of adventure and a bag full of curiosity and moved to Cayman in 2002. “It was love in an instant, I knew this island would become my home,” says Janelle. Whatever it was, it turned out to be a very good decision. By 2005, she was her opening her first yoga studio in East End, Grand Cayman and shortly after met now business partner, Tricia Nelson.
What Janelle brings in strength of body and mind, Tricia brings in retail know-how (Bliss is the only sales partner in the Caribbean for lululemon athletica). In 2009 they opened the doors to Bliss Yoga and together with the help of friends, family and some incredible teachers (Lindsay Correia, Chantelle Relly, Rachel Whitfield, Iliana Bonilla, Jeri Bovell, Heidi Stafford, Ashley Stafford, Keri Andrews, Danielle Henry, Mark Jansen, Lisa Bortolotto, Lana Nelson, Emma Hawes, Manne and Madison, the list goes on!), they have created one of the most unique spaces in the Cayman Islands - a place where you can reconnect with yourself, reconnect with others, and get your shopping fix.
“If it wasn’t for our Bliss Family, we wouldn’t be what we are today. Bliss is our home. It’s a haven for everyone and everything here is done from the heart,” says Janelle, “We’re all here to make something better”. And it shows. All of the teachers have a minimum of 15 years of study, and not one was hired through any sort of process. “Bliss just grew organically. All of our teachers began here as students”.
Inside the studio you’ll find ample mat space in each of the practice rooms. And perfect for post-session browsing, the shop offers every title imaginable on yogic learning and enlightenment. There’s even a wonderful reading nook to get absorbed in – complete with a tea station and more than likely some kind soul’s homemade banana bread for sharing. If tactility is more your thing, there are handmade crystal malas to try, plus a range of yoga tools, clothing and accessories for that deeper stretch.
So this is what good juju can do. What began as a small studio with one teacher and a handful of students has blossomed into a special community of yogis, students, visitors, newbies and old friends alike. Bliss now offers a range of classes including Power, Flow, Hot, Restorative, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Yin, Nidra, Rooftop and SUP yoga. There’s even a sauna, showers and a massage therapist on hand to help you find nirvana. But Bliss’ efforts for a healthier, happier community don’t end there. “We live for a greener planet – we don’t buy anything that comes in plastic packaging and recycle everything we can”, says Janelle.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Bliss Living & Yoga. Wish them a happy birthday if you’re passing by. Why not stay for class? It’s probably exactly where you’re meant to be.