Learn how this stay at home mom helped Canada’s Yoga Community Grow.
When only 85 studios listed at the time of it’s launch in 2004, Yoga Directory Canada™ listings have grown to 3000+ by 2016.
Jennifer Malisauskas, is the Co-founder and creative mind behind of Yoga Directory Canada™, an online resource for the Canadian yoga community. After graduating from graphic design school 1998, Jennifer made her way to the Big apple to find her dream job and move in with the man she loved. Well the job never happened but what did happen was she discovered yoga. A year later realizing graphic designers in New York were a dime a dozen she decided it was best to moved back home to Montreal to find a job. In 2000 she finally got a job but as a web designer, which she wasn’t skilled at but the owner was willing to train her on the job.
Immediately upon her return to Montreal in 1999 she went searching for a yoga class. Surprisingly, one was hard to find. They weren’t in the phone book, the internet wasn’t like it was today, yoga teachers/studio didn’t have websites. It was all through word of mouth, and the odd poster in a health food store or on a pole. Wow, in New York they were every where, but here in Montreal well, she found only a few. Finally success, Ashtanga yoga became her new yoga love.
In 2001 she became a mom. Realizing her initial plan to stay home 6 months, send their son to daycare and get right back to working was impossible. There was no way she could part their son nor let someone else take care of him so she decided to stay home. This was the inspiration to start her own graphic and web design business, Lapbaby Designs.
Being a yoga student she began getting yoga teachers as clients. The yoga scene in Montreal was beginning to grow. She saw a huge change from 1999, more and more yoga studios and teachers wanted to get on the web, looking towards it as a new way to promote their services. But still it wasn’t easy to find yoga online.
At that time, when you went searching for yoga on the web you came upon international yoga directories, and Canada was always just a little link among so many others. This got Jennifer thinking. As well a lots of fellow yoga students and teachers tended to go to the US for trainings and workshops with well know teachers. This was a time when our money was higher than the US’s so more people were running to the US, but it was hurting our economy. This sparked more thinking, “Why don’t we keep our money in Canada? Who and where are our established or famous yoga teachers? Why do we have to be just a little link on a website? Wouldn’t it be cool if we had something to call our own?”
So in 2004, this stay at home mom and yogini came up with the idea to create Yoga Directory Canada™. Together with her husband, a web programmer and yogi, they spent many months working too the wee hours, while the kids were a sleep, developing the site that Jennifer envisioned. Finally it launched in November 2004. It was amazing to see how the community reacted, to see which provinces jumped on board first. Yoga Directory Canada was born!
Jennifer’s been the creative force behind YDC and it’s been her continuous dedication that has made the site the vibrant growing online community that it is today. She feels she’s succeeded in creating the yoga resource she envisioned a place where local yoga business owners and teachers can promote their services to our ever growing yoga community. A great place for students to either find yoga in their own backyard, or anywhere in Canada for a place to practise.
“It’s been my mission for these last 13 years to create a yoga site that says Canada! Something we can call our own. Our Nation, everything yoga, all on one great site, it’s that great. If you looking for yoga apparel, why not buy them from a Canadian. Planning to go on a yoga retreat or vacation why not go with a Canadian yoga teacher. Canadians supporting Canadians… If WE don’t support our yoga community who else will.”
In 2006, Jennifer finally took the plunge and became a yoga teacher. She teaches Kundalini yoga and meditation and offers monthly “Yoga and Chant workshops” from her home here in Ottawa. Inspire and empower people through the power of yoga and mantra. She is also a Reiki master, helping people affected by stress, TMJ, work related tension, anxiety and depression.
When she’s not working on YDC, which is not often, you’ll find her doing the things she loves, yoga, meditation, NIA, her garden, hiking & camping with her family. More often than not she can be found curled up with a book feeding her inner introvert, usually something by Jane Austen.
Jennifer is amazed on how much our Canadian yoga community has grown since YDC’s beginnings and is always happy when she discovers a new Canadian yoga inspired company. She knows that the Canadian yoga community will continue to grow and our Yoga Directory Canada™ will be there to support it.