A Young Mother Built a Yoga and Wellness Community in San Pedro

Vive L.A. Yoga receives a $23,500 loan for their new studio

Vive L.A. Yoga began out of a young mother’s desire to create community.

Cara Lemus, the founder of Vive L.A. Yoga in San Pedro, commuted out of her native San Pedro to attend yoga classes as the mother of a newborn. Lemus had her second child right before the pandemic, and like many others, found herself stuck indoors. However, Lemus viewed this moment as an opportunity to start a yoga and wellness community.

“The mission has always been building community.”

Lemus began a yoga Livestream on Instagram Live, creating a following that extended to outdoor yoga sessions at a local park when pandemic restrictions eased. At a friend’s suggestion, Lemus moved her yoga practice to a temporary physical location in an adult ballet studio. Lemus expanded from a one-woman operation by hiring other yoga instructors who helped her to experiment with the new format.

“It was all about looking for what worked, what didn’t, and just running with it,” says Lemus.

Their formula worked.

The goal for Lemus was always to move out, into their own space. After Lemus took time off to have a baby, her instructors ran the yoga studio and the business continued to grow.

A Place to Call Their Own

“That was when I started looking for a loan to open up my own space.” Lemus met with Senior Business Coach, Terry Gubatan, who was immediately impressed with Lemus’s story. Gubatan’s work with Lemus eventually led to a successful loan approval of $23,500 to put toward Vive L.A. Yoga’s new studio. In April 2022, Vive L.A. Yoga opened its brick-and-mortar location in the Pacific View Shopping Center in San Pedro with fully booked classes and an array of local vendors, mostly women-owned, to celebrate.

On working with VSEDC and Gubatan, Lemus says, “Terry was a great business advisor. As a mom of three running a business, I love that I can call him at any time and he’ll tell me what’s not worth my time and that he’s there for me with any question I have. He’s very understanding.”

“Cara’s business is a story of perseverance,” says Terry Gubatan. “She’s balancing young kids, a husband, and a business. What impressed me the most is that this is a family affair. I’ve seen families–parents and kids–coming to take yoga classes together. Her Cara father is even her handyman at the studio!”

An Inclusive Yoga and Wellness Community

It is precisely this inclusion that sets Vive L.A. Yoga apart from other, corporate yoga studios.

“All the yoga teachers and I say the same thing, Vive is inclusive to anyone. Both me Cara and my husband are Hispanic, there are older teachers and teachers with curvier body types. You don’t have to fit a body type or age or price range to do yoga. We make people feel comfortable, we’re willing to work with beginners, and we create a community vibe.”

What’s next?

Lemus is seeking additional teaching staff and a bookkeeper to continue meeting the needs of the yoga and wellness community in San Pedro. Vive offers vinyasa-based yoga classes at varying levels and continues to offer outdoor classes at beaches and parks. Vive L.A. Yoga is for anyone and everyone, and we are eager to see how the community will expand in the future. Follow Vive L.A. Yoga on Instagram and take a class – the first three classes at Vive L.A. Yoga are free!

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