This week we caught up with Melissa, certified yoga instructor and founder of Glendale’s newest Organic Cafe: Yoga-urt. Located just around the corner from TPB in Kenneth Village, Yoga-urt is the place to enjoy handcrafted, organic, softserve, smoothies, coffee, and tea in a yoga-studio-like setting. Check out the details to see what we can expect from this fierce yogi and her peaceful vision.
Tell us a bit about your fitness background! How did you discover Yoga?
I discovered yoga about 7 years ago. I had chronic pain and my chiropractor told me that I needed to take yoga if I wanted to get better. She found me a lovely studio near my work and in the beginning, I could barely do anything. However, I went 2 times a week and slowly I could feel a difference in every aspect of my life, including my pain getting better.
What made you decide to become a Yoga Instructor? What is your philosophy of training?
I decided to take a yoga teacher training because I had just left a job that I was at for 11 years and I was looking for something to fill myself up emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Although I saw the flyer for the teacher training many times, I never took it seriously as I thought that there was no way I could ever be a yoga teacher. I’m not flexible, I don’t look like a yoga teacher, and I had so many injuries that limited my practice. The wonderful teachers at Yoga Blend, Christy and Bekah, convinced me that I should do it for all of those reasons and more. I didn’t take the teacher training to become a teacher, but after the training, I knew that I wanted to spread yoga to everyone that I could in some way, and decided to get certified.
What is the inspiration behind Yoga-urt?
Yoga-urt actually started with a joke between my cousin and I over lunch one day. However, there was something about it that I just couldn’t let go of. It took over me like nothing had before. I did a business plan 4 years ago, and have been trying to make this business a reality since then. The inspiration is to make people feel good. Even though we are only serving organic soft serve & smoothies, I want people to get the same feeling that they get from taking a yoga class. We are trying to create a similar atmosphere.
What sets the Yoga-urt brand apart from other frozen yogurt?
Our soft serve is handcrafted, fresh from scratch, and is made with organic, natural, non-dairy ingredients, and contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. All of the Yoga-urt soft serve is rich and creamy and contains four strains of live probiotics added for digestive and immune health. All of this is served in a peaceful, yoga-studio-like setting. We also offer organic coffee, tea, and affogatos! Our ambiance will be similar to a yoga studio so you leave with a little namaste in your life!
What’s been the toughest part of opening your own business?
The toughest part was the start up money. I would’ve done this 4 years ago if I had the money or had found an investor. That didn’t happen, so I had to work very hard over the last few years to save enough money to convince the Small Business Administration (SBA) to give me a loan for the rest. There were times when it seemed like it would never happen. I never gave up; I just didn’t always know what to do next. I tried to keep the faith that if this was meant to happen, it would.
How did you go about developing the Yoga-urt flavors? What is the nutritional make-up of a typical Yoga-urt?
I knew from the beginning I wanted to have dairy-free options that weren’t sorbets, and weren’t made with soy, but were organic, healthy, and yummy. So in 2014, I put a team together to begin the soft serve R&D. This team included Meredith Sarah Klein, a Los Angeles private chef and yoga and mindfulness teacher, who creates internationally-inspired, Ayurvedically-influenced, holistic, organic cuisine and Jim Broussalian, an accomplished expert in menu/product innovation and R&D processes in the retail food service industry. The Yoga-urt team very carefully selected all of the ingredients used in their dairy-free organic product.
Tell us a little bit about some of the flavors and tastes we can expect! Which is your personal favorite?
My personal favorite is chocolate bliss. I love chocolate and this one is so good! Some other flavors are Vanilla Harmony, Peanut Butter Prana, Salted Caramel Zen, and a refreshing flavor called Ganesha’s Sweet Greens which has kale, spinach, and kiwi among other goodies. We have created 9 flavors total so far (we can have only 6 at a time in our machines) but are looking forward to creating more after we get the store going.
What other products does Yoga-urt offer besides frozen yogurt?
We also offer our 6 handcrafted organic smoothies, coffee, tea, affogatos, fresh fruit, and fresh yogurt with granola will be coming shortly.
What has been the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
There are so many rewarding parts of this experience. Having people believe in me and my dream. Having people excited to try the soft serve, and when they taste it, to see how much they like it. Making my parents proud. Proving to myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to.
What can we expect from your Grand Opening?
For the Grand Opening day, we will be offering our mini soft serve cups for $1 and all other food half off. We are also doing a raffle, and if you buy something that day, you will get a raffle ticket. Prizes will be donated from many businesses in Kenneth Village so it is definitely worth checking out. It will be a fun weekend, and I hope everyone comes by to check us out!
CLICK HERE TO RSVP FOR YOGA-URT’S GRAND OPENING ON JULY 25-26…
COME TAKE MORNING PILATES AT TPB &
HEAD AROUND THE CORNER FOR SOME DELICIOUS TREATS 🙂