COMMUNITY #MYVIWHY SERIES: Moksha(Modo)/Island Optimal Health & Performance
Q & A
This week, our resident yogis (agents Andrea Mikkelson & Siya Herman) unrolled their mats with Dr. Kristen Butler, owner of Moksha Yoga Nanaimo and Island Optimal Health & Performance. On November 1st, Moksha officially changes its name to Modo Yoga, in alignment with their international studio partners. Learn why Kristen chooses to live and work on Vancouver Island and shares her desire to build a sense of community through her work.
Q. Why did you decide to build your business on Vancouver Island?
A. The vision for both Island Optimal and Moksha Yoga Nanaimo (soon to be called Modo Yoga) was to bring people together and create community. I spent 4 years in Toronto and I never felt a real sense of community in the big city. Nanaimo was the perfect-sized city to start the kind of businesses that could offer that feeling of family and community.
Being surrounded by nature was also important to me. I grew up in the country, so I spent a lot of time outside, and that's what I wanted for my kids. But times have changed, and it’s more challenging to find balance running a business and raising a family. Being in an environment so close to nature makes it easier to reconnect. And since I’m from Ontario, there are times when I miss the snow, so it’s great to be able to drive an hour and a half and find it!
Q. How does the island lifestyle influence the culture of your organization?
A. People who are from here or who migrated here all have a relaxed vibe. We all deal with our stress differently, but in Nanaimo, I find we have more time to slow down and reflect as opposed to walking down the street in a big city with blinders on. Being able to slow down makes people more conscious about their surroundings, and that self-awareness reflects a key part of our business.
Q. What would people be surprised to know about you/your business?
A. We put on a charity event called Party For A Purpose which is a formal gala fundraiser that raises money for children in Africa. We have put on three events so far. In the first year, we raised $25,000 for an orphanage in Uganda, the second year we raised $26,000 for an orphanage in the Congo, and this past year we raised almost $40,000, also for an orphanage in the Congo. The money has been used to buy land, build housing and schools, as well as a reading center for women to learn how to read.
Our ‘why’ for doing these events is to help people in need and to bring our community together to show we are capable of doing great things. People have this great generosity and want to be able to help but might not know how, so this is a platform that allows people and businesses to contribute and support someone on the other side of the world.
Q. Where is the one place on Vancouver Island you like to go that inspires and energizes you?
A. The first thing that comes to mind is that moment when you are driving to Victoria and you look across the Straight and see Mount Baker- the mountain is so majestic, and I had an immediate connection to it. Shortly after moving here 11 years ago, I knew I had to hop on the ferry and take the short drive to Mount Baker to climb it. Now every time I look back across the ocean and see it, it energizes me and brings me a great sense of calm. I love being up high and looking down; it puts things into perspective. Just being up on Mount Benson or Mount Washington gives me energy and makes problems seem so insignificant.
I could really live and have my businesses anywhere, but when I think about that, I can’t imagine being anywhere other than Vancouver Island.