SANTOSHA Yoga & Ayurveda: A Place for Everybody and Every Body
Jun 30, 2017 04:46PM
By Sheila Julson
Nikki Estes and Scott Fisher
Before discovering yoga, neither Nikki Estes nor Scott Fisher had ever imagined owning and teaching at a wellness business. They found their dharma when they teamed up in September of 2016 to purchase Santosha Yoga Studio—where both had taught classes—from founder Jill Follett. Estes and Fisher plan to build upon the studio’s existing strengths by adding an array of ayurvedic programs while keeping the studio welcoming, accessible and inclusive for everyone. To this end, they renamed the business Santosha Yoga & Ayurveda.
Estes’ foray into yoga occurred in 2003 after the birth of her daughter: She wanted to reconnect with her body and get back to feeling like her old self. She tried yoga, and after a year of study, the instructor noticed her enthusiasm and progress. “She suggested that I start a teacher-training program and mentor under her while I was getting certified,” Estes recalls. When Follett opened Santosha in 2011, she and Estes were good friends, and Estes began teaching yoga there while operating her own separate ayurveda business, Align Within Wellness. She now runs the business out of Santosha.
A few years after Estes joined the studio, Follett began experiencing health issues that hindered her ability to run the business. She wanted, however, to keep an affordable yogic resource available to the Lake Country community. Although Estes recounts that Follett approached her on several occasions about buying the business, she was hesitant to take on the responsibility alone. Enter Fisher.
Fisher began teaching yoga at Santosha in 2015. A former attorney, his life had been one that many Americans would consider ideal, which included a large house and a successful job with his own law firm. He remarks, “I was told to get a job and do all these things, and happiness would soon follow. Then I realized that it was someone else’s idea of happiness—not mine.”
In search of enlightenment, Fisher traveled throughout South America and Asia, roughing it as he immersed himself in other cultures. He began practicing yoga while in Indonesia and regards the experience as one of the most humbling of his life. “During the first yoga class, there was a little 75 year-old Indonesian lady just purring away and easily doing the yoga poses. Although I was athletic during college, I was shaking, sweating and struggling. I realized yoga was sharpening a few different blades for me, as it was an emotional, physical and spiritual challenge.”
Fisher met Estes when he returned to Wisconsin and began teaching at Santosha. The pair discussed Follett’s offer and decided it would be a venture they could pursue together. Both had visions of enhancing the studio by bringing in ayurvedic practices and branching into other forms of wellness, while keeping a welcoming environment. “We want to be a yoga studio for everybody and every body,” Fisher emphasizes. “Some people think that they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible enough, but that’s like the old joke that you’re too dirty to take a shower.”
Yoga classes range from gentle and slow-flow yoga to power yoga, with additional practices designed for cyclists and runners. New to Santosha are several ayurveda workshops covering nutrition, food as medicine, meditation and self-care. “Ayurveda is basically a sister science of yoga, so you’re taking yoga off the mat and learning how to practice it in your daily life, living in harmony with nature,” explains Estes. Santosha also offers a monthly sacred women’s circle for sharing thoughts and healing. Other additions are the anatomy camp and the Building Your Spiritual Toolkit workshop.
“We were very lucky to come into a situation with a good staff already in place and a good clientele to build upon,” Estes remarks. Estes and Fisher, who are a couple as well as business partners, both believe that past journeys have prepared them for their new purpose: providing a positive service to others seeking truth and enlightenment. Of course, their own journey is continuing as well. As Estes points out, the process of being business owners has added another layer to their relationship as they grow personally and professionally.
Santosha Yoga & Ayurveda is located at W307 N1497 Golf Rd., Ste. 102, Delafield. For more information, call 262-271-4972 or visit SantoshaYogaAyurveda.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings.