STORIES & INSIGHTS
Apr 21, 2023
We were lucky to catch up with Vanessa Gomez recently and have shared our conversation below.
Appreciate you joining us today. Risk taking is something we’re really interested in and we’d love to hear the story of a risk you’ve taken.
I think probably my most major risk to date is quitting my perfectly stable job as a collegiate athletic trainer for the track team at the University of Oregon in the middle of the pandemic in order to pursue a career in yoga.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
My name is Vanessa Gomez. I’m the owner of FLOW IN THE CITY: an urban yoga sanctuary and founder of FLOWIN’: yoga for the community. I’m a Colombian woman from the east coast. Born in Miami. But my family lives in New York and Philadelphia. Prior to this current journey I’m on, I was working in college athletics for 10 years. With both my bachelors and masters in athletic training. I’ve worked in places like Michigan State University, Temple University and the University of Oregon. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 10 years, and during the pandemic—when we were all questioning everything about life during quarantine—I thought what a better time to make a change and take a chance on myself when anything and everything can change in the blink of an eye. I moved from Eugene to Portland, OR (because I wasn’t ready to move back to the east coast) without much of a plan outside of I knew I wanted to get my yoga teacher certification. So I got two jobs and was enrolled in the training at night three times a week (ya girl was TIRED). As I continued to practice yoga in this city I felt called to something more than just teaching. A felt called to create space.I wish I was kidding but FLOW IN THE CITY came to me in a dream and I just knew it was a blessing that I had to see through. See, as a Latina woman from the east coast, I never really felt understood in yoga spaces as they stand. I was tolerated, but acceptance wasn’t something I ever felt. The rooms were always filled with white men and women. The music was never relatable. And I kept feeling like I could only show up as a certain version of myself but not my whole self. And I just knew I wasn’t the only one. Which is why creating and holding space became my mission. I started teaching in studios that already existed and quickly realized that I wasn’t going to find my community there. I had to do my own thing. And that’s what spurred, FLOWIN’, a community class and the now foundation of FLOW IN THE CITY. And through FLOWIN’ not only was I able to build community, I was able to fuel my purpose for FLOW IN THE CITY.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Closed mouths don’t get fed. And get you friends that will talk you up when you start to doubt yourself because trust me there will be plenty of times during your journey that you will. But keep going. Also, always remember that what’s for you is for you only. If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means that that thing wasn’t for you. And that’s ok. You’re not for everything // everyone and everything // everyone is not for you and that’s your superpower.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
Unfortunately—maybe not so unfortunately—but I had to start practicing resilience very early in my life. I come from a single parent household and my mother—my rock—passed away very suddenly (she was only 53 years old) when I was a senior in college. So learning how to navigate that at a young age and keep pushing forward has really been the root of how I move through life the way I do. It taught me that not only can life be short, life is just so damn precious so we have to make the most of it while we’re still blessed with days here.